Donald Trump has now purged several top-tier civilian officials at the Pentagon and replaced them with a handful of bootlicking loyalists. None of Trump’s new minions are up to the jobs they now hold and these abrupt personnel changes are as destabilizing to the Pentagon as they should be deeply concerning to the country. Here are the Cliff’s Notes on the personnel changes. Newly installedActing Defense Secretary: Christopher Miller, a combat veteran turned right-wing talkerChief of Staff: Kash Patel, a former Devin Nunes staffer who was part of the White House National Security Counsel (NSC) and worked to discredit the Russia investigationActing Undersecretary of Policy: Retired Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, whose appointment to DOD was yanked earlier this year after he was exposed as a racist Obama-hating conspiracy theoristUndersecretary of Defense for Intelligence: Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a Michael Flynn ally and former NSC staffer who allegedly supplied Rep. Nunes with information that Trump’s communications were incidentally swept up by U.S. intelligence agencies conducting foreign surveillanceGeneral Counsel, National Security Agency: Michael Ellis, also a former Nunes and NSC staffer (he allegedly joined Cohen-Watnick in supplying intel to Nunes and later moved Trump’s Ukraine call to the super secret server) who will now hold one of the most powerful legal positions in the U.S. Intelligence Community- Advertisement – Resigned/Forced outDefense Secretary: Mark EsperUndersecretary of Defense for Intelligence: Joseph KernanActing Undersecretary of Policy: James AndersonIt’s unclear what Trump intends to do with his newly installed team of reality-adjacent loyalists and disinformation specialists, but nothing good can come of it. One theory—and again, it’s a theory—is that some sort of cover up is underway. Nunes coupled with abuse/mishandling of intelligence and intimate knowledge of what happened at the NSC throughout Trump’s tenure are central to so many of these players. And whatever happened with Trump, Russia, Flynn, and Nunes, the other chief intelligence agencies (CIA/FBI) likely know far more than what has been publicly disclosed. Something simply doesn’t feel right about all of those Nunes/NSC insiders being deployed to powerful positions at the last second.Another possibility that seems equally as far-fetched and yet not out of the realm for the era is that Trump is trying to orchestrate a coup of some sort. Retired four-star Gen. Barry McCaffrey told MSNBC Wednesday he had every confidence that the military leadership would never go along with any unconstitutional orders they were given, but he also said that Trump’s intentions are very worrisome. – Advertisement – “If I was a CIA officer trying to understand what was going on in a third-world country, and I saw this pattern of behavior, I would say, the strongman is trying to take over the government and defy an election,” McCaffrey said. “And I think they’re playing with that idea inside the White House.”This is all pure conjecture, but Trump’s erratic moves at these uncertain times warrant the type of conjecture that under usual circumstances would serve no purpose. In this case, we all need to keep a watchful eye on Trump’s next moves, as we may have only seen the tip of the iceberg.As McCaffrey said, “I have been shot at a lot and nearly killed a bunch of times. I’m not an alarmist. I stay cool under pressure. Mark me down as alarmed.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement –
Commanding performances this week resulted in a 1-1 draw to UW-Milwaukee and a 1-0 win over Big Ten rival Michigan State for the University of Wisconsin’s men’s soccer team. The results allowed the Badgers to get a bump in the polls, propelling them into the top 25 once again.After playing ranked teams back-to-back the Badgers will face a less recognized opponent Wednesday as they take on Eastern Illinois Oct. 30.Eastern Illinois has had a rough season so far. With only one senior on the squad the young team has struggled in many aspects. The Panthers are 1-11-2 on the season and a staggering 0-7-0 on the road and their lone win coming on Oct. 20 against Oral Roberts.In their seven road games this year the Panthers have lost by a combined score of 8-22, with half of their goals coming in one game, a 5-4 loss, to Indiana University-Evansville. After being shut out their last two games, Eastern Illinois will be looking to steal one against the 23rd-ranked Badgers.In contrast, the Badgers have been lights out at home. Wisconsin has won every game in the McClimon Complex dating back to last season, and their wins have come in every shape