Sunday, September 24, 2017

Has A Solution Been Found On Athletes Kneeling Down During The National Anthem?

CBS: Mike Tomlin explains why Steelers will stay in locker room during national anthem

The Steelers say they won't be affected by 'divisive times'.

If Sunday's early game in London between the Jaguars and Ravens is any indication, the rest of this week's action will include more player protests than we've previously seen -- all because President Trump said this at a rally on Friday night: "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now," the president said to a cheering crowd. "Out. He's fired. He's fired!"

In the hours since Trump's words, players, teams, team owners, the NFLPA, the league and former coaches and players-turned TV analysts have all criticized the president for his divisive remarks. But one team that won't take part in any pregame protests are the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Read more ....

Update: No players on the field for the national anthem at Seattle Seahawks-Tennessee Titans game (Los Angeles)

WNU Editor: It looks like saner heads are prevailing. Staying in the locker room during the national anthem will solve this controversy .... unless there are some teams that will say no and want to make a statement.

Reactions To Germany's National Election From The Political Parties Involved

Reuters: Highlights: Reactions to German national election

BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel won a fourth term in office on Sunday but will have to build an uneasy coalition to form a German government after her conservatives haemorrhaged support in the face of a surge by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Following are highlights of comments and reactions:

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The coalition that has ruled Germany for the past few years is no more .... and in this regard this election is a huge defeat for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The SPD .... who also suffered heavy losses in this election .... will not form a coalition government with Merkel. The FDP will .... but they do not have enough votes to form a majority. The Greens have already stated their conditions .... but I do not see any coalition building from that. The biggest winner by far .... the AFD .... and they won because of their anti-immigration platform. German politics is now entering a new era .... and for the CDU-CSU .... do not be surprised in the coming months a movement to get rid of their leader .... Angela Merkel.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel Wins Re-Election, But German Nationalists Have Made Significant Gains

BBC: Germany election: Merkel wins fourth term, nationalists rise

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been re-elected for a fourth term while nationalists have made a historic breakthrough in federal elections, exit polls suggest.

Her conservative CDU/CSU alliance is set to remain the largest party in the parliament, with 32.5% of the vote.

Its outgoing coalition partner, the social democratic SPD, says it will go into opposition after winning 20%.

The nationalist AfD is on track to become the third party, with 13.5%.

The performance, better than forecast in opinion polls, means the right-wing, anti-Islam party will have seats in the Bundestag for the first time.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Live updates can be seen here ....

German election results live: Angela Merkel's CDU largest party, record low for SPD, AfD to be third power in Bundestag -- DW
The Latest: German election: Merkel vows to form stable govt -- AP
German Election: Live Updates -- BBC
German elections 2017: Angela Merkel seeks fourth term as country heads to polls – live updates -- The Guardian
German elections 2017 - live updates -- The Independent
German elections: Will Merkel win 4th term as chancellor? Live updates -- RT

The 2017 results can be seen here .... 2017 German Election Results (Bloomberg)

More News On German Chancellor Angela Merkel Winning Re-Election

Merkel hangs on to power but bleeds support to surging far right -- Reuters
Merkel wins 4th term but nationalists surge in German vote -- AP
Angela Merkel set for fourth term as German chancellor, election poll shows -- Press Association
Highlights: Reactions to German national election -- Reuters

Who Is Responsible In Washington For Tracking Down And Securing The World's WMDs?

Radioisotope thermoelectric generators on board a US Air Force C-17, destined for disposal at the Nevada National Security Site, in 2015. USAF

The War Zone/The Drive: This Obscure DC-Area Office Helps US Special Operators Hunt Down And Secure Loose WMDs

The fusion center coordinates US military efforts to make sure the deadly weapons don't end up in the wrong hands.

As part of its new job as the lead U.S. military organization managing responses to possible crises involving weapons of mass destruction, the Pentagon’s top special operations headquarters is running a dedicated office to gather intelligence and information about these potential threats. Since President George W. Bush’s administration made the case for its invasion of Iraq, “WMDs” has become something of a dirty word, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns about hostile foreign powers and other groups getting hold such arms, including nuclear, radiological, chemical, and biological weapons.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: From an organizational and coordination perspective .... this is probably one of the most difficult jobs in Washington.

