Tuesday September 20th, 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

With ceremonies over, King Charles III faces biggest task

                          FILE - Britain's King Charles III gestures during a visit to the Metropolitan Police Service Special Operations Room (SOR) to thank Emergency Service workers for their work and support, ahead of the funeral of late Queen Elizabeth II, at the Lambeth headquarters in London, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.  King Charles III faces the task of preserving a 1,000-year-old monarchy that his mother nurtured for seven decades but that faces an uncertain future. The challenge is immense. (Carl de Souza/Pool via AP, File)

The cannons have sounded, the bells have rung and the mourners have paid their respects.

Now King Charles III faces the task of preserving a 1,000-year-old monarchy that his mother nurtured for seven decades but that faces an uncertain future. The challenge is immense.

Personal affection for the queen meant that the monarchy’s role in British society was rarely debated in recent years. But now that she’s gone, the royal family faces questions about whether it is still relevant in a modern, multicultural nation that looks very different than it did when Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1952.

Amid a global re-examination of the history of colonialism and slavery that has seen protesters tear down or deface statues in British cities and universities like Oxford and Cambridge change their course offerings, an institution that was once the symbol of the British Empire is likely to face renewed scrutiny.

King Charles Just Received an Unusual Formal Request from Meghan Markle, "Allegedly," Sources Claim
Queen Elizabeth II mourned by Britain and world at funeral
Plan to Protect the Monarchy Against an Uncertain Future



Why firing federal employees doesn’t work: Study finds unions wrangle to get workers rehired

Unions get fired federal employees reinstated at double the normal rate
                                America First Policy Institute reviewed hundreds of cases and concluded that in a majority of cases where a federal agency fires an employee and their union files a grievance demanding arbitration on the decision, the arbiter ends up overturning the ouster and reinstating the worker. (Associated Press/File)

A surgical tech at a Veterans Affairs clinic in Arkansas was fired in 2017 after she admitted to sexually charged behavior with colleagues, including peeping at them over bathroom stall walls or groping their buttocks.

Her labor union appealed the decision to arbitration, and the arbitrator in 2018 reduced her punishment to a 30-day suspension and put her back on the job — with a year’s worth of back wages to boot, according to a report by the conservative America First Policy Institute.

The tech is not alone.

The institute reviewed hundreds of cases. It concluded that in a majority of cases in which a union files a grievance demanding arbitration on the firing of a federal employee, the arbiter ends up overturning the ouster and reinstating the worker.



Ukraine, Using Captured Russian Tanks, Firms Up Its Lines


Ukraine is now deploying captured Russian tanks to solidify its gains in the northeast amid an ongoing counteroffensive, a Washington-based think tank said Tuesday, as Kyiv vowed to push further into territories occupied by Moscow.

The Institute for the Study of War, citing a Russian claim, said that Ukraine had been using left-behind Russian T-72 tanks as it tries to push into the Russian-occupied region of Luhansk.

“The initial panic of the counteroffensive led Russian troops to abandon higher-quality equipment in working order, rather than the more damaged equipment left behind by Russian forces retreating from Kyiv in April, further indicating the severity of the Russian rout,” the institute said.

Earlier this month, Ukraine launched its counteroffensive, pushing into territory around its second-largest city of Kharkiv. Videos and photos showed Ukrainian troops seizing tanks, ammunition and other weaponry left behind by Moscow in an apparently chaotic withdrawal.


Fox News Power Rankings: Democrats build momentum, but GOP still has the advantage

Election night is seven weeks away

Democrats build momentum but Republicans forecast to keep their lead.

The House is in play for the first time this cycle as Democrats continue to build momentum, but the GOP remains the favorite to take control. This edition of the Fox News Power Rankings looks at shifts toward Democrats in nine battleground House races and two key Senate races. Meanwhile, the GOP makes gains in the Georgia and Oregon governor races.

House: Republicans expected to take a 13-seat majority, but Democrats now have pathways to win
Republicans are forecast to control the House after November's elections.

Republicans are forecast to control the House after November's elections. (Fox News)



NYC Mayor Eric Adams ends vaccine mandate on private-sector workers, student activities

Says businesses should consider their own rules as he rolls up sleeve for a new booster
                           Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a graduation ceremony at Madison Square Garden, on July 1, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) ** FILE **

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday a citywide COVID-19 vaccine mandate on private-sector workers and students who participate in extracurricular activities will become optional on Nov. 1.

Mr. Adams, a Democrat, said he will urge private businesses to develop their own rules as he dropped the contentious mandate in a press event on new “bivalent” booster shots that attack the original strain of the virus and variants that are circulating now. The mayor rolled up his sleeve for his own shot and said the city will advertise the boosters before winter.

Former Mayor Bill de Blasio issued the sweeping vaccine mandates on businesses at the end of 2021, one month before he left office. The rule caused a firestorm but was not strictly enforced.



Biden’s FTC chair on menu for congressional grilling about supercharged regulatory agenda, overreach

                             Lina Khan, nominee for Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, speaks during a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 21, 2021. The Supreme Court’s latest climate change ruling could dampen efforts by federal agencies to rein in the tech industry, which went largely unregulated for decades as the government tried to catch up to changes wrought by the internet. Under Chair Khan, the FTC also has widened the door to more actively writing new regulations in what critics say is a broader interpretation of the agency’s legal authority. (Graeme Jennings/Washington Examiner via AP, Pool, File)

Amid backlash about increasing overreach, Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khan is bracing for tough questioning Tuesday when she appears before a Senate Judiciary Committee panel that oversees federal enforcement of antitrust laws.

