Police Work, Politics and World Affairs, Football and the ongoing search for great Scotch Whiskey!

Friday, July 30, 2021

Have Mercy!

 It's been a rough month for music. 

Last week I posted on the passing of Robby Steinhardt of Kansas. Two days ago music got a another kick. 

Dusty Hill, ZZ Top bassist with a legendary beard, dies at 72

Bassist Dusty Hill, left, and guitarist Billy Gibbons perform at a 2008 ZZ Top concert in Bonn, Germany. (Henning Kaiser/DDP/AFP/Getty Images)

Dusty Hill, the bearded, understated bassist who helped make ZZ Top one of the biggest rock acts of the late 1970s and ’80s, anchoring songs including the shuffle boogie “La Grange” and showcasing his singing on the sultry Top 40 hit “Tush,” died July 28 at his home in Houston. He was 72.

Bob Merlis, the band’s publicist, confirmed the death but did not give a cause. ZZ Top was in the middle of a tour when they announced last week that Mr. Hill was “on a short detour back to Texas, to address a hip issue.” They added that the band’s guitar tech, Elwood Francis, would be stepping in for Mr. Hill.

“Per Dusty’s request,” they said, “‘The show must go on!’ ”

Formed in Houston in 1969, ZZ Top was one of rock’s most durable bands, with a lineup that remained the same for more than 50 years. Mr. Hill was joined onstage by lead singer and guitarist Billy Gibbons, whose boogie-style blues riffs established him as one of his generation’s finest rock guitarists, and drummer Frank Beard, who despite his name was the only band member not to have a foot-long beard that rivaled Rip Van Winkle’s...

A group I was hoping to see live (I am trying of hearing that ), and as down to earth as they get. A local talk show host dedicated his Thursday show to Hill, and one man mentioned how he was in a restaurant when Hill and his agent sat down to eat one table over. The man walked up, introduced himself, and mentioned how he and friends played many ZZ Top songs in their band. Dusty was so happy he asked the man and his wife to join them, and they spent a long lunch (and several beers) just talking. 

Many "artist" of today don't like to speak with their fans. Dusty loved his fans. 

I can't think of a better song to send Dusty Hill up to the Pearly Gates than this. Have Mercy.


Rest easy Dusty, and thank you. Have a great weekend. 

Officer Down

 

 




Deputy Sheriff Claude Winston Guillory
Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff's Office, Louisiana
End of Watch Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Age 63
Tour 32 years
Badge 592
Cause COVID19
Incident Date Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Deputy Sheriff Claude Guillory died from complications as the result of contracting COVID-19 in a presumed exposure while on duty.

Deputy Guillory had served with the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff's Office for one year and had 32 years of law enforcement service. He had previously served with the Jennings Police Department, Lake Arthur Police Department, and Coushatta Tribal Police Department. He is survived by his wife, two children, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch


<i>Nemo me impune lacessit</I> 


<i><a href="http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/docs/14taps.mp3">Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh.</a> </i>


Officer Down, Officer Safety, Police, Police Training 





 




 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Officer Down


 














Chief Probation Officer Leslie Dale Allen Athens-Clarke County Probation Services, Georgia
End of Watch Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Age 62
Tour 40 years
Cause COVID19

Chief Probation Officer Dale Allen died after contracting COVID-19 as the result of an exposure while on duty.

Chief Allen was a U.S. Army veteran where he served as a military police officer. He had served with the Athens-Clarke County Probation Services for 10 years and had previously served with the Clarke County Sheriff's Office. He is survived by his wife, son, and two siblings.

Beginning in early 2020, due to the requirements of their job, thousands of law enforcement officers and other first responders throughout the United States contracted COVID-19 during the worldwide pandemic. Hundreds of law enforcement officers died from medical complications as a result of contracting the virus while remaining on duty and interacting with the community.

Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Monday, July 26, 2021

RIP Bob Moses

This morning I was reading the local leftist rag, the Houston Chronicle, and I caught this article on the passing of a civil rights activist. Back when the “civil rights” movement actually worried about civil rights, not just being a means to support the radical left in this nation. But his method was interesting, I must say:

 



Bob Moses, 1960s civil rights leader who saw math as road to equality, dies at 86

Bespectacled, owlish and bearing a master’s degree in philosophy from Harvard, Mr. Moses was an unlikely front-line activist — much less an obvious candidate to quit his comfortable prep-school teaching job in the Bronx in 1960 and immerse himself in the most violently segregationist precincts of Mississippi.


A janitor’s son raised in New York public housing, he showed precocious talent for academic fields involving logic, especially mathematics and philosophy. He found kinship with Quaker friends in college, and he submerged himself in the writings of Albert Camus, the French-Algerian Nobel laureate whose books explored universal questions of human existence and justice.


As the civil rights movement gained momentum, Mr. Moses felt at a certain intellectual remove. “Words are more powerful than munitions,” his early intellectual lodestar, Camus, once wrote. But a turning point for the 25-year-old Mr. Moses was reading news accounts of the nascent sit-in protests in the South. He studied the newspaper dispatches for weeks, mesmerized and finally ready to engage.


“Before, the Negro in the South had always looked on the defensive, cringing,” he once said. “This time they were taking the initiative. They were kids my age, and I knew this had something to do with my own life.”


Mentored by civil rights veterans Bayard Rustin and Ella Baker, he joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), sidestepped the sit-ins and initiated voter-registration drives instead as a more direct way to gain political power for Black Americans.


He chose rural southwest Mississippi, the most intransigent region of the state, as his target. There, in “freedom schools,” he taught African Americans how to register and pass the stringent voter literacy tests. Often working alone or with one or two SNCC organizers, he was repeatedly threatened by White mobs and law enforcement officials as he accompanied Black people to courthouse registration offices…


In all honestly, I did not know of the man until this article. In full disclosure, I did not know of Medgar Evers until I saw Ghost of Mississippi. Like Evers, Moses of one of countless men and women who protested for civil rights against real segregation and oppression over this nation. But I find his actions after the great civil rights movements very interesting:

 

 … He also spent years as a teacher in Africa with his wife before returning in 1977 after President Jimmy Carter granted amnesty to draft evaders. Mr. Moses soon began building his second enduring legacy, the Algebra Project.


Though less dramatic and harrowing than getting Black voters to the polls in Mississippi, the Algebra Project marked a pivotal shift in his civil rights vision from political to economic equality.


