The Council Has Spoken!! This Week’s Watcher’s Council Results – 07/19/13

The Watcher’s Council

Alea iacta est… the Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and we have the results for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

This week’s winner, The Right Planet’s The Closest I’’ve Ever Come to War, is that rare thing, a personal narrative that hits home as Sard takes a look at war and the military and examines his feelings about something he’s never personally experienced based on those he’s known and loved. Here’s a slice:

I’ve been thinking about war a lot lately. I’ve never been to war–never fought in combat. I’ve never been in the military, either. But I’ve been thinking a lot about all my family members and friends who have. When I sat down and thought about it, there’s been quite a few people I’ve known who have been to war.

One man who I idolized and adored growing up was my Granddad. He was a real American hero. Granddad flew 39 missions over Nazi Europe during WWII as a flight engineer on a B-17 bomber and was shot down over Memmingen, Germany, in 1944. He ended up spending a year in a German Stalag. But he survived his experience and came home and raised a family and lived the American dream, albeit modestly, but richly.

He had a huge impact on my life. I am so blessed to have known him. I realize most of us are partial to our own. But Granddad was truly a special person. Despite the hardships and toil he endured growing up during the Great Depression, and his honorable service to our nation during its darkest hour, he was kind and gentle to everyone he met, yet calmly firm.

One moment with him stands out in my mind, as if it happened yesterday.

When I was a kid, my parents and I would spend some summers in Indiana with my Grandparents. Now, my Granddad smoked. Many did back in that day. It was actually socially acceptable to smoke cigarettes back then. So, he asked me if I would like to go up to the gas station and get some gas and cigarettes, and then get some breakfast. I was only about nine years old at the time. Of course I agreed!

We stopped by the gas station then headed over to a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant he liked to frequent. We were led to a table by a young waitress. Now, for some reason, I remember very vividly the expression on the waitress’ face. She looked sad–depressed–not happy at all. But the one thing about my Granddad was he would always treat you as if you were the only person in the room.

Granddad looked at the young woman square in the eyes, smiled, and said, “How are you!?” Writing that in words really doesn’t do it justice. When he asked you how you were, he truly meant it. He really wanted to know how she was doing. He cared. It wasn’t an act. He proceeded to ask her about her day and displayed an amazing warmth and concern for her plight. It warmed up the whole room. Her reaction was one I will never forget: her face lightened, almost glowed, and slight smile appeared, then a full one. He treated her like a queen. It was obvious to me, even at such a young age, that he had done something very good–very good, indeed.

Granddad never treated people like dirt. He truly respected the dignity of all people. He didn’t shout and quarrel. I often wonder if it was because he had seen so much suffering in his life that he deeply valued good relationships with others, no matter their station in life. He had seen all the wretchedness of what man’s hate can bring forth. He wanted no part of it. But he was a fighter. You better bet your bottom dollar on that! He knew the true cost of hate and rage. He knew life wasn’t a game. He didn’t have to prove it, he already had.

In our non-Council category, the winner by a nose was Mark Steyn with A Dagger at the Heart of Justice, submitted by The Razor. It’s Steyn’s trenchant examination of the hype versus the reality of the Zimmerman trial and what the stakes actually were. Do read it.

Okay, here are this week’s full results. Only Bookworm Room was unable to vote, but was not subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited special guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day with short takes and weigh in… don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!


Internet Giants Push Back at Obama in Open Letter

By: Arlen Williams
Gulag Bound


The first site in which I have seen this letter is Human Rights Watch, so it is linked there. As one might expect, it is an exercise in delicacy, but with significant direct, indirect, and symbolic meanings. How much of it is sincere and how much is “CYA” is an open question for each of the numerous signers.

It happens to put any who have demurred from signing it “on the spot,” as well and one may be confident it all gives meat to the press, for follow-up (if the press still does that, at least at times when the powers that be are divided). One imagines many journalists checking with their bosses and so on up the scale, to see how it should be pursued. But, who is at the top(s) of those scales, really?

Do see the other critical items in Gulag on the topic of “Technocracy.”