The U.S. Public Trusts The Military Over President Trump When It Comes To North Korea

Washington Post: Poll: Far more trust generals than Trump on N. Korea, while two-thirds oppose preemptive strike

Two-thirds of Americans oppose launching a preemptive military strike against North Korea, with a majority trusting the U.S. military to handle the escalating nuclear crisis responsibly but not President Trump, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds.

Roughly three-quarters of the public supports tougher economic sanctions on North Korea in an attempt to persuade it to give up its nuclear weapons, while just about one-third think the United States should offer the isolated country foreign aid or other incentives.

The Post-ABC poll finds 37 percent of adults trust Trump either “a great deal” or “a good amount” to responsibly handle the situation with North Korea, while 42 percent trust the commander in chief “not at all.” By comparison, 72 percent trust U.S. military leaders, including 43 percent saying they trust them “a great deal.”

A scant 8 percent of Americans surveyed think North Korean leader Kim Jong Un can act responsibly.

Read more ....

Update: Trump trails generals in confidence on N. Korea by nearly 2:1 margin: poll (The Hill)

WNU Editor:  I can understand the public's reluctance to start a war with North Korea .... it is a lose-lose situation for veryone. As for trusting the Generals when it comes to national security policies .... oh oh .... that is going down a very dangerous road.

U.S. Air Strikes Kill 17 Islamic State Militants In Libya

A US Air Force F-16 receives fuel from a fuel boom suspended from a US Air Force KC-10 Extender during mid-air refueling support to Operation Inherent Resolve over Iraq and Syria air space, March 15, 2017. PHOTO:REUTERS

CNN: US strikes Libya for first time under Trump

(CNN)The US military conducted airstrikes against ISIS fighters in Libya on Friday, the first time it has struck targets in the North African country since Donald Trump became President.

"In coordination with Libya's Government of National Accord and aligned forces, U.S. forces conducted six precision airstrikes in Libya against an ISIS desert camp on Friday," US Africa Command which oversees is troops in the region, told CNN in a statement.

The strikes killed 17 ISIS militants and destroyed three vehicles at the camp, located about 150 miles southeast of Sirte, the statement added.

Read more ....

More News On Reports That U.S. Air Strikes Killed 17 Islamic State Militants In Libya

U.S. air strikes kill 17 Islamic State militants in Libya: U.S. military -- Reuters
US strikes IS camp in Libya, killing 17: official -- AFP
US drone strike on ISIS camp in Libya kills 17 militants, military says -- FOX News
US Kills 17 IS Militants in Libya -- VOA
US airstrikes hit Islamic State compound in Libya -- Stars and Stripes

Catalonia And Spain Clash As Independence Vote Nears

Reuters: Spain, Catalonia clash over policing as illegal independence vote nears

MADRID (Reuters) - The mounting political crisis in Spain over Catalonia’s campaign for independence intensified on Saturday with a new row over the control of the local police force as the regional government pressed ahead with plans to hold an illegal vote next weekend.

The State prosecutor in Catalonia told all local and national police forces on Saturday that they had been temporarily placed under a single chain of command reporting directly to the interior ministry in Madrid.

But Catalonia’s interior chief, Joaquim Forn, said his department and the local police, or Mossos d‘Esquadra, did not accept this decision.

“We denounce the intervention of the state to control the police forces of Catalonia ... We will not accept this control,” Forn said in a televised speech.

Read more ....

More News On Catalonia And Spain Clashing As Independence Vote Nears

The Latest: Catalonia separatists pass out ballots for vote -- Washington Post/AP
Catalonia's Separatists Defy Spain With Ballots for Vote -- US News and World Report/AP
Catalan campaigners hand out a million referendum ballots -- The Guardian
Catalonia referendum: Madrid moves to take over local policing -- BBC
Catalonia defies Madrid's attempt to take over local police, as chief refuses to comply -- RT
The view from Madrid: anger and sadness as Catalans prepare for vote -- The Guardian
What you need to know about the Catalan independence referendum -- ABC News
Kurdistan and Catalonia are voting on independence. Welcome to the age of secession. -- Washington Post
Sorry, Spain. Catalonia is voting on independence whether you like it or not -- Carles Puigdemont, Gulf News

Iraqi Kurds Get Ready For Their Independence Referendum

New York Times: Recalling a Tortured Past, Iraqi Kurds to Vote on Independence

MALA OMER, Iraq — The Kurdish soldier, wounded in battle last year, rose in pain from his wheelchair. As his reedy legs wobbled, his 13-year-old son thrust a cane into his hand.

