Friday April 21st, 2017

"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
--Geoff Metctalf

Updated
              


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 raises stakes on government shutdown
Demands border wall funds in spending bill
           

The White House said Thursday that it wants to see money for President Trump’s border wall included in the spending bill Congress must pass next week — a demand Democrats said sours negotiations and makes a government shutdown more likely.

The demands mark a reversal for the administration, which had been saying it found enough money to build prototypes this year and wouldn’t need a major infusion of cash until next year.

But White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday that the wall and the money for more immigration agents are priorities.



Fears shroud French election afteer Champs Elysees attack
            

The killing of a policeman on Paris's Champs Elysees claimed by the Islamic State group rocked France's presidential race Friday with just two days to go before voting in the closest election for decades.

Bloodshed had long been feared ahead of Sunday's first round of the election after a string of attacks since 2015, and the shooting propelled the jihadist threat to the fore.

A note praising Islamic State (IS) was found near the body of the 39-year-old French attacker, who shot dead one officer and wounded two others before being killed by police.

UPDATE: AK-47 ambush in Paris...
ISIS 'note'...
Analyst Who Predicted Trump Bets on Le Pen...



New health care bill can be done in a week?
               Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., a member of the House Freedom Caucus whose conservative GOP members derailed the Republican health care bill last week, leaves a closed-door strategy session with Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and the leadership as they try to rebuild unity within the Republican Conference, at the Capitol, in Washington, in this Tuesday, March 28, 2017, file photo. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ** FILE **

Rep. Dave Brat said Friday the GOP can get the new health care bill done in a week.

“It’s not really a new bill,” Mr. Brat, Virginia Republican and a member of the House Freedom Caucus, said on CNN’s “New Day.” “We’re still waiting on the official text.”

Mr. Brat said that after the Republicans’ failed attempt at putting together a replacement plan for Obamacare last month, Vice President Mike Pence came together with House Republicans to work out the issues from the last bill.

“Vice President Pence came over and met with all of us. He had a great compromise. That’s what we’re working on right now is the text of what he said. And if that goes into play, we’re all at yes” Mr. Brat explained.



Ann Coulter rejects Berkeley reschedule offer

Reiterates that she will speak as planned
              FILE - This Feb. 10, 2012 file photo shows conservative commentator Ann Coulter gesturing while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington. The Fox Nation web site has removed a column by conservative commentator Ann Coulter because it had a reference to killing the daughter of Sen. John McCain. Fox said Thursday, April 11, 2013, the column, posted Wednesday night, was deemed offensive. Coulter wrote that MSNBC's Martin Bashir suggested Republican senators need to have a member of their family killed before they would support stronger gun control legislation. She wrote: “Let's start with Meghan McCain!”  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)

Ann Coulter has rejected the University of California’s offer to speak at a protected location on campus, saying the university has no right to remake her plans and comparing it to Jim Crow sheriffs.

On Thursday, the school said it had rescinded the previous day’s cancelation of the event over security fears from leftist rioters, and would have a secure on-campus facility where she could speak May 2. The speech had been planned for April 27.

Miss Coulter was having none of it though, taking to Twitter on Thursday evening to warn her followers “not fall for b.s Berkeley press release claiming they ‘rescinded’ cancelation. They added NEW, more burdensome condition on my const rts.”



Wellesley students advocate hostility on campuses to silence conservates

Conservatives have come to expect that they might be protested, ridiculed and disinvited when they venture to speak on college campuses, but the penalty for telling students something they disagree with has taken a more violent turn.

Buttressed by an ideology that views “hate speech” as violence and its suppression as self-defense, students increasingly are resorting to the destruction of property and assault to keep conservative speakers quiet.

Students at Wellesley College made the intellectual case for using force to stifle free speech in an editorial last week, arguing that “hostility may be warranted” against people who are “given the resources to learn” yet “refuse to adapt their beliefs.”



Emails Show Liberal Effort to Oust O'Reilly

Ousted Fox News host Bill O'Reilly shut down his legal team's last-ditch efforts on his behalf to show proof of a left-wing effort to have him fired, Politico's Joe Pompeo reported.

The legal team for the star host of "The O'Reilly Factor" had in its possession an email from a liberal fundraiser showing her crusade to get O'Reilly ousted from Fox News Channel, Politico reported.


Trump sidesteps direct blame on China as he orders investigation of steel dumping

President Trump triggered an investigation of steel dumping Thursday to learn whether imports from China and other countries threaten U.S. national security, raising the possibility of new tariffs in his first trade move to defend a specific industry.