and form. The Badgers scored a last-second goal forced overtime against DePaul, they successfully rallied against Indiana and they fought off comebacks from Drake and Western Michigan. The Badgers home field has become a fortress for the 10-3-2 Badgers.The fortress has yielded wins against top-ranked opponent’s No.18 Marquette and No.22 Michigan State, as well as a statement win against last year’s defending national champions Indiana. The wins will surely look good when the selection committee meets to determine the at-large bids for the NCAA Tournament later this fall.The Wisconsin squad, led by its four senior captains, has been solid all season all over the field. As always, keep an eye on Tomislav Zadro, Drew Conner and Nick Janus on the offensive end of the field. The Badgers will be itching to get back to their goal-scoring ways after scoring just one goal in each of the last four games.If the game is going in favor of the Badgers, expect to see a lot of young players step up and sub in during the second half. Joe Naughton, Nick Jones and Anders Kristensen have all caught minutes this season, and it is likely head coach John Trask will reward them with a bit more playing time in an easier matchup.The game may also shed some light on the goalkeeper battle that has been brewing. After the loss to Michigan on Oct. 20, Casey Beyers has been pulled from the field in favor of senior Max Jentsch.According to Trask, the move was made to reward Jentsch for his hard work in practice. Since taking the job, he has allowed only one goal to UW-Milwaukee and was able to record a shutout against Michigan State on Sunday.For Wisconsin this is a must win game. Any result other than a win will hurt the Badgers chances of making an NCAA tournament run, while simultaneously ruining the magic of the McClimon Complex.
A few other schools, however, made their move up the rankings. Here is a look at some of the biggest winners from National Signing Day, from the familiar big names to a few surprise schools. MORE: Full list of early signing day commitmentsClemson For all the success Clemson has enjoyed under Dabo Swinney, the Tigers never had a recruiting class that ranked higher than No. 7 in the last decade. That changed Wednesday. Clemson confirmed a star-studded 2020 class that features six five-star recruits. Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei (St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif.) and running back Demarkcus Bowman (Lakeland, Fla.) will have time to develop in two spots that have been elite for the Tigers in the Playoff era. 247 Sports No. 1 overall recruit Bryan Bresee (Damascus, Damascus, Md.), defensive end Myles Murphy (Hillgrove, Powder Springs, Ga.) and defensive tackle Demonte Capehart (IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.) will keep the defensive line depth rolling for the Tigers. Cornerback Fred Davis II (Trinity Christian Academy, Jacksonville, Fla.) rounds out that star-studded class. Georgia Tech, North Carolina surpriseOf course, we’re still looking for somebody to challenge Clemson in the ACC, and two schools with second-year coaches pulled off surprising top-25 classes sandwiched between Miami and Florida State. Georgia Tech built a different kind of class around Geoff Collins, and that starts with dual-threat quarterback Jeff Sims (Sandalwood, Jacksonville, Fla.). He has two four-star receivers to grow with in Bryce Gowdy (Deerfield Beach, Deerfield Beach, Fla.) and Nate McCollum (Dutchtown, Hampton, Ga.). North Carolina also improved with Mack Brown. It should surprise nobody Brown is building inside out, and the top three recruits are defensive linemen in Desmond Evans (Lee County, Sanford, N.C.), Myles Murphy (Dudley, Greensboro, N.C.) and Kendrick Bingley-Jones (Providence Day School, Charlotte). If Brown continues to do well in state, then the Tar Heels will make a real run at the ACC Coastal sooner rather than later. Ohio State Ryan Day erased any doubt about his recruiting chops with the best class in the Big Ten, one led by Julian Fleming. The Buckeyes landed four receivers with four stars or better, a nod to the continued work of receivers coach Brian Hartline.Day’s reputation as a quarterback guru continues to grow, too, and he landed a pair of four-star quarterbacks in Jack Miller (Chaparral, Scottsdale, Ariz.) and C.J. Stroud (Rancho Cucamonga, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.). The rest of the conference is playing catch-up, and that means trying to keep up with Day on the recruiting trail. Nebraska The Huskers gave Scott Frost a two-year extension during another losing season — a nod to the confidence the administration has despite back-to-back