The soldier, Dana Salah Hama, was undergoing physical therapy at his home last week to become strong enough to hobble to a polling station on Monday, when Iraqi Kurds plan to vote on independence from Iraq.

For Mr. Hama, and for several million fellow Kurds in the autonomous enclave of Kurdistan, the vote is a down payment on a dream deferred. Denied a homeland after World War I, Iraq’s Kurds are determined to escape their tortured past and fulfill a national destiny: a country to call their own.

“Kurds know no one will protect us but ourselves,” said Mr. Hama, 35, whose back was injured by an roadside bomb as he battled Islamic State militants last year. “That is why I fought – for the day we Kurds will be both free and safe.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I predict that 95% will support independence.

More News On Iraq's Kurds Getting Ready For Their Independence Referendum

Kurds press historic independence vote despite regional fears -- Reuters
Kurds ready to 'pay any price' as independence vote nears -- France 24
Afraid of their waning power once Isis is defeated, the Kurds are calling for independence from Iraq -- The Independent
Kurdish city gassed by Saddam hopes referendum heralds better days -- Reuters
Coalition fears Iraqi Kurds' vote for freedom will ignite tinderbox -- The Times

Germany Goes To The Polls

New York Times: Germans Vote on Whether to Give Merkel a 4th Term

BERLIN — Warned about the dangers of complacency in parlous times by their president, Germans voted on Sunday in an election that is expected to return Angela Merkel to power for a fourth term as chancellor but also to bring a far-right party into Parliament for the first time in more than 60 years.

German voters were urged to take their civic responsibilities to heart and not sit out the vote in the face of opinion polls showing Ms. Merkel and her center-right Christian Democrats and their Bavarian allies, the Christian Socialists, with a double-digit lead over the center-left Social Democrats.

A victory would vault Ms. Merkel into the ranks of Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl, the only postwar chancellors to win four national elections, and represent a remarkable capstone for her, the first East German and the first woman to hold the position.

Read more ....

Update: How does the German general election work? (DW)

WNU Editor: Live updates can be seen here ....

German Election: Live Updates -- BBC
German elections 2017: Angela Merkel seeks fourth term as country heads to polls – live updates -- The Guardian
German elections 2017 - live updates -- The Independent
German elections: Will Merkel win 4th term as chancellor? Live updates -- RT

The 2017 results can be seen here .... 2017 German Election Results (Bloomberg)

President Trump Urges Fans To Boycott NFL Over 'Take A Knee' Protests

Jaguars players linked arms and took the knee while the the Star Spangled Banner played at Wembley Stadium

Daily Mail: BREAKING NEWS: American football stars drop to their knees during national anthem at Wembley in protest defying Donald Trump after he said sportsman who 'disrespect America' should be SACKED

* Players from Jacksonville Jaguars and the Baltimore Ravens dropped to their knees as national anthem played
* No players were kneeling during the playing of 'God Save The Queen', which followed the US national anthem
* President Trump had stoked tensions by saying NFL players who protested should be sacked by their team

American football stars took a knee in defiance of Donald Trump at Wembley Stadium today after he said sportsmen who 'disrespect America' should be 'fired'.

Players from both Jacksonville Jaguars and the Baltimore Ravens dropped to their knees as the national anthem was played prior to the match in London.

No players were kneeling during the playing of 'God Save The Queen', which followed the Star Spangled Banner.

Read more ....

Update #1: Ravens, Jaguars players kneel during national anthem after Trump's attacks on NFL (FOX News)
Update #2: NFL players, owners rebuff Trump's attacks as controversy continues for a second day (Los Angeles Times)
Update #3: Trump NFL row: Defiance after US president urges boycott (BBC)

WNU Editor: President Trump's responds ....

Trump urges fans to boycott NFL in ongoing criticism of flag-kneeling players (Fox News)
Donald Trump calls for NFL boycott over 'take a knee' protests (The Independent)

Here is an easy prediction .... this is going to get worse. And while I do believe that most fans will continue to watch their favorite players and teams (at a stadium or on TV) .... especially from those who support the players on what they are doing .... there is going to be a sizeable group who will lose their enthusiasm (if not already) for the sport that they enjoy watching and feeling that they are a part of. And this is why these protests are going to hurt the economics and the business of sports. Fans need to feel that they are a part of the team for them to spend their money and their time watching their favorite players. Take that away from them .... and pushing a brand of politics or a social agenda is a guarantee way of doing it .... you will kill the spirit of the game for these people because they will certainly no longer feel that they are part of the team. Many team owners are now condemning President Trump .... but I think with time they are going to realize that these protests (now in their second year) have seriously injured their bottom line, and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. And while everyone in the sports business is going to blame President Trump for this mess, the truth is that these protests (and the backlash  against it) first started when President Obama was in the White House .... the only difference now is that President Trump is only voicing what many sports fans have been feeling for the past two years.

Ivanka Trump Has To Ask Chief Of Staff John Kelly Permission To Talk To Her Father About Government Matters

President Trump with Ivanka Trump. Reuters

Business Insider: Ivanka Trump has to ask John Kelly for permission to talk to Trump about White House matters

John Kelly, President Donald Trump's new chief of staff, has garnered a reputation for running a tighter ship in a typically freewheeling White House since his arrival, and that reportedly extends to Trump's daughter and closest confidant, Ivanka Trump.

Ivanka has long been a trusted adviser to her father. She initially joined the administration in a voluntary capacity, but later became an official government employee and unpaid adviser following intense public backlash from ethics experts about the voluntary nature of her position.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: One of the roles for being Chief of Staff is to be the "gate-keeper". And while I am sure that President Trump and his daughter have a lot of personal time away from the Oval Office .... within the East Wing .... the protocols and rules must be obeyed.

President Trump Will Be Making A State Visit To China In November

Straits Times/Bloomberg: Trump said to visit China in November amid North Korea spat

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - United States President Donald Trump will visit China in November, a person familiar with his plans said, as tensions flare on the Korean peninsula due to Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests.

White House officials declined to comment. Trump is expected to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and Association of South-east Asian Nations summits in Vietnam and the Philippines in November.

Chinese President Xi Jinping invited Trump to pay a state visit to China when the two leaders met for the first time at Trump's golf resort in Florida in April. During that meeting, Trump notified Xi that he had authorised air strikes on Syria over allegations of chemical-weapons use.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: All of my friends in China are saying the same thing about this visit .... the Chinese are going all out to impress President Trump on this visit. What's my take .... this is a state visit with all of the pomp and ceremony behind it .... expect a lot of pictures and video from the Great Hall of the People Building in Beijing between Xi and Trump.

Russia's Foreign Minister Lays Out The Kremlin View On Key Issues

CBS: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov lays out Kremlin's view

UNITED NATIONS -- Russia is looking to work with the U.S. on some of the dangerous issues in world affairs, Russian President Vladimir Putin's top diplomat, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

"We have to calm down the hotheads," he said, offering the Kremlin's view of North Korea, Iran, the Middle East, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela and the Facebook-Russia ads controversy.

Here's a look at what Lavrov said on a range of hot-button issues.

Read more ....

North Korean Crisis

US not to strike on DPRK as it is aware Pyongyang has nuclear weapon - Lavrov -- TASS
US Not to Strike N Korea Over Certainty Pyongyang Has Nuclear Weapons - Lavrov -- Sputnik International
Washington won't strike N. Korea as it knows Pyongyang has nukes – Lavrov -- RT
US knows N Korea has nukes, will not strike: Russian foreign minister -- Times of India/AFP


Russia's Sergey Lavrov calls for 'pullout' of US forces from Syria -- Washington Examiner
Lavrov warns against partition of Syria -- TASS

Iran Nuclear Deal

Russian Federation rejects reopening Iran deal talks -- HiTechFacts
Russia Warns Trump: Collapse of Iran Deal Would Discourage North Korea From Stopping Nukes -- Haaretz
Russia says US Iran sanctions undermine nuclear deal -- Reuters

Relations With The U.S.

