Thursday August 11th, 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
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World & Nation

FBI raid galvanized Trump’s base, but federal probe threatens to hobble his third White House run

                        The old Trump magic: Then-Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump is seen here on the campaign trail during his first bid for the White House, on Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo, FIle)

The FBI’s surprise search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home stirred up a hornet’s nest of anger among his loyal base, who are more determined than ever to help Mr. Trump win a second term in the White House.

But the raid, and any charges the Department of Justice may lodge against the former president, may trip up another presidential campaign if Mr. Trump runs in 2024.

“The big political question is whether this galvanizes his base now, but ultimately turns off swing voters later,” said Clarus Research Group President Ron Faucheux.

Indeed, among Mr. Trump’s base, enthusiasm for another White House bid only grew stronger following the FBI raid on Monday.

Biden, White House Press Secretary Say Inflation Was Zero In July: Here's The Actual Number

                         Biden, White House Press Secretary Say Inflation Was Zero In July: Here's The Actual Number

President Joe Biden spoke on Wednesday after signing legislation boosting health care benefits for veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits while serving in the military.

What Happened: Before speaking about the bill, the president said “I want to say a word about news that came out relative to the economy, actually, I just want to say a number. Zero. Today, we received news that our economy has zero percent inflation in the month of July.”

What Biden (and the White House) meant: topline inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, was flat. It did not grow or decrease month over month, translating to an 8.5% gain year over year, according to Labor Department data issued on Wednesday.

We just received news that our economy had 0% inflation in July. While the price of some things went up, the price of others, like gas, clothing, and more, dropped.
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) August 10, 2022

Why It Matters: The all-items index for July 2022 was unchanged from the previous month, but it remains 8.5% on an annualized basis. While 8.5% inflation remains high, there are hints of a cooling — inflation declined from a 41-year high of 9.1% last month.

‘Significantly high’ percentage of Democrats worried about Biden’s mental health

A new survey out this morning said that a “significantly high” percentage of Democrats are now concerned about Biden’s situation, not just critics.

“Among Democrats, for instance, just 39% of Democrats say they are worried about Biden’s mental condition, versus 82% of Republicans and 56% of independents. But that 39% of Democrats, while not a majority, is still significantly high,” said the I&I/TIPP analysis.

Overall, 59% in the poll of 1,335 adults said that they are concerned about Biden. Of that, 36% said they are “very concerned,” said the analysis.

Judicial group launches ads claiming Democrats endanger Supreme Court justices

                    Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during an event in Washington, Aug. 2, 2022. (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool Photo via AP) **FILE**

A conservative judicial group launched a $10 million ad campaign this week claiming that Democrats are endangering Supreme Court justices, and is targeting Attorney General Merrick Garland in its first ad.

Judicial Crisis Network‘s first cable and digital ad will launch Thursday in the Washington, D.C., market.

It claims that Mr. Garland cowered to a ”woke mob” by refusing to enforce federal laws against protesting in front of a justice’s home as an attempt to obstruct justice.

“Merrick Garland has consistently bowed to the radical left’s agenda, whether it’s calling concerned parents ‘domestic terrorists’ or suing states for protecting the unborn. What the Attorney General is clearly *not* doing is enforcing a federal law designed to protect judges at their homes, as mobs of protestors continue to harass six of the Court’s justices at their homes, even after the attempted assassination of Brett Kavanaugh,” Carrie Severino, president of Judicial Crisis Network, said in a statement.

Russia struggles to replenish its troops in Ukraine

The prisoners at the penal colony in St. Petersburg were expecting a visit by officials, thinking it would be some sort of inspection. Instead, men in uniform arrived and offered them amnesty — if they agreed to fight alongside the Russian army in Ukraine.

Over the following days, about a dozen or so left the prison, according to a woman whose boyfriend is serving a sentence there. Speaking on condition of anonymity because she feared reprisals, she said her boyfriend wasn’t among the volunteers, although with years left on his sentence, he “couldn’t not think about it.”

As Russia continues to suffer losses in its invasion of Ukraine, now nearing its sixth month, the Kremlin has refused to announce a full-blown mobilization — a move that could be very unpopular for President Vladimir Putin. That has led instead to a covert recruitment effort that includes using prisoners to make up the manpower shortage.

