Wednesday December 6th, 2017
"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
--Geoff Metctalf

Updated hrs

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


Team Obama attempted 'stealth coup' by undermining Trump
                Image result for team obama mueller clapper

From the moment Donald Trump secured the Republican nomination and then the presidency, national security officials under President Obama have shown themselves to be intense adversaries in public and behind the scenes.

In the latest development, special counsel Robert Mueller’s top-gun prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, praised acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a Trump nemesis, for refusing a White House order to defend the president’s travel ban on Muslim-majority countries, according to internal emails.

Mr. Weissmann made it clear whose side he was on.

“I am so proud,” Mr. Weissmann wrote to Ms. Yates when he was the head of the Obama Justice Department’s criminal fraud division. “And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respect.”



Democratic Senators Turn on Al Franken
           

TEN senators on Wednesday called on fellow Democrat Al Franken to resign, in a jaw-dropping avalanche of statements addressing the latest allegations against the Minnesota senator.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand kicked things off, publishing a post on Facebook aptly titled “Senator Franken Should Step Aside” (read here). Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Patty Murray of Washington, Kamala Harris of California, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Joe Donnelly of Indiana all followed suit.

This comes on the heels of yet another woman coming forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Franken, which he has denied as “categorically not true.”

Gillibrand’s Facebook statement says that while she has considered Franken a friend, “this moment of reckoning about our friends and colleagues who have been accused of sexual misconduct is necessary, and it is painful.”
    Democrats line up to call for Franken to Quit
    Another Franken Accussor



Former president credits himself for strong economy


Former President Barack Obama is taking credit for the robust economic growth that is taking place under President Trump.

At a conference of mayors in Chicago, Mr. Obama congratulated himself Tuesday for strong employment numbers in the U.S. this year, saying his climate-change policies have contributed to growth.

“As we took these actions, we saw the U.S. economy grow consistently,” Mr. Obama said. “We saw the longest streak of job creation in American history by far, a streak that still continues by the way.”

He added wryly, “Thanks, Obama.”



Trump presses ahead with plan to move Israel embassy to Jerusalem

Palestinians, Arab leaders warn of backlash, violence
                Warnings Intensify as Trump Readies Jerusalem Declaration

President Trump will announce Wednesday that the U.S. government recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a risky and diplomatically fraught decision that will put in motion his plans to move the U.S. Embassy to the divided ancient city over the heated objections of the Palestinians and other leaders across the Arab world and in Europe.

Mr. Trump informed Middle East leaders of his decision in separate phone calls Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and others.

Senior administration officials said Tuesday night that Mr. Trump’s action is a “recognition of reality” that Jerusalem is the cultural and civic heart of Israel, historically and in modern times. They said his move, which fulfills a campaign promise, should not have an impact on the prospects for reviving peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians aimed at a two-state solution.



White House knocks down report Mueller subpoenaed Trump's Deutsche Bank records


The White House has refuted reports that special counsel Robert Mueller ordered Germany’s Deutsche Bank to surrender President Trump’s banking records.

The news rocked Washington on Tuesday as speculation ran rampant that Mr. Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling was now directly focused on Mr. Trump — and specifically his long and complicated history as a real estate developer.

But Mr. Trump’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, refuted Tuesday’s report by the German business newspaper Handelsblatt, which detailed how Mr. Trump’s largest lender had received a subpoena several weeks ago from Mr. Mueller, though the newspaper said it wasn’t clear whether the account data sought was about Mr. Trump or his associates.

“No subpoena has been issued or received,” Mr. Sekulow said. “We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources.”



Trump: Government Shutdown Could Happen Saturday
 
President Donald Trump says a government shutdown "could happen" Saturday, and he is blaming it on Democrats' stance on immigration.

Speaking Wednesday before a Cabinet meeting, Trump blamed Democrats for opposing his border security and hardline immigration plans. He says they are "looking at something that is dangerous for our country."

Some Democrats have called for a legislative fix for those previously covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program before Trump canceled it earlier this year.




How Trump turned tide of illegal immigration in first year
Border crossing hits 45-year low

Illegal border crossing tumbled to a 45-year low and interior arrests of illegal immigrants soared in 2017, according to data released Tuesday that showed President Trump’s enforcement crackdown netted tangible results during his first year on the job.

The numbers, released by the Department of Homeland Security, reflected a stunning turnaround from the nearly nonexistent interior enforcement of immigration laws under President Obama.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported 310,531 apprehensions nationwide in fiscal 2017, which ended Sept. 30, a decline of 25 percent from a year earlier and the lowest level since 1971.



Bill O'Reilly: America Needs a Press It Can Trust
 
To say that American journalism is under intense scrutiny doesn't even come close to describing the disarray existing inside many national news operations. The most vivid example of that statement is ABC News suspending high-profile investigative reporter Brian Ross because he erroneously reported that, as a candidate, Donald Trump ordered members of his staff to coordinate with Russian operatives.

Mr. Ross has no evidence to back that up. Instead, he relied on anonymous sources who apparently misled him.

The president of ABC News, James Goldston, is well aware of the damage Mr. Ross' mistake has done to his operation. But Mr. Goldston must know that ABC News has programs like "The" View on the air which besmirch honest journalism on a daily basis.



More gun safety regulations won't help when bureaucrats are unaccountable


We know the Nov. 5 Texas church shooting massacre should never have happened. Because we can never expect a moral position from a monster who would do that, as a nation we have regulations and laws in place that should have prevented the previously convicted domestic batterer from buying his firearms.

But those laws failed when bureaucrats in the military failed to do the thing that bureaucrats are supposed to do best: follow procedure.

Now we know the Air Force’s failure to submit shooter Devin Kelley’s court-martial to the FBI was not a one-off mistake; instead, it is apparently quite common for the military as a whole.



Restoring a light touch to Internet regulations

Over the last two weeks, there has been a vigorous debate about internet regulation. Under the plan I recently proposed, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would restore internet freedom by rolling back heavy-handed government regulations imposed during the Obama administration. Some have tried to whip Americans into a frenzy by making outlandish claims. Feeding the hysteria are silly accusations that the plan will “end the internet as we know it” or threaten American democracy itself.

These claims obscure a pretty mundane truth: This plan would simply restore the successful, light-touch regulatory framework that governed the internet from 1996 to 2015. And importantly, it would get the government out of the business of micromanaging the internet.

"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…