News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Riley Murray.

1. How a Great Power Falls Apart: Decline Is Invisible From the Inside

2. Opinion | Failing to renew VOA foreign staffers’ visas would devastate one of its core functions

3. USAGM Reviewing Foreign Journalist Visas

4. Visa Delays Could Hamper VOA News Coverage, Journalists Say

5. John Hopkins University Sues to Defend International Students Against Trump Administration Decision

6. Private Donations and National Defense

7. The Next Experiments in Elitism

8. Green Beret, 34, dies by suicide in front of his wife

9. Get Ready for a New Type of Israeli War

10. Should the U.S. designate racial violence as terrorism?

11. China’s Troubling Vision for the Future of Public Health

12. U.S. warns citizens of heightened detention risks in China

13. We’re losing the war on the coronavirus

14. Inside the Volunteer Supercomputer Team That’s Hunting for COVID Clues

15. Army opens investigation into Fort Hood following death of Vanessa Guillen

16. ‘I thought this was a hoax’ | 30-year-old patient dies in local hospital after attending ‘COVID Party’

17. The National Emergency at Your Doorstep: The disappearance of local news is a slow-moving disaster. (book review)

18. Opinion | Trump’s bullying of Lt. Col. Vindman will be studied by military cadets for years

19. The Far-Right Revolution Was Waiting for an Opportunity. Now, It’s Here.

20. In Latin America, the Pandemic Threatens Equality Like Never Before

21. Gurkhas: The World’s Most Famous Mercenaries (Known As a Savage Soldiers)

1.  How a Great Power Falls Apart: Decline Is Invisible From the Inside

Foreign Affairs · by Charles King · July 10, 2020

An interesting review of the history of fall of the Soviet Union.  I was of course familiar with the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago but not with the writing of Andrei Amalrik.  But the concluding two paragraphs is something to really ponder.  I have read them three or four times and it is really powerful.

2. Opinion | Failing to renew VOA foreign staffers’ visas would devastate one of its core functions

The Washington Post · by Editorial Board

I fear that USAGM is being used to further the idiotic immigration policies and at the same time take down VOA, RFA, RFE, RL, MEB, etc.

We should be overly concerned.  We need these native speakers to effectively accomplish the mission. 

I hope to be proven wrong.

3. USAGM Reviewing Foreign Journalist Visas

voanews.com · by VOA News

Here is reporting on the Visa issue straight from VOA.  We can discount the NPR reporting, but it is hard to dispute reports that come from the actual agencies affected.

4. Visa Delays Could Hamper VOA News Coverage, Journalists Say

voanews.com · by Jessica Jerreat – 11 July 2020

Here is a concrete and personal example of the impact of the Visa issue. I hope there is no retribution against this journalist for telling her story for the VOA journalist.  It the USAGM response is to make some kind of allegations of wrongdoing it will be a sign of not only retribution but the real intent.  Again, I fear this is a concerted effort to implement the White House’s anti-immigration policies and to gut our VOA, etc. capabilities.  We are going to shoot ourselves in the foot with these actions. Or worse.

I am trying hard to give the new leadership the benefit of the doubt, but this kind of reporting does not give me confidence. It is unfortunate that there is no constituency in the US to support the work of VOA, et al because few really know what the mission is or the important contributions these journalists make to the US and our foreign policy. 

5. John Hopkins University Sues to Defend International Students Against Trump Administration Decision

TIME · by time.com editors

Another decision not in the best interests of the United States. I hope the court rules correctly for our universities and American interests.  There seems to be a pattern with immigration.

6. Private Donations and National Defense

philanthropyroundtable.org · by Karl Zinsmeister

I previously sent out the original article from Philanthropy Magazine.  Spirit of America makes contributions to our foreign affairs and national security like no other NGO.  It is one of a kind.  I hope people will support it.

Truth in advertising, I am a member of the Board of Advisors.

7. The Next Experiments in Elitism

https://breakingsmart.substack.com/ – by Venkatesh Rao – 10 July 2020

A 60 paragraph discussion on elitism (and no we are not taking about “elite” military forces)

You can listen to this at the link below.

The Next Experiments in Elitism

8. Green Beret, 34, dies by suicide in front of his wife

Daily Mail · by Frances Mulraney · July 11, 2020

Another terrible tragedy in our Regiment and the US military.

9. Get Ready for a New Type of Israeli War

The National Interest · by Jacob Nagel · July 11, 2020

A very interesting discussion of precision guided munitions. 

10. Should the U.S. designate racial violence as terrorism?

PBS · by Simon Ostrovsky · July 11, 2020

I think not. My gut says racial violence should remain criminal activity. However, I do think the opposite argument can made. Of course, one of the problems we have with classifying acts as terrorism is there is no commonly accepted definition of terrorism. I still think one of the best definitions is from my old boss Bruce Hoffman in his book Inside Terrorism.  The question is does racial violence fit within this definition?  

“We may therefore now attempt to define terrorism as the deliberate creation and exploitation of fear through violence or the threat of violence in the pursuit of political change. All terrorist acts involve violence or the threat of violence. Terrorism is specifically designed to have far-reaching psychological effects beyond the immediate victim(s) or object of the terrorist attack. It is meant to instill fear within, and thereby intimidate, a wider `target audience’ that might include a rival ethnic or religious group, an entire country, a national government or political party, or public opinion in general. Terrorism is designed to create power where there is none or to consolidate power where there is very little. Through the publicity generated by their violence, terrorists seek to obtain the leverage, influence and power they otherwise lack to effect political change on either a local or an international scale.”

