Saturday, July 8, 2017

Interesting discovery while researching urinalysis and law enforcement

Recently, I took part in a discussion on why people receiving welfare should be subject to drug testing before they receive benefits. The discussion was set off by one of those "like if you support mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients " memes. I am one of those people who can see why there is a need for a certain program and why that system cannot be implemented without running afoul of the constitution, specifically the 4th amendment. It simple to see why there is a problem because saying the government will not help you unless you agree to drug testing could be viewed as a coercive way of having someone's 4th amendment right concerning search and seizure, unlawful ones. Still, I know there are those who use public assistance to support their drug habit and that is wrong. That argument is for another day because while reviewing the reasoning of one of the participants arguments I discovered things are not always as they seem and sometimes you find ugliness where you least expect it, law enforcement. I should not say law enforcement as a whole but a small percentage that is enough to cause concern.
The person arguing that welfare recipients undergo drug tests for welfare just like they have to to maintain their employment in law enforcement. As a former military member I know about drug testing because I was subject to the random urinalysis program all members of the military agree to when enlisting. In the Navy, and I assume it is the same for other branches of the military, a number is drawn when someone decides that a random testing is to be conducted. If your last digit of your social security number matches the number selected then you had to provide a urine sample under the watchful eye of a senior enlisted member or officer. It happened that day, under view so no one could get away with bringing in a thing of clean urine or anything to mess up the test. We were never warned in advance so there was no way to prepare beforehand. You always assumed you would called to pee everyday. I had no problem as I am quite the anti drug drug type and though I live in a state with legalized marijuana I will never partake, heck I don't even drink alcohol anymore.
Not being familiar with law enforcement policy on urinalysis, I am sure each department has their own way of handling it, I decided to research and compare the most common procedures with that of the military. I mean the person arguing that all welfare recipients undergo urinalysis made it seem like where they worked was about as strict in conducting urinalysis as the Navy. To my surprise I discovered much of the information on law enforcement and urinalysis doesn't concern the programs but methods to beat urinalysis and what not to worry about. Right now you are probably thinking one of two things: either you thinking I am anti cop and trying to slander law enforcement with bogus claims, or that I am saying cops are dirty and using drugs like meth, heroine, cocaine, or marijuana. Wrong on both accounts. First, what I found made me concerned for the safety of the public and the officers. Second, the thing I found out is that they are cops using steroids as a means of bulking up to stay on top of their job.
Where did I find this information? One, forums about bodybuilding and law enforcement. These forums can be found with Google search and since I am unclear about the legality of reprinting messages from these forums I will just paraphrase so to speak, better yet just cover the gist of the discussions. There were more than a few individuals who were concerned about if their steroid use would be detected during the preemployment intake urinalysis. I was shocked to read by the responses. First, most agencies don't test for steroids or growth hormones because of cost. Some were never tested at all. Second, most stated they were only tested once and that was the one before they were hired. The only drug they said to be concerned about were illegal narcautics. No one claimed to use illegal drugs or promoted the use thereof, only steroids and illegal supplements.
After this discovery I next searched for information on how prevalent steroids maybe in law enforcement. This lead me to this article by the Drug Enforcement Administration under the department of Justice.
Apparently this is a known issue and the DOJ has a program to address it, but since it seems voluntary I don't think it is used much. Also I don't think that police chiefs, sheriff's and other higher up law officials are aware they may have a problem in their respective departments. I don't see those in charge promoting the use of illegal substances, steroids and growth hormones, are illegal without a prescription. Plus, steroids and growth hormones are a danger to the users health. What is the trade off? Short term strength to subdue a suspect only to suffer a premature death from the effects of steroids? I know that law enforcement officers put their lives on the line everyday but do they also need to further put their lives in danger for a rockhard intimidating body? Let's say you retire from law enforcement and now plan to kick up your heals with your family and relax. If you used steroids or growth hormones chances are that will be a short retirement and your rockhard intimidating body won't mean anything to anyone but the worms once you're lowered into the ground.
In my life I have watched a few funerals for police officers killed in the line of duty, it tears the heart out me like it does everyone else. Seeing parents burying their child, wives receiving a folded American flag, the fallen officers children who will never see their parent again or see what they do in life, it is gut wrenching. The same picture can happen to a law enforcement officer using steroids to keep up, but instead of some punk putting them in the ground it will be their own hand, unintentionally but the result and picture will be the same.
I could go into the legality of this and say that every officer who uses illegal substances like steroids are crooks but what would that do? These are the men and women who put their life on the line Day in and day out, their intention is not of malice and whose to say what we would do or feel in their place, I would wish that there would be a guiding hand and voice that would say there is a tradeoff and it is not worth it. A bruise can heal, a bad heart will fail.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Why Donald Trump wants voter data.

