Thursday December 29th, 2016

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

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By Geoffrey M. Metcalf
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Values for a New Millennium: Activating the Natural Law to Reduce Violence, Revitalize Our Schools, and Promote Cross-Cultural Harmony | [Robert Humphrey]


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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

Trump blasts Obama 'roadblocks' as power transfer turns increasingly hostile
         With 24 days to go before Donald Trump's inauguration, the president-elect's frustration with President Obama's perceived undermining of his victory, and wide-ranging efforts to tie the hands of the incoming administration, has boiled over. (Associated Press)

The presidential transition hit a new low Wednesday, with President-elect Donald Trump openly criticizing President Obama for bungling U.S. relations with Israel and erecting other “roadblocks” to a smooth transfer of power in Washington.

With 24 days to go before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, the president-elect’s frustration with Mr. Obama’s perceived undermining of his victory, and wide-ranging efforts to tie the hands of the incoming administration, boiled over in a series of comments by Mr. Trump on Twitter.

“Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks,” Mr. Trump said. “Thought it was going to be a smooth transition — NOT!”



Turkey's Erdogan, Russia's Putin held talks over cease fire

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart on Thursday to discuss the ceasefire in Syria due to come into effect at midnight, Erdogan's spokesman said in a statement.

The leaders also discussed upcoming talks about Syria due to take place in the Kazakh capital Astana, spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in the statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a ceasefire between Syrian opposition groups and the Syrian government starting at midnight on Thursday. The Kremlin statement came after Moscow, Iran and Turkey said they were ready to broker a peace deal in the nearly six-year-old Syrian war.



John Kerry Benjamin Netanyahu clash angrily about peace

Secretary of State John F. Kerry launched a rhetorical broadside against Israel Wednesday, saying Washington could not “protect or defend” the country should Tel Aviv continue to balk at two-state peace plans with Palestinians.

His comments drew swift and sharp rebuke from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who chided Mr. Kerry by saying Israelis did “not need to be lectured” about peace by the outgoing administration, while President-elect Donald Trump weighed in even before the speech was given with a strong support for Mr. Netanyahu and Israel, and vowing his incoming administration would take a sharply different approach.

It was an extraordinary and extraordinarily public division between two longtime allies, one that could have lasting and incalculable consequences for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Washington’s traditional role as an honest broker and the main outside power in the Middle East peace process.



Kerry's speech biased against Israel: Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's Middle East speech on Wednesday was biased against Israel.

In a statement in English issued by the Prime Minister's Office, Netanyahu said: "Like the Security Council resolution that Secretary Kerry advanced in the U.N., his speech tonight was skewed against Israel."

The Israeli leader said Kerry "obsessively dealt with settlements", which the United States strongly opposes, in the speech. Netanyahu accused Kerry of barely touching upon "the root of the conflict - Palestinian opposition to a Jewish state in any boundaries".



Ambassador claims Obama's Stance on Israel Unchanged in 8 Years
         

Secretary of State John Kerry's speech on Israel could have been given in the first year of President Barack Obama's first term in office, Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the United States, said Thursday while accusing Obama of not changing his opinions on Israel since he first took office in 2008.

"We had a crisis with the United States over the initial settlements three months into the administration," Dermer told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program about Kerry's contention that expansion of Israeli settlements jeopardizes the two-state solution that would keep Israelis and Palestinians living in the region.

"The very first meeting they had in the Oval Office, the same story was told, that the two-state decision was disappearing," said Dermer. "What we found is a speech eight years later that was just pretty much was a self-fulfilling prophesy. What the president believed going in is exactly what he believed going out. It wasn't true then and it's not true now."


Obama under pressure to prove Russian interference in election

The Obama administration is under intense pressure to release evidence confirming Russian interference in the presidential election before leaving office.

The administration up until now has provided little documentation to back up its official October assessment that the Russian government was attempting to interfere in the U.S. election.

Nor has it corroborated subsequent leaks from anonymous officials contending that the CIA believes the campaign was an attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to ensure Donald Trump’s victory.



Lame-duck Congress punts EB-5 'golden visa' reform to Trump

When the lame-duck Congress stumbled out of town earlier this month, lawmakers blew through yet another self-imposed deadline for cleaning up a controversial visa program that critics say could even become a pathway for terrorists into the U.S. — dropping the problem in the lap of President-elect Trump and a newly elected House and Senate to fix next year.

Critics say the EB-5 program, dubbed a “Golden visa” by immigration lawyers because it provides an expedited path for wealthy foreign investors to gain admission to the U.S., has been rife with widespread fraud and political corruption, including a scandal that touched the highest levels of the Department of Homeland Security.

Yet Congress just renewed the EB-5 visa, without any reforms, for another four-and-a-half months as part of the year-end stopgap spending bill.



Billionaire globalist pens panicked rant...


Well before Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, I sent a holiday greeting to my friends that read: “These times are not business as usual. Wishing you the best in a troubled world.” Now I feel the need to share this message with the rest of the world. But before I do, I must tell you who I am and what I stand for.

I am an 86-year-old Hungarian Jew who became a US citizen after the end of World War II. I learned at an early age how important it is what kind of political regime prevails. The formative experience of my life was the occupation of Hungary by Hitler’s Germany in 1944. I probably would have perished had my father not understood the gravity of the situation. He arranged false identities for his family and for many other Jews; with his help, most survived.



Donald Trump and Bill Gates find common ground
With interest in education innovation aligned, the nation’s schools get a boost

It turns out that Donald Trump and Bill Gates have an important shared interest. And it bodes very well for the prospects for success in the new administration.

