Training? Or Worldview? Why did a Minneapolis Cop with a Somali heritage shoot a Caucasian woman from Australia?

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By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium

 

Don Damond, the fiance of Justine, embraces Valerie Castile, mother of Philando who was killed by a police officer during a traffic stop last year. -photo by AP

Officer Brett exited his squad car and stepped onto the curb. His partner, Mike, put the car in park and exited from the driver’s side. They both approached the target house, a two-level residence with teal green siding and a three-season porch, with their guns drawn at the low-ready, pointed at the ground for safety. Minutes before they had been operating a speed trap on the other side of town. It had been a quiet day in this sleepy, middle Minnesota lake town. In a flash, it became much more exciting and dangerous. The two young officers approached the residence with caution, responding to a dispatcher’s emergency call. A young woman was being held against her will by her boyfriend inside, and the man had a gun!

Mike and Brett had talked about strategy as they drove to the call. Brett would take the front of the house, Mike would go around the rear. Brett would take a position of cover at the front and call out to the occupants inside. He would try to calm the young man inside and start to negotiate until the Quick Response Team got there. Mike would cover the back, in case the suspect attempted to flee that way. Neither would enter the building; their instructions were to wait for QRF! Once on the ground, however, the plan fell apart as the situation drastically changed.

The woman being held, a girl of 15 or 16, saw the police officers drive up through the big pane glass in the front living room. Her boyfriend, a man of 20 years, saw them too. Risking it all, the girl bolted out of the front door and onto the porch. Her boyfriend tried to stop her, but she was too fast. She skipped a step and ran towards the officers in the front lawn, passing smoothly between them. “He’s got a gun!” she said.  Brett was in front of Mike and as the girl passed by him, he positioned his body in front of hers, shielding her from her boyfriend, an angry young man who was recently discharged from the Army National Guard of Wisconsin for unsoldierly conduct. The man emerged from the house half a second later and pointed his gun.

It’s not clear if he was trying to engage the officers, or if he was trying to murder his girlfriend in an alcohol-fueled rage. What is known is that he fired, and struck Brett in the face. Brett had allowed himself to check over his shoulder, glancing at his partner and seeing that the girl was safely protected, then he turned towards the house, where he saw the man with the raised gun. He began to shout commands, but he was too late. He fell to the ground mortally wounded. Mike screamed in terror and rage, he raised his gun, but he didn’t fire. The girl and the body of his partner were in his line of fire. He let the girl pass by and watched helplessly as his partner fell to the ground in front of him. Then he started to engage the target, who quickly retreated into the protection of the house. Without firing, Mike lowered his gun again and rushed towards his partner’s side. Brett was lying face up, on his back, looking up at the sky with vacant eyes. Blood was gushing from a wound in his forehead. Mike put down his firearm and grabbed Brett’s hand. He kept calling his name, trying to keep his partner awake, comforting him.

Brett looked up, and uttered his last word, the name of his wife: Wendy!

The vignette you just read is a fictionalized account of an event that happened a few years ago in Lake City, Minnesota. No one really knows what happened, except for the people involved. Two of them are dead. The suspect killed himself during the standoff that followed. I’ve changed the names, because I don’t want to cause the families of the officers involved any more pain than they’ve already suffered. The officer who was wounded lingered for weeks in a hospital in Rochester, dying shortly before Christmas. The officer who lived, lives with the painful memory of what it was like to lose a partner and a good friend. A wife remembers her loving husband as she tries to raise three girls all on her own. This event clearly illustrates how quickly things can change in the day in the life of our law enforcement officers. In Army terms, we logisticians like to say that the plan is only good until the first shot is fired. It can be like that for our police officers, who have to balance their duty to protect and serve our citizens, catch the bad guys, and in the worst-case scenarios, defend their lives. At the end of the day, we want all our officers who protect us to go home safe to their families when their work shift is done.

In Minneapolis

The relationship we have with our officers has come into question again in Minneapolis following the death of an Australian woman Justine Damond, who was killed by a Somali police officer earlier in the week. The killing has caused a firestorm of controversy and has led to the resignation of the Minneapolis Police Chief, Janee Harteau. All the controversy is further fueled with the prosecution and acquittal of Minneapolis officer Jeronimo Yanez who shot and killed an African-American motorist last year. The relationship between residents and the police is strained, and has been for some time. Here is what we know about last week’s incident so far.

Damond called police the evening of July 16 to report what she thought might be a sexual assault happening in the alley behind her house. She also called her fiancé, who encouraged her to talk to police. Officer Matthew Harrity was driving down the alley with his partner Mohamed Noor in the passenger side. The lights were off, as were the body and dash cameras, as the officers slowly patrolled through the neighborhood, looking for potential suspects. There was a loud sound, according to testimony from Officer Harrity, after which Damond emerged from her house and approached the driver. Both men were startled by the sound, Harrity told investigators with the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), but Noor drew his gun. Firing across his partner, Noor fatally wounded Damond in the abdomen.

The officers rendered aid, it is said, but to no avail. While Officer Harrity gave testimony to what happened to the investigators of the BCA, Noor has lawyered up, offering no explanation as to why he fired. Police experts say it’s not implausible that the officers feared an ambush following similar incidents in New York City, but is it fair to assume that the way to respond is to shoot first and ask questions later?

Harrity and Noor are under paid administrative leave as per protocol in the incident, but all the focus is on Noor. Both men reacted drastically different to the same stimuli, Noor fatally. According to the reports from the Star Tribune, some police experts wonder if the fast-track training of the rookie officer was to blame. Noor didn’t graduate with traditional law enforcement degree. He has a business degree. The 21-month rookie took an eight-month fast track course aimed at recruiting officers from different backgrounds into a force that is grossly undermanned. Experts who talked to the Star Tribune say the course focuses largely on tactics, but not strategy, neglecting crucial areas of a police officer’s education. But, is that fair? The instructors at the fast-track academy may not have advanced degrees, but presumably they are trained law enforcement officials with years of patrol experience and anecdotal tales to use as vignettes to train up new recruits. With all that experience, one would assume that eight months is enough to train up an officer. The service branches take similar time to train their private soldiers. It takes about 18-months to train an officer at many of the state and federal commissioning sources. For me, Infantry Officer’s Basic was four months long. I spent a two-years in ROTC before that. Many graduates go to Airborne School, (3 weeks) and Ranger School (9 weeks) after that. Soldiers once trained and deployed are restricted by vigorous rules of engagement. Police officers should be as well. 

I really feel that piling on to the instructors at the academy is unfair, and a cheap shot by the Star Tribune. Without knowing what is in the curriculum, The Star Tribune paints the instructors with a very broad brush. I would encourage the instructors to invite bloggers and journalists in the state to come and audit some of their blocks of instruction so that the public can get an idea about how their new police candidates are being trained. Without that background, criticism of the program is just sloppy journalism.

Indeed, members of the press should ask law enforcement agencies for permission to do ride alongs, to get a feel for what it’s really like to patrol the streets. Our law enforcement leaders should bridge the gap of understanding by holding open meeting to discuss policy and training with the public. Here in Rochester, the Olmsted County Sheriff and Rochester Police Chief are doing that, scheduling a demonstration on body cameras later this week. All law enforcement agencies should do that.

With the recent shootings of dogs in Minneapolis, that agency should review its policy on how to deal with animals found in the course of normal patrol and service calls. Tactics on less lethal means of engagement should be resourced and trained. They are not always feasible for every situation, but they are a tool in the tool kit that may be being overlooked.

We don’t want our patrolmen and women whipping out their guns every time there is an incident. We also don’t want our officers to be jeopardized every time they respond to a call.

Training? Or Worldview?

Was it training, or was it vetting of potential candidates that is the problem? In a report from the Daily Telegraph, a neighbor of the Noor family paints a picture of Noor that shows that perhaps he wasn’t the most pleasant person to be around.

Chris Miller is a 49-year old African-American who drives a fork lift for a living. He lives next door to a complex where Noor’s parents and younger siblings live, and he has seen Noor there. Miller explains that Noor seems to have very little respect for kids, women and blacks he comes in contact with.

““He is extremely nervous … he is a little jumpy … he doesn’t really respect women, the least thing you say to him can set him off,” Miller said.

““He is extremely nervous … he is a little jumpy … he doesn’t really respect women, the least thing you say to him can set him off!” -Chris Miller, describing neighbor Mohamed Noor

“When they say a policeman shot an Australian lady I thought uh, oh but then when they said who it was I was like, ‘OK.’” Said Miller.

“He has little respect for women he has little respect for blacks and kids,” said Miller.

“He has an air like you just couldn’t really be around him.”

We wonder if the Somali worldview and strict adherence of the Islamic world view are the right fit for someone we want patrolling our streets and dealing with our citizens. From testimony from Miller, we find a Noor who is not a good neighbor, intolerant of kids, disrespectful of women, and not pleasant to be around.

From his record as an officer, we find that in the 21-months since he’s been hired, Noor has racked up three complaints, two of which remain open. The last one is a case where a woman complains that she was dragged off to a hospital for an involuntary mental commitment. She was released several hours later after the woman complained she had no need to be there and the officer roughed her up and put her in an arm bar.

The City of Minneapolis invested a lot of time, money and effort in hiring Noor, who had no law enforcement training previous to being hired. He was praised as a diversity hero when he was first hired. Now Minneapolis residents label him the villain. It may take even more time, effort and money to remove him from the force and make things right with the Damond family. Already it has caused a serious change in leadership in Minneapolis. The police chief has resigned and things look a little rocky for the mayor. If a charge is brought against Noor, and the case laid in front of a jury of his peers, the verdict may well be in the hands of at least a few citizens of Minneapolis who have a similar worldview as the defendant. What would an acquittal look like? Or a conviction? Either way, I foresee a lot more pain in the Cities, future as this case is being decided.

In the meantime, LE agencies should take a closer look at their policies and reach out to their communities. LE training facilities and schools should take another look at their curriculum to see if changes or a refocusing is needed. And citizens should march and talk, but not burn or destroy. At the end of the day, we are all in this together.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the Damond family and the neighborhood. No amount of analysis or discussion can lessen your grief. We are very sorry for your loss.

For further reading:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/06/16/minn-officer-acquitted-of-manslaughter-for-shooting-philando-castile-during-traffic-stop/?utm_term=.63c8572a22b6

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/world/neighbour-of-justine-damonds-killer-gives-shocking-new-insight-into-his-behaviour/news-story/34eb2c08676af98afc376d83aaff31dd

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/cops-question-witness-filmed-minn-police-shooting-article-1.3347335

http://www.startribune.com/minneapolis-police-face-questions-about-noor-s-fast-track-training/436057173/

http://www.startribune.com/what-we-know-about-mohamed-noor-minneapolis-police-officer-who-fatally-shot-justine-damond/435018163/#1

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/us/minneapolis-police-chief-resigns-days-after-officer-fatally-shot-a-woman.html

Jeremy Griffith, the creator of The American Millennium Online. He is a military veteran of the Iraq War. He retired as a Captain in 2015. 