The project has instructed thousands of middle school students in what Mr. Moses called “math literacy” as a crucial steppingstone to college and employment, an often difficult process among underserved students.


Low math achievement among minority students is “the nation’s dirty secret,” he often told educators. He urged them to avoid the tendency to neglect the subject and instead help students escape their “serf-like communities” within high-tech society, just as sharecroppers earlier sought release from the serfdom of the plantation.

“Math literacy,” he said, “is a civil right. Just as Black people in Mississippi saw the vote as a tool to elevate them into the first class politically, math is the tool to elevate the young into the first class economically…”


In my high school years and first college years, I had issues with math. In my second misguided college yute, I did something radical. I applied myself, studied, practiced equations, and guess what? I was making A’s and B’s in calculus, where before I could barley get a C in algebra. Not tooting my own horn, I just wanted to give an example of what happens when you try. 


Well, this shows how low the “civil rights” movement has sunk in recent years:


Profs help push program that claims math is ‘racist’ because it requires a ‘right answer’


An Oregon Department of Education newsletter from February promoted an online course designed to “dismantle” instances of “white supremacy culture in the mathematics classroom.” One example of “white supremacy” highlighted by the course was “the concept of mathematics being purely objective,” an idea which the resource stated is “is unequivocally false.”


The program, known as “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction,” describes itself as “an integrated approach to mathematics that centers Black, Latinx, and Multilingual students” that provides “opportunities for ongoing self-reflection as they seek to develop an anti-racist math practice.”


The “feedback advisors” for a portion of the program include William Zahner, who is an associate professor at San Diego State University; Melissa Navarro Martell, who is an assistant professor at San Diego State University, and Elvira Armas, who is the Director of Programs and Partnerships for the Center for Equity for English Learners at Loyola Marymount University in California.


“White supremacy culture infiltrates math classrooms in everyday teacher actions,” the guide states. “Coupled with the beliefs that underlie these actions, they perpetuate educational harm on Black, Latinx, and multilingual students, denying them full access to the world of mathematics…”


This is what is teaching our next generation. A group of racists (speculation, likely white liberals), tenured professor telling minorities they are too stupid to learn math. Back to my comments above, math is an art, and a science. And to conquer its challenges, it needs commitment. Unfortunately, this generation is being indoctrinated into stupidity at our institutions of higher learning

 

I need some more whiskey in my coffee.

 

Mr. Moses, I never met you sir, and until this morning, never knew your name. But thank you for all the work you did to elevate kids who had challenges, helped them overcome, and improve their futures, and their kids futures. God bless, and Rest in Peace sir. You will be missed.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Nothing last forever but the earth and sky…

I've been looking for Kansas's tour dates, yes, they were still touring. Unfortunately, the full band is no longer.


Robby Steinhardt — Whose Group Kansas Notched Hits Like 'Dust In The Wind' — Has Died

His wife, Cindy Steinhardt, said he died Saturday at a hospital in Tampa, Florida. She announced on Facebook Monday that he had just recorded his first solo album, and had been looking forward to being back on stage and going on tour.

Steinhardt, a native of Lawrence, Kansas, was an original member of the band, teaming up with Topeka West High School graduates Kerry Livgren, Rich Williams, Phil Ehart and Dave Hope and with Steve Walsh, who grew up in St. Joseph, Missouri. Steinhardt performed with Kansas from 1973 to 1982 and 1997 to 2006, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

The band sold more than 15 million records and notched up seven top 40 hits, including "Dust in the Wind" and "Carry on Wayward Son…"

The violin is an excruciatingly difficult instrument instrument to learn. I remember my nephew tried it during his high school years, and after one try, my sister told him to practice in the back yard, out of ear shot. 

And Steinhardt was a master of it. I remember listening to this song in my 12th year, and Dust in the Wind is a masterpiece. A haunting background with lyrics that make you contemplate life, and your time there.  

Hopefully Beth and I can see Kansas at some point. But it will be missing a big piece. RIP Robby Steinhardt, gone far too soon. A life well lived, you will be missed.

Here is the classic from Kansas, Dust in the Wind. Have a great weekend. 


Monday, July 19, 2021

Officer Down

 





Police Officer Tracy Allen Gaines
 Rockwall Police Department, Texas 
End of Watch Monday, August 3, 2020
Tour 15 years
Military Veteran
Cause COVID19
Incident Date Saturday, July 11, 2020

Police Officer Tracy Gaines died from complications as the result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty while assigned as the SRO at Rockwall High School.

Officer Gaines was a U.S. Air Force veteran and had served with the Rockwall Police Department for 15 years. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

Beginning in early 2020, thousands of law enforcement officers and other first responders throughout the country contracted COVID-19 during the worldwide pandemic due to requirements of their job. Many of these first responders have died as a result of COVID-19, and continue to do so as the virus spreads across the United States.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done,
Gone the sun,
From the lake,
From the hills,
From the sky.
All is well,
Safely rest,
God is nigh.
 

Friday, July 16, 2021

Roll Me Away!

One of my all time favorite musical artist, Bob Seger, and his classic on getting out. As I'm approaching retirement, I look forward to more time on my Harley, riding out and exploring this great county. One of my bucket list items is to ride in all 50 states, and all 10 provinces in Canada. 

I'll cut this short. Gotta get some work done before I get to real work.


 

 Have a great weekend! 

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Happy Independence Day.

I will only have a few hours at home, then back to work. Oh, joy.


In a more serious tone, it is a good day to read the document that led to the founding of the greatest, most exceptional nation on the face of the Earth.

Have a great day and weekend!

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. 
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. 
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. 

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. 

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. 
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. 
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. 
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. 
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. 
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. 
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. 
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power. 
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: 
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: 
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: 
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: 
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: 

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: 
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies: 
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: 
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. 
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. 
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. 

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. 
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. 

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock

Maryland:
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple

Massachusetts:
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott

New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

Friday, July 2, 2021

Independence Day Weekend

Coming into this weekend, I can think of no other song to post on this Friday. Whitney Houston preforming the Star Spangle Banner in 1991. She knocked it out the park!


Have a great long weekend! 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Command. And it’s unpleasant features.

