Monday June 27th, 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

Supreme Court backs praying coach Joseph Kennedy who knelt on the 50-yard line after games

                        Former Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy was in the national spotlight over his refusal to stop praying at the 50-yard line following games.

The Supreme Court on Monday sided with a former high school football coach who lost his job for offering prayers at the 50-yard line after games despite objections from the school district that students felt compelled to take part.

In the latest instance of the nation's highest court backing a religious freedom claim, a majority of the justices said that assistant coach Joseph Kennedy's prayers were a private matter and did not amount to the school district's endorsement of Christianity.

Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the 6-3 majority opinion. The court's three liberal justices dissented.



More than 1 million voters switch registration to GOP as suburbs break from Biden

                        President Joe Biden speaks about gas prices in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Washington. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

More than one million U.S. voters have switched their party affiliation to the GOP over the past 12 months, painting a grim picture for Democrats in the 2022 midterms.

The GOP is benefiting most in the suburbs of large and medium cities, where voters who supported President Joe Biden in 2020 are struggling with inflation and growing increasingly critical of Democratic social issues, according to an analysis from the Associated Press.

Roughly 1.7 million Americans have changed their party affiliation over the past 12 months. Two thirds of those have gone to the GOP, while just 630,000 have switched to the Democratic Party, according to the report.

While not the final nail in the coffin for Democrats, the voter trend is yet another indicator that Republicans stand to make large gains in Congress and state governments across the country in November.



States divided on abortion restrictions, future uncertain in many places

                            Abortion-rights protesters cheer at a rally following the United States Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, federally protected right to abortion, outside the state capitol in Lansing, Mich., Friday, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court's landmark abortion cases. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Different laws spanning more than 170 years will now govern abortion access in states across the country after the Supreme Court’s reversal of the 1973 ruling that recognized a constitutional right to abortion.

The high court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization announced Friday turns over the regulation of abortion to the states. Some states are choosing to implement laws restricting abortion while others are looking to change the rules or ignore them entirely.

An Associated Press tally listed 20 states with major restrictions or bans on abortion that now take effect with Roe v. Wade struck.

The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice think tank, estimates that 26 states eventually will ban abortion outright. The group noted that more than a dozen states had laws triggered to regulate or ban abortion once the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.

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Abortion Access Likely Curtailed, Eliminated for Military Members at Some Bases


Some military personnel are concerned that the Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade will curtail abortion access for service members and possibly put them at risk for arrest and prosecution, Military.com reported.

The Supreme Court on Friday overruled the controversial 1973 landmark ruling creating a constitutional right to an abortion, sending the issue back to the states to regulate.

That decision, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, activated "trigger laws" in 13 states, all of which have military installations of various sizes.



Ukrainian fighter pilots in Washington to appeal in person for advanced aircraft for war effort

                                   Ukrainian fighter pilot "Juice" was on Capitol Hill to press Congress members and Pentagon officials to supply advanced aircraft for the war with Russia. His identity was hidden, using only his callsign "Juice" and covering his face, to prevent Russian retaliation against his family. (Photo by Joseph Clark / The Washington Times)

Two Ukrainian air force fighter pilots stepped out of the cockpit and onto Capitol Hill last week to plead with the U.S. to send advanced aircraft to level the playing field in the war with Russia, a request that the Biden administration has repeatedly denied.

Ukraine deployed the MIG-29 pilots, who go by their callsigns “Juice” and “Moonfish,” for a lobbying blitz in Washington that included meetings with dozens of lawmakers and Pentagon officials.

As they prepared to go back to the front lines, the airmen told The Washington Times that they have no doubt the lawmakers have their back. But they said time is running out to get the airpower they need to turn the tide as the war drags on with Russia.



As U.S. troops reach 100K in Europe, questions mount over endgame, long-term effects

Pressure grows on Europe to bolster its military spending ahead of NATO summit

The number of American troops in Europe has risen sharply in the four months since Russia invaded Ukraine, from about 65,000 in mid-February to 100,000 today.

