Friday, August 31, 2012

More on civilian police training with Marines

The Camp Lejeune story about civilian police training with Marine Corps SWAT-type teams takes yet another step towards appearing even more normal than I first suspected.

There's been some concern among bloggers who interpreted a TV news report about the cross training as implying Marines might be deployed with civilian police departments in policing on America's streets.

Well, here's another data-point I've dug up that suggests the blended training is strictly for internal Marine Corps consumption. More than likely, these are the civilian police referred to in the story:

The Marine Corps initiated a Civilian Police force in 2005 and has established Marine Corps Police Departments in Albany, GA, Jacksonville, FL, and Barstow, CA. At the close of FY11, there are over 800 Police Officers working alongside their Marine Military Police counterparts at Marine Corps Police Departments across the United States. The police officer hires continue with a target of hiring 200 in FY12. After FY12, as the requirements increase and replacements are needed, we will continue to hire for the foreseeable future. These new police officers will be working side-by-side with Marine Corps Military Police at Marine Corps Installations across the United States.
The Marines say having civilian cops picking up policing duties at Marine installations cuts the stress on active duty forces, and can provide continuity when active duty units deploy overseas.

Context is key in understanding a story, and this context was missing from the original TV story. Knowing it now seems to cast the recent training school at Camp Lejeune in a very different light.

No guns at Burning Man

This year's outdoor desert festival in Nevada will be a "gun free zone" by federal decree. 

Mitt's line that bothers me

Gave me a chill. And took away lots of last night's warm RNC fuzzies...

Mitt Romney was chuggin' right along in his Republican nomination acceptance speech until...
I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed.
To be fair, I'l add some context:

I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed. But his promises gave way to disappointment and division.  This isn't something we have to accept. Now is the moment when we can do something. With your help we will do something. 
Now is the moment when we can stand up and say, "I’m an American. I make my destiny. And we deserve better! My children deserve better! My family deserves better. My country deserves better!”
If Mitt got his wish in paragraph one and Mr. Obama had succeeded, would we still have a shot at being what he refers to in paragraph two?

At times, Mitt Romney shows signs that he gets it, that this not a typical political era, that what Barack Obama strived (and still strives) to usher in is not the same America most of us embrace. But when Romney throws in a line like the one last night, I start to remember the Mitt Romney who spoke of himself as a progressive... the Mitt Romney who spoke of not taking partisan sides because he didn't like to see Washington DC divided up between winners and losers.

Let's hope the conservative Romney we're being sold now is the Romney we'll still have after the election. But even then, and if Romney prevails and takes office, I fear those expecting bold conservative changes in our national direction may be sorely disappointed.

No one dared take to the podium at the RNC to tell us how dire our national situation is. Sure, it was a nice pep rally. But did the RNC serve up any real solutions to America's deepening economic crises?

Clint Eastwood

C-SPAN is among media outlets offering video of Clint Eastwood's complete presentation at the RNC:

There's a transcript at if you want to follow along.

I thoroughly enjoyed C-SPAN's streaming coverage of the RNC. I don't know how commercial cable and broadcast outlets hold an audience with all the punditry crowding their casts. It's probably a sign of why the country's such a mess. Too few people want to make the effort to think for themselves these days.

When watching a political convention, I'd much rather take in something more akin a raw feed.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

"The Poster"

"College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life." - Paul Ryan

Too good a line to let slip by.

   From: Crossroads Generation via YouTube

The "militia" was in court today

An alleged murderous trio of soldiers that civilian prosecutors near Fort Stewart have labeled a militia was back in court today where they learned they could face death in connection with the murders of another alleged militia member and his teenage girlfriend last December.

A self-professed fifth member of the so-called militia pleaded guilty to lesser charges earlier this week in a deal with prosecutors and has agreed to testify against the others.

Remains to be seen if prosecutors will now settle in and prosecute the murder cases at hand. Or if they'll keep pushing the militia theme that includes an extensive list of fantasy-like plots they say the group planned to carry out on both the east and west coast.

Among the plots alleged by prosecutors: Overthrowing the U.S. government and poisoning the Washington state apple crop.

Coming up on Friday's (August 31) "Don and Doug":

A local TV report on SWAT team training at Camp Lejeune seems to trigger more hysteria about a domestic military crackdown.  But how much of what happened at the Marine base should cause real concern, and how much of the current dust-up may be due to sloppy reporting?

Meanwhile the TSA appears to be trying to stay out of the public spotlight even as its programs are putting more armed cops on city buses. What's up with that?

And Republicans worked hard to make conservatives gush with excitement over all those convention speeches. But did they take time to spell out how broke the country really is? Did they tell us how they'll fix it - or when?

Don and I get together every Friday at 1:00 pm ET for live talk on  We'd love to have you join this week's conversation.

No credible threat, but....

American law enforcement takes further steps toward 'normalizing' a higher profile armed police presence on public transportation. notes:
To date, there has not been a credible terror threat involving an NJ Transit bus. 
"No, we have not seen that," NJ Transit Police Chief Christopher Trucillo said. "But we have got to be forward-thinking, and we look at what goes on in other parts of the world." 
Terrorists have attacked transit systems in Spain, Great Britain, India, Japan and Russia. 
That was the impetus for "BusSafe," a counterterrorism and criminal deterrence effort NJ Transit rolled out Wednesday as part of a national initiative to increase the police presence on America’s mass transit bus systems.
Note the key word: National. While the cops on buses may wear local uniforms, the federal government is the force behind the push.

Undercover cops are part of the mix too. The plain clothes angle was emphasized when BusSafe was rolled out earlier this year in Houston.

While there are those who fret the Department of Homeland Security is becoming a national police force, it appears its ability to co-opt local law enforcement is more conducive strategy toward implementing a police state type presence while raising the fewest alarms among the general population.

Meanwhile, it appears the meaning behind Barack Obama's words of 2008 are becoming ever more clear. And, best I recall, Mr. Obama never has articulated what national security objectives he was referring to in calling for a vastly expanded civilian national security force.

How much of this is necessary?

"Law enforcement agencies obtaining record amount of surplus military equipment."

In tight budget times, should local cops be adding what often amounts to exotic hardware?

Even if the stuff is acquired at phenomenal discounts, military style hardware is often very expensive and time consuming to maintain.

Previously: Small town cops piling up military hardware

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Second Amendment Foundation at the UN

The Second Amendment Foundation had representation at an international small arms conference underway at the United Nations in New York.

