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Why Americans should see Films about Drug Cartels PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Mandaville   

The power of Film is undeniable over the last 100 years.   We remember the great films because we sit in a dark theater, focused on the screen with other human beings.  It's a bit of a religious experience.   This viewing experience has certainly changed with DVD's, the Internet and smartphones - but the impact of the moving image remains as vibrant and intense to the viewer.

One such documentary is "American Federale" made by an intrepid documentary filmmaker, Michael Carlin.   For full disclosure, I produced the film but Carlin's ten year dedication to the filmmaking process far outstrips my contribution.  Intrepid is also a nice word for a bit…well…crazy.    Carlin traveled into two of the most dangerous cities in the world.   One is Ciudad Juarez. As of August 2009, Juárez's murder rate was the highest reported in the world.   And it was the territory of Pablo Acosta.   The other is Ojinaga which was the central headquarters of a famous drug lord.

Carlin met a unique individual whose name - for security reasons - is referred to as "Lobo" which is Spanish for 'wolf'.   Lobo is a very, very unique individual.   He was an American citizen of Mexican ancestry who became a Mexican Federale.  Lobo received his police credentials directly from a Mexican governor.  As a Mexican Federale, Lobo worked for both the Mexican government and the Mexican drug cartels.   As a man, he was leading the life of what - in the espionage business - would be called a triple agent.   American Citizen.  Mexican Federale.  Cartel Enforcer.   And he wanted to reform because he did something so totally human.  He fell in love and wanted a normal, decent Life.

So Carlin works over years to build trust between himself and Lobo.  Years.  Lobo was not in the trust business.  He was in the crazy betrayal, stay-five-steps-ahead-of-the-next-psycho business.   Years.  But Logo told Carlin stories and Carlin sought to document them.  Carlin went into Ciudad Juarez to document a city where Lobo lived, worked, fought and redeemed himself.  He also went into Ojinaga which were the stomping grounds. of drug lord, Pablo Acosta.    Pablo Acosta who might not have been the biggest druglord in Mexico but, in a world littered with erratic personalities, he takes the cake.  He kidnapped women, raped them and left them drug addicts on their families' doorsteps.  And a lot more that you'd see in the film.   With a deranged personality in a world fueled by cocaine, excess, power, greed, money and literally cut-throat competition, he rose to the top of the insanity pile.    Lobo is the one who raided the Acosta hideout and put him down.  As a Federale police officer.    I don't want to give away the entire story, but why should this film matter to you, American Reader?  Let's count the ways.

First, the drug cartel violence ravaging Mexico is coming to the United States.  With its porous border and seemingly endless insatiable desire for the cartel's drug products, America is a prime destination point for sales.   Sales means competition between drug cartels which means violence.  The city of Acapulco - once the famed vacation getaways for Hollywood elite and jet setters - has become the murder capital of Mexico.

"In 2012, there were some 1,063 murders. That gave it a homicide rate of 135 per 100,000 people - over 50 percent higher than Honduras, the world's most murderous country."

Second, the violence in Mexico is spurred by the corrupting influence of drug money within Mexican law enforcement - and is coming soon to your neighborhood!   The drug cartel threat to the United States compelled a regional newspaper like the Los Angeles Times to have a section called "Mexico Under Siege: Drug War at our Doorstep." The drug corruption is vast, endemic and contradictory.  As Lobo points out, the money is non-stop and treachery lies between departments.   The State Federales are at odds with the Mexican Army.  Different cartel groups pay off different groups.  The lines of loyalty are invisible and constantly shifting.   Money buys loyalty.  And then it doesn't.   American law enforcement has not immunity against such vast corruption.   The Mexican cartel's adage is "Gold or Lead", meaning "Do you want money?" or "Death?"   The Border Patrol is handcuffed.  The border in Arizona and Texas is virtually controlled by smugglers and cartel watchdogs.    Former Border Patrol agents actually said that  “Transnational criminal enterprises have annually invested millions of dollars to create and staff international drug and human smuggling networks inside the United States; thus it is no surprise that they continue to accelerate their efforts to get trusted representatives in place as a means to guarantee continued success.”

