Wednesday June 29th, 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

Biden scores largely symbolic wins at G-7; cap on Russian oil prices still elusive
                        U.S. President Joe Biden, left, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrive for a round table meeting at a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain on Wednesday, June 29, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

President Biden, in a week of high-stakes diplomacy, scored largely symbolic wins during his meeting in Germany with the heads of the six other leading industrial nations as he fell short of achieving his ambitious goals.

Mr. Biden on Tuesday departed the Group of Seven summit in Germany without securing a consensus to cap the price of Russian oil, impose tougher sanctions on Moscow or expand a plan to counter China’s growing influence around the globe.

On his way to a follow-up NATO summit in Madrid, Mr. Biden was able to pocket one victory. Turkey dropped its objections and cleared the way for Sweden and Finland to join the Western military alliance in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. strongly supported the bid by the two Scandinavian countries to become the 31st and 32nd members of the trans-Atlantic alliance.

In a message on Twitter, Mr. Biden called the Turkey agreement “a crucial step towards a NATO invite to Finland and Sweden, which will strengthen our Alliance and bolster our collective security — and a great way to begin the summit.”



NATO formally invites Finland, Sweden to join alliance

                       Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson talks to journalists as she arrives for the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, on Wednesday, June 29, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Paul White)

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Wednesday formally invited Finland and Sweden to join the military alliance — a major blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has fiercely opposed NATO expansion.

“The accession of Finland and Sweden will make them safer, NATO stronger and the Euro-Atlantic area more secure. The security of Finland and Sweden is of direct importance to the Alliance, including during the accession process,” the alliance said in a statement.

Now the decision will go to the 30-member alliance’s individual parliaments and legislatures for final approval. In the statement, NATO leaders said they expect the process will move quickly.

The historic expansion of NATO comes after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan reversed his objections to expanding the alliance.

President Biden said the move is a major rebuke to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who raged over NATO’s expansion and used it as a pretext for his war in Ukraine.



Eastman gives up fight over phone records release to Jan. 6 committee


John Eastman, a key figure behind former President Donald Trump’s bid to overturn the 2020 election results, has dropped his bid to block the release of his phone records to the House Jan. 6 committee.

In a court filing late Tuesday, Mr. Eastman said he would no longer challenge the committee’s subpoena after receiving assurances that the panel is seeking call logs from his carrier, Verizon, and not the content of his communications.

“The Congressional Defendants represented in their motion to dismiss that they were not seeking the content of any of Plaintiff’s communications via the subpoena they had issued to Defendant Verizon,” the filing reads.

Mr. Eastman was a central figure in the committee’s series of public hearings throughout June as the panel unpacked its findings from its nearly yearlong investigation.



As Trump rails at Cassidy Hutchinson's Jan. 6 testimony, other aides vouch for her

                                   Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows during the administration of former President Donald Trump, arrives to testify, June 28, 2022.

Startling testimony on Tuesday from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson before the House committee investigating Jan. 6 drew shock from Donald Trump's orbit as well as support for Hutchinson's character -- and a rebuke from the former president himself.

Hutchinson, who worked as a top aide to Mark Meadows, Trump's last chief of staff, was the only witness at a surprise hearing on Tuesday. She testified for nearly two hours about Trump's frame of mind surrounding the 2020 election he lost as well as the events before, during and after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol.

Speaking before the House committee under oath, Hutchinson recalled how she had been told that Trump lunged at a Secret Service agent on Jan. 6 when he was told he could not go to the Capitol with a supportive mob after his speech at the Ellipse near the White House. She also testified that, in a separate incident, Trump threw his lunch at the wall after then-Attorney General Bill Barr gave an interview saying there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election -- and it wasn't the only instance of Trump breaking plates or tossing tables over, she said.

Secret Service agents willing to testify Trump did not lunge at steering wheel during Capitol riot
Secret Service Is Reportedly Prepared to Testify Trump Didn’t Try to Commandeer Limo on Jan. 6, Despite Hutchinson Account



President Biden annoyed by 2024 questions, reports New York Times

                               President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the recent mass shootings from the White House on June 2, 2022. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

President Biden is annoyed by the questions surrounding him running again in 2024, according to a New York Times report, which noted that he and top aides see the speculation as "a lack of respect from their party and the press."

"Several said the president and his inner circle were confounded by Democrats’ discussions about a Plan B when the one person who has defeated Donald J. Trump has made clear he intends to run again," the Times noted.

The president reportedly told his aides that he's experiencing a replay of when other members of his party expressed some level of doubt about his age and abilities. 

