Thursday, December 20, 2018

What is the FBI’s FD-302 that everyone is talking about relating to the trial of General Michael Flynn? A Former Agent’s Explanation.

This format (the FD-302) has been used by FBI Agents for decades (since the Hoover era); and largely the rules have remained the same.

The FD-302 is little more than a blank sheet of paper.  When Agents conduct interviews; and they might conduct numerous interviews in a single day.  They take notes.  They do not normally tape record interviews.  Why?  Because if you’ve ever done a recorded interview, you probably are aware that they can become inordinately long, containing unimportant and irrelevant information. Resultingly, they are labor intensive to transcribe and to read.

Attorneys love to use recorded interviews, normally considered to be ‘depositions.’  Such interviews by attorneys might go on for days; and take days or weeks to obtain the final transcriptions, which additionally require proof reading and corrections.  The FBI cannot justify such inefficiencies.  If you’ve ever worked for the Bureau, you will know said organization deals ‘in paper.’  An investigative file might typically be volumes.  If all interviews were recorded, you could increase the number of volumes by ten, maybe more; making them impractical to read or comprehend.

One other thing you should know is that the Bureau always have had a ‘Five Day Reporting Rule,’ which reportedly has been violated in the Flynn case; but I do not know all the details on that.  Said Rule requires the Agent to dictate for transcription from his or her notes, the findings of a particular interview, within ‘five business days.’  During my Bureau service, you could, probably would be, censured for not meeting the Five Day Rule.

In recent years, Agents are required to keep their ‘rough notes’ for an indefinite period of time.  This was not true when I was an Agent.  Then, once the 302 was completed, signed (accuracy verified) by the interviewing Agent or Agents (as well as received a Supervisor’s approval), the rough notes could then be destroyed.

The FBI does, at times, record interviews.  They should have recorded the Flynn interview, but decided that such action would inordinately undermine the 'covert' nature of their inquiry.

They should have recorded the Hillary Clinton interview; but, as we all know, that would have been politically indiscreet – dare we say the ‘fix’ was in on that one.

Why was Flynn not given his Miranda Rights, as is often customary?  Well, normally, Miranda is not required as long as the ‘person of interest’ or suspect is, or believes he is, free to go.  In other words, Flynn’s was not a custodial interview.

And then there is Judge Emmet Sullivan (Flynn's trial judge):  Well, he really let his bias show (kind of embarrassing) in suggesting that General Flynn might be the modern day equivalent of Benedict Arnold.

But, isn’t it interesting that with all the news coverage most folks do not know what alleged law was violated by General Flynn.  Was it for lying to an FBI Agent?  Was it failure to register as a ‘Foreign Agent’?

That said, other than Judge Sullivan, I don’t think anyone is seriously contemplating hanging the General for Treason.

Incidentally, Benedict Arnold escaped to the UK; and lived (sort of) happily ever after.

True Nelson

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Advice to my grandchildren / ON VOTING / not this year, but in the future.

Maybe my grandchildren will be interested in these comments in 12 years or so; they are still in grade school.

Nonetheless, while voting is on my mind, here goes. My opinion, I suppose, is not for wide consumption – as my wife (Gamma) often explains. However, I read. I listen. I have had many life experiences that are relevant. I think I am fairly well informed.

What do my peers think of my opinions? Well, actually, I must admit that no one particularly cares about my opinion. Perhaps my grandchildren will care one day, contemplate... or laugh. Hopefully, not the latter. A knowing but respectful smile would be appreciated.

Boys and wee girl, this is Grumpy** speaking. Listen up.

Here is what I know...

On Voting:

When you are old enough to vote, you are actually too young to vote. You are not an adult. Your life experience is limited. Your brain is still maturing. Therefore, listen to your elders, those you respect, unless, of course, they are college professors (the opinion of whom is generally clouded by too much schooling and too little actual work experience).

Voting is usually about voting for the candidate you dislike the least. You should assume that both candidates are of doubtful character or worse.