Law enforcement is desperate.  An agency of the US Government - Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)  ran an operation called "Fast and Furious" which was poorly conceived and intended to trace weapons from the United States into Mexico cartel hands.

This 'gunwalking' was a tactic of the Arizona Field Office run in a a series of sting operations between 2006 and 2011 in the Tucson and Phoenix area.    The ATF "purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers.  Their plan was  to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders.  Unfortunately, the guns were used in the murder of Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry, agent Jaime Zapata and a massacre in Juarez.  This massacre by cartel thugs resulted in the death of 16 people - most of whom were teenagers attending a birthday party.    Recently, there was a scandal involve the walking of 'grenades' into cartel hands.

Third, the drug cartels are experiencing the same indicators of an economic boom as all 'products'.   They have become cheaper and more potent.    In an article from MedicalXpress, we read that

"In the US, after adjusting for inflation and purity, the average street price of heroin, cocaine and cannabis fell by 81%, 80%, and 86%, respectively, whereas the purity and/or potency of these drugs increased by 60%, 11%, and 161%, respectively.  Similar trends were observed in Europe where, during the same period, the average price of opiates and cocaine, adjusted for inflation and purity, decreased by 74% and 51%, respectively, and in Australia, where the price of cocaine fell by 14% and the price of heroin and cannabis dropped by 49%.  In the US seizures of cocaine roughly halved between 1990 and 2010, but those of cannabis and heroin rose by 465% and 29%, respectively; in Europe seizures of cocaine and cannabis fluctuated, but seizures of heroin had risen 380% by 2009." These statistics signal economic success for the marketing and distribution efforts of the Cartels.

Fourth, the best reason to watch the film, "American Federale" is that you can see one human being struggle with his conscience in a world of pain and suffering.  Drug money.  Torture.  Bribery.  Extortion.  Lobo runs through the city of Ciudad Juarez, one of the most dangerous cities in the world.  He is threatened.  Tortured.  Kidnapped.  And more.  And through reflection and bearing his soul, Lobo finds new purpose.

"I did not live life good," he said, "but I am going to end it good."

You need to see Lobo's life and how he changes it.  Over a million people already have seen the trailer on YouTube.  And hope, for God's sake, that more people follow his path in "American Federale".



Pew Center Study on Islam and Sharia Law PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Mandaville   
The Pew Organization for Religion and Public Life did an extensive poll of Muslims and the role of Islam and Sharia in Public Life.  The link is here for their findings.

The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society

Executive Summary


A new Pew Research Center survey of Muslims around the globe finds that most adherents of the world’s second-largest religion are deeply committed to their faith and want its teachings to shape not only their personal lives but also their societies and politics. In all but a handful of the 39 countries surveyed, a majority of Muslims say that Islam is the one true faith leading to eternal life in heaven and that belief in God is necessary to be a moral person. Many also think that their religious leaders should have at least some influence over political matters. And many express a desire for sharia – traditional Islamic law – to be recognized as the official law of their country.

The percentage of Muslims who say they want sharia to be “the official law of the land” varies widely around the world, from fewer than one-in-ten in Azerbaijan (8%) to near unanimity in Afghanistan (99%). But solid majorities in most of the countries surveyed across the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia favor the establishment of sharia, including 71% of Muslims in Nigeria, 72% in Indonesia, 74% in Egypt and 89% in the Palestinian territories.

At the same time, the survey finds that even in many countries where there is strong backing for sharia, most Muslims favor religious freedom for people of other faiths. In Pakistan, for example, three-quarters of Muslims say that non-Muslims are very free to practice their religion, and fully 96% of those who share this assessment say it is “a good thing.” Yet 84% of Pakistani Muslims favor enshrining sharia as official law. These seemingly divergent views are possible partly because most supporters of sharia in Pakistan – as in many other countries – think Islamic law should apply only to Muslims. Moreover, Muslims around the globe have differing understandings of what sharia means in practice.

