The Glasshouse Report

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Scribes Are Restless

Hillary Clinton’s Team Takes Another Hit On Media Briefings 

Elise Amendola / AP
By Erik Wemple, May 29, 2015, Washington Post

As recounted here, the Telegraph of Nashua, N.H., last week published an editorial blasting the worthlessness of a Clinton campaign conference call. A taste:

Clinton operatives held a conference call about efforts the campaign is making to bulk up a social media outreach campaign and plans to build working groups that are – get this – based on specific issues rather than the traditional county-by-county breakdown.

We’ll give you a moment to recover from the impact of such revelatory news.

To keep this style of Clinton coverage going, CNBC Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood has turned in a piece titled, “How’s Hillary doing? Wish we could tell you.

I’ve been inside Hillary Clinton’s national campaign headquarters in Brooklyn. I’ve talked with “senior officials” about her bid for the White House. They sat in these chairs. Wish I could tell you more. But they said very little. Notice that I typed very little and not “very little,” because under the ground rules of Thursday’s briefing reporters were not allowed to quote their words directly. You’re not missing much.


Read the full story: www.washingtonpost.com

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It's STILL Her Nomination To Lose!

Socialist Sanders threatens Clinton more than made-for-TV O'Malley

By Annie Karni, May, 28, 2015, Politico

One candidate is 73, with a shock of wispy white hair and a famously rumpled demeanor that makes him look more like a mad scientist than a politician.

The other is central casting’s image of a presidential candidate: square-jawed, athletic-looking and 52 years old — the ideal age that Fortune 500 companies look for in a CEO and that voters find appealing in a president.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley are both expected to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president. Sanders entered the race last month, and O’Malley is expected to make a formal announcement Saturday in Baltimore.

But, perhaps counterintuitively, it’s Sanders — six years older than Clinton, a self-defined socialist with no big money apparatus and positions that appeal to the far left of the party — that Democratic strategists and Clinton insiders expect to pose a bigger threat to the former secretary of state than the mainstream O’Malley, who has been trying to build a national constituency by positioning himself slightly to her left.

Read more: www.politico.com

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Your Standard Democrat

From The 'Rain Tax' To The 'Flush Tax': 40 Times Martin O'Malley Raised Taxes 

Jason Russell, May 30, 2015, Washington Examiner

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley will launch his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination Saturday in Baltimore. During the forthcoming campaign, it will be impossible for O'Malley to escape his past as a fiscal liberal who made higher taxes rain over Maryland.

Maryland was hit by 40 tax hikes costing $9.5 billion during O'Malley's eight years in office, from 2007-14. Tax-weary Marylanders made Republican Larry Hogan governor in 2014, bucking O'Malley's lieutenant governor, Anthony Brown, who was the Democratic candidate. Less-patient Marylanders voted with their feet and simply fled the state: Almost 72,000 people left Maryland from mid-2007 to mid-2014, according to Census Bureau data.


Read the full story:  www.washingtonexaminer.com

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Unknown History

ICYMI: 11 Female Inventors Who Helped Power The Information Age 

Hedy Lamar
By BuzzFeed, Mar, 15, 2015

1. Hedy Lamar

Lauded as “the most beautiful woman in the world,” film actress Hedy Lamarr earned our eternal gratitude when she drafted a “Secret Communications System” during WWII — technology still used by cell networks, Bluetooth gadgets, and Wi-Fi.

2. Ada Lovelace

Dubbed “the world’s first programmer,” Ada Lovelace wrote commands that could solve specific math problems for an early mechanical computer in 1843. She also predicted that computers could “compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music.”

3. Grace Hopper

A century after Ada Lovelace, Rear Admiral Grace Hopper became one of the first to program computers in WWII. She invented the compiler — an English to computer translator — and popularized “computer bug” after a moth shorted out a Mark II.


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But WON'T Run Cartoons Of Muhammad

NYT's Artistic Display of Religious Hypocrisy: Runs Offensive Virgin Mary Painting Once Again

By Clay Waters, May 29, 2015, Newsbusters

The New York Times' hypocrisy regarding displays of "offensive" religious imagery runs unabated, as shown in a Scott Reyburn article in Friday's Arts section on the sale of Chris Ofili's controversial painting "The Holy Virgin Mary," which shows the Virgin Mary clotted with elephant dung against a porn-collage background -- and accompanied by a photograph of the offensive work. Yet when the paper refused to reprint a cartoon of Muhammad that appeared in the Paris satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that resulted in the January 2015 massacre of 12 magazine staffers, it offered this smug, cowardly justification:

Under Times standards, we do not normally publish images or other material deliberately intended to offend religious sensibilities. After careful consideration, Times editors decided that describing the cartoons in question would give readers sufficient information to understand today’s story. 