Joint Letter to Obama Administration and Congress on Surveillance and Transparency

July 18, 2013

We the undersigned are writing to urge greater transparency around national security-related requests by the US government to Internet, telephone, and web-based service providers for information about their users and subscribers. First, the US government should ensure that those companies who are entrusted with the privacy and security of their users’ data are allowed to regularly report statistics reflecting:

  • The number of government requests for information about their users made under specific legal authorities such as Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, the various National Security Letter (NSL) statutes, and others;
  • The number of individuals, accounts, or devices for which information was requested under each authority; and
  • The number of requests under each authority that sought communications content, basic subscriber information, and/or other information.

Second, the government should also augment the annual reporting that is already required by statute by issuing its own regular “transparency report” providing the same information: the total number of requests under specific authorities for specific types of data, and the number of individuals affected by each.

As an initial step, we request that the Department of Justice, on behalf of the relevant executive branch agencies, agree that Internet, telephone, and web-based service providers may publish specific numbers regarding government requests authorized under specific national security authorities, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the NSL statutes. We further urge Congress to pass legislation requiring comprehensive transparency reporting by the federal government and clearly allowing for transparency reporting by companies without requiring companies to first seek permission from the government or the FISA Court.

Basic information about how the government uses its various law enforcement–related investigative authorities has been published for years without any apparent disruption to criminal investigations. We seek permission for the same information to be made available regarding the government’s national security–related authorities.

This information about how and how often the government is using these legal authorities is important to the American people, who are entitled to have an informed public debate about the appropriateness of those authorities and their use, and to international users of US-based service providers who are concerned about the privacy and security of their communications.

Just as the United States has long been an innovator when it comes to the Internet and products and services that rely upon the Internet, so too should it be an innovator when it comes to creating mechanisms to ensure that government is transparent, accountable, and respectful of civil liberties and human rights. We look forward to working with you to set a standard for transparency reporting that can serve as a positive example for governments across the globe.

Thank you.

Apple Inc.

Boston Common Asset Management
Domini Social Investments
F&C Asset Management Plc
New Atlantic Ventures
Union SquareVentures
Y Combinator

Nonprofit Organizations & Trade Associations
American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
American Civil Liberties Union
American Library Association
American Society of News Editors
Americans for Tax Reform
Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School
Center for Democracy & Technology
Center for Effective Government
Committee to Protect Journalists
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Computer & Communications Industry Association
The Constitution Project
Demand Progress
Electronic Frontier Foundation
First Amendment Coalition
Foundation for Innovation and Internet Freedom
Freedom to Read Foundation
Global Network Initiative
Human Rights Watch
Internet Association
Liberty Coalition
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
National Coalition against Censorship
New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute
Project on Government Oversight
Public Knowledge
Reporters Committee for Freedom Of The Press
Reporters Without Borders
Wikimedia Foundation
World Press Freedom Committee


Larry Grathwohl – RIP American Hero

By: James Simpson
PJ Media

America is a smaller place today. Larry Grathwohl, one of America’s truly unsung heroes, has died. He will be missed. Readers may recognize Larry’s name as the only informant to successfully penetrate Bill Ayers’ communist Weather Underground Organization (WUO). He wrote a book about his experiences, Bringing America Down: An FBI Informer with the Weathermen, re-released this spring.

During the run up to the 2008 election, an interview with Larry surfaced in which he described a meeting he attended where Ayers and company discussed how they would have to murder an estimated 25 million people following the revolution they were then attempting to foment. You can still see that interview, here:

Despite making the rounds of Fox talk shows and earning extensive write-ups in the blogosphere, Larry’s story was suppressed in the extremist left, Obama-promoting mass media. But why not, according to Obama, he was just a “guy who lives in my neighborhood.”

Sure. Nothing to see here, move along now…

Most people are also unaware of just what kind of fighter we had in Larry Grathwohl. During the Vietnam War, Larry was a member of a Hatchet Force unit of the 101st Airborne Division. This small force of 40 or fewer men was sent in to rescue other Special Operators in trouble and/or challenge the Vietnamese Communist forces operating in the area. They were among the toughest of the tough. Larry was an utterly fearless, dedicated patriot.