I just finished Volume 2 of Lee’s Lieutenants: A Study in Command by Douglas Freeman. Towards the end, I observed a passage on how General Lee managed to handle the ego of one of his great commanders, JEB Stuart. During the battle of Chancellorsville (May 1963), General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson was mistakenly shot by Confederate soldiers and died a week later. General Stuart, the calvary commander, assumed his command and by all accounts handled the mission well. 

And Stuart knew it. A man who did like to be praised; he was somewhat taken aback when his named was not mentioned enough (in his mind) in the official dispatches. I love this section on how General Lee handled his ego bruised calvary commander:

          In answer to some complaint at lock of mention in dispatches, Lee wrote Stuart:

“In the management of the difficult operations at Chancellorsville, which you so promptly undertook and creditably performed, I saw no error to correct, nor has there been a fiting opportunity to commend your conduct. I prefer your acts to speak for themselves, not does your character or reputation require bolstering by out-of-place expression of opinions.” 

That was flattering and reassuring but it also was a tactful caution against vainglory and self-advertising.

Lee's Lieutenant's: A Study in Command, Volume II, page 692

Beautifully put. A great commander must be able to massage the ego of his subordinates, keeping them going even when he must come down on them. A few weeks after this, General Lee had to counsel  General Stuart on his habit of going off by himself. In the movie Gettysburg, General Lee (played surprisingly well by Martin Sheen) brings in JEB Stuart (Joseph Fuqua), and explains how he failed in the beginning of the battle:

“General Robert E. Lee : General Stuart... your mission was to free this army from the enemy cavalry and report any movement by the enemy's main body. That mission was not fulfilled. You left here with no word of your movement or movement of the enemy for several days. Meanwhile, we were engaged here and drawn into battle without adequate knowledge of the enemy's strength or position, without knowledge of the ground. So it is only by God's grace that we did not meet disaster here.

Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart : General Lee, there were reasons...

General Robert E. Lee : [Lee holds up his hand to silence Stuart]  Perhaps you misunderstood my orders? Perhaps I did not make myself clear. Well, sir... this must be made *very* clear. You, sir, with your cavalry, are the eyes of this army. Without your cavalry, we are made blind. That has already happened once. It must never, *never* happen again.

Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart : [Stuart stares at the floor, then slowly draws his sword in token of his resignation]  Sir... since I no longer hold the General's...

General Robert E. Lee : [suddenly furious, Lee pounds the table with his fist]  I have *told* you, there is no time for that! There is no time!

[he pauses, takes a deep breath, and calms down again] 

General Robert E. Lee : There is another fight comin' tomorrow, and we need you. We need every man, God knows. You must take what I have told you, and learn from it, as a man does.

[he takes Stuart's sword and replaces it in its scabbard] 

General Robert E. Lee : There has been a mistake. It will not happen again; I know your quality. You are one of the finest cavalry officers I have ever known, and your service to this army has been invaluable. Now... let us speak no more of this.

[he turns and slowly walks away, then turns back to Stuart] 

General Robert E. Lee : The matter is concluded. Good night 

Here is the video, better than just the words. But again, a senior commander correcting his subordinate, whom he has not only respect, but affection. A difficult position to be put into, but one any commander must be prepared for. Lee corrected Stuart but left his ego and self-worth intact. Well done sir (Yes, I know it’s from the novel The Killer Angles, but again, well done).


Friday, June 11, 2021

Officer Down


Sergeant Steven Splan
Bloomfield Hills Department of Public Safety, Michigan
End of Watch Sunday, August 2, 2020
Age 46
Tour 15 years
Badge 325
Cause Heart attack

Sergeant Steven Splan suffered a fatal heart attack several hours after cutting and removing a large tree that had fallen onto Bloomfield Hills Parkway east of Woodward Avenue at approximately 12:30 pm.

He returned to the station and was found unresponsive at approximately 11:00 pm.

Sergeant Splan had served with the Bloomfield Hills Police Department for 15 years. He is survived by his wife and four children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Officer Down


Corrections Officer Daniel G. Oaks
Yakima County Department of Corrections, Washington
End of Watch Saturday, August 1, 2020
Age 58
Tour 15 years
Cause COVID19

Corrections Officer Dan Oaks died after contracting COVID-19 during an outbreak among staff and inmates at the Yakima County Jail.

Officer Oaks had served with the Yakima County Department of Corrections for 15 years. He is survived by his wife and two children.

In early 2020, thousands of law enforcement officers and other first responders throughout the country contracted COVID-19 during the worldwide pandemic due to requirements of their job. Many of these first responders died as a result of COVID-19.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Monday, June 7, 2021

Officer Down


Trooper Caleb Starr
Michigan State Police, Michigan
End of Watch Friday, July 31, 2020
Age 33
Tour 1 year, 10 months
Badge 485
Cause Vehicular assault
Incident Date Friday, July 10, 2020
Weapon Automobile; Alcohol involved

Trooper Caleb Starr succumbed to injuries sustained three weeks earlier when his vehicle was struck head-on by an intoxicated driver in Ionia County.

He was traveling west on Grand River Avenue, in Boston Township, responding to a low-priority call when a vehicle crossed the center line and struck his vehicle. He had to be extricated from the vehicle and flown by helicopter to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, in Grand Rapids, where he remained until succumbing to his injuries.

Trooper Starr served with the Michigan State Police for less than two years. He is survived by his wife, and two children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Saturday, June 5, 2021

BBC really needs to learn English

A 60 Minutes host (I think Morley Safer, but I stand to be corrected) told students looking into becoming reporters that one thing they should never major in is journalism. He said he could teach you everything you need to know about journalism in a few months, but major in something that will help you in the endeavor (English comes to mind!). Much like I’ve told countless people wanting to become cops, the last thing to get a degree in is criminal justice. The police academy will teach you what is required, why pay for it. Get something that will make you more marketable, if you will. Accounting, computer science, etc. 

Going back to the comment on English, I got an update from the BBC this morning, "Nations back deal to tax multinationals." Here is the article: 

G7: Rich nations back deal to tax multinationals

The G7 group of advanced economies has reached a "historic" deal to make multinational companies pay more tax.

Finance ministers meeting in London agreed to battle tax avoidance by making companies pay more in the countries where they do business.

They also agreed in principle to a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15% to avoid countries undercutting each other…

Again, the author of this article mistakes something. The nations did not agree to this, but the governments did. One of the greatest quotes from Ronald Reagan, front his first inaugural speech:

We are a nation that has a government -- not the other way around. 

