World & National
- Tuesday June 12th, 2018
"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
Trump, Kim Jong-un sign document, pledge to work together for peace
Sanctions to remain until nukes are no longer a factor
After a historic summit that scored North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s
signed pledge committing to “complete denuclearization of the Korean
Peninsula,” President Trump said Tuesday it was a great moment for the
“We are prepared to start a new history and we are prepared to write a
new chapter between our nations,” he told reporters at the summit site
at Capella Hotel.
He ticked off a laundry list of concessions the U.S. won from North Korea:
Mr. Trump said the MIAs and the missile engine site were not on the
negotiating agenda. But he added those items and Mr. Kim quickly agreed.
He stressed that he trusted Mr. Kim to follow through on his
commitments, saying he believe Mr. Kim wanted a better future for the
North Korean people.
Trump sits down with Stephanopoulos...
Announces halt to US-SKorea 'war games'...
Denuclearization details scant...
Back-slapping summit legitimizes Kim, say critics...
Body language reveals nerves...
'It's my honor, we will have terrific relationship'...
DENNIS RODMAN CRYING; WEARS MAGA HAT...
NKorea continues Nazi-style prison camps...
Murky U.S. drone-strike policy threatens to backfire as other nations acquire technology
On the surface, it may sound inconceivable: a foreign nation dispatching
an armed drone to assassinate a fugitive or a political dissident on
But such a scenario may not be as far-fetched as it seems, analysts and legal scholars say.
The rapid proliferation of military drone technology is reaching the
point that other nations — and even non-state actors such as Mexican
drug cartels — could engage in the kinds of deadly strikes that the U.S.
pioneered more than a decade ago and has increased under presidents of
both political parties.
U.S. launching office to identify citizenship cheaters
The U.S. government agency that oversees immigration applications is
launching an office that will focus on identifying Americans who are
suspected of cheating to get their citizenship and seek to strip them of
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director L. Francis Cissna
told The Associated Press in an interview that his agency is hiring
several dozen lawyers and immigration officers to review cases of
immigrants who were ordered deported and are suspected of using fake
identities to later get green cards and citizenship through
Cissna said the cases would be referred to the Department of Justice,
whose attorneys could then seek to remove the immigrants’ citizenship in
civil court proceedings. In some cases, government attorneys could
bring criminal charges related to fraud.
Ready for somebody? Dems lack heir apparent this time
There’s no Ready for Elizabeth super PAC. Nor is there a Prepping for Kamala, Begging for Booker or Salivating for Sanders.
Unlike the run-up to the 2016 campaign, when the Ready for Hillary super
PAC served to stoke Hillary Clinton’s entry into the Democratic
presidential race, there are no candidate-specific PACs forming this
time around to either lay the groundwork for a campaign or to create a
sense of anticipation.
Is this a problem? That depends on which Democrat you ask.
Theresa May's day of Brexit reckoning is coming, sooner or later
This week, British Prime Minister Theresa May faces a moment of truth
over Brexit. After months of debating the detail of the legislation that
will trigger UK withdrawal from the European Union, the House of
Commons will stage crucial votes on Tuesday and Wednesday that will
decide her fate.
Until just a few days ago, it looked like members of Parliament would
overturn key parts of May's Brexit plans -- and in turn wield the power
to bring down her government. Yet now, with just hours to go before the
parliamentary showdown, the Prime Minister looks as though she has
brought her administration back from the brink.
Exactly a year ago, it looked like May did not have long left in office.
She had almost lost a general election she never needed to call,
squandering her Conservative Party's overall majority and forcing her to
rely on the support of the smaller Democratic Unionist Party. Within
days of this electoral calamity, May was heavily criticized for her
response to a genuine disaster -- the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower
that claimed 71 lives.
Lawmakers in Uproar Over Data-Sharing Pacts Between Facebook, Chinese Firms
Facebook’s data-sharing pacts with Chinese device-makers has Capitol
Hill skeptical that CEO Mark Zuckerberg was being fully transparent when
he testified about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, The Hill reported.
The scrutiny was touched off when The New York Times reported Facebook
shared more data with phone companies than it had previously disclosed —
and intensified when Facebook revealed that Huawei was among the
companies that had partnerships for access to user information.
Lawmakers and intelligence officials have been warning for years that
Huawei and other Chinese tech firms are a national security threat due
to their close ties to Beijing, The Hill noted.
Bipartisan Group Asks Defense for Clarity on Yemen Offensive
House lawmakers are circulating a letter calling for Defense Secretary
James Mattis to prevent a "catastrophic" military operation on a key
port in Yemen, The Hill reported Monday.
"We urge you to use all available means to avert a catastrophic military
assault on Yemen's major port city of Hodeida by the Saudi-led
coalition, and to present Congress with immediate clarification
regarding the full scope of U.S. military involvement in that conflict,"
a draft letter from the bipartisan group said, reported The Hill, which
obtained a copy.
The letter is being circulated for signatures by: Reps. Mark Pocan,
D-Wis.; Justin Amash, R-Mich.; Ro Khanna, D-Calif.; Thomas Massie,
R-Ky.; Barbara Lee, D-Calif.; Walter Jones, R-N.C.; and Ted Lieu,
Lagarde Sees Darker Clouds Over World Economy After G-7 Tiff
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the risks to the global
economy are rising as major industrial nations sharpen threats of a
“The clouds on the horizon that we have signaled about six months ago
are getting darker by the day -- and, I was going to say, by the
weekend,” Lagarde said at a news conference in Berlin on Monday.
Her remarks follow a chaotic two-day meeting of the Group of Seven in
which President Donald Trump shocked fellow leaders with his disregard
for U.S. allies. After leaving the summit early, Trump tweeted he was
pulling U.S. support from a joint statement and he accused the host,
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, of being weak and dishonest.
Larry Kudlow expected to make 'full and speedy recovery' after heart attack, White House says
White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow, 70, suffered a heart attack Monday and was hospitalized.
Mr. Kudlow’s wife, Judy, told The Washington Post Monday night that he is “doing fine.”
The White House said late Monday night that Mr. Kudlow “experienced what his doctors say was a very mild heart attack.”
The rumble and the thrilla in Singapore
One hand giveth, the other taketh it away. President Trump, arriving in
Singapore for his man-to-man with Kim Jong-un is, like nearly everyone
else in town, giddy with anticipation.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tried on his arrival to dampen the
euphoria, and succeeded only a little. We haven’t seen a match like this
one since the Rumble in the Jungle or the Thrilla in Manila. But even
Muhammad Ali would have trouble rhyming something sensible with
Singapore (To the floor in Singapore? No giving away the store in
Singapore?) But with 5,000 reporters, correspondents, pundits and
anchormen and Dennis Rodman in town to stir the pot, even to fake it if
all else fails, the Singapore summit quickly took on the air of a
Behind Trump's G-7 Exasperation
At the G-7 summit in Canada, President Donald Trump described America as "the piggy bank that everybody is robbing."
After he left Quebec, his director of Trade and Industrial Policy, Peter
Navarro, added a few parting words for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:
"There's a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in
bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to
stab him in the back on the way out the door. . . . And that's . . .
what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did. And that comes right from Air
"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
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.
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.
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…
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
“The American people must be willing to give up a degree of personal privacy in exchange for safety and security.”
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
acknowledging material I was writing about in 1998
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
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'
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.
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
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
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…