Trump Derangement Syndrome Will Seriously Kill the Democrat Party

US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R) applaud as US President Donald J. Trump (C) arrives to deliver his first address to a joint session of Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington, DC, USA, 28 February 2017. / AFP / POOL / JIM LO SCALZO (Photo credit should read JIM LO SCALZO/AFP/Getty Images)

By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium

 

If you like pomp and circumstance, political theater and what not, then you had two television choices this week; watch the Oscars where you get movie stars lecturing regular people about their pet political issues, or watch a reality TV star turned President of the United States lecture the whole country about pet political issues. Either way, the choice you make tells a lot about you.

 

I skipped the actors and watched the politician and I was dully impressed and surprised. I like many observers was not expecting Donald Trump to do well in this venue and he nailed it. The speech was uplifting, motivational, hopeful and almost completely devoid of political harassment of those on the other side of the political aisle. Apparently Trump’s handlers won in convincing him to take a more conciliatory tone and it worked. Trump did not look like the monster everyone has been portraying him as, and many, even critics in the hard-nosed press admitted that he looked very presidential.

Which gets me to this observation: what the hell was up with the Democrats in the Hall? Most if not all Democrat women wore white in honor of the women’s suffrage movement. They know, don’t they that women in this country have been able to vote for some time now right? Did the Donald say expressly in his campaign or other speeches that he was planning on getting rid of the women’s vote? Did I miss something? And what was that about when some of them failed to stand up and applaud for the widow of a fallen Navy SEAL? They know what that looks like on TV right?

Indeed, the Democrats in attendance at the speech proved to be the most boorish, self-centered and deranged people on the planet, pretty hard to achieve since we have Hollywood. But there it is. People can see the derangement syndrome come over the hard left politicians and actors and it seriously will kill the party if they’re not careful.

I didn’t hear anything in the speech that I hadn’t heard from any other politician, including what I’ve heard from The Philippines. In fact, if anything I think President Trump stole significant portions of President Rodrigo Duterte’s speech where both men promised to fix vital infrastructure and fight illegal drugs. (The difference between the Philippines and the US is that the little Asian archipelago is bleeding talent and the United States is taking it in.) Donald Trump’s many promises are very similar to many of the promises we’ve heard in the past, with a little bit different flavor, he’s going to fix health care, he’s going to build the wall, he’s going to protect us against criminal illegal aliens who murder and rape inside our borders, he’s going to fight and destroy Isis, all good things. I understand that from a political perspective the Dems won’t stand for every promise, but they certainly could stand and clap for some of it. After all, who thinks our roads and bridges are in good shape? I’m from Minnesota. Bridges fall down here.

President Trump’s acknowledgement of a disabled girl kept alive by a medical miracle is a huge show of compassion on his part and that alone would have been enough to humanize him for those watching. But then he doubled down when he also acknowledged the widow of fallen Navy SEAL warfighter Ryan Owens who was tragically killed in a fateful raid in Yemen last month. The value of that particular raid is in question and I understand the parents of this fallen hero are pretty steamed at the president for comments he made earlier about Gold Star families who have made appearances for the Democrats, but the acknowledgement and praise the president had for this man and his poor wife was emotional and sympathetic and a very good move on the president’s part.

 

Democrats reach back to the political crypt back to former KY Governor Steve Beshear for the Democratic response to President Trump’s speech Tuesday night. The image of the aging governor in a greasy spoon restaurant with a mostly white crowd gathered round looked weird and out of touch.

Several commentators on TV notably commented that Donald Trump became the President of the United States with this speech, including Van Jones, Mike Wallace and Glenn Beck and I think they’re right. I also thing that the president helped himself greatly and is not going away, no matter how angry and deranged the left is about it. In fact, their response to the speech was weird and disconnected, trotting out the retired 101-year old Governor of Kentucky for the Democratic response speech and having him speak from what looked like a greasy spoon café in small town America was so weird that it not only didn’t help their cause, it actually made them look rather goofy and out of touch. Perhaps they thought, ‘Hell, Governor Beshear hasn’t got a political future to risk, have him give the speech. What harm can it do?’ A lot. It would probably have been better if they’re had been no response.

 

At the end of the day my analysis is this: Trump is the big winner on this deal, HUGE! If he keeps this momentum, he’ll have a good four years and might even win a second term. He’s good at sabotaging himself on Twitter however so we’ll just have to wait and see. Big losers: the democrats who sat on their hands and looked like sourpusses and poor-sports. If they don’t find a cohesive message, then they’ll go the way of the Blue-Footed Booby, extinction! But, politics is like weather in Minnesota, if you wait long enough, it will change. We’ll see.

Big winner of the night, Donald J. Trump.

 

 

The fate of Democrat party if they’re not careful; isolation, irrelevance, extinction.

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Crowds Pack College Theater as Congressman Tim Walz Makes Rare Town Hall Appearance

Tim Walz makes a rare public town hall meeting in Rochester’s RCTC Charles E. Hill Theater Thursday. -photo by Jeremy Griffith

By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online

Congressman Tim Walz-D, CD1 of Minnesota, looking dapper and hip in blue jeans, brown leather shoes, button-down shirt and blue blazer, met with constituents in a rare town hall meeting on Thursday in the Rochester Community and Technical College’s Charles E. Hill Theater.

It was rare because Walz, who won back his seat in the House of Representatives by the narrowest of margins last election cycle, rarely meets with the regular public, only donors. But this was different and the glib and professional looking Walz helped himself greatly in the effort.

There were a lot of issues discussed at the town hall, which was packed to standing room only at the edges where Walz made a brief statement in the beginning before answering questions from the audience non-stop for two and half hours. The subject matter of the town hall ranged widely from the disputed fate of the failing Affordable Health Care Act, to National Security and Immigration. But there was one big take away.

Walz will not rule out a run for the Governorship of Minnesota.

A lady in the crowd asked the Congressman if he would run, eliciting his response. Many of the crowd showed their opposition of such a move, preferring him to remain in his current position. Still, there was a lot of applause as well when the Congressman said he would not rule it out. That applause may be indicative that a win for Walz in a governor’s race is at least possible.

Governor Mark Dayton, the incumbent, will be through with his latest term in two years and is not expected to run again. Dayton has been struggling with cancer and had a scary moment at his latest State of the State address when he passed out briefly at the end of his speech.

Running for Governor instead of his old seat in the congress may be a good move for Walz considering the slim victory he had over Republican challenger Jim Hagedorn the last time. Hagedorn is an able campaigner and has run against the incumbent twice before. With the unpopularity of the ACA and Walz’s liberal stances in a largely conservative district, three times might be the charm for Hagedorn. Conversely, Walz might make a much better showing in the statewide race especially factoring in blue areas including the Twin Cities Metro area, Rochester, Duluth and the Iron Range areas.

While Walz has said he won’t rule out such a campaign, he has not acknowledged a desire to run and it isn’t a sure thing. We’ll just have to see.

Congressman Tim Walz answers questions from the public during a town hall meeting in Rochester Thursday. -photo by Jeremy Griffith

Meanwhile, in the two and a half hours Walz spoke to constituents, several things became clear:

1. There is a lot of concern about ACA and medical coverage in general and the ACA has failed to meet the expectations of the voters in meeting its promises of lowering costs, increasing coverage, and increasing or maintaining choice. Indeed the opposite is true for many, which the congressman freely acknowledged.

2. People are concerned about immigration, especially of refugees from areas of concern named in the travel ban enacted by the Trump administration and challenged in the courts. Walz acknowledged those fears saying that national security concerns are a real issue, but stopped short thereafter, saying that it was wrong to demonize an entire sector of people, namely Muslims, who worship differently and have different cultural practices.

3. Walz would like the public to believe that health care is a journey and not a destination. He says he would like to see an ACA fix rather than an out and out repeal. Indeed he joked about a repeal and replace that came back on November 9, after an election cycle where it can do little damage to politicians struggling to win in elections, a common tactic used several times by the Obama administration. Many don’t think this is a terribly funny joke as their health care insurance provided in part by their employers have been cancelled and not replaced. Many others feel tied to their jobs when other opportunities avail themselves, because the coverage at a new employer may not be as good as what they have in their current job. Still many others have not gotten insurance, despite tax penaties, because they are healthy and don’t have jobs that will allow them to afford the coverage and high deductibles.

4. People are concerned about their privacy considering the knowledge that the government has the technology to spy on their telephonic conversations and internet usage. One attendee commented to the congressman that while privacy is important, the idea that a sitting National Security Advisor having his private phone conversations listened to and recorded shows the nation’s enemies what our capabilities are. NS Advisor Lieutenant General Michael Flynn was recently allowed to resign his new post after it became clear that he was having phone conversations with Russia prior to the election.

One question that seemed to take the discussion on a completely different tangent was the concern of one attendee who was against the so-called militarization of police forces. He son was on the local police force and was a current member of a SWAT or tactical team. Walz allowed that seeing officers in heavy gear and uparmored vehicles created a tension between cops and the community, but also said he favored legislation that provided equipment for local officers to be well protected in the execution of their very dangerous and hazardous duties of protecting the public.

In Walz’s appearance Thursday, he seemed to be very adept at playing both sides against the middle. Nothing he said in the meeting seemed to be outrageously right or left. If you’re a national security guy, you might be lead to believe that Walz is as worried as you. But then he denounces efforts by the Trump administration in carrying out his duties as commander in chief by temporarily banning refugees from Muslim minority countries of concern also black listed under the Obama administration. If you were for the ACA, you might believe that Walz is for improving it and are worried that Republicans will throw it in the trash. If you thing the ACA is a failure, you might get a sense that Walz is actually for a fix that might actually just be repeal and replace.

In essence, Walz was soft on specifics when it came to individual policy decisions that he would support or oppose, only indicating that he didn’t want to “diminish anyone’s concerns”.

When asked if he supported the continued federal funding of abortion provider Planned Parenthood, for example, Walz simply said “yes” and left it at that. There was no discussion of how Walz felt about the realization that P&P was actually selling the body parts of aborted fetuses for profit to medical research companies and whether or not he felt that practices was wrong and the practitioners prosecuted.

If you were looking for a kill stroke that showed Walz as a radical leftist as his voting record seems to indicate, you didn’t see it in this public appearance. What you did see is the slow acknowledgement that the Obama administration’s chief accomplishment, the ACA, is not living up to expectations and desperately needs to be fixed, repealed or replaced. Walz’s support of the law is likely the chief reason he nearly lost the last election round and why he should probably seek another office where his chances are better.

Watch a video of highlights of the town hall meeting below.

