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TODAY
Monday January 23rd, 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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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
Trump to pull out of Trans-Pacific Partnership
              President Donald Trump, left, accompanied by Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, center, congratulates White House senior staff during a swearing in ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Trump is expected to sign executive orders Monday that pulls the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and possible unravel other major trade deals, according to multiple reports.

Getting out of TPP, which Mr. Trump said was a “bad deal,” was one of his top campaign pledges and part of the America-first agenda he pledged to put into action in his inaugural address.

With the rejection of TPP, which was first reported by CNN, Mr. Trump put Capitol Hill lawmakers from both parties and and foreign leaders on notice that he was prepared to back up his tough talk on trade.

The trade deal among 12 Pacific Rim countries was the centerpiece of President Obama’s Asia policy and the other countries involved have dreaded a pullout by Mr. Trump.


President's Cabinet picks delayed by Democrats, only two confirmed


Donald Trump got off to the slowest start for any president in modern political history, with just two of his Cabinet picks confirmed so far and Democrats poised to make the process even more painful over the next weeks.

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly were approved in fairly easy votes Friday evening, but Democrats refused to grant a speedy vote to Rep. Mike Pompeo, picked to lead the CIA. Liberal senators are making him sweat for a couple of days, though all sides said he will be approved Monday.

Democrats said the delay was partly about process but also suggested it was payback for Republicans’ refusal to vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court pick and for delaying other Obama Cabinet picks during the later years of his administration.
THE FIRST MONDAY OF TRUMP...
BIGGEST CAMPAIGN PROMISES FACE 'DAY 1' TEST...
MOVES ON TRADE...
GOODBYE, TPP...
Meetings with execs, labor leaders...
Set to battle Republicans on spending cuts...
Trump wants to cut regs by 75% -- or 'maybe more'...


Rex Tillerson nominatsion gains steam

            Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., left, talks with Sen.Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Two key Republicans said Sunday they’ll vote to confirm Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, ending weeks of speculation and making it far more likely he’ll succeed in the upcoming vote.

Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who had reservations about whether Mr. Tillerson would be strong enough on Russia, said in a joint statement that they’re satisfied he’ll be “effective” in pushing for U.S. interests when it comes to relations with President Vladimir Putin.

“The views that Mr. Tillerson has expressed, both privately and publicly during the confirmation process, give us confidence that he will be a champion for a strong and engaged role for America in the world,” they said.


 
Army picks new pistol before Mattis takes charge at Pentagon
Image result for sig sauer p320
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis‘ Senate confirmation hearing dealt with not only the large challenges of Vladimir Putin and the Islamic State, but also one of the smallest items in the U.S. arsenal.

The issue: It has taken the Army an agonizing decade to write the requirements, evaluate the candidates and pick a successor to the 30-year-old Beretta M9 pistol.

Sen. Joni Ernst, Iowa Republican, vented directly to Mr. Mattis, asking how such a simple system could bedevil the Army procurement apparatus. Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, Arizona Republican, had become so frustrated at one point that he issued a special report on the unneeded complexity of buying a sidearm.



Supreme Court Rejects Texas Appeal Over Voter ID Law


The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal by Texas seeking to revive the state's strict Republican-backed voter-identification requirements that a lower court found had a discriminatory effect on black and Hispanic people.

The justices let stand a July 2016 decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that found that the 2011 Texas statute ran afoul of a federal law that bars racial discrimination in elections and directed a lower court to find a way to fix the law's discriminatory effects against minorities.

There were no noted dissents from the high court's decision not to hear the case from any of the eight justices, but Chief Justice John Roberts took the unusual step of issuing a statement explaining why the case was not taken up, noting that litigation on the matter is continuing in lower courts.



Jerusalem Mayor Says Trump 'Serious' About Embassy Move


The mayor of Jerusalem says the Trump administration is "serious" and committed to moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Nir Barkat says that from conversations he's had with those in the new U.S. administration, he knows "they are serious about their intentions."

He also told Army Radio on Monday that "an embassy cannot be moved in one day" — indicating that if and when it goes ahead, the move will take time.



Bill Introduced to End US Membership in UN


A bill has been introduced into Congress that would end U.S. membership in the United Nations, WCNC.com reported on Sunday.

The bill, which is sponsored by Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, would also remove U.N. headquarters from the United States, halt American participation in peacekeeping operations, eliminate diplomatic immunity for U.N. officers or employees, and end U.S. involvement in the World Health Organization. It would take effect two years after it passed.

However, experts say that the bill does not have much of a chance of becoming law, Death and Taxes reported.



FCC soon to be in Republican Pai's hands

President Trump has settled on Republican Ajit Pai as his choice for chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, sources told The Hill Friday.

The move was widely expected and certain to be welcomed by Republican lawmakers.

Look for Pai to hit the ground running as soon as the pick is made official.

Pai is currently a commissioner on the FCC board and an outspoken critic of many of the regulations pushed by former Chairman Tom Wheeler, who stepped down Friday.



Trump's $10 Trillion stimulus plan
The new president takes a hacksaw to the weeds in the federal budget

All of Washington seems to be in cardiac arrest over the news reports late last week that President Donald Trump is planning a budget with $10 trillion of budget cuts over the next decade.

We can only hope and pray that the report is accurate. Let’s also hope that Mr. Trump has the backbone to stick with this plan to staple the stomach of the federal government. This is an enterprise that has been borrowing $1 trillion a year for the past decade and is expected to continue to do so for years and decades to come. The national indebtedness will soon exceed $20 trillion and everyone in Washington is denial about this mestastiszing cancer cell rather than ordering radiation therapy before it kills off the economy.

Why is everyone so shocked about this story that from The Hill newspaper that Mr. Trump wants to take a hacksaw to the overgrown weeds in the federal budget? Time for a chill pill.



The 45 percent tariff
Trump must be realistic in negotiations with China

President Trump’s proposed 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports could leverage significant changes in trade with the Middle Kingdom, but to succeed he must address Beijing more realistically than past presidents.

Since Richard Nixon’s historic trip, U.S. policy has been premised on the notion that offering China wider access to American markets and cooperation in other areas would encourage it to evolve into a western-style market economy with more democratic institutions. A prosperous and more liberal Chinese society would provide a buoyant market for U.S. exports and become more sympathetic toward American security arrangements in the Western Pacific.

That simply has not happened. China limits imports with high tariffs and discriminatory regulations, subsidizes exports with an inexpensive currency and generous credit through state controlled banks, bullies foreign investors, pirates western intellectual property and much more to gain advantages in trade.


"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.”


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