So Trump's voting commission wants every state to send them data on every person registered to vote. What data? All personal info plus party affiliation, voting history and military status. Why? Trump believes 3 million people voted illegally and that is why he didn't win the popular vote. Using the data he wants he can claim that any republican, military personnel, veteran, or anyone who voted for a republican in the past must have votes for him and had their vote changed. Trump thinks all republicans, veterans, military, and law enforcement love him and would not vote for Hillary Clinton,  This is Trump's motivation. His cronies? They would like to use the data to purge voters from the roles, mainly those they believe will vote democrat. One of the rights accorded to the invidual states is how they run elections from local, state, and federal. By Trump meddling in how states run their election he is walking a fine line between violating the rights of people's privacy, states rights and those of the federal government. Like one's belief system, how a person voted or votes should be treated as sacred, to do otherwise would stab at the heart of the freedom we as a country have fought for over the years. The only fraud in the last election was Trump himself.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The USS Fitzgerald collision.

Regarding the collision of the USS Fitzgerald and the container ship. While it is too early to say exactly what happened or who is at fault there are things to be considered. It has been said that the container ship doubled back on its course before the collision for unknown reasons. If this is true it does not relieve responsibility for the collision from the Fitzgerald. Why? 
Think of safe navigation of a ship and collision avoidance like defensive driving. You always assume that the other driver will do something unexpected so you give yourself room to maneuver or stop just in case the unexpected happens. Never assume the other vessel will take action to avoid collision or will not pull a bonehead move. 
I served on submarines for 11 years and part of my job as a navigation electronics technician was to assist in the safe navigation and maneuvering of the ship, it is what we do. From the navigator who is in charge of navigation to the lowest person on the piloting party we undergo extensive training on collision avoidance. We are taught the "rules of the road" and Colregs which deal with collision avoidance. We attent piloting trainer while in off crew which is a simulator for navigating the ship in enclosed waters like entering port. We go over past collisions to see why they happened and how it could be avoided. The training continues your whole career. Why? Because one of He most dangerous things faced by a submarine or surface vessel is the act of entering or leaving port, especially in a high traffic area. We are taught to never depend on the other vessel to avoid a collision even if we have the right of way. We track every vessel, contact, around the ship and plot their course, speed, and closest approach. We have certain standing orders to maintain a safe distance from other vessel and to not let the closest predict approach come within a certain range around the ship. Above all we are taught to pay attention to detail and not slack off because the moment you do is the moment the unexpected happens. This has to be done no matter how busy a port is or how many vessels there are. If it gets real busy only vessels within a certain range are tracked, especially those that will intersect plotted course.
A submarine is unique because most of its hull is under water and that part that is not is low to the water compared to surface vessels. A submarine is not as maneuverable as surface ships so that is taken into account. We also note the type of vessels around us so we have an idea of how they maneuver. A container ship is large and is not as maneuverable as a ship such as the USS Fitzgerald so the control Party would take that into account. Allowances would have been made, or should have been made to give the container ship a wide berth. The moment when the control team saw the container ship swing around the officer of the deck should have maneuvered to put distance between the two ships. And since a container ship cannot turn on a dime there should have been plenty of time for the Fitzgerald to take evasive action unless they left it too late or allowed them to get to close to begin with. Since it seems likely that both vessels were on a similar course to begin with before the collision and the Fitzgerald was probably over taking the container ship, bridge to bridge communications should have been established with the Fitzgerald declaring her intention to over take the container ship and keep a safe distance. The vessel being overtaken has the right of way. If the Fitzgerald tried to overtake the container and the container ship maneuvered into the Fitzgerald the onus would still be on the Fitzgerald.
The Navy and other authorities will look at the logs of both vessels, examine plots, and communications to reconstruct the collision. It is sad but the fault will be placed on the USS Fitzgerald unless there are extenuating circumstances, the container ship deliberately tried to ram. If the officer on watch or others In control failed to follow procedures or were derelict in their duties they will be courts  martialed, probably for the military equivalent of manslaughter times seven.
This was a preventable tragedy and it is now up to the investigators to determine why and who is at fault. 

