Monday January 17th, 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

World & Nation

Republicans prepare their wish list for filibuster-free Senate
                      
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speak to reporters outside the White House after a meeting with President Joe Biden, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) ** FILE **

Democrats may be paving an eventual path to stiffer ballot standards if they trigger the “nuclear option” to carve out a special exception to Senate filibuster rules to approve voting rights legislation.

The next time Republicans take power in Washington, they will use the filibuster-free window to erase some Democratic changes and impose their own ideas about national election integrity, political professionals say.

Without a Democratic filibuster, Republicans could force states to clean up voter rolls or ban the practice of ballot harvesting.

Republicans promise it won’t stop there.



Another midterm worry for Biden White House: probes and impeachment attempts

                      U.S. presidential candidate Biden holds drive-in campaign event in Dallas, PA

The U.S. midterm elections are some 10 months away, but President Joe Biden's administration and allies already foresee a possible scenario in which Republicans take the House of Representatives, the Senate, or both, and launch a series of investigations and attempts to impeach the president.

Lawmakers, congressional staffers and strategists predict a slew of investigations targeting the Biden administration, particularly if Republicans loyal to former President Donald Trump gain important committee seats in Congress.

Those seeking to pursue investigations include House Republicans Matt Gaetz, who pledged in a podcast to target the Department of Justice until "sphincters tighten," Bob Gibbs, who has been pushing to impeach Biden since September over the Afghanistan pullout, and James Comer, a hopeful to become head of the House Oversight Committee.



Half of Americans frustrated by Biden presidency, want more focus on inflation, poll shows


Half the country is feeling frustrated by President Biden’s performance and wants him to focus on rising inflation, according to a new poll.

A CBS News/YouGov poll found 50% of Americans are frustrated by the Biden presidency, and 49% are disappointed. Forty percent said they were nervous, 25% said they felt calm, and another 25% were satisfied.

In addition, 65% of respondents said they want to see Mr. Biden focus more on rising inflation. Fifty-eight percent said he should prioritize the economy.

If inflation were to improve, 63% said their opinion of Mr. Biden would improve.

Romney says Biden had a bad year and needs a reset



From pandemic to endemic: Can 2022 succeed where 2021 failed?


After two years of contagion and death, Covid is shifting again. Omicron is spreading faster than any previous variant, but it’s also proving less malevolent. There’s growing talk that the worst pandemic of the past century may soon be known in another way — as endemic.

Spain threw out the idea this week, when Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said it’s time to think about new ways of living with Covid long term, such as the world does with the flu. Other countries jumped in, saying they may be moving toward a new chapter of the disease.

Health experts, however, are preaching caution, saying there’s too much uncertainty about how the virus will evolve, how much immunity society has built up and potential damage if people stop being careful.

It’s inevitable that governments will eventually need to regard Covid as one of many public health challenges that can be managed — rather than one requiring the urgency and focus devoted since early 2020.

ENOUGH: Omicron Encourages Some to Move Past Precautions...
Test vending machines popping up at universities...
Infection Surge Pressures Hospitals...
How Covid restrictions ruined old people's lives...
Psych evaluation ordered for doctor accused of misinformation...



Pompeo Warns of China's 'Surveillance State' at 'Genocide Olympics'


Olympians should not be afraid to speak their mind, but former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warns them about the Chinese Communist Party's "surveillance state" during what he is calling the "Genocide Olympics."

"We are now having an Olympics held in a country that is currently holding 1 million or more people in camps that look kind of like what was happening in Germany in the 1930s, where they're forcing women to be sterilized and taking them away from their families," Pompeo told "The Cats Roundtable" on WABC 770 AM-N.Y. "That's where we are going to send our athletes — to the surveillance state, that's conducting genocide. I've talked about this as being the 'Genocide Olympics.'

Pompeo laments permitting China to host the Winter Olympic Games in February, saying it is "rewarding" Chinese President Xi Jinping.



Ghislaine Maxwell ends fight to keep eight 'John Does' secret

                   a person posing for the camera: Ghislaine Maxwell will no longer fight to keep secret the names of eight 'John Does' as part of a defamation lawsuit. (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

Ghislaine Maxwell will no longer fight to keep the names of eight 'John Does' secret and will leave it to the court to decide whether the names should be unsealed, according to a letter dated January 12.

The documents are part of a 2015 defamation lawsuit against Maxwell brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claimed Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused her while she was a minor and that Maxwell aided in the abuse.

