Wednesday January 18th, 2017

"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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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
Obama scores worst legislative record in history
Signed fewer bills into law than one-term Carter
Congress spent less time in session, handled less business on the chamber floors and generally sputtered for much of President Obama's tenure. (Associated Press)

President Obama oversaw the deepest legislative malaise in modern political history, according to the Washington Times Legislative Index, which captures his struggles to find ways to work with a Congress that ranged from lukewarm to openly hostile toward him.

Over the course of his eight years, he has signed just 1,227 bills into law — less, even, than one-term Presidents Carter and George H.W. Bush. Digging deeper into the numbers, Congress spent less time in session, handled fewer business on the chamber floors and generally sputtered for much of Mr. Obama’s tenure, according to The Times’ index.

Blame for the poor showing falls across Washington. Some analysts say a Congress with four years of divided control hamstrung Mr. Obama, while others say the president failed to find ways to work with the legislature that voters gave him — particularly after the 2010 elections.



White House says Obama's release of Manning serves 'justice'

FILE - In this undated file photo provided by the U.S. Army, Pfc. Chelsea Manning poses for a photo wearing a wig and lipstick. On Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, President Barack Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, who leaked Army documents and is serving 35 years. (U.S. Army via AP, File)

The White House said Wednesday that President Obama granted clemency for transgender military secrets leaker Chelsea Manning “in pursuit of justice,” and accused congressional Republicans of hypocrisy for criticizing the commutation.

“Chelsea Manning was convicted of serious crimes,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. “She also took responsibility for those crimes. She expressed remorse for those crimes.”

He said Manning’s 35-year prison term was “much longer than the sentence that was handed down to people who committed similar crimes that got much less attention.”



Protesters, Democrats open fire on EPA nominee

As protesters shouted outside, Democrats wasted little time opening fire on Scott Pruitt Wednesday morning, questioning whether the Oklahoma attorney general is truly committed to protecting the environment and warning that Republicans are bent on rolling back key climate-change initiatives.

Mr. Pruitt, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, made his first appearance on Capitol Hill Wednesday at a hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Democrats on the committee said they’re looking for “the truth” on whether Mr. Pruitt will fulfill his duties atop the EPA or will merely be a shill for the oil-and-gas industry.



Trump's Declaration on Enemies: 'I'll Solve the Problems'

 
Trump on America's 'Very Big Enemies': 'I'll Solve the Problems'

President-elect Donald Trump has taken to heart intelligence briefings he once mocked, acknowledging that the U.S. has "some very big enemies," he told Axios in an interview published Wednesday.

"I've had a lot of briefings that are very … I don't want to say 'scary,' because I'll solve the problems," Trump told Axios. "But … we have some big enemies out there in this country and we have some … very big and, in some cases, strong enemies."



Trump to take handful of executive actions on Day One


President-elect Donald Trump may take four or five executive actions on Friday, the day he is sworn into office, spokesman Sean Spicer said.

"He's got a few of them probably in the area of four or five that we're looking at for Friday," some of them logistical, Spicer said Wednesday at a news briefing. "Then there are some other ones that I expect him to sign with respect to a couple of issues that have been high on his priority list."



Democrats: Left in the Lurch

The curious decline and uncertain future of the Democratic Party

When President-elect Donald Trump replaces Barack Obama on January 20, the Democratic Party will find itself more removed from power than at almost any point since the party’s creation.

Scorned by the same voters who once embraced the New Deal, built the Great Society, and put their hope in the nation’s first black president, Democrats are now locked out of power in Washington and out of two-thirds of state legislative chambers across the country.

Simply put, Democrats’ once vaunted coalition of the ascendant — younger, multiethnic, educated, and urban — failed them in 2016, and in 2014 and 2010 before that. That coalition proved to have major handicaps, part demographic and part geographic, that have been hollowing out the party for years.



Joe Biden warms progressive democratic world order at risk of collapse

Vice President Joe Biden delivered an epic final speech Wednesday to the elites at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The gist of his speech was simple: At a time of "uncertainty" we must double down on the values that made Western democracies great, and not allow the "liberal world order" to be torn apart by destructive forces.

Biden went after Russian President Vladimir Putin by name, saying he is using "every tool" in his power to whittle away the European project, and undermine Western democracies. Biden accused Putin of wanting to "roll back decades of progress."



US Business Group: China Preparing to Retaliate on Trade


China is preparing to retaliate if U.S. President-elect Donald Trump raises duties on Chinese goods and already has toughened its stance, an American business group said Wednesday.

Trump, who is due to be inaugurated Friday, threatened during his campaign to raise import duties on Chinese goods to 45 percent. American companies are frustrated by Chinese market barriers and want Washington to take a tougher stance toward Beijing but worry reckless action might trigger retaliation.

Already, China has ordered unusually high anti-dumping penalties against a U.S.-made agricultural chemical.



Pro-life women banned from anti-Trump Women's March on Washington

It’s clear: According to liberal dogma, one can only be a feminist if they are pro-choice.

Organizers of the anti-Trump Women’s March, which include abortion groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL, were put into an uncomfortable position, when some pro-life groups wanted to join them.

According to a report in the Atlantic: “As many as a few hundred pro-lifers are planning to attend the Women’s March on Washington, which has been billed as feminist counterprogramming to the inauguration.”



A 12-step freedom agenda for the new Congress

It’s time to end the addiction to big government

So-called “12-step” programs are intended to help people addicted to alcohol or drugs break the grip of their addictions.

Similarly, with the imminent departure of President Obama, who was regrettably addicted to growing the size and reach of the federal government, America now has the opportunity to reclaim the personal liberties and financial freedoms diminished by his liberal policies over the past eight years.

With a Republican in the White House, congressional Republicans no longer have excuses for inaction. Here’s a 12-step freedom agenda for Congress that would help President-elect Donald Trump make America great again



Washington's chance to reform the status quo

The need is urgent for fiscal sustainability and government transformation

The United States is a great nation, but we face many serious challenges that need to be addressed. Two key ones relate to the need to ensure fiscal sustainability and achieve government transformation. As a recognized expert in these areas, I have several thoughts that I believe President-elect Donald Trump needs to consider.

With regard to fiscal sustainability, the incoming Trump administration is understandably focused on how to grow the economy and create more job opportunities in the United States. Many of Mr. Trump’s announced top priorities have this goal in mind (e.g., regulatory relief, tax reform, infrastructure investment, trade policy and immigration reform). There is no question that additional economic growth will help increase federal revenues; however, growth alone will not ensure fiscal sustainability over time. Basic math, the current composition of the federal budget, and known demographic trends dictate that efforts need to be made to significantly reduce projected federal spending over time as compared to the baseline, especially in connection with health care costs.


"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.”