After their hour-long meeting at Trump Tower last week, Mr. Gates told reporters gathered in the lobby that the two “had a good conversation about innovation, how it can help in health, education …”

Media stories have focused mostly on the atmospherics: a couple of billionaires who’d never met before, getting to know each other for the first time just a few short blocks from 30 Rock in Manhattan. Well, that may be the story line of interest on Entertainment Tonight or in People magazine. But it’s not the most significant story line, not by a country mile.



Why Donald Trump is right about nucleaer arms
‘Expanding and modernizing’ the nuclear deterrent is necessary

The liberal mainstream media is all aghast that President-elect Trump is calling for “expanding and modernizing” the U.S. nuclear deterrent, and if necessary winning a new nuclear arms race with Russia.

Even the usually “fair and balanced” Fox News has for three days (and counting) reported uncritically the view of the Arms Control Association that Mr. Trump is “irresponsible” and “reckless” — as if the Arms Control Association is a left wing lobby dedicated to unilateral nuclear disarmament of the United States.

The public might get the false impression from Fox reporting that the Arms Control Association is part of the U.S. Government and a source of official information. In fact, the Arms Control Association is no more to be trusted on matters of national security than Greenpeace or Ploughshares, all of whom want to achieve President Obama’s “a world without nuclear weapons” starting with the United States.


"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.


Archives: Geoff Metcalf/NewsMax January 14, 2010

Plunging Approval Shouldn't Surprise Democratic Bullies  
 By Geoff Metcalf  
 
Reasonable people can disagree (or should be able to) reasonably when they honestly consider facts that may contradict their preconceived opinions and prejudices.

 However, unfortunately, especially in the partisan environment of politics, reason, honest analysis, and fairness too quickly become victims of the “us-vs.-them” thing. Politics has become a blood sport in which the only golden rule is “the team with the gold makes the rules.”

 Politicians who were elected to represent the best interests, wants, and desires of their constituents morph into petty, agenda-driven competitors quick to eschew reason for partisanship. Sadly, this axiomatic reality is universal and not exclusive to any one party.

 Politics is supposed to be the art of compromise. However, it increasingly has become a blood sport personifying the absolute worse elements of abuse of power under the color of authority.

President Barack Obama, a year after promising "change" and a kumbaya tsunami of bipartisan cooperation, now reluctantly admits that he has not succeeded in bringing the country together. In a recent People magazine interview, the president begrudgingly acknowledged an atmosphere of divisiveness that has washed away the lofty national feeling surrounding his inauguration a year ago.http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jul/28/philadelphia-denies-sanctuary-city-status-but-just/

 "That's what's been lost this year. . . that whole sense of changing how Washington works," Obama said.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/dec/20/trump-must-get-tough-with-pakistan/
 "What I haven't been able to do in the midst of this crisis is bring the country together in a way that we had done in the inauguration," he said, referring to last Jan. 20, when hundreds of thousands flooded into Washington to see him sworn in as America's first black president. . . before reality and buyer's remorse.

 The simple reality is that Obama has failed because he and his party's leadership (or, critics will argue, LACK of leadership) have failed — failed to do what they said they would do, and failed to do anything the "way" they promised.

 Notwithstanding lofty eloquence, consensus, and "unity" cannot be mandated by imperial decree. Partisan acrimony is not and cannot be bridled by harangue, bullying, or bludgeon. Politics is the art of compromise, and the facts in evidence demonstrate that this administration and this Democrat-led Congress have not been disposed to engage in compromise.http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/nov/2/have-hillary-clintons-scandals-topped-richard-nixo/

 Rather, the Democrats have embraced a ham-fisted, "our-way-or-the-highway" forced imposition of their will.

Now, in the wake of spelunking poll numbers, rampant buyer's remorse, and a previously unimagined nostalgia for the Carter administration, Democrats seem shocked, amazed, and confused that more than half the country not only does not approve of what they are trying to do but also dislikes how they are doing it.

 Blaming the dark sky and coming ice age on Bush (or Reagan or Nixon or Eisenhower or Lincoln) is a worn-out dog that flat-out ain't gonna hunt.

 When Mr. Cool was promising "change," little did anyone assume that change might result in a Republican's winning Teddy Kennedy's Senate seat. (But that could happen, and soon.)

 It is a sad reality that, at the same time our military significantly has improved the quality of the U.S. troops who serve, the civilian leadership and politicians have regressed to a level reminiscent of uneducated feudal bullies.

 The military is smarter, more fit, better equipped, and as committed as any generation from Valley Forge to Iwo Jima or Pleiku to Bosnia. We have an all-volunteer military that is dedicated to protecting you. Conversely, the political arena is littered with disingenuous, duplicitous partisans who long since have abandoned their constituents for the next political victory (and/or pork-laden earmark).

 I recently re-read Robert Humphrey's "Living Values for a New Millennium" in preparation for a seminar entitled "Clarifying American Core Values" in February.

 In a 1997 speech before professor Humphrey passed away, he said that top leadership, in both our civilian or military government, is afraid even to discuss this apparent decisive need for new thinking both at home and overseas. Thirteen years ago, he observed that the news media and public opinion polls advise, "The people sense a moral bankruptcy in Washington" with a bickering inability in government to face these deeper problems.

Wherever you go, you are little bit safer because of the military and yet more at risk because of the coat-room shenanigans of Congress. Wherever the military sets a boot, everyone has a friend, a defender, and a champion. However, politicians seem more concerned about the next PAC contribution than the wants, needs, or well-being of the very people they were elected to represent.

 Ambrose Evans-Pritchard once wrote, “Moral relativism has set in so deeply that the gilded classes have become incapable of discerning right from wrong. Everything can be explained away, especially by journalists. Life is one great moral mush — sophistry washed down with Chardonnay.”