Yes, the people are the nation, and they didn't agree to this. The government's did. Assuming this makes it through the US Senate (a quaint notion, following the constitution, but go with me), it will then be law, no matter what the nation wants. 

Now here is the real funny part:

…The deal announced on Saturday, between the US, the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Italy and Japan, plus the EU, could see billions of dollars flow to governments to pay off debts incurred during the Covid crisis... 

As I've explained countless times, a politician says we will take a dollar from you, use it to some critical task (e.g. roads, bridges, schools, debt). He then spends five dollars on anything but what he said he 

Another amusing part of the propaganda, excuse me, news article:

"...His German counterpart, Olaf Scholz, said it was "very good news for tax justice and solidarity and bad news for tax havens".

"Companies will no longer be in a position to dodge their tax obligations by booking their profits in lowest-tax countries," he said...  

 In the immortal words of Dr. Evil, "Riiight." If Ireland is no longer the lowest taxed nation, Amazon or Apple will use another low tax nation. They simply will need to pay off the politicians (both parties) on this. I'm recalling the 1990s, when Bubba Clinton jacked up taxes on luxury items like yachts. The rich simply got their yachts from overseas, dodging the taxes. When the GOP took over the congress and repealed that, the revenue increased. Something libtards just don't get (or refuse to acknowledge), that 15% of a buck is a lot more than 50% of nothing. 

Friday, June 4, 2021

Summertime!

 It was a miserable 2020, and 2021 has also been challenging, but at least it’s a move upward. On Tuesday-Wednesday I took my Harley on a 2 day ride near the Texas-Mexico border, and it was great to clear my head. I know I need to take some time off when I’m driving around while off duty, see a moron do something stupid, and I reach over to run his plate.

Well, I don’t see Beth and I on a real vacation for a bit, as we’ve both started new jobs. We are planning on attending the Blue Knights International Convention in Ireland in the summer of 2022, and likely will squeeze a short cruise in between then and now.

But I can’t think of a better song to start the vacation season with. I would love the official video, but it’s blocked (Thanks Bruce! :<( ). Here is a decent live version of Girls in their Summer Cloths. Enjoy. And have a great weekend.


Officer Down




Captain Kevin Trahan
Church Point Police Department, Louisiana
End of Watch Friday, July 31, 2020
Age 59
Tour 26 years
Cause COVID19
Incident Date Friday, June 26, 2020

Captain Kevin Trahan died after contracting COVID-19 during a confirmed exposure at the Church Point Police Department building on June 26th.

Captain Trahan had served in law enforcement for 26 years. He had served with the Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office before joining the Church Point Police Department. He is survived by his wife, daughter, two sons, two stepdaughters, grandchildren, and two sisters. His wife also serves with the agency.

In early 2020, thousands of law enforcement officers and other first responders throughout the country contracted COVID-19 during the worldwide pandemic due to requirements of their job. Many of these first responders died as a result of COVID-19.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Officer Down


Sergeant Parnell Guyton
University of Alabama at Birmingham Police Department, Alabama
End of Watch Friday, July 31, 2020
Age 47
Tour 16 years
Cause COVID19
Incident Date Friday, March 27, 2020

Sergeant Parnell Guyton died after contracting COVID-19 in a presumed exposure while on duty.

Sergeant Guyton had served with the University of Alabama at Birmingham Police Department for 16 years. He is survived by his wife and son.

In early 2020, thousands of law enforcement officers and other first responders throughout the country contracted COVID-19 during the worldwide pandemic due to requirements of their job. Many of these first responders died as a result of COVID-19.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Great article on the Arizona audit. One point I’ve found very curious. Democrats have sent around 100 lawyers to stop the audit. If the audit will show nothing wrong, why stop it? Why should the Dems spend a fortune in legal fees to stop an effort that will cost the Republican Party another fortune in legal and other fees.  If there is nothing there, why not, from the Democrats point of view, let the GOP makes fools of themselves in front of the entire nation? 

The wisdom of Ramses (Yul Brynner) come to mind, “Let him speak so men shall know him mad.” If the Democrats truly believe the election was not stolen (But 2016 was), they should be sitting back and enjoying this. 

Elizabeth Vaughn 6/1/2021 5:17 

Reporting from the floor of the Maricopa County, Arizona forensic audit on Tuesday, OANN's Christina Bobb told viewers a delegation from Pennsylvania had arrived on Tuesday and for a tour of the audit on Wednesday.

"They've expressed interest in the Arizona audit and possibly replicating this in Pennsylvania. ... They are getting a behind the scene tour tomorrow. ... They're going to get to hear from the auditors exactly what is happening," Bobb said…

Monday, May 31, 2021

An  excellent column from Max Dribbler in today’s American Free News Network. He is right,it’s not a “happy day,” but a somber commendation.

Makes me recall Lincoln’s finest words, 

“…But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain…”
Here is the first few columns and the link. 

Memorial Day: In Remembrance-Many Gave some, Some Gave All! Never Forget!

Max Dribbler 5/31/2021 12:02 PM

Memorial Day always brings out a bit of the “Grinch” in me. I feel an obligation to inform my circle of influence in the form of friends, relatives, work colleagues and frenemies alike about the origins and purpose of Memorial Day. Over the past decade or so I’ve endeavored to be the “firstest” to send a Memorial Day message to avoid the urge that comes over me- that I can’t ignore- to remind people that Memorial Day is a somber celebration of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. 

There may be BBQs, picnics and days off with family and friends, but it is not a “happy” day: no “Happy Memorial Days” for me…. 

Memorial Day started out as Decoration Day following the Civil War, when on 25 April 1866 a chaplain and local women placed flowers on soldier’s graves at Friendship Cemetery, Columbus, Missouri, to honor the 1600 soldiers who died in the Battle of Shiloh. There was no Blue or Gray distinction made in the tribute, nor rancor felt toward the Union Army that still occupied much of the south. Honoring all soldiers who served and sacrificed was reported locally and widely at a time when the Civil War remained a great source of angst and disagreement…. 

Officer Down


Lieutenant Erik L. Lloyd
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Nevada
End of Watch Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Age 53
Tour 30 years
Cause COVID19

Lieutenant Erik Lloyd died after contracting COVID-19 as the result of a presumed exposure while on duty.

Lieutenant Lloyd had served with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for 30 years and was assigned to the Force Investigation Team. He is survived by his wife, two children, five grandchildren, and parents.

