Trump nominee for Director of National Intelligence sitting for questions in Senate Intelligence Committee hearing

Writer’s Lounge – Trump’s DNI Nominee John Ratcliffe, “Abe Masks”, The Finest Hours

Trump’s DNI Nominee John Ratcliffe 

National Compass reported during the first go round when Trump proposed Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe (R-TX) as replacement for the former Director Of National Intelligence (DNI) Director, Dan Coats.



Trump pushed Coats out because Coats defended the integrity and accuracy of the intel he was receiving from the various agencies that Coats presided over. Especially egregious to Trump, was that Director Coats, a man with a considerable depth of experience and qualifications, refused to be a conduit for Trump’s lies and personal agenda.

I asked, in that article from July 29th of last year:

What does Ratcliffe bring to the table? Ratcliff, until 5 years ago, was a lawyer and a mayor of Heath, Texas, a town of 8,953 population and has sat on the House Intelligence Committee for all of 5 months. That’s it, even though the law governing the qualifications of the job he is being proposed for specifically requires,”extensive national security expertise”.

At the time, the Senate sent back the nomination, with an informal vote of no confidence in the nominee – and from then until now, an acting Director who was competent, Joseph Maguire, was dismissed by Trump, for political reasons and an inexperienced replacement, Trump flunky Richard Grenell, was assigned to squat in the office in February.

Trump has once again, sent Ratcliffe’s nomination to the Senate. Nothing has changed. Ratcliffe is still not qualified for the position and Trump has no business trying to shoehorn him into it, but since when has anything that obvious stopped what many Americans now consider to be the worst president in history?

Ratcliffe is not faring well in the Senate confirmation hearings. A particularly telling example of this, is this exchange between Senate Intelligence Committee member Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Ratcliffe:

by Richard Cameron


The Finest Hours


original film poster image of Disney's "The Finest Hours"

Available on Disney +

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of peril

It’s known as one of the most dangerous, and the greatest small boat rescues in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.  Now, the events of February 18, 1952 have been brought to life in Disney’s, “The Finest Hours.”

Based on the book by Casey Sherman and Michael J. Touglas of the same name, the film follows the rescue of the crew of the stern of the “SS Pendleton,” one of two T2 oil tankers split in two by a nor’easter off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

What makes this rescue so incredible is the Herculean effort of Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) and his crew from the Chatham station. Much of the Coast Guard’s rescue effort had been directed to the “SS Fort Mercer”, the second T2 tanker to be split by the storm, with crews from nearby Boston and Nantucket swarming to that wreck.

This reality is brought home when volunteer crewmember, Ervin Maske (John Magaro) remarks, “Please tell me we’re taking this boat to a bigger boat,” when he first spots the CG36-500.

When Webber’s crew became the only one’s able to cross the deadly Chatham Bar, they became the “Pendleton’s” only hope. It is in these moment’s that Webber’s sense of leadership and self-sacrifice are fully realized.

The second story is the effort by the remaining crew of the “Pendleton” to remain afloat as long as possible so they can be rescued.

When the tanker splits, and the higher ranking officers are lost with the bow, engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) becomes the ship’s highest ranking officer. His clashes with Seaman D.A. Brown (Michael Raymond-James) early cement Sybert’s role as the ship’s leader. Had it not been for his knowledge of the “Pendleton” and assertiveness, 32 crew members would not have survived.

The third story is the community of Chatham itself, told through the relationship between Bernie and his fiancée, Miriam Pentinen (Holliday Grainger). It’s their relationship that provides the anchor for the story as a whole.

In a role written largely for the film (though not out of character, according to Miriam and Bernie’s daughter), Miriam is portrayed as every bit the feminine, yet unconventional spitfire she was in real life. Never hesitating to share what was on her heart or mind.

Miriam not only proposes to Bernie, but also confronts her fiancée’s commanding officer, Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana), for sending him out on what everyone sees as a suicide mission on that February night. She is truly a heroine in the mold of Belle (“Beauty and the Beast”) and Anya (“Anastasia”), and the reason she is one of my favorite characters.

The complex emotions of rescue are full display as Miriam attempts to find peace in a difficult situation. Nowhere is this better displayed than in the emotions of a brother and sister, Carl Nickerson (Matthew Maher) and Bea Hansen (Rachel Brosnahan).

Bea lost her husband, when a similar storm took down the “Landry” a year earlier. At the time, Webber was unable to cross the Chatham Bar to rescue him or the rest of the crew. While Bea holds no hatred to anyone for what happened to her husband, her brother blames Bernie for his brother-in-law’s death.

It’s a surprising theme that was touched on in the Sherman and Touglas account, written beautifully into the fabric of the film.

In an ironic twist, it was Carl who informs the Chatham station that the “echo” on their radar is, in fact, the “Pendleton.” An event that triggers the rescue.

Although swallowed up by better known films during its theatrical run, “The Finest Hours” is one of those movies that, once again, shares the simple themes of courage, strength, hope and community in the face of insurmountable odds.

by Tiffany Elliott


Regular readers of Writer’s Lounge, noticed that we now have an informal reporter, Tom Logan, contributing unique and exclusive slices of life from the “Land of the Rising Sun”Japan, with a national population of over 126 million.

Here, we have a short vignette, about the botched rollout of COVID-19 masks directed by the Japanese central government at the direction of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe:

Check out our full collection of Adios to Trump apparel and merchandise.

Adios To Trump apperel and merchandise

Senior Contributor Tony Wyman, on May 3rd, published an essay about the national scourge of ignorance plaguing America.

Although that is something many of us see as the root cause of the societal crisis we’re confronting, few if any, have outlined it in such a systematic and reasoned monograph.  



Wheel of Denial

political cartoon showing Donald Trump spinning a "Wheel of Denial" in order to choose who to blame for the various catastrophes he has presided over - instead of himself.


Regular National Compass contributor and Social Media Editor, Jennifer Keller Puebla, has been sewing protective masks for distribution through the charitable organization, Visiting Angels, as well as two nursing homes in Florida and for several clinics around the country.                               . 

So that I could review them here (they are super great – perfect fit and comfortable) and also to be way stylish on my infrequent excursions for the bare necessities, she sent me some samples. They were all neat, but this one probably best expresses my personality.

Some men won’t wear Pink in public, but I will, because I am extremely secure in my masculinity. If I wasn’t I wouldn’t.  I would be driving an enormous pickup truck with monster tires and raised suspension and perhaps open carrying a high capacity semi-auto rifle, but I don’t need to, because unlike Donald Trump, my hands are authentically and genuinely large.

Well, here I am, the Original Gangsta (O.G.) of Love:

photo of National Compass Editor in Chief wearing colorful Pink cotton protective mask.


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