My thoughts and prayers are for the crew and Families of the USS Fitzgerald. And though It has been 20 years since I left the Navy, I am and will always be a sailor. These people are my shipmates just like all those who served, now serve, and will serve the Greatest Navy in the World and in History. Fair winds and following seas shipmates.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Anti-Sharia marchers are ignorant of the constitution.

The dumbest thing I have seen this weekend has to be the Anti-Shariah law marches. Why? Because it shows those taking part have no clue about the Constitution and that they fall for Alt-right fake news.
First, the first amendment. Yes alt right militia morons there is more Amendments than the second Amendment. The same amendment that allows you to march and to display your racism is the same one that undercuts your reason for your March of Ignorance. The First Amendment prevents the government from sanctioning any religion or implementation of religious laws so you can quit worrying about Muslims taking over and forcing you to abide shariah law. Cannot happen, will not happen despite what you read on Breitbart or heard on Infowars. The courts will not allow the Ten Commandments be posted in government facilities so why would they allow shariah law? By the way, part of Shariah Law is made up of the Ten Commandments, so in a way you are under Shariah law, enjoy.
Now let's address your falling for fake news saying Shariah law was being implemented in some city, according to articles you read on line. The articles are normally targeted to people in the south saying that Shariah is being implemented in Detroit or other city. And who can forget that President Obama was going to implement Shariah Law and destroy America because he was a secret Muslim. All those articles were proven false but since you believe your idiot Breitbart and InfoWars you remain ignorant. Keep drinking that Orange Koolaid and worship at the altar of Fox News and Donald Trump. By the way, If you weigh the statistical possibilities of Shariah law being put in place and Russia having a tape with Trump and Russian prostitutes, the gold shower tape clears the bar in high heels while your bogus Shariah worries don't get off the ground.
I bet you want to call me a libtard, socialist, anti-American or whatever,  Feel free. I have to tell you something first, I am a 11 veteran of the USN submarine service. I am a disabled veteran. I am pro second Amendment but I do believe that the mentally should not own guns and many of you racist paranoids should not either. I am Christian and have been one since a child. I was raised in the south and taught to love my country.  I know the constitution front to back and the history behind it. I have a cousin who is Muslim and therefore I learned a little about Islam, more than you marching for racism morons. Have I upset you yet? Feel free to leave your childish comments. And yes, I voted for  Hillary Clinton instead of your fake spray tan god, Donald "I work for Putin and love golden showers" Trump.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Louise Mensch has gone too far by accusing people in US military of hacking for Russia