 

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Real Journalism: The Unreported World now Available on Netflix

 
by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millenniuim

Journalist Kiki King of Unreported World with freedom fighters in Kobani, Syria. – photo credit Unreported World

The camera viewfinder pans over her and you catch a glimpse of a running girl in body armor and blue kevlar helmet, but then her image is gone again; replaced by sky, debris in the streets, sky again, a devastated city with an explosion in the far distance. British reporter Kiki King is in the Syrian town of Kobani with her producer and cameraman covering the ongoing war between Kurdish Freedom Fighters and Isis. They’re running across a dangerous road as snipers attempt to engage them, which is why the camera has such trouble focusing on the action. This is British TV Channel 4’s debut on Netflix of the journalistic public affairs program, Unreported World, which appeared this month.

The TV show Unreported World has been a staple of British TV since 2000, but with the advent of streaming channels and a desire to get away from Fake News and into more entertaining and engaging journalistic efforts Netflix has adopted a season of 8 episodes, each lasting 24 minutes apiece. The first of these episodes is the one described above, called The City That Beat Isis. In the 24 minute episode, King and her cameraman talk with fighters in the besieged city of Kobani as they try to liberate it from Isis. There isn’t much of the sprawling town to save, much of it is in ruin, destroyed by war and coalition air strikes aimed at dislodging terrorists. You can see distant explosions, coalition aircraft circling overhead leaving long white chemtrails, bodies in the streets, and broken buildings. You can see the fear in King’s face as she plods along in her reporting, giving the blow by blow of what is happening in the contest over the city. The crack of bullets can be heard in the background as she reports. At one point, a rocket lands very near her, and the camera falters again as the camera operator seeks cover. “That was very close,” King says, very deadpan and British.

After watching three of these episodes, I’m hooked. As a journalism junkie, I’m enthralled by good reporting and this new series, while being very old, is actually new to America and it has a lot of variety. News junkies like me will dig it. It’s very much in the vein of Vice News and Vox, very edgy with real content from areas of the world often neglected by the mainstream media. The second episode in the season shifted to America where another female Brit takes a look at young rodeo participants in the American south, some of the contestants are as young as 8 and 9 years old and their parents allow them to participate in dangerous sport more traumatic on the body often times than pro-football in the NFL. The episode is entitled, America’s Cowboy Kids.

The kids are typical southern kids, very respectful of the reporter interviewing them. “Yes, Ma’am!” and “No, Ma’am!” are often their replies to the reporter’s questions as they describe why they love their sport and how they struggle through the inevitable injuries and disappointments that come with it. The families involved are very religious, and you see them praying before competition. You can feel a lump in your throat as you see young kids in full protective gear get on to a bucking steer in a shoot and prepare to ride it for a full eight seconds, exactly like the highly paid professional bull riders they idolize. The parents are looking on. The gate opens and the enraged animal explodes into the open arena, attempting mightily to dislodge its rider, which doesn’t take long. There’s a tense moment where the child continues to ride, sliding off precariously to the side as the steer prances and spins. Then the child falls off, and a sharp hoof comes down hard, dangerously close to the child’s body. The rodeo clowns distract the animal and pull it away. The boy gets up from underneath, and runs to the side of the arena and climes the fence. He’s ok.

I really get the sense that the reporters and producers of this series really have their fingers on the pulse of the world and show stories with real drama and impact. Every episode follows a similar pattern, but the formula doesn’t diminish the show, because the stories are so interesting. A very professional looking man in a finely tailored gray suit, introduces the show at the beginning before tossing over to the reporter in the field. There the storytellers take the viewer of the guided tour of the land, issue and concept they are reporting on.

In episode 3 we are in Zimbabwe where a young hip looking black man with dreadlocks is covering non-traditional journalism/comedy critical of that nation’s longstanding and brutish dictator, Robert Mugabe. Reporter Seyi Rhodes introduces the viewer to a group of friends, white and black, who work together to produce edgy comedy and journalism criticizing Zimbabwe’s leader Mugabe. Collectively this group calls themselves Zembizi News, and their brave comedic efforts brazenly attacks the dictator and his yes-man state-run media. The dictator recently tripped on a rug at a political event and pictures of his fall have gone viral, giving these internet rebels a lot of material. Through Rhodes’s reporting we can see how dangerous it is for these talented comedians to be calling out their government. While it would be only natural for a comedy show in the United States to parody a politician, in Zimbabwe, it can be very dangerous and even lethal. Comedy takes courage in Africa.

Eight episodes of this series will not be enough for journalism connoisseurs like me. Netflix, please add more of this series and quickly. Even back dated issues are good. The ones appearing now are already two years old. I predict that Netflix will order more episodes which will be consumed quickly. I the meantime, there’s always You Tube. I have to see the next episode.

You can see a full episode of the report from Zimbabwe from Unreported World’s You Tube Channel here: https://youtu.be/g1wTucQlj9s

 

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Hillary Clinton and Classified E-mails: Different Rules for People Named Clinton

 

by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium

 

I’m getting tired of hearing about Hillary Clinton’s emails, but there seems to be a general ignorance about why this subject is important. Meanwhile, Hillary is getting away with murder and the media is giving her a general pass while others would be and have been fried for doing similar dumb things with classified information. Therefore, I am going to attempt to illustrate why this important while avoiding divulging classified information myself.

 

If however, I do run amok of federal law in this blog, and the F.B.I. comes knocking at my door, I’m just going to ask for a Hillary pass and see how well that works out for me. Here goes!

 

In my 22-year career as an Army Officer in the National Guard and later in the Army Reserve, I was in a position to use and disseminate classified information. Mostly it was due to my duties as a Transportation Officer, first as a transportation manager at Fort McCoy for 18 months beginning in 2004 and later as a transportation officer in the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division deployed to Iraq for the long tour in 2006-2007. Here is what I’ve learned about classified information, specifically in what is known as a SCIF.

 

Well, a SCIF, or Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility, is a secure room where normal people with Secret and Top Secret clearances with the US government go to get their classified information, either digital, documents, e-mail or what have you. I found a detailed description of the requirements of a SCIF online at the following website and I find that it is an adequate description of the SCIFs I’m familiar with. You can find that definition here. Bottom line up front, in order to access secret compartmentalized information you must pass into a small room that is specially set up for that purpose. It usually has one door, a set of computers set up on a specialized internal secret Internet system that doesn’t touch the world wide web, and you are banned from going into that secure area with cell phones, cameras or other recording devices. If you go into a secure briefing area, the same rules apply. Someone is usually manning the door, you sign in and are granted special credentials. If you are not on a list of secure personnel, you are banned from entering. It’s very inconvenient, but it is meant to prevent intentional or unintentional data spillage of classified information. Facilities that have SCIFs or classified briefing areas are usually surrounded with barbed wire and have an armed guard at the main gate.

(So why the Hell does someone like Hillary Clinton suddenly get classified information on an unsecure device like a Blackberry?! Are unicorns real?! I’ll tell you how. An assistant went inside the SCIF, stole classified documents at the behest of the Secretary of State, took off the classified markers and set it unsecure to the Secretary’s Blackberry, that’s how. It was all for the convenience of Hillary Clinton! It’s also illegal.

 

So why all this security? Why is the government so hell-bent on keeping secrets in the first place? To understand that, one must understand why certain data is classified. Bottom line up front, when it touches the security and safety of a deploying soldier going into a combat zone, the data of his or her arrival into the combat theater is classified, because knowledge of his or her arrival date by the enemy can lead to that soldier’s death by ambush. That’s it in a nutshell. Here is a real life anecdote.

 

When I arrived at Fort McCoy Wisconsin in 2004 I was the commander of a Transportation Movement Control Team, the 789th MCT. My eight-man team was dissected into different roles upon arrival and we were employed with the local garrison unit there that served to help mobilize and deploy soldiers and their equipment to Afghanistan, Iraq and other theaters of operation. I worked as a transportation manager for the post in what is called a MUIC, Mobilizing Unit Inprocessing Station. Basically every bit of information I touched in the orchestration of my job was Top Secret.

 

Inside my office I had a wall covered with acrylic and compartmentalized like a spreadsheet where I could track all the data points touching the mobilization and deployment of all units coming in and going out of Fort McCoy. It wasn’t my brainchild, but it was the brainchild of the retired Air Force Colonel turned civilian contractor who was my boss at the time. (The idea of an Army officer reporting to a civilian contractor is probably the topic of a completely different blog post, but there it is.) In order to work in my office, you had to be credentialed by the post and have a special badge just to get in the door. I couldn’t cover the wall every time an unauthorized person came into the room, so if you didn’t have clearance, you didn’t get in. Done.

 

I would often get calls from different state area commands wondering about the status of units I had mobilized to the post. Basically the two-star state Adjutant Generals wanted to know when their units were departing from theater or arriving back home so that they personally could see them off or welcome them home. I was not authorized to give that information on the phone over an unsecure line! In order to share that information, I had to get the post security manager involved and have him send that information through the proper channels through secure phone calls or email, available at that individual state’s SCIF.

 

Later in my mobilization to Fort McCoy the Good Idea Fairy attacked me and I decided to digitize the data I was putting on my wall in dry erase marker and e-mail to the various authorized personnel. I even proposed to display it in view screens over my desk so that VIP visitors from the respective states could see it. The security manager caught wind of this and just about had an aneurism! I was creating a SECRET document I was told, which I intended to share outside of SECRET channels, and that was a big NO-NO!! I was eventually allowed to build my document, but it had to be classified and sent through secure channels only, thus avoiding the big mess and prosecution for me, and people I worked with in the office.

 

Things got a little different when I was deployed with First Brigade Combat Team as a transportation officer in the S4 logistics section. In my office, which in and of itself was considered a SCIF, I had two kinds of computers on my desk, one for SECRET information, one for UNCLASSIFIED information. Neither system talked to each other. I knew which one was which because the image I had on the desk top, along with the stickers on each told me so. We were instructed that at no time would data from one system be allowed to contaminate the other. You could not take a thumb drive, plug it into a SECRET computer, download information from that computer and then share it with a non-secure system. That was VERBOTEN! I had a soldier in my office do that very thing. He plugged a CD into his secure device, burned some data, then he transferred it to his non-secure machine, where he proceeded to edit out the secure data points and share with other units through non-secure email. The Information Nazis swooped in with their jackboots and took the soldier’s computers away. Both computers had to be wiped and basically what he got back were brand new computers without any old data on them. In addition, since the data spillage wasn’t intentionally harmful, the soldier was given a permanent letter of reprimand in his file and a slap on the wrist. It could have been much worse!

 

Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State, a person who should have known better, transmitted and received thousands of emails which contained classified information. As a cabinet level officer, I am 100 percent certain that the Secretary of State has a security IT manager who briefs her on what she can and cannot do with classified information. That guy or gal should be made to testify to congress! He is on the hook for whatever he did or did not brief to the Secretary of State!