That increase, one of the most rapid U.S. military buildups on the continent in the post-Cold War era, has no clear end date or any obvious metrics to determine when troops could come home or be repositioned to other theaters such as the Indo-Pacific.

Instead, their mission is to deter further Russian aggression and prevent any attack on NATO territory. That goal will prove difficult to measure and could justify a years-long mission as Russia and Ukraine settle into a slow, bloody war of attrition in the Donbas.

The long-term consequences for the U.S. and its foreign policy priorities could be significant, some analysts say, because Washington likely can’t afford to maintain such troop levels in Europe over the long haul without sacrificing resources in the Pacific.



Russia Defaults on Foreign Debt for First Time Since 1918


Russia defaulted on its foreign-currency sovereign debt for the first time in a century, the culmination of ever-tougher Western sanctions that shut down payment routes to overseas creditors.

For months, the country found paths around the penalties imposed after the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. But at the end of the day on Sunday, the grace period on about $100 million of snared interest payments due May 27 expired, a deadline considered an event of default if missed.

It’s a grim marker in the country’s rapid transformation into an economic, financial and political outcast. The nation’s eurobonds have traded at distressed levels since the start of March, the central bank’s foreign reserves remain frozen, and the biggest banks are severed from the global financial system.



Biden, G-7 leaders to announce a new round of punishment for Russia’s invasion

                       From left, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, U.S. President Joe Biden, and European Council President Charles Michel before a round table as Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appears on screen to address the G-7 leaders via video link during their working session at Castle Elmau in Kruen, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on Monday, June 27, 2022. The Group of Seven leading economic powers are meeting in Germany for their annual gathering Sunday through Tuesday. (Kenny Holston/Pool via AP)

The White House said President Biden and Group of Seven leaders will follow a Monday meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with a new round of sanctions designed to “sap” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military-industrial complex and strangle its economy.

They will impose tariffs on hundreds of Russian products and slap sanctions on hundreds of individuals and entities, on top of the more than 1,000 already punished.

Also, leaders will impose sanctions and visa restrictions on private military companies involved in the invasion and Russians who commit war crimes, steal Ukrainian grain or act as puppet officials in occupied towns.

The White House touted the actions as Mr. Biden meets with G-7 and NATO leaders in an attempt to solidify alliances and isolate Russia for invading its neighbor on Feb. 24. The brutal war has dragged on for months and is centered in the eastern Donbas region.


More Top News

Supreme Court justices apply originalism as test for constitutional challenges on abortion, guns

Jake Sullivan says new Ukraine aid package will include air defense systems

Russia's war in Ukraine, China's growing global influence top Biden agenda on Europe summit

House Democrat accused of violating ethics rules by fundraising off role on Jan. 6 committee



Fifty years of supreme lunacy finally dies on the steps of the Supreme Court


Constitutionally speaking, the most amazing thing about Friday’s blockbuster Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is that anyone found it controversial in the first place. Or, that Roe v. Wade was ever decided by any court, let alone the Supreme Court. Or, that Roe — and its flawed follow-on, Casey v. Planned Parenthood — held for 50 years.

Displaying a firm grasp of the obvious, the high court writes: “The constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”

Any child with fifth-grade reading skills could tell you that nowhere in the Constitution does the word “abortion” appear. And no understanding of the spirit of the Constitution implies a right of one human being to dismember and “evacuate” another human being.



Biden’s God is big government

He's never worked a real job in his life

You can’t argue with a man about his religion. All you’ll do is aggravate him.

The president’s policies are driven by blind faith in an ideology that’s failed miserably for over a century.

For President Joe Biden, the government is God. Though nominally a Catholic, his Trinity is spending, taxes and new programs. That’s why nothing will deter him from the course he’s on – including the prospect of his party getting a shellacking in the midterm election.

The president refuses to believe that anything he’s done has caused inflation – that includes his scorched-earth war on domestic energy production (now down by one-third from when he took office) and flooding the country with trillions in so-called COVID-19 relief money.


" 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.”