Wednesday April 9th, 2014
"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
--Geoff Metcalf
 

Updated 1140 PST                                   
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World & National

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 Democrats.

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 peace talks.

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 something in.”



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 equal-pay issues.

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
OCTOBER 18, 1999
Echelon revisited, again
1999 WorldNetDaily.com

I 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.

April 20th of last year (1998) I wrote a WorldNetDaily column entitled "Big Brother Watching" that referred to a program called, "Echelon". Since then I have seen Echelon stories in a variety of magazines and European newspapers.

The 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.

Lawmakers 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'?"

An 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Then Congressman Barr actually said the word ("Echelon") out loud on the floor of the House for God and everyone to hear.

As 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.

According 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 whom.

I 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.

The 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.

In 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.

Congressman 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."

Concerns 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.

I'm not going to re-write last year's column again, you can check out the link. However, Echelon is the bastard child of the UKUSA Treaty. The primary purpose of the treaty AND Echelon was to maintain perception, and obscure reality.

So, these cousin countries sit down and "in the interest of national security" with a wink and a nod agree to the following:

"Here's 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."

If 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
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.

Sgt Dakota Meyer
US Marine Corps



Corporal 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.