Author Archive for Jeff Quinton

Valentine’s Day: From Russia With Love

russiaRussia dominated headlines this Valentine’s Day in America.

Most of it related to the resignation of Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser to the President just 24 days after Donald Trump was inaugurated. I won’t bore my readers with a rehash of all the news coverage online and in the media about this story, although I will point to this piece by John R. Schindler at The Observer as well as a late-breaking New York Times piece tonight. The NYT story details contacts between Russian intelligence officers and Trump campaign staff ahead of the 2016 election.

I will touch on Schindler’s piece briefly before I move on to my focus. Schindler, a former National Security Agency analyst, discusses the “war” between Trump and the nation’s spy agencies. The scariest part? That the agencies are withholding intelligence from the White House because they don’t trust the administration. One official even told Schindler that they assume the Kremlin has had ears inside the White House Situation Room since President Trump took office.

Schindler’s report is so concerning, along with all the other news about Russian ties to the Trump administration, because of other items in the news that don’t get the wall-to-wall coverage on cable news.

Just last week, Russian military aircraft buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Black Sea. The flyovers were described as “low altitude” and “high speed.” Russia denied the reports. There were several encounters between Russian military aircraft and U.S. ships in aircraft in 2016.

It also came to light today that the Russians have apparently placed themselves in further violation of the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty by secretly deploying a new missile system that they had been testing since 2014.

There are also reports today of a Russian surveillance ship in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Delaware. This ship made a port call in Cuba before proceeding up the East Coast in international waters.

Additionally, The Moscow Times reported on a story in pro-Kremlin paper Komsomolskaya Pravda. The report included an interview with a Taliban warlord who wanted to build ties with Russia to get the United States out of Afghanistan.

Throw in all the latest intrigue with Russian spies and apparent poisonings, as well as the Flynn issues, and it’s very important that the United States keeps its eye on the ball with the Russians. They are an adversary and we shouldn’t cozy up to them or let them take advantage of us.

I’m really not sure what to make of reports the Kremlin is worried about the unintended consequences of their Trump fandom, but I suspect there’s something else behind those reports getting out.

Buckle up, the bumpy ride will apparently continue.

More Maryland Lottery Politics

Maryland LotteryI previously wrote about the Maryland Lottery and complaints and intimidation from IGT, a spurned bidder for state contracts. After that, I decided to pay more attention to news revolving around the lottery and bidding processes.

Part of the complaints from GTECH were designed to intimidate Gordon Medenica, who had been appointed but not yet confirmed, as director of the Maryland Lottery. Last week, the Executive Nominations Committee held confirmation hearings for several officials, including Mr. Medenica.

After questioning, Senator Joan Carter Conway asked that Medenica’s nomination be held for further investigation. Bryan Sears wrote about the hearing in The Daily Record.

The senator asked Medenica questions about lottery income sources before moving on to questions about the recent contract recommendation made in favor of SGI and the appeals by IGT and Gaming Innovation. As you may recall, IGT filed a protest that they eventually backed down from. Gaming Innovations moved forward with a protest that they eventually dropped.

Specifically, Conway drills down into questions about minority business enterprise (MBE) goals from all three bidders. Medenica points out that the goals are pass/fail and that all three bids met the goal of 20% participation. He also tells Conwa y that a bid with a local joint venture partner does not get any more consideration.

This question related to Gaming Innovation’s bid and their use of a “local” partner, businessman Emmanuel Bailey. In Gaming Innovation’s protest letter, they complained that their team included two members who were “running” the D.C. Lottery.

One of these partners is Emmanuel Bailey. He’s deemed a local partner for the Maryland bid and he also was for a successful bid, along with Intralot, to run the DC Lottery.

Mr. Bailey has been ensnared in investigations of the procurement process related to the DC Lottery.  He was apparently running his operations, as a local partner for Intralot, from the basement of his mother’s home in the District. He apparently lived in Maryland at the time. That is not allowed under D.C. law. You must live in D.C. to be certified as a local partner. Maryland does not have that requirement for local partners.

This puts Bailey in a bit of a quandary as it relates to the Gaming Innovation bid for the Maryland Lottery business. As far as DC is concerned, he is “local.”  If so, that means he is lying if he claims to be in Maryland as part of the Gaming Innovation bid.

