Wednesday April 9th, 2014
"It Is Not A
Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong
Updated 1140 PST
IRS under fire: Campaign cheerleading commonplace
Agency still under fire for Lois Lerner-tea party targeting scandal
Even as the IRS faces growing heat over Lois G. Lerner and the tea party
targeting scandal, a government watchdog said Wednesday it’s pursuing
cases against three other tax agency employees and offices suspected of
illegal political activity in support of President Obama and fellow
In one case the Office of Special Counsel, which investigates federal
employees who conduct politics on government time, said it was
“commonplace” in a Dallas IRS office for employees to have pro-Obama
screensavers on their computers, and to have campaign-style buttons and
stickers at their office.
Rancher: Armed Feds Are Surrounding My Farm
A two-decades-old battle between a Nevada rancher and the Bureau of Land
Management (BLM) has resulted in officials armed with machine guns
surrounding the ranch and forcibly removing the owner’s cattle,
according to the rancher’s family.
Cliven Bundy, the last rancher in Clark County, Nev., has been fighting a
“one-man range war” since 1993, when he decided to take a stand against
the agency, refusing to pay fees for the right to graze on a ranch run
by his family for centuries.
Israel 'Deeply Disappointed' by Kerry's Remarks on Peace Talks
In an unusually pointed rebuke of its ally, the United States, Israel
said on Wednesday that it was “deeply disappointed” by Secretary of
State John Kerry’s remarks a day earlier that appeared to lay primary
blame on Israel for the crisis in the American-brokered Middle East
The Israeli-Palestinian dispute that has brought the talks to the brink
of collapse appeared to be developing into an open row between Israel
and the United States, even as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were
said to be planning a third meeting here this week with American
mediators to try to resolve the crisis.
Kerry: Administration's Foreign Policy Not 'Spinning Out of Control'?
Secretary of State John Kerry took exception Tuesday to an assertion by a
Republican senator that the Obama administration’s foreign policy is
“spinning out of control,” declaring that “that’s just not true.”
“You can’t help but get the impression our foreign policy is just
spinning out of control,” Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) said during a Senate
Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the State Department budget. “And
we are losing control in virtually every area that we are trying to do
Panel sends Lerner case to DOJ
The House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday urged the Justice
Department to take a fresh look at whether former IRS official Lois
Lerner should be prosecuted, saying she broke the law multiple times.
After a rare session conducted mainly behind closed doors, the committee
voted to send a criminal referral to Attorney General Eric Holder on a
party-line 23-14 vote.
Arab League calls on U.S. to keep up efforts to salvage peace talks
Arab foreign ministers blame Israel for peace talks crisis, renew $100 million in aid to Palestinian Authority.
The Arab League called on the United States on Wednesday to keep up
efforts to salvage Middle East peace talks that are on the brink of
collapse, blaming Israel for a crisis that has led Washington to
evaluate its role in the negotiations.
At a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, the Arab League said
Israel was responsible for the "serious predicament" facing the
negotiations, citing its failure to release about two dozen Palestinian
prisoners as one of the major causes.
China fires shot across U.S. bow ahead of Obama's Asia trip
In one of the many frank exchanges U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel
had in China this week, General Fan Changlong told him how one of his
uncles died as a slave in a Japanese mine during World War Two.
Fan, deputy head of China's powerful Central Military Commission, spoke
about the lessons of history, signaling Beijing's concerns that the
United States was siding with Japan against China.
Hagel replied by saying his own father had helped fight Japanese forces in World War Two.
Tennessee Wants to Ban the U.N. From Monitoring Its Elections
When you think of the type of countries the United Nations might want to
keep an eye on, you probably think of, say, Libya, whose citizens voted
for the first time in over 40 years in 2012.
But newly democratized countries aren't the only subjects of U.N.
election oversight. In 2012, civil-rights groups voiced their concern to
the U.N. that state voter-ID laws would lead to voter suppression. The
U.N. sent 44 of its election monitors to states—including Tennessee—and
drew much ire from conservative groups in the process.
Mozilla Makes the World a Better Place
An episode of political revenge gives rise to a useful backlash.
Of all the cheap thrills that life affords, self-righteousness is one
of the grossest: A moment on the lips, forever on the hips, with a
moral weight for which the only relief is repentance.
The boys of online dating site OkCupid should be feeling the bloat
right now. Their site played a role in last week's purge of Mozilla's
Brendan Eich, when they hectored visitors to stop using the Firefox
browser because Mr. Eich donated money to a 2008 California referendum
in favor of reserving marriage for a man and woman. Ranted OkCupid
co-founder Christian Rudder: "Those who seek to deny love and instead
enforce misery, shame and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them
nothing but failure."
