Friday April 16th, 2014
"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
Updated 1044 PST
World & National
Pro-Russia Militant Leader Balks at Terms of Ukraine Pact
The leader of a group of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine said he would ignore the international agreement reached in Geneva on Thursday to de-escalate the crisis in the country because his representatives were not at the talks.
The agreement, announced by the United States, Russia, the European Union and Ukraine, called for all protesters to vacate the buildings they have occupied and lay down their arms. But Denis Pushilin, the leader of a group that seized government buildings in Donetsk, a regional capital in the east, and declared an independent People’s Republic of Donetsk that no nation has recognized, told reporters on Friday that his followers would not comply until the interim government in Kiev resigned. He repeated his group’s demand for a referendum on the region’s future, similar to the one that preceded the annexation of Crimea by Russia last month.
Snowden: Putin Must Be Hed Accountable for Surveillance, Too
Edward Snowden says he asked Vladimir Putin on live TV if Moscow conducts NSA-style surveillance on Russian citizens in order to get Putin’s answer on the record—not, as his critics charged, to be a prop for Kremlin propaganda.
“I was surprised that people who witnessed me risk my life to expose the surveillance practices of my own country could not believe that I might also criticize the surveillance policies of Russia, a country to which I have sworn no allegiance, without ulterior motive,” Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked details of its mass domestic surveillance programs, wrote in an op-ed published in the Guardian on Friday.
Hillary Falls to Earthhttp://freebeacon.com/politics/the-bigger-they-are/
Hillary Clinton may end up deciding she wants to spend the 935 days until election 2016 making corporate speeches and spoiling her grandchild. Recent events have exposed weaknesses in Clinton’s supposedly impregnable armor, gaps through which a Democratic or Republican challenger could damage, perhaps even defeat her. The bad headlines to which she has been subjected are enough to make anyone—anyone who isn’t a Clinton—think twice about running for president.
Look at the polls. This week’s Fox News poll has Clinton’s favorable rating at its lowest point in six years. She is at 49 percent favorable, 45 percent unfavorable—similar to her 47 percent favorable, 46 percent unfavorable rating when she ended her last presidential campaign.
Hollande Aide Quits in Blow to France's Most-Unpopular President
A top aide to President Francois Hollande quit after a news report of an alleged conflict of interest, in the latest blow to France’s most-unpopular president.
Online newspaper Mediapart said yesterday that Aquilino Morelle, Hollande’s policy and media adviser, had a conflict of interest in 2007, before joining the president’s office. Mediapart said the aide, a doctor by training, advised Denmark-based drugs company H. Lundbeck A/S (LUN) while he was an auditor for the state‚s independent health, social and drugs commission Inspection Generale des Affaires Sociales (IGAS). Mediapart also said he used Elysee palace resources for private matters.
Ukrainian Jews Seek Extra Security
The Jewish community of the east Ukrainian city of Donetsk asked for additional police protection after anti-Semitic pamphlets were distributed in the region, where the government has been battling separatists.
“Someone tried to use the Jewish community as an instrument of this conflict,” Chief Rabbi Pinchas Vyshedski told reporters in Donetsk today, adding that he asked for added security at Jewish cultural centers. “They haven’t done it yet because are too busy” dealing with other developments in the city, Vyshedski said. In a statement yesterday he said the incident “smells like provocation.”
Krauthammer: Obama 'Makes This Stuff Up' on Obamacare
Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer says that President Barack Obama makes stuff up with "brazenness" when he says that Obamacare is working.
Obama said Thursday while appearing in the White House briefing room about the Affordable Care Act that "this thing is working."
Krauthammer challenged the president's assertion during an appearance Thursday on Fox News' "Special Report."
Gun Owners of America: Bloomberg More Like Satan
A pro-gun group likens former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Satan for his campaign against gun ownership, after his comment that his efforts have earned God's approval.
"I am telling you, if there is a God, when I get to heaven I'm not stopping to be interviewed," Bloomberg told The New York Times. "I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It's not even close."
The Gun Owners of America group disagrees.
"Bloomberg gets it really, really wrong," the group wrote.
Nevada ranch stand-off, emboldened militias ask: where next?
Flat on his belly in a sniper position, wearing a baseball cap and a flak jacket, a protester aimed his semi-automatic rifle from the edge of an overpass and waited as a crowd below stood its ground against U.S. federal agents in the Nevada desert.
He was part of a 1,000-strong coalition of armed militia-men, cowboys on horseback, gun rights activists and others who rallied to Cliven Bundy's Bunkerville ranch, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, in a stand-off with about a dozen agents from the federal Bureau of Land Management.
Virtual Wall Tool
Click on a state. When it opensm, scroll down to the city and the names will appear.
Then click on their names. It should show you a picture of the person, or at least their bio and medals.
This link is a virtual wall of all those lost during the Vietnam war with the names, vio's and other information on our lost heroes.
House Immigration Bills Are Still in the Mix
Boehner Tells Attendees at Fundraiser He's 'Hellbent on Getting This Done'
Speaker John Boehner and other senior House Republicans are telling donors and industry groups that they aim to pass immigration legislation this year, despite the reluctance of many Republicans to tackle the divisive issue before the November elections.
Many lawmakers and activists have assumed the issue was off the table in an election year. But Mr. Boehner said at a Las Vegas fundraiser last month he was "hellbent on getting this done this year," according to two people in the room.
Obama deliberately emboldening America's enemies
Team Obama’s bizarre behavior helps Gitmo terrorists foil justice
All Americans should be aware of some very disturbing events that speak to the state of terrorism, the strength of al Qaeda and our nation’s security. In light of the danger unfolding around us, we also need to question whether or not President Obama’s administration is serious about confronting what is clearly a gathering storm, or whether, in fact, his policies are encouraging those who wish to harm us.
One of the more shocking events illustrating the growing strength of al Qaeda is the release of a video this week showing what CNN reports as “the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.” It’s what experts think is a recent gathering of the terrorist group’s leadership and more than 100 fighters in Yemen.
The 'War on Women' Failed in 2012
And there's no reason to believe it will work in 2014. The exit polls tell the real story.
President Obama is suddenly upset about the alleged wage gap between men and women, but he's not responding to a national economic crisis. Instead, he is attempting to revive the "war on women" theme that, according to Washington wisdom, helped carry Democrats to victory in 2012 and might do again in 2014. If this narrative were true, the White House could spend the year demonizing Republicans as women-hating creeps, driving women to the polls in November and helping the party hold the Senate.
But the conventional analysis isn't accurate. National exit polls from 2012 show scant success for the war-on-women ploy, and there's no reason to think trotting it out again will help Democrats in the midterms.
From the Geoff Metcalf Archives
OCTOBER 18, 1999
Echelon revisited, again
© 1999 WorldNetDaily.com
I learned a long time ago to notice changes. Changes indicate "something" and are in many ways a natural early warning device. We may not know at the time what that "something" is, but awareness leads to preparedness. If you sit in a forest, a swamp, or a jungle and actively "listen," you can easily identify a change. Background noise of birds and critters will get less, or increase; you can hear the difference. Something caused that change. Likewise most people can even smell a change. It might be the smell of a salt marsh at low tide, or a campfire or diesel engine. I've known guys who could smell the oil on a gun amongst assorted mountain fragrances. There is also what I believe to be a very real instinctive warning device designed I guess to spark the "fight or flee" reaction. The Godan (fifth degree black belt) test in one martial art requires the testee to kneel with his back to the teacher. The teacher "projects" a killing intention and swings a sword at the kneeling student's head. If the target head isn't there when the sword arrives, the student passes and is promoted.
April 20th of last year (1998) I wrote a WorldNetDaily column entitled "Big Brother Watching" that referred to a program called, "Echelon". Since then I have seen Echelon stories in a variety of magazines and European newspapers.
The movie, "Enemy of the State," although fiction, shed light on the real world realities of Echelon, and the unbridled assault on both the concept and essence of personal privacy.
Lawmakers in both the United States Congress and British Parliament are now asking questions I raised last year. Even the San Diego Union has written about Echelon: "Is the government listening in on your phone calls? Reading your e-mail for words like 'plutonium,' 'Clinton' or 'terrorism'?"
An eclectic and strange collection of distaff allies have joined the "What's the deal with Echelon" crowd. Congressman Bob Barr, himself a former CIA analyst, The European Parliament, and a gaggle of computer mavens calling themselves "hacktivists" are all looking into the what, where, when, why, and how of Echelon. They are not having joint board meetings, but they are pursuing similar objectives along fairly parallel lines. This Thursday the "hacktivists" are planning what may be the first mass protest using electronic mail as a weapon. It cannot be confirmed or denied that FBI Director Louis Freeh has bought out the entire D.C. stock of Imodium.
The target may sound more like something out of "The X-Files" than a real computer network operated by five countries. But it is real. Echelon is not officially acknowledged by the U.S. government despite more than ample documentation of the treaty that sparked it, and the facilities from Menwith Hill in England to Alexandria, Va. "We don't confirm or deny the existence of Echelon," said a spokeswoman for the U.S. National Security Agency, although they are the agency believed tasked with operating the system.
The European Parliament started asking questions about Echelon last year. The European press has been reporting on it longer than I have. Yet again, either as a function of malfeasance or complicity, the United States mainstream has been silent.
Then Congressman Barr actually said the word ("Echelon") out loud on the floor of the House for God and everyone to hear.
As I noted last year, Echelon is a complex, interconnected worldwide network of satellites and computerized interception stations operated by the governments of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
According to Christopher Simpson, an American University professor who has written four books about national security technology, Echelon scans e-mail for hot-button words like "militia," "Davidian," "terrorism" and "AK-47." It can recognize individual voices in telephone calls and track who is calling whom.
I have often received e-mail with a long litany of "key words and phrases" (Death to the New World Order, Clinton, Butch Reno, Branch Davidians, TWA 800, Ruby Ridge, Oklahoma City, Abolish the Federal Reserve, None Dare Call it Treason, Cocaine, AK-47, Stinger, Vince Foster, etc.) above a routine note such as "Like your column. Keep it up." When I asked, "Why the laundry list?" I was told it was a small protest intended to overburden the snoopers.
The European Parliament published an official report last year and concluded Echelon has listening posts all over the world that can intercept any phone calls, e-mail or faxes transmitted by satellite. "Echelon is designed for primarily nonmilitary targets: governments, organizations and businesses in virtually every country," the report said.
In May a follow up report said there is evidence that the U.S. government has used Echelon to pick up the secrets of foreign corporations and pass them on to American companies. Some of you may recall talk that when the Cold War allegedly ended, intelligence assets would shift focus from military to industrial espionage.
Congressman Barr has called for congressional hearings on Echelon. "By all appearances, what we have is a massive government program that scoops up unbelievably huge numbers of private communications, indiscriminately, without any oversight or court involvement," Barr said. "There's a very important, but fine, line between legitimate foreign intelligence gathering and unconstitutional eavesdropping on American citizens, and it appears that line has been crossed."
Concerns that Echelon could and would illegally intercept Americans' private communications sparked the ACLU to write to congressional representatives back in April. They said, "The troubling aspect is that Echelon is this huge system that operates without any oversight or scrutiny from anybody." THAT was and is the whole idea.
I'm not going to re-write last year's column again, you can check out the link. However, Echelon is the bastard child of the UKUSA Treaty. The primary purpose of the treaty AND Echelon was to maintain perception, and obscure reality.
"Here's the deal, Nigel: Let's set up an inter-connected information gathering apparatus. I'll spy on your citizens to determine if they mean us any ill, and you spy on my citizens to see if anyone is planning nastiness to your country. THEN I'll show you my data, and you show me your data. You'll know what's going on with your blokes, and I'll know what's happening with Joe-six-pack, and it's all legal ... kinda."If you sit in the shadows of the international intelligence jungle, you can hear a change in the background noise, and the background silence. You can smell "something" different. Right about now there are Echelon managers and operatives who can feel that uncomfortable tingle? The same premonition that martial artist feels just before the sword swings for his head ... the same tingle a rat feels the heartbeat before the lurking cat springs.
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.
GeneTrerally presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of America in the name of Congress.
The first award of the Medal of Honor was made March 25, 1863 to Private JACOB PARROTT.The last award of the Medal of Honor was made September 15, 2011 to Sergeant DAKOTA MEYER.
Since then there have been: • 3458 recipients of the Medal of Honor.
• Today there are 85 Living Recipients of the Medal of Honor.
Sgt Dakota Meyer
US Marine Corps
Corporal Meyer maintained security at a patrol rally point while other members of his team moved on foot with two platoons of Afghan National Army and Border Police into the village of Ganjgal for a pre-dawn meeting with village elders. Moving into the village, the patrol was ambushed by more than 50 enemy fighters firing rocket propelled grenades, mortars, and machine guns from houses and fortified positions on the slopes above. Hearing over the radio that four U.S. team members were cut off, Corporal Meyer seized the initiative. With a fellow Marine driving, Corporal Meyer took the exposed gunner's position in a gun-truck as they drove down the steeply terraced terrain in a daring attempt to disrupt the enemy attack and locate the trapped U.S. team. Disregarding intense enemy fire now concentrated on their lone vehicle, Corporal Meyer killed a number of enemy fighters with the mounted machine guns and his rifle, some at near point blank range, as he and his driver made three solo trips into the ambush area. During the first two trips, he and his driver evacuated two dozen Afghan soldiers, many of whom were wounded. When one machine gun became inoperable, he directed a return to the rally point to switch to another gun-truck for a third trip into the ambush area where his accurate fire directly supported the remaining U.S. personnel and Afghan soldiers fighting their way out of the ambush. Despite a shrapnel wound to his arm, Corporal Meyer made two more trips into the ambush area in a third gun-truck accompanied by four other Afghan vehicles to recover more wounded Afghan soldiers and search for the missing U.S. team members. Still under heavy enemy fire, he dismounted the vehicle on the fifth trip and moved on foot to locate and recover the bodies of his team members. Corporal Meyer's daring initiative and bold fighting spirit throughout the 6-hour battle significantly disrupted the enemy's attack and inspired the members of the combined force to fight on. His unwavering courage and steadfast devotion to his U.S. and Afghan comrades in the face of almost certain death reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.