This also is happening amid reports that hundreds of Russian soldiers are refusing to fight and trying to quit the military.

Taliban’s Afghanistan goes back to the future one year after U.S. leaves

                               A Taliban fighter stands guard in the Shiite neighborhood of Dasht-e-Barchi, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Al Qaeda’s top leader was hiding out inside the country with no apparent fear of arrest. Women and religious minorities face systematic oppression, international aid groups say, as the government rolls back basic human rights and steadily imposes a media blackout to cover it up.

That description seems to fit Afghanistan today just as well as it did in the late 1990s when the Taliban’s first reign created one of the world’s most repressive societies and a sanctuary from which Islamic terrorists, led by Osama bin Laden, launched the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

A year after the final U.S. and foreign combat troops left Afghanistan after two decades of war, critics say it is jarring but not at all surprising that the country has fallen so far backward so quickly. Indeed, the Taliban’s second round of power looks eerily similar to the first in its brutality, discrimination and inability or unwillingness to keep the world’s most wanted terrorists out of the country. Now, as then, the leaders of one of the world’s most desperately poor countries are shut off from the West and struggling to jump-start the economy.

Iran dismisses U.S. charges of plot to murder John Bolton as ‘baseless’

                         National Security Adviser John Bolton attends a meeting with President Donald Trump as he meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, Aug. 26, 2019. The Justice Department says an Iranian operative has been charged in a plot to murder former Trump administration national security John Bolton.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
Iran’s Foreign Ministry is dismissing U.S. charges that an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officer plotted to kill former National Security Adviser John Bolton, in Tehran’s first official response to the sensational charges laid out Wednesday by the Justice Department.

Prosecutors alleged Wednesday that Shahram Poursafi, a member of the Iranian paramilitary group, had offered to pay up to $300,000 to target Mr. Bolton, a longtime critic of the theocratic regime in Tehran.

U.S. officials said the strike was planned to avenge the death of top Iranian commander Gen. Qassem Suleimani, killed in early 2020 in a drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump.

More Top News

Inaptly named Inflation Reduction Act may come back to hurt Democrats in midterms

The Biden administration and Democrats on Capitol Hill have again defied basic logic in arguing that by passing the Inflation Reduction Act, inflation will decline from its current rate of 8.5 percent.

For the low, low price of $740 billion, the U.S. is projected to see its inflation rate stay more or less the same over the next two years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Meanwhile, White House senior adviser Jared Bernstein, citing a Moody’s estimate, says the massive new spending bill will take inflation down by just a third of a point.

And that’s the optimistic estimate from a White House that has gotten it wrong or outright misled the public about inflation time after time. Last summer, we were promised it was “transitory”, a blip that would come and go. Then we were told it was all Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fault for invading Ukraine in February, despite that inflation had been rising for a year prior to Russian boots entering the country.

‘Inflation reduction’ bill? Don’t buy Democrats’ fantastical twisting of reality.

Senate Democrats on Sunday pushed through with a party-line vote the “Inflation Reduction Act,” which seeks to address climate change and prescription drug prices by … spending lots of money and growing government.

“It’s the greatest example of deceptive marketing there is today,” says EJ Antoni, an economics research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, who defines inflation as “too much money chasing too few goods.”

Wouldn't it be nice if simply slapping a hopeful name on a bill would translate into lower prices at the pump and grocery store? That seems to be what Democrats in Congress hope the American people will believe.

Congress is broken. It can be fixed

The routine avoidance of regular order and process is a cancer on the legislative branch

A few days ago, in an unintentionally hilarious self-parody, a senior executive at the electric truck maker Rivian complained that the tax credits in Sen. Joe Manchin III’s reconciliation legislation weren’t going to work for the company because none of the pickup trucks the company makes sell for less than $80,000 — which means they don’t qualify for the tax credit in the bill.

While the income and price limits in the Manchin-led spending legislation are pretty generous, they apparently are not generous enough for some. It’s bad enough that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island Democrat, suggested that the entire section may need to be rewritten.

The Rivian official and Mr. Whitehouse have a point. Because reconciliation was negotiated by two people — Mr. Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York — and did not go through regular order, its defects are being discovered essentially on the fly.

" 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. 


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.”

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