Egypt in Critical Stage PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Mandaville   
Egypt is currently experiencing the early stage of a potential civil war between the Muslim Brotherhood with its President Morsi now desposed by the Egyptian military and the people divided along three distinct lines.
The people are secular Egyptians - even though practicing Muslims but Western-oriented - or the growing religious Muslims focused on the Muslim Brotherhood.  The third group is the industrious Coptic Christians who officially make up 10% or so of the population but, when I was working on a film in Egypt, told that its percentage was closer to 25%.
Egypt lies at strategic crossroads geographically even before the Suez Canal and its vast shipping activity.  Consider the following:
  1. •Romans considered Egypt a critical and rich country with the Nile producing vast quantities of wheat for the Empire.
  2. •Alexandria was a fabled city of knowledge and enlightenment.
  3. •Egypt lies directly across and in the major sea lanes of traders like the Republic of Venice, Malta, Greece, Turkey and the Levant
  4. •Egypt sits between the Arabic Middle East (Egyptians are not Arabs) and the vast North African tribal areas.  Muslim yes, but distinctly different in language and culture.
  5. •Borders Israel and is the only country to make a Peace Agreement with Israel.
  6. •Oversees the Gaza strip controlled by Hamas with Israel on the other side.
  7. •Controls one of the major shipping channels in the world - the Suez.  The other major ones are Gibraltar, the Horn of Africa, Panama Canal, Straits of Malacca.
  8. •Has one of the largest militaries in the Middle East.
In this insightful article from Stratfor, the possibility of a Realignment in the Middle East is happening right now:

A look at the rest of the region shows that Egypt is by no means the only country of concern for Israel. Syria, for example, has an uprising that, in simple terms, largely consists of Sunnis, many of which are Islamists. That in itself represents a threat to Israel, particularly if the relationship between Syria and Egypt were revived. There is an ideological kinship, and just as Nasserism had an evangelical dimension, wanting to spread pan-Arab ideology throughout the region, the Muslim Brotherhood has one too. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is also the most organized and coherent opposition group in Syria. As Morsi consolidates his power in Egypt, his willingness to engage in foreign adventures, or at least covert support, for like-minded insurgents and regimes could very well increase. At a minimum Israel would have to take this seriously. Similarly, where Gaza was contained not only by Israel but also by pre-Morsi Egypt, Morsi might choose to dramatically change Egypt's Gaza policy.

Morsi's rise opens other possibilities as well. Turkey's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party is also engaged in a careful process of reintroducing Islam into a state that was militantly secular. There are fundamental differences between Egypt and Turkey, but there is also much in common. Turkey and Egypt are now engaged in parallel processes designed to create modern countries that recognize their Islamic roots. A Turkish-Egyptian relationship would both undergird the Egyptian regime and create a regional force that could shape the Eastern Mediterranean.

Cop in Shootout: Carry More Ammo PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Mandaville   
In this article, "Why One Cop Carries 145 Rounds of Ammo", we hear how a modern day gunfight with a dangerous criminal used up what would have been the cop's usual 47 rounds of ammo.
Some notable excerpts:
  • •At the core of his desperate firefight was a murderous attacker who simply would not go down, even though he was shot 14 times with .45-cal. ammunition — six of those hits in supposedly fatal locations.

  • In his trunk was an AR-15; in an overhead rack inside the squad, a Remington 870. But reaching either was impractical. Gramins did manage to get himself to a grassy spot near a tree on the curb side of his vehicle where he could prone out for a solid shooting platform.

