North Korea Missile Test
Nork Bomb Bombs
Thanks to A.F. Branco at Legal Insurrection for another great cartoon
Thanks to A.F. Branco at Legal Insurrection for another great cartoon
Herbert E. Meyer
Founder and President, Storm King Press
Herbert E. Meyer, founder and president of Storm King Press, served during the Reagan Administration as Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council. A recipient of the U.S. National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, his articles and essays on intelligence have been published in several major newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of several books, including Real-World Intelligence and Hard Thinking; two eBooks, How to Analyze Information and The Cure for Poverty; and a recent booklet, Why is the World So Dangerous.
So why has our intelligence service suffered so many failures during the last decade or so, losing the trust of so many? Because it’s been run by career bureaucrats and administrators who rose to the top by managing intelligence rather than actually doing it. That’s like putting an airline executive with an MBA and a law degree into the cockpit of a jumbo jet.
And like bureaucrats and administrators everywhere, our recent intelligence chiefs focused on structure rather than on people. Of course all organizations, including intelligence services, need the proper structure. But especially in an intelligence service, good structure is worthless without the right people—in this case world-class analysts who are deeply knowledgeable about the Mideast, China, Russia, terrorism, and all the rest.
Make a list of our country’s leading experts on these subjects. How many of them have held top-level jobs in our intelligence service during the last dozen or so years? How often have the leaders of our intelligence service reached out to these people to seek their advice? The correct answers are: none and rarely.
We are still in the early days of the Trump administration, but to borrow an overused Washington cliché, we should be cautiously optimistic about the future of our intelligence service. Neither Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats nor Director of Central Intelligence Mike Pompeo are professional bureaucrats. They’ve built their careers on substance rather than on management. Each of them has proven he can talk about the key issues that confront us with an impressive level of personal knowledge and insight. Each is capable of actually doing intelligence rather than merely overseeing it.
This will require restoring the correct balance between collection and analysis. Obviously, collecting information is crucially important work. Collecting information through technology—satellites, intercepts, and so forth—is intense to the point of exhaustion. Collecting information through espionage is dangerous and sometimes fatal. All of us owe these collectors a huge debt of gratitude. What they need now is guidance from the top—a clear sense of what to look for, rather than just being told to sweep in whatever information they can in hopes it will prove useful.
Turning this raw material into first-rate intelligence will require the active participation of our country’s best geo-strategic experts in think tanks, universities, corporations, and increasingly the blogosphere. Directors Coats and Pompeo should recruit the ones they can, and be in close touch with the others. This doesn’t mean agreeing with everything these experts say and write. It means listening to them and blending their information and insights with what’s been gathered covertly, in order to reach the clearest, most accurate conclusions about what’s happening now and what’s likely to happen in the future.
Finally, Coats and Pompeo will need to do the one thing their recent predecessors didn’t do, either because they didn’t recognize the need to do it or didn’t have the ability. They will need to set aside time—quite a bit of time—to sit quietly in their offices and think. Their objective must be to paint an accurate picture of what’s going on in the world and of what’s likely to happen in the future. If they can do this, President Trump and his national security team will have what they need to see America safely through today’s global turbulence: radar.
This is how it was during the Reagan administration, because everyone from the President on down knew perfectly well that the intelligence official who not only had read the final version of an Estimate and signed off on it—but also played a major role in writing it—was the CIA director himself. Like every other member of the cabinet, Bill Casey was a busy man. But to Casey, being in charge of our intelligence service meant more than merely being its top administrator and dealing with budgets and bureaucracies. It meant that he himself was our country’s top intelligence analyst. When the final draft of an Estimate landed on his desk—more precisely, when I walked into his office and handed it to him—Casey would take that draft, pick up a pen and a yellow legal pad, and go through it word by word.
Sometimes he made a change that clarified a sentence. Other times he asked a question that forced us to go back and re-think what we’d written. When that happened, we either changed the draft or asked to meet with Casey to try and persuade him that the original version was better. He would listen and then make his decision. All of us who worked closely with Bill Casey—he insisted that everyone, including the CIA’s most junior analysts, call him Bill—were astounded by the amount of time he devoted to getting the final draft of an Estimate, or the final version of the President’s Daily Brief, just right. He did this by sitting quietly in his office, reading, writing, and—something that so few officials in Washington, D.C. set aside the time to do—thinking.
