Monday September 18th, 2017


"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
--Geoff Metctalf

Updated hrs
Selling our Sacramento Home. CHECK IT OUT


clickclick

World & National 
"The Press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of the government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people."
-- Justice Hugo L. Black
(1886-1971) US Supreme Court Justice

Emmy's Crash and Burn
   

Right near the beginning of the 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards last night, host Stephen Colbert hauled former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer out on-stage to declared that the CBS broadcast show would have “the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period — both in person and around the world.”

Coming off the all-time ratings low of last year’s Jimmy Kimmel fronted ceremony, the gag and the Donald Trump inauguration inspired boast were a hopeful and it seems hollow plea for Colbert’s awards show hosting and debut.
EMMYS: Celeb Rage Fest...
'Imagine if Your President Wasn't Loved By Nazis'...
REVIEW: Attacks Sink Show...
Stars walk on air-conditioned Red Carpet; Bemoan 'global warming'...


Pelosi's DACA event overtaken by Dreamer protests
          House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talks with reporters on the morning after she and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer met with President Donald Trump seeking a legislative solution to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday morning, Sept. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ** FILE **

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was interrupted at a press event Monday by a group of over 100 immigration activists.

As Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, was speaking to a crowd in San Francisco, a group of so-called Dreamers or DACA recipients, people brought to the U.S. illegally as children, overtook the stage and began chanting.

“You called this press conference in our name to defend the so-called Dream Act, but you already traded in our parents in our name,” the crowd chanted among a series of other accusations.



Trump urges U.N. to cut waste and mismanagement


In his first address to the United Nations, President Trump said Monday that the U.N. must cut its wasteful spending and end mismanagement.

“The United Nations was founded on truly noble goals,” Mr. Trump told diplomats at U.N. headquarters in New York. “Yet in recent years the United Nations has not reached its full potential because of bureaucracy and mismanagement.”

Mr. Trump said the U.N. budget has increased by 140 percent and its staff has more than doubled since 2000, but “we are not seeing the results in line with this investment.”



U.S. flies powerful warplanes amid tensions with North Korea

                   In this photo provided by South Korea Defense Ministry, South Korean F-15K fighter jets drop bombs as they fly over the Korean Peninsula during a joint drills with the U.S., South Korea  on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. South Korea says the U.S. military has flown powerful bombers and stealth jets over the Korean Peninsula in joint drills with South Korean warplanes. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

The U.S. military flew advanced bombers and stealth jets over the Korean Peninsula and near Japan in drills with South Korean and Japanese warplanes on Monday, three days after North Korea fired a missile over Japan.

The United States often sends powerful military aircraft in a show of force in times of heightened animosities with North Korea. The North launched its latest missile as it protested against tough new U.N. sanctions over its sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3.

Monday’s flyovers over the Korean Peninsula involved two B-1Bs and four F-35Bs from the U.S. military and four F-15K fighter jets from South Korea, according to the South Korean and U.S. militaries. The U.S. and South Korean planes practiced attacks by releasing live weapons at a firing range in South Korea, the U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement.



Sen. Feinstein defends grilling of federal judicial nominee over Catholic faith


Sen. Dianne Feinstein defended Sunday her much-criticized grilling of a judicial nominee over her Catholic faith, saying that Amy Coney Barrett had made “questionable” statements in her writings.

Mrs. Feinstein said that she considered Catholicism to be a “great religion,” but that it was appropriate for the Senate Judiciary Committee to quiz Ms. Barrett about her religious beliefs.

“Having said that, this is a woman who has no real trial or court experience,” said Mrs. Feinstein on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And, therefore, there is no record. She’s a professor, which is fine, but all we have to look at are her writings, and in her writings, she makes some statements which are questionable, which deserve questions.”



Senate Republicans near votes to replace Obamacare with state block grants

Senate Republicans pushing to replace Obamacare with state block grants are making real noise before their window to act closes, insisting they are just one or two votes shy and that President Trump can nudge their last-gasp bill to victory.

“We are thinking that we can get this done by Sept. 30,” Sen. Bill Cassidy, the Louisiana Republican who co-wrote the bill with Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said Friday.

Republican leadership seemed to greet the bill with a shrug when it was introduced last week, yet Mr. Cassidy said the idea “took off” during a Thursday luncheon that focused on health care.