  • He [the robber] was transported to a trauma center where [Officer] Gramins also was taken. They shared an ER bay with only a curtain between them as medical personnel fought unsuccessfully to save the robber’s life.
  • At one point Gramins heard a doctor exclaim, “We may as well stop. Every bag of blood we give him ends up on the floor. This guy’s like Swiss cheese. Why’d that cop have to shoot him so many times!”
  • Gramins thought, “He just tried to kill me! Where’s that part of it?”
Woman's Concealed Carry Holster PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Mandaville   
The Flashbang was seen worn by one of the female actresses in the Hit TV show NCIS LA on Tuesday May 8th on CBS. The agent drew her weapon from a flashbang holster. These holsters have proven to be very effective in comfortable, safe, concealed carry. They provide a great option for ladies who want to dress like a lady in form fitting clothes and still be capable of taking responsibility for their own safety. Only one of these ladies had any experience with firearms or drawing from a holster prior to the day of shooting! Each lady got about an hour of safety training and weapons familiarization. They were then taught how to safely present the pistol from the holster.
Iphone and Drone controls PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Mandaville   
Drone technology is moving so fast that the consumer can easily purchase an AR Parrot Drone camera at 720p or 1080i which allows hobbyists, filmmakers - or very strange people - to put cameras anywhere.  Until now, the limit has usually been within 'line of sight' both for technology and FAA regulations.   Check out this video on Youtube.
However, a new company has launched its Kickstarter-like campaign on IndieGogo for an application that will allow iphones to become 'Mobile Drone Stations'.
The resulting application would allow control from about 1 mile away.
The "Fighting Walrus Radio" will allow drone owners to extend the range of commercially-available hobbyist drones from about 200 feet up to a mile, which could get some people into hot water with the Federal Aviation Administration. The agency requires drone operators to fly unmanned aircraft within "line of sight of the operator."
The application's use may require some additional equipment.

For the device to work, the pilot has to connect a radio receiver to the drone, which will allow it to operate outside of Wi-Fi range and will allow it to communicate directly with the Fighting Walrus device. The team also plans on selling ready-to-fly drones with the device already installed.

Aarestad says the device is designed for hobbyists who want more control over their drones—it also offers waypoint navigation and flight-logging data. The radio won't allow drones to stream video back to the iPhone, making it unlikely to be useful for surveillance. The team is working on a follow up device that will allow drones to send video back to its pilot.

Chicago Team checks for Nuclear Weapon PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Mandaville   
A nuclear stress test, carried by some lawyer and perfectly legal, set off alarms in the Chicago Transpo System.

The TSA team passed by him several times before ending up on his train car. Finally, he got a clue when an agent questioned the man right next to him and asked, ‘Sir, do you have an explanation as to why I am getting a high isotope reading on your bag?’”

“The fellow’s jaw dropped,” Jones said.

Once the agent said the word “isotope,” Jones says he realized he was the one they were looking for. He raised his hand to say he had a nuclear stress test.

The tests can leave patients emitting radiation for some time. After showing identification and proof of the nuclear test, Jones and the other passengers were allowed to go on their way.

He says he’s satisfied with the way authorities acted, “knowing there are people on the lookout for this type of thing,” and was pleased with the way officers and passengers behaved.

Patients undergoing nuclear testing can request a card they can give to security if they travel afterward. Doctors have done this for air travelers.


Actually, it is comforting to know that such teams are out there and working.  I never heard of the TSA VIPR Team.  And anything to do with the TSA as being 'elite' seems unusual given their other airport behavior.

Currency Crisis Worsens...Be Prepared PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Mandaville   
Every day, the economic decline of national governements and the international economies becomes more self evident to even the unseasoned viewer.
In Germany, a group has risen up which opposes any further monetary union under the falling Euro.  This group of economists, politicians and jurists suggests that Merkel leave the European Union before the Union collapses.

"An end to this euro," is the first line on the webpage of Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). "The introduction of the euro has proved to be a fatal mistake, that threatens the welfare of us all. The old parties are used up. They stubbornly refuse to admit their mistakes."

They propose German withdrawl from EMU and return to the D-Mark, or a breakaway currency with the Dutch, Austrians, Finns, and like-minded nations. The French are not among them. The borders run along the ancient line of cleavage dividing Latins from Germanic tribes.


The plans draw on work by Hans-Olaf Henkel, former head ofGermany's industry federation (BDI) and a chastened europhile -- the "worst error of my professional life", he told me.



