Tuesday February 13th, 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

Russia expected to target U.S. midterms with hacking
                 Voters cast their
          ballots in booths at Farrington High School, Tuesday, Nov. 8,
          2016, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia) **FILE**

U.S. intelligence assesses that Russia will continue targeting the American media and political spaces with cyber attacks and leaks aimed at creating “wedges that reduce trust and confidence in democratic process,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Tuesday.

Mr. Coats, offered the assessment as part of the intelligence community’s annual testimony to U.S. lawmakers on the worldwide status of threats facing the United States.

“At a minimum, we expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokespeople, and other means of influence to try to exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States,” according to the “Worldwide Threat Assessment” Mr. Coats submitted to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Tuesday morning.



Democrats lack plan, concessions for deal to protect Dreamers as immigration debate begins
Fractured Republican ranks struggle with deal for Trump
                   

Democrats enter this week’s immigration debate with the goal of protecting illegal immigrant Dreamers but with little strategy for how to get there, saying they will take their chances when the fight plays out on the floor of the Senate.
Party leaders don’t have a Democratic plan in hand, nor do they have a sense for what concessions they are willing to make to reach a deal with President Trump, beyond some sort of funding for his border wall.

Republicans, meanwhile, are struggling for unanimity within their own ranks with Mr. Trump’s four-point framework unable to win over all 51 members of his party in the Senate.

“This is a wild card week,” said Sen. James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican who is co-sponsoring the legislative version of Mr. Trump’s plan but is also working with the bipartisan moderates who have dubbed themselves the Common Sense Caucus and are reaching for their own deal.



Democrats block vote on sanctuary cities


Democrats blocked a vote Tuesday on cracking down on sanctuary cities as the first day of the immigration debate began with a whimper.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer said debating sanctuary cities would be getting off “on the wrong foot,” insisting this week’s floor fight should only be about illegal immigrant “Dreamers” and border security.

The early jockeying underscored the problems the Senate is about to face.

Democrats had begged for a “fair” process to debate immigration, but are now worried about just how wide-ranging that debate will be, and are trying to shape the amendments that will be offered.



FBI director contradicts White House Account

On background investigation of aide accused of spousal abuse

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray on Tuesday refuted the White House’s account of when the bureau informed officials about the status of a senior aide’s security clearance investigation.

White House officials said that they were first contacted by the FBI in the summer about senior aide Rob Porter’s clearance. They also said the investigation was never completed and they did not know the extent of the allegations.

Porter stepped down last week following accusations of spousal abuse.

But Wray, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the FBI submitted a partial report on his clearance in March and that the investigation was completed in July. Soon after, he said, the FBI received a request for a follow-up, which the bureau completed and provided in November. The FBI closed the file in January and then earlier this month, Wray said, the bureau received additional information and “we passed that on as well.”




Feds Collect Record Taxes in First Month Under Tax Cut
Run Surplus in January

The federal government this January ran a surplus while collecting record total tax revenues for that month of the year, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today.

January was the first month under the new tax law that President Donald Trump signed in December.
During January, the Treasury collected approximately $361,038,000,000 in total tax revenues and spent a total of approximately $311,802,000,000 to run a surplus of approximately $49,236,000,000.

Despite the monthly surplus of $49,236,000,000, the federal government is still running a deficit of approximately $175,718,000,000 for fiscal year 2018. That is because the government entered the month with a deficit of approximately $224,955,000,000.
Small-Business Owners Say Good Time to Expand...
Home Prices Hit Records...
Trump popularity on upswing...


A US jet destroyed a Russian-made battle tank in 'self-defense' in Syria
                T72 battle tank russia destroyed

A US jet operating in Syria destroyed a Russian-made T-72 battle tank near Al Tabiyeh, Syria, on Saturday, the Pentagon said.

The tank was destroyed nearly week after a Bloomberg report said Russian mercenary forces fired on a position held by US troops and their Syrian rebel allies.

No US or SDF forces were killed in either attack, the Pentagon told Business Insider.