If you have a choice, never vote for a lawyer. I've worked with lawyers my entire professional career. With a few exceptions, they are without any sort of moral compass. It is not their nature (or legal training) to possess such qualities. By profession, lawyers are solely motivated by money or personal gain; and they will readily join, support, lie for and defend any person (serial killer, fraudster, corrupt business owner, etc, etc.) if, that is, the money or their personal promotion is sufficient. Politicians who are lawyers are not the exception. They are the 'rule.' I once read that politicians have a lower public approval rating than 'used car salesmen.' Actually, I think that is kind of unfair – comparing a hardworking used car salesman, just trying to make a living, to a politician selling access and favors to the highest bidder.

Nonetheless, I encourage you to vote if you know a modicum of history; and have read the U.S. Constitution – particularly the Bill of Rights. I might also recommend the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address (which I was required to memorize in high school).

Don't be swayed by campaign rhetoric. It's mostly lies anyway.

While I'm at it, a few other requests from Grumpy: Make me proud. Study in school, work hard in life, live healthy lives, and conduct yourselves by the Golden Rule – 'treat others like you would want to be treated.' Have I always lived by those tenets? No... I'm sorry to say that I do have regrets; but you have a fresh opportunity to be better than me.

Oh, and always stand proudly with your hand over your heart when our flag is displayed and the national anthem played. Countless men and women have died to preserve that flag. Always remember their sacrifice.  What's that got to do with voting?  Well, if you are willing to stand for the flag, I will have faith in your good judgment when it comes to voting.

** Grumpy:  This is what my grandchildren call me. It is somewhat counterintuitive in my opinion, but still brings me joy.

True Nelson

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Colin Kaepernick, NIKE (Money, Money), 'Believe in Something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.' … including integrity.

Well, I guess one might say that Colin Kaepernick has new found credibility due to Nike. Nike's think tank has given Kaepernick the promotional tag-line (in support of their Nike products)... “Believe in Something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

I'm trying to take it in stride – not a big deal. I don't really own a lot of Nike products anyway. And said company couldn't care less about the demographic that I inhabit.

“Believe in Something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

What exactly has Kaepernick sacrificed? Well, he thinks, as I understand it, that he should be playing football with the big boys – and he's not being picked.  Let's see, he's reportedly worth in excess of $20 million; and has been consistently on the Nike payroll for these many years. So, it's hard to feel real sorry for him. OK, I get it. He'd like to play and feels he can play at the NFL level. Maybe, he could. But, that's how it goes in the workplace. The CEO, the owner, the manager of a company or business can pick whoever they want (as long as there is no discrimination as defined under law – yes I get that part).  But, perhaps, the 'owners' feel Kaepernick would have a negative impact to their bottom line; and besides there is a lot of other good talent available.

Fortunately Colin (and count your many blessings), Nike picked you. And, it's easy money. No broken bones. No scrambled brain. I'm sure there are many in the NFL that would like to be in your shoes (Nike shoes I presume).

Nonetheless, the Nike tag-line is what annoys me. There are so many, particularly our combat vets, police officers, fire fighters, who have sacrificed EVERYTHING (including their arms, their legs, and their lives). What do their families think when they see this blatantly high praise applied to a football player? It is so demeaning, insensitive, even absurd to connect that inappropriate phrase to Kaepernick's imbroglio.

But I really don't blame him (Kaepernick that is). He didn't write the tag-line. So, Colin take the money. Don't feel the least bit guilty. Save some for your retirement. You've won the lottery of life. Good for you. I always try to tell myself that 'life isn't fair.' We see it every day. But, that is life. Right? Colin, just maybe, you were never destined to be in the Professional Football Hall of Fame. You were just destined to be rich. Nothing shabby about that.

No, the ones I fault, for unconscionable behavior, are the Nike executives who put forth this sham tag-line for the sake of making more money – at least that is what they are counting on. The 'ad,' reportedly, plays big-time with the demographic they nurture. And, lots of kids I suppose.

Are you aware that Phil Knight, one of the founders of Nike, is one of the 30 richest people in the world? Did you know that Mark Parker, the current CEO of Nike, earns approximately $47 million a year in salary and other tax sheltered options. How do you make that kind of money selling...? Well, you know what they sell. Do you know who actually made those products; and how much they were paid to make them? And where those laborers reside and how they live day to day? Look it up.