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STILL In Legal Jeopardy?

House Republicans Demand Update On Lois Lerner Charges 

By Charles S. Clark, May 29, GovExec.com

Twenty-four Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday wrote to newly installed Attorney General Loretta Lynch seeking an update on prospects for criminal charges against former Internal Revenue Service Exempt Organizations chief Lois Lerner.

Led by Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the lawmakers cited the April 9, 2014, Ways and Means referral of Lerner to the Justice Department for prosecution on possible crimes that grew out of the two-year-old controversy over alleged political bias in IRS handling of nonprofits’ applications for tax-exempt status.

The new letter noted that an April 2015 Justice response from since-departed U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen sent to Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, addressed only the contempt of Congress referral the House made after Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Read the full story: www..govexec.com


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CNBC'S Harwood Wonders When She'll REALLY Start Campaigning

'How's Hillary Doing? Wish We Could Tell You' 

Inside Hillary's 2026 HQ / CNBC
By John Harwood, May 29, 2015, CNBC

I've been inside Hillary Clinton's national campaign headquarters in Brooklyn.

I've talked with "senior officials" about her bid for the White House. They sat in these chairs.

An office room inside Hillary Clinton's campaign headquarters.

Wish I could tell you more. But they said very little.

Notice that I typed very little and not "very little," because under the ground rules of Thursday's briefing reporters were not allowed to quote their words directly.

You're not missing much.

The former secretary of state plans to kick off the heavy-rhetoric stage of her campaign on June 13. I can't say where or what time because the senior officials wouldn't say.

She plans to lay out some policy proposals after that. Can't say which ones.

She'll take questions from reporters. Can't say how often.
She'll start having rallies. Not too many, because the election's a long way away. But some.

She might take a summer vacation, which means reporters covering her can, too. Don't know when, but one senior official observed that summer vacations traditionally occur in mid-August.


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More Pillage and Plundering

Opec Under Siege As Isil Threatens World's Oil Lifeline

By Andrew Critchlow, May 30, 2015, The Telegraph

Thick black smoke rising from the Baiji oil refinery could be seen as a dirty smudge on the horizon as far away as Baghdad after fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) set fire to the enormous processing plant just over 100 miles north of the capital last week.

The decision to torch the refinery, which once produced around a third of Iraq’s domestic fuel supplies, was made as the insurgents prepared to pull out of Baiji, which they captured last June in a victory that sent shock waves across world oil markets.

A year on from the start of the siege and a shaky alliance of the Middle East’s major Arab powers, with the limited support of the reluctant US government, has failed to contain the expansion of Isil.

The problem for the US and the rest of the industrialised world is that the Middle East controls 60pc of proven oil reserves and with it the keys to the global economy. Should Isil capture a major oil field in Iraq, or overwhelming the government, the consequences for energy markets and the financial system would be potentially catastrophic.


Read the full story: www.telegraph.co.uk

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"The consequences of the ‘Ferguson effect’ are already appearing"

The New Nationwide Crime Wave

By Heather McDonald, May 29, 2015, Wall Street Journal

The nation’s two-decades-long crime decline may be over. Gun violence in particular is spiraling upward in cities across America. In Baltimore, the most pressing question every morning is how many people were shot the previous night. Gun violence is up more than 60% compared with this time last year, according to Baltimore police, with 32 shootings over Memorial Day weekend. May has been the most violent month the city has seen in 15 years.

In Milwaukee, homicides were up 180% by May 17 over the same period the previous year. Through April, shootings in St. Louis were up 39%, robberies 43%, and homicides 25%. “Crime is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said St. Louis Alderman Joe Vacarro at a May 7 City Hall hearing.

Murders in Atlanta were up 32% as of mid-May. Shootings in Chicago had increased 24% and homicides 17%. Shootings and other violent felonies in Los Angeles had spiked by 25%; in New York, murder was up nearly 13%, and gun violence 7%.


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Walker Rising!

Scott Walker Has Early Lead In Iowa, Jeb Bush Faces Challenges 

By John McCormick, May 30, 2015, Bloomberg

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has expanded his early lead in Iowa, while former Florida Governor Jeb Bush continues to face headwinds and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida shows upside potential in the state that hosts the first 2016 presidential nomination balloting.