In early 2020, thousands of law enforcement officers and other first responders throughout the country contracted COVID-19 during the worldwide pandemic due to requirements of their job. Many of these first responders died as a result of COVID-19.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Friday, May 28, 2021

Officer Down


Special Agent John Bost, III
United States Department of Justice - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Government
End of Watch Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Tour 20 years
Cause Gunfire (Inadvertent)

Special Agent John Bost was killed as the result of an accidental discharge of a rifle inside of the Kīhei police station in Maui, Hawaii.

Special Agent Bost had served with the ATF for 15 years and had previously served with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, North Carolina, for five years. He is survived by his parents.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Officer Down


Corrections Officer V Eric Johnson
Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Institutional Division, Texas
End of Watch Monday, July 27, 2020
Age 37
Tour 18 years
Cause COVID19
Incident Date Sunday, July 26, 2020

Corrections Officer V Eric Johnson died after contracting COVID-19 during an outbreak among staff and inmates at the Byrd Unit in Huntsville, Texas.

Officer Johnson had served with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for 18 years. He is survived by his wife, four children, and parents. His wife, father, and stepmother also work for the agency.

In early 2020, thousands of law enforcement officers and other first responders throughout the country contracted COVID-19 during the worldwide pandemic due to requirements of their job. Many of these first responders died as a result of COVID-19.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Officer Down


Corrections Officer IV Ruben Martinez
Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Institutional Division, Texas
End of Watch Sunday, July 26, 2020
Age 48
Tour 2 years
Cause COVID19
Incident Date Monday, July 13, 2020

Corrections Officer IV Ruben Martinez died after contracting COVID-19 during an outbreak among staff and inmates at the Lopez State Jail.

Officer Martinez had served with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for two years. He is survived by his three children.

In early 2020, thousands of law enforcement officers and other first responders throughout the country contracted COVID-19 during the worldwide pandemic due to requirements of their job. Many of these first responders died as a result of COVID-19.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

What's Going On In The World Today 210524

 HYPERLINKS MAY REQUIRE AN EMAIL OR SUBSCRIPTION:

 

USA






 

AFRICA

 

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

 

ASIA

 

Nagorno-Karabakh Is Moscow’s Latest Frozen Conflict

Russian peacekeepers have radically reshaped the region.

Dadivank, a beautiful Armenian monastery in the Kalbajar region of Azerbaijan, could be the world’s most fortified church: Its ancient ramparts bristle with sandbags and gun emplacements, and cloisters have been turned into an army barracks. Just six months ago, Armenian pilgrims could worship here freely and in peace. Now, the only way to visit is with a Russian army escort that leaves twice a month from Stepanakert, the regional capital of what remains of the self-declared Republic of Artsakh, an Armenian breakaway region that controls just over two-thirds of Nagorno-Karabakh. The fate of this 12th-century monastery has become a flash point for the conflict over Armenian cultural heritage in land recently retaken by Azerbaijan.

As we stood in the courtyard of Dadivank after a recent Sunday service, Narik, my Armenian escort, pointed to the remains of an old water tower on a hill above us. “There is an Azerbaijani outpost right over there,” he said. “Careful, I bet they’ve got their rifles trained on us as we speak,” he added, a touch dramatically. 

As one drives into Stepanakert itself, a billboard with a stony-faced portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin glowers down. It reads “Man of the Year,” and the locals mean it seriously. The inhabitants of Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh regard Moscow as their last protector. Russia, for its part, has been increasingly cutting off and controlling the breakaway state, leaving Armenia more and more powerless in the region. 

Last month, the world’s attention was focused on Russia’s troop buildup on the border with Ukraine. But while international attention was distracted by what now seems to have been a fakeout, Russia was quietly consolidating control of another restive region in its environs: Nagorno-Karabakh.

The long-simmering conflict that erupted over the disputed region of Nagorno Karabakh in September 2020 was a disaster for Armenia. Outside of significant loss of life—as many as 8,000 soldiers on both sides perished—Yerevan was forced to relinquish around a third of Nagorno-Karabakh in addition to seven Azerbaijani regions it had controlled since the first war over the enclave in the early 1990s. The Russian-brokered cease-fire that ended the latest skirmish mandated that a contingent of around 2,000 Russian peacekeepers control the new line of contact in the region…

 

Russia offers to help mediate in Armenia-Azerbaijan border row

 

Russia said on Wednesday it had offered to help mediate demarcation negotiations after Armenia accused Azerbaijan of a border incursion.

Armenia has accused Azerbaijan of sending troops across the border last week, highlighting the fragility of a Russian-brokered ceasefire that halted six weeks of fighting between ethnic Armenian and Azeri forces last year. read more  

Azerbaijan has denied crossing the frontier and said its forces only defended their side. But Armenia said on Friday that Azerbaijan had failed to fulfil a promise to withdraw troops that had crossed the border. read more  

"Russia has offered first of all to provide assistance with the delimitation and demarcation of the border," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters during a visit to Tajikistan…

Myanmar: U.N. General Assembly to Consider Arms Embargo

What Happened: The U.N. General Assembly announced it will consider May 18 a non-binding resolution to immediately suspend weapons sales to Myanmar’s military government, the South China Morning Post has reported. 

Why It Matters: The non-binding nature of the U.N. resolution and the robust military capabilities of the Tatmadaw mean the arms embargo will have little tangible impact on Myanmar’s ongoing post-coup crisis. However, the vote could once again put China in the position of having to mobilize against a resolution in the United Nations to defend its position as a friendly nation to Myanmar’s military government at a time when Beijing is also working to position itself as a neutral global leader amid the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Background: Myanmar’s government was overthrown in a Feb. 4 military coup, which has since caused considerable instability. The military’s violent crackdown on the opposition has so far killed hundreds of protesters and continues to draw international condemnation.

 

 

EUROPE

 

Norway to allow U.S. military to build on its soil in new accord

April 16, 20216:45 AM CDT

Norway, which shares a short border with giant neighbour Russia, said on Friday it has signed a revised agreement with the United States on how to regulate U.S. military activity on its soil. 

The agreement between the two NATO allies will let the U.S. build facilities at three Norwegian airfields and one naval base, but will not amount to separate U.S. bases, the government said. 

The deal made by the minority government of Prime Minister Erna Solberg must be ratified by Norway's parliament before coming into force. 