 

Indeed, the guy who set up the nonsecure server in Bill Clinton’s basement bathroom has lawyered up repeatedly about his role in setting up this machine to facilitate the massive secure data leak at the request of Hillary Clinton. There was a reason Hillary did this. All of her business emails are ordered to be preserved as governmental documents and are reviewable by members of Congress. Some of the unclassified material is even available to the public via FOIA or Freedom of Information Act request. Hillary knew this and purposefully set up the server anyway as to avoid transparency required of her as a government employee working for the people. And the F.B.I. gave her a pass the other day saying there was no intent to do harm. F.B.I. Director Comey said in fact that there was no precedent to prosecute an official where there was no intent. What?!! Comey should check his records a little more closely!

 

Indeed, the F.B.I. could take a short journey down memory lane to April of 2015 to when it successfully prosecuted Iraq War Hero David Petreaus who was the general who successfully brought an American Victory in Iraq and had him crawling to court on his knees where he reluctantly plead guilty to a misdemeanor for doing exactly what Hillary has been doing, mishandling classified information. General Petreaus handed over classified information to a reporter, who was also his lover and biographer. For this crime he was found guilty and given two years probation and fined $100,000. I don’t know any misdemeanor that carries that big a fine, but I’m not a lawyer. That is amazing!

 

The New York Times, that liberal bastion of media, has said that the F.B.I. was decidedly miffed at the time that the court brought so low a ruling and did not follow through and jail the former general and C.I.A. director. Can you imagine?! You can read the full NYT article here. Here’s a small quote from the story.

 

“The sentencing was a disappointing one for F.B.I. officials, who believed that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. had given Mr. Petraeus preferential treatment by allowing him to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and recommending that he receive probation instead of prison time. Federal judges are not bound by such recommendations, but they almost always follow them.

“Although the judge overseeing the case, David C. Keesler of United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, agreed to the probation sentence, he added $60,000 to the government’s suggested fine of $40,000. Judge Keesler did not give an extensive explanation for why he raised the fine, saying it was necessary because of “the seriousness of the offense.”

So I guess the only excuse for the discrepancy between General Petreaus and Hillary Clinton is that Clintons are immune from prosecution.

What does liberal bastion of propaganda and Hillary cheerleading Huffington Post have to say about the discrepancy? Let’s go back in the time machine to when the General was being prosecuted and then fast to today following the F.B.I. decision not to prosecute.

From the Huffington Post dated Jan. 12, 2015 from an article by Chris Weigant. You can see the whole article here entitled: Petraeus Must Be Prosecuted!

Here is a small excerpt.

Barack Obama’s Justice Department has brought more than twice as many prosecutions for the crime of leaking confidential information to journalists as the combined total of all presidents back to Woodrow Wilson. Having set this record, there are now only two choices for President Obama and Eric Holder (or his successor): Either pardon Petraeus for any and all leaks or prosecute him to the full extent of the law, in exactly the same way as the other seven were treated. At this point, whether you agree with Obama’s track record of such prosecutions, you’d have to admit that anything else would be indefensible hypocrisy and elitism.

 

 

This paragraph would be as equally meaningful and appropriate if you just take out the name Petreaus and insert the name of Clinton. But really three things are clear in the prosecution of anyone by the Obama administration’s justice department: one, all prosecutions are politically motivated, i.e. Petreaus is viewed as a political rival and Clinton is an ally, although a tenuous one; two, the lack of prosecution for Clinton is just Obama protecting his own legacy as there is no doubt that the email scandal and the contents of those emails reflect negatively on him; and three, the rule of law under an Obama administration and in the future a Clinton administration does not apply the same to the common person, you and mean, as it does with the political leftist elite.

 

There might also be noted a fourth lesson learned. That is, that the main stream media is a propaganda arm of the liberal progressive party and cannot be counted on to weigh facts and evidence equally when it comes to national scandal. Just look at what the Huffington Post says about the Hillary email scandal as opposed to what they said about Petreaus. Huffington Post column by Cynthia Dill dated July 10, 2016, “House Republicans should focus on solving problems, Not Hillary Clinton!”

 

“House Republicans on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee think if they pull every little “gotcha” string, the Clinton mantle will unravel. They desperately insist nothing will turn into something, so here we are again.

“Clinton told committee members in an epic 11-hour hearing on Benghazi on Oct. 22, 2015, that “there was nothing marked classified on my emails, either sent or received.”

That last phrase of the quote above is a flat out lie. A civil rights attorney like Dill should no better. That is not what Director Comey said. Like most blue blood liberals, they think we are all stupid and won’t actually find the video.

For those of us who are not members of the political elite or their propaganda arm, i.e. those of us living in Fly-Over Country, Hillary IS THE PROBLEM. We are sick and tired of corrupt politicians in Washington DC making up different rules for themselves than they do for us!

 

This is not a pro-Trump column, nor is it a pro-Petreaus column. The General had a position of public trust, he personally and repeatedly called upon soldiers in his command to do the right thing. In the meantime he was cheating with his wife with a biographer and feeding her classified information for a book she was writing about him. When you act immorally while in public office, you should get the punishment that you deserve. It seems that justice is meaningless to this department of Just Us and if we elect a politically corrupt power hungry person like Hillary Clinton to the highest office in the land, we are all to blame. We had good choices for this political season and we rejected them. If Hillary is elected president and the corruption continues, as it most certainly will, we will be getting the government that we deserve.

 

A personal note to Cynthia Dill of Huffington Post, but first read this quote from her column.

 

“Americans don’t want police officers to be shot, and we don’t want black men to be shot by police officers. We don’t want our kids to be shot at school, and we want our kids to go to college. We don’t want war with North Korea or to be infected by the Zika virus, and we don’t want income inequality or childhood poverty. What we want is economic security and safety for our families and an opportunity to get ahead. Surely those tasked with governing should be doing something meaningful to address these pressing issues when they are on the clock.”

 

 

Those are all great things to have, Cynthia! I would like to add a few items of my own! We as Americans would prefer that our law enforcement officers not be the scape-goat for every corrupt, career-climbing political hack every time they are forced to shoot a worthless, murderous thug. We would prefer politicians that recognize that the world is at war with Radical Islam and that the war won’t be done until all the terrorists are dead. We would prefer that the liberals in this country respect our constitutional right to self-defense the same way we respect their right to make asses out of themselves through the use of the First Amendment. We would prefer that our Ambassadors i.e. Chris Stevens and his loyal employees and members of the C.I.A. and force protection services, when they ask for military protection, they get it, immediately, and without question so we don’t have to see their flag draped caskets coming home on airplanes!! We would prefer that if that does happen, and it unfortunately did, that the politicians responsible for withholding help would be held accountable, publically shamed and forbidden from ever again holding public office! We would prefer that our politicians tell the truth to the families of those who die in service of our country!

 

And, I look forward to a day when Americans feel it is morally reprehensible to murder an unborn baby as much as it is now morally reprehensible to kill a tiger or a gorilla!

 

There’s my list Cynthia. I think it’s a good one. Have a nice day!

A young Captain Griffith managing the madness at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin circa 2004.

A young Captain Griffith managing the madness at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin circa 2004.

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Republican Candidate Jim Hagedorn talks about VA accountability.

By Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online
Republican Congressional Candidate Jim Hagedorn. -photo by Jeremy Griffith

Republican Congressional Candidate Jim Hagedorn. -photo by Jeremy Griffith

Jim Hagedorn is running as a republican for the First District Congressional Seat against Democratic Incumbent Tim Walz. Today he stopped by the Olmsted County Government Center to talk about to local media about three proposals he has to hold the Veterans Administration accountable to provide quality, timely care to veterans who have earned their veterans. He talked to us by phone to discuss those proposals. Here is an excerpt of our interview with him today.

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Fran Bradley will run once more for state legislature!

Fran Bradley addresses supporters. - photo by Jeremy Griffith

Fran Bradley addresses supporters. – photo by Jeremy Griffith

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online

Veteran Minnesota State Legislator Fran Bradley-R of Olmsted County announced today in front of supporters that he will be seeking election once again as a state legislator for the House District 25B.

He said, “Service to humanity is the best work of life.”

Fran served previously in the state legislature and worked as chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. He left the House of Representatives over a decade due to family issues.

Bradley will be stepping down from his current posting as Olmsted County GOP Co-Chair. His co-chair, Aaron Miller, said the Republicans will be seeking nominations shortly to fill the slot vacated by Bradley.

Bradley is a retired engineer having worked for 30 years for IBM in Rochester. He is married to his spouse Mary for 52 years and has four children and 5 grandchildren.

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Philippine Presidential Elections as Contentious, Dramatic as the US!

So you think the US presidential elections are wild and crazy: try the Philippines!

by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium

So you think that American politics, especially the 2016 presidential race, in nuts? I’ve recently acquired a curiosity about the politics of other nations, especially the Philippines, because my fiancé is from there; and their presidential race going on right now is just as colorful and crazy as ours.

 

It turns out that the presidential race of the Philippines corresponds with ours a little, and it’s just as contentious and dramatic as ours. Their election is in May, and there are five major candidates vying for the chief executive slot. And, they all have very interesting profiles and platforms.

 

It turns out four of the five candidates debated on Sunday. I’ve included the partial YouTube Video here. I hope you can speak Tagalog (Filipino), because there are no English subtitles.

 

There were plenty of fireworks and accusations tossed back and forth during the debate, such as lack of patriotism, corruption charges, and a claim of ineligibility due to citizenship from another country.

 

Grace Poe launched the opening salvo at her political rival, current Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay, over corruption charges stemming from his time as mayor of the large Philippine city of Makati.

 

Binay fired back, claiming that Poe’s citizenship as an American made her ineligible to become President of the Philippines, questioning her allegiance and patriotism to the country. Poe had left the country and lived as a citizen in the United States for many years before returning. The Philippine Supreme Court recently ruled that Poe was indeed eligible to run.

 

Said Binay, “You always say you’re a true Filipino, but how can you be one when you took an oath to become an American and you abjured, you were ashamed of where you came from?”

 

Binay found himself under attack again, this time from the popular mayor of Davau City Rodrigo Duerte, who called for Biney to resign from office and quit the political race over his current corruption scandal.

 

Said Duerte, “”I’d like to be very, very brutally frank to the vice president. Sir, you have so many cases … that’s public knowledge.”

 

Duerte had plenty of criticism to go around. He attacked his opponent former secretary of interior Mar Roxas over his lackluster response to the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan of 2013. Duerte claimed that Roxas was a weak leader who acted “zombie like” in the midst of the crisis.

Roxas responded with attacks of his own against Duerte, calling him a dangerous leader who responds only on allegations. Duerte has been tough on crime in his city where it is rumored he has utilized death squads to kill drug pushers and addicts in what has been called, “extra-judicial killings”. I will not speculate on whether the rumors are true or not.

 

A fifth presidential candidate, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, did not participate in the forum. She is said to be battling cancer.

 

A final debate is scheduled for April. The election is scheduled for May 9th.