Added to this situation, a currency war is brewing across the world.   British Expats are fleeing the sterling.


Expats are increasingly moving their savings into the currency of the country they are living in, as a continued weakness in the pound makes sterling less appealing.

The pound has dropped by around 10pc against the euro in the past six months, and just 13pc of Britons abroad are holding money in sterling, compared with double that figure in September 2011, according to research from Lloyds TSB International.


Communist China threatened a currency war, given that Japan is desperately trying to devaue its Yen.  In part, Prime Minister Abe wants the yen to drop to accommodate a massive reduction in Japanese exports to China over their territorial dispute in the Senkaku Islands.   Check out this currency war map at


Since currency warfare is now back and more violent than at any time in the past 80 years, it only makes sense to bring back a long-time reader favorite: the currency warfare heatmaps which show who, on any given day, is winning and losing, the global race to debase and in the process beggar all globalized and SWIFT-interlinked neighbors. But don't forget: in a relativistic fiat world, nobody can actually win the global race to debase. Well, not nobody: gold (and other precious metals) can, assuming it is not confiscated as it was the last time the US ended the global currency war with a 50%+ devaluation of the USD relative to gold... and promptly confiscated all gold.




A War of Competing Worldviews PDF Print E-mail
from my friend Kyle.  Thanks Kyle!

A War of Competing Worldviews

By Baron Bodissey

“We must abandon the picture of a world divided up by states, in which states make war and conclude peace with one another. The trend — as shown by the Balkan wars — is toward denationalization, privatization and commercialization of war, in the course of which local warlords, bandit chiefs, mercenary-hiring companies, as well as internationally connected and deployable religious warriors are increasingly the real actors in the prosecution of war.”

The following article by Udo Ulfkotte was originally published on February 20 at 

. JLH, who translated the piece, includes this note:


Udo Ulfkotte has turned up before in Gates of Vienna as a modern Jeremiah — heeded by some and carefully ignored by those in power. He practices what he preaches, has settled with his family on a farm that makes them largely self-sufficient.

The concluding advice in this essay can be clicked on to lead to an ad for his most recent book, 

: Poverty for Everyone in a Jolly Immigrant Community.


The translated article (which I highly recommend):

The New World Order: Why the Surveillance of Radical Muslims Is a Failure
By Udo Ulfkotte

Something is changing in German-language territory. History, ultimately, means change. Policy maintains that the changes will be good for us. In this process, a new world order is arising out there with more and more Islamist cells.

There are many good books and DVDs on Islam, But one thing is mostly left out. If we examine the goals, motives and ideological-religious background of the radical Islamic network, which to all appearances, has control of firm institutional linkages and a not-to-be-underestimated criminal energy, we should expect the uneasiness of German authorities and citizens to increase. More than 3.2 million Muslims are living in Germany, in peaceful coexistence — at first glance — with their fellow citizens.


Read more... [A War of Competing Worldviews]
Monitor Jihad with 'Jihad Watch" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Mandaville   

Support "Jihad Watch".

This organization is dedicated to watching the incursion of radical Islam into society.   On its site:

"Because the West is facing a concerted effort by Islamic jihadists, the motives and goals of whom are largely ignored by the Western media, to destroy the West and bring it forcibly into the Islamic world -- and to commit violence to that end even while their overall goal remains out of reach. That effort goes under the general rubric of jihad."


Read more... [Monitor Jihad with 'Jihad Watch]
Action: Economics Lessons - "Memo From Boss To Employees on Capitalism" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sent by Mack Dougherty   
Action:  Use Stories to Enlighten about complicated Economics
To All My Valued Employees, {A Memo about Hard Work]

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn't pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country.
However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interests.

First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a Back Story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside. You've seen my big home at last years Christmas party. I'm sure; all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life.

However, what you don't see is the BACK STORY :

I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living apartment was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.
Read more... [Action: Economics Lessons - "Memo From Boss To Employees on Capitalism]
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