I have some Nike products, not many, but some. I'm not going to burn them – kind of silly. I do plan to put them in a bag and take them to the Salvation Army. Someone, less fortunate than me, might like to have them. I don't particularly want them anymore.

In fact, I've got an idea. Why don't all of you do the same? Kind of a mini, non confrontational protest. Gather up your Nike gear. Take it to the Salvation Army. They can distribute those items to the less fortunate, the 'homeless,' who are everywhere on Portland streets.

Even better, why don't we buy Nike products and give those products to the homeless. This would create two positive outcomes. Portland's 'homeless' population could be nicely outfitted in Nike shoes, shirts, hats, jackets, etc. And, more importantly, Nike's CEO, Mark Parker's income would not be needlessly impacted by some sort of misdirected boycott, or impetuous sell-off of Nike stock. A win, win. Everyone is happy. Well, almost everyone.

True Nelson

Monday, August 13, 2018

Jury Acquits FBI Special Agent Joseph Astarita - Accused of Lying about Two Mystery Shots Fired.

This was kind of an interesting trial here in Portland. The US Attorney seems to have put his foot in the bucket one more time. First it was the blanket acquittal of the Bundy Clan who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge – which, of course, ended with the law enforcement shooting death of Robert LaVoy Finicum. It was, undoubtedly, a painful defeat for the U.S. Attorney's Office; and now Agent Astarita walks.

In this most recent trial, Special Agent Joseph Astarita (member of the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team) was accused of firing two shots at Finicum's car – one hit the roof of the car, one missed completely – as Finicum's vehicle barrelled toward the police roadblock.

However, Astarita has steadfastly denied firing the two rounds. Some said he did. Others said he didn't. Astarita was tried for 'Making a False Statement' and 'Obstruction of Justice.' The jury decided that Astarita's guilt could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, the actual shooter of the mystery bullets officially remains undetermined.

I happen to agree, based on what I've read, with the jury's verdict. Am I absolutely certain that Astarita is innocent? Well, I wouldn't go that far.

As a former FBI Agent, I'm asked (and I hate to use the phrase made famous by Hillary Clinton – but here it is) 'what difference does it make?' Neither of the mystery bullets injured anyone, so what's the big deal?

Well, this issue isn't over. Not by a long shot (no pun intended). A 'wrongful death' civil trial is pending. If in said civil trial, the attorney representing the Finicum family could emphatically and aggressively state that FBI Agent Astarita inflamed the situation by firing first, they would be able to make a credible charge of 'contributory liability' on the part of the FBI.

As you might imagine, the FBI would like to avoid this. Finicum was shot and killed by an Oregon State Police Officer. The shooting has been ruled 'justifiable.' However, that ruling only goes so far. Therefore, the FBI would like very much to have a seat on the periphery of any potential civil trial and avoid any significant monetary damages awarded by a jury (not to mention public loss of reputation and credibility). On the other hand, attorneys representing the Finicum family will want to involve the FBI; and to include their substantial 'deep pockets' in any settlement. That said, it is extremely likely that after exhaustive negotiations, this matter will not go to court. The FBI and others will 'pony up' and the matter will be quietly closed.

Why did the local United States Attorney and the Federal Bureau of Investigation agree to the prosecution of Astarita? Both agencies undoubtedly were aware that the case was weak. And as stated above, no person was harmed by the mystery bullets. Were local Feds pressured to proceed by the United States Attorney in D.C.? We'll never know the answers to these questions.

Moreover, does the public accept that justice was done? Or does the public believe it was much ado about nothing, and that a lot of taxpayer money was wasted?

Unfortunately, if Astarita is in fact innocent, I fear his career in the Bureau is over – one way or another. Why? Because both the FBI and the U.S. Attorney firmly believed he was 'not innocent.' That feeling will not go away anytime soon – or ever.

Post Script:  I've written several posts relevant to Astarita and the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Take Over, as well as the Bundys.  You can find these posts by placing said names in the 'search box' on my blog's main page.

The following is one quick reference you might find of interest for background information:

True Nelson

Friday, July 27, 2018

Consider This Under True's Miscellany: Donald Trump – as compared to other 'flawed' Presidents

It seems always about Donald Trump – when discussing politics with your friends and relatives. It's much safer to discuss religion or sex; or even sex in religion. At least then others are prepared to listen as far as the end of your sentence before cutting you off.