"The agreement regulates and facilitates U.S. presence, training and exercises in Norway, thus facilitating rapid U.S. reinforcement of Norway in the event of crisis or war," the government said… 

USS New Mexico docks in Tromsø as Norway, US bolster Arctic military ties

 

“We have been working hard with the preparedness and monitoring ahead of this port call,” said Inger Margrethe Eikelmann, head of the regional department of Norway’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (DSA)... 

 

 ...US nuclear-powered submarines have over the last few years increased sailings in the north. Crew change and supply arrangements have until now been arranged in the fjords outside Troms in northern Norway. On Monday, however, the first docking took place, as the “USS New Mexico” came to Tønsnes municipal harbor some 10 kilometers north of Tromsø city center...

 

Germany detains suspects for stoning synagogue, burning Israeli flags

German police have detained more than a dozen men in three cities suspected of damaging a synagogue with stones, burning Israeli flags and starting a fire at a memorial for a Jewish house of prayer destroyed during the Nazi pogroms of 1938.

German politicians on Wednesday condemned the three separate incidents as anti-Semitic attacks, which coincided with escalating cross-border violence between the Israeli military and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. 

Police said three men in their early 20s were detained on Tuesday night and released after admitting to throwing stones at the window of a synagogue in the city of Bonn and burning an Israeli flag. 

The suspects told police the Gaza-Israel violence had motivated them to throw stones at a synagogue…

 

 

NORTH/SOUTH AMERICA

 

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

 

 

AFGHANISTAN

 



 

 

Afghanistan’s Geography, 20 Years After the U.S. Invasion

 Geography and history have left Afghanistan a fractured landscape, the contours of which are re-emerging as the United States withdraws from its 20-year engagement. Landlocked in Central Asia, Afghanistan has a history of being a geographically fragmented nation with an equally fragmented society, with concentrations of ethnic, sectarian and clan affiliations that have long shaped the Afghan context. After the U.S.-backed invasion in 2001, the country’s otherwise warring populace was temporarily brought together through a newly established Afghan government backed by the U.S.-led coalition. However, Washington’s latest decision to end its 20-year occupation threatens to tear the delicate threads preventing the country from once again descending into civil war… 

 

Inside Washington’s Fight to Save Afghans Who Saved Americans

Afghan interpreters were promised U.S. visas. Now, red tape may cost them their lives.

In 1975, as the United States was hastily extricating itself from the Vietnam War, a junior U.S. senator gave a speech arguing against offering lifelines to Vietnamese allies as South Vietnam teetered on the precipice. 

“The United States has no obligation to evacuate one, or 100,001, South Vietnamese,” then-Sen. Joe Biden said. 

Now, as U.S. troops hastily withdraw from Afghanistan after two decades of war, President Joe Biden faces another major moral inflection point in U.S. foreign policy: Will Washington save the lives of Afghans who worked with the American military?

It’s a race against the clock and a battle against bureaucratic red tape, with life-or-death implications for thousands of interpreters and other Afghans who helped U.S. and coalition troops in exchange for visas to the United States. It is fueled by the specter of a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan after U.S. troops withdraw and by a grim and growing death toll of Afghan interpreters who have been targeted by militants while awaiting their long-promised visas. 

The question over special visas for these Afghans has sparked a major political dust-up in Washington, with a growing chorus of lawmakers and U.S. veterans ratcheting up pressure on the Biden administration to take action. How the Biden administration makes—or breaks—promises to Afghan interpreters will have a major impact on the Afghanistan chapter of U.S. history, these lawmakers and advocacy groups argue…

 

Taliban and Afghan government negotiators meet in Doha

 

Taliban and Afghan government negotiators met in Qatar on Friday, the second day of a three-day ceasefire announced by the Taliban for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, both sides said after a long pause in peace talks between the two. ... "The two sides discussed the on-going situation of the country and emphasised speeding up the peace talks in Doha," the negotiating team representing the Afghan government said on Twitter.

 

Afghan police say Kabul mosque bombing kills 12 worshippers

 

A bomb ripped through a mosque in northern Kabul during Friday prayers, killing 12 worshippers, and wounding 15, Afghan police said. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, the latest in a surge in violence as U.S. and NATO troops have begun their final withdrawal from the country, after 20 years of war. According to Afghan police spokesman ... the bomb exploded as prayers had begun. The mosque’s imam, Mofti Noman, was among the dead, the spokesman said and added that the initial police investigation suggests the imam may have been the target.... 

Afghanistan withdrawal up to 20 percent done

 

The U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan is up to 20 percent complete with a little less than four months left in the effort, the Pentagon announced Tuesday. U.S. forces have shipped out approximately 115 C-17 loads of equipment out of the country, turned over more than 5,000 pieces of equipment to the Defense Logistics Agency to be destroyed, and officially handed over five facilities to the Afghan Ministry of Defense, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

 

CHINA

 

China increases spending 500% to influence America

 

New foreign-agent filings are finally detailing a massive Beijing propaganda operation that's fueled a sixfold increase in disclosed Chinese foreign influence efforts in the United States in recent years. Why it matters: Propaganda is central to China fulfilling its geopolitical aspirations, and its efforts to sow discord and disinformation in the U.S. have very real consequences for the American business, political and social climates.... State-run Chinese news service Xinhua is the latest to reveal some of the inner workings of its U.S. operations.

 

China rolls out rocket for Tianzhou-2 space station supply mission

 

China is set to launch the Tianzhou-2 space station cargo mission this week after rollout of a Long March 7 rocket at Wenchang spaceport. Rollout took place late May 15 Eastern (May 16 local time) at the coastal Wenchang satellite launch center... The roughly 13-metric-ton Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft will head to low Earth orbit to rendezvous and dock with China’s Tianhe space station core module. Tianzhou-2 will transfer propellant to Tianhe for maintaining its orbit and also deliver supplies to support crewed future missions.

 

Concerns grow over China nuclear reactors shrouded in mystery

 

Like many of the over 5,000 small islands dotting China’s coastline, the islet of Changbiao is unremarkable in its history and geography. Jutting out from the shoreline of Fujian province like a small right-footed footprint, it has only gained recognition recently – and even then among a small handful of experts – for being home to China’s first two CFR-600 sodium-cooled fast- neutron nuclear reactors. Currently under construction, the first of the two reactors is expected to connect to the grid in 2023; the second one around 2026. Together they will produce non-fossil- fuel-based renewable energy that could help China secure its energy needs while at the same time moving the country towards its 2060 carbon-neutral goal. 

