Tuesday November 23rd, 2020

"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
Pennsylvania certifies Biden as winner of presidential vote
In this Nov. 19, 2020, photo President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) **FILE**

Democrat Joseph R. Biden has been certified as the winner of the presidential election in Pennsylvania, the governor said Tuesday.

Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, tweeted that the Pennsylvania State Department “certified the results of the November 3 election in Pennsylvania for president and vice president of the United States.

“As required by federal law, I’ve signed the Certificate of Ascertainment for the slate of electors for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”

Russia threatens 'ramming maneuver' against U.S. Navy ship in Sea of Japan
                   A screenshot from the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet showing an encounter with a Russian warship.

The Russian military on Tuesday threatened to ram a U.S. Navy ship that was conducting freedom-of-navigation operations in the Sea of Japan, the latest in a series of close military encounters between the two nations.

The U.S. Navy said that the USS John S. McCain was sailing in the vicinity of Peter the Great Bay in the Sea of Japan as a way to challenge “Russia’s excessive maritime claims” in the region. Russian forces then warned the American vessel to vacate the area, claiming that it had crossed about a mile into Russian territorial waters.

“The Pacific Fleet’s Admiral Vinogradov anti-submarine destroyer used an international communication channel to warn the foreign vessel that such actions were unacceptable and the violator could be forced out of the country’s territorial waters in a ramming maneuver,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement. “After the warming was issued and the Admiral Vinogradov changed its course, the USS John S. McCain destroyer returned to international waters.”

Trump vows he'll 'never concede' despite administration starting transition move

                  President Donald Trump listens during an event in the briefing room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

President Trump is vowing to “never concede” the election to presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden, despite allowing his administration to begin a transition with the Democrat’s team.

Mr. Trump said Tuesday that the General Services Administration, which has begun cooperating with Mr. Biden, “does not determine who the next President of the United States will be.”

“What does GSA being allowed to preliminarily work with the Dems have to do with continuing to pursue our various cases on what will go down as the most corrupt election in American political history?” the president tweeted. “We are moving full speed ahead. Will never concede to fake ballots & ‘Dominion’.”

Gov. Larry Hogan expands coronavirus snitch line: 'There's no constitutional right' to go maskless

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared Monday that Americans have no “constitutional right” to go maskless during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s sort of like saying I have a constitutional right to drive drunk, I have a constitutional right to not wear a seat belt, or to yell ‘fire’ in a crowded movie theater, or to not follow the speed limit,” the Republican governor said during his coronavirus press briefing.

Mr. Hogan announced that Maryland State Police is deploying “High Visibility Compliance Units” across the state with a special focus on bars, restaurants, and venues to ensure compliance with state regulations ahead of the holidays. State police are also expanding their 24/7 COVID-19 Prevention Hotline, where members of the public can report unsafe activities and public health order violations.

International Flyers May Soon Need to Get Virus Vaccinations

Feinstein out as Judiciary Committee top Dem over handling of Barrett hearing

Charles E. Schumer said he had a 'long and serious' talk with California Democrat
              Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., arrive for the third day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. (Drew Angerer/Pool via AP

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California announced Monday that she will no longer be the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee when the new Congress convenes in January.

“After serving as the lead Democrat on the Judiciary Committee for four years, I will not seek the chairmanship or ranking member position in the next Congress,” she said in a statement.

While she will remain on the Judiciary panel, she will not seek to be chairman of any other committee, she said.

Court: Texas, Louisiana Can End Planned Parenthood Funding

A federal appeals court ruled Monday that Texas and Louisiana can cut off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood clinics — a move supported by opponents of legal abortion, but opposed by advocates who said it affects a variety of non-abortion health services for low-income women.

The ruling was handed down by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. While it expressly reversed decisions in Texas and Louisiana, it also affects Mississippi, which is under 5th Circuit jurisdiction. The issue is likely to go next to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Opponents of legal abortion have long sought to deny federal Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood clinics.

Sen. Graham: Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer Would Be 'Trifecta From Hell'

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., warned against a Democrat-controlled Congress, saying it would lead to “a nightmare for conservatism.”

His remarks came during a Monday interview on the Fox News show “Hannity.”

While the House is still controlled by the Democrats, two runoffs in Georgia on Jan. 5 will decide if Republicans can hang on to the Senate.

“If we lose these two Senate seats in Georgia, [Nancy] Pelosi will run the House, [Chuck] Schumer will run the Senate and if the president falls short and [Joe] Biden gets to be president, you’re going to have Pelosi, Schumer, and Biden. That’s a trifecta from hell,” Graham said.

Sen. David Perdue: Georgia is the last line of defense against 'radical' Democrats

Trump administration opens door to Biden transition

A key Trump administration official on Monday agreed to cooperate with presumed President-elect Joseph R. Biden on the transition, acknowledging for the first time — with President Trump’s approval — that the Democrat is likely to assume the White House in January.

More than two weeks after Mr. Biden was projected as the winner by media organizations, Mr. Trump said he advised General Services Administration head Emily W. Murphy and her team “to do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols.”

Mr. Trump tweeted that he “told my team [at the White House] to do the same.”

Climbing into bed with the Kraken

Sidney Powell promises to save America from Trojan voting machines snuck into the country

It is a true fact that nobody has ever seen Sidney Powell and Paul Revere in the same place at the same time. Could Sidney Powell, in fact, be Paul Revere?

She, a modern-day Paul Revere? Sounding the alarm of a “Kraken” of election corruption? Dressed as Joan of Arc astride a white stallion? With a gleaming helmet of perfectly-coifed hair — hair greater even than President Trump’s unflappable ‘do?

Even under the glare of the hottest sun in the presence of his most loathsome enemies, Mr. Trump’s scalp never leaks orange. Those colors do not run!

The unraveling of Trump's voter fraud case

Legal team's moves to distance itself from Sidney Powell is blow to Trump's attempt to win second term

The Trump legal team’s move over the weekend to distance itself from attorney Sidney Powell as it seeks to overturn the Nov. 3 election results is a major blow to the president’s attempt to win a second term.

Ms. Powell, whose 2014 book, “Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice,” along with her work as the attorney for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, made her a darling of conservatives. But her assertions that Chinese communists, voting machines once used to flip Venezuelan elections and foreign money were behind President Trump’s defeat lack as much credibility as Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s claim in the 1950s that communists had infiltrated the U.S. State Department.

Last Saturday, U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann dismissed a lawsuit that attempted to reject some of Pennsylvania’s votes for Joe Biden, calling the effort “a Frankenstein monster.” The lawsuit, as reported by Reuters, had alleged inconsistent treatment by county election officials of mail-in ballots. Some counties notified voters they could fix minor defects such as missing “secrecy envelopes” while others did not.

" 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. 


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…