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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

President Signs New Travel Order
        Image: Trump Signs New Travel Order

President Donald Trump on Monday signed a new version of his controversial travel ban, aiming to withstand court challenges while still barring new visas for citizens from six Muslim-majority countries and shutting down the U.S. refugee program.

The revised travel order leaves Iraq off the list of banned countries but still affects would-be visitors from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Libya.

Trump privately signed the new order Monday while Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Attorney General Jeff Sessions formally unveiled the new edict. The low-key rollout was a contrast to the first version of the order, signed in a high-profile ceremony at the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes as Secretary of Defense James Mattis stood by Trump's side.



Kellyanne: Donald Trump has info and intelligence the rest of us do not

               Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser to President Donald Trump, watches during a meeting with parents and teachers, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) ** FILE **

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Monday that President Trump has access to information and intelligence others do not and that “credible news sources” suggested there might be more to look into, after Mr. Trump accused former President Barack Obama over the weekend of tapping phones in Trump Tower during last year’s campaign.

Mr. Trump had tweeted over the weekend: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

Asked how he knows that happened to him, Ms. Conway said: “He’s the president of the United States. He has information and intelligence that the rest of us do not, and that’s the way it should be for presidents.”



Colorado senator facing pressure to back home-state Neil Gorsuch

Sen. Michael Bennet, Colorado Democrat, is facing increasing pressure to support home-state Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, as Republicans try to build support for the nomination among Democrats one-by-one.

The Colorado Springs Gazette called Mr. Bennet’s confirmation vote on Judge Gorsuch a “loyalty test” to the state, while the Denver Post urged the senator not to be tempted to follow fellow Democrats, who want to block whomever President Trump picks.

Mr. Bennet isn’t tipping his hand, waving off a reporter’s questions about the judge and the growing sentiment that he would betray his state by refusing to vote for confirmation.


 
Border wall cost could run $25-million per mile

         Protestors dressed as a diabolical Uncle Sam, on stilts, and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto hold hands as they walk along the border fence in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017. A group of about 30 protestors gathered to paint slogans on the border wall and stage a performance mocking the relationship between Pena and President Donald Trump. The partial message in Spanish behind reads: "Neither delinquents nor illegals, we are international workers." (AP Photo/Christian Torres)

The estimates of President Trump’s proposed border wall run anywhere from $8 million to $25 million a mile, new White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said in a radio interview Monday — though he said no decisions have been made on exactly what the wall will look like.

Mr. Mulvaney, speaking on “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” said they will ask for some money in the next couple of weeks, but the real details on the cost and construction won’t come until they prepare their 2019 budget, which won’t happen for another year.

The director also raised the possibility that much of the new barrier will be fencing, rather than a complete concrete wall stretching the 1,950 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.



Lawmakers expand Russian probe to include Trump's claim of Obama-sanctioned spying

Republican lawmakers said Sunday that they will include President Trump’s explosive claim that the Obama administration engaged in politically driven wiretapping in the congressional probes of Russian campaign meddling.

Rep. Devin Nunes, the California Republican who heads the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said the president’s allegation would be examined as part of the panel’s investigation.

“One of the focus points of the House intelligence committee’s investigation is the U.S. government’s response to actions taken by Russian intelligence agents during the presidential campaign,” Mr. Nunes said. “As such, the committee will make inquiries into whether the government was conducting surveillance activities on any political party’s campaign officials or surrogates, and we will continue to investigate this issue if the evidence warrants it.”



Republicans fine tune plan to dismantle Obamacare


Republicans are racing to put the finishing touches on a health care plan that may need sweetening to avert an ugly clash with conservatives who have blasted the effort as secretive and substandard, as House leaders enter a three-week sink-or-swim stretch for unifying around a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Vice President Mike Pence said the Trump administration and congressional Republican leaders were fine-tuning the plan over the weekend so they can begin to dismantle the Affordable Care Act in “just a matter of days.”

“Let me make you a promise: The Obamacare nightmare is about to end,” he said Friday in an appearance with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan in Janesville, Wisconsin.



Comey Asks DOJ to Reject Trump's Wiretapping Claim


The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, asked the Justice Department this weekend to publicly reject President Trump’s assertion that President Barack Obama ordered the tapping of Mr. Trump’s phones, senior American officials said on Sunday. Mr. Comey has argued that the highly charged claim is false and must be corrected, they said, but the department has not released any such statement.