Surrounded by U.S. steel executives in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump signed a memorandum ordering the Commerce Department to investigate whether imported steel is hurting the production capacity of U.S. manufacturers who are needed for a defense buildup.

“Steel is critical to both our economy and our military,” Mr. Trump said. “This is not an area where we can afford to become dependent on foreign countries.”



US prepares charges to seek arrest of WikiLeaks' Julian Assange

US authorities have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, US officials familiar with the matter tell CNN.

The Justice Department investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks dates to at least 2010, when the site first gained wide attention for posting thousands of files stolen by the former US Army intelligence analyst now known as Chelsea Manning.

Prosecutors have struggled with whether the First Amendment precluded the prosecution of Assange, but now believe they have found a way to move forward.




Freed Egyptian American prisoner returns home following Trmp intervention

An Egyptian American charity worker who was imprisoned in Cairo for three years and became the global face of Egypt’s brutal crackdown on civil society returned home to the United States late Thursday after the Trump administration quietly negotiated her release.

President Trump and his aides worked for several weeks with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi to secure the freedom of Aya Hijazi, 30, a U.S. citizen, as well as her husband, Mohamed Hassanein, who is Egyptian, and four other humanitarian workers. Trump dispatched a U.S. government aircraft to Cairo to bring Hijazi and her family to Washington.



Murdoch sons defang Fox by ousting O'Reilly

The famous bimbo eruptions are back (as if they had ever really gone away), and for once Bubba appears to be in the clear. No new accusations of rude behavior have been lodged against him.

“He’in and she’in” has been going on since the creation of Eden, when the original snake in the grass challenged the doofus Adam for the attentions of the manipulative and comely Eve. The bump and clatter of “he’in and she’in” will no doubt disturb the peace and quiet of the globe long after the feminists and their tort lawyers have been put down for their naps in a thousand and one graveyards.

Bubba, as old-timers will remember, cut such a wide swath of fun and fornication in Arkansas that he summoned his chief of staff, Betsey Ross Wright (born on the Fourth of July) to come with him to Washington to manage what she called “bimbo eruptions.” She was a particularly gifted operator, but she was merely one woman standing athwart a wave of bimbos. She established what the Clinton campaign called “a rapid-response team” to answer the accusations of a legion of women, but the team was not rapid enough, and Bubba was finally brought to his knees by a pretty face framed by a beret, and the rest is history that could be captured in a bad movie. Bubba became an object lesson for what can happen when a libido is uncaged.



Misleading polls and fake news
Media reliance on polls reveals its limited understanding of the American people

Newscasts continue to be filled with references to polling numbers that suggest President Trump and his policies are deeply unpopular, and that the American people overwhelmingly oppose the actions taken by America’s 45th president during his first 100 days in office. In all these stories, news outlets continue to reference traditional polling to measure voter sentiment about Mr. Trump. But this demonstrates their continued refusal to try to understand the priorities of main street Americans and, more importantly, the people who wanted Donald J. Trump to be president and continue to support him.

Almost everyone in the mainstream press wrongly predicted the 2016 election outcome. Months later, the media doesn’t seem to have learned much from its mistakes. While Mr. Trump’s critics recoil at his scattershot executive orders and decry every action his administration takes as “unprecedented” and “terrifying,” his core supporters are cheering the fulfillment of nearly all of the major campaign promises that won him their votes — building a border wall, shrinking the federal bureaucracy, reducing regulations, restricting immigration, putting America first economically, replacing Obamacare, and the list goes on.

We saw the impact of relying too heavily on “big data” in the 2016 presidential election cycle. Mr. Trump’s greatest source of support was non-traditional voters who turned out in droves. Those same populations continue to celebrate his unorthodox actions now, even while still being under-counted in traditional polls.


"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.



3/14/20017

We Have Met the Enemy…

      
Geoff Metcalf
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
              
--Benjamin Franklin
“The American people must be willing to give up a degree of personal privacy in exchange for safety and security.”
              
--Louis Freeh
In 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 (www.nytimes.com/2017/03/09/opinion/the-truth-about-the-wikileaks-cia-cache.html?_r=0) acknowledging material I was writing about in 1998 (http://www.wnd.com/1998/04/6108/ ).

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 (https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ukusa/ ) 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’.

It is 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.

I 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 common goals.

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 country.”

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…