A release from the SAF says, in part:

For Immediate Release:   8/29/2012 
BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today reminded the United Nations that “if women have the right to be protected against violence, then they have the right to protect themselves against violence.” 
So spoke SAF’s Director of Operations Julianne Versnel, whose remarks to the U.N. Programme of Action conference were unlike anything many delegates had ever heard before. The conference is seen as the first step toward rekindling discussions about an on-going process to continue development of a small arms and light weapons treaty, which earlier this summer collapsed when several nations opposed it 
Noting that she had reviewed what has already been written and said about the violence against women as it relates to the Programme of Action, Versnel emphasized that, “I am struck by what is not said.” 
“If there is a basic sanctity of a woman’s person,” she observed, “if there is a right to not be a victim of sexual or personal violence, then that right involves the right to defend one’s self.” 
Versnel stressed that any new global gun control initiatives must “do nothing to disarm women who legitimately and rightfully want to defend themselves.”

Classic ad for a classic .22 pistol

The Colt Woodsman is a classic. Hasn't been made in years. And the good used ones have become quite pricey - when you can find them.

This is how Colt pitched the .22 caliber Woodsman in a 1956 ad:

A building crisis of government and/or political legitimacy?

Civilian police training with military

I have a high threshold, I'm not the type that sees every urban military exercise or government ammunition buy as precursor to a police state or martial law. But a TV report about a military training exercise just wrapped up at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina raised some questions and concerns in my mind.

According to the report by WNCT, Marines trained as a blended force with civilian police. As one participant noted:
I think it's always good to work on some similar tactics and procedures so that everyone's kind of operating on the same page. That way when you bring teams together from the active duty and the civilian side, it makes the integration a whole lot smoother.
And that had me asking: What kind of situations come up where active duty Marines work as a blended force with civilian cops here in the U.S.?

A newspaper story on the same school says the primary emphasis of the Lejeune program is to train civilian SWAT team members. Police from San Diego, Okinawa, and Albany, NY were among those reported as participating.

And the Jacksonville (NC) Daily News also shared a plausible explanation of where a blended force might be used stateside:
 ...civilian police officers attended the training with the Marines because the civilian officers are often used to provide security and serve on SRT teams on military bases stateside, so that Marine Corps SRT teams can deploy overseas without leaving the stateside bases unprotected.
The explanation seems to fit with places like Okinawa and San Diego. But inserting cops from Albany, NY puzzled me. Any chance Albany cops were really from Albany, Georgia - home to a major Marine Corps Logistics Base?

Still, for many of us, the larger issue of merging military style force and tactics with civilian law enforcement is an area of concern. There's a bunch of us who believe too much focus on force, firepower and military-like tactics (such as no-knock raids) is the wrong approach in most civilian law enforcement applications. And there's rising risk of over-use as local police, facing tighter budgets, attempt to justify the money spent on the required gear and special training by rolling out SRTs and SWAT teams in situations that aren't a good fit.

Post script: I'd appreciate it if readers and listeners would send links to similar news accounts my way. I'd like the chance to dig a little deeper on them while collecting a wider sample of related data points.

Update: More on civilian police training with Marines

The background seemed familiar...

Did it seem like Gov. Christie was speaking from heaven during last night's RNC keynote?

The moving cloud-like background seemed to become more obvious as his speech went on.

Later, I realized why I might have been expecting a cherub to appear...

Angel Soft.

And - gasp -  Angel Soft is a Georgia Pacific product.

How long before the goofy folks at Media Matters or MoveOn try to whip up some kind of Koch brothers mind-control conspiracy?

Seen any VIPRs lately?

Looks like the TSA's debut of its spiffy, heavily armed VIPR (Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response) teams in bus and train stations, as well as the scattered deployments along U.S. highways may have backfired.

An Inspector General's report suggests the VIPR roll out has been rolled back for, among other things, a behind the scenes public relations makeover:

After initial deployments, partners and stakeholders describe VIPR Program
engagement as regrouping and communicating better through more meaningful
outreach to police departments, transit agencies, governing boards, and other
entities. A stakeholder described the new outreach as thoughtfully done, as
stakeholders are now engaged and included in discussions of potential
operations within their systems. As a result, most partners and stakeholders said
they value the program as a force multiplier and an extension of their security
assets, and describe the teams as professional, willing to work and take advice,
flexible, and responsive to partner and stake holder needs. However, some
partners and stakeholders remain hesitant to reengage with the program after
their initial experiences.
Sounds like TSA VIPRs were about as heavy handed or non-diplomatic with local law enforcement and public transportation entities as their cousins who staff the nation's airports are with the flying public.

But just because you don't see them or hear about them, don't think VIPRs have gone away. Congress keeps shoveling more money at the program, and TSA expects to have 37 VIPR teams up and running by September 2012, according to the OIG report.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Central planners aren't limited by market or manufacturing realities

The central planners of the Obama administration are at it again, telling us bureaucratic decrees are what bring innovation and better living. 

The administration today finalized demands that automakers boost average vehicle mileage to over 54 miles per gallon by 2025. 

Sounds great until you consider the costs. The National Automobile Dealers Association estimates the improved mileage standards will add another $3000 to the cost of an average vehicle.  That's a price hike that the NADA says could push another seven percent of the car buying public out of the new car market.  

And that $3000 is presumably in addition to the $1000 being be built into cars to meet previously mandated 2016 standards. 

Even if you can still afford the car, it may not be as big or as robust as the one you can buy today for much less.  And that's assuming car makers can perform the mileage miracles government demands.  

What's the alternative if they can't?  Big bucks car buyers get crammed into Chevy Volts? While the rest of us start keeping our minivans longer... say 20, 30 or more years kinda like Cubans have kept their pre-Castro Detroit iron running?

If demands aren't rooted in some sense of reality, government may drive automakers into oblivion with higher mileage demands. That's often been the downfall of bureaucratic central planners. They reach too far for too much, and wreck what they had in the first place.  

Even if car makers do manage to meet government demands, do the resulting innovations come at the expense of others that might have been even better if the innovators hadn't been bound by the perimeters demanded by  over controlling bureaucrats? 

Think about it

There's probably a reason why Democrats are banning young children from the floor of their national convention.

They probably don't want to risk TV networks showing cutaway shots of cut little kids while some Democrat speaker is extolling praises for abortion.

Sasquatch impersonator struck and killed

Ghillie suits have a specific purpose. Playing in or around traffic isn't recommended while wearning one.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Well, huh. How's this for timing?

Prosecutors in Long County, Georgia allege a soldier terror cell plotting to overthrow the government was behind a couple of local murders. Prosecutors made the disclosure today.

It now appears some media, based solely on an old news agency photo, are describing one of the alleged terror cell militia members as a page at the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Oddly enough, these two disclosures come on what was scheduled to be Day One of the 2012 Republican National Convention.

What a coincidence. But it gets better.

The other Fort Stewart suspects are due in court Thursday. That's also the 2012 RNC's last day.

Updated: 9:00 am EDT 8/28/2012 

Militia in the military?

The media's buzzing over reports of a so-called anarchist militia among soldiers at Fort Stewart. The allegations of the militia came to light as investigators probed two murders that happened near the military instillation late last year. Prosecutors contend the murders were intended to prevent disclosure of the terror-bent cell.

