Thursday February 15th, 2018

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


Wo
rld & National

17 dead in Florida high school shooting
                Students released from a lockdown are overcome with emotion following following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

A 19-year-old man opened fire Wednesday on students at his former high school in Parkland, Florida, killing at least 17 people, leaving 14 others wounded, and sparking anew debates over troubled teens, firearms and school safety.

Police said Nikolas Cruz, who had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, started the killing spree outside the building. He then carried an AR-15 into the building, where students and teachers were surprised by a late-afternoon fire alarm and then the sounds of gunfire, police said.

They ducked under desks and locked themselves in closets as the gunman roamed, apparently killing indiscriminately before fleeing the building.

Police caught up with Mr. Cruz about a mile from the school and arrested him without further violence.
KILLER: TROUBLED EX-STUDENT...
'EVERYONE PREDICTED IT'...
Dangerous creep...
INSPIRED BY ISIS?
Vowed to commit massacre on YOUTUBE...
As bullets flew, pupil kept world updated on socials..
Phone footage captures horror...
Football Coach Acted As Human Shield...
Trump to address nation...


Senate deal grants amnesty to future illegals
DHS: Plan would mean ‘amnesty for over 10 million’
                 In this Jan. 5, 2016, file photo, a U.S. Border Patrol vehicle drives next to a U.S-Mexico border fence in the booming New Mexico town of Santa Teresa. The Trump administration is waiving numerous laws to clear the way for replacing existing vehicle barriers along a stretch of the US-Mexico border in New Mexico. The notice published Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, in the Federal Register says the waiver extends around 20 miles west of the Santa Teresa Port of Entry. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)

The Senate’s new immigration compromise not only grants legal status to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. before, but creates a new future amnesty that would even protect illegal immigrants who managed to sneak into the U.S. over the next four months, experts said.

Not only would the bill enshrine Obama-era deportation rules, protecting most of the current 11 million illegal immigrants from fear of removal, but it extends those same protections to any illegal immigrants who can jump the border between now and June 30.

The Homeland Security Department said the plan “destroys” their ability to enforce immigration laws, and would amount to an “amnesty for over 10 million illegal aliens.”
Aides 'Dreamers' in Exchange for 'The Wall'


Ted Cruz: Republicans moving to the left of Obama on immigration, will lose majority

Sen. Ted Cruz said Thursday that if Republicans pass an immigration plan that allows citizenship they will lose the majority in Congress this November.

“Mark my words, if Republican majorities in Congress pass citizenship for millions of people, do amnesty, I think it is quite likely we will lose both houses of Congress,” Mr. Cruz, Texas Republican, said on Fox News.

President Trump has said he’d like to see a pathway to citizenship for the Dreamers, or DACA recipients — those brought to the U.S. illegally as children — and Republicans in Congress have largely agreed to include such language along with border security.



Priebus says he persuaded Trump not to accept Sessions' resignation

Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus says he helped persuade President Trump not to accept the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions in May 2017.

In a book excerpt published Wednesday in Vanity Fair, Mr. Priebus recalled that White House counsel Don McGahn brought him the news that Mr. Sessions intended to quit.

“Don McGahn came in my office pretty hot, red, out of breath,” Mr. Priebus said. “[He] said, ‘We’ve got a problem.’ I responded, ‘What?’ And he said, ‘Well, we just got a special counsel, and Sessions just resigned.’ I said, ‘What!? What the hell are you talking about? That can’t happen.’ “



Trump legal team builds case against Mueller interview, cites Clinton precedent

President Trump’s legal team is citing a three-pillar argument to convince investigators, and the public, that President Trump shouldn’t sit down for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mr. Mueller wants access to the president as part of an inquiry into suspected obstruction of justice in the firing of the special counsel’s longtime friend, FBI Director James B. Comey, in May. The president’s legal team has resisted but not given a firm no.

Here are the arguments against an interview.



Sharyl Attkisson Eplains the Origins of the 2016 'Fake News' Narrative


In a Tedx Talk at the University of Nevada a couple of weeks ago, investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson revealed the origins of the "fake news" narrative that was aggressively pushed by the liberal media and Democrat politicians during the 2016 election, and how it was later flipped by President Donald Trump.

Attkisson pointed out that "fake news" in the form of tabloid journalism and false media narratives has always been around under different names.