 

Want to know where the candidates stand? Check out this article from CNN here.

 

http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2016/02/12/presidential-candidates-platform-of-government-elections.html

 

For further reading:

 

http://news.yahoo.com/philippine-presidential-debate-erupts-exchanges-graft-133139419.html

 

http://www.ibtimes.com/philippine-presidential-election-binay-poe-keep-lead-latest-poll-2307102

 

http://www.manilatimes.net/daang-matuwid-not-perfect-palace-admits/190360/

 

http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2015/09/19/1501363/poes-presidential-platform

 

 

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Miracles From Heaven: People Magazine Online Article Elicits Emotional Response within Hours of Movie’s release

by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online

A little girl from Texas was trapped for many hours after climbing a tree. The seriously ill girl had been suffering a debilitating, incurable stomach disease that was robbing her of her happiness. In an effort to feel normal, the girl climbed a tree outside her home with her sister, in an effort to enjoy the day. Then the unthinkable happens.

 

Miracles From Heaven starring Jennifer Garner is a new movie released in theaters today that tells the true story of Annabele Beam who was trapped inside the trunk of a 100-year old tree. Striking her head should have killed her, but instead, it made her well. Now there’s a book out about her experience, and the movie, that tells the story, alleging that the girl spoke to God while stuck in that tree, and that God said she would be all right.

 

I saw this movie today with my girl friend and we cried all the way through. It is very well shot, well acted, and the script is great. There’s an uplifting musical score including the music of Third Day, and Howie Day and Rachel Platten. It also follows a surprising new trend of religious, feel good movies that reject the same old formula of violence and gunfire and focus more on Christian or spiritual themes. I recommend this movie to anyone and I predict there will be some awards, especially for lead actress Jennifer Garner, who plays the girls’ mom.

 

People Magazine released a piece today that beautifully depicts this compelling story in greater detail, and I recommend you take a look at it here. Writer Darla Atlas captures for the reader the drama, sadness and joy that this real-life family experienced. What struck me as amazing is all of the comments that the article elicited, especially the negative comments. Many believe that the story is a hoax; that the girl wasn’t really sick and the story was made up to gain publicity, fame and wealth. Many comments from atheists or agnostics are incredibly angry and insensitive. I’ve included a few of those below, so you can get a feel for what they’re like. Fair warnings, the writers of these comments are incredibly cruel.

 

-Goodie: Funny the god you were taught is the one that shows up and it’s never allah or Buddha. . . just to prove a point.

 

God’s Divine Mercy (in part): I saw the movie today. . . It took me back to when I was six years old and diagnosed with a brain tumor. Miracles, not coincidences, happen all the time. We just have to stop being so cynical and become more childlike with an innocent perspective . . .

 

You’re a liar – in response to God’s Divine Mercy: In other words, you’re a lying cock sucker.

 

Goodie – to God’s Divine Mercy: How special god talked to you and let over 20,000 children die. You must feel special.

 

Shutupidiot: Not a believer, not one bit! But hey, Christy (Annabele’s mom), good looking out for your family’s financial gain from writing a book about something that I highly doubt happened.

 

Guest: Sometimes I wish I was not a basically decent and honest person. I read the comments by people stupid enough to believe this garbage and see how incredibly easy it must be to take money away from them. Not only are they stupid, they are so fatuously stupid robbing them blind has a certain poetic justice about it.

 

Bye ass hole –in response to guest: The Truth hurts, doesn’t it you faqqot (sic) worshiping queer. Why is your gay Jesus always pictured looking like Bruce Jenner. You turn your children over to your perverted shamans to be raped and abused. You embrace evil with open arms. You’re a rude cock sucker, so obviously your religion is an excuse you use to be a full blown ass hole.

 

And on it goes. There are plenty of other grotesque examples in this feature and some good ones too, but they all illustrate one thing. The battle between good and evil is real. This writer believes this girl’s story. We believe that like Jesus’s friend Lazarus, Jesus healed this little girl and brought back from the dead not only for her own happiness and that of her family’s, but so that her story might give us all hope for a brighter future in the midst of a fallen world.

 

I think the people trolling the People story are evidence of deep problem with our country. We’ve lost faith many of us, and those who have lost faith are loathe to see happiness in others and like the devil to whom their souls are enslaved, they like to steal the happiness, joy and faith in others. My question to people like that is this: feel better? Of course you don’t.

 

Stories like this are meant to inspire us to be better people and to work to help others around us in need. Instead, some chose to use it as an excuse to trash God and troll one another. Instead of writing an angry, anonymous message on the Internet, how about doing something good for someone else? It might make you feel a whole lot better than you feel right now.

 

My fiancé couldn’t stop talking about the movie after we left and the story will be with us for a long time. She told me about something that happened to her brother while they were still living in the Philippines. Her brother was riding a motorcycle near their town when he was sideswiped by a van that came out of nowhere. It launched him into the air and he fell on his head. He wasn’t wearing a helmet.

 

For many hours doctors there didn’t think he would make it and his family gathered to pray and perhaps to say their last good bye. Miraculously, he woke up with a head ache and an interesting story. My fiancé’s brother said that he saw his father on the other side, and that his dad told him to go back, that it wasn’t his time yet.

 

I believe that Jesus, the Son of God, can do miracles. And, while he doesn’t do it often, he does it when he chooses to, to show that he is in control of everything. And, if we believe in him, we never really die and we don’t have any reason to fear death that we will be with him in the afterlife. The atheists and agnostics think it’s a fairytale and that’s fine. But, why do they go so far out of their way to trash people who believe the story, if there isn’t anything to it? I think their spite is driven by one who wanted to be God and failed, and in his bitterness he knows he can never experience the joy of heaven again, and so must rob us all of that happiness. His people are caught in the same trap. Rather than hate them, I think we should pray to be put in the path of such a person, so we, by the grace of God, can tell our story of happiness and perhaps, save a life.

 

Go watch Miracles from Heaven, but when you do, bring a box of tissues with you.

 

 

 

 

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Stunning: Cell phone footage finally shows “LaVoy” Finicum’s final tragic moments!

by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online

 

At long last, after a month of speculation, an amateur cell phone video shot from within the Robert “LaVoy” Finicum’s truck reveal new details about his tragic death at the hands of the Oregon State Patrol.

Finicum, a 55-year old Arizona Rancher, had been participating in the armed militia take-over of the Malheur National Wildlife Reserve in Oregon  for over a month. Ranchers and militia had taken over the reserve in protest of fellow ranchers being taken back into custody to complete prison terms for arson. Finicum and other members of the militia were on their way to a public meeting in the city of John Day, north of the reserve when they were stopped on a narrow wooded road by officers of the Oregon State Patrol. Occupants of another vehicle in convoy with Finicum, not pictured by the cell phone video or the FBI drone video, were stopped and the occupants arrested. Those people were referred to by the people in the Finicum vehicle as their conversation on the cell phone video shows.

Finicum, a passionate participant in the militia movement, is shown in the video arguing with police and refusing to come out of the vehicle. He explained to the state patrol deputies that he was on his way to a meeting with the Sheriff and that the deputies were welcome to follow him. He even encouraged the officers to shoot him saying, “you can do what you want to do”.

In light of this new video I think there is ample evidence that LaVoy did not help his situation by arguing with police and refusing to surrender to the arresting officers. He is culpable in part in his own death and the endangerment of the people in his vehicle whose safety he was responsible for. While I have plenty of criticism for the late Mr. Finicum, there is enough to go around. Even though Finicum refused to stop for the deputies, it is not clear to me that the state patrol officers had license to use the level of force that they did under the circumstances. The Oregon State Patrol is partially responsible for elevating the level of violence to a new level without justification. While the Bundy/Finicum militia was costing the state a lot of money due to their involvement in the standoff, no one at that point had been threatened or shot. No one was in any danger of being shot until the State Patrol opened fire.

And there may be case law supporting this position based on US Supreme Court precedent and the FBI released drone video. Another blog, analyzing the drone video asserts that the State Patrol in this case employed an illegal blind corner blockade that unnecessarily endangered the occupants of the vehicle and the officers themselves. The driver, Finicum, at that point had been guilty of nothing more than misdemeanor fleeing an officer, but as he rounded the blind corner, the driver would have been unable to stop in time and had two very difficult decisions to make in a split second, either to ram into the vehicles of the state patrol barricade or to swerve off to the side to avoid a collision. Finicum chose to swerve off.

From the video it is clear that an officer of the state patrol fired needlessly into the vehicle as the driver swerved to the side and, as the drone video shows, left cover in order to fire those shots, proving that he had no real reason to fear his own safety, but was only attempting to wound the driver to get him to stop.

I think these two videos, shown together, prove that Finicum showed a lack of judgment in his refusal to give into the proper authorities and that the tragedy was amplified by actions of the state patrol officers who used a level of force that was unjustified in this case. I think these videos taken together could be used in a civil law suit against law enforcement, and with the Supreme Court precedent as a baseline, officers who fired on Finicum and the truck, endangering the passengers within, could find themselves in hot water legally very soon.

It should be noted here that The American Millennium does not condone threats of violence against law enforcement officers. Nor are we here to call for armed revolution against the government. Our flawed political system is still the best on Earth and there are legal means to fight injustice that do not include bloody revolution. We should exhaust those means before a revolution is even thought of. That said, I have sympathy for the ranchers who feel they have been unfairly targeted by the government and their rights curtailed. I feel their frustration. The Federal government owns far too much state land and the states and their legislatures should demand it back. Frustrated ranchers are free to call their congressman, governors and senators and petition the government with their grievances. They are not allowed to revolt until all legal means at their disposal are exhausted.

The Bureau of Land Management as a law enforcement organization is quickly becoming as reprehensible in their actions as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms was in the ’90s when the Ruby Ridge and Waco Texas incidents were going on.

Law enforcement, with the Black Lives Matter situation going on, is drawing a lot of criticism and coverage as of late, often unfairly. I think that the issue of police brutality that does happen from time to time should be taken into account in context one case at a time. Officers who go over the line should be fired and prosecuted.

But, law enforcement officers are extremely hard to prosecute and that leads to a feeling that they are above the law. Juries should take a fair and balanced view when dealing with these incidents and come to reasoned judgments regarding fault based on evidence. The government should be more transparent in their dealings with the public, remembering who it is they work for. A good show of faith now would be for the FBI to release the Finicum autopsy to show the public how he died. They should also release photos and analysis of the truck Finicum was driving.

 

For Further reading:

Deadman’s Roadblock: http://freedomfromgovernment.org/deadmans-roadblock-shocks-the-consience/

Officers Breaking Cover showing LaVoy was no threat: http://freedomfromgovernment.org/282-2/

Washington has no right to own western states’ land: http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/apr/28/andrew-napolitano/napolitano-washington-lacks-constitutional-right-o/

 

 

 

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Three Men and a Truck: Matt and His Friends Help Liberate Libya

A critique of Point and Shoot, a documentary film by rebel filmmaker Matthew VanDyke

By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online

 

Captain Jeremy Griffith in Baghdad 2007

Captain Jeremy Griffith in Baghdad 2007

Recently I watched a war documentary filmed over five years by Matthew VanDyke. I’m a sucker for war films, but this one was way different that anything I’ve seen before, and definitely worth watching. You can find it now on Netflix.