Harvey Weinstein lawsuit: attorney general says 'we have never seen anthing as despicable'
After filing suit against Harvey and Bob Weinstein and their company, Eric Schneiderman describes ‘flagrant’ pattern of misconduct

New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman said on Monday that a pervasive pattern of sexual misconduct and corporate enabling at the Weinstein Company was some of the worst his office has investigated.

“We have never seen anything as despicable as what we’ve seen right here,” Schneiderman told reporters, a day after his office filed a 39-page complaint against the company, Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob. The suit is part of an effort to ensure adequate funds are put aside from the impending $500m sale of the company, and to ensure an end to the pattern of abuse.

“We have to ensure that this all cleaned up and that any deal that removes the two Weinstein brothers, but essentially leaves the rest of the management team intact, should be unacceptable to the purchasers,” Schneiderman said.



Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 'FUXCAHONTAS,' a no-show at tribal conference


The Republican National Committee is poking fun at Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s absence from the National Congress of American Indians Tribal Summit in Washington — asking where is “FAUXCAHONTAS.”

Ms. Warren’s claims of Native American ancestry without solid evidence has dogged the Massachusetts Democrat since her successful 2012 Senate bid and provided ammunition for President Trump to mock her on various occasions as “Pocahontas.”

Mike Reed, a research director at the RNC, noted that several members of Congress — including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, as well as Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — are set to speak at the summit, which kicked off Monday and runs through Thursday.



Obama Weighed Withholding Intel From Trump Transition

President Barack Obama met in January 2017 with then-FBI Director James Comey and other top national security officials to talk about sharing information related to Russia with the incoming Trump administration — asserting the probe should be handled "by the book," according to an email made public Monday, CNN reported.

The previously undisclosed meeting was held Jan. 5, 2017 — and was recounted in an email written by then-National Security Adviser Susan Rice on President Donald Trump's inauguration day.



Report: Comey Told Lawmakers Flynn Didn't Lie to FBI

Former FBI director James Comey told lawmakers last March that the FBI agents who interviewed retired Gen. Michael Flynn, who briefly served in the Trump White House, said Flynn did not lie to them — which contradicts what the Russia probe has concluded.

Byron York of the Washington Examiner cited two sources familiar with meetings Comey had with lawmakers on Capitol Hill as saying they believed Flynn was telling the truth when asked about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during President Donald Trump's transition. An intercept of their phone calls led to the Department of Justice pursuing a Logan Act case against Flynn.



A new world order coming to a theater near you


The picture should start to come clear any day now. The London Express, which often reports things that nobody else has heard of, not even on the internet where there are no editors and anything goes, reports that the Illuminati is real and is secretly running the world from behind the scenes.

It’s a relief to learn that someone is running it, and the Illuminati is a group of 6,000 members — all world leaders, of course — led by a ruling council of five Americans, five Western Europeans, a Russian and an Indian. Both Donald Trump and George Soros are said to be members of the Illuminati, though it is not clear whether the ruling council meets at Mar-a-Largo, the Trump Hotel in downtown Washington, or at a Holiday Inn near Roswell, New Mexico, the flying saucer conspiracy capital of the world.

The proof that the Illuminati is real is that it has a website, and this week a former Canadian minister of Defence (the misspelling of Defense is an Anglo-Saxonism) who, according to the London Express, says the Illuminati is real and will soon introduce a New World Order.



Funding infrastructure with 'MAGA Bonds'


President Trump in the campaign of 2016 and now as president has set forth the priority to build, repair and maintain America’s crumbling infrastructure to the tune of $1 trillion.

The White House is reporting that according to the most recent report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers, America’s infrastructure received a “D+” grade. That grade takes into account tens of thousands of roads, bridges, tunnels, etc. all across our nation.

That report does not even take into account other critical infrastructure like our old and decaying electric grid or our nation’s airports and train systems.

Infrastructure that is not maintained costs jobs and costs citizens money in lost income in time wasted and repairs to vehicles damaged by crumbling roads.

"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…