There are few more easily observable measures of the cost of everyday living than the price of gasoline at the pump. As has been widely reported, gas prices in the United States recently hit a seven-year high. The striking thing, however, is not just how high gas prices have gotten, but how fast and far they have risen.
Based on statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Administration—the statistical arm of the Department of Energy—weekly average retail prices for regular unleaded gasoline in the United States increased 94 percent in less than two years. Average gas prices rose from $1.77 per gallon during the week ending April 27, 2020, to $3.44 per gallon during the week ending February 7, 2022—nearly doubling in the process.
That was the largest percentage increase in gas prices within a two-year window since October of 2005, more than 16 years ago. In the election of 2006, Republicans—then the party in power—lost 30 House and six Senate seats, thereby losing control of both chambers, before losing the presidency two years later.
Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation isn’t just imposing accountability for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 political trick to dirty up Donald Trump with the FBI; it’s also encroaching on the credibility of President Biden’s current chief foreign policy adviser and point man for the current Russia-Ukraine crisis.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan was a senior adviser to Clinton’s 2016 campaign and, by his own admission, spread the word to reporters back then that Democrats believed Trump was colluding with Vladimir Putin to hijack the election and had a secret computer channel to the Kremlin. Neither proved true.
But long before that Russia collusion narrative crumbled like a stale Starbucks muffin, Sullivan gave sworn testimony to the House Intelligence Committee disputing that anything the Clinton campaign spread around Washington was misinformation.
In recent months, European gas prices have risen as much as 700 percent, leaving millions of citizens vulnerable to a dangerously unstable grid and burdened with high electricity costs heading into this winter. Disruptions from this energy crisis have been felt by households and many industries that rely on affordable power to provide goods and services.
Until the recent escalation of Russia’s confrontation with NATO over Ukraine, the Biden administration’s solution to Europe’s energy crisis had been to implore Russia to send more gas to Europe. EU member states are already dependent on Moscow for roughly 40 percent of their gas supply. Initially, the White House made a deal with Germany, letting the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline move forward. As part of an effort to repair relations with Germany, this decision allows Russia to tighten Putin’s grip over European energy security at the expense of our strategic partner Ukraine. Fortunately, German regulators refused to approve the pipeline, effectively delaying the certification of the project before July 2022. As part of the growing confrontation with Europe and the U.S. over Ukraine, Russia has further cut gas exports to Europe.
National security agencies in multiple countries reportedly succeeded in hacking ransomware gang REvil, the group responsible for the cyber attack on meatpacker JBS, forcing them offline.
Tom Kellermann, head of cybersecurity strategy at cloud computing company VMWare, told Reuters that intelligence officials in multiple countries worked to stop REvil.
“The FBI, in conjunction with Cyber Command, the Secret Service and like-minded countries, have truly engaged in significant disruptive actions against these groups,” Kellermann, who serves as an adviser to the U.S. Secret Service on cybercrime investigations, told Reuters. “REvil was top of the list.”
A warning by former national security officials about the dangers of regulating technology companies is in lockstep with arguments made by Big Tech chief executives, according to a report from an internet watchdog group.
A group of former intelligence community officials sent a letter Wednesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy arguing against the passage of a series of antitrust bills advanced in the House Judiciary Committee in June. The warnings echo talking points made by groups lobbying for the tech industry and major tech firms themselves, according to a report by the Internet Accountability Project, a nonprofit conservative advocacy group focused on issues related to Big Tech.
The intelligence community officials argued the bills would make the U.S. less competitive with China and could even compromise America’s national security.
Some 44 Afghan refugees who were brought to the U.S. were flagged as potential national security threats in the last two weeks, The Washington Post reported on Friday.
Over 60,000 Afghans have been evacuated to the U.S. and around 13 of them are waiting to go through additional counterterrorism screening measures in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody, according to the Post. Fifteen others were transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody and returned to processing stations in Europe and the Middle East or allowed to enter the U.S. after further screening.
Another 16 Afghans are waiting to see whether they’ll be cleared for travel at U.S. processing sites in countries overseas, the Post reported. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documents reportedly show officials raised concerns about multiple refugees for potential ties to terror organizations including suspicious information on their electronic devices.
After former President Donald J. Trump attempted to ban TikTok, a popular video streaming social network, the Chinese-owned company has overtaken Google-owned YouTube in popularity in the United States.
“App users in the UK and US are spending more time on TikTok than on YouTube, a new report suggests,” BBC reported. “Data from app monitoring firm App Annie indicates that average time per user spent on the apps is higher for TikTok, indicating high levels of engagement.”
In the aftermath of any botched U.S. military operation, what inevitably follows are numerous news cycles of noisy recriminations across Washington’s national security and foreign policy establishment. Republican lawmakers and some conservative military and diplomatic hands have blasted President Biden as the Afghanistan withdrawal spiraled out of control over the last two weeks, but there have been glaring exceptions.
Conspicuously absent from the after-action finger-pointing are nearly all of the 500 national security experts — both civilians and former senior uniformed officers — who endorsed Joe Biden for president last fall, while denouncing President Trump as an unfit commander-in-chief.
Earlier this week, as covered in a previous column in the American Spectator, the Democrat National Committee bragged about the “achievement” of this alleged president in his “best-run evacuation” of Kabul. Chief among the DNC’s arguments for such ludicrous praise was the lack of American casualties.
The press flacks at the DNC, every one of whom would be fired if that organization had the slightest honor (its chairman, the failed U.S. Senate candidate Jaime Harrison, should similarly resign in disgrace before the weekend), were merely parroting statements the alleged president made about the absence of dead Americans at the time.
Every single credible person with either operational military experience or a knowledge of Afghanistan was warning that casualties were already inevitable by that point. Even the alleged president, in a fit of congratulatory onanism, qualified the alleged safety of the “best-run evacuation” with the proverbial knock on wood.
U.S. officials in Kabul have given the Taliban “a list of names of American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies” who should be granted entry through Taliban checkpoints outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA), Politico reported Thursday. This decision to trust the Taliban with this information has reportedly “prompted outrage behind the scenes from lawmakers and military officials.”
The U.S. military has been sharing “information with the Taliban” since Aug. 14 ostensibly to prevent attacks, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. confirmed during a Pentagon briefing Thursday.
The Biden administration has been an “impediment” to a private effort to get people out of Afghanistan, Robert Stryk, who is arranging privately chartered flights to get Americans and vulnerable Afghans out of the country, exclusively told the Daily Caller News Foundation Monday.
“The Brits and South Africans have been fucking awesome and heroic in getting people through the Mil Gate,” Stryk told the DCNF.
Stryk, whose Washington-based lobbying firm was in 2017 paid by the government of Afghanistan for “US Government affairs and commercial sector advice. Executive Branch and Legislative Branch Engagement; Defense consultation; strategic advice pertaining to extremism/terrorism; and promotion of democracy and foreign direct investment,” said he had reached out to the administration “dozens and dozens” of times and had yet to hear back.
If stagflation, rising urban crime, and a weak Democratic president did not remind us enough of the 1970s, we now have our very own fall of Saigon.
To the astonishment of many naïve observers, especially those among the polite and orderly caretakers of America’s decline (for whom I suggest the acronym “POCAD”) now so foul misplaced atop our discredited foreign policy establishment, Afghanistan’s Taliban shrewdly—and predictably—waited until U.S. forces had nearly completed their withdrawal from the country before launching a massive offensive that has conquered almost all before it.
Outside Kabul’s precariously held airport, the capital has fallen. Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani fled the country and was within a matter of hours replaced by a Taliban mullah. U.S. diplomats destroyed the secret papers (and, reportedly, images of the American flag) while pusillanimously begging the new regime not to attack the embassy, over which the colors no longer fly. Taliban fighters are joyfully lounging in captured bases where they have won huge caches of American military hardware for use against their doomed countrymen, or to supply whatever other terrorist groups take refuge with them.
As the number of illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border reaches a 20-year high and COVID-19 cases consequently spike, Republican lawmakers are blasting the Biden administration for the converging security and public health crises.
July saw the highest number of illegal immigrants crossing the border in over 20 years, with a total of 210,000. Simultaneously, fewer MS-13 gang members have been caught crossing the border this year than in each of the previous three years, and COVID-positive migrants are flooding the Texas border town of McAllen.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s charge that the National Security Agency illegally spied on him and leaked his emails is enraging prominent liberals. Carlson sought “to sow distrust [of the NSA], which is so anti-American,” declared MSNBC analyst Andrew Weissman, formerly the chief prosecutor for Special Counsel Robert Mueller. CNN senior correspondent Oliver Darcy ridiculed Carlson for effectively claiming that “I’m not a crazy person overstating a case!”
When did the NSA become as pure as Snow White? Do pundits presume that there is a 24-hour statute of limitation for recalling any previously-disclosed NSA crimes and abuses?
The Carlson controversy cannot be understood outside the context of perennial NSA abuses. The NSA possesses a “repository capable of taking in 20 billion ‘record events’ daily and making them available to NSA analysts within 60 minutes,” the New York Times reported. The NSA is able to snare and stockpile many orders of magnitude times more information than did East Germany’s Stasi secret police, one of the most odious agencies of the post-war era.
United States Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan said Tuesday that he was returning to Washington for “consultations” with top American officials as tensions increase between the two countries.
The former deputy secretary of state and appointee of former President Donald Trump said that “it is important for me to speak directly with my new colleagues in the Biden administration in Washington about the current state of bilateral relations between the U.S. and Russia.”
Sullivan added that he was returning to see his family, and that he would “return to Moscow in the coming weeks before any meeting” between President Joe Biden and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.