11. China’s Troubling Vision for the Future of Public Health

Foreign Affairs · by Sheena Chestnut Greitens and Julian Gewirtz · July 10, 2020

I think the authors are correct. I am surprised they did not discuss China’s influence over the WHO which is one of the reasons why we should not be withdrawing from it.

12. U.S. warns citizens of heightened detention risks in China

Reuters · by Reporting by Lusha Zhang and Yew Lun Tian; writing by Se Young Lee; Editing by Toby Chopra · July 11, 2020

I would certainly not travel to the PRC at this time.  I have probably violated the law by writing negative things about the CCP.  A cursory search of social media would reveal my views of the CCP.

13. We’re losing the war on the coronavirus

Axios · by Sam Baker

Not good news.  And will not be accepted by many.

14. Inside the Volunteer Supercomputer Team That’s Hunting for COVID Clues

defenseone.com · by Brandi Vincent

I hope all this computing power can find us the answers we need.  The article is a real “who’s who” of the technical world.

15. Army opens investigation into Fort Hood following death of Vanessa Guillen

Axios · by Ursula Perano

Based on the reporting it seems we have a significant problem there (and likely other places as well despite all the efforts that have been made to stop sexual harassment/assault, etc.). 

16. ‘I thought this was a hoax’ | 30-year-old patient dies in local hospital after attending ‘COVID Party’

wzzm13.com

What did Forrest Gump say?  “Stupid is as stupid does?”  Perhaps this is one way of reducing the gene pool of idiots.

17. The National Emergency at Your Doorstep: The disappearance of local news is a slow-moving disaster. (book review)

The Atlantic · by Megan Garber · July 11, 2020

My wife has been pushing hard for us to watch and read local news.  I think she is right.  We need to support our local papers and media.

The author wants us to “recalibrate our vision” of the local news and think of it as “instead as an intimately local proposition.”

As an aside one of the longest jobs I ever held was delivering the local newspaper I delivered it every day for 7 years from the time I was 7 until I went to high school at 14.  I bet few kids get to do that today.

18. Opinion | Trump’s bullying of Lt. Col. Vindman will be studied by military cadets for years

NBC News – by Jeff McCausland – July 11, 2020

This will be panned by those with partisan political views especially because of the clickbait title as that is all many will read. But I think Jeff McCausland’s analysis here is important I know he is correct that this will be studied at PME institutions for years to come.  Regardless of partisan views this incident requires study and reflection on a number of levels.

19.  The Far-Right Revolution Was Waiting for an Opportunity. Now, It’s Here.

The Intercept · by Murtaza Hussain · July 11, 2020

From the Intercept.  And this will be panned by all those who view antifa and BLM as terrorist organizations or insurgencies.  We should all agree that radicalism and radical actions on both extremes of the political spectrum is not good for our country.  Unfortunately, the radical extremes have the loudest voices or take the most aggressive actions.

20.  In Latin America, the Pandemic Threatens Equality Like Never Before

The New York Times · by Julie Turkewitz and Sofía Villamil · July 12, 2020

21. Gurkhas: The World’s Most Famous Mercenaries (Known As a Savage Soldiers)

The National Interest · by Peter Suciu · July 11, 2020

The Ghurkas have to be one of the finest tactical fighting forces in the world.  And they are truly as hard as woodpecker lips as the solder’s saying goes.  When I was a young company commander in Korea back in the 1980’s a platoon of Gurkhas was deployed for training.  Since we were in the field conducting a major training exercise they were assigned to my company.  The First Sergeant and I drove back to the assembly area with two deuce and a half trucks to bring the platoon to our training location.  The. Brit platoon leader said no thank you and that he and his Gurkha corporal would lead them to our training location on foot at the double time.  We were located about 6 miles from the assembly area and about an hour and a half later they arrived at our location.  The First Sergeant had hot chow waiting for them and provided a bivouac area but again the UK platoon leader said no thank you as they had their own rations and they would gladly occupy a portion of the perimeter and contribute to the defense.  In the best Ranger tradition, they faded into the wood line and occupied tactical positions.  Never once in the week they were with us did they ever do anything that was not tactically sound.  They were “switched on” as they say 24/7.  

“Everybody wants to defend speech they agree with., only the truly principled will defend the speech of someone to say something they disagree with and hate to listen or read.” – Cal Weyers

 

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”

– Albert Einstein

 

Victor Hugo was a master of figurative language, including the use of oxymoronic and paradoxical phrasing, chiastic constructions, and, of course, vivid metaphorical images. Here are ten of his best:

“Toleration is the best religion.”

“Thought is the labor of the intellect.”

“The malicious have a dark happiness.”

“Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad.”

“To rise from error to truth is rare and beautiful.”

“A compliment is something like a kiss through a veil.”

“”Laughter is the sun which drives winter from the human face.”

“One can resist the invasion of armies;

one cannot resist the invasion of ideas.”

“It is the essence of truth that it is never excessive . . .

We must not resort to the flame where only light is required.”

“There are thoughts which are prayers.

There are moments when, whatever the posture of the body,

the soul is on its knees.”

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