A new Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll shows more than a third of likely Republican caucus participants say they would never vote for Bush—one factor in a new index to assess candidate strength in such a crowded field. Forty-three percent view him favorably, compared to 45 percent who view him unfavorably.

Walker is backed by 17 percent as the state enters a busy summer of candidate visits, a planned straw poll, and campaigning at the Iowa State Fair.


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Now What?

Internet Founders Saw Its Promise--But Did Not Foresee Users Hacking Each Other

By Craig Timberg, May 30, 2015, Washington Post

David D. Clark, an MIT scientist whose air of genial wisdom earned him the nickname “Albus Dumbledore,” can remember exactly when he grasped the Internet’s dark side. He was presiding over a meeting of network engineers when news broke that a dangerous computer worm — the first to spread widely — was slithering across the wires.

One of the engineers, working for a leading computer company, piped up with a claim of responsibility for the security flaw that the worm was exploiting. “Damn,” he said. “I thought I had fixed that bug.”

But as the attack raged in November 1988, crashing thousands of machines and causing millions of dollars in damage, it became clear that the failure went beyond a single man. The worm was using the Internet’s essential nature — fast, open and frictionless — to deliver malicious code along computer lines designed to carry harmless files or e-mails.

Read the full story: www.washingtonpost.com


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"These shootings are grossly under­reported"

Fatal Police Shootings In 2015 Approaching 400 Nationwide

By Kimberly Kindy, and reported by Julie Tate, Jennifer Jenkins, Steven Rich, Keith L. Alexander and Wesley Lowery, May 30, 2015, Washington Post

In an alley in Denver, police gunned down a 17-year-old girl joyriding in a stolen car. In the backwoods of North Carolina, police opened fire on a gun-wielding moonshiner. And in a high-rise apartment in Birmingham, Ala., police shot an elderly man after his son asked them to make sure he was okay. Douglas Harris, 77, answered the door with a gun.

The three are among at least 385 people shot and killed by police nationwide during the first five months of this year, more than two a day, according to a Washington Post analysis. That is more than twice the rate of fatal police shootings tallied by the federal government over the past decade, a count that officials concede is incomplete.

“These shootings are grossly under­reported,” said Jim Bueermann, a former police chief and president of the Washington-based Police Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving law enforcement. “We are never going to reduce the number of police shootings if we don’t begin to accurately track this information.”


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Religion Of Peace...

‘Tyranny is in America’: Anti-Muslim Armed Rally Organizer Says He’s Headed Into Hiding After Getting Death Threats

By Jason Molinet, May 29, 2015, NYDailyNews.com

The ex-Marine who organized an anti-Muslim rally outside the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix Friday evening said he’s going into hiding after receiving several death threats.

“This is proof tyranny is in America,” said Jon Ritzheimer, revealing he's come under siege since taking to Facebook to organize the event.

Up to 500 protesters gathered in 100-degree heat — some clutching assault rifles, American flags and placards — in the latest flashpoint in the U.S. anti-Islam movement.

Ritzheimer planned the protest, billed as "Freedom of Speech Rally," in response to an ISIS-inspired attack outside a controversial Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest May 3 in Texas.

Two gunmen were shot dead by SWAT team members as they attempted to storm the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, an event organized by anti-Islamic activist Pamela Geller.


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Thought It Was "AFFORDABLE" Care

Health Experts See Big Price Hikes For Obamacare 

By Paul Demko, May 30, 2015, Politico.com

The cost of Obamacare could rise for millions of Americans next year, with one insurer proposing a 50 percent hike in premiums, fueling the controversy about just how “affordable” the Affordable Care Act really is.

The eye-popping 50 percent hike by New Mexico insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield is an outlier, and state officials may not allow it to go through. But health insurance experts are predicting that premiums will rise more significantly in 2016 than in the first two years of Obamacare exchange coverage. In 2015, for example, premiums increased by an average of 5.4 percent, according to PwC’s Health Research Institute.

The premium increases come at a tenuous time for Obamacare, which remains under fire from a Republican Congress that wants to repeal the law, while a Supreme Court ruling on federal subsidies for the health insurance looms in June as well.

Read the full story: www.politico.com



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Iran Bamboozled U.S. As It Became Nuclear Power

US, Iran Hold 'Intense' Nuclear Talks Month Before Deadline 

By Bradley Klapper, May 30, 2015, Associated Press

GENEVA (AP) — A month away from a nuclear deal deadline, U.S. and Iranian diplomats tried to narrow differences over how quickly to ease economic penalties against Tehran and how significantly the Iranians must open up military facilities to international inspections. American officials described the session as "at times intense."