When you live in Portland, Oregon, you can rest assured that most everyone around is a Democrat and or a 'liberal.' It is easy being a Democrat and a liberal in this locale. You can publicly and widely proclaim, in no uncertain terms (to even strangers on the street), how you hate Trump specifically and Republicans in general; and you will not be challenged – certainly not by that sullen character standing over there on the corner waiting for a bus to a distant suburb.  He's learned his lesson.

I suppose, as a person, I can't say that I particularly like Trump. There is a lot to dislike – no 'social filter.' He says whatever half-baked comment passes through his head. Sometimes, more than sometimes, he hurts people needlessly. It's so unnecessary and inexcusable.

Yes, he's something of a bully and a 'womanizer.' What multi-millionaire or billionaire isn't? Let's be honest. Oh, OK, (possible exception) maybe not Warren Buffett.

Regarding Trump's sexual escapades: Yes, he has paid for sex numerous times. Hasn't every billionaire? Come on. Admit it. Sometimes, they had to marry the woman. Sometimes not. But one way or another, they paid. Money is, after all, a very powerful aphrodisiac (well, maybe that isn't exactly the word I'm searching for). Let's just say that one is very popular when one is loaded. And that others, females and males, tend to overlook the lesser qualities, like (for example) being a 'jerk' (a slang term for somebody who is regarded as behaving foolishly). I'm not saying that Trump is a jerk or worse, but some might say that.

On the other hand, it is conceivable that Trump might turn out to be a good President, maybe even great, and actually accomplish something momentous. I would contend that it is too early to tell.

Past Presidents haven't necessarily been nice guys or good Presidents?

What's that you say?

Well, let's see:

Kennedy was a womanizer in spades, but some considered him a pretty good President. I did.  Although, I was kind of young at the time; and perhaps not the best judge.  Anyway, from what I've read.

Johnson apparently wasn't a nice guy and was a womanizer when he could talk a woman into it – which I'm sure wasn't that easy for him. Not a very good President in my opinion. Many in the military paid that price with their lives.

Nixon was reportedly faithful to Pat, but he wasn't a nice guy.

George W. Bush was reportedly a nice guy and a loyal husband, but he was accused of being a 'draft dodger' (I don't happen to share that opinion); and that he 'lied' to get us to go to war with Iraq (another opinion I don't happen to subscribe to). And that he wasn't very smart (again I don't happen to agree).

George Bush, the Elder, reportedly a pretty nice guy; but gossip is that he did some things on the side.

Obama? Reportedly, a nice guy; but a good, internationally respected President? History will decide. I'm doubtful. I might say the same about Carter.

And finally Clinton, oh my god. He set the 'low bar.' And was only the second President in history to be impeached; and the first to be disbarred for perjury.  We'll not go into the womanizing.  However, some thought he was a fairly good President.

Call me a cynic; but I don't think really, truly nice guys or gals would ever get elected President; and if by chance they did, I'm not sure history would treat them that kindly – sort of 'ho hum' I would imagine.

True Nelson

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

My thoughts on courage: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School & Scot Peterson, the School Resource Officer

I have some comments regarding the shooting, February 14th, at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

I've been thinking about the terms 'courage' and 'cowardice;' and Scot Peterson (School Resource Officer and a Broward County Deputy Sheriff) who reportedly failed to act in an effort to neutralize the killer Nikolas Cruz.

Deputy Peterson has been mercilessly criticized by innumerable people, including the President of the United States, for his (Peterson's) perceived cowardice in his delay and the failure to engage Cruz before the shooter could kill other students and faculty.

I can't specifically address Peterson's actions or lack there of. I don't know all the details. I'm aware there was a lot of confusion, lack of information, a break down in the command and control system, a fire alarm was blaring; and Peterson reportedly hesitated – uncertain what to do. There were, subsequently, 17 deaths and 17 non-fatal injuries. Some children and faculty might have been saved if Peterson had entered the building – and, at the very least, drawn the attention of Cruz.

