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TODAY
Friday August 12th, 2022

"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
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World & Nation

Trump says he won’t oppose releasing search warrant documents

                         An aerial view of President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate is seen Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla. The FBI searched Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence, people familiar with the matter said Monday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Former President Donald Trump said late Thursday that the warrant authorizing the FBI to search his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida should be publicly released.

Responding to Attorney General Merrick Garland’s request for a federal court earlier Thursday to unseal parts of the warrant, Mr. Trump said in a statement: “Release the documents now!”

“Not only will I not oppose the release of documents related to the unAmerican, unwarranted, and unnecessary raid … I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents,” he said.

The former president said he wants the documents released “even though they have been drawn up by radical left Democrats and possible future political opponents, who have a strong and powerful vested interest in attacking me, much as they have done for the last 6 years.”



New coalition fights Biden’s plan for LGBTQ rewrite of education rights: ‘We will block this’
                           
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks at an event at the department's headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, June 2, 2022, in this file photo. Mr. Cardona's agency has told student loan providers not to contact borrowers about resuming payments with just over a month before the moratorium is supposed to end on Aug 31. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)  **FILE**

More than 140 advocacy groups formed a new coalition to stop the Biden administration’s proposed rewrite of regulations banning sex discrimination in education, saying the new LGBTQ-slant to the rules will harm children and limit parental rights. 

The fight is over defining sex or expanding the definition to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Biden administration says a new, broader definition of sex is needed to protect LGBTQ students, but opponents warn it will curtail free speech and diminish due process for students on college campuses.



Biden administration abolishes ICE labor union

                                         A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer is shown in this file photo. (Associated Press)  **FILE**

The Biden administration delivered a death sentence Thursday to the labor organization that represents thousands of employees at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Federal Labor Relations Authority’s decision erases the National ICE Council and leaves its 7,600 members, mostly deportation officers, without a collective bargaining agreement or union representation, members said.

The move also dents a prominent critic of both the administration and the American Federation of Government Employees, the umbrella union that included the ICE Council.

AFGE moved to “disclaim” the ICE employees this summer after the council filed a complaint claiming gross mismanagement and hostile intentions at AFGE. AFGE President Everett Kelley said the ICE Council wasn’t a good partner in the labor movement.



PUTIN UP A FIGHT Ukraine news LATEST: Madman Vladimir Putin’s failing invasion ‘unlikely to succeed’ after ‘significant’ losses says UK

THE UK has declared Vladimir Putin is now unlikely to succeed in his illegal invasion of Ukraine - and revealed Russia's devastating losses.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace said that Russia's invasion of Ukraine had "faltered" and was "starting to fail", as he pledged more financial and military support to the eastern European nation's defence.

Denmark joined the UK in offering more aid to Ukraine at a conference in Copenhagen on Thursday, co-hosted by Mr Wallace.

The Defence Secretary said it was important to understand that fighting and loss of life was still taking place, but added Russia was "starting to fail in many areas".



U.S. says Bolton murder plot not enough to call off talks for new nuclear deal with Iran

                                  In this photo released by the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Enrique Mora, a leading European Union diplomat, second right, attends a meeting with Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani, third left, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, March 27, 2022. Mora held talks in Tehran amid hopes that an agreement to restore Iran's tattered nuclear deal with world powers could be completed. Others are unidetified. (Iranian Foreign Ministry via AP)

Not even a plot to assassinate former top U.S. officials on American soil will derail the Biden administration’s push for a renewed nuclear deal with Iran.

The State Department on Thursday stood behind the effort to strike a new pact with Tehran to limit the country’s nuclear weapons program. A top diplomatic spokesperson told reporters that Washington is prepared to “immediately” implement an agreement if Iran drops several of its demands.

“This administration has been clear that it will ensure Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon, and we believe the best path to achieving that goal is through diplomacy,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters. “And as long as we believe pursuing a [new nuclear deal] that is in U.S. national security interests, we’re going to continue to do so.”

He made the comments just 24 hours after the Justice Department charged a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) with plotting to kill former White House National Security Adviser John Bolton, an outspoken Iran hawk who has long been a thorn in the side of the Islamic republic. The assassination plot also reportedly targeted Mike Pompeo, who served as secretary of state under President Trump.



CDC drops quarantine, screening, 6 feet spacing recommendations for COVID


The nation’s top public health agency relaxed its COVID-19 guidelines Thursday, dropping the recommendation that Americans quarantine themselves if they come into close contact with an infected person.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said people no longer need to stay at least 6 feet away from others.

