Monday August 14th, 2017


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

Updated hrs

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

Fellow Republicans pressure Trump to forcefully and clearly condemn white nationalism
                Some white nationalist groups praised President Trump's remarks Saturday and said they amounted to a victory because they didn't explicitly blame anyone for the violence. (Associated Press/File)

As the dust settled after Saturday’s deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, President Trump was stung by a political backlash from both sides, with leading Republicans condemning what they saw as a tepid response and a failure to call evil by its name.

After a counterprotester was killed when a car plowed into her and two Virginia state troopers died in a helicopter crash, the president had an opportunity to dispense fully with the notion that he welcomed the support of fringe right-wing groups, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and anti-Semites.

Such charges have dogged Mr. Trump since the beginning of his presidential campaign, and his vice president used a trip to South America to push back against the charge.

Powerful figures in the Republican Party say the president squandered that opportunity with a Saturday statement that condemned violence and bigotry in broad terms but blamed tensions on “many sides.” The statement made no mention of the white nationalist groups that perpetrated the fatal gathering.
POLICE 'STAND DOWN' BLAMED FOR VIRGINIA CHAOS...
NEXT: Kentucky mayor wants to remove Confederate statues...
Councilman calls for Baltimore monuments to be destroyed...
Sides Clash In Dallas...
Seattle heats up...
Man With Same Name As Driver In Attack Fears For Life; Home Address, Photos Of Family Circulated Online...
GODADDY bans neo-Nazi site...
Employee At Hot Dog Chain Fired After Being Outed On Socials As Protester...


Trump to Meet With Sessions, FBI on Charlottesville Rally


President Donald Trump will meet with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray in Washington on Monday to discuss the deadly white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the White House said after a mounting public outcry about Trump’s response to the extremists.

“There is no bigger case right now that we are working on. Every resource will be dedicated to it,” Sessions said on CBS. “I will be asking that we do that kind of thing today.”

Trump on Saturday denounced the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry, violence -- on many sides” in Charlottesville. The White House said “of course” he included white supremacists, neo-Nazis “and all extremist groups” in that statement.



Tillerson: A calm and cautious voice for a volatile foreign policy message

                

President Trump is in front of the rhetorical brinkmanship with North Korea, but it’s Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson who has the tough behind-the-scenes role of managing fallout from the administration’s first genuine international crisis, sparked by reports that Pyongyang may now have a nuclear bomb small enough to fit on a missile that could hit the U.S. mainland.

The standoff is a defining moment for America’s top diplomat six months into his tenure at Foggy Bottom. Meanwhile, many key leadership posts — including ambassador to South Korea — remain unfilled, fears of budget cuts and reorganizations are high, and questions swirl over how much clout the former Exxon Mobil chief has with the president.



Why Mitch McConnell can't get tax reform done

The GOP can avoid the worst effects of its legislative failures by passing retroactive tax cuts for this year.

The GOP's failure to pass a long-promised Obamacare repeal and replacement bill has left the entire Republican legislative agenda back on its heels. They haven't accomplished much this session and they're running out of time to show real progress. In fact, if the GOP were a football team, this would be a 3rd down and 11 kind of situation.

But to take that football analogy a bit further, the good news for the Republican team is that they now have a great pass play drawn up that can get them a big score. The bad news is the team needs to find a quarterback.

The "big play" here is a plan pushed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, billionaire publisher Steve Forbes, and many other conservatives to pass tax reform and make all the tax cuts retroactive to the start of 2017. That way, they argue, people will see their paychecks grow as soon as January begins and the economy will get the tax cut boost as soon as possible.



Former Trump Advser Says He Will Target and Destroy McMaster and Drudge if Bannon Is Ousted

                WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 12: National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon arrive for a news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and U.S. President Donald Trump hold a news conference in the East Room of the White House April 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump reaffirmed the United States' commitment to the North Atlantic alliance and its "ironclad" pledge to defend NATO allies, even though he repeatedly questioned the relevance of the military organization during the campaign. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


Sam Nunberg, a former political adviser to Donald Trump, warned Sunday of dire consequences for National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Matt Drudge if White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is pushed out of the West Wing.

“If Steve is fired by the White House and a bunch of generals take over the White House there will be hell to pay,” Nunberg, a longtime Trump aide who left the presidential campaign in August 2015, told The Daily Caller in an exclusive interview. His comments came after an Axios report that claimed Bannon’s job is in jeopardy due to damaging leaks against McMaster and anger over a recent book touting Bannon’s role on the Trump presidential campaign.

Nunberg told TheDC that he was “very perturbed” by the Axios story and tied in Bannon’s reported downfall to the Drudge Report, which continues to link to stories that are negative to the White House chief strategist.