According to reports by the Associated Press and other news organisations, the cell described by prosecutors as militia was plotting to overthrow the U.S. government and assassinate the president. But it was a pair of murders that led to arrests, and justice appears to be taking its course for the crimes on record.

Remains to be seen how the allegations of militia play out. Or what capabilities this group actually possessed. So far, it appears it might better be described as a gang. And, based on disclosures so far, a tiny one at that.

For years, we've had warning of various gangs and gang ideology infiltrating parts of the military:
As of April 2011, the NGIC (National Gang Intelligence Center) has identified members of at least 53 gangs whose members have served in or are affiliated with US military. Among the identified gangs with military-trained members are street gangs such as the Asian Boyz, Bloods, Crips, Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings, MS-13, SureƱos, Tiny Rascal Gangsters, and the Juggalos; the Aryan Brotherhood, Barrio Azteca, and Texas Syndicate prison gangs; and OMGs including the Bandidos, Hells Angels, Mongols, Outlaws, and Vagos. Some gangs, particularly OMGs, actively recruit members with military training or advise members without criminal records to join the military for necessary weapons and combat training.
- 2011 FBI National Gang Threat Assessment
The problem of gangs in the military received some media attention in 2006 when an AWOL Marine and gang member went on a killing spree targeting cops. Surveillance video of the rampage was included in a report done at the time by the Fox station in LA.

It'll be interesting to see if the government can make the case the Fort Stewart militia (or what ever it is) presented any greater threat to homeland security than many of the other gang elements circulating in military circles, or if it had members or other alliances outside the tiny Fort Stewart core alleged today.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Financial repression

Jack Crooks writes at Money and Markets:

Another bloody Chicago weekend

As of early Sunday afternoon, the count stands at seven dead, and at least 36 others wounded in Chicago shootings since Thursday night

“We’re not winning, we’re not losing. We’re basically treading water,” says the city's top cop.

I'd hate to see what losing would look like. 

American Thinker's now on it

A blogger at American Thinker has also picked up on that military report on Afghan fratricide Don and I discuss on Friday's show in the first hour (the August 24 program is available on-demand at

I also blogged about the May 2011 report a couple times last week. Here and here.

For those who want a detailed look at behind the scenes, boots on the ground relations in Afghanistan, I recommend reading the 70 page report and appendixes.

It still amazes me how little attention this report got after its release last year.

Another 'small arms' session at the UN

It's hard to tell if this is a gun-grabber's end run, or if it just amounts to more blustering in the United Nations' crusade to slash access to small arms world wide, but a UN sanctioned agency begins a small arms review conference tomorrow in New York:

2012 Review Conference of the UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons 
The Second Review Conference of the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons In All Its Aspects will meet at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City from 27 August–7 September 2012. The meeting will be chaired by Ambassador U. Joy Ogwuof Nigeria.

The conference is being orchestrated by Reaching Critical Will, an offshoot of the Women's International League Peace and Freedom, which has been commissioned by the UN to facilitate non-government actors in UN disarmament efforts.  For those wary of such events, keep special watch on Wednesday's side session where voluntary International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS) will be announced.

The voluntary standards will be made publicly available on a new website to be launched at the side-event

No transparency here. No public viewing or comment prior to launch. Sound familiar? It sounds a lot like Nancy Pelosi's strategy in passing Obamacare. The conference will have to launch its control standards  before we can see what's in them.

From: CASA (United Nations Coordinating Action on Small Arms

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Obama's second term agenda

Some of my Lefty friends refuse to consider anything presented by The Blaze, Breitbart entities or other conservative news sites. But I wonder if they'll consider the Wall Street Journal mainstream enough to at least consider?

In the Journal, Kimberly Strassel writes of something called The Silent Second Term Agenda.

Among the possibilities in Strassel's assessment: An even tighter choke-hold of more environmental regulation, and Obama may well get the chance create a the Supreme Court even more in favor of his agenda than the court we already have.

Sorting out the latest mass shooting

It now appears police bullets are what turned Friday's shooting near the Empire State Building into a mass casualty affair. I'm not pointing fingers. Maybe we can even learn from some aspects of Friday's incident.

News accounts say Jeffrey Johnson shot and killed former co-worker Steve Ercolino, and then turned his gun on police before police shot him dead. Nine other bystanders were shot when police opened fire. The New York Times reports:
From a distance of less than 10 feet, the officers, Craig Matthews and Robert Sinishtaj, answered in unison; one shot nine times and the other seven. 
Investigators believe at least 7 of those 16 bullets struck the gunman, said Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman. But the officers also struck some, if not all, of the nine bystanders who were wounded.
Fortunately, none of the bystanders suffered life-threatening wounds.

Some may question how police could miss their target so many times at such close range. Some will say police marksmanship isn't what it once was (more on that in a minute). But the officers involved had to make split second decisions. They saw a threat to their lives and those around them, they sought to shut down that primary threat. That part makes sense.

Bystanders sometimes do get hit in urban gunfights. It happens in gun battles between thugs, it can happen when police exchange fire with a perp. And it can happen when police fire on a perp brandishing a gun.

But remember after the Aurora shooting, where gun control advocates defended the theater as a gun free zone, in part, by saying counter fire from armed civilians shooting might have hit bystanders? These gun control advocates seem to hold lawfully armed civilians to a higher standard than they do authorized law enforcement.

The Times report indicates Friday's bystanders may have been hit by ricochets or bullet fragments. For those critical of law enforcement (local or federal) carrying hollow point bullets, risk reduction  in crowded settings is one of the primary reasons law enforcement now prefers HPs.

It usually works out in the bystander's favor to be hit with a frag from an HP round compared to be struck with ricocheting round-nose or Full Metal Jacket projectile  (those tend to remain intact). And those non-HP varieties tend to penetrate much farther, putting even more bystanders at risk.

Another thought crosses my mind. Was Friday's gunman intent on more killing? Police say the amount of ammo he carried suggests he was. But it might also be his actions were intended to provoke what's sometimes referred to as suicide by cop. Either way, facing an armed gunman, and from the circumstances as we know them now, police were unquestionably correct in their decision to shoot.

I do wish police could returned to the more precise, measured use of shooting force like we seemed to have had in the days of five or six-shot revolvers. Years ago, when I was invited to observe training at a local police academy, recruits were drilled on putting two rounds into their target. Do police academies still put emphasis on double tap? It can be a life-saver for police to have more rounds in a semi-auto, but at times the additional ammo seems to have led to a sloppier shooting phenomenon that Don referred to on yesterday's (August 24) show as spray and pray.

It remains to be seen if investigators of Friday's shooting deem the number of rounds fired by officers to be excessive. Sixteen rounds fired by two officers at a range of ten feet or less from the target seems high. But, at the very least, it also appears the officers exercised enough self control to stop firing before their guns were empty.

