Friday September 23, 2022

"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
--Geoff Metcalf
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World & Nation

Voters back GOP governors in migrant busing showdown

Americans say sanctuary cities are 'hypocritical' for complaining about new arrivals
                                 Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, in Miami. On Friday, Sept. 23, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly claiming that Florida ranks 9th in the U.S. for teacher pay. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

Most voters say GOP governors were justified in shipping illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities, according to new polling that shows Americans felt the states had no choice but to share the pain of the current chaos at the border.

By a two-to-one margin, voters said the Biden administration‘s failure to secure the border is a bigger problem than the governors’ shipping of migrants.

And more than 60% of voters said it was “hypocritical” of sanctuaries like Washington, Chicago and New York to complain about the migrants being bused to them, according to polling done earlier this week by RMG Research for the American First Policy Institute, a conservative think tank led by former Trump administration leaders.



Russia partners like China and India expressing concerns over Ukraine
May have forced Putin's hand and driven him to try and end the war quickly, Russia scholar says

                               
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pose for a photo shaking hands prior to their talks on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Friday, Sept. 16, 2022. Alexandr Demyanchuk, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo/Associated Press

Some of Putin's global partners expressed concerns about his war in Ukraine last week.

Days later, Putin escalated the war by announcing military mobilization and threatening nuclear warfare.

A Russia expert told Insider Putin may have acted out of fear of straining relationships with nations like China and India.

Russian President Vladimir Putin escalated his unprovoked war on Ukraine this week, just days after some of his supposed partners publicly expressed doubt over it — and the events may well be related.

Since invading Ukraine in February, Russia has been shunned by much of the world and faced crippling sanctions from the West. But as Russia grew more isolated, some nations have either stood by Putin or avoided directly condemning him.

Russian state TV tells viewers nuke war likely...
Risk of unprecedented disaster...
Vlads tests 'Chernobyl missile' with unlimited range...
Likely to be 'killed' by own generals if tries to use...
USA privately warns...
Traffic jams and desperation as more flee...
'Army of Zombies Leading Us to Hell'...
Moscow-held regions in 'sham' annex vote...
Ukraine Holds Steady...



US Has Been Privately Warning Russia Against Using Nukes


While President Joe Biden has kept public statements strategically ambiguous about the consequences of Russian use of nuclear weapons, the administration has been sending private messages to Russian leadership for several months.

Those messages have warned of the grave consequences of the use of tactical, battlefield nukes and smaller precision nuclear weapons Russia would deploy to escalate to de-escalate the war effort in Ukraine, sources told The Washington Post.

Keeping U.S. retaliatory actions vague is intended to be a nuclear deterrence to Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine that began Feb. 24.

There are not specific details of whether those private messages were sent after Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested everything is on the table – and is not "bluffing" – as he attempts to regain lost ground in eastern Ukraine. Biden this Sunday issued a public warning against nuclear weapons use, telling "60 Minutes" only: "Don't. Don't. Don't."



USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier arrives in South Korea for military drills

                               The U.S. carrier USS Ronald Reagan is escorted as it arrives in Busan, South Korea, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier arrived in Busan port on Friday ahead of the two countries' joint military exercise that aims to show their strength against growing North Korean threats. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)


The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan pulled into the South Korean port of Busan on Friday ahead of joint military exercises with South Korea.

This round of military exercises takes pace against a backdrop of rising tensions with Pyongyang.

It also marks the first visit of the forward-deployed aircraft carrier to Busan since 2017. The Ronald Reagan, the flagship for the Japan-based Carrier Strike Group 5. It was accompanied by the USS Chancellorsville, a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, and USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer.



At Donor Event, Biden Rebukes Opponents With 'Different View'


President Joe Biden, who vowed to unify the country after taking over the White House from former President Donald Trump, took a shot at Republicans who expressed concern over what the public might do if Democrats try to control the election narrative.

"When you hear Republicans talking about, 'If certain things happen, there'll be riots in the street, and there'll be blood on the streets,' it's not consistent with who we are as a democracy," Biden told a gathering of about 40 people at the home of billionaire activists Henry and Marsha Laufer on Thursday, Mediaite reported.

"And the fact of the matter is that, you know, the MAGA Republicans have a very different view of where they want to take the country."

Biden's quotes do not acknowledge the years before the 2020 presidential election when Democrats, including many of the most prominent party leaders, made baseless claims that Trump was an "illegitimate" president. Biden also did not acknowledge a reported Democrat allegedly killed a young conservative in North Dakota because of his political beliefs.



U.S. House Republicans unveil agenda ahead of Nov. 8 elections

                           FILE PHOTO: The House of Representatives takes up debate of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan in Washington

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives rolled out an agenda on Friday aimed at tackling a range of priorities from inflation and crime to election accountability, which they hope will give them the upper hand against Democrats in the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

The agenda, called the "Commitment to America," claims to show voters how Republicans would address problems they blame on President Joe Biden and the Democrats, should they succeed in winning the House majority.

Elements of the plan, which lawmakers spent months crafting, began to appear online on Thursday.

Much of the agenda entailed policy objectives such as curbing wasteful spending, supporting U.S. troops, putting parents in charge of their children's education, protecting the unborn, and preserving women's sports for those whose gender assigned at birth was female.



British pound plunges, bonds sink after government announces tax cuts


The embattled British pound fell 3% against the dollar Friday, after the new U.K. government announced a radical economic plan in a bid to boost growth.