The talks between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif lasted six hours, in what officials described as the most substantive negotiating round since world powers and Iran clinched a framework pact in April.

Last month's agreement left big questions unanswered, which weeks of subsequent technical discussions have done little to resolve. It was unclear how much progress Kerry and Zarif made before the Iranian delegation began leaving for Tehran, or if they fully rediscovered their momentum.


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Anger And Revenge!

Syrian Christian Fighter Reportedly Beheads ISIS Militant In Revenge Killing 

By Andres Jauregul, May 30, 2015, Huffington Post

A Syrian watchdog group reports that a Syrian Christian fighter beheaded a militant with the Islamic State group as revenge for individuals executed in northeastern Syria.

The alleged revenge killing occurred Thursday in Hasakah province, where the Islamic State militants hold large areas of the countryside, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The militant group has carried out public beheadings and mass executions of hundreds of Christians and Kurds in the region, according to The Independent.

From Agence France-Presse:

According to the monitor, the Christian fighter, a member of the minority Assyrian community, found the jihadist in the local village of Tal Shamiram.

"He took him prisoner and when he found out he was a member of [the Islamic State], the Assyrian fighter beheaded him in revenge for abuses committed by the group in the region," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.


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So Tragic...

Vice President Biden’s Family Announces Death Of His Son Beau Biden

Beau Biden / AP
By Washington Post Staff, May 30, 2015, Washington Post

Vice President Biden late Saturday announced the death of his son Beau Biden. Here is his statement:

It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life.

The entire Biden family is saddened beyond words. We know that Beau’s spirit will live on in all of us—especially through his brave wife, Hallie, and two remarkable children, Natalie and Hunter.

Beau's life was defined by service to others. As a young lawyer, he worked to establish the rule of law in war-torn Kosovo. A major in the Delaware National Guard, he was an Iraq War veteran and was awarded the Bronze Star. As Delaware’s Attorney General, he fought for the powerless and made it his mission to protect children from abuse.


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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Thought He Already Had!

Former Md. Gov. O'malley Jumps Into 2016 Democratic Race 

Source:  Daily Beast
By Ken Thomas and Catherine Lucey, May 30, 2015, Associated Press

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) -- Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley entered the Democratic presidential race on Saturday in a longshot challenge to Hillary Rodham Clinton for the 2016 nomination, casting himself as a new generation leader who would rebuild the economy and reform Wall Street.

"I'm running for you," he told a crowd of about 1,000 people in a populist message at Federal Hill Park in Baltimore, where he served as mayor before two terms as governor. O'Malley said was drawn into the campaign "to rebuild the truth of the American dream for all Americans."

Following his announcement, O'Malley promptly headed to Iowa, where he is seeking to become the primary alternative to Clinton in the leadoff caucus state. Before more than fifty people at a union hall in Davenport, he touted his executive experience and called for economic reforms, drawing enthusiastic applause.


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Yeah, Like Green Power, Amtrak, Ethanol, PBS...

Elon Musk's Growing Empire Is Fueled By Government Subsidies

Credit/Source
By Jerry Hirsch, May 30, 2015, Latimes.com

Los Angeles entrepreneur Elon Musk has built a multibillion-dollar fortune running companies that make electric cars, sell solar panels and launch rockets into space.

And he's built those companies with the help of billions in government subsidies.

Tesla Motors Inc., SolarCity Corp. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, together have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support, according to data compiled by The Times. The figure underscores a common theme running through his emerging empire: a public-private financing model underpinning long-shot start-ups.

"He definitely goes where there is government money," said Dan Dolev, an analyst at Jefferies Equity Research. "That's a great strategy, but the government will cut you off one day."


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Will SCOTUS Stop Obama?

Obama Is Suspending the Law Designed to Deter Illegal Immigration 

By Ian Smith, May 29, 2015, National Review

A key part of the Fifth Circuit’s decision to keep the freeze on President Obama’s amnesty programs was the 25-page dissenting opinion written by the panel’s lone Obama appointee. Not only does it point to how the bloc-voting liberal justices of the Supreme Court will ultimately treat the case, it almost wholly focuses on the threshold issue of “prosecutorial discretion”: an executive-branch power that, if expanded to include mass grants of amnesty, would remove the last vestige of authority that Congress and the courts have in preventing immigration anarchy at our nation’s southern border. 