The New York Times reported recently that several Democrats had expressed concern about the president's leadership ability heading into 2024 as Americans face high gas prices and skyrocketing inflation.




CNN: Growing Talk of Hillary for 2024

                    Hillary Clinton attends the "Hillary" New York Premiere at Directors Guild of America Theater on March 4, 2020 in New York City.

Talk of another campaign for president by Hillary Clinton is growing louder, including a recent interview with CBS's Gayle King on Tuesday morning.

Clinton told King she could not "imagine" running for president again, but King noted she did not say no. Clinton did tell the Financial Times she would not run if President Joe Biden were to officially run again, but that latter question should remain open due to his and his administration's ongoing crises.

While CNN is saying the "whispers of Hillary Clinton 2024 have started," Newsmax host Dick Morris has long held the position that you can tell a politician – and Hillary Clinton – is running, by just checking for a pulse. Candidates just do not give up presidential aspirations, Morris, a former adviser to former President Bill Clinton, noted.



Democrats-turned-Republicans reveal reasons for party switch: 'They stopped listening to the people'


More than one million Americans have switched their party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in the last 12 months, signaling a possible red wave to come this November.

Dorchester County, South Carolina council member Harriet Holman and former Cincinnati sheriff Jim Neil joined "Fox & Friends First" early Tuesday to explain their own reasons for making the switch.

"[The Democratic Party] went wrong when they stopped listening to the people, when they continued to give out instead of giving a hand up… and it's going to cost taxpayers so much money in the future that our children are going to be paying for all this free money that's being given out right now," Holman said.



Retailers Limit Plan B Pill Purchases After Demand Spike


Retail chains across the U.S. have begun to limit purchases of Plan B, also known as ''the morning-after pill,'' amid an increase in demand following the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

Walgreens, Walmart and Rite Aid still have the limits in place as of Tuesday, with CVS announcing they had removed the limit as sales reportedly returned to normal, according to CNBC.

A Walgreens spokeswoman told Axios: ''Walgreens is still able to meet demand in-store, including leveraging digital-first solutions like curbside pickup. At this time, we are working to restock online inventory for ship-to-home.''

A spokesperson for Rite Aid also confirmed the limitations to the outlet: ''Due to increased demand, at this time we are limiting purchases of Plan B contraceptive pills to three per customer.''



Bitter enemies Trump, McConnell notched Supreme Court abortion win with their unlikely alliance


They’ve never been good friends — and now appear to be political enemies. But the odd partnership between Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell nevertheless gave conservatives their biggest Supreme Court win in a generation.

The justices’ 5-4 decision overturning Roe v. Wade achieved one of the highest goals of the conservative movement, sending the authority to decide abortion law back to the states.

It was made possible chiefly because of actions taken by both Mr. McConnell, 80, the Senate Republican leader who controlled the consideration of judicial nominees while the GOP was in the majority, and Mr. Trump, 76, who defied steep odds to become the Republican nominee and ultimately the winner of the 2020 presidential election, clearing the way for him to nominate justices from a list of conservative judges compiled while he was a candidate.

The two succeeded despite a consistently rocky relationship.


More Top News

Secret Service reportedly denies Cassidy Hutchinson's Jan. 6 tale

How Electoral College high jinks went from praise to criminal probe

Disney woke agenda blamed as 'Lightyear' nosedives in its second weekend in theaters

Biden in Spain makes a deal to expand U.S. Navy presence in Europe



The will to kill


Since the inception of this great Republic, firearms have represented freedom, protection from tyranny, and the ability to defend oneself and one’s country.

I come from a family of outdoorsmen and conservationists who share the same core convictions our Founding Fathers had – convictions rooted in God-given rights. Amongst these, as stated in the Constitution, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Founders gave us the means by which to protect these inalienable rights through the Second Amendment.

I was taught growing up that with gun ownership came the responsibility to defend the innocent, stand up for justice, fight against evil, and steward our land responsibly.

I am not alone in these beliefs.



Inflation: Reagan and Trump vs. Carter and Biden

The results of pro-economic growth, supply-side policies are clear

Americans suffering from rising prices and the highest inflation in 40 years need to demand the results Presidents Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump gave them. They need to reject the policy failures of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Joe Biden.

The difference in economic outcomes is not theory or an ideological or political position. The difference in everyday pocketbook results is a purely historic fact.

Big Government socialists (as I outline in my new book, “Defeating Big Government Socialism”) have to be reality deniers. As Theodore White warned back in 1972, liberal ideology has become a liberal theology. Ideologies can evolve. Theologies must be obeyed.


" 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.”