To sum things up, IGT originally made an implied threat against the confirmation of Gordon Medenica as director of the Maryland Lottery before withdrawing their protest. Gaming Innovation continued their protest based on specious logic and found a sympathetic ear in Joan Carter Conway who is now holding up the confirmation.

I will continue to follow this story as it develops further.

Action Needed to Save Columbus Day in Baltimore

Columbus Day
The following email about city legislation affecting Columbus Day was sent today to local members of the Knights of Columbus by the national KofC – please share it with your friends and call Friday:

The Baltimore City Council is voting on Monday, Dec. 5, on a proposal to eliminate Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ and Italian-Americans’ Day.

We urge you to call the city hall operator THIS WEEK at 410-396-3100 or the Office of the City Council President at 410-396-4804 to respectfully express your support for preserving Columbus Day.

The following points may be useful in your conversation:

  1. October 12 should continue to be celebrated as Columbus Day. We strongly object to and oppose any efforts to abolish or diminish this holiday by repeal, dilution or replacement. Such actions are unfair to Columbus himself and to those who celebrate his holiday.

  2. The legacy and accomplishments of Christopher Columbus deserve to be celebrated. He was a man ahead of his time and a fearless explorer and brilliant navigator whose daring discovery changed the course of history.

  3. Columbus has frequently been falsely blamed for the actions of those who came after him and is the victim of horrific slanders concerning his conduct.

  4. Long-time Stanford University Professor Carol Delaney has done extensive research debunking many of the negative myths about Columbus. In fact, she paints a positive portrait of a man who had generally benign relations with the Native Americans and has been unfairly blamed for everything that ever went wrong in the New World after his arrival.

  5. Advocating the addition of a new holiday is one thing, but it is something else altogether to lobby for the diminishment or elimination of an already well-established holiday that is celebrated by Americans year after year.

  6.  Because Columbus Day has special meaning — including to many Italian Americans and Catholics — efforts to repeal, diminish or replace Columbus Day are unfair and hurtful to those communities, regardless of what substitutions are offered.

More on Columbus Day

In 2014,  I wrote about Carol Delaney and her research that debunked many myths about Columbus. She also found that Columbus was searching for gold to help fund a new crusade to retake Jerusalem from Muslim invaders.

George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

thanksgivingHappy Thanksgiving from The Quinton Report

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington

More on the Thanksgiving Proclamation

The Library of Congress has an image of the original document online as well as the text.

You can also read Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation of Thanksgiving online.

Saint Margaret, Pearl of Scotland

Saint Margaret of ScotlandNovember 16 is the feast day of Saint Margaret of Scotland, who is a direct ancestor of mine. She is also the Patron Saint of Scotland.

Margaret of Wessex was born around 1045 in what is now Hungary. Her parents were Prince of Edward (the Exile) of England and Princess Agatha of Hungary. Her brother and sister were also born in Hungary.

When there was a chance her father might become successor to the throne, they returned to England. She was 10 years old at the time. Her father died and her family later fled in 1066 following the Battle of Hastings in 1066 that resulted in a victory by William the Conqueror.

On their way back to the European continent, their ship wrecked on the coast of Scotland. She later married King Malcolm of Scotland in 1070 in Dunfermline. They had eight children.

As a bio from Catholic Online notes:

She constantly worked to aid the poor Scotland. She encouraged people to live a devout life, grow in prayer, and grow in holiness. She helped to build churches, including the Abbey of Dunfermline, where a relic of the true Cross is kept. She was well-known for her deep life of prayer and piety. She set aside specific times for prayer and to read Scripture. She didn’t eat often and slept very little so she would have more time for her devotions. She lived holiness of life as a wife, mother and lay woman; truly in love with Jesus Christ.

Malcolm supported Margaret in all her endeavors and admired her religious devotion so much he had her books decorated in jewels, gold and silver. One of these decorated books, a gospel book with portraits of the four evangelists, is now kept in Oxford at the Bodleian Library after it was miraculously recovered from a river.

In 1093, her husband and oldest son were killed in battle and she died four days later.

Pope Innocent IV canonized her as a Saint in 1250 and her body was moved to Dunfermline Abbey. Mary Queen of Scots reportedly acquired the relic of her head after that, but it was later lost during the French Revolution after being in possession of Jesuits in France.

More on Saint Margaret of Scotland

Margaret was the mother of three kings of Scotland. She was the granddaughter of King Edmund Ironside and her infant father was exiled by Canute. Saint Margaret is my 24th great grandmother.