President Trump responded to criticism from former Defense Secretary
James Mattis by calling him an “overrated” military leader whom he
“Probably the only thing Barack Obama and I have in common is that we
both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated
General,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “I asked for his letter of resignation,
& felt great about.”
Mr. Mattis, a retired four-star Marine general whom the president
previously called a hero, criticized the president Wednesday for
“militarizing” the federal response to nationwide protests over police
brutality. He called Mr. Trump “the first president in my lifetime who
does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison upgraded Wednesday the murder
charge against one former Minneapolis officer and issued arrest
warrants for three others in the death of George Floyd, a case that has
ignited mass racial justice protests and rioting nationwide.
The third-degree murder charge filed Friday against Derek Michael Chauvin was replaced with a count of second-degree murder.
The other former officers — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou
Thao — face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and
Activists of the far-left Antifa movement began planning to
foment a nationwide anti-government insurgency as early as November as
the U.S. presidential campaign season kicked off in earnest, according
to a law enforcement official with access to intelligence behind the
The radical movement has emerged as a key focus for investigators in
the wake of violent protests and looting across the country after the
death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, according to
U.S. law enforcement officials and private security experts.
The law enforcement official would not speak on the record about
Antifa’s plans as the election season heats up, but longtime analysts
of the group say such a move would be entirely in character.
President Trump said on Thursday that longtime confidant Roger Stone,
who has been ordered to report to prison by the end of the month, can
“sleep well at night” as he shared a post calling for Stone’s full
“No. Roger was a victim of a corrupt and illegal Witch Hunt, one which
will go down as the greatest political crime in history. He can sleep
well at night!” the president said on Twitter.
Mr. Trump made the post as he responded to a tweet from conservative
activist Charlie Kirk in which Mr. Kirk said Stone “will serve more
time in prison than 99% of these rioters destroying America” and urged
people to “RT for a full pardon of Roger Stone!”
Arguments heard before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday
officially concerned Hillary Clinton's dispute over giving an in-person
deposition that a judge ordered at the request of conservative group
Judicial Watch. However, the Justice Department's push to drop its
prosecution of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn lurked
underneath, observers noted.
The lawyers and judges involved in Tuesday's hearing did not mention
Flynn by name, reports Politico, but the Clinton dispute and the Flynn
case involve the legal mechanism of mandamus, defined as an order for a
public agency or government body to perform an act that is required by
law when it has neglected or refused to do so.
Tuesday's arguments on Clinton's email case went on for more than an
hour and a half, with two judges suggesting that Clinton may face a
tough battle, because mandamus is rarely granted.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to announce plans Thursday to
remove one of the country’s most iconic monuments to the Confederacy, a
statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee along Richmond’s prominent Monument
Avenue, a senior administration official told The Associated Press.
The move would be an extraordinary victory for civil rights activists,
whose calls for the removal of that monument and others in this former
capital of the Confederacy have been resisted for years.
“That is a symbol for so many people, black and otherwise, of a time
gone by of hate and oppression and being made to feel less than,” said
Del. Jay Jones, a black lawmaker from Norfolk. He said he was
“overcome” by emotion when he learned the statue was to come down.
All the money in the world apparently can’t buy you favorable press in your own paper.
On Thursday, the Washington Post took a shot at its owner, Amazon chief
Jeff Bezos, by calling attention to his charitable giving — or relative
lack thereof. In a feature for the Post’s style section examining the
charitable contributions of 50 of the richest Americans, writers
Roxanne Roberts and Will Hobson reported that their publicly announced
donations since the Covid-19 outbreak add up to less than .001 percent
of their combined worth.
Using the figure of $97,300 as the median net worth of the average
American household, the Post’s study found that Bezos has given the
equivalent of less than a hundred bucks.
As everyone tries to assess what the current spasm of violence might
mean for the 2020 presidential election, it might be useful to remember
that opinions about candidates are formed over time and are not changed
lightly or quickly. In this instance, that is especially true, because
the likely candidates for president have been known commodities for
more than a generation.