Updated 8/26/2012 8:54 am

Friday, August 24, 2012

Afghanistan focus groups

Among the reasons they don't like us in Afghanistan, as cited in focus groups consisting of members of the Afghanistan National Security Forces conducted for a U.S. military study:

They don't like busy bodies buttin' in when they torture dogs.
"How we treat dogs is no one's business; the Koran is very clear about the low status of dogs."
They don't like where our soldiers pee.
"They pee in the water, polluting it.  We told them to stop but they wouldn't listen."  
"They peed in front of a house; they do not care if women see them.  An ANA NCO got furious.  He had to be transferred because he wanted to do violence."  
"We do not like nudity."
They think their American-supplied guns are junk.
M-16s were strongly disliked.  Complaints were that they jam constantly and are very unreliable. They resented that the U.S. supplied them with such an unreliable rifle.  They want their AK-47s back.  Some thought that the M-16 was an obsolete leftover from World War II.
The comments and assessments are among those in a military study entitled A Crisis of Trust and Cultural Incompatibility. The study was not a frivolous one. And it documents clear cultural divisions in outlooks and behaviors between the Afghans and Americans as well as other coalition forces. I  picked the few citations above to show serious animosity can arise over everyday activities. The study was intended to probe a divide that's so deep, members of the Afghan forces were increasingly turning on coalition allies and killing them, a trend that's continued. The study also polled American troops about what they disliked about Afghan forces.

The study, released in May 2011, noted clear opinions that relations were getting worse, not better.
Many ANSF members emphasized that they noticed a negative change in U.S. Soldiers' attitudes and general helpfulness starting last summer.  This June, 2010 period correlates with many factors, including a substantial increase in kinetic activities and lED incidents, the replacement of GEN McChrystal with GEN Petreaus, a subsequent and substantial increase in ISAF-caused civilian casualties when compared to the preceding 12 months, a brigade RIPITOA in the region, another failed Afghan election, and a rapid increase in fratricide-murder incidents involving the ANSFs.
The situation in Afghanistan is often called a complex one. But our political leaders, the military, and our media aren't telling us the half of it. A lot of the so-called complexity boils down to very basic cultural differences.

You'd think we'd hear more about an ongoing eleven-year-long war in an election year. But maybe we've let Afghanistan drag on so long that it's now melded into our national psyche and seems part of our natural state of things. If that's the case, it's a big mistake.

Related post: Long noted, disturbing trend in Afghanistan

Who has the extremist party?

In Florida, Republican Karen Harrington is running against incumbent and Democrat National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz for Congress. Wasserman Schultz has been fond of painting Republicans as extremist for some time now.

Harrington has now fired back with a very effective ad:

The message plays well in Florida, but should strike a chord with viewers elsewhere too. Last year, Democrats couldn't say enough good stuff about Occupy Wall Street. Some, like former White House adviser Van Jones, said Occupy would bring "the turning point in the progressive fight-back" over the Tea Party movement and the Republican surge it delivered at the polls in 2010.

Today, Occupy has fizzled. Most its adherents, having grown cold in last winter's weather and apparently disillusioned they didn't spark an instantaneous collapse of capitalism, apparently got bored and went home. But let's not forget who their friends in high places were when Occupy appeared to be a rising star.

Let's also not forget who supported Occupy's anarchist style if similar protesters make their anticipated appearances in conjunction with the upcoming Democrat and Republican national conventions. If those protests come, national ads along the lines of Harrington's might be very effective in reminding folks who embraced and applauded mayhem as a political tactic.

Stuff you likely haven't heard about Afghanistan...

The Friday, August 24th, Don and Doug starts at 1 pm ET on

We may spend significant time discussing Afghanistan. There's apparently been a U.S. policy change on the ground there after members of Afghan security forces killed more coalition troops in recent months.

When was the last time you heard a presidential candidates talk about the war in Afghanistan? We've been fighting there nearly eleven years. So what's been accomplished?

Some of the paranoia over ammo buys at Homeland Security eems to have died down. Meanwhile, DHS recently claimed it was in danger of running out of rifle ammo. What's up with that?

We'll put other topics on the table when the show starts at one o'clock!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Federal infiltration and tinkering behind the scenes

It appears the federal government may have a history going way back of being involved in building up threats that it then uses to win public support as it works to take them down.

From the Center for Investigative Journalism:
The man who gave the Black Panther Party some of its first firearms and weapons training – which preceded fatal shootouts with Oakland police in the turbulent 1960s – was an undercover FBI informer, according to a former bureau agent and an FBI report.
Questions over an informant's role remain today. How often do federal informants become the manipulator of those they're supposed to be informing on, sometimes being the catalyst for what might not have been otherwise.

Just yesterday we may have seen one more recent example. Two old geezers, ages 68 and 73, got five years in prison for a violent plot to attack federal targets. But were they really a threat? Or just old braggarts who let boasting over grits and coffee at a Waffle House get stoked into something more at the urging of a federal informant?

A federal informant with a dubious past apparently also played a major role in the reported plot to bomb a Cleveland bridge earlier this year. In that case, the other alleged conspirators were members of the local Occupy movement.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

DOJ targets Gallup

Just over two months away from a national election, Eric Holder's Justice Department joins a lawsuit targeting a national pollster. The Daily Caller reports:

The Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it has joined a whistleblower lawsuit against The Gallup Organization, claiming the respected polling outfit violated the False Claims Act. 
Filed by former Gallup employee Michael Lindley, the lawsuit alleges that the company made false claims, inflating the number of hours it billed federal agencies for polling services. 
“Contractors must understand that it is unlawful to use inflated estimates to obtain higher contract prices,” Stuart F. Delery, acting assistant attorney general for the department’s civil division, said in a statement. “The decision to join this civil lawsuit underscores the commitment of the Department of Justice to recover federal funds that are unlawfully claimed.”
If Gallup committed an unlawful act, why doesn't DOJ criminally prosecute those responsible?

I grow ever more skeptical of  government law enforcement that chooses to pursue prosecution at a lower civil standard, knowing the vast level of federal resources can intimidate even the most powerful corporate defendant. Is this more about justice, a financial shakedown, or just a push to show who's the boss?

And coming so close to an election, this move on Gallup by the Holder gang smells all the more.

Of empire and collapse

Can we see where we're going through the lens of history?

Over at the Woodpile Report, Ol' Remus assesses our current state of affairs in light of the Roman experience:
The notion of progression from kingdom to republic, to empire and collapse was well in place by (British artist Thomas) Cole's time, in fact, it was the accepted reading of history long before the Constitutional Convention. Consider Franklin's statement, 'you have a Republic, if you can keep it.' In our time the notion has taken on the urgency of impending inevitability, perhaps because Sovereign movements, the Austrian School and the like can hardly rise Phoenix-like until there are ashes to rise from, or perhaps because Julius Caeser didn't precipitate a civil war by crossing the Rubicon with a gaggle of rebels in tow, he crossed it in good order with a regular field army. The parallels to our own "repurposed" commands and the ongoing militarization of the DHS are ominous.
Collapse, and the acknowledgement of collapse, are not necessarily synonymous. Using some historical benchmarks, Ol' Remus is among those who make the case the unthinkable is already underway.