The changes, which come more than 2 years after the start of the pandemic, are driven by a recognition that an estimated 95% of Americans 16 and older have acquired some level of immunity, either from being vaccinated or infected, agency officials said.



Satellite images show Russian warplanes destroyed in Crimea; Latvia names Russia a terrorism sponsor

Russia continues its offensive in Ukraine's south and east, while Ukrainian counter-measures far behind enemy lines gain traction. Most notable is its suspected attack on Russian warplanes earlier this week at an airbase in Crimea.

Satellite images reveal at least eight Russian planes damaged or destroyed by explosions that hit the base on Tuesday, contrary to Moscow's denials that any aircraft was harmed.

Concerns continue to mount over the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. Meanwhile, Britain's Ministry of Defense says Russia's arms export industry is under strain.



New York Scraps 'Inmate' in State Law Over Word's Stigma

New York has amended several state laws to remove the word “inmate” and replace it with “incarcerated person” to refer to people serving prison time.

The changes, signed into law Monday by Gov. Kathy Hochul, are intended to reduce the stigma of being in jail. Prison reform advocates have said the term “inmate” has a dehumanizing effect. Prisoners say it can feel degrading when jail guards refer to them as inmates, especially in front of their families during in-person visits.

“Language matters,” said state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, a Bronx Democrat who sponsored the bill. “This is another concrete step our state is taking to make our criminal justice system one that focuses on rehabilitation, rather than relying solely on punishment.”



Ukraine, Russia trade blame for risk of nuclear disaster at frontline plant


Ukraine and Russia accused each other on Friday of risking nuclear disaster by shelling Europe's largest nuclear power plant, occupied by Russian forces in a region expected to become one of the next big front lines of the war.

Western countries have called for Moscow to withdraw its troops from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, and the United Nations called on Thursday for it to be declared a demilitarised zone. But there has been no sign so far of Russia agreeing to move its troops out of the facility they seized in March.

The plant dominates the south bank of a vast reservoir on the Dnipro river that cuts across southern Ukraine. Ukrainian forces controlling the towns and cities on the opposite bank have come under intense bombardment from the Russian-held side.

Three civilians, including a boy, were wounded in overnight shelling of one of those towns, Marhanets, Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, said in the latest in a string of similar reports.


More Top News



If you thought the Trump raid was a fiasco, turns out you were right

The FBI truly thought this wasn't going to be a big deal. Whoops.

So they did blunder.

The Justice Department and FBI did not understand what they were doing when they ran 30 federal agents and technicians up the gut of Mar-a-Lago Club and into the living quarters of a former president of the United States.

They didn’t understand what was instantly obvious to longtime ABC and CBS newsman Jeff Greenfield – that they had engineered a “100 Megaton event.”

We know they blundered not from Attorney General Merrick Garland, who has gone into seclusion on this issue.

We know it not from FBI Director Christopher Wray, whose only comments were to decry the death threats against his agents.



Biden must stop the diplomatic babble and force Iran to release American hostages


President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are fond of saying that human rights are at the center of the administration’s foreign policy, but after nearly 18 months in office, Americans are still being held hostage in the Iranian prisons where they found themselves on Jan. 20, 2021. Hostage-taking is a violation of the fundamental principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and, according to the president, a threat to U.S. national security. But the rhetoric, strategy and policy positions of the Biden administration are dangerously out of alignment.

Last month, the White House determined that hostage-taking is a “national emergency” posing “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States.” Yet President Biden has not taken the necessary steps to bring Americans home from Iran or to stop Iran from taking Americans hostage in the future. Instead, the Biden administration has been serving a steady diet of half-measures and diplomatic babble in which no firm commitments are made.

Rather than demanding that Iran release its hostages — including the remains of Robert Levinson — and formally renounce future hostage-taking as a condition for resuscitating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Biden administration has been working in overdrive since its first days in office to restore the original Iran nuclear deal. The 2015 agreement did not secure the release of all hostages who were held at that time or create assurances that the policy of hostage-taking that Iran launched in 1979 would finally end — and while the U.S. was a party to the deal, Iran took more Americans hostage. Reporting on the details of the “final” deal designed by the European Union that is under consideration in Washington and Tehran indicates that it similarly leaves behind the hostages.


" 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
Bill Conveys Special Honor to Last WWII Medal of Honor Recipient ...
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.


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 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 th 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.”



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