Nevertheless, one of the familiar narratives about the 2016 election is
how wrong the polling was. That’s fine, expected, and probably a
worthwhile observation as far as it goes.
The problem is that it doesn’t go very far. What is usually left unsaid
is the most important part: How was the survey data wrong? In what
direction and to what extent was it inaccurate? These are important
questions, in part because the answer to them shear away some of the
assumptions and inaccuracies that people have embedded in their
thinking about this year’s elections.
“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the
sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their
country, but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of
man and woman.” — Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
Colonial America was filled with summer soldiers and sunshine patriots
who wanted triumph over tyranny but were afraid to fight for it. Of
course, enough did fight. They won the Revolutionary War and they
enacted a Constitution intended to prevent both anarchy and tyranny.
Today, we have both.
America is under attack by three deadly viruses. COVID-19 has killed
more than 107,000 Americans since March. Yet, it pales in comparison to
the virus it provoked — hubris. And that, in turn, provoked the virus
that has bedeviled America since the 17th century — racism.
" It is discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit." -- Noel Coward (1899-1973) British playwright
Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an
enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the
Armed Services of the United States.
presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of
America in the name of Congress.
The first award of
the Medal of Honor was made March 25, 1863 to Private JACOB PARROTT.The
last award of the Medal of Honor was made September 15, 2011 to
Sergeant DAKOTA MEYER.
Since then there have been: • 3458 recipients of the Medal of Honor.
• Today there are 85 Living Recipients of the Medal of Honor.
Humbert R. Versace distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism
during the period of 29 October 1963 to 26 September 1965, while
serving as S-2 Advisor, Military Assistance Advisory Group, Detachment
52, Ca Mau, Republic of Vietnam. While accompanying a Civilian
Irregular Defense Group patrol engaged in combat operations in Thoi
Binh District, An Xuyen Province, Captain Versace and the patrol came
under sudden and intense mortar, automatic weapons, and small arms fire
from elements of a heavily armed enemy battalion. As the battle raged,
Captain Versace, although severely wounded in the knee and back by
hostile fire, fought valiantly and continued to engage enemy targets.
Weakened by his wounds and fatigued by the fierce firefight, Captain
Versace stubbornly resisted capture by the over-powering Viet Cong
force with the last full measure of his strength and ammunition. Taken
prisoner by the Viet Cong, he exemplified the tenets of the Code of
Conduct from the time he entered into Prisoner of War status. Captain
Versace assumed command of his fellow American soldiers, scorned the
enemy's exhaustive interrogation and indoctrination efforts, and made
three unsuccessful attempts to escape, despite his weakened condition
which was brought about by his wounds and the extreme privation and
hardships he was forced to endure. During his captivity, Captain
Versace was segregated in an isolated prisoner of war cage, manacled in
irons for prolonged periods of time, and placed on extremely reduced
ration. The enemy was unable to break his indomitable will, his faith
in God, and his trust in the United States of America. Captain Versace,
an American fighting man who epitomized the principles of his country
and the Code of Conduct, was executed by the Viet Cong on 26 September
1965. Captain Versace's gallant actions in close contact with an enemy
force and unyielding courage and bravery while a prisoner of war are in
the highest traditions of the military service and reflect the utmost
credit upon himself and the United States Army.
From the Archives
We Have Met the Enemy… Geoff Metcalf
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. --Benjamin Franklin “The American people must be willing to give up a degree of personal privacy in exchange for safety and security.” --Louis Freeh
the wake of the clamor over the most recent WikiLeaks data dump, ‘Vault
7’, ‘UMBRAGE’, et al, it should be noted this is not really anything
new. What we are seeing here is simply the evolution of something that
goes back to the late 50s (to the incomplete best knowledge I have).