 

The famous author Mark Twain is quoted as saying that the way to learn about a writer is to read his books. I think the same is true of the filmmaker. And so, even though I’ve never met Matt, I feel like I know him after watching this film. Here is a geeky guy from Baltimore, painfully awkward, looking for a “manly adventure”.

 

Most of us would join the military or something and go on deployment, but apparently for this guy, that never crossed his mind. I can see why. The guy is so tall and lanky, and painfully awkward as I said, the MEPS doctor would take one look at him and disqualify him as “unable to adapt to military life”, perhaps find a medical reason for doing so. One glaringly obvious reason to disqualify would be his OCD against bugs, germs, closed in spaces and other phobias that would be prohibitive for the life of a Soldier. And so, there is probably good reason this young man never darkens the door of a recruiter.

 

Instead he gets his Masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies or something and flies off to Africa with his Kawasaki bike and tours the country side for several years, filming himself as he goes. It’s kind of a Che Guevara type of motorcycle adventure, without the homicidal mania and the talk about communism. If that was the sum total of his adventure it would still be worth watching.

 

But the contacts and friendship Matt makes in Kaddafi’s Libya is preamble for the chapters that follow. Matt comes home to his girlfriend, wife? He never explains that part, and then the war in Libya happens and he’s drawn back to a war zone, this time to fight and not to document. In Iraq he embedded for a Baltimore paper to cover the war there from a Soldier’s perspective. They taught him how to load and shoot the various weapon systems. When he got to Libya, his experience handling weapons made him the SME, the subject matter expert, which is a frightening prospect.

 

In the midst of fighting that war he is captured in an ambush and spends a painful 5 months recuperating in solitary confinement in a Libyan prison. He goes a little nuts in prison, as one can well imagine and has visions about how the secretary of state Hillary Clinton comes to his aid and frees him. Of course he realizes after the fact that none of this is true. His release is secured because other prisoners riot and break out of the prison, and just happened to open the door of his cage on their way out the door. Matt is returned to the war and to his friends. He comes to realize that not all of his friends made it, having been killed in the ambush that landed him in prison.

 

Towards the end of the film, Matt describes how he participates in the final fall of the Kaddafi regime, fighting in a major battle. He’s not actually sure if he’s killed anyone, the enemy is always too far away and too impersonal. When he gets up close and personal with one sniper he fires, and misses his target. Then the end of the war arrives and Kaddafi is killed. Matt can take leave of his friends and go home.

 

Before the film wraps up, Matt meets up with his old Libyan friend Nuri. They go to the beach and go for a swim. It’s picturesque, very different from the conflict in the scenes before. Peaceful. There is nothing martial about Matt and his friends at all, they are all just peaceful people caught up in an ugly war for liberty. The videography is great and story is moving. I highly recommend it. Two thumbs up.

 

I’ve seen a few war documentaries in the past and I’ve enjoyed them. But this one is quite different. In this one, an awkward American turns from filmmaker to fighter in less than five years. If you met him on the street, you wouldn’t make him for a combat veteran, not like the ones I’ve seen. But in some ways he’s braver than many combat veterans I know. Courage is when you go outside your comfort zone and do the right thing even though it’s difficult. People who gravitate to the military and go on deployment are brave sure, but they’re built for that sort of thing. It’s not all that far out of their comfort zone. Matt is a fish out of water and yet he adapts. You won’t see him in a Navy SEAL bar acting all cavalier. He looks like a geek from Baltimore, a little more mature than when he left.

 

In some ways I admire this young man more than others who went with regular Army units to fight. When I went to Iraq, I was surrounded with the best trained, best equipped fighting force in the world. I felt pretty safe, having done some of that best of training myself at the home of the Infantry, Fort Benning Georgia. Matt and his friends had nothing; they were three men in a truck. That is a special kind of courage/slash foolishness, sometimes the distinction is too thin to really be sure.

“Matt and his friends had nothing; they were three men in a truck. That is a special kind of courage/slash foolishness, sometimes the distinction is too thin to really be sure.”

In a way I feel smallish following watching this film. I had all the best training in the world and in my retirement I watch angrily as ISIS takes over the greater Middle East, and Iraq where I was stationed for over 15 months. I could train, I could teach, I could mentor, and yet, here I am. I found myself yelling at the screen telling Matt and his friends, maneuver, don’t sit still, flank, find cover, return fire, go! But Matt and his friends didn’t have the training I had, just the availability. As the tragedy of the Christian and Yazidi genocide continues in the Middle East I wonder if more young men of little or no training will take up arms and join the “manly adventure” to liberate oppressed peoples. Maybe those few men and their truck will be more valuable than all the elite brigades the American Military has ever fielded?!

 

 

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In the Eyes of Fans the World Over, Pacquiao Wins Epic Battle

Manny Pacquiao's ebulient peronality and straightforward fighting style makes him a winner in the eyes of fans all over the world.

Manny Pacquiao’s ebulient peronality and straightforward fighting style makes him a winner in the eyes of fans all over the world.

 

by Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online

 

Mayweather may have won a technical fight between himself and underdog opponent Manny Pacquiao, by in the eyes of the adoring fans the world over, Manny, a modern day Robin Hood, was the winner.

Mayweather’s technical win seems to hinge on a weak punch, run away and hug strategy. Using his longer reach, the black American would keep his Filipino opponent away at distance, and keep on throwing week punches every time Pacquiao would try to step in and fight. There’s a reason for this. Pacquiao is a dangerous fighter who knocks people out. In the close fight, Manny wins. That’s why often when Manny did step in, Floyd would wrap him up and hug him. It’s a good strategy if you aren’t looking for a real fight, but it makes the outcome less clear.

Floyd Mayweather's run and hug strategy may have won him the fight in technical terms, but made him the loser in the eyes of people watching.

Floyd Mayweather’s run and hug strategy may have won him the fight in technical terms, but made him the loser in the eyes of people watching.

Given all the “points” that Mayweather accumulated from the judges throughout the fight, Floyd chose not to engage Pacquiao anymore, choosing instead to run around the ring and keep away. Already this weak punch, run and hug strategy has given rise to humorous memes on the Internet.

Some of those memes include the following:

Pacquiao is a fighter, Mayweather is a marathoner!

Or,

Pacquiao is a figher, Mayweather is a hugger!

Or,

Mayweather: Free Hugs!

And Etc. From the very beginning the back stories of the respective fighters suggested an epic battle between good an evil. Pacquiao is the epic small town hero and national champion of the Philippines. He smiles, he worships God openly, and he interacts with fans. On contrast, Mayweather is all about the money, in fact that is his monicker. In the lead up to the fight there was awkward video of a Mayweather fluncky hanging bottles of expensive wine in a expansive room in one of Floyd’s overpriced houses. The weird video showed just how out of touch Floyd seems to be with the common people. He is a franchise fighter and business man who cares primarily about himself and fails to connect to people.

So it was Darth Vader vs. Luke Skywalker apparently. Ultimately the professional boxing style wasn’t very entertaining for most people who aren’t fans of boxing who only tuned in because they hopped to see a real brawl, which didn’t materialize.

There was a telling moment when a rude interviewer was talking to Manny after the fight. He looked very uncomfortable next to Manny as he basically asked him why he was such a loser, being out-boxed by the American opponent. Manny smiled and said simply, “I think I won the fight!” That shocked the interviewer, who countered. “Well, what about Mayweather’s power. Could you feel that in the ring?” To which Manny smiled, with his bright personable smile and said, “I can handle his ‘power’!”

Because there was no power to Mayweather’s punches. A martial arts practitioner will tell you that you can’t break a board or a brick by punching it at the full length of your punch, which is what Floyd was doing to Manny. The target has to be closer in, and the fighter must punch through the target for there to be any power. Whatever power was in Mayweather’s punches was pretty much extinguished at full reach when they occasionally made contact with Pacquiao’s face or body. Analysis given by the announcers demonstrate that the fight was basically judged by the number of punches thrown versus the effectiveness of those punches, which came out hugely in Mayweather’s favor. It seems an odd way to judge a fight that seemed largely to come out as a draw in the eyes of the viewers.

Many are already speculating on whether there will be a rematch, but I find that highly unlikely, based on the build up to this fight. It might take another five years, at which time, the fighters will be well past their prime. The only way Mayweather would schedule such a fight is if he could capitalize on it for more money. He can find the money elsewhere, and much easier too.

The fight was largely a disappointment to Philippines fans, who put a lot of emotional stock in their hero. But the loss doesn’t diminish Manny at all. If nothing it elevates him through the sorrow of disappointment in the eyes of the fans who admire his straight forward, honest fighting style. I was in a house filled with Filipino immigrants that night and all of them were angry at Mayweather for cheating and running rather than fighting. Many asked the question: why doesn’t he get penalized for that? Isn’t that illegal? I’m not a boxing fan, so I don’t know the rules, which seemed to favor the American and weigh against his Filipino challenger.

The rules of society don’t make much sense sometimes and often heroes of the past find themselves at odds with them. Jesus Christ, Robin Hood, Davy Crocket, etc. all were victims of this, but in the end it did not diminish them, but elevated their legend. At the end of the day, Manny Pacquiao was elevated again on the shoulders of people who love him and identify with him. In the meantime, the ‘winner’, Floyd Mayweather will be able to cash in, while at the same time be the subject of ridicule not unlike Pontious Pilate, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and Santa Anna.

One more observation on the fight before closing. Did anyone notice the weird opening? There were three national anthem’s played. The United States and the Philippines, and I get that, but why was the Mexican Anthem sung? It was a weird awkward moment to be listening to an anthem played for a participant who wasn’t there, had no dog in the fight. Apparently the PC police are in full force. The excuse was, in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. Whatever. It would have been better if it had not been played. Leave the PC crap at the door. All it did was cause snickers amongst the impatient fans who waited hours to see the primary fight card.

The so-called epic matchup

The so-called epic matchup between Mayweather and Pacquiao ultimately was a disappointment to people watching.

Related

http://uproxx.com/sports/2015/05/twitter-internet-reactions-mayweather-pacquiao/

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/03/asia/pacquiao-fans-call-for-mayweather-rematch/index.html

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2452396-mayweather-vs-pacquiao-money-the-clear-winner-as-pac-man-fails-in-title-fight

http://deadspin.com/floyd-mayweather-is-a-coward-1701842801

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“Painfully Striking” photos tell the story of the death of a protester in Cairo

by Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online

 

On Jan. 24 of this year, socialist protestor Shaimaa  al-Shabbagh died very publically as professional and amateur photographers and videographers documented her passing in what has been described as “painfully striking” photos.   She was only 31 years old.