The White House's 'equal pay' hypocrisy
Obama gets a needed lesson in income inequality
Democrats are down in the polls, way down, so they’re fishing for
something — anything — to set off flutters in the hearts of their
faithful on the way to November. We can expect a sequel to the “War on
Women” campaign. President Obama staged a “National Equal Pay Day” for
photographers on Tuesday when he signed two executive orders on
He decried the state of pay for women in America, and prohibited
federal contractors from retaliating against employees who talk about
how much they’re paid. The White House calls that “a critical tool to
encourage pay transparency.” The rest of us would call it an invitation
to boasting and grousing. Most people don’t boast or complain to their
co-workers about how much money they make.
From the Geoff Metcalf Archives
learned a long time ago to notice changes. Changes indicate "something"
and are in many ways a natural early warning device. We may not know at
the time what that "something" is, but awareness leads to preparedness.
If you sit in a forest, a swamp, or a jungle and actively "listen," you
can easily identify a change. Background noise of birds and critters will
get less, or increase; you can hear the difference. Something caused that
change. Likewise most people can even smell a change. It might be the smell
of a salt marsh at low tide, or a campfire or diesel engine. I've known
guys who could smell the oil on a gun amongst assorted mountain fragrances.
There is also what I believe to be a very real instinctive warning device
designed I guess to spark the "fight or flee" reaction. The Godan (fifth
degree black belt) test in one martial art requires the testee to kneel
with his back to the teacher. The teacher "projects" a killing intention
and swings a sword at the kneeling student's head. If the target head isn't
there when the sword arrives, the student passes and is promoted.
20th of last year (1998) I wrote a WorldNetDaily column entitled "Big Brother
Watching" that referred to a program called,
Since then I have seen Echelon stories in a variety of magazines and European
movie, "Enemy of the State," although fiction, shed light on the real world
realities of Echelon, and the unbridled assault on both the concept and
essence of personal privacy.
in both the United States Congress and British Parliament are now asking
questions I raised last year. Even the San Diego Union has written about
Echelon: "Is the government listening in on your phone calls? Reading your
e-mail for words like 'plutonium,' 'Clinton' or 'terrorism'?"
eclectic and strange collection of distaff allies have joined the "What's
the deal with Echelon" crowd. Congressman Bob Barr, himself a former CIA
analyst, The European Parliament, and a gaggle of computer mavens calling
themselves "hacktivists" are all looking into the what, where, when, why,
and how of Echelon. They are not having joint board meetings, but they
are pursuing similar objectives along fairly parallel lines. This Thursday
the "hacktivists" are planning what may be the first mass protest using
electronic mail as a weapon. It cannot be confirmed or denied that FBI
Director Louis Freeh has bought out the entire D.C. stock of Imodium.
target may sound more like something out of "The X-Files" than a real computer
network operated by five countries. But it is real. Echelon is not officially
acknowledged by the U.S. government despite more than ample documentation
of the treaty that sparked it, and the facilities from Menwith Hill in
England to Alexandria, Va. "We don't confirm or deny the existence of Echelon,"
said a spokeswoman for the U.S. National Security Agency, although they
are the agency believed tasked with operating the system.
European Parliament started asking questions about Echelon last year. The
European press has been reporting on it longer than I have. Yet again,
either as a function of malfeasance or complicity, the United States mainstream
has been silent.
Congressman Barr actually said the word ("Echelon") out loud on the floor
of the House for God and everyone to hear.
I noted last year, Echelon is a complex, interconnected worldwide network
of satellites and computerized interception stations operated by the governments
of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
to Christopher Simpson, an American University professor who has written
four books about national security technology, Echelon scans e-mail for
hot-button words like "militia," "Davidian," "terrorism" and "AK-47." It
can recognize individual voices in telephone calls and track who is calling
have often received e-mail with a long litany of "key words and phrases"
(Death to the New World Order, Clinton, Butch Reno, Branch Davidians, TWA
800, Ruby Ridge, Oklahoma City, Abolish the Federal Reserve, None Dare
Call it Treason, Cocaine, AK-47, Stinger, Vince Foster, etc.) above a routine
note such as "Like your column. Keep it up." When I asked, "Why the laundry
list?" I was told it was a small protest intended to overburden the snoopers.