In April of 1998 I wrote
“Privacy has become an anachronism.” I was commenting on “a massive
system designed to intercept all your e-mail, fax traffic and more.” I
was explaining ‘Echelon’, the illegitimate offspring of a UKUSA Treaty signed by the United
States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Its purpose
was, and is, to have a vast global intelligence monster, which
allegedly shares common goals. The system was so “efficient” that
reportedly National Security Agency folk from Fort Meade could work
from Menwith Hill in England to intercept local communications without
either nation having to burden themselves with the formality of seeking
approval (a court order) or disclosing the operation. And this was all
pre-9/11 and pre-the anti-constitutional 'Patriot Act'.
illegal (without a Judge’s signed permission) for the United States to
spy on its citizens … kinda. The laws have long been circumvented by a
mutual pact among five nations. Under the terms of UKUSA agreement,
Britain spies on Americans and America spies on British citizens, and
then the two conspirators trade data. A classic technical finesse. It
is legal, but the intent to evade the spirit is inescapable.
often fictionalized the genesis of ‘Echelon’ as an informal meeting of
a group of post war American and British intelligence types drinking in
some remote rustic bar. An imagined CIA type complains to his MI6 buddy
about the hassles of US laws preventing US intelligence from
surveillance of bad guys, and the Brit echoes the same complaint.
“Hey wait a moment mate,” says Nigel, the make-believe MI6 guy, “I can
spy on your guys and you can spy on our bad players…why don’t we just
come up with a mechanism whereby we spy on your villains, you spy on
our villains, and we just ‘share’ the intel?”
This system was
called ECHELON, and has been kicking around in some form longer than
most of you. The result of the UKUSA treaty signed by the United
States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand was, and is,
to have a vast global intelligence monster which allegedly shares
The London Telegraph reported in December of
1997 that the Civil liberties Committee of the European Parliament had
officially confirmed the existence and purpose of ECHELON. “A global
electronic spy network that can eavesdrop on every telephone, e-mail
and telex communication around the world will be officially
acknowledged for the first time in a European Commission report. …”
The report noted: “Within Europe all e-mail, telephone and fax
communications are routinely intercepted by the United States National
Security Agency, transferring ll target information from the Eurv opean
mainland via the strategic hub of London, then by satellite to Fort
Meade in Maryland via the crucial hub at Menwith Hill, in the North
York moors in the UK.
“The ECHELON system forms part of the
UKUSA system but unlike many of the electronic spy systems developed
during the Cold War, ECHELON was designed primarily for non-military
targets: governments, organizations and businesses in virtually every
An interesting sidebar appeared in the International
Herald Tribune under the headline, “Big Corporate Brother: It Knows
More About You Than You Think.” The story details Acxiom Corp, which
was a humongous information service hidden in the Ozark foothills.
Twenty-four hours a day, Acxiom electronically gathered and sorts all
kinds of data about 196 million Americans. Credit card transactions and
magazine subscriptions, telephone numbers, real estate records,
automotive data, hunting, business and fishing licenses, consumer
surveys and demographic detail that would make a marketing department’s
research manager salivate. This relatively new (legal) enterprise was
known as “data warehousing” or “data-mining”, and it underscores the
cruel reality that the fiction of personal privacy has become obsolete.
Technology’s ability to collect and analyze data has made privacy a
quaint albeit interesting dinosaur.
The Tribune reported that
“Axciom can often determine whether an American owns a dog or cat,
enjoys camping or gourmet cooking, reads the Bible or lots of other
books. It can often pinpoint an American’s occupation, car and favorite
vacations. By analyzing the equivalent of billions of pages of data, it
often projects for its customers who should be offered a credit card or
who is likely to buy a computer.”
Most of this information is
from y 1998 piece. Echelon has developed, matured, and morphed
into a much more powerful hybrid. ‘Carnivore’ was software to help
triage the cacophony of data. Vault 7 and ‘Umbrage’ are logical (some
would argue “insidious”) growth.