Thursday September 22, 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




Iran’s leader blames U.S. for nuclear deal impasse; Biden vows no bomb for Tehran

President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

President Biden and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said in separate speeches to the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday that they want to reach a new nuclear deal, but their remarks underscored how difficult striking an agreement will be.

Mr. Raisi told the United Nations General Assembly that Tehran is “not seeking to build or obtain nuclear weapons,” and accused America of “trampling” the 2015 nuclear deal Mr. Biden has spent the past two years trying to revive with the Islamic republic.

Just hours later, Mr. Biden told the world body that Iran cannot be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon, while underscoring he still hopes to save the tattered multinational deal that was negotiated under President Obama and repudiated three years later by President Trump.

“The United States is clear: We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. Diplomacy is the best way to achieve this outcome,” Mr. Biden said in a speech that focused heavily on the Ukraine-Russia war and other matters.



White House cleans up Biden's 'very consistent' claim pandemic is 'over'

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks at a press briefing at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

When President Joe Biden declared the coronavirus pandemic “over,” he was observing a shift in preparedness from the early days of the pandemic, the White House said, still cleaning up after Biden's Sunday interview.

Biden’s press secretary said Wednesday that the president was speaking about public sentiment, not the state of emergency, during a headline-grabbing 60 Minutes interview that appeared to throw into disarray his administration's agenda.

“Just to step back for a second, when he made those comments, he was walking through the Detroit car show, the halls of the Detroit car show, he was looking around. We have to remember the last time that they had held that event was three years ago,” Karine Jean-Pierre said during an appearance on MSNBC Wednesday. “We are in a different time. He’s been very consistent about that.”

Biden’s comments, which aired Sunday, have forced the White House into clean-up mode as it bats back the president's assessment that the pandemic has ended.



Ukraine's Mariupol Defenders, Putin Ally in Prisoner Swap


Ukraine announced a high-profile prisoner swap early Thursday that was the culmination of months of efforts to free many of the Ukrainian fighters who defended a steel plant in Mariupol during a long Russian siege. In exchange, Ukraine gave up an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

President Volodymr Zelenskyy said his government had won freedom from Russian custody for 215 Ukrainian and foreign citizens, with the help of Turkish and Saudi mediation efforts. He said many were soldiers and officers who had faced the death penalty in Russian-occupied territory.

Russian officials didn’t immediately confirm or otherwise comment on what appeared to be the biggest prisoner swap during the nearly seven-month war.


Fed goes big again with third-straight three-quarter-point rate hike


The Federal Reserve made history on Wednesday, approving a third consecutive 75-basis-point hike in an aggressive move to tackle the white-hot inflation that has been plaguing the US economy.

The supersized hike, which was unfathomable by markets just months ago, takes the central bank’s benchmark lending rate to a new target range of 3%-3.25%. That’s the highest the fed funds rate has been since the global financial crisis in 2008.

Wednesday’s decision marks the Fed’s toughest policy move since the 1980s to fight inflation. It will also likely cause economic pain for millions of American businesses and households by pushing up the cost of borrowing for things like homes, cars, and credit cards.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell acknowledged the economic pain this rapid tightening regime may cause.



Sen. Joe Manchin hopes ‘common sense kicks in’ with fellow Democrats in brawl over energy deal

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

The feud between Sen. Joe Manchin III and far-left Democrats over how to prevent a government shutdown intensified Wednesday as progressive members lobbied leadership to strip legislation by the conservative West Virginia Democrat from a stopgap funding measure.

Congress has just nine days before the federal government will run out of money on Oct. 1 and have to shutter. 

Mr. Manchin batted down the notion that progressives would get their way and get a standalone vote on his energy-permitting reform that would streamline projects.



‘Fat Leonard,’ fugitive in massive Navy bribery case, caught in Venezuela following escape from U.S.


A convicted Malaysian contractor who fled days before sentencing in a corruption scandal that ensnared a number of high-ranking U.S. Navy officers was arrested in Venezuela Wednesday while boarding a flight to Russia.

Leonard Glenn Francis, who went by the name “Fat Leonard,” was captured following the issuing of a “red notice” by Interpol officials in the U.S. He had been under house arrest in San Diego in early September when he cut off his ankle monitor and fled.

In his 2015 plea agreement, Francis admitted to plying Navy officials with cash, luxury goods and prostitutes in exchange for lucrative contracts to provide warships with supplies. He is believed to have overcharged the Navy by tens of millions of dollars, officials said.

At least 30 Navy officers and civilian officials were implicated in the corruption investigation.



Putin finds few defenders as Biden, Western leaders slam ‘outrageous’ escalation

President Joe Biden addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, at the U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Biden on Wednesday led a parade of Western leaders denouncing Russia for its “outrageous” invasion of Ukraine, arguing that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threats to escalate a “brutal, needless” war are signs of weakness, not strength, as his troops suffer major losses on the battlefield.

