Tuesday February 11th, 2020

"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
--Geoff Metcalf
 Providing an on line Triage of the news since 1997
World & Nation
Bloomberg says black neighborhoods are 'where the real crime is' in newly surfaced audio
Comments came as he defended NYPD 'stop and frisk' policy
              Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg talks with Alabama Democratic Conference chair Joe Reed during the ADC Luncheon at Embassy Suites in Montgomery, Ala., on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Montgomery Advertiser via AP)

A newly surfaced audio recording of Michael Bloomberg in 2015 defending the racially controversial police tactic of “stop and frisk” went viral on Tuesday just as voters headed to the polls in New Hampshire’s presidential primary.

In the recording of a speech that the former New York City mayor gave at the Aspen Institute, Mr. Bloomberg is heard saying that the way to confiscate guns from young black males is to “throw them up against the walls and frisk them.”

“Ninety-five percent of murders — murderers and murder victims — fit one M.O.,” Mr. Bloomberg is heard saying. “You can just take a description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops. They are male, minorities, 16-25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city…. And that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of people that are getting killed.”

Bloomberg on 2015 Audio Clip Defending 'Stop and Frisk'
Bloomberg sweeps town's midnight vote as write-in...
3 of 1st 5 NH Voters Cast Write-Ins for Bloomberg

Klobuchar takes early lead...
Nothing set in stone in Granite State...
'Every Democrat is depressed'...

Pentagon budget to fund revamped Air Force One with new paint job

President Trump’s fiscal year 2021 budget request sets aside more than $800 million for a revamped Air Force One, complete with a new red, white and blue paint job.

Defense Department budget documents include a rendering of the new presidential plane, which will feature a white top half, a darker blue bottom half, and a red stripe through the center.

The words “United States of America” will be emblazoned on the side, as is the case with the current version.

How crucial is New Hampshire win? It depends on whom you ask

In the waning hours before New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary voting begins, Democratic presidential candidates took varied approaches to the expectations game Monday as they look to advance deeper into what could be an extended nominating fight.

Bernie Sanders showed the same confidence he displayed ahead of last week’s Iowa caucuses, which ended with a split decision between the Vermont senator and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana. “If we win here tomorrow, I think we’ve got a path to victory for the Democratic nomination,” Sanders declared in Rindge.

China's coronavirus surpasses death toll from SARS in grim milestone

Calls for response grow more urgent
                  In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping wearing a protective face mask speaks to residents as he inspects the novel coronavirus pneumonia prevention and control work at a neighbourhoods in Beijing, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. China reported a rise in new virus cases on Monday, possibly denting optimism that its disease control measures like isolating major cities might be working, while Japan reported dozens of new cases aboard a quarantined cruise ship. (Pang Xinglei/Xinhua via AP)

The death toll from China’s new virus has exceeded that of the SARS epidemic almost two decades ago, prompting public health authorities and Capitol Hill lawmakers to call for a more urgent global response to the rapidly spreading disease with mysterious roots.

The World Health Organization on Monday reported over 1,000 deaths in mainland China, surpassing the 774 people who died in 2002 and 2003 from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which is in the same family of viruses as the novel coronavirus.

Outside of China, 27 countries and territories have confirmed more than 330 cases of the coronavirus, including suspected cases of “onward transmission” in people who have not stepped foot in China.

Xi's reemergence shows how carefully China is controlling the coronavirus narrative
Coronavirus: Senior Chinese officials 'removed' as death toll hits 1,000
Coronavirus Could Spread Through Pipes in Buildings, Officials Fear

Mitch McConnell on judges: My motto for the year is 'leave no vacancy behind'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is keeping his chamber focused on filling judicial vacancies, with a circuit court judge lined up for confirmation Tuesday.

The Kentucky Republican told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that Senate Republicans have been able to remake the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals so it doesn’t lean so far to the left.

“We’ve changed the Ninth Circuit,” Mr. McConnell said. “My motto for the year is ‘leave no vacancy behind.’ “

Justice Department launches legal assault to roll back sanctuary cities

William Barr says he'll look at criminal charges for 'shielding of aliens'
The Justice Department unleashed a legal assault on sanctuary jurisdictions across the country Monday, filing a new round of civil lawsuits asking judges to overturn the policies, and warning state and city officials they could soon face their own criminal charges for harboring illegal immigrants.

Lawsuits were filed against California, New Jersey and King County, in Washington, each of which has adopted novel ways of interfering with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s ability to arrest, detain and deport illegal immigrants.

Attorney General William P. Barr also said his department is taking a look at state and local prosecutors who pursue lesser charges against illegal immigrants in order to keep their rap sheets cleaner, keeping them off ICE’s radar.

Get over it: 62% of voters now advise Democrats to abandon impeachment efforts

Over half say President Trump actually benefited from the process

American voters are ready to move on following the failed attempt to impeach President Trump, even if Democrats are not.

“Impeachment is over and done with as far as most voters are concerned. The House Democrats’ failed effort to remove President Trump has just made him stronger politically,” said a Rasmussen Reports voter survey released Monday.

It found that 62% of likely U.S. voters say Democrats in Congress should now focus on other issues; 77% of Republicans, 70% of independents and even 43% of Democrats agree with this. Another 32% think the lawmakers should continue their impeachment efforts.

Democrats shoot and miss, so now it's time to give Trump a first term

The most basic rule of bear hunting is: “If you are going to shoot a bear, don’t miss.” Or, as Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, “When you strike at a king, you must kill him.”

Well, Democrats threw every single thing they could think up at President Trump. And missed.

They failed to kill him. Or even bruise or scuff him. They failed to so much as tussle his hair.

Today, he is stronger than he has ever been — stronger than the day he got elected, stronger than the day he took office.

It doesn't take 2020 to see it's Mike Bloomberg and Amy Klobuchar for the Dem ticket

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg would be foolish to choose anyone other than Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota as his running mate in the presidential race.

He’s not foolish.

America needed a manager in 2016 and got one in Donald Trump. Differences in goals and priorities aside, with Mr. Bloomberg, America can have a different manager — and one of considerably more means.

When a newly merged Wall Street investment firm showed him the door in 1981, he used his rainy-day stash of $10 million to help found an outfit that now employs 20,000 people worldwide.
By March 2009, he had turned that $10 million into $16 billion — 1,600 times his original investment.

" 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. 


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.

From the Archives

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 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'.

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 ll target information from the Eurv opean 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…