Boat runs a red light

A camera in Clearwater, Florida captured this:

Clearwater Public Safety notes:
A boat, mounted on a vehicle frame, committed a red light violation at Chestnut and Fort Harrison Avenue. (Note, this is legal if the vehicle is properly registered and has proper working lights)
I've gotta ask: What's legal? The boat mounted on a vehicle frame? Or the running a red light part?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

That Smell

Over at the Daily Caller, a columnist writes the Obama campaign has become a zombie campaign. And the writer says "The scent of Death is overwhelming."

Call me crazy. But the line reminded me of an old Skynyrd song... so I went to YouTube.

I found the song I was looking for, but the video had superimposed Obama advertising and was adjacent to even more from the Obama campaign.

Call me crazy again, but is this really a song or a theme the campaign wants to identify with?


Obama's war on coal just lost a round

Maybe Obama won't succeed in turning out the lights after all. reports:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that forces cuts from plants in 28 states in the eastern half of the country, finding that it exceeds EPA’s powers under the Clean Air Act.
The Wall Street Journal also has coverage:
The EPA regulation, known as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, covered about 1,000 power plants in more than two dozen states in the eastern half of the U.S. To comply, companies with older coal-fired plants would have had to run them less often, shut them down or pay for credits to offset the pollution. The rule would have required emissions cuts as soon as this year.
The Journal article notes that many coal plants may still be forced out of business by a separate rule covering mercury and other emissions that takes effect in 2015.

The Fed seems to be sending a signal

And it seems to say its supplies of pixie dust and magic beans have been expended.

Why I may boycott today's election

For the past two weeks, I've been barraged by political robocalls. Only three times during that period did I get calls from live people trying to enlist support for their candidate. And just once did an actual candidate call.

Yesterday, the day before today's runoff election in Gwinnett County, Georgia, I probably got 20 to 30 robocalls. This was a huge distraction for me as I was trying to work from home, and I missing a 'real' call might mean missing out on business.

I suspect one of the reasons my household gets targeted with all these calls is that we vote. In primaries, in general elections, in runoffs. My likely voter status has made me a target.

But anyone blasting me with robocalls is not someone who respects my time or is looking out for my best interest. I'm so put off by the telephone abuse I've taken (and from what I can tell, every candidate on the ballot today took part though some were far worse offenders than others) that I'm tempted to say "scr---  you" and just stay home.

Then again, there's one candidate that's been targeted with such a vile and vicious smear campaign, I may show up and cast a vote only for that candidate. And from what I recall, that candidate's campaign or its surrogates only robocalled me twice.

Joe Biden's vital role

If you think Barack Obama made a dumb move in picking Joe Biden as his VP, think again.

Daniel Greenfield at SultanKnish makes the case that Biden is exactly what progressive Democrats want:
Joe Biden, never a serious candidate, was the perfect match for Obama. A dumb old white man, to confirm all the dirty impulses of the left, while mockingly giving mainstream Democrats someone they could relate to. Biden's gaffes aren't an embarrassment, they are the whole point, signaling the end of the old American era of leadership. Their implicit message is that you can choose a McCain or Biden, another old white man, or the savvy multicultural representative of a new generation that looks like the America of 2050.
Let it sink in. Read Greenfield's whole essay.

Until Obama's gone, Obama's revolution continues. Poor old Joe probably thinks he's part of that revolution. When in fact he's no more than a prop to represent what the revolution seeks to unseat.

Prosecutors: 2nd Amendment trumps Illinois state law

Prosecutors in two Illinois counties reportedly say they will not prosecute people on gun charges if those charges are in conflict with the U.S. Second Amendment. One of them is even reported to be circulating a petition urging the Illinois legislature to opt concealed carry. Illinois is the only state in the country that currently bans all concealed carry except for public officials or law enforcement officers.

Another report said one of the prosecutors planned to make a formal announcement on Monday. But so far, I don't see any reporting that he did.

Monday, August 20, 2012

It's like he thinks we have Alzheimers or somthing

Sound question brought crazy response from the president today.

He thinks we all forgot stuff that happened only a month or so ago?

Buffett's bailing on muni bonds

As  municipal finances get more shaky, it looks like bond holders like Buffett may be making moves to avoid getting caught holding the bag.

Bad guys use blue lights to pull over and rob victim

It happened mid-morning on a busy stretch of road in suburban South Gwinnett.

It was also near near where three counties meet. Do perps still gain getaway advantage by jumping jurisdictions?

Still looking for economic recovery?

Sit tight. Things may be even worse than you thought they were. 

Coal miners for Romney

One picture worth a thousand words.

And another.  And another.

Yes, there's some written reporting thrown in as well.

Did you ever think you'd see coal miners so excited about a Republican presidential candidate?

Of course, until a few years ago, you probably never thought you'd see a Democrat president work so fervently to kill coal.

Long noted, disturbing trend in Afghanistan

CNN reported over the weekend that all coalition troops at headquarters and on bases in Afghanistan will now carry loaded weapons at all times. The move comes after another round of attacks on troops by members of Afghan National Security Forces.

Last week, CNN also reported 37 Americans have been killed by these so called green on blue attacks this year alone, and another 28 occurred in 2011.

I have to ask, why has the U.S. military waited so long to finally allow our troops a means to defend themselves? Even before the recent surge in these attacks, the Pentagon knew there was a problem.

A May 2011 military study gave in depth analysis to these fratricidal murders being carried out by members of the Afghanistan security forces. Included with the study was this appendix:


Reports from the US. Department ofJustice (FBI, 2010) indicate that out of approximately one million law enforcement officers in the United States, 48 were feloniously killed in the line of duty during 2009.  This represents a death rate of4.8 per 100,000 per annum.  
In the Nangarhar, Nuristan, Kunar and Laghman Provinces constituting the N2KL region of RC-East, the region of assignment for this Red Team since 2008, there are very roughly 3,500 Westemers who regularly and officially interact with Afghan National Security Force personnel (defined as routinely having one meeting a week or more with ANSF members).  During the last six month period between November, 2010 through April, 2011 thirteen Westerners (made up of 12 US. Army and one US. civilian employee) have been murdered by actual members of ANSF.  This death rate for the last six months is 370 per 100,000.  Extrapolating this in per annum terms, this reflects a murder rate of740 per 100,000 (this death rate is only for deaths caused by bona fide ANSF members; other factors related to combat service that significantly increase the overall death rate for these coalition personnel are not included).  
Therefore, the N2KL Coalition Force's murder rate from ANSF personnel, at 740 per 100,000 is 154 times greater than the line-of-duty murder rate of 4.8 per 100,000 for US. police officers.
The study, entitled A CRISIS OF TRUST AND CULTURAL INCOMPATIBILITY: A Red Team Study of Mutual Perceptions of Afghan National Security Force Personnel and U.S. Soldiers in Understanding and Mitigating the Phenomena of ANSF -Committed Fratricide-Murders, received only limited media attention following its release last year.