I must say, that if I was the parent of a child killed or injured, I'm not sure that I could ever forgive Peterson. Whether or not that sentiment would be properly directed, I'm not certain. Many could / should share the blame including the FBI - and many others not prominently identified are potentially at fault.

But, this is about courage. I guess I object, perhaps am disheartened, that so many are quick to call Peterson a coward. Moreover, the loudest voices are usually those with the least credibility, those who have never been really tested. The most cringe-worthy individual, condemning Peterson as a “coward,” was President Trump – who, let's be honest here, has probably never done anything remotely courageous in his entire life – unless you are willing to include public speaking in your assessment. And, before you write me off as just another kook, one of those liberals searching for a way to criticize the President, I'm actually fairly conservative and agree with many of Trump's policies. However, as we know, President Trump isn't one to be particularly circumspect about his comments, even when those comments might be needlessly hurtful.

A rhetorical question: Would those who have been personally involved in the most dangerous imaginable combat or arrest situations criticize a fellow participant or comrade if they hesitated or froze at a critical moment? Perhaps, in a constructive way. But, would they call him a 'coward?' I don't think so. All of us have a point where we will break – doesn't matter who you are. Those who have true, even what is perceived to be unlimited, courage in the face of death understand this better than anyone.

I understand that Peterson had been 'trained' in what to do during a school shooting. Yes, I suppose. How good that training was, in view of what occurred, well... it's doubtful.

My son is in law enforcement and has received recent training in school shooting scenarios. From my perspective, the training has been simplified and rightfully so. Advance orders have been given.

'The orders are go, go, go! Don't worry about a perimeter, backup, coordinating with headquarters, etc. Even if you are on your own, you enter and attempt to engage the shooter.  Good luck and God bless.  Those are your orders.'

True Nelson

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Robert Mueller, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page: How Long to Live This Down?

My previous post about James Comey was perhaps too succinct; perhaps too flip.  We’re all getting tired of this.  I understand.  But, I’d like to elaborate just a little on Comey and others.

James Comey:  Maybe many in the public don’t see it; but Comey appears chokingly sweet.  Whoa, what?  Listen to him.  He projects this little boy wide-eyed innocence – ‘feel sorry for me’ – ‘don’t be so mean.’  It just goes on and on.  He never stops.  Yes, Trump was unprofessional in the way he terminated Comey.  That’s Trump.  OK, but please Mr. Comey stop whining about it.

Robert Mueller:  Didn’t think it at the time, but former (perhaps current) FBI Agents must now wish that the ‘Special Counsel,’ investigating the so-called ‘Russian Collusion Probe,’ was anyone but a former FBI Director. Mueller reportedly had a remarkable career in the FBI.  But, presently, he is getting too much, often negative, exposure; and this does not bode well for the Bureau’s reputation.  His dead-pan countenance.  Has anyone ever seen him smile?  The plodding, directionless nature of this Russian Collusion inquiry.  Please Mr. Mueller just get on with it.  How about just a formalized statement of what you’re investigating, and where you’re going?  A prima facie case perhaps.  Yes, you’ve got a couple of indictments.  But, explain the relevance.  Is it just to get one person to ‘rat-out’ another?  When Director of the FBI, you would have chewed-out any Agent who morphed into some kind of dream state with no discernable end-game in an important case.  When I was in the FBI, we had to post active investigations on a monthly basis – with stated progress.  What about your guys?  Are you pushing hard enough?  Can you give us a hint where you are going with this?

Andrew McCabe:  Well, he was ‘fired’ as we all know – for ‘being less than candid’ (lying) during an FBI official interview.  And, yes his FBI retirement will be somewhat impacted; but he will still get a federal retirement; and he will be better off in that regard than most of us.  Some media giant or major corporation will give him a top, exceedingly overpaid, corporate security position.  It will be interesting to see if the Former Agents' Society will accept his application.  That may depend on whether or not he spends time in prison – usually a reason for rejection.

Peter Strzok and Lisa Page:  I’m sorry to say that their names, thanks to the internet, will live in infamy – much like Monica Lewinsky.  If I was Mr. Strzok, I would already be at my local courthouse applying for a name change.  Lisa will marry someday, maybe, and have her name changed – but certainly not to Strzok.  All I can say is what were you two thinking to be communicating, in the manner you did, over a government system?