He carried that fearlessness and patriotic dedication into his undercover work, which started with the Cincinnati police – on a strictly voluntary basis while he held down a full-time job and tried to raise a family – and ultimately led to his work for the FBI. He testified before the U.S. Senate in 1974 about WUO operations, including naming Dohrn as the person responsible for a deadly bombing. Despite his unimpeachable testimony, Ayers and Dohrn were able to squirm out of convictions for their treason and murder on a technicality.

Most people are unaware that Ayers and Dohrn were under control of Cuban intelligence, along with fellow comrades Mark Rudd, Carl Davidson and others, during their Weather Underground days, according to declassified government documents. So Ayers was even more than just a communist terrorist – as though that weren’t enough. He was an active traitor working on behalf of our sworn enemies during wartime. WUO activities at the time included multiple bombings, plans to bomb passenger airplanes and plans to assassinate the President, Vice President, Attorney General and New York Governor Rockefeller.

And while he is feted these days as a “distinguished professor” Ayers retains his communist ideology and continues to regularly hobnob with enemies of our country. It would be interesting to know if he still has Cuban handlers. Not likely to find out – or maybe he doesn’t even need them anymore – with the Cuban terrorist sympathizing Eric Holder running the DOJ, and Ayers’ Marxist friend, Barack Obama, in the White House.

Larry, however, never gave them a break. On his own dime, he would travel to seminars where Ayers and Dohrn were scheduled to speak, and wait his turn to challenge them about their endless lies and participation in terrorism and murder. Most of the time, the gutless Ayers ducked out of the building before Larry could confront him. But Larry never gave up trying.

He also participated in an ongoing, years-long effort to reopen the murder investigation of Police Sergeant Brian V. McDonnell, who died in the 1970 San Francisco Park Station bombing. The San Francisco Police union has joined in this effort. This bombing was carried out by the WUO, and according to Grathwohl, Ayers implicated Dohrn when he complained of certain members’ lack of commitment to the cause, explaining that Dohrn had to do the bombing herself:

As soon as we had all assembled, Bill began a criticism session of myself and my associates for having spent too much time preparing for actions (bombings) and not doing anything. He reminded us of the commitment all of us had made to the overthrow of the U.S. government at the National Council Meeting in Flint the previous December and how our inactivity was harming the Cubans, the Vietnamese and the Chinese. Bill went on to describe how Bernardine Dorhn, a Weather Underground central committee member and considered the leader of the Weather Underground, had to plan and commit the bombing of the Park Station in San Francisco. This bomb contained fence staples and was placed on a window ledge during a shift change ensuring the presence of the greatest number of police officers and the greatest possibility of death and injury. Several Police Officers were injured and one, Sergeant McDonnell, was killed by fence staples used in the bomb.

Grathwohl also challenged other WUO members about their participation in terrorism. In an interesting exchange at a recent seminar, Mark Rudd referred to Bernardine Dohrn offhandedly when asked about his participation in murder. “I don’t think the issue of my relationship to Bernardine Dohrn is what’s at stake here. Rudd defends himself, but there was no reason to mention her name specifically except in reference to WUO violence.

There is no statute of limitations on murder, and while that is unlikely to motivate the FBI right now, under a loyal, patriotic administration, such an investigation could be resumed. In the meantime, a significant amount of corroborating evidence has surfaced, including extensive photos of the San Francisco WUO bomb factory where the Park Station bomb was likely constructed. Larry never missed an opportunity to talk about it.

In the video below, Larry talks about how a 2012 Robert Redford movie “The Company You Keep” absurdly romanticizes the Weather Underground. But there was nothing romantic about this group. Bill Ayers’ manifesto, Prairie Fire, spelling out the WUO’s determination to bring communist revolution to America, makes that unambiguous. George Soros now controls the documentary portion of Redford’s Sundance Institute. Larry places this absurd propaganda film in the context of the Weather Underground’s extensive campaign of bombing and terror, which killed and injured many people.

Larry dedicated the better part of his life to seeing these despicable traitors brought to the justice they so richly deserve, and he paid heavily for it. It is a sad day in America when such a true hero dies in obscurity, while one of our very worst is feted in the cocktail circuit, lives high on the hog as a parasite on America’s back, and spends his every waking moment trying to destroy the country that could produce such men as Larry.