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Dogs bark, but the wagons roll on. ~Louis L’Amour
by Neil Munro
The Department of Justice is committed to stopping female genital mutilation in this country, and will use the full power of the law to ensure that no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse,” the acting Assistant Attorney General of the justice department’s criminal division, Kenneth Blanco, said April 13.
And, that is how asylum is supposed to work.
Anyone who meets the legal definition of a refugee*** is supposed to seek asylum in the first safe country they reach—
Culture Wars Warning!
Freedom to choose. That’s what the War in Heaven was all about. We couldn’t afford to lose agency then, and we can’t afford to lose it now. And that includes the freedom to “worship how, where, or what [we] may” (Articles of Faith 1:11). That’s why the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination [as for a Mormon]; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 345).
In addition to maintaining religious freedom as an eternal principle (even God will not remove the agency of any of His children), there are some potentially severe consequences if we lose the freedom to worship, speak, and live according to our beliefs.
Heritage Foundation Report:
Thanks to A.F. Branco at Legal Insurrection for another great cartoon
The focused and punitive strike in Syria last week sent a powerful message to the world that Bashar Assad’s behavior was unacceptable. It’s clear there is now a decisive leader in the White House. But this message alone is not a solution to the Syrian civil war. Russia and Iran must stop enabling Assad’s brutality. The main focus of U.S. operations must remain the defeat of ISIS and helping Iraq stabilize and secure its borders.
James Phillips, senior research fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at Heritage, says the Trump administration “should remain focused on the key problem at hand—Assad’s chemical weapons threat—and not seek to expand the military mission to include regime change. That kind of mission creep would bog down U.S. military forces in Syria for years, fighting not only the Assad regime, but Hezbollah, Iran, and possibly Russia. Regime change is a bridge too far.” Read more from Phillips on the recent strike and his report on how to improve U.S.-Syria policy.
Syria and Israel News:
Since 2013, Israeli doctors and nurses have treated more than 3,000 Syrians wounded in the bloody six-year civil war that has ravaged the country, killed some 400,000 people and caused a refugee crisis throughout Europe.
And, if some top officials in the Jewish state have their way, that’s just a start.
As the fighting heats up and with the recent sarin gas attack that killed more than 100 civilians in mind, not to mention a U.S. Tomahawk missile strike, Israeli hospitals are preparing for many more casualties.
Some of the patients are saying their treatment has changed their minds about Israel.
Dr. Salman Zarka, director of the Ziv Medical Center in the northern Israeli town of Safed and a former colonel in the medical corps who served on the Syrian border, says he “couldn’t then have imagined setting up a humanitarian program for Syrians.” Now his hospital has delivered 19 Syrian babies and sends prescriptions with patients back to their homeland.
Check out today the itinerary for the 2017 WND Israel tour, coming up this fall, or call the tour hosts at Coral Tours – (866) 267-2511 – for all the details.
“All this makes it more human, more complicated,” Zarka said, adding that he worries about patients he knows on a first name-basis who have returned to Syria.
Israel is now running regular medical rescue missions in response to attacks in Syria. For the more serious injuries, helicopters are dispatched for airlifts.
“We check their breathing, their pulse, their blood pressure – all their vital signs,” Lt. Omri Caspi, a medical officer told the Associated Press. “We take a look at their injuries, we saw the cuts, we checked the chest, the heads, everything, and then we decide which treatment they need.”
In 1967, Israel captured much of the Golan Heights, which had been occupied by Syria, and the mountains provide the Jewish state with a bird’s-eye view of the fighting between Russian, Iranian, Syrian and Hezbollah forces battling ISIS and other anti-Syrian government forces.
Two Syrian patients shared their experiences in Syria and Israel with the Associated Press as soldiers from the Israeli military supervised. The two spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear they or their families would be targeted in Syria if their stay in Israel is made public.
Both young men praised the Israeli people and government while lambasting Bashar Assad and his supporters. They said that as patients have returned to Syria from Israel, word has slowly spread that Israel can help those desperately wounded. The medical care is free of charge. The hospital said it doesn’t discriminate when it comes to admittance, and insists it doesn’t collect personal patient information.