I understand many people follow Louise Mensch of Twitter and read her blog because she has pushed information on the Trump Russia conspiracy. I understand people are looking for information that will show Donald Trump is about to be brought down for working with Russia. People want hope.
The thing is that Mensch is not doing what she is doing for anyone's benefit but for her own or whoever she works for now. Mensch latest claim in a tweet reply to Michael Flynn Jr. Accuses member of the military of hacking for Russia. According to Mensch, General Flynn assigned Russian hackers to DARPA. There is a problem or two with Mensch's accusation that I want to address here.
The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) is part of the Department of Defense but it is not military. DARPA is headed by a civilian. The job of DARPA is to develop new technologies to aid the military. When DARPA was founded years ago as ARPA one of its first projects was to develop a system of communication between military and research entities like colleges for sharing of information, the result was ARPANET. ARPANET would eventually become the Internet. Since its beginning DARPA has developed or aided in the development of other technologies used by the military. DARPA is technologies development and not an intelligence agency, although they do provide new technologies for intelligence gathering at times.
General Flynn was an intelligence guy while in the military rising to the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency before President Obama fired him. The Defense Intelligence Agency is exactly what its name suggests, an intelligence gathering Agency. While the DIA is part of the DOD like DARPA they are separate agencies. The military has a chain of command structure that is strictly adhered to at all times. People in charge of one command or Agency are in charge of the personnel under them. If a head of one agency wants something from another agency they have to go through the chain of command to do so, meaning they would need to communicate through the person or Agency in charge of both agencies involved. So Flynn could not just place anyone at DARPA he wanted because it is a separate agency and he would have to go through his higher ups to do so. Somehow I don't see the head of the Joint Chiefs or the Secretary just saying, "Hey DARPA, Flynn wants you to give these guys positions in your organization."  And as for his brief time as National Security Advisor? Yeah, that would be way out of line because he would have to go through the Secretary of defense.
So why is making such wild accusations that threaten to undermine the credibility of the US military?   We can only guess. She may have thrown out DARPA because it developed the internet and she maybe under the belief that DARPA handles all military internet operations and is an intelligence agency. She could be doing what others claim she told Milo she would do, and sow chaos in liberal media by spreading fake news. She could be doing it for financial gain or fame. But for whatever reason she is doing what she is doing it is undermining the integrity of news agencies and now the military. As a veteran, I do not take kindly to people accusing our military personnel or civilians working for the military of being spies, hackers for Russia. To me that is an attack on an institution that is most American though others disagree.
If Mrs. Mensch is in possession of information that proves there are Russian hackers within the US military it is a matter of national security that should be brought to the attention of the FBI and DOD. Why hasn't she done so? Probably because it is untrue. Keep in mind Mensch was pro Brexit in her country and a right wing nationalist which is equivalent to the MAGA movement her inthe the US. Mensch worked for News Corp owned by Rupert Murdoch who owns Fox News. So why would she suddenly change? Now add this with her affiliation with Milo Yiannopolous and you will have part of the picture. Louise Mensch is not trying to help America in the search for truth in regard to the Trump Russia scandal, she is trying to muddy the waters. The one thing she was correct on, she has been wrong most of the time, was most likely given her to establish credibility to gain followers. If you want to catch fish you need good bait and not an empty hook. Now that Mensch has hooked a few she will slowly reel them in and before they know it, it will be too late. Mensch can walk away and head back to the U.K after she's done, the people she conned will be left here to deal with the turmoil she leaves behind.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Thinking only men commit mass killings and terrorism is a big mistake.