The “essential point of disagreement” that Judge Stephen Higginson had with Judge Hanen’s lower-court opinion has to do with the characterization of the president’s amnesty programs. How DAPA and DACA are categorized is crucial for both sides. Obama’s attorneys contend that the programs are mere exercises of “prosecutorial discretion” on the part of the president.

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But Union Shows Its Cynical Hand

L.A. Minimum Wage Plan Moves Forward Without Union Exemption 

By Emily Alpert Reyes, May 29, 2015, Latimes.com

A landmark plan to boost the Los Angeles minimum wage took another step forward Friday, as a panel of city lawmakers vetted a draft ordinance putting the pay hikes into law.

But a host of complex and divisive questions about the plan will likely remain unanswered even after the law is passed -- including whether unionized companies will ultimately be able to opt out of the wage requirements if their workers agree.

"This is an ongoing process," City Councilman Curren Price, who heads the Economic Development Committee, said Friday. "There’s still a lot of things to be resolved."

When it takes up the proposed law next Wednesday, the full council is widely expected to pass the ordinance, which would gradually increase the citywide minimum to $15 hourly rate by July 2020. But because the pay hikes do not start until the middle of next year, officials could make changes to the law before the increases begin.


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They Cyberattacked Us--And We FAILED?!?

Report: U.S. Cyberattack On N. Korea Nuke Program Failed

Michael Winter, May 29, 2015, USA Today

The United States tried but failed to sabotage North Korea's nuclear weapons program with a computer virus in 2010, Reuters reported Friday.

The cyber attack came at the same time the Stuxnet virus was disrupting Iran's uranium-enrichment efforts, according to sources familiar with the stealth effort. Stuxnet was reportedly created by the United States and Israel.

The North Korea attack involved a Stuxnet variant that was designed to activate "when it encountered Korean-language settings on an infected machine," Reuters writes. But U.S. agents were never able to install the malware on the computers controlling Pyongyang's nuclear program.

Unlike Iran, which is widely connected to the Internet, North Korea remains extremely isolated from global communications. The country's only Net connection runs through China, which heavily monitors and filters traffic. Few North Koreans own a computer, which requires police approval.


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Class And Character

"Losing Wrestler's Sportsmanship Wows Crowd"

May 14, 2014, USA Today



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Friday, May 29, 2015

Better Blame It On Bush!

Blame It on Global Cooling? Obama Has Lowest Average 1stQ GDP Growth of Any President on Record

By Terence P. Jeffrey, May 29, 2015, CNSNews.com

Even if you leave out the first quarter of 2009—when the recession that started in December 2007 was still ongoing--President Barack Obama has presided over the lowest average first-quarter GDP growth of any president who has served since 1947, which is the earliest year for which the Bureau of Economic Analysis has calculated quarterly GDP growth.

In all first quarters since 1947, the real annual rate of growth of GDP has averaged 4.0 percent.

In the seven first quarters during Obama’s presidency, it has declined by an average of -0.43 percent. And if you leave out the first quarter of 2009 and look only at the first quarters of the six years since the recession ended, it has averaged only 0.4 percent.

In the six years of Harry Truman’s presidency for which the BEA has calculated quarterly GDP, the annual rate of growth in GDP in the first quarter averaged 4.5 percent.


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Unknown History!

You Picked a Fine Time to Betray #Cuba, Barack (On the Anniversary of the Bay of Pigs) 

Humberto Fontova, Apr 17, 2015, Townhall.com

Sure, it was one of those hoary historic trivialities that went down "before he was even born"--but President Obama finally signed off on his ultimate betrayal of Cuban freedom (removal of Castro regime from list of terror-sponsors/opening of economic lifeline) on the very week marking the 54th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs Invasion.

During the past eight months President Obama has ordered over 5,000 U.S. - led air strikes to help Islamic terrorists fight other Islamic terrorists 6 thousand miles away. Here’s what was going on 90 miles from U.S. shores 54 years ago this week as U.S.-trained freedom-fighters battled desperately against the terrorist whose lifelong dream was to nuke the U.S.—and who came closest to fulfilling it:

“Where are the planes?!” kept crackling over U.S. Navy radios 54 years ago this week. “Where is our ammo?! Send planes or we can’t last!” The pleas came from Commander Jose San Roman as Soviet tanks, Soviet artillery and tens of thousands of Soviet led troops pounded the 1400 Cuban freedom-fighters he commanded on a bloody and heroic beachhead now known as the Bay of Pigs.

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