Maxwell, 60, faces up to 65 years in prison after she was found guilty last month in a New York federal court on five federal charges, including sex trafficking of a minor. The charges were related to her role in Epstein's sexual abuse of minor girls between 1994 and 2004.

Giuffre's attorney had previously filed a brief on Wednesday, arguing for the names to be revealed.

Prince Andrew Just Received The Most Shocking News About His Royal Title—This Is Serious!



Putin, Xi to highlight Russia-China summit while U.S. and allies diplomatically boycott Olympics

                                   Chinese President Xi Jinping, center left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, center right, enter a hall for talks in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool, File)

The U.S. and key allies will diplomatically boycott next month’s Winter Olympics in China, but Russian President Vladimir Putin is poised to seize on the Games to spotlight strategic ties between Moscow and Beijing.

While the U.S., Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom are keeping official delegations away in protest of Chinese government human rights abuses, Mr. Putin plans to attend the opening ceremony of the Games and hold direct talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“Preparations for the Russia-China summit which will take place in Beijing on February 4, on the opening day of the Winter Olympics, are at full speed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said,” according to a report published Friday by Moscow’s official TASS news agency.

The agency specifically quoted Mr. Lavrov as saying: “We are preparing an official Russian-Chinese summit. Russian President Vladimir Putin, at the invitation of China’s President Xi Jinping, will visit Beijing … and full-scale talks at the highest level will be held.”



Jewish leaders react to FBI statement on Texas synagogue hostage-taker: 'The FBI got it wrong'


One Jewish leader says the FBI got it wrong after an official said the Texas synagogue hostage-taker's demands were "not specifically related to the Jewish community."

A Texas SWAT team responded to Congregation Beth Israel on Saturday after British national Malik Faisal Akram, 44, allegedly entered the building and held four people, including a rabbi, hostage for hours. A livestream of the service was on Facebook during a portion of the hostage situation, before it was taken down.

Investigators said the hostage-taker expressed support for Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who was sentenced to 86 years in prison in 2010 for attempting to murder and assault U.S. military personnel and was being held at Federal Medical Center Carswell at a prison in Fort Worth.

At a news conference after the hostages were released, FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno said that "the Texas synagogue hostage taker's demands were specifically focused on issues not connected to the Jewish community."



More Top News

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin says children won't be taught racial politics

Let's honor Martin Luther King Jr. today by rejecting critical race theory

Dems' COVID-19 drug policies biased against Whites, legal scholars charge

Rep. James Clyburn: Voting bills are not dead, but on life support




‘Great unifier’ Biden tells half the country to go to hell

Democrats dead set on criminalizing opposition any way they can

President Biden went down to Georgia on Tuesday, following a trail blazed by the devil.

Bemoaning Georgia’s new election law, which is less strict than that of Mr. Biden’s Delaware or Elizabeth Warren’s Massachusetts, Mr. Biden played a tune hatched in hell, the kind of stuff that stokes a civil war, not healing.

Mr. Biden, who earlier called “white nationalists” the greatest security threat facing America, went full demagogue at an Atlanta college: “I will defend your right to vote and our democracy against all enemies foreign and, yes, domestic.”

The “great unifier,” who once warned Black Americans that Republicans were “gonna put y’all back in chains,” invoked America’s actual Civil War to demonize his opponents, saying, “I ask every elected official in America, how do you want to be remembered? Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?”

George Wallace, Bull Connor and Jefferson Davis were all Democrats. Republicans voted in higher percentages in Congress than Democrats for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

No matter. Mr. Biden’s ace in the hole is a rotten, leftist-dominated education system that specializes in systemic ignorance, especially about American history. He counts on the college-educated media to be reflexively socialist and to bury inconvenient facts.



Critical race theory is the opposite of Christianity

The gospel is not about revenge for injustice -- it's about forgiveness

This past week I was contacted by a reporter from the Religious News Service. His reason for calling me was to get my views concerning critical race theory. He wanted to know why I opposed it.

I told the reporter that I am against CRT because it is the exact opposite of the Gospel of Christ. “How so?” he asked. 

“Well,” I said, “First of all, CRT is grounded in revenge. Second, while it preaches ‘justice,’ it talks nothing of forgiveness, and third, it is driven by conflict rather than confession. Finally, CRT is the opposite of Christianity because it ignores the core message of Christ; it is completely void of forgiveness.”

“I don’t understand,” said my interviewer. “Are you actually saying that all the injustices of our past can be solved by simply telling people to forgive?”


" 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.”

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 relati  vely 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…