Chicago still leads nation in homicides; violent crime on rise in other big cities

Violent crime is on the rise this year in some of the country’s biggest cities, according to statistics, which find Chicago still leads as the deadliest city while homicide cases have spiked in Baltimore and New Orleans.

The 62 police departments that provided data for the Major Cities Chiefs Association’s midyear crime survey reported 3,081 homicides in the first six months of the year, an increase of 3 percent over the same time last year.

The departments recorded nearly 4,000 more aggravated assaults this year than at the same period in 2016, though reports of other violent crime — including rape, robbery and nonfatal shootings — remained about even.



Hillary email case far from closure


The Hillary Clinton email fiasco isn’t ending anytime soon, with State Department officials saying they have no idea when they will finish sorting though and releasing the previously hidden messages.

More classified documents that the former secretary of state improperly handled keep coming to light.

The Trump administration doesn’t even know if it has hunted down every trace of the emails that Mrs. Clinton — a former first lady, U.S. senator, top diplomat and Democratic presidential nominee — sent from a secret email server stashed in her home.



China warns Trump against trade action as North Korea crisis looms

China warned President Trump against taking trade action aimed at Beijing Monday, saying the president’s move looks like retaliation for the ongoing North Korea crisis.

“Given Trump’s transactional approach to foreign affairs, it is impossible to look at the matter without taking into account his increasing disappointment at what he deems as China’s failure to bring into line the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” the state-run China Daily newspaper said. “But instead of advancing the United States’ interests, politicising trade will only acerbate the country’s economic woes, and poison the overall China-U.S. relationship.”

Mr. Trump is expected to sign an executive memorandum Monday authorizing the U.S. trade representative to determine whether to investigate China for alleged theft of intellectual property and American technology. The move could lead to the administration imposing tariffs on Chinese goods.



Al Gore defends Trump on North Korean nuke crisis
Former VP: ‘The previous three presidents were not able to find an adequate solution’

One of President Trump’s most famous critics came to his defense this week after a vow of “fire and fury” for North Korea: former Vice President Al Gore.

The man behind the documentary “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” may not see eye-to-eye with Mr. Trump on environmental issues, but he told Newsweek for an interview published Friday that diplomatic crises over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is another story. Mr. Gore took a moment while promoting his latest movie to remind the magazine’s audience of a rogue weapons program decades in the making.

“I think it’s only fair to point out he inherited this crisis,” Mr. Gore told Newsweek. “The previous three presidents were not able to find an adequate solution [to the North Korea crisis], so he can’t be blamed for all this.”



Texas police chief asked to leave doctor's office over firearm?

A Texas police chief is speaking out after he was asked to leave a Woodlands doctor’s office because of his firearm.

Conroe Police Department Chief Philip Dupuis told The Courier that he walked into the Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists office in the 3900 block of Pinecroft Drive last week when the receptionist informed him that he needed to leave his handgun in his car.

Chief Dupuis, who was not in uniform, said he identified himself as law enforcement and had his badge and police identification card clearly visible before he was asked to take his gun outside.



Girding for a showdown with China

The Chinese response to North Korea’s noisy threats becomes ever more crucial

North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs present the United States with no good options, but China’s posture is a foil for its wider strategic objectives.

Conventional military action appears not a viable option. Pyongyang’s artillery batteries could unleash devastation on Seoul before U.S. forces could destroy its nuclear capability.

China, as North Korea’s principle economic partner, holds the keys but has only taken limited steps. Its vote in favor of U.N. Security Council economic sanctions notwithstanding, it remains the regime’s major trading partner. It would prefer not to instigate an economic crisis that could cause millions of refugees to rush into China or reunification of the peninsula under a U.S.-aligned regime.



Beware the Obamacare industrial complex

Its litany of lies are resurfacing, and consumers will pay the price

The danger of a Republican bailout of Obamacare is mounting with every passing day. A group of “moderate” Republicans calling themselves the Problem Solvers Caucus is quietly negotiating with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to throw a multi-billion dollar life line to the Obamacare insurance exchanges.

This bailout, of course, would be an epic betrayal by a Republican Party which has promised to repeal and replace the financially crumbling Obama health law.

Republicans who are “negotiating” this bipartisan deal, such as Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, object to the term “bailout” for this rescue package. The left prefers the euphemism “stabilizing the insurance market.” The Washington Post’s left-wing fact checker, who just can’t seem to get his facts straight, says “bailout” is misleading pejorative language. The Post claims this is merely a payment to low income families to help pay for the escalating premiums under Obamacare. These payments were allegedly always part of the law as passed.

"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…