Lavrov blames Obama administration for souring Russia-US ties -- TASS
Lavrov Blames `Small-Minded' Obama for US-Russia Divisions -- Bloomberg
Russia: Relations with US poor over 'Russo-phobic hysteria' -- Miami Herald
Russia's Lavrov continues to scoff at 'so-called interference' in US election -- CNN

Russia On President Trump And North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un: ‘We Have to Calm Down the Hotheads’

Foreign Policy: Lavrov on Trump, North Korea: ‘We Have to Calm Down the Hotheads’

When it comes to the escalating, personal war of words between the tetchy leaders of nuclear-armed states, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov thinks there’s been inappropriate rhetoric on both sides.

Speaking at a press briefing at the U.N. General Assembly on Friday, Lavrov likened the war of words between President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un to “a kindergarten fight between children. And no one can stop them.”

Trump threatened to “totally destroy” Kim’s country this week. Kim responded with an unusual personal address, labelling Trump a “mentally deranged dotard,” and floating the idea of exploding a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific. Trump, who has authority for thousands of nuclear warheads, then responded on Twitter Friday, “Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!”

Read more ....

Update: Russia wants Trump and Kim Jong Un to calm down (Business Insider/Reuters)

WNU Editor: Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov is right when he said this today .... Washington won’t strike N. Korea as it knows Pyongyang has nukes – Lavrov (RT). But the problem is not what Washington will do .... the problem is what will Pyongyang do next.

Iran's New Missile Looks Like North Korea's

The Warzone/The Drive: Iran's New Ballistic Missile Looks a Lot Like a Modified North Korean One

The Iranians showed off the new missile after fiery rhetoric from President Trump and threats to scrap the Iran Deal.

Shortly after revealing the new Khorramshahr medium range ballistic missile to the public for the first time, Iran released a never before seen video showing a successful test of the weapon, but did not give a date or place for the footage. The new development will undoubtedly have an impact on whether U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration decide to scrap a deal with Iran over its controversial nuclear program, but it also underscores long-standing concerns that the Iranian authorities have been working with the North Koreans and other allies to skirt their international obligations.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: WNU has been documenting this Iran - North Korea connection/relationship for years ....

The Iran Connection To North Korea's Missile Launch (December 16, 2012)
After This Weekend's North Korean Missile Test Will Iran Now Want To Buy This Rocket? (February 8, 2016)
The Pentagon Is Taking Note On The Growing Iran-North Korean Military Alliance (May 5, 2017)
Did North Korea Cooperate With Iran In Its Latest Missile Test? (February 4, 2017)

This Marine Shares His High Intensity Tactical Training Program

James Clark, Task & Purpose: The Marine Corps’ Ultimate Tactical Athlete Shares His Grueling Workout Routine

As part of the Marine Corps’ fitness overhaul, the service created the High Intensity Tactical Training program, a brutal workout regimen designed to build Marines’ combat fitness while minimizing injury. And with it, the Corps rolled out the Ultimate Tactical Athlete competition in 2015, which brings together top-tier male and female Marine athletes from across the Corps for a multi-day endurance and strength competition. Think of it like Ninja Warrior, but with more MARPAT and with some actual tactical relevance.

The winner of this year’s competition, Sgt. Ethan Mawhinney, an air-ground task force planner with Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, nabbed the first place title for the second year in a row.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The above video looks like my Cross-Fit routine. (Yes .... I started to do Cross-Fit to get back in shape .... and yes .... I am going very slow).

The Pentagon's Development And Procurement Practices Is Keeping The Head Of U.S. Strategic Command Up At Night

The Drive: You Have To Hear What Keeps The Head Of U.S. Strategic Command Up At Night

It's not Kim Jong Un or Vladimir Putin.

Out of all the presentations and panels at this year's Air Force Association convention, one speaker in particular had a most important, brave, and sobering message. A message that goes against the "company man" attitude we seem to find in many of the military's top brass, and one that deals with something we here at The War Zone have been talking about for a long, long time. Instead of worrying about Kim Jong Un's missiles or Putin's huge nuclear arsenal, what keeps the head of Strategic Command, General John Hyten, up at night is the cold hard fact that America's defense industrial complex has lost the ability to "go fast."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: You will have to go to the 25:48 mark at the above video. The Pentagon's unsustainable procurement practices are a mark change from what the Pentagon was able to do in the 1950s and the 1960s .... no doubt about that. The Pentagon's business/management culture has clearly changed since then .... and what is frightening is that all the signs are indicating that the situation is going to get worse.

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