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TODAY
Wednesday May 27th, 2015

"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
--Geoff Metctalf


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World & National     

Lynch Full-Blown Offensive against Soccer
                  

Loretta Lynch's Justice Department unsealed a 47-count indictment Wednesday morning laden with racketeering, corruption and conspiracy charges against 14 people associated with FIFA, the world soccer association, and international soccer organizations.

It's the latest in a series of high-profile moves from the Justice Department since Lynch became attorney general last month, including its investigations into police misconduct in Baltimore. The indictment was born out of the Eastern District of New York, where Lynch served as U.S. attorney until her confirmation.



Why is the U.S. bringing down the hammer on FIFA?

In recent years, FIFA has made news not just for enforcing rules on the soccer field, but also for allegedly breaking them off it.

The body that governs soccer, the most popular sport in the world, is a multibillion-dollar behemoth.

Great power, yes. Great responsibility? Not so much, critics say.



Texas Governor declares victory over Obama in amnesty fight
                      Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, right, speaks at a news conference Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Houston. Heavy rain overnight caused flooding and closure of sections of highways in the Houston area and across Texas. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz stands in the background. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott predicted Wednesday that the U.S. Supreme Court would ultimately reject a potential Obama administration appeal on the president’s immigration executive actions and that Mr. Obama’s actions are unlikely to actually go into effect before the president leaves office.

A federal appeals panel on Tuesday declined to lift an injunction against Mr. Obama’s deportation amnesty announced in November 2014, siding with District Court Judge Andrew S. Hanen, who halted the program in February days before it was to accept its first applications.



Obama's Islamic State strategy sparks doubt, resentment among Pentagon officials

Beneath the glowing battle reports about Iraq from U.S. military spokesmen in recent months, there remains a strong undercurrent of dissatisfaction among the Pentagon rank and file with the Obama administration’s Islamