Monday January 18th, 2021

"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
--Geoff Metcalf
 Providing an on line Triage of the news since 1997
World & Nation
Liz Cheney becomes hero of Never Trumpers, suffers dire consequences back home
          
House Republican Conference chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., flanked by Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, left, and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Calif., criticizes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the Democrats for launching a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ** FILE **

Never-Trump Republicans crowned a new hero last week with the emergence of Rep. Liz Cheney, the party’s No. 3 leader in the House, who accused President Trump of the biggest “betrayal” in White House history and voted for his impeachment.

As the daughter of a former vice president, Ms. Cheney is as close to Republican royalty as exists in Congress right now, and her impeachment vote — and the fierce denunciation she delivered along with it — catapulted her over the likes Sen. Mitt Romney or former Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Now, as Republicans ponder life without the reins of power, Ms. Cheney’s act of rebellion against the outgoing party leader has pointed the way forward for the wing of the GOP hoping to erase as much as it can of Mr. Trump and his policy positions.

Whether Ms. Cheney has a political future at all, however, is the question back in her home state of Wyoming.



FBI Vetting Guard Troops in DC Amid Fears of Insider Attack

             FBI Vetting Guard Troops in DC Amid Fears of Insider Attack

U.S. defense officials say they are worried about an insider attack or other threat from service members involved in securing President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, prompting the FBI to vet all of the 25,000 National Guard troops coming into Washington for the event.

The massive undertaking reflects the extraordinary security concerns that have gripped Washington following the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. And it underscores fears that some of the very people assigned to protect the city over the next several days could present a threat to the incoming president and other VIPs in attendance.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press Sunday that officials are conscious of the potential threat, and he warned commanders to be on the lookout for any problems within their ranks as the inauguration approaches. So far, however, he and other leaders say they have seen no evidence of any threats, and officials said the vetting hadn't flagged any issues.



Twitter suspends account of GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene


Twitter suspended the account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a freshman Republican member of Congress who has made news for supporting QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory.

The Georgia Republican violated the social media platforms rules, according to reports, which noted she made debunked comments about election fraud.

Ms. Greene said the suspension on Sunday occurred because of “the borderline monopolistic stranglehold a few Big Tech Companies have on the American political discourse.”



Democrats say case against Trump is solid even if U.S. Capitol attack was pre-planned

                President Trump's critics say the impetus for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol was his repeated claim that Democrats "stole" the election. Allies note that he told a rally crowd beforehand to march "peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard." (Associated Press)

Democratic lawmakers on Sunday said evidence of pre-planning for the U.S. Capitol attack does not undermine their impeachment case that President Trump incited the deadly riot.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat who will be the lead impeachment manager or prosecutor at the Senate trial set to begin as soon as this week, said the case will detail all of the events leading up to the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol building.

“Everything is due to his actions,” Mr. Raskin said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Some conservative allies of the president have pointed to evidence of pre-planning to contradict the narrative that Mr. Trump‘s speech at a Jan. 6 rally near the Capitol incited the attack, which is the basis of the article of impeachment the House approved last week with the support of 10 Republicans.



House Republican acknowledges impeachment vote could end career


A freshman House Republican who voted to impeach President Trump acknowledged Sunday the move might have ended his political career.

Rep. Peter Meijer, Michigan Republican, told ABC’s “This Week” that he “may very well have” ended his chances to get reelected in 2022 by voting to impeach Mr. Trump for inciting an insurrection.

“It is not lost on me that I hold the seat Gerald Ford held,” Mr. Meijer said, noting President Ford pardoned former President Richard Nixon and then lost his next election.



Pence: 'Proud' Trump Administration Kept US Out of New Wars


Vice President Mike Pence said in a tweet Sunday he's "proud" that the Trump administration did not get the United States involved in a new war over the past four years.

"I’m proud to report with just a few days left in our Administration, our Administration is the first in decades that did not get America into a new war," the outgoing vice president tweeted. That’s Peace through Strength."

His comment came at the beginning of a string of tweets, with Pence saying that as vice president, he has "seen the strength and resilience of the American people shine forth" and that he has "faith that the day will come when we put these challenging times in the past and emerge stronger and better than ever before."



WHO Chief: World on Brink of 'Catastrophic Moral Failure'


The world is on the brink of "catastrophic moral failure" in sharing COVID-19 vaccines, the head of the World Health Organization said on Monday, urging countries and manufacturers to spread doses more fairly around the world.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the prospects for equitable distribution were at "serious risk" just as its COVAX vaccine-sharing scheme aimed to start distributing inoculations next month.

He noted 44 bilateral deals were signed last year and at least 12 have already been signed this year.

No love lost as Trump prepares to leave capital city

FBI, Justice Department knew there was no Russia collusion by spring of 2017

Trump attorneys pursuing voting fraud claims snatch defeat from jaws of victory



Democrats' anti-Trump blitz goes too far – here's who they might inadvertently hurt the most
Viciousness of Democrats seeking to punish Trump for 'inciting violence' knows no bounds.

What’s next? Dunce caps? Tar and feathers?

The viciousness of Democrats seeking to punish President Trump for "inciting violence" knows no bounds. The unprecedented blitzkrieg impeachment in the House was just the beginning. 

Trump’s critics want to silence his voice, bankrupt his businesses, cut off his political funding, banish his family and, for good measure, humiliate and censor the 74 million Americans who voted for him in November.

Democrats are attempting to prevent anyone who worked in the Trump White House from getting a job, students are petitioning Harvard to revoke the diplomas of "enablers" like White House spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, corporations are stripping campaign donations from congressmen who challenged the election, and on and on. 



America's ever-tightening cancel culture makes Communists happy


A day after the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff handed the left its trifecta — control of both houses of Congress and the White House — the Communist Party USA gave notice that this is merely the latest stage in Sovietizing America.

An editorial on the CPUSA’s website acknowledges that the Democrats’ total control may be temporary, so they had better make hay while they can: 

Is America ever better off when Communists exude sighs of relief?

The editorial was posted before news broke of the Capitol riot. Just as the Reichstag fire in 1933 gave Germany's National Socialists an excuse to begin throttling their opponents, the American left is using the riot to silence dissidents.



Democrats' rule: Bow before them or burn

Delusion is the marker of one-party rule and the progressive left

The year 2021 is hardly out of diapers, and the words of the Old Testament prophet echo through our streets:

“Woe to those who draw iniquity with the cords of falsehood … who call evil good and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight …  Woe unto those who take away the rights of the ones who are in the right!”

Yes, the year is young, but the purge is as old as time. Isaiah’s warning reminds us that the high priests of self-aggrandizement and hypocrisy have always stood in the offing. They have always been at the city gates. Patient as father time, waiting and waiting for civilization’s walls to crack, staring wide-eyed at the ramparts, watching and watching for history’s citizens to slumber in their “safety,” ignorant of the imminent attack.


" It is discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit."
-- Noel Coward
     (1899-1973) British playwright

Medal of Honor
Bill Conveys Special Honor to Last WWII Medal of Honor Recipient ...
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. 

Citation

Captain Humbert R. Versace distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period of 29 October 1963 to 26 September 1965, while serving as S-2 Advisor, Military Assistance Advisory Group, Detachment 52, Ca Mau, Republic of Vietnam. While accompanying a Civilian Irregular Defense Group patrol engaged in combat operations in Thoi Binh District, An Xuyen Province, Captain Versace and the patrol came under sudden and intense mortar, automatic weapons, and small arms fire from elements of a heavily armed enemy battalion. As the battle raged, Captain Versace, although severely wounded in the knee and back by hostile fire, fought valiantly and continued to engage enemy targets. Weakened by his wounds and fatigued by the fierce firefight, Captain Versace stubbornly resisted capture by the over-powering Viet Cong force with the last full measure of his strength and ammunition. Taken prisoner by the Viet Cong, he exemplified the tenets of the Code of Conduct from the time he entered into Prisoner of War status. Captain Versace assumed command of his fellow American soldiers, scorned the enemy's exhaustive interrogation and indoctrination efforts, and made three unsuccessful attempts to escape, despite his weakened condition which was brought about by his wounds and the extreme privation and hardships he was forced to endure. During his captivity, Captain Versace was segregated in an isolated prisoner of war cage, manacled in irons for prolonged periods of time, and placed on extremely reduced ration. The enemy was unable to break his indomitable will, his faith in God, and his trust in the United States of America. Captain Versace, an American fighting man who epitomized the principles of his country and the Code of Conduct, was executed by the Viet Cong on 26 September 1965. Captain Versace's gallant actions in close contact with an enemy force and unyielding courage and bravery while a prisoner of war are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect the utmost credit upon himself and the United States Army.


From the Archives

We Have Met the Enemy…

      
Geoff Metcalf
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
              
--Benjamin Franklin
“The American people must be willing to give up a degree of personal privacy in exchange for safety and security.”
              
--Louis Freeh
In the wake of the clamor over the most recent WikiLeaks data dump, ‘Vault 7’, ‘UMBRAGE’, et al, it should be noted this is not really anything new. What we are seeing here is simply the evolution of something that goes back to the late 50s (to the incomplete best knowledge I have).

It is kinda cool to finally see even The New York Times acknowledging material I was writing about in 1998.

In April of 1998 I wrote “Privacy has become an anachronism.” I was commenting on “a massive system designed to intercept all your e-mail, fax traffic and more.” I was explaining ‘Echelon’, the illegitimate offspring of a UKUSA Treaty signed by the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Its purpose was, and is, to have a vast global intelligence monster, which allegedly shares common goals. The system was so “efficient” that reportedly National Security Agency folk from Fort Meade could work from Menwith Hill in England to intercept local communications without either nation having to burden themselves with the formality of seeking approval (a court order) or disclosing the operation. And this was all pre-9/11 and pre-the anti-constitutional  'Patriot Act'.

It is illegal (without a Judge’s signed permission) for the United States to spy on its citizens … kinda. The laws have long been circumvented by a mutual pact among five nations. Under the terms of UKUSA agreement, Britain spies on Americans and America spies on British citizens, and then the two conspirators trade data. A classic technical finesse. It is legal, but the intent to evade the spirit is inescapable.

I often fictionalized the genesis of ‘Echelon’ as an informal meeting of a group of post war American and British intelligence types drinking in some remote rustic bar. An imagined CIA type complains to his MI6 buddy about the hassles of US laws preventing US intelligence from surveillance of bad guys, and the Brit echoes the same complaint.

“Hey wait a moment mate,” says Nigel, the make-believe MI6 guy, “I can spy on your guys and you can spy on our bad players…why don’t we just come up with a mechanism whereby we spy on your villains, you spy on our villains, and we just ‘share’ the intel?”

This system was called ECHELON, and has been kicking around in some form longer than most of you. The result of the UKUSA treaty signed by the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand was, and is, to have a vast global intelligence monster which allegedly shares common goals.

The London Telegraph reported in December of 1997 that the Civil liberties Committee of the European Parliament had officially confirmed the existence and purpose of ECHELON. “A global electronic spy network that can eavesdrop on every telephone, e-mail and telex communication around the world will be officially acknowledged for the first time in a European Commission report. …”

The report noted: “Within Europe all e-mail, telephone and fax communications are routinely intercepted by the United States National Security Agency, transferring ll target information from the Eurv opean mainland via the strategic hub of London, then by satellite to Fort Meade in Maryland via the crucial hub at Menwith Hill, in the North York moors in th UK.

“The ECHELON system forms part of the UKUSA system but unlike many of the electronic spy systems developed during the Cold War, ECHELON was designed primarily for non-military targets: governments, organizations and businesses in virtually every country.”

An interesting sidebar appeared in the International Herald Tribune under the headline, “Big Corporate Brother: It Knows More About You Than You Think.” The story details Acxiom Corp, which was a humongous information service hidden in the Ozark foothills. Twenty-four hours a day, Acxiom electronically gathered and sorts all kinds of data about 196 million Americans. Credit card transactions and magazine subscriptions, telephone numbers, real estate records, automotive data, hunting, business and fishing licenses, consumer surveys and demographic detail that would make a marketing department’s research manager salivate. This relatively new (legal) enterprise was known as “data warehousing” or “data-mining”, and it underscores the cruel reality that the fiction of personal privacy has become obsolete. Technology’s ability to collect and analyze data has made privacy a quaint albeit interesting dinosaur.

The Tribune reported that “Axciom can often determine whether an American owns a dog or cat, enjoys camping or gourmet cooking, reads the Bible or lots of other books. It can often pinpoint an American’s occupation, car and favorite vacations. By analyzing the equivalent of billions of pages of data, it often projects for its customers who should be offered a credit card or who is likely to buy a computer.”

Most of this information is from y 1998 piece.  Echelon has developed, matured, and morphed into a much more powerful hybrid. ‘Carnivore’ was software to help triage the cacophony of data. Vault 7 and ‘Umbrage’ are logical (some would argue “insidious”) growth.

    More to follow…