China could have been prevented two-thirds of its coronavirus
cases before the end of February had it followed international health
guidelines at the beginning of the outbreak in Wuhan, a new
congressional report concluded.
The report, released Monday and authored by Republican members of the
House Foreign Affairs Committee, echoes earlier findings that China
made efforts to cover up the severity of the initial spread of the
virus and that the government harassed and detained journalists,
scientists and health care professionals who were voicing concerns
about its handling of the outbreak.
“It is beyond doubt that the [Chinese Communist Party] actively engaged
in a cover-up designed to obfuscate data, hide relevant public health
information, and suppress doctors and journalists who attempted to warn
the world,” the report said. “Research shows the CCP could have reduced
the number of cases in China by up to 95 percent had it fulfilled its
obligations under international law and responded to the outbreak in a
manner consistent with best practices.”
President Donald Trump said Monday he plans to name his Supreme Court
nominee either Friday or Saturday after the late Justice Ruth Bader
Ginsburg is laid to rest.
"She was a legend," Trump said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends." "She
represented something different than you or I or somebody else may
really agree with or like, frankly, but she was a legend ... I don't
want to hurt her reputation at all, but she did vote for me on a case,
and it was a very important case, so that was nice. But, no, she was a
Ginsburg's services will likely be on Thursday or Friday, "as I
understand it," but in "all due respect, we should wait until the
services are over for Justice Ginsburg," said Trump.
“We have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about
to discuss right now,” the California Democrat said on ABC’s “This
Host George Stephanopoulos had asked her about the possibility of
launching impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump or Attorney General
William P. Barr in the post-election lame-duck session of Congress as a
way to stall a high court confirmation process.
The Justice Department on Monday declared New York, Portland and
Seattle “anarchist jurisdictions,” the first step toward revoking
federal funding from those cities.
President Trump earlier this month ordered federal agencies to look for
ways to cut off federal funding in Democratic-led cities besieged by
violence this summer. The Justice Department’s move escalates the
criticism Mr. Trump has been leveling at Democrat leaders, blaming them
for the rising crime and violence.
The list of cities is expected to be updated periodically, the Justice Department said.
Democrats are turning up the heat on William P. Barr, accusing the
attorney general of trying to influence the November presidential
election and threatening impeachment after he gave a fiery speech last
week lambasting career federal prosecutors.
The chairs of four House committees urged the Justice Department’s
internal watchdog to open an “emergency” investigation into whether Mr.
Barr is using U.S. Attorney John Durham’s Russia probe as part of an
effort to taint the presidential election.
In a letter Friday to Justice Department Inspector General Michael E.
Horowitz, the four lawmakers said Mr. Barr’s comments and actions could
be damaging “to public confidence in the integrity of the DOJ and our
US to Slap Sanctions on Over 2 Dozen Targets Tied to Iran Arms
The United States on Monday will sanction more than two dozen people
and entities involved in Iran's nuclear, missile and conventional arms
programs, a senior U.S. official said, putting teeth behind U.N.
sanctions on Tehran that Washington argues have resumed despite the
opposition of allies and adversaries.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said Iran could have
enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon by the end of the year and
that Tehran has resumed long-range missile cooperation with
nuclear-armed North Korea. He did not provide detailed evidence
regarding either assertion.
The new sanctions fit into U.S. President Donald Trump's effort to
limit Iran's regional influence and come a week after U.S.-brokered
deals for the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to normalize ties with
Israel, pacts that may coalesce a wider coalition against Iran while
appealing to pro-Israel U.S. voters ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
The new sanctions also put European allies, China and Russia on notice
that while their inclination may be to ignore the U.S. drive to
maintain the U.N. sanctions on Iran, companies based in their nations
would feel the bite for violating them.
Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden declared at Thursday’s
CNN town hall that nobody would have died from the novel coronavirus if
President Trump had “done his job,” a whopper that CNN anchor Anderson
Cooper let slide.
“And if the president had done his job, had done his job from the
beginning, all the people would still be alive,” Mr. Biden said at the
town hall. “All the people — I’m not making this up, just look at the
data. Look at the data.”
He was immediately challenged on social media by right-of-center
commentators and fact-checks by news outlets, notably The Washington
Post, which concluded, “Actually, Biden is making this up.”
The Abraham Accords signed last week, normalizing relations between
Israel and two more Arab states, are rightly considered a triumph for
the Trump administration.
Perhaps as important, the agreements illuminate the limits of diplomacy
and groupthink, the power of indifference and the irresistibility of
practical considerations in the realm of foreign policy.
Israel’s new ties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are also a
rebuke to the American foreign policy establishment’s bipartisan
cluelessness with respect to the Middle East. For 60 years, that
establishment has proceeded as if the only answer to the region’s
problems was to press the Israelis and the Palestinians into ever more
meaningless “talks,” while ignoring the very real truth that the Arab
world had and has interests that go well beyond the question of Israel.
For many Americans, “Lancaster County” evokes gentle slopes,
cornfields, barns, Amish buggies and a seemingly endless supply of
Christian novels about Amish heroines.
It’s a sweet-spirited place where you can actually feel the peaceful
vibes emanating from a God-blessed land. Anyone suffering from
city-bred anxiety should spend a day there to see how different life
You may not want any part of the strict Amish and less-strict Mennonite
lifestyles, but your psyches can gain a bit of rest away from our
debauched culture’s daily bombardment.
" 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
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.
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
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).
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'.
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.
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
The London Telegraph reported in December of
1997 that the Civil liberties Committee of the European Parliament had
officially confirmed the existence and purpose of ECHELON. “A global
electronic spy network that can eavesdrop on every telephone, e-mail
and telex communication around the world will be officially
acknowledged for the first time in a European Commission report. …”
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
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 relatively 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.