One patient, a 26-year old from Deraa, said he couldn’t find treatment in Syria’s devastated medical sector, so he made his way to Israel, a nation he was raised to hate.
“Back then when there were no incidents in Syria, no revolution, no nothing – the greatest enemy in the world was Israel. It was the first enemy,” he said.
His fellow patient used the pseudonym “Baibars.” A bomb crushed bones in his face, an injury that without medical help festered until he struggled to open his mouth. After 40 days in the Ziv hospital and many surgeries later, the 25-year-old now talks incessantly and even sings about lost love – in addition to praising for Israeli pastries.
“We reached countries that my grandparents did not reach and met good people,” he crooned through a jaw yet to fully healed. From his hospital room, he can see into Syria and counts among his enemies there Assad, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, but not Israel.
“The regime has used chemical weapons since the beginning of the war,” Baibars says, referring to alleged attacks in East Ghouta and Dharaya.
“We were just trying to defend ourselves. The future of Syria has no Bashar Assad,” Baibars says. “Israel is not the enemy. Bashar is the enemy.”
“The Miracle of Israel,” narrated by the late Leonard Nimoy, reveals the story of the only nation in the history of the world that has maintained a national identity without a homeland – and did it for centuries.
Last week Jewish Home Minister Uri Ariel said he would like to see Israel doing more to aid the afflicted people of Syria.
“After we have all seen the inhuman events in Syria, I would like to say that while the state of Israel should not intervene militarily in Syria, it must lead the treatment of Syrian civilians and refugees and lead on the diplomatic avenue against the murderous Syrian regime,” he said. “We do not have the privilege to ignore this difficult reality, we must lead the world, as those who bear the human flag, as the people chosen by the Holy One, blessed be He.”
Meanwhile, Israel Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon strongly condemned the chemical weapons attack in the Idlib province, calling it “evil incarnate.”
He called on the U.N. Security Council to “use all its authority to put an end to the situation in Syria.”
Thanks to A.F. Branco at Legal Insurrection for another brilliant cartoon
When I was in college 40 years ago, all science was conducted using the scientific method. It was a matter of integrity. Now everything is based on political opinion. Most so-called scientists don’t even know what the scientific method is. ~C.D
Professor Armstrong, who co-founded the peer-reviewed Journal of Forecasting in 1982 and the International Journal of Forecasting in 1985, made the claim in a presentation about what he considers to be “alarmism” from forecasters over man-made climate change.
“We also go through journals and rate how well they conform to the scientific method. I used to think that maybe 10 percent of papers in my field … were maybe useful. Now it looks like maybe, one tenth of one percent follow the scientific method” said Armstrong in his presentation, which can be watched in full below. “People just don’t do it.”
Armstrong defined eight criteria for compliance with the scientific method, including full disclosure of methods, data, and other reliable information, conclusions that are consistent with the evidence, valid and simple methods, and valid and reliable data.
Digging deeper into their motivations, Armstrong pointed to the wealth of incentives for publishing papers with politically convenient rather than scientific conclusions.
“They’re rewarded for doing non-scientific research. One of my favourite examples is testing statistical significance – that’s invalid. It’s been over 100 years we’ve been fighting the fight against that. Even its inventor thought it wasn’t going to amount to anything. You can be rewarded then, for following an invalid [method].”
“They cheat. If you don’t get statistically significant results, then you throw out variables, add variables, [and] eventually you get what you want.”
“My big thing is advocacy. People are asked to come up with certain answers, and in our whole field that’s been a general movement ever since I’ve been here, and it just gets worse every year. And the reason is funded research.”
“I’ve [gone through] my whole career, with lots of publications, and I’ve never gotten a research grant. And I’m proud of that now.”
According to Armstrong, very little of the forecasting in climate change debate adheres to these criteria. “For example, for disclosure, we were working on polar bear [population] forecasts, and we were asked to review the government’s polar bear forecast. We asked, ‘could you send us the data’ and they said ‘No’… So we had to do it without knowing what the data were.”
According to Armstrong, forecasts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) violate all eight criteria.
“Why is this all happening? Nobody asks them!” said Armstrong, who says that people who submit papers to journals are not required to follow the scientific method. “You send something to a journal and they don’t tell you what you have to do. They don’t say ‘here’s what science is, here’s how to do it.’”