But she noticed in 2016, there seemed to be a concerted effort by the MSM to focus America's attention on the idea of "fake news" in conservative media. That looked like a propaganda effort to Attkisson, so she did a little digging and traced the new spin to a little non-profit called "First Draft," which, she said, "appears to be the about the first to use 'fake news' in its modern context."



Tech Luminary Peter Thiel Parts Ways With Silicon Valley
Billionaire investor frustrated with what he sees as intolerance of conservatism in tech industry; has discussed resigning from Facebook board

Billionaire investor Peter Thiel is relocating his home and personal investment firms to Los Angeles from San Francisco and scaling back his involvement in the tech industry, people familiar with his thinking said, marking a rupture between Silicon Valley and its most prominent conservative.

Mr. Thiel has also discussed with people close to him the possibility of resigning from the board of Facebook Inc., FB 3.68% the people familiar with his thinking said. His relationship with the social-networking company—where he has been a director since 2005, the year after its founding—came under strain after a dispute with a fellow director over Mr. Thiel’s support for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and a related confrontation over boardroom leaks with Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg last summer, the people said.​

However, Mr. Thiel feels he can still help the company and is likely to remain on the board at least for now, one of the people said.



UK blames Russia for 'malicious' cyber-attack

The Russian military was directly behind a "malicious" cyber-attack on Ukraine last summer that spread across Europe, British ministers have said.

The UK government has taken the unusual step of publicly accusing Russia of June's NotPetya ransomware attack.

Reckitt Benckiser - maker of Dettol, Durex and Strepsils - was among the UK firms whose sales were affected.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said Russia was "ripping up the rule book" and the UK was duty-bound to respond.



Tillerson urges Lebanon to distance itself from Hezbollah militia

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged Lebanon on Thursday to distance itself from the Hezbollah militia as he met with senior government officials, including political allies of the group regarded by the United States as terrorists.

After arriving from Jordan for a brief visit of just a few hours, Tillerson went directly to Baabda Palace to meet with President Michel Aoun, who maintains close relations with the group. The secretary of state called it in Lebanon's best interests to “disassociate” itself from Hezbollah, an ally of Iran, and its foreign adventures.

“Hezbollah's presence in Syria has only perpetuated the bloodshed, increased the displacement of innocent people and propped up the barbaric Assad regime,” Tillerson said in a news conference with Prime Minister Saad Hariri, whose coalition government includes the group.



Don't worry about the national debt

“If something cannot go on forever, it will stop,” said Herbert Stein, President Nixon’s chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors. America’s national debt has grown from 32 percent of GDP in 1981 to 68 percent in 2008 and 108 percent in 2017. The national debt is high, and some components are growing on autopilot. Still, Washington keeps adding to it.

The December 2017 tax bill was a great accomplishment, but it will increase the national debt. The same is true for the recent two-year budget and the upcoming infrastructure bill. America must get its debt under control and entitlements reform is the only way to do it.

How high is our national debt? A thoughtful answer comes from a 2010 study by the International Monetary Fund. It introduces the concept of fiscal space and defines it as a country’s ability to borrow. Countries must refinance their debt and if their debt is excessive, nobody will lend to them. Fiscal space is the difference between the current debt level of a country and the debt level at which it loses market access.



The downside of bipartisanship


The House and Senate’s passage of “a two-year budget deal,” (plus an appropriation to avoid a “government shutdown” for a month, during which the details of that deal may be negotiated) is news because the “deal” spends 13.5 percent more for the coming two fiscal years than the Obama administration had proposed for them, and expands the government at an unprecedented rate. By comparison, President Obama was a conservative. Who’d a thunk it?

But more fundamentally the budget is not news at all. For a generation, nearly all federal expenditures have been passed this way — as bipartisan deals between congressional leaders. Bitter partisan rhetoric aside, these deals effectively create a bipartisan “Uni-Party” that preempts, precludes, crowds out, alternatives and restricts votes to questions with preordained results. This time too, the few dissenters are mostly conservative Republicans who try to do what nearly all Republicans promised to the people who vote Republican.

This peculiar kind of bipartisanship began in 1970, when the Senate allowed the filibuster-by-threat-thereof, effectively requiring 60 votes to pass anything controversial. Because “everybody who counts” now votes virtually in unison, because if everybody is responsible, no one is responsible, we the voters have no way of holding our elected representatives responsible for what any given “deal” does to us.


"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.


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 (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…