At the end of his Weathermen chronicle, Fugitive Days, Ayers states, “Guilty as Hell, free as a bird – it’s a great country.” If there is any justice, Ayers and Dohrn will ultimately reward Larry’s sacrifices by facing prosecution for their crimes in this world. Either way, they will certainly face a horrible reckoning in the next.

Goodbye Larry; friend, compatriot, hero. America is a smaller place today.


Steve King Nails Grover on Immigration

By: Trevor Loudon
New Zeal

Steve King

Steve King

Republican Party power broker Grover Norquist backs the Senate’s Shamnesty Bill. Iowa Congressman Steve King opposes it. Norquist has been criticizing King for his principled stand for the rule of law and border integrity.

Steve King doesn’t take that sort of crap lying down.

“The members who are standing up and opposing amnesty are the ones who are keeping their oath of office and adhering to the rule of law — and they understand what happens in a civilization if you reward people for breaking the law, you get more lawbreakers…”

More broadly, the congressman says the immigration debate has created three groups of supporters in the United States.

“First, there are the elitists,” King begins. “Elitists see that they should have access to cheap labor to clean their homes, mow their lawns, and take care of their gardens. The second group is Democratic power brokers. They see a tremendous advantage to the Democratic Party that turns us into a one-party system if they do what they’re trying to do with the Gang of Eight bill in the Senate.

“And the third group is those employers of illegals who benefit from cheap labor at the expense of the taxpayers who are subsidizing them through welfare programs. If you want to support the elitists or Democratic powerbrokers or employers of illegal labor, then support of the Gang of Eight, listen to Grover, listen to Karl Rove,” King says, referring to the GOP strategist, who also supports immigration reform.

“If you want to defend the Constitution, the rule of law, and preserve a better destiny for the United States of America — where individuals can make a living with their hands, their backs, their minds, standing on their own two feet — then stand with me.”

Its people like Steve King who make the GOP worth saving from its near terminal idiocy.


Larry Grathwohl: May You Be Remembered for Your Heroism

*** NoisyRoom Note: Larry Grathwohl was a truly unsung hero, larger than life and was a true patriot. A compatriot and someone I genuinely admired, he will be sorely missed. I mourn his tragic early passing and cherish all his past work and insight. Rest in peace Larry, we’ll see you in a little while.

By: Trevor Loudon
New Zeal


I just learned this morning that my friend and colleague Larry Grathwohl has passed away at home.

At 67 Larry was a comparatively young man. His death is a huge loss to his immediate family and to his wider family in the freedom movement.

Larry Grathwohl fought for freedom in three main phases.

Firstly he bravely served his country in Vietnam.

Secondly Larry infiltrated the infamous Weather Underground, as an undercover informant for the FBI – the only person ever to do so, as far as I know. Larry’s intelligence reports stopped many acts of violence and saved many lives during this time.

Thirdly and most importantly, Larry, in conjunction with Cliff Kincaid of America’s Survival, Jim Pera, Tina Trent and others, has spent the last several years sounding the alarm to his fellow Americans. The Weather Underground may be no more, but many of its former cadre and many more of its admirers, are now very influential people.

Larry Grathwol, Weathermen War Council

Larry Grathwol, center. Weathermen War Council

Larry recognized early on that his old Weather “comrades” Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, had the ear of the future President Barack Obama. He saw others like Jeff Jones helping to write President Obama’s first stimulus package. He saw many of his old “comrades” including Ayers, Dohrn, Jones and Mark Rudd play key roles in the movement that brought Obama to power. He saw countless old ’60s radicals moving into positions of authority all over the country. Larry understood that even though most Americans had forgotten their revolutionary agenda, they themselves had not.

Larry did everything he could in his last years to awaken America. He spoke at conferences and public meetings, did countless interviews and recently re-released his 1976 book Bringing Down America: An FBI Informer With the Weathermen.

I was looking forward to traveling and speaking in Georgia in my upcoming tour.

Larry was a good guy and a great friend. He was smart, witty, fun, loyal and very, very brave.

He did a lot of service to the country he loved and lived the values he held dear.

My sympathies to his family. I know you are all rightly proud of Larry Grathwol.