 

On that day she and her colleagues and friends gathered in their office in Cairo where they planned to lay a wreath in memory of those who died in previous protests . The city of Cairo and indeed the whole nation of Egypt has been wracked with protests, many turning violent as the nation attempts to assert its identity in the midst of all the political strife and chaos. Members of the leftist Socialist People’s Alliance Party, which included Shabbagh and her friends, intended to stage a peaceful protest in a popular square in Cairo where they would sing songs and lay a memorial wreath. Their plans changed suddenly when they were confronted by security forces who allegedly fired upon them with tear gas, and birdshot. Undoubtedly, the officers intended their tactics to be “less than lethal” but intent and result are not always the same thing as regrettably, Shabbagh was fatally wounded after she was shot, point blank in the back with bird shot.

 

Photos taken at the scene by photographer Islam Osama are heart-rending, carried today via Reuters and commented upon by John Beck of Vice News in his article Anatomy of a Killing: How Shaimaa al-Shabbagh was shot dead at a Cairo protest. You can read the whole article and see the photographs here.

 

An un-named security forces Brigadier General is being blamed for giving the order to his men to fire upon the protesters. They did so with tragic result. Beck writes that the leader of the SPAP organization which organized the protest attempted to inform the brigadier of their peaceful intent and was faced with a blustering officer uninterested in their intent or their rights. While they were still speaking, the men began to open fire.

 

Friends of Shabbagh are pictured with her in these movingly sad photos attempting to extricate her from the situation. But it was to no avail. She died on the street, slumped over in a plastic lawn chair outside of a popular local cafe. A doctor arrived and pronounced her dead. Police accused of shooting her did nothing to render aid or answer the pleas for help of Shabbagh’s friends. Instead those friends were all arrested and charged with crimes, including public protest, which is apparently illegal in Egypt now.

 

Sadly I have heard nothing of this situation from other media. Isis in Iraq and Syria seem to have taken sole ownership of the airwaves and the turmoil in Egypt has been relegated to the “old news” bin at the city editor’s desk. I for one would like to see the video and more of the photos that allegedly show the moment when Shabbagh was shot. I would like to see the main stream media cover and analyze this event. Freedom of press and of people to peacefully protest in Egypt is at stake if the charges against the government are true. The government is being led by former Army General El-Sisi, who has had a good reputation up until now, since he has ousted his Muslim Brotherhood backed predecessor and taken control of the government. Incidents like this will tarnish that image if the government doesn’t respond appropriately.

 

To avoid chaos, the government has to be forthright about what happened in this incident and it cannot shift blame if the security forces deserve blame. The officer who shot the protestor should be charged and his leaders should be held accountable. And the right to freedom of expression and of peaceful protest and redress of grievances should be valued and re-established in that country, regardless of the source of that expression. A nation cannot be truly free if the people are threatened with violence for merely speaking their minds. Admittedly, we don’t do that well enough here in the land of the free so we are no good example, i.e. Ferguson. But we must support the freedom of expression, both here and abroad. The only way we can do that is to demand transparency.

 

In the meantime, artist and writer Shaima al-Shabbagh is dead and buried, and her family and friends, including a young son, morn her loss. Very sad.

 

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McFadden Closes on Liberal Opponent Franken

Mike McFadden, Republican challenger running against Sen. Al Franken, addresses Rochester voters in regard to health care Friday. -photo by Jeremy Griffith

Mike McFadden, Republican challenger running against Sen. Al Franken, addresses Rochester voters in regard to health care Friday. -photo by Jeremy Griffith

by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online

 

Mike McFadden, the Republican competitor with liberal Senator Al Franken of Minnesota is attempting to close the gap with his opponent even as he tries to differentiate himself from Franken’s record.

The challenger debated Franken last week in Duluth. This week McFadden met with Rochester residents on his plan for fixing health care.

He says, “Obamacare, or MNSure in Minnesota, is a train-wreck, and that train keeps wrecking!” Mcfadden went on to explain that the Affordable Health Care Act, or Obamacare as it is most commonly known, is based on three prominent lies told to the American People by the President. He says, the cost of health care was supposed to go down, it’s actually gone up quite a bit. Obama said it would increase access; in fact fewer people have access now than did before, as people are forced off their employer provided health care due to the outrageous cost to small business.

“147,000 Minnesotans found out that wasn’t true,” McFadden said.

And finally, McFadden explained that the quality of health care would go down, not increase as the president promised. “Whenever government gets involved in health care, you get a decrease in quality, like what is happening with the VA,” McFadden said. “I won’t let that happen if I’m elected as the Senator from the great state of Minnesota!”

McFadden met with a small but enthusiastic crowd in Rochester on Friday. He told the crowd he was pleased to get the endorsement of two prominent northern Minnesota newspapers including Duluth. A most recent poll cited by McFadden has him closing within two points of Franken, which is within the margin of error.

ABC’S Eyewitness 5 notes on their website that Franken was down in 2008 when he challenged Republican Norm Coleman and went on to win that election, after a legal challenge and a vote recount, with a slim margin of 312 votes. So, Franken, while still in the lead, maybe vulnerable. According to the latest polling we’ve seen, the closest McFadden has been able to close is eight points. You can see the latest polling day from Real Clear Politics here. See McFadden’s full comments in the video below.

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The Science of the Sea Has a New Toy

by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium

The Sea Orbiter as conceived in its final form.

The Sea Orbiter as conceived in its final form.

It looks like a giant fish hook floating upright in the ocean, but if this dream reaches fruition, the Sea Orbiter will become a vessel and mobile aquatic lab that will give scientists and researchers new unrestricted access to the wonders of the sea.

Like something out of Jules Vern, the Sea Orbiter is the brain child of French architect Jacques Rougerie. An info graphic and story about the orbiter appears in June’s edition of Popular Science in an article by Ajai Raj. If fully constructed, the orbiter will act as a mobile lab that gives researchers 24/7 access to the ocean. Part of the vessel will be submerged so that sailors, under pressurized conditions called saturation, won’t have to resurface every time they are done with a mission, so they can stay under water and continue their work for longer periods.

So far the $44 million project is little more than an idea, but the Raj article says that funding has started through crowdsourcing web activity and construction on the above the water line portion of the vessel, known as “The Eye”, has begun.

The lab will have a crew who operate the vessel, above water researchers and below the water divers who will work in concert to gather data about our oceans. They will also have media personnel who will parse the data and create educational content that can be transmitted through multi-media, presumably to classrooms around the world. This is to raise awareness of the issues revolving around the preservation of the natural researchers of the sea.

Scientists know more about the surface of the moon and Mars than they do about our own seafloor. -Ajai Raj, Popular Science

I love the idea of the vessel and its mission. If used appropriately, it can vastly improve our knowledge of the oceans that is sorely lacking. Raj writes: Scientists know more about the surface of the moon and Mars than they do about our own seafloor. With projects like this one, things are about to change. Unlike the surface of the moon and Mars, the sea may hold the answer to new medicine and technology, and perhaps even energy exploration.

It would however, be floating the open seas in a world that is less than ideal. With terrorism and piracy increasing in our world’s oceans, I would think that the investors in this project would have to insist on armed escort vessels that would support this observational platform with armed security aimed at protecting the crew, ship and the investors’ capitol.

Take a look at the website for more information on the Sea Orbiter here, or pick up a copy of Popular Science.

The Sea Orbiter diagram

The Sea Orbiter diagram

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Hagedorn Takes the Fight to Walz over Health Care

Jim Hagedorn, 1st District Republican Congressional Candidate, held a press conference in front of Rep. Tim Walz’s Rochester office to talk about the detrimental effects of Obamacare,(Affordable Health Care Act), on consumers, the City of Rochester, and the Mayo Clinic.

Below is the press release and video of the comments he made to the press Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014.

Hagedorn is one of several candidates competing in a crowded Republican field who are vying for the opportunity to challenge Rep. Tim Walz-D for his 1st District Congressional Seat. The winner of a state Republican convention will move on to run against Walz later this year. The CD1 convention takes place on April 5, while the state convention takes place on May 30-31. For more information on upcoming dates, check out the Olmsted County GOP calander here, or check out their website at http://olmstedgop.org. 

Hagedorn – Rochester Obamacare PR

The American Millennium does not endorse any candidate or candidate’s campaign. The creators of the American Millennium stand for conservative free market principles and limited government. Candidates who want to discuss their views prior to the county and state conventions can contact us at the AmericanMillenniumOnline.com.

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Minnesota DFL Fined $100,000 for Illegal Campaign Coordination, One of the Largest Fines in Minnesota History

by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium

Too late to affect the outcome of local state campaigns, the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board has fined the Minnesota DFL $100,000 for illegal campaign coordination, one of the largest civil penalty levied in state history.

On Tuesday the Board levied the fine against the DFL after it was discovered that 13 DFL candidates coordinated their campaigns illegally, since properly reclassifying the expenditures means that the candidates illegally exceeded their campaign contribution and/or spending limits.  A total of over $300,000 in illegal contributions were not reported by the campaigns.. The board also plans to fine each individual campaign directly, according to a press release from the Minnesota Republican  Party.

State Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey demonstrated his frustration at the DFL’s actions in the last campaign, as well as satisfaction with the boards’ ruling.

“Senate Democrats were so intent on winning at any cost and throwing huge money into the 2012 campaign that they played fast and loose in a big way,” said Downey. “Even though it is over a year too late for the voters in these thirteen districts, and the ruling says nothing about the truthfulness of their ads, today’s ruling does at least provide a much needed check on their campaign financing tactics.”

“Many of the Democratic Senators on this list won their elections by narrow margins. We will never know how this illegal coordination would have impacted the results in these races and ultimately control of the legislature.  They cheated, they won, but at least they are being held accountable now.” Downey continued.

“They cheated, they won, but at least they are being held accountable now.” -Republican State Chairman Keith Downey.

“We look forward to the Campaign Finance Board’s continued investigation and expect them to thoroughly examine each of the thirteen campaigns to determine the full extent of this wrongdoing,” Downey concluded.

DFL lawmakers disagreed with the board’s ruling said that they are glad to put the matter to rest.

“Ultimately, it is best to set this distraction aside and allow our members to focus on governing,” DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the board has levied only two fines of equal or greater size in the past 11 years: former gubernatorial candidate Tim Pawlenty was fined $100,000 for coordinating a 2002 television ad with the Republican Party, and the board also fined the national 21st Century Democrats a whopping $190K for failing to disclose the its spending to influence Minnesota’s 2004 election.

Read the full report from the Star Tribune here.

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Sandy Hook Massacre Game is Edgy, but not fun!

by Jeremy Griffith
AmericanMillenniumOnline.com

Undated screen grab of Sandy Hook Massacre video game.