The senator said his informal whip count stands at “48 or 49” Republican votes — close to the 50-vote threshold needed to pass a bill, using Vice President Mike Pence as a tie-breaker.



North Korea secretly building nuclear submarine to deploy within 3 years

North Korea’s military is clandestinely building a nuclear-powered submarine, according to a Japanese newspaper report, the latest provocation by Pyongyang in an escalating clash with the U.S. and its allies in a region already on edge.

The report by Japan’s Sekai Nippo, citing an “informed” but unidentified “source familiar with the North Korean situation,” said the size of the nuclear-powered submarine under construction is unclear but that the Kim Jong-un regime in Pyongyang hopes to have it deployed within three years.

The claim could not be independently verified by The Washington Times, and U.S. intelligence sources could not immediately be reached for comment. If true, however, the claim could indicate a dramatic step forward for North Korea’s navy, which analysts estimate operates a fleet of 50 to 60 diesel-electric submarines that are louder and easier to detect than the nuclear-powered vessels.



Trump: Decision Coming 'Very Soon' on Iran Nuclear Deal


President Donald Trump said he believed "we really have a chance" to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians and said he would unveil a decision on the Iran nuclear deal "very soon."

Asked what he would do about the 2015 U.S.-led international 2015 Iran nuclear deal as he began a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump said: "you'll be seeing very soon." Netanyahu said he looked forward to discussing what he called a "terrible" deal with Iran and to rolling back Iranian regional influence.



Navy Fires Admiral, Captain in USS Fitzgerald, USS McCain Crash Probes

The U.S. Navy has fired Rear Adm. Charles Williams and Capt. Jeffrey Bennett amid probes into multiple incidents of warship collisions in the Western Pacific over the summer, according to US Naval Institute News.

Williams was the officer in charge of Combined Task Force 70 and Bennett was commodore of Destroyer Squadron 15.
"Both reliefs were due to a loss of confidence in their ability to command," a Navy statement said.

Bennett's command included USS John S. McCain and USS Fitzgerald. The Fitzgerald collided with a merchant tanker on June 7 and seven sailors died; the McCain collided with a tanker on Aug. 21, which resulted in the deaths of 10 sailors, according to USNI.



Press 1 fpr English, 2 for Spanish, 3 to ask what the heck is going on with immigration

Grab a wooden spoon and chomp down hard, while I tell you about a junk-mail piece from a Kirk D. Lynn.

Mr. Lynn informs me, in English, on one side of a one-page letter, that “State Farm Homeowners insurance protects your house and your pocketbook.” On the other side of the same letter, Mr. Lynn informs me of the same thing but in Spanish.

This State Farm advertisement, courtesy of Mr. Lynn, tells me it’s over. It’s too late to do anything about it. We are living in a nation that conducts its daily business in two languages, one of which the vast majority of Americans — try 87 percent — neither speaks nor understands.

How’d we wind up with this linguistic-cultural absurdity?



The Post deserves these four Pinocchios
Its ‘fact check’ of Jeff Sessions’ statement on crime is neither factual nor fair

In a Sept. 1 “fact check,” The Washington Post claimed to evaluate Attorney General Sessions’ comments about rising violent crime in the United States. Specifically, this “fact check” is of Mr. Sessions’ repeated statements that “violent crime is on the rise in America, especially in our cities.”

The Post lists several examples of those statements, including, “across the country, violent crime is back with a vengeance,” “As you have experienced violent crime is on the rise in America,” and “As all of you know first-hand, our nation’s violent crime rate is rising. In many of our urban areas, this increase is staggering.”

The factual claim made by Mr. Sessions is that violent crime is rising. Then, Mr. Sessions characterizes that rise as “staggering” and “with a vengeance,” both of which are obviously subjective terms to express the astonishing rate of the violent crime increase. The Post immediately follows the attorney general’s statements by tacitly admitting their accuracy, before arguing with his use of the word “staggering”:

"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


Army 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. 

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.



3/14/20017

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 (www.nytimes.com/2017/03/09/opinion/the-truth-about-the-wikileaks-cia-cache.html?_r=0) acknowledging material I was writing about in 1998 (http://www.wnd.com/1998/04/6108/ ).

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 (https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ukusa/ ) 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 all target information from the European 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 the 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…