Sterling had dropped as low as $1.0923 by 4:20p.m. London time, extending losses it made after the measures were unveiled in the morning.

The pound has been on a precipitous fall against the greenback this year, hitting levels this month not seen since 1985 when it fell to $1.042.

U.K.’s Sweeping Tax Cuts Send Pound Tumbling, Bond Yields Higher
Prince Harry Will Be Permanently ‘Exiled’ by ‘Ruthless’ King Charles, Sources Say



Violent unrest continues in Iran; state TV suggests 26 dead

                        In this Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, photo taken by an individual not employed by The Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, protesters make fire and block the street during a protest over the death of a woman who was detained by the morality police, in downtown Tehran, Iran. Iranians saw their access to Instagram, one of the few Western social media platforms still available in the country, disrupted on Wednesday following days of the mass protests. (AP Photo)

Protesters across Iran continued to clash violently with security forces early Friday following the death of a young woman in police custody, as Iranian state TV suggested the death toll from the unrest could be as high as 26, without offering details.

Although the scope of the protests across some dozen Iranian cities and towns remains unclear, the movement represents the widest unrest since 2019, when rights groups said hundreds of people were killed in a violent crackdown. Iran has also disrupted internet access to the outside world, according to internet traffic monitor Netblocks, and tightened restrictions on popular platforms used to organize rallies like Instagram and WhatsApp.

An anchor on state TV said late Thursday that 26 protesters and policemen had been killed since the protests erupted last Saturday after the funeral of the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, without elaborating on how authorities reached that figure. He said official statistics would be released later, but in past times of turmoil the Iranian government has not offered official death tolls.



Oz releases health records to spotlight Fetterman's stroke


Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, released his health records as he maneuvers to keep questions about Democratic rival John Fetterman’s recovery from a stroke front and center in the hotly contested campaign.

Dr. Rebecca Kurth in New York City wrote in a four-page letter obtained by The Associated Press that she found the 62-year-old heart surgeon-turned-TV celebrity to be in “excellent health" in an annual checkup Thursday.

The letter noted that Oz has a total cholesterol that is “borderline elevated” but unchanged and referenced a hyperplastic lesion — cell growths that could become cancerous — removed from his colon in 2011. An electrocardiogram — a test that records electrical signals in the heart to detect heart problems — he had Thursday came out normal.

The release of the health records comes as Oz is trying to close a gap in the polls and is increasingly making Fetterman's fitness to serve a central theme in his campaign.

Fetterman, 53, has been silent about releasing medical records or providing access for reporters to question his doctors, now more than four months after he suffered a stroke in May that has had lingering effects on his speech and hearing.



GOP national security hawks: ‘Virtually impossible for a president to violate classification law’

                        President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, left, during a rally, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018, in Lewis Center, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) ** FILE **

Former President Donald Trump’s supporters on Capitol Hill who double as national security hawks were unfazed by his claim that presidents can declassify documents “even by thinking about it.”

The assertion, made in an interview Wednesday with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, came amid the Justice Department’s criminal probe of Mr. Trump’s potential mishandling of classified materials.

Republicans aligned with Mr. Trump argued that while there is a more formal declassification process that is typically followed, presidents enjoy broad discretion on the matter.

“My understanding of the Constitution is he’s the one person who has the ability to declassify when he wants to declassify,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican and close Trump ally. “It’s like the pardon power. It’s pretty much unlimited. The founders invested that power with him, and he can declassify it. I don’t know that the constitution spells out there’s a specific process he has to go through, I think he just has that power.”


More Top News

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FBI whistleblower: Counterterrorism cases against alleged right-wing extremists mostly 'entrapment'

Former Los Alamos nuclear scientists aid China's advanced weapons, private study says

Hawley wants data on Pentagon's refusal of vaccination exemptions



The meltdown at Martha’s Vineyard

The left becomes unhinged when red-state governors decided to spread welcoming chores to blue states

Martha’s Vineyard has been all over the news.

The tony resort community so loves aiding and comforting the undocumented immigrants who were flown in from Florida that it hugged them — for all of 48 hours.

Oddly, the left became unhinged when red-state governors — whose states the last two years were flooded with some 3 million people who entered the country illegally — finally decided to spread welcoming chores among affluent blue-state communities.



Not done yet — Putin still dangerous as his Ukraine war goes south
Biden must have a strategy to insulate Ukraine from even greater humanitarian catastrophe

Director CIA William Burns told a recent cyber security conference in Washington that it was “hard to see the record of the war — [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s record — as anything other than a failure so far. … Not only has the weakness of the Russian military been exposed, but there’s going to be long-term damage done to the Russian economy and to generations of Russians.”

Meanwhile, speaking to an economic forum in Vladivostok, Mr. Putin was insisting, “We have not lost anything and will not lose anything.”  
Nothing quite underscores how Mr. Putin’s “special military operation” is not going exactly according to plan as the Kremlin’s reported outreach to North Korea for artillery and Iran for drones. (North Korea is now denying the reports.) There are estimates that as many as 25,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in a barbaric war that has now lasted over 200 days, even if Russia‘s Defense Ministry claims the losses are much lower.

Economically, Russia’s GDP is expected to contract by 5% this year and inflation is running at over 15%. Sanctions have severely restricted supplies of both consumer goods and technology, including vital semiconductor chips. Mr. Putin’s war-induced an exodus of Western firms as well as a domestic brain drain, with thousands of Russian high-tech professionals fleeing overseas.


" 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.”