Undated screen grab of Sandy Hook Massacre video game.

So there is a guy out there who developed a very simple first person shooter based on the Sandy Hook Elementary Massacre. It basically allows the player to relive the moments of the massacre in real time, about ten minutes. While the game is edgy, it certainly isn’t fun.

Now let me be clear about something. The Sandy Hook shooting was a tragedy, for everyone. I’m not trying to justify anything. This column’s purpose is not aimed at causing any more pain for the victims. I’m just analyzing the game and it’s implications.

I’m a First Amendment advocate. That means I have to defend this game developer’s right to produce this game, even though I don’t agree with his motivations. I mean, this game is really in poor taste. It does start conversations about the Sandy Hook shootings and maybe we should talk about it more, why it happened and how to prevent it in the future.

So I played the game and it’s pretty pedantic. I’ve played a lot of first person shooters and I enjoy them. The difference in this game is, nobody shoots back. It opens with this very basic character and has very simple controls that take a few moments to figure out. The character is a blob, kind of a shadow of a person. In fact, all the characters are shadows. As the cretin walks, his feet look like all broken apart like he’s a wraith, or he’s wading in darkness or blood or something. I’m not sure what the author was trying to convey with this effect. It’s kind of creepy.

The game opens and the words on the screen say “Take the Glock”. You walk over and you hit action and you get the gun. Then you go into your mother’s bedroom and the words tell you, “Shoot your mom.” So you do and if you do, you get rewarded with the AR-15 rifle and the car keys. (After you’ve shot your mom numerous time to make sure she’s dead.)

So then the scene fades and you appear at the school, breaking in through the window. With the rifle raised, you go from room to room shooting teachers and students. Nobody fights back. The game is pretty slow as the character’s walking and his reaction time really sucks. That’s why, when you walk into a room, some of the kids get away because they run too fast for you to take aim at them. There are plenty of opportunities for you to kill because many of the victims just cower in place and that allows you to walk up and shoot them. There is a little blood and it’s over and you move on to the next one.

Once you get to the end of the game, you hit x and the game is over, the police arrive. The game pretty much froze for me after that, but you get the gist. It’s pretty sick and not in the good millennial way. Other articles mention that there is a place at the end where you can sign a pro-gun control petition. But because the game froze for me I never got to this point. Whatever.

There are several problems I have with this game, other than it’s sick, broken and wrong and the author should get psychiatric care immediately. While the moron who perpetrated this horrendous crime did have the AR-15 rifle in the car, for whatever reason, he didn’t carry it into the building. He had two Glock pistols. More than enough to do his awful deed. Obviously, historical accuracy was not the developer’s goal. It’s not cool for the developer or the anti-gun crowd to have a pair of Glocks in the wraith-like killer’s hands. It’s the AR’s fault and that is why it has to appear in the game. Ban long guns that look black and scary.

Number two: where is the security guard? Oh right, there was none. If there had been a guard with a gun, in real life and in this work of virtual fiction, the ‘game’ would be over almost before it began. Shooter walks in with a gun, guard sees him, guard shoots killer, game over.

So the developer of this game has achieved his goal by starting conversations like this one. He’s grabbed a headline or two. Likely we won’t hear the last of him. The actual killer has grabbed headlines too and we should really have conversations about mental health, access to guns and ammo and whether or not it is now time to have armed guards at our public and private schools.

There was a Facebook meme I saw recently that spelled it out for me really well. It said basically, we protect the President, Congress, Banks, important celebrities etc. with guns. We protect our schools where our precious children reside most of the day with a sign that says ‘no guns allowed’. How stupid is that?!

The lasting impression I get from this is that guns, once again are not solely to blame for this and other massacres, people with serious mental issues are. It strikes me more than ever that the Founding Fathers were right on so many levels by enumerating our God given right to self defense by granting us the right to bear arms, as written in the Second Amendment. In the right hands, a gun will save a life. In the wrong hands, a gun can cause tragedy. Criminals never follow the laws, there is always a way for them to cause harm. Why would anyone want to deprive the people of their right of self-defense?

The Revolutionary Founders were worried about Indian attacks, criminals and the British Army. They had muskets to defend themselves. Today criminals have access to much more harmful weapons. It demonstrates why the average person needs a gun to defend themselves in this day and age.

Now you’ve got kids playing the knockout game in large urban cities. You can’t walk down the street anymore without some kid attempting to be cool attempting to punch your lights out just for the fun of it and to impress his friends. I would rather have a gun to protect myself than have nothing at all.

Barack Obama famously said that his grandmother was the typical white person who would cross the street to avoid being confronted by black kids. Well, I think grandma was pretty smart. It’s not safe to walk down the street any more, so it is more important than ever to be suspicious and take precautions. I would take it a step further. Show the kids your gun and make them cross the street.

It’s not that the black kids are the problem. There is enough blame to go around, most school shooters are white. The problem is that we don’t teach values to our kids any more in the public school. Take the Ten Commandments out of schools, take prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance out of schools, and this is what you get. Tell the kids they are evolved from dung beetles with no hope for eternity, no different from other animals and the kids will act like animals. Teach them that they are accountable to their Maker and you will get a much different outcome. Perhaps the biggest problem in schools won’t be teenage pregnancy, violence and dropping out, it’ll be little Johnny chewing bubble gum in class.

And then we won’t hear about these awful school shootings and these moronic game developers ever again.

God bless the victims of Sandy Hook and bring them relief from their pain.

Check out out this You Tube video posted by Secular Talk. The author comes to different conclusions than I do, but still makes some valid points.

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Who is responsible for targeting Christians in First Army Briefings? Will there be hearings?

First Army Patch

First Army Patch

by Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online

This week Todd Starnes of Fox News exclusively reported on incidents where Army leaders briefed Soldiers ready to deploy on so-called “hate groups”, listing Christian Protestant and Evangelical groups in the mix. Now after that report came out, no less than the Secretary of the Army, John McHugh, has ordered that all such training be halted.

Several questions are now apparent: who is responsible for this training and will there be hearings to ascertain why these training briefings were given apparently without approval of top Army leaders? Or, were they approved at higher levels and then eliminated after the backlash that followed?

According to Starnes’s reports, available here, Army leaders on several occasions have warned Soldiers not to contribute to or participate in certain political or religious groups under penalty of the Uniform Code of Military Justice or UCMJ. At Fort Hood Texas, for example, deploying Soldiers were told that they could be punished for participating in Tea Party organizations or evangelical Christian Groups or donating funds to them.

At Camp Shelby, Mississippi, a National Guard post responsible for training and deploying thousands of Troops overseas for contingency operations, leaders briefed Soldiers warning them about so-called hate groups, listing such organizations like the American Family Association and the Family Research Council, groups that support traditional marriage.

Reports of such briefings became available when a Freedom of Information Act request or FOIA was submitted by the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. Chaplain Alliance Executive Director Ron Crews is happy with the Army Secretary for stopping the briefings.

“Men and women of faith – who have served the Army faithfully for centuries – have been likened to those who regularly threaten the peace and security of the United States,” said Crews.“It is dishonorable for any U.S. military entity to allow this type of improper characterization.

“Men and women of faith – who have served the Army faithfully for centuries – have been likened to those who regularly threaten the peace and security of the United States. It is dishonorable for any U.S. military entity to allow this type of improper characterization.” -Ron Crews

So who was it who was responsible for these controversial briefings? The Army Secretary says they were not approved by him.

In a memorandum to Army leaders obtained by Starnes, Secretary McHugh writes, ““On several occasions over the past few months, media accounts have highlighted instances of Army instructors supplementing programs of instruction and including information or material that is inaccurate, objectionable and otherwise inconsistent with current Army policy.” According to an Army spokesman, those briefings have been halted by order of the Secretary who has “directed that Army leaders cease all briefings, command presentations or training on the subject of extremist organizations or activities until that program of instruction and training has been created and disseminated.”

What that means exactly is not exactly clear to this writer. The overarching question now is, did low level Army leaders include the materials without getting approval by higher headquarters before they presented materials? That is unlikely since the Soldiers were warned of penalties under UCMJ. Did the Secretary or his staff approve of this training, backing off only after an apparent embarrassing backlash, or were they left out the loop by overzealous and mislead leaders lower down in the chain of command?

This week congress is involved in hearings to discuss the embarrassing implementation of the Obamacare launch. We at the American Millennium believe they should also should hold hearings on this issue, holding Army leaders accountable for this embarrassing and controversial actions. Kudos to the members of congress who wrote to the Secretary requesting the halt of these briefings.

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SOCIAL WORK DAY AT THE CAPITOL 2013

 

Social Work Rally 2013 from Jeremy Griffith on Vimeo.

Mike Arieta MSW, LICSW, LMSW
Special to the American Millennium Online

Mike Arieta, LICSW-MN, Proprietor of New Path Counseling

Mike Arieta, LICSW-MN, Proprietor of New Path Counseling

April 8, 2013 was the 17th annual Social Work Day At The Capitol hosted by the Minnesota chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.  This was a sold out event for the NASW-MN chapter as there were over 750 Social Work students, faculty and practionares in attendance.  This is an event that brings social workers from all over the state of Minnesota to the capitol to draw legislators attention to the needs and challenges faced by the people social workers serve on a daily basis.

Break out sessions were held on legislation that directly impacts child welfare, mental health, health care and homelessness, as well as, a presentation on the current budget and tax bills for the state.  This is also a day for the individual social worker to meet with his or her legislator and discuss issues that are important to them and the clients they serve.

Health care was one topic that was of major importance and a session on the Affordable Care Act was well attended.  This session did not discuss the components of the Affordable Care Act, but rather went over the pros and cons of the act as a whole.

It was pointed out that the ACA does provide increased funding for community based clinics with the idea that a person could be seen by a primary care doctor in the community without having to go to the emergency room which is more expensive.  The ACA also prevents insurance abuses such as restraints on pre-existing conditions and lifetime caps on coverage.  It also expands Medicaid to those who work, but do not have insurance through their employer.  Some of the draw backs of the ACA as pointed out in the session were that due to co-pays and some premiums people may still not be able to afford the care and the act does not provide for a cap on prices.

Another issue that was raised was that the act expands the same fragmented insurance system that exists now.  The problem with the system is that people are limited to staying within a health provider network and may not be able to move outside of that network to seek care when needed.  Also, the amount of money being spent on health care administration is still large because people are stuck within networks that are fragmented and care not be streamlined.

The discussion turned to the chance each state has to offer their own health care exchange and improve on some of the drawbacks of the ACA as a whole.  Minnesota has a chance with health care reform to offer a system that is less fragmented and more streamlined to offer better care for all.  The overall conclusion of the session was that the ACA is not the most ideal plan, but it is a good first step toward providing health care for all and that Minnesota can lead the way in shaping how health care is delivered to all.

Mike Arieta MSW, LICSW, LMSW © 2013

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