China’s navy in live-fire drills across three theatre commands, hinting at moves to counter US

 

PLA Navy fleets attached to three of the Chinese military’s theatre commands have staged separate live-fire drills in recent days, state media reported. It [is] the second such drills in just over a month, with observers seeing the exercises as part of efforts to counter US military challenges. State broadcaster CCTV reported on Monday that the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern, Northern and Southern Theatre Commands held military exercises as part of “a comprehensive test of the overall operational capability of a naval formation in the context of actual combat”. It did not specify when and where the drills were carried out.

 

IRAN

 

Agreement on restoring Iran’s nuclear deal ‘within reach’

Negotiators hope next round of talks in Vienna will lead to US lifting sanctions and Iran returning to full compliance.

Tehran, Iran – At the end of two more weeks of negotiations, representatives of world powers party to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal appear more certain that work to restore the landmark accord will soon succeed.

The fourth round of talks in Vienna began earlier in May, three years after former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), imposing strict sanctions on Iran.

Following a Joint Commission meeting on Wednesday between Iran, China, Russia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Union at the Grand Hotel – with the US still in another hotel – negotiators expressed optimism…

Iran has enriched uranium to up to 63% purity, IAEA says

 

"Fluctuations" at Iran's Natanz plant pushed the purity to which it enriched uranium to 63%, higher than the announced 60% that complicated talks to revive its nuclear deal with world powers, a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Tuesday. Iran made the shift to 60%, a big step towards nuclear weapons-grade from the 20% previously achieved, last month in response to an explosion and power cut at Natanz that Tehran has blamed on Israel and appears to have damaged its enrichment output at a larger, underground facility there.

 

Iranian Kurd dissident sets himself ablaze in Iraq

 

An Iranian Kurd seeking asylum in Iraq doused himself in fuel and set himself alight Tuesday near United Nations offices in protest against living conditions. Medics in Arbil treating Mohammad Mahmoudi, 27, said he was in a critical condition. Before setting himself on fire, Mahmoudi was filmed on a video posted on social media saying he had fled Iran because he was a critic of authorities in Tehran…

Two main contenders sign up for Iran's presidential election

May 15, 202111:03 AM CDT

 

Two of the main contenders to become Iran's president, hardline judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi and former parliament speaker Ali Larijani, registered on Saturday to run in next month's election.

The June 18 election to succeed President Hassan Rouhani is seen as a test of the legitimacy of the country's clerical rulers who are hoping for a high turnout. Rouhani is barred by term limits from running again.

But voter interest may be hit by rising discontent over an economy that has been crippled by U.S. sanctions reimposed after Washington exited a nuclear deal between Iran and major powers three years ago.

Raisi is a 60-year-old mid-ranking cleric in Iran’s Shi’ite Muslim establishment. Appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as head of the judiciary in March 2019, he has emerged as one of the country's most powerful figures and a contender to succeed Khamenei…


IRAQ

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

 

 

ISRAEL

 

Why Biden Can’t End Israel’s War With Hamas

There’s only one long-term solution to the conflict—and neither side is interested.

Impossible problems tend to inspire outlandish solutions. The Israel-Palestine conflict is a case in point: Just consider the Uganda Scheme(the early-1900s proposal to create a Jewish homeland in Africa) or former political advisor Jared Kushner’s more recent but equally absurd attempt to buy off the Palestinians with a little cash.

The Biden administration should keep the history of such gambits—and the fact that all of them failed—in mind this week as pressure mounts to intervene in the fighting. It’s easy to understand why leaders around the world want the United States to do something: The skirmish between Israel and Hamas has already killed more than 227 Palestinians and 12 Israelis, trashed Gaza’s decrepit infrastructure, sparked the country’s worst intercommunal violence since the 1930s, and torpedoed the formation of a historic Israeli left-right-Arab governing coalition to replace Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following the recent election. Horrible as the situation is, however, getting too involved now would still be a mistake for Washington. While the two sides can be convinced to hit pause, there’s only one way to actually solve their fundamental dispute: a two-state solution. And that’s not in the cards anytime soon. 

The notion that a two-state solution—the creation of an actual, viable country called Palestine alongside a physically secure Israel—is the only way to finally resolve this very long, very bloody conflict may seem obvious. But it bears restating because it’s a truth all key leaders—in Israel, the United States, the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the broader Arab world—have recently forgotten or simply ignored…

 

KOREAN PENINSULA

 

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

 

 

RUSSIA

 

Did The West Promise Moscow That NATO Would Not Expand? Well, It's Complicated.

Some myths go back millennia. 

This myth, if it is one, goes back to 1990 -- and just over three decades later, it continues to form a central grievance in Russian President Vladimir Putin's testy narrative about Moscow's ties with the West. 

It's the question of NATO expansion -- an unhealed scab that, with Russian-Western relations at their lowest ebb since the Cold War, has been picked off yet again and is now bleeding into public view. 

Casting the issue into the spotlight this time was not an angry tirade from Putin but a report by the London-based think tank Chatham House, which, in a May 13 publication, aimed to dispel a host of what it called "myths and misperceptions" that have shaped Western thinking and kept it from establishing "a stable and manageable relationship with Moscow." 

One "myth" in particular kicked off a furious debate in e-mail threads, chat rooms, listservs, and on Twitter: "Russia was promised that NATO would not enlarge."

"The U.S.S.R. was never offered a formal guarantee on the limits of NATO expansion post-1990," John Lough, the research associate who authored the section, wrote. "Moscow merely distorts history to help preserve an anti-Western consensus at home..." 

Russia's northernmost base projects its power across Arctic

 

During the Cold War, Russia's Nagurskoye airbase was little more than a runway, a weather station and a communications outpost in the Franz Josef Land archipelago. It was a remote and desolate home mostly for polar bears, where temperatures plunge in winter to minus-42 Celsius (43 degrees below zero Fahrenheit) and the snow only disappears from August to mid- September. Now, Russia's northernmost military base is bristling with missiles and radar and its extended runway can handle all types of aircraft, including nuclear-capable strategic bombers, projecting Moscow's power and influence across the Arctic amid intensifying international competition for the region's vast resources.