Can the rarified air of top management in the FBI give one the impression that they are above the mundane; and therefore immune from criticism, from consequences?  Sorry, just bad luck that Trump was elected.  Of course, Hillary would have let it slide.  Trump, damn, who would have thought?

Sunday, April 29, 2018

James Comey, former Director of the FBI, a Big Sissy

James Comey, former Director of the FBI... fired by President Trump.

“Everybody’s talking at me / I don’t hear a word they’re saying / Only the echoes of my mind."

Harry Nilsson           or perhaps James Comey

Because I was once in the FBI, I'd estimate that I am about ten percent more interested than the average citizen in recent events involving James Comey.

So, what do I think…

I didn’t like how Comey was fired by Trump – just was handled very poorly.  On the other hand, it was undeniably justified.  I’m not going to rehash my opinion on that.  See hyperlink below.

And now, all of Comey’s interviews, his book tour, his rationalizations as to whether or not a ‘leak’ is actually a ‘leak?’  And, how suddenly his ‘leak’ to the New York Times (through a friend) has evolved into nothing more than an entry in his (Comey’s) personal diary? Say what?  Obscure, convoluted don’t you think?  I do.  Believable?  I don’t think so.

I never worked for James Comey.  But, through the grapevine, he was reportedly well liked in the Bureau.

And now, what do they (former and current Agents) think of him?  It is damage control - as far as I can tell.

What do I think of him?  Well...

Quite frankly, the more he talks, the more he rationalizes, the more he just sounds and acts like a big sissy, a cry baby.  Plain talk here. This will be his legacy.  We’ll see if he actually ends up going to jail.  I hope not.  Why?  Well, in part, he’s a big sissy.  As you know, that'd be tough.

Friday, March 16, 2018

"Before You Know It" a book by John Bargh, Phd

I occasionally recommend a book I’ve read, but this is not one of those occasions.  John Bargh, PhD, latest effort is ‘Before You Know It /The unconscious reasons we do what we do.’  Well, I got through about 50 pages or so.  The introduction was rather interesting.  Then…

Maybe, I’m overly sensitive.  But, Bargh quickly launched into his half-baked assertion that liberals are genetically programed to be more unafraid, (courageous) if you will, than those who are more politically inclined to be conservative.  He has based his findings on a dubious lab experiment involving volunteers, presumably college students, who were asked to imagine they had super-powers which precluded them from harm.  I know, it does sound silly.  It is.  It’s ridiculous.

The immediate question that came to my mind was:  Dr. Bargh, in your whole life, and as a self-avowed political liberal, what have you ever done that was the least bit courageous?

Some quotes regarding his experiences:

“New York was overwhelming to me:  so many people, so much traffic, so much going on to pay attention to.”  “One morning, I stepped out of my office building, wended my way through the crowds on the street, looking in every direction at street crossings…”  “… often needed to react to dangerous situations immediately.”  “I benefited from these unconscious skills firsthand when I stepped off a curb on the way back to my apartment, and was nearly hit by a bicycle whizzing the wrong way down that one way street.”  “Reflexive, automatic mechanisms (or instincts) for physical safety had protected me…”

Yes, indeed, this guy knows about dangerous situations and courage.  My gosh, he could have been hit by a bicycle.

Well, I don’t have a PhD.  Although, I have experienced danger and have witnessed first-hand what I consider to be real courage.  And, I do have my life experiences to draw upon – not merely some lab experiment involving confused, immature college kids.

Furthermore, my son has spent a career in military ‘Special Ops.’  And, I’ve met several of his friends in like capacity.  They know danger, of that I can assure you.

Isn’t it interesting that those in law enforcement and those in the military who have faced actual, life-threatening danger and incredible sacrifice are, for the most part, politically conservative?  If, in some way, these particular individuals can appear occasionally wary or guarded, isn’t it possible that they know more about potential danger than some college student.

And, isn’t it possible that these same individuals, upon dodging a bicycle would not even give it a second thought?  Much less include in their memoirs.

True Nelson

Saturday, January 20, 2018

'A Message to Garcia' – a little book - a must read.