losing seasons. Frost responded by delivering the best recruiting class since the program finished No. 16 in 2011. That was the second-best class in the Big Ten that year. Frost still has work to do to catch up to Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan, but he proved one thing with this class that is important. Frost, a former UCF coach, can bring recruits from Florida to Nebraska. Four-star prospects in linebacker Keyshawn Greene (Wakulla, Crawfordville, Fla.), safety Henry Gray (Miami Central, Miami), receiver Marcus Fleming (Miami Northwestern, Miami) and safety Jaiden Francois (South Dade, Homestead, Fla.) are four of Nebraska’s top six recruits in this cycle. The Huskers also added receiver Omar Manning (Kilgore Junior College, Lancaster, Texas). This is an exciting class. SEC powerhouses According to the 247Sports.com team rankings, the SEC had six of the top 10 overall recruiting classes. Alabama, LSU and Georgia maintained top-five classes, and Texas A&M, Florida and Auburn stayed in back half of the top 10. This is where the notion of “SEC bias” is squashed. These schools routinely accumulate more four- and five-star talent than the rest of the Power 5 conferences, and it showed Saturday. Jordan Burch stays home in South Carolina Five-star defensive lineman Jordan Burch (Hammond School, Columbia, S.C.) stayed home and gave the Gamecocks the highest-ranked signing of the day. It was a move similar to Jadeveon Clowney, who spurned bigger programs to stay closer to home. This is huge for coach Will Muschamp, whose son played with Burch in high school. South Carolina is the bridge between the top six schools mentioned and the back half of the SEC when it comes to recruiting, and the Gamecocks have proven they can compete for division titles when they land elite in-state talent. Burch is one of those recruits the defense can build around. Oregon For the second straight year, Oregon coach Mario Cristobal kept a big-time defensive player on the West Coast. Five-star linebacker Justin Flowe (Upland, Upland, Calif.) chose the Ducks over Miami and Clemson. Flowe will pair nicely with defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux for the next two seasons. Flowe is the ulltimate blue-chip recruit. For the second straight season, Oregon locked down the top high school player in California. Oregon was good enough to win the Pac-12 championship this season. With more impact players like Flowe and Thibodeaux coming in, this program could be ready for the Playoff soon. Oklahoma and Texas For the third straight year, the Sooners and Longhorns both have top-10 classes, extnding a trend that did not happen from 2010-17. Oklahoma maintained another strong class built around offensive linemen. They landed the top two guards in Nate Anderson (Reedy, Frisco, Texas) and Andrew Raym (Broken Arrow, Broken Arrow, Okla.). Texas kept its momentum under coach Tom Herman. They built another strong class around quarterback five-star running back Bijan Robinson (Salpointe, Tucson, Ariz.) and four-star quarterback Hudson Card (Lake Travis, Austin, Texas). The talent accumulation will show up over the next few seasons in the Big 12. Perhaps one of these schools can win the conference’s first CFP game along the way. Other early signing day surprises The quirkiness of the signing day remains a part of the experience, even with the early-signing period: Baylor used puppets to introduce recruits Wednesday, and it was … weird.Mauler from #bEASTTexas 💪@doitallbigmo#20Below pic.twitter.com/3Fg8CmlQvB— Baylor Football (@BUFootball) December 18, 2019Meanwhile, Herman got caught letting double birds fly on the Longhorn Network camera. College football’s early signing period — the new National Signing Day — opened Wednesday with a flurry of commitments, which will continue to trickle in through Friday. Recruits have a 72-hour period to sign a National Letter of Intent with their school of choice, and several teams got a head start on putting together a five-star class. The usual powerhouses – Clemson, Alabama, LSU and Ohio State – were among the big winners as usual. Tom Herman: The horns down symbol is very offensive.Also Tom Herman: pic.twitter.com/ZtmWtOZTTV— Saturday Down South (@SDS) December 18, 2019Was that worse than “Horns Down?” Emmitt Smith enjoyed a fun exchange after his son E.J. chose Stanford over Florida, where the elder was a star before a Hall of Fame career with the Dallas Cowboys. “At the end of the day, my son has his own journey. And it is his journey, not my journey.”– Emmitt Smith after his son, EJ, committed to Stanford pic.twitter.com/50gEfkyB4R— ESPN (@espn) December 18, 2019We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.