European Parliament published an official report last year and concluded
Echelon has listening posts all over the world that can intercept any phone
calls, e-mail or faxes transmitted by satellite. "Echelon is designed for
primarily nonmilitary targets: governments, organizations and businesses
in virtually every country," the report said.
May a follow up report said there is evidence that the U.S. government
has used Echelon to pick up the secrets of foreign corporations and pass
them on to American companies. Some of you may recall talk that when the
Cold War allegedly ended, intelligence assets would shift focus from military
to industrial espionage.
Barr has called for congressional hearings on Echelon. "By all appearances,
what we have is a massive government program that scoops up unbelievably
huge numbers of private communications, indiscriminately, without any oversight
or court involvement," Barr said. "There's a very important, but fine,
line between legitimate foreign intelligence gathering and unconstitutional
eavesdropping on American citizens, and it appears that line has been crossed."
that Echelon could and would illegally intercept Americans' private communications
sparked the ACLU to write to congressional representatives back in April.
They said, "The troubling aspect is that Echelon is this huge system that
operates without any oversight or scrutiny from anybody." THAT was and
is the whole idea.
not going to re-write last year's column again, you can check out the
However, Echelon is the bastard child of the UKUSA Treaty. The primary
purpose of the treaty AND Echelon was to maintain perception, and obscure
these cousin countries sit down and "in the interest of national security"
with a wink and a nod agree to the following:
is illegal (supposedly) for the United States government to spy on its
is illegal for the British government to spy on its citizens.
in Canada and Australia.
the deal, Nigel: Let's set up an inter-connected information gathering
apparatus. I'll spy on your citizens to determine if they mean us any ill,
and you spy on my citizens to see if anyone is planning nastiness to your
country. THEN I'll show you my data, and you show me your data. You'll
know what's going on with your blokes, and I'll know what's happening with
Joe-six-pack, and it's all legal ... kinda."
you sit in the shadows of the international intelligence jungle, you can
hear a change in the background noise, and the background silence. You
can smell "something" different. Right about now there are Echelon managers
and operatives who can feel that uncomfortable tingle? The same premonition
that martial artist feels just before the sword swings for his head ...
the same tingle a rat feels the heartbeat before the lurking cat springs.
Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action
enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving
Armed Services of the United States.
to its recipient by the President of the
United States of America in the name of Congress.
first award of the Medal of Honor was made March 25, 1863 to
JACOB PARROTT.The last award of the Medal of Honor was made
September 15, 2011
to Sergeant DAKOTA MEYER.
then there have been: •
3458 recipients of the Medal of Honor.
Today there are 85 Living Recipients of the
Medal of Honor.
Sgt Dakota Meyer
US Marine Corps
Meyer maintained security at a patrol rally point while other members
of his team moved on foot with two platoons of Afghan National Army and
Border Police into the village of Ganjgal for a pre-dawn meeting with
village elders. Moving into the village, the patrol was ambushed by
more than 50 enemy fighters firing rocket propelled grenades, mortars,
and machine guns from houses and fortified positions on the slopes
above. Hearing over the radio that four U.S. team members were cut off,
Corporal Meyer seized the initiative. With a fellow Marine driving,
Corporal Meyer took the exposed gunner's position in a gun-truck as
they drove down the steeply terraced terrain in a daring attempt to
disrupt the enemy attack and locate the trapped U.S. team. Disregarding
intense enemy fire now concentrated on their lone vehicle, Corporal
Meyer killed a number of enemy fighters with the mounted machine guns
and his rifle, some at near point blank range, as he and his driver
made three solo trips into the ambush area. During the first two trips,
he and his driver evacuated two dozen Afghan soldiers, many of whom
were wounded. When one machine gun became inoperable, he directed a
return to the rally point to switch to another gun-truck for a third
trip into the ambush area where his accurate fire directly supported
the remaining U.S. personnel and Afghan soldiers fighting their way out
of the ambush. Despite a shrapnel wound to his arm, Corporal Meyer made
two more trips into the ambush area in a third gun-truck accompanied by
four other Afghan vehicles to recover more wounded Afghan soldiers and
search for the missing U.S. team members. Still under heavy enemy fire,
he dismounted the vehicle on the fifth trip and moved on foot to locate
and recover the bodies of his team members. Corporal Meyer's daring
initiative and bold fighting spirit throughout the 6-hour battle
significantly disrupted the enemy's attack and inspired the members of
the combined force to fight on. His unwavering courage and steadfast
devotion to his U.S. and Afghan comrades in the face of almost certain
death reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest
traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.