Andrew Rowan

My son, a retired military officer, asked if I had read a ‘small’ book by Elbert Hubbard called “A Message to Garcia.”  He loaned me a copy (originally published in 1899) and stated that said book had been reprinted more times than any other book – with the possible exception of the Bible.

Well, that intrigued me because to the best of my recollection I had not only never read it, but also had not heard of it.  The book is about Lieutenant Andrew Rowan (1857 – 1943) and a dangerous mission he was given by President William McKinley (during the Spanish American War) to deliver a critical message to General Calixto Garcia, a leader of the guerilla fighters in Cuba that were friendly to the United States.

I did some research; and it is true that the book has been reprinted tens-of-thousands of times, perhaps millions.  The account of Lieutenant Rowan’s military accomplishment in the book was somewhat less than accurate, but his efforts reportedly were courageous nonetheless.  Such is the genesis of legend.

I read the book three times to insure that I understood the book's meaning, its ‘message.’  That didn’t take long.  As noted above, it was a small book.

The copy loaned to me had a section titled “Publisher’s Note,” and another section titled “Apologia” which was written by Hubbard and in which he explained how he came to write “A Message to Garcia.”  Both sections were important from a contextual perspective.

The actual physical ‘message’ or communique delivered by Rowan, if known, is not particularly relative.  The manner in which Rowan delivered the ‘message’ was the story.  However, if you’re looking for a detailed account of how Lieutenant Rowan surreptitiously entered Cuba, how he navigated the rugged Cuban mountains, evaded capture by the enemy and ultimately located General Garcia, you will be disappointed.

The book is, to sum up, about ‘grit’ or in other words, strength of character.  The story reflects the stoic manner in which Lieutenant Rowan accepted the dangerous mission, reportedly without reservations or question.

And then, Hubbard goes on to expand the theme for the potential benefit of each us – whether our superiors / employers are in the military or industry - or the neighborhood grocery.

"I know one man of really brilliant parts who has not the ability to manage a business of his own, and yet is absolutely worthless to anyone else, because he carries with him constantly the insane suspicion that his employer is oppressing him or intending to oppress him.  He cannot give orders, and will not receive them.  Should a message be given him to take to Garcia, his answer would probably be, Take it yourself!"

True Nelson

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Motion Picture ‘THE POST’ starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. I don’t plan to see it. My thoughts.

There seems to be a lot of generated buzz about the new motion picture, ‘The Post.’  I do like Tom Hanks in almost anything he does, but I just don’t think so – not this time.  I’ll save my nine or ten bucks.

The movie is about, what has come to be called, the Pentagon Papers.  This story was exploding about the time I was becoming a new FBI Agent – 1971.  I had just left military service.

Even the premise for the movie, whether or not the New York Post should publish top secret classified documents misappropriated (stolen) by Daniel Ellsberg (a Vietnam anti-war activist) in their newspaper, is less than factual.  The story regarding the Pentagon Papers was originally published in the New York Times and the New York Times received a Pulitzer Prize for their journalistic efforts.

What were the Pentagon Papers about?  In summary, it documented how the U.S. government, under various Presidents (Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon) lied to the American people about motives for the war, military conditions relevant to the war to include personnel losses and mission miscalculations.

Is this a movie review?  No.  That would require me seeing the movie.

I just want to say that said movie is apparently one more creative effort to make a considerable profit; as well as to minimize (perhaps unintentionally), the sacrifices made by our military.

If you watched Ken Burns’ ‘Vietnam’ on PBS, you’ve pretty much heard the whole story.  Yes, many in the military died in vain.  Yes, the government lied to all of us; and many American soldiers, as well as innumerable Vietnamese; died needlessly.  But this does not in any way diminish the courage, sacrifice, honor and bravery of our military personnel who were killed or suffered grievous injuries.  Let’s all remember that.  Does the motion picture community still have to make more money off of this?

Moreover, I don’t particularly want to have to hear how courageous the management at the Washington Post were back then - as depicted by Hanks and Streep.  For ‘gosh sakes,’ the story had already been in the New York Times.

Cliff Hanger:  Will the Post be sued?  Will they have to go to jail?  Nope.  Now you know the ending.  The movie is simply contrived nonsense.

True Nelson