 

Putin’s Shadow Warriors Stake Claim to Syria’s Oil

Companies linked to the Wagner group are snapping up oil and gas leases—with an eye to pumping influence, not oil.

A Russian company that recently struck a deal with the Syrian government for offshore oil and gas exploration is part of a network of companies that make up the shadowy Russian mercenary group known as Wagner, which has played a pivotal role in Moscow’s destabilizing activities around the world, according to emails and company records seen by Foreign Policy. 

The deal with the previously unknown Russian company Kapital, which was ratified by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in March, will theoretically see the Russian company explore for oil and gas in a 2,250-square-kilometer area off the coast of southern Syria. It threatens to cause a dispute with neighboring Lebanon, which has argued the area includes some of its waters. 

The deal comes as Moscow seeks to entrench its strategic foothold in Syria and, by extension, further expand its reach in the Eastern Mediterranean. It also underscores how Moscow continues to outsource its trickier foreign-policy objectives to private military contractors who offer a low-risk and versatile means of intervening around the globe while maintaining a thin veneer of plausible deniability. Best known for their mercenary activity, which spans the world from Sudan to Ukraine to Venezuela, Wagner operatives have also sought to exploit lucrative natural resource reserves in fragile states… 

 

MIDDLE EAST GENERAL

 

Despite the Cease-Fire, Gaza Remains Primed for Another War

Israel and Gaza militants may have agreed to end their latest flare-up, but without a political solution to the greater Palestinian-Israeli conflict, grassroots violence and miscalculations by factions on both sides could still escalate into another war.  

On May 20, Israel and Gazan militants approved a cease-fire ending over a week of fighting after a military escalation erupted on May 10. The latest flare-up saw unrest in the West Bank and Jewish-Arab communities in Israel, as grassroots anger spread beyond the more traditional conflict zone along the Gaza-Israeli border. But as Gaza and Israel return to an unstable detente, anchored by a mutual desire to avoid an expensive conflict and held together by aid-for-peace arrangement, the underlying social drivers of another war are already in play.

  • Significant social unrest broke out in reaction to the Gaza conflict as far-right and ultranationalist Jews and Israeli Arabs clashed and rioted across the country in communities like Lod outside of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Tiberias, Acre and Beersheba. The fighting had no national leadership and was organized largely on social media.   
  • The conflict was sparked after Palestinian protesters in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem were forcefully cleared by Israeli police May 8-9. The police action provoked outrage throughout the Muslim world and was cited by Hamas as the rationale for the rocket and missile attacks on Jerusalem that followed… 

 

CYBER ISSUES

 

Suspected Pakistani spies use catfishing, stealthy hacking tools to target Indian defense sector

 

... Over the last 18 months, a spying group known as Transparent Tribe has expanded its use of a hacking tool capable of stealing data and taking screenshots from computers, according to research published Thursday by Talos, Cisco’s threat intelligence unit. Hackers also are going after additional targets beyond Indian military personnel, including defense contractors and attendees of Indian government-sponsored conferences. Talos did not mention Pakistan in its research, but multiple security researchers told CyberScoop the Transparent Tribe group is suspected of operating on behalf of the Pakistani government. Similarly, research from email security firm Proofpoint has previously linked a Pakistan-based company to the development of the group’s malicious code. Talos’ findings reflect a relentless appetite for defense-related secrets among hacking groups with suspected links to Pakistan and India, two nuclear-armed neighbors prone to territorial disputes

 

INTEL/ESPIONAGE/SPYING GENERAL

 

Ex-Army Green Beret gets 15 years for Russian espionage

 

A former Army Green Beret who admitted divulging military secrets to Russia over a 15- year period was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison Friday on espionage charges. The sentence of 15 years and 8 months imposed on Peter Dzibinski Debbins, 46, of Gainesville, Virginia ... largely in line with the 17-year term sought by prosecutors. Defense lawyers sought a 5-year term. Debbins’ lawyer, David Benowitz, argued that Debbins caused minimal damage and that Russian agents had blackmailed Debbins by threatening to expose his same-sex attractions in a military era in which “don’t ask, don’t tell” was still in force....

 

Britain Sets Out Plans to Crack Down on Spying by Foreign States

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain set out plans to crack down on hostile activity by foreign states on Tuesday, introducing a proposed law to give security services and law enforcement new powers to tackle growing threats.

The bill will haul legislation into the modern age, updating archaic official secrets acts, some dating back more than hundred years, so that they are relevant to the threats posed in the age of cyber warfare, the government said…

 

 

TERRORISM

 

DOJ: Cleveland man found guilty for plot to kidnap, possibly kill law enforcement to 'start an uprising'

CLEVELAND — A Cleveland man was found guilty for his plot to kidnap and attack law enforcement officers "in order to start an uprising." 

Christian Ferguson, 21, was found guilty by a federal jury of two counts of attempted kidnapping. 

In April 2020, the FBI received a complaint from a civilian regarding several "violent and extremist" posts in an online chatroom by an individual, later identified as Ferguson... 

Germany carries out raids on Hezbollah-linked groups

The three groups have been banned for allegedly collecting money for the families of Hezbollah fighters. The Lebanese militants have been active opponents of Israel.

 

Germany's Interior Ministry has outlawed three organizations accused of collecting money for the militant Iran-backed movement Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Bans against German Lebanese Family, People for Peace and Give Peace came into effect on Wednesday, but had already been pronounced in mid-April.

Police also conducted early morning raids at locations across seven German states, including Hamburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Rhineland Palatinate.

"Those who support terrorism will not be safe in Germany, regardless of the garb in which their supporters appear, they will not find a place of retreat in our country," Interior Minister Horst Seehofer's spokesman said…

 

 

MISC

 

Russia's northernmost base projects its power across Arctic




 

An officer speaks on walkie-talkie as the Bastion anti-ship missile systems take position...

 

 

During the Cold War, Russia's Nagurskoye airbase was little more than a runway, a weather station and a communications outpost in the Franz Josef Land archipelago. It was a remote and desolate home mostly for polar bears, where temperatures plunge in winter to minus-42 Celsius (43 degrees below zero Fahrenheit) and the snow only disappears from August to mid- September. Now, Russia's northernmost military base is bristling with missiles and radar and its extended runway can handle all types of aircraft, including nuclear-capable strategic bombers, projecting Moscow's power and influence across the Arctic amid intensifying international competition for the region's vast resources...