Mr. Comey, who made the request on Saturday after Mr. Trump leveled his allegation on Twitter, has been working to get the Justice Department to knock down the claim because it falsely insinuates that the F.B.I. broke the law, the officials said.

A spokesman for the F.B.I. declined to comment. Sarah Isgur Flores, the spokeswoman for the Justice Department, also declined to comment.



Japan says North Korean missile launch represents 'new level of threat'

             
North Korea demonstrated its growing military capabilities with the launch of four ballistic missiles Monday, three of which fell into the Sea of Japan, in what Prime Minister Shinzo Abe characterized as “a new level of threat.”

Officials said the North fired the barrage at around 7:34 a.m. Japan time from near North Korea’s Donchang-ri long-range missile site.

The Defense Ministry said they flew about 1,000 km and reached a height of about 260 km, with three of the missiles falling within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, 300 km to 350 km west of the Oga Peninsula in Akita Prefecture. The fourth missile fell near the EEZ, which extends 200 nautical miles (370 km) from Japan’s coastline.
Can US shoot down?
Japan moves to highest alert level
Kremlin worried about NKorean missile drills


NY Post: Obama Allies Out to Destroy Trump


President Donald Trump's foes have "waged a by-any-means-necessary campaign" to throw out the election results, the New York Post charged in an editorial.

"President Trump's claim that his predecessor bugged Trump Tower during the election has sent the media into fits, wondering where on earth he could've gotten such an idea. an editorial in the Post said. "But it's all-too-obvious why Trump would be suspicious."

And the newspaper added: "Officials (likely Obama-era holdovers) have broken the law and leaked what they hoped would be damaging info. Groups tied to Obama have stirred up angry protests against Trump and other Republicans."



Supreme Court Scraps Case on Transgender Bathroom Rights


The Supreme Court is returning a transgender teen's case to a lower court without reaching a decision.

The justices said Monday they have opted not to decide whether federal anti-discrimination law gives high school senior Gavin Grimm the right to use the boys' bathroom in his Virginia school.

The case had been scheduled for argument in late March. Instead, a lower court in Virginia will be tasked with evaluating the federal law known as title IX and the extent to which it applies to transgender students.



Forging a new approach to Iran

As Tehran tests the water, America must stand for regional stability

Even as the Trump administration seeks to designate the Revolutionary Guard as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, Iran continues its blatant defiance of international norms. Promising “roaring missiles” if threatened, Tehran has test fired several ballistic weapons capable of delivering nuclear material in just the past month. A fundamentally weak regime with dated military capabilities, Iran is attempting to call the United States’ bluff, perhaps to gain leverage in any subsequent re-evaluations of the nuclear deal Tehran struck with the Obama administration. Several blistering statements from the White House backed by a round of sanctions presage the administration’s muscular new approach. But if it hopes to secure the region, it must systematically target the core destabilizing activities of the regime.

In a steady stream of denunciations, the White House pledged tougher U.S. action if the mullahs continue to violate international norms through illicit missile tests, making clear that the Obama era of appeasement is over. “Instead of being thankful to the United States for these agreements, Iran is now feeling emboldened,” an official White House statement read. “We are officially putting Iran on notice.” While many Iranian officials dismissed President Trump’s tough talk on the nuclear deal as empty campaign rhetoric, the president’s appointment of fellow anti-regime hardliner Gen. James Mattis demonstrates his intention to deliver.



Value pools and valued patients

Such pools will make health insurance look like what it was before Obamacare

Having just left private practice as an OB/GYN, and fresh off the campaign trail, I have talked to thousands of people about healthcare issues. For more-than 25 years, the most common concern I’ve heard, and have tried to help solve, is from folks who have a preexisting health condition, and must get their health insurance outside of an employer. These folks are worried about losing the coverage they have, if they have any, and fear they won’t be able to replace it in the future.

As we in Congress work to deliver true 21st-century healthcare to the American people, I wanted to address the issue of coverage for folks with preexisting conditions; also called “guaranteed issue,” which ensures that all Americans have access to high-quality, affordable healthcare. Many of us in Congress, and our President, have agreed we must ensure this coverage, and have accepted it as our challenge.


"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.”