In his address to the U.N. General Assembly on the precipice of a significant escalation in Russia’s ground war, Mr. Biden called on world leaders to unite in rebuking the Kremlin.

“Let us speak plainly: A prominent member of the United Nations Security Council invaded its neighbor and attempted to erase a sovereign state from the map,” he said. “Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenants of the United Nations Charter.



Air Force Academy diversity training tells cadets to use words that 'include all genders​,' drop 'mom and dad'

Air Force Academy also tells cadets to be 'Color Conscious' instead of 'Colorblind'

A diversity and inclusion training by the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado instructs cadets to use words that "include all genders" and to refrain from saying things like "mom" and "dad."

The slide presentation titled, "Diversity & Inclusion: What it is, why we care, & what we can do," obtained by Fox News Digital, advises cadets to use "person-centered" and gender-neutral language when describing individuals.

"Some families are headed by single parents, grandparents, foster parents, two moms, two dads, etc.: consider ‘parent or caregiver’ instead of ‘mom and dad,'" the presentation states. "Use words that include all genders​: ‘Folks’ or ‘Y’all’ instead of ‘guys’; ‘partner’ vs. ‘boyfriend or girlfriend.’"

Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., a Green Beret and Afghan War veteran, pointed out during an interview with Fox News Digital that "it's been a tradition in the military to get letters from mom and dad or your boyfriend and girlfriend for as long as there's been a military."



California to allow human composting of dead loved ones by 2027

You will soon be able to compost the remains of your loved ones in California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law Sunday that tasks state officials with developing regulations for what is called natural organic reduction (NOR) where the body is broken down into soil, according to Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, the bill’s sponsor.

People can begin taking advantage of the new burial method by 2027.

The process of turning the body into soil takes about 30 to 60 days after the remains are placed into an 8-foot-long steel box with biodegradable materials such as wood chips and flowers inside, The Guardian reported.



Biden’s pick for U.S. archivist shoots down ERA backers’ hopes of shortcut to ratifying amendment


Colleen Shogan told lawmakers that if she is installed as the next head of the National Archives, she will not short-circuit the process to add the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.

Ms. Shogan said it is up to Congress and the courts to decide whether the ERA, which Democrats have tried to revive from the legislative scrap heap, is valid.

“I think who will decide the fate of the ERA is the federal judiciary and/or Congress,” she said Wednesday under questioning by Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio Republican.

She also agreed to be bound by a 2020 Justice Department opinion that concluded the ERA, at least the version Congress submitted to the states in the 1970s, is a dead letter and cannot be resuscitated.


More Top News

Democrat Cheri Beasley holds 1-point lead over Republican Ted Budd in N.C. Senate race: Poll

Puerto Rico struggles to reach areas cut off by Fiona

Scripture engagement, in-person church key to solving evangelicals' belief crisis, experts say

New York AG Letitia James sues Trump over business practices



Biden’s expensive malaise is here to stay

Make no mistake about it, the 2022 midterm elections are about the abysmal state of our economy and will serve as a referendum on Joe Biden’s costly left-wing policies that were forced into place as America was pulling out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, with less than 50 days until Election Day, President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats are trying to diminish their failures by any means necessary - with the help of their allies in the biased mainstream media of course. But one core question remains on everyone’s mind: Why has everything gotten so expensive? Look no further than the radical Democrats in the White House and on Capitol Hill who’ve been behaving like drunken sailors with your hard-earned tax dollars for the past two years.

As our economy was on the verge of overheating and hurtling toward a once unimaginable $31 trillion national debt, Mr. Biden chose to abuse power. Along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, this president chose to enact nearly $5 trillion in new federal spending when our economy could least afford it. As a result, inflation is at nearly a 40-year high - an 8.3% increase from this time last year. Mr. Biden’s insistence that inflation has only gone up “an inch” is tone deaf and an insult to hardworking families struggling to get by.



Will Putin nuke Ukraine?

Most likely outcome is a slowdown of war this winter, and a resumption in the spring

The Ukrainian army’s counter-offensive in the northeast and southeast corners of its nation began on Sept. 5 and has been effective beyond its hopes and those of its allies. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy hopes to retake all of the Donbas region as well as the Crimean Peninsula.

Russian forces have reportedly been pushed back over more than three thousand square kilometers. Other reports, most unverified, said that Russian soldiers had been stealing civilian boats to flee across the Dneipr River.

In response to the at least temporary Ukrainian success, Russian forces have been using missiles - including Iranian-supplied “suicide drones” - to attack civilian infrastructure such as the dam near Mr. Zelenskyy’s hometown of Kryvyi Rhi.

Worse still are the reports of mass graves containing the bodies of soldiers and civilians murdered by Russian troops found near Izium. More than four hundred bodies have been found, some of which Mr. Zelenskyy says show evidence they had been tortured.

" 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.”