The Wall Street Journal was among those reporting the study. In its story of June 17, 2011, the Journal noted:
The study was originally unclassified, but military officials in Kabul said Thursday that it has been recently classified "secret" by the U.S. Central Command in Florida at the request of coalition officials in Afghanistan. On Thursday, despite its new classification, the report was available on a publicly accessible military knowledge-sharing website.
The study remains available online, and can be located with a simple Google search.

More DHS ammo madness. Here's one I missed...

The Department of Homeland Security awarded a 10 million dollar contract to Remington in July for .223 rifle ammunition.
Added: Jul 13, 2012 9:03 am
This notice of an award of an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract is being posted in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation 5.705 which requires award notices for actions exceeding $500,000.  This contract will provide the Department of Homeland Security the necessary .223 Remington Caliber (62-64 grain) Enhanced Performance ammunition for its duration.  The period of performance is a base year with 4 one year options commencing on 7/12/2012.
Yet, later the same month DHS issued a purchase order (disclosed last week) for 4.6 million dollars worth of .223 ammo from ATK, citing the department's failure to strike a long term ammo supply deal, and stating that previous contracts had expired. In inking the ATK deal, DHS stated its rifle ammo supplies were critically low, and more rounds were needed to keep agents in the field sufficiently armed.

Which is it DHS? Do you have contracts for not? Do you have contracts, but not enough of them? Or is it  that your Remington contractor needs time to spool up production?

If nothing else, Homeland Security's attempts to secure ammunition supply lines have resulted in mass confusion by the public, and may well indicate some serious incompetence inside the department's procurement structure. So far, the agency's only response appears to be it's started redacting orders to make the situation even less transparent.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

DHS says it's out of rifle ammo

Some folks have been so busy frantically counting every ammunition solicitation out of the federal government, something appears to have been overlooked.

Last month's redacted ammo purchase order from the Department of Homeland Security reveals an admission by the agency that it has nearly depleted its stores of .223 rifle ammunition, and it is now scrambling to find enough to keep agents in the field equipped.

From: DHS ammunition purchase document

According to an order summary available through, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Federal Protective  Services (FPS) have expended their stockpiles. And Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ammo had only three month supply of .223 duty ammo at the time the recent purchase was approved.

According to the DHS document, the agency's long term contracts to buy .223 ammunition have expired. And apparently there were no satisfactory bidders when the agency advertised for new supplier earlier this year.

By my personal estimate this stop-gap order would probably cover, at minimum, 6 million rounds of .223 duty ammunition. That's based on the types of .223 DHS previously advertised for, and uses retail prices for the same or comparable ammunition in the civilian market. If DHS gets any kind of bulk deal, or gets its ammo at wholesale, the number of rounds in this purchase could 8 to 10 million by my armchair calculations.

Could it be Big Sis and her agency have gorged themselves buying massive amounts of .40 caliber pistol ammo, but they've completely botched their efforts and obligations to secure an on-going even  minimal supply of rifle rounds?

Right turn at Newsweek?

My, my. Who saw this coming?

Courtesy: Newsweek

"The president has broken his promises, and Romney-Ryan's path to prosperity is our only hope."

Partial black-out on DHS ammo buys?

It appears the Department of Homeland Security considers how much ammunition it buys a confidential matter between buyer and seller. Somebody's taken a black marker and redacted this recent ammo acquisition order.

Ammo under this contract award dated July 30, 2012 cost the government over $4.6 million dollars, but I don't see any place where the number of rounds is disclosed. That detail is probably among those obscured under the black marker. I have no idea how long the redacting policy has been in effect.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Another view on government ammo purchases

"I fear that Congress won’t take these ammunition purchases seriously until they are all led from Capitol Hill in handcuffs. Why buy all this ammunition unless you plan to use it."
- Major General Jerry Curry, USA Retired, in the Daily Caller.

Not quite the sentiment you might expect from a guy who ran the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration under the first President Bush.

"Run, Joe, Run"

One of the better ads I've seen this year.

From: via YouTube

Government Ammo buys and economies of scale

Thursday I posted an undated letter from a congressional staffer who tried to make the case that Homeland Security's big ammo buy was a no brainer, a cost cutter. But there are aspects to his argument I failed to note in my initial post, and feel I would be remiss if I don't address them.

In assessing Homeland Security's request for pistol ammunition bids, Kevin Doran, a deputy chief of staff for Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) wrote:

In this case, DHS entered into a contract that allows them to purchase up to 450 million rounds of 40 caliber ammunition over the next five years.  They cannot exceed 450 million rounds and are not required to purchase 450 million rounds.  Basically, they have a tab with a manufacturer to order more rounds as they are needed over the next five years – not a onetime ammunition order. 
Setting up contracts in this manner allows for a cheaper purchase price, saving money over the long-term.
But does it really? 450 million rounds is a lot of ammo. How much of this order does DHS realistically expect to buy? A similar contract awarded just three years ago for 200 million rounds was also supposed to cover a five year period. Is DHS still accumulating ammo under the first deal? If so, how much? 

Doran's logic also overlooks that there are points in economies of scale that can tip cost structures back to higher levels, not lower. If an ammo maker is obligated to provide the government with 450 million rounds, it's likely the bidders will factor in any potential for lost business incurred as a result of shifting large amounts of production to fulfilling the government contract. Theoretically, lost commercial business would be far more lucrative on a per round basis.

Any manufacturer making a bid on the new proposal would have to price its bid based on contract maximums, contract minimums and points in-between, which ever results in a higher cost to deliver.

A major civilian ammunition retailer also reported rumblings earlier this year that the U.S. military is ramping up ammunition orders to restock supplies depleted in Iraq and Afghanistan. While I've seen no other confirmation of this, it seems logical. And if multiple government agencies are competing with each other for ammunition production capacity, that too could significantly drive up costs of acquisition.

In his letter, Doran attempts to compare the big DHS ammo buy to a family's monthly trip to Costco or Sam's Club to buy in bulk and save some money.

The problem with Doran's analogy is that the DHS order is so big, and there are so many other government ammo orders in the pipeline, that to some of us these orders are starting to look more like customer runs on Home Depot or Lowe's before a big hurricane hits than they do routine trips to Costco or Sam's.

"A budget that can't be balanced"

This video offers a strong, concise assessment of where we are today. Watch it and weep.