please read previous post.
I ended up in a debate with a group of women on Facebook regarding men and violence. The belief shared by this group is that all mass killings and terrorist actions are conducted by men. If the intelligence and anti terrorism community operate just on that belief we are screwed. I know for a fact that they do not, or at least most do not.
I am someone that doesn't believe in absolutes when it comes to human behavior. Why? Because we are complicated. To say all people of a particular gender, race, religion or any other group is guaranteed to act a certain way all the time is wrong. To take on such a narrow outlook leads to sexism, racism, and stereotyping. What is funny about the group of people taking the stance that men are responsible for violence is that if you were to make a similar comment about women they will come at you with the "sexist " guns a blazing. You see to them women are equal to men but share none of the same faults.
It is a given that men have committed more violent acts than women, but that is not the same thing as saying men are responsible for violence. When it comes down to it, women can be as brutal as men. I was pointing out that it would be a mistake to believe women would never commit and act of terrorism or mass killings. Every time I tried to get the point across that it is the philosophy, the belief system, that determines the if a person would commit an act of terrorism I had the recent Manchester attack and 9/11 thrown at me. I am a student of history and I know of  incidents in the past where women committed acts of terrorism so I pointed this out. What happened? I was told to go back and read up on history. Apparently they need to do that. Maybe I made the mistake of using examples from the '60s and '70s. Yes, I used female Vietcong, the Red Army Faction that had women members who conducted terrorist acts. I even pointed out female suicide bombers in the Middle East. No, to them it's an all male terrorism club and men are responsible for violence. No logical point would get through the "men have to stop violence." When logic meets the immovable illogical wall the best move is to walk away. It became very apparent that these women did not like men and blamed men for all the worlds problems. My answer? Eye roll, sigh, unfollow and block. I have no room for people who claim to be open minded but turn out to be as closed minded as the people they claim are closed minded.
I am correct that it is a mistake to think women do not commit acts of terrorism. Women have done so in the past and will do so in the future. The problem is women are more likely to be overlooked as terrorists and therefore trusted by the people they are targeting. In Iraq, Syria, Turkey and other places women have carried out suicide attacks. In 2004, Debra Zedalis of the Army War College wrote a paper that examined the female suicide bomber and their danger. ( I sent the leader of the Twitter Discussion a link to Zedalis's paper before I blocked her. I hope she enjoys that read.) I pray that those in charge keep the paper in mind when they plan out anti-terrorism strategies. While women have yet to conduct an attack on the scale of 9/11 and more recent attacks to say they are not capable or will not carry out such an attack will end up costing lives, tens, hundreds, or even thousands. My point was not to defend men, it was to shed light of a danger lurking under sexist ignorance.

A defining characteristic of terrorism is man? No it is philosophy

On twitter I noticed an interaction between two people discussing that terrorism and other acts of violence have something in common, men. One can look at history and point out violence and link men as the most common factor, mainly because men have dominated society for thousands of years, but does that mean men are responsible for every terrorist act because they are men? No, what defines how people treat others is their philosophy. Left alone to his own devices without external influence a man will seek to survive and live as best they can. The same goes for women. As you increase the number of people a society develops that links these people. As long as this society has plenty of resources, room, and equality it should function in a peaceful manner. Conflict occurs when a factor changes the balance of society. What are those factors? Two societies meet and compete for resources. Wether male dominated or female dominated there will be competition for resources resulting in conflict.
What about internal issues? Religion can be used to illustrate this answer. Let's take a society and put aside gender of male and female for a minute. We have a society where everyone is the same. In the beginning a religion is formed and grows with society. Eventually someone will question whether there is a god or not, if they are worshiping correctly, or say there is a different God. You will have conflict because some will resist change, others will push for change until a chasm forms in our little gender less society. As that divide increases the chances for violence increases. Would it be different if it were a society of 2 sexes with one dominant over the other? No. Philosophy is the deciding factor.
We can examine our little society sans gender and sans religion. Let us say the driving force in our society is commerce. Naturally we will see some in our society wanting to out do others. This will continue until there is an imbalance where you have the rich and the poor. The rich want more, and the poor will want to have a chance at what the rich have. Again we create a chasm that if left unchecked will grow until conflict erupts. Violence.
While it is true that men have dominated our history in leadership roles it was not there gender that led to violence but what they believed. The same thing can be said for women. It is our philosophy, our belief system that determines if we resort to violence or not. People argue that testosterone makes men more prone to act out in a violent way. Testosterone can make men aggressive but it is their mind that decides the action. So are women less likely to resort to violence than men? I think that put in similar circumstances you would be surprised. In High School I counted more girls fighting than boys and those fights were more vicious too. My first wife had a temper and would go off over the slightest thing. I had to dodge numerous items thrown at me over the course of our marriage. I even had to stop her from attacking her own mother, she bit me in the process.
Man or women we all have the capacity to commit acts of violence or peace, it is our belief system that is key, our philosophy not sex.