Ms. Khan will testify before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on competition policy, antitrust and consumer rights, alongside Jonathan Kanter, the assistant attorney general who heads the Justice Department’s antitrust divisions.

It will be Ms. Khan’s first time facing the panel since she took over as FTC chair in June 2021. It also comes amid a rising backlash against her expanding and extending the role of the FTC beyond the commission’s historic boundaries to more aggressively restrict mergers and block business practices the commission deems unfair.

Ms. Khan’s actions have triggered several lawsuits from pro-business groups, and the commission, under her leadership, is now tangled in a legal challenge from Walmart over efforts to curb the retail giant’s money transfer services.



Fed Set to Reveal ‘Pain’ Coming in Next Stage of Inflation Fight


Federal Reserve officials are about to put numbers on the “pain” they’ve been warning of in recent weeks when they publish new projections for the economy, which could show a substantial rise in interest rates and unemployment ahead as the estimated price tag for reducing inflation.

The US central bank will release its latest quarterly projections Wednesday following a two-day policy meeting in Washington, where officials are expected to raise their benchmark rate by three-quarters of a percentage point for the third time in a row.

Such a move would lift rates to levels not seen since before the 2008 financial crisis. The next phase of the tightening cycle carries greater risks, which will probably be reflected in their revised projections.

Inflation has moderated little since the last forecast round in June, and that has pushed policy makers into a more aggressive stance. They’re also increasingly doubting old estimates of the relationship between unemployment and inflation, which may be part of the reason why they’re now inclined to aim for a bigger slowdown in economic activity.



Sen. Richard Burr demands clarity on COVID-19 rules after Biden declares pandemic is over

Top Republican seeks to ease confusion about about Medicaid funding, federal mandates and student debt

Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina wants President Biden to clarify his position on COVID-19 after declaring the pandemic over in a prime-time interview.

Mr. Burr, the senior Republican on the Senate Health Committee, said Americans will be confused by the declaration given the array of COVID-19 provisions that remain in place, from vaccine mandates on military members and health care workers to higher Medicaid funding for states and leniency around student-loan payments.

The senator also said the comments will complicate Mr. Biden’s push for $22.5 billion in emergency funding to sustain the fight against the virus.



White House ridiculed after walking back Biden’s statement that pandemic is over: ‘He is not in charge’

Ted Cruz mocks Biden: 'Like clockwork. Biden’s handlers are out in force'

Twitter users expressed confusion and outright mockery after the White House walked back President Biden’s assertion that the COVID-19 pandemic is "over."

Biden made his remarks during his interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes on Sunday, his first interview with an American TV journalist in over 200 days. When asked about the state of the U.S.’s fight against the pandemic, Biden told CBS correspondent Scott Pelley, "The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with Covid. We're still doing a lot of work on it. It's -- but the pandemic is over."

But according to CNN, an administration official told the outlet that "the President's comments do not mark a change in policy toward the administration's handling of the virus, and there are no plans to lift the Public Health Emergency."

However, the fact that the White House had to clarify and essentially walk back the president’s claims about the state of the pandemic drew scathing criticism from Biden administration critics, who insisted that this tension between Biden and his staffers may be another hint they do his job for him.



Liz Cheney’s swan song: Defeated congresswoman offers up Electoral Count Act rewrite


Rep. Liz Cheney teamed up with a Democratic colleague on the House Jan. 6 committee to push a rewrite of the Electoral Count Act that they say will ensure “future efforts to attack the integrity of presidential elections can’t succeed.”

Ms. Cheney, Wyoming Republican, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, California Democrat, plan to introduce legislation to make the fix. They said it is critical because former President Donald Trump continued claims that the 2020 election threatens to spur others to change the outcome of future elections.

The bill could get a vote in House as soon as this week. It could be the last bill authored by Ms. Cheney, who lost in the Republican primary last month because of intense blowback from GOP voters over her anti-Trump stance.


More Top News

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis decries outrage mismatch after sending migrants to Martha's Vineyard

Trump attorneys don't want to disclose declassification information during special master review

Uganda declares outbreak of Sudan type of Ebola

Biden's claims on inflation, jobs and pandemic in '60 Minutes' interview draw scrutiny



Racist residents of Martha’s Vineyard exposed

If only those illegals had come ready to work

The only problem with those illegal aliens dumped on Martha’s Vineyard? They weren’t housekeepers and yard workers.

If they had come bearing buckets and rakes, they would have been welcomed with open arms. Heck, even the Obamas would have let them into their sprawling, gated, beachfront mansion — if only they had come ready to work instead of arriving with expectations to enjoy the fruits of freedom in America.

Instead, the deeply racist — and almost exclusively White and Democrat — residents of Martha’s Vineyard deployed the military, rounded up all the illegals, put them in cages and then trafficked them off to be someone else’s problem.



Durham’s latest ‘Russiagate’ bombshells: FBI informant Danchenko made up key parts of Steele dossier


Russian-born Igor Danchenko made up sources for two of the most sensational claims in the Steele dossier––that President Donald Trump once saw prostitutes in the Moscow Ritz-Carlton and that he engaged in a “well-developed conspiracy’ with the Kremlin.

The FBI could have ended Mr. Danchenko’s Washington career in 2010 after learning he wanted to buy classified information from Obama aides and pass it to Russia, but the agency botched the probe.

When the dossier was leaked in January 2017, those two claims drove the media to label Mr. Trump an election cheater and traitor.

Days later, Democrats at a House intelligence hearing tried to get witnesses such as FBI Director James Comey to attest that Russian intelligence typically orchestrates sex in Moscow hotel rooms for blackmail.


" 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.”