From: YouTube

Neither political party has the will to deal with what's unfolding. They may well choose to remain in denial, and just ride things out to the logical conclusion - while frantically working to extend the timeline as best they can.

The more you depend on government, the more doomed you will be. Unshackle now as best you can.

California dreamin'

Ever stop to think how hard California is working toward it's own demise? Victor Davis Hanson has:
It's estimated that more than 2,000 upper-income Californians are leaving per week to flee high taxes and costly regulations, yet California wants to raise taxes even higher...
Hanson goes on to outline a series of factors now making large swaths of California man-caused disaster zones while leaving other parts so seemingly idyllic that many residents there may remain in denial.

Scariest part is that the federal government seems to, or has overtly tried to, apply much of the California model to our nation as a whole.

Higher taxes, uncontrolled immigration, environmental restrictions... Remember how for two years, President Obama insisted high speed rail was one of the engines that would restore our national economy?

It's past time to blow off progressive fantasies, and return to a nation and government based on economic realities. Do we really want the country to continue trying to replicate the California nightmare?

Friday, August 17, 2012

"Ammunition Costume"

So much talk about ammunition these days, here's a nostalgic look at what the well-dressed ammo maker wore circa 1910.

Photo courtesy: Harris & Ewing collection, Library of Congress

More editorial sloppiness on government ammo buys

This time we nabbed Fox News.

On its website, Fox actually used a box of .22 Long Rifle rounds to illustrate "hollow point" ammo being purchased by federal law enforcement agencies.

That's kinda like showing a bicycle with training wheels to illustrate a story about motorcycles.

Is there no one in the media, left or right, that understands guns and ammo?

Update: Looks like Fox heard from somebody. They've swapped out the photo for one more appropriate.

"German army's crisis role widened"

Are they expecting some serious trouble?

Rioting returns to France

Some are actually referring to the new round of unrest in one of France's immigrant dominated suburbs as "urban guerrilla warfare" complete with gunfire, arson and the destruction of a police station.

Today's "Don and Doug"

Don and I do the show at 1:00pm EDT today (Friday, August 17).

If you've followed my bloggings or tweets this week, you probably already suspect we'll be talking about government ammo orders, this week's shooting in DC, and maybe EMP.

We've also previously advertised we'd have opinions about some of the latest rhetoric being offered in the presidential race.

Join us at one on if you can. And if you can't listen then, catch the replay later.

Second day coverage of the FRC shooting

The New York Times is one national media outlet that's seemingly reported Wednesday's shooting at the Family Research Council in a straight-forward manner. The Times has not shied away from the political aspects of the shooting. For instance, the Times on Thursday reported the following about FRC and the man accused in the shooting case:
The Family Research Council advocates socially conservative and Christian causes. An affidavit filed by prosecutors indicated that Mr. Corkins, who had volunteered at a Washington community center for gay men and lesbians, “has strong opinions with respect to those he believes do not treat homosexuals in a fair manner.”
The Times has also not shied away from the controversy of the Family Research Council being labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Times' reporting included comments by both FRC President Tony Perkins and SPLC's Mark Potok regarding allegations the activist law center and self-appointed monitor of "hate groups" played an indirect role in what happened this week.

Many national broadcast and cable outlets apparently haven't been nearly so bold. According to Brent Bozell at, many networks have dropped coverage of the FRC shooting altogether. Others, in Bozell's opinion, have shown obvious "liberal" bias.

Has the political bias in cable and TV news really gone as far as Bozell describes?

EMP threat rising?

An interesting assertion was put forward earlier this week by the Washington Free Beacon:
A Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine armed with long-range cruise missiles operated undetected in the Gulf of Mexico for several weeks and its travel in strategic U.S. waters was only confirmed after it left the region, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.
Akula class attack sub
U.S. government/DOD photo
The U.S. Navy declined comment, and the sources cited by the Free Beacon were unnamed. The class of submarine cited was an Akula-class attack sub, not a missile carrying boomer. But if the report is true, the implications should give pause for thought.

If Russian subs can patrol near our coastal waters without detection,  it's scary. If a boomer could do the same, it would mean an EMP attack could shutdown the country just seconds, not minutes, after missile launch, giving our defense structure no time to analyze or react. Such an attack, involving just one or two nuclear warheads, detonated far above land, be enough to throw most the nation into indefinite darkness. If the attack had a second phase, direct nuclear strikes on hardened targets might come as little as 20 minutes later, taking out government centers and retaliatory capabilities. We might never know who or what hit us.

The ability to trace the source could be hampered further if an attacking sub managed to launch its missiles near an unsuspecting ship, adding more confusion to the scenario. First impressions to our DOD might be that the strike came from a surface vessel armed by a rouge nation. And the U.S. ability to do further analysis could go away with phase one or phase two of the attack.

The threat would likely compound if Russia places a navy base in Cuba, something that's reported as under consideration.

But not every one is buying the Russian sub threat, let alone the tale of patroling the gulf undetected., for example, dismisses the Free Beacon report citing the publication's politically aligned, non-profit status.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

With government buying so much ammo...

What's going to be left for us civilians?

Day by Day Cartoon drops a hint.

Think Costco. Big Sis buys ammo in bulk to save money

It sounds absurd comparing Homeland Security's efforts to buy hundreds of millions of round of ammo to shopping trip to Costco or Sam's Club. But that's the analogy Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) wants you to make.

I have no idea how long it's been posted, but I found this letter written by a key Westmoreland staffer on the congressman's official website:
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland

DHS Buys in Bulk to Save You Money

By Kevin Doran 
The congressman has received some letters and emails regarding the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) recent purchase of a large amount of ammunition and other equipment.  Obviously the thought of one branch of our federal government potentially stock piling weapons and/or ammunition is of great concern.  For that reason, the congressman wanted me to let you know the full story on this issue. 
DHS contracted with a manufacturer for 40 caliber ammunition not to exceed 450 million rounds.   Like with most of their contracts, prior to negotiating DHS headquarters in Washington reaches out to all the agencies under their umbrella, including state and local police forces, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), etc, and asks them all how much of a certain item they need.  Once they have an account of the full amount of an item needed and have reviewed those requests, they put out a request for an “Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity” (IDIQ) contract.  This contract allows them to purchase up to a certain number of needed items without requiring them to purchase a specific item and allows them to purchase this item over a certain number of years.  This is a common form of contract used by DHS for many of their needed supplies, including working dogs, computer equipment, vehicles, etc. 
In this case, DHS entered into a contract that allows them to purchase up to 450 million rounds of 40 caliber ammunition over the next five years.  They cannot exceed 450 million rounds and are not required to purchase 450 million rounds.  Basically, they have a tab with a manufacturer to order more rounds as they are needed over the next five years – not a onetime ammunition order. 
Setting up contracts in this manner allows for a cheaper purchase price, saving money over the long-term.  In fact, contracts like this one saved taxpayers $336 million in FY2011 alone.  Additionally, purchasing in bulk like this helps DHS headquarter conduct better oversight over its agencies and ensures consistency among all the agencies under DHS.   
So, in this case CPB, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Secret Service, and other DHS agencies will all use the same 40 caliber round so these rounds can move between agencies if need be – another way to potentially save money down the road.
To put this more concisely, just like you and your family take that monthly trip to Sam’s Club or Costco to get your bulk needs cheaply, DHS also buys in bulk because it saves the American taxpayers money.   
If you take the number of agencies that will be using this ammunition – CBP, Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), ICE, the U.S. Secret Service, Transportation Security Administration, the DHS police force, and all the guards that protect the various buildings these agencies are housed in, and spread that out over 5 years, you start to see that 450 million rounds really isn’t that large of an order.  
Especially considering it is used for training purposes like firing range and live fire exercises, on-the-job use (though that is very limited), and to shore up their supplies.  In fact, there are 65,000 – 70,000 law enforcement personnel at DHS who would be covered under this IDIQ ammunition contract.  If DHS were to purchase all 450 million rounds over 5 years, then that would equate to only about 1,384 rounds of ammo per year per law enforcement personnel (or about 155 rounds per month (about 10 magazines worth of ammo per month) or 3-4 rounds per day) assuming the lower estimate of only 65,000 law enforcement personnel at DHS.  Considering those agents go through training exercises several times per year, that is not a lot of ammunition.   
In this post-9/11 world we need to make sure those who are tasked with protecting our homeland both from threats abroad and at home have the training and equipment needed to carry out their duties to help ensure our way of life.  Firearm proficiency is an important part of any federal officer’s training and for that reason the purchase of sufficient amounts of ammunition is critical to maintaining an effective protective force.  However, with all government spending Congress needs to keep an eye out for any mismanagement or misappropriation of funds in federal agencies, and the congressman will continue to be vigilant on this front to ensure our nation’s tax dollars are being spent wisely.  He wants to thank all of his constituents for bringing this issue to his attention and encourages everyone to continue to reach out to him with any questions or concerns they may have. 
Kevin Doran is Congressman Westmoreland’s deputy chief of staff and handles Second Amendment and national defense issues.

It's all for our security. But it doesn't explain why the same DHS that believed in 2009 that 200 million rounds of pistol ammo would cover five years now wants up 450 million rounds for the next five years. And DHS is ordering other ammo as well.

I also find it disconcerting a key congressional staffer tasked with handling national security issues can only offer up a ballpark estimate of how many law enforcement types are serving under the DHS umbrella. And he seems to think 65,000 officers and agents at DHS is on the low side?

For perspective, 65,000 troops is more than enough to staff four or six Army divisions with a brigade or two left over. It appears President Obama knew exactly what he was talking about in speaking of a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded as the military.

We have here a congressional staffer who urges us to shrug off government buying hundreds of millions of ammo rounds for domestic consumption as being as benign as a shopping trip to Costco.

Do you buy what he's selling?

One final passing thought: Westmoreland chose to post a letter from a staffer on his website rather than posting one under his own name to deal with this issue. Why's that?

Don't panic over every round

Exactly how much ammo is the U.S. government buying for domestic consumption?

It's getting hard to track all the orders.  Have we hit a billion rounds yet?

I'm still having trouble getting past some of the exaggerations and inaccuracies in reporting on some of the ammo buys. Those chronicling the government ammo buys are getting hung up on a few things that betrays a lack of shooting expertise or knowledge.

For example, Russia Today reports the Department of Homeland Security has completed purchase of 750 million rounds. No. At best, DHS has awarded contracts to be filled over a five year span. And those contracts likely give DHS an out if it decides it doesn't want to buy that much after all. Still, yes, DHS appears to be a glutton with severe cravings for ammo.

Meanwhile, The Blaze treats .357 SIG the same as .357 Magnum. One's for a semi-auto, the other's a revolver round. (Click here for a photo comparison of the two rounds). The .357 SIG was specifically developed as a compact law enforcement round, and many state and local agencies use it.

Many of the reports are also getting hung-up on orders for rounds with hollow-point bullets. Bottom line, hollow-points offer more stopping power because they mushroom on impact. And they're less likely to go through a target and into a bystander who may be behind the target. And yes, hollow-points can be used for practice. Different ammo configurations give different feels when fired. It's generally best to practice with the ammo you'll carry on duty.

And for those expressing concern about powerful handgun rounds being purchased, you've gotta remember cops and security guards sometimes find themselves up against perps in body armor. If you've got a mass shooting in progress, you want a round that will do more than just bounce off the bad guy's chest.

I continue to think the amount of ammo being sought by Homeland Security is significant for its excess. And I've never been a fan of each federal agency having its own armed enforcement division. But I also question why so many are falling for the sensational spin that now accompanies what appear to be routine (by today's standards) ammunition orders by other government agencies.

One more thought: Has anyone in Congress challenged or made inquiries regarding government ammo purchases for domestic use? I've actually found a Republican congressman's website that praises the DHS bulk ammo buy. But it's so over the top, I think I'll post it separately.

Gun free zones - It's okay. We're perfectly safe. We're in a

Caught my eye...

Saw this on Facebook this morning.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Conversation starter

This short little Red Cross preparedness quiz showed up in my email today.

Very basic. But it might be the kind of thing to help pique someone's interest in going deeper.

Be careful though. Its sound effects are a bit noisy. Mute before taking at work.

Time for Romney to roll out the heavy stuff?

After weeks of facing outrageous allegations from the Obama campaign and other Democrat entities, Mitt Romney's Republican presidential campaign struck a harder tone on Tuesday, and took aim directly at President Obama:

"Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago." 

My friend Don Dickinson shares this reaction:
That is the first hopeful message I have seen from Romney. He will now be viciously attacked for his rhetoric. If he walks it back by one millimeter we are back to "there is no hope." If he takes the pounding and returns it with heavier blows there will be greater hope. 
God fights on the side with the best artillery.
- Napoleon Bonaparte

Hard pounding, gentlemen: but we shall see who can pound the longest.
- Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, at the battle of Waterloo, when informed that Napoleon’s artillery was very effective. His artillery later pounded Napoleon’s army into a decisive defeat.
We'll dig a little deeper, as well as gauge Romney's tone later in the week, on this week's Don and Doug program, Friday afternoon at one o'clock, on

Knuckle draggers

Speaker of the House John Boehner seems to disrespect the GOP's conservative base as much as President Obama does.

According to Boehner, if you opposed TARP, you're a knuckle-dragger.

Sorry, John, you're not winning any friends here.

You call us knuckle-draggers. Obama sees us as bitter clingers.

And we're supposed to see a clear difference between the leadership of the two parties?