Flynn’s lawyers have stopped talking to Trump’s lawyers. Still talking to Mueller, though.


TweedleDee & TweedleDumb

❝ Lawyers for former national security adviser Michael Flynn have told President Donald Trump’s legal team that they are no longer communicating with them about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference.

The decision could be a sign that Flynn is moving to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation or negotiate a deal for himself. Flynn’s legal team communicated the decision this week, said a person familiar with the move…blah, blah, blah

In large criminal investigations, defense lawyers routinely share information with each other. But it can become unethical to continue such communication if one of the potential targets is looking to negotiate a deal with prosecutors…

❝ In addition to scrutinizing Flynn’s contacts with Russia during the transition and campaign, Mueller has been investigating the retired U.S. Army lieutenant general’s role in $530,000 worth of lobbying work his now-defunct firm performed for a Turkish businessman during the final months of the 2016 presidential campaign.

I guess becoming a pimp for one or another segment of the American Military-Industrial Complex like his peers wasn’t sufficiently rewarding.

Sweden ranked Top of the World for treatment of elderly


Click to enlarge

Sweden is the best place in the world to be old and Afghanistan the worst, according to a UN-backed global study.

The Global AgeWatch Index examined the quality of life of the elderly in 91 countries…It warns that many countries do not have adequate support in place for their ageing populations.

By 2050, older people will outnumber children under 15 for the first time, with most of the elderly in developing countries, it said.

The Global AgeWatch Index was complied by the UN Population Fund and advocacy group HelpAge International, and released to mark the UN’s Day of Older Persons…Researchers used 13 different indicators – including income and employment, health provision, education, and environment – in what they said was the first study of kind to be conducted on a global scale.

The study’s authors say countries across the world face an ongoing challenge from the rapidly ageing global population…

While Sweden came top, and Afghanistan was placed last, the top 20 was dominated by countries from Western Europe and North America, along with Japan, Australia and Chile.

Wealth was not the only factor considered, and countries such as Sri Lanka, Bolivia and Mauritius were ranked above several richer nations.

The shake-out in studies like this most always are confounded by a nation’s expression – or lack thereof – of the value of it’s working population. Not only during productive years; but, as they withdraw from the workforces into retirement. Too many nations that look at the working class as just another cog in the wheel of profit are perfectly willing to cast aside wornout workers just like fully-depreciated machinery.

Download the complete report here.

Egypt’s President Mursi “retires” 70 generals

Seventy generals in the Egyptian armed forces are to be retired, the government has announced.

The move comes weeks after President Mohammed Mursi replaced the defence minister and the chief of staff…However, six of the generals will keep their positions on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

Some analysts say Mr Mursi is asserting his authority over the army. There has so far been little adverse reaction from the military establishment.

Defence Minister Gen Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who was appointed in President Mursi’s military reshuffle last month, announced the changes…

In July, SCAF formally handed over power to Mr Mursi, Egypt’s first ever democratically elected president.

At the same time as the reshuffle, Mr Mursi issued a decree voiding an interim constitutional declaration from June that gave SCAF broad executive and legislative powers…

It’s a beginning. Not unusual – except in that it succeeded. The act speaks well for President Mursi and, hopefully, it speaks well for the generals who appear to have cooperated with the decision.

Nothing cynical about recognizing the number of times nations reaching out for democracy and liberty have been frustrated by generals who officially cooperate – and then takeover via military coup.

Blair is American-style British politician = profitable, secretive

Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
You get to know “this much”

Tony Blair made made a profit of at least £710,000 last year from a mysterious web of companies set up to further his business interests, it can be revealed.

The former prime minister’s companies also declared net assets of £2.2 million – four times what they were worth last year – suggesting Mr Blair’s “pulling power” is as strong as ever.

The profits, funnelled through an “opaque” and highly complex web of financial structures, was declared to Companies House as it closed for business for Christmas last week.

The money is believed to have come from his often controversial private work, including his six-figure speaking fees, his banking and insurance consultancies, including work for JP Morgan, and his pay from advising Middle Eastern and African regimes.

Mr Blair – who has made at least £20million since leaving Downing Street – has a commercial consultancy, called Tony Blair Associates, plus paid jobs advising a US bank and a Swiss insurer.

In addition, millions of pounds have passed through two parallel company structures, called Windrush Ventures and Firerush Ventures, in the last three years.

Mr Blair has so far refused to discuss what these financial structiures, centered on a pair of mysterious limited partnerships, are for…

The public declarations come in the wake of claims that Mr Blair is earning up to £100,000 for making guest appearance and was paid a reported £600,000 signing on fee by the prestigious Washington Speakers Bureau…

He is also said to have earned around £6 million in consultancy fees, including £500,000 a year from Zurich Financial Services, £2 million from JP Morgan, the investment bank, and another £1 million from the Kuwaiti Royal Family…

The accounts give no indication of how much Mr Blair pays himself from the fees and other money channelled through his companies.

The profitable sleaze that follows upon time in office is no surprise. No doubt, some of this may be legitimate charity, legitimate enterprise. I wonder, though, how much is payment for services rendered while in office?

Former Chinese officials demand media freedom

A group of retired Communist Party officials and intellectuals have issued an unusually blunt demand for total press freedom in China, stating that the current regime of censorship and government control of the press violates China’s constitution and debases the government’s claim to represent its citizens.

The document’s 23 signers, including academics and former executives of China’s state-controlled media, have no public influence on the nation’s ruling coalition of Communist leaders. Some of them have issued other public demands for reform in past years, to no effect…

Their letter’s unvarnished language was notable for including an undisguised attack on the legality of censorship by the party’s Central Propaganda Department, which ultimately controls much of what is published, broadcast or posted on the Internet here…

The writers’ “core demand,” they stated, was that China’s ineffectual legislature, the National People’s Congress, dismantle censorship procedures “in favor of a system of legal responsibility” for items that are freely published…

The letter also refers to recent statements by Premier Wen, including an interview with the CNN, which suggest that the nation’s economic progress may be squandered unless the political system is further reformed. At one point, the letter notes that even those comments have been censored inside China, and that official reports on his remarks include only his statements on topics that do not involve reform.

“Of course, from our perspective the letter in a way is reacting to Premier Wen’s calls,” one signer, Jiang Ping, the former president of the China University of Political Science and Law, said in a telephone interview. “But whether the things we are calling for are consistent with what he has in mind, I don’t know.

“The reason I signed my name to this open letter is that it’s high time now we should have reform of the political system. The key element of this reform is freedom of speech, And I think now is the time to seek these reforms.”

Bravo! The course of commerce and civil liberties have been separated during the political struggle bringing China from the days of feudalism to a system dedicated to building a market-based economy responding to socialist ethics – the two course of those rivers must be joined.

It’s time for an Age of Reason in Chinese history. Of course, that’s a quality still essentially absent here in the United States; but, we get to discuss it openly.

Stanley McChrystal bids farewell to army life

Gen. Stanley McChrystal ended his 34-year career as an Army officer Friday in an emotional retirement ceremony at his military headquarters in Washington, D.C., marking the last chapter of his swift and stunning fall from grace.

Before a crowd of a few hundred friends, family and colleagues on the Fort McNair parade grounds under an oppressively hot July sun, McChrystal said his service didn’t end as he hoped. But he regretted few decisions he had made on the battlefield, cherished his life as a soldier and was optimistic about his future, he said.

I trusted and I still trust,” McChrystal said. “I cared and I still care. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan was fired last month after Rolling Stone magazine published an article titled “The Runaway General” that quoted scathing remarks he and his aides made about their civilian bosses…

Shortly after the article was published, McChrystal was sent packing…

McChrystal also sounded a more serious note, when he talked about the pain of leaving behind unfulfilled commitments in Afghanistan and watching colleagues ensnared in the scandal…

Still, he said he was approaching the future with optimism…

Soldiers attending the ceremony were allowed to forgo their formal dress uniforms in lieu of combat fatigues — an apparent tribute to a war commander fresh from battle and whose career was marked by more secret operations to snatch terror suspects than by pomp and circumstance.

Wearing his own Army combat uniform for the last time, the four-star general received full military honors, including a 17-gun salute and flag formations by the Army’s Old Guard.

RTFA. A modicum of interest and insight.

As much as I support the precedence of civilian control over the military, Stan McChrystal will be missed in this household. As much of my life as I spent afoot, in the field and in political war zones opposing the imperial uses of American military might – I will miss a good soldier who understood 4th Generation warfare and the commitment to civilian needs required by that understanding.

I haven’t saluted a general since the days of Omar Bradley and Georgii Zhukov. I salute Stanley McChrystal.

NASA looking for folks who want a retired space shuttle


They could drop it off at the municipal airport just over the hill
Daylife/Getty Images

If your organization has the right stuff, it could display one of the U.S. shuttles that NASA plans to retire from service in 2010.

The space agency sent a notice this week to museums, schools and similar institutions to gauge their interest and qualifications for properly housing Discovery, Atlantis or Endeavour.

The shuttles are to be retired by September 30, 2010, but they won’t be available until about a year later, said NASA spokesman Michael Curie. “These are national assets, national treasures and something that NASA feels the public would want to see displayed publicly for years to come.”

Space shuttle Discovery already has been offered to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

The privilege of showing off a shuttle won’t be cheap — about $42 million.

Shucks. I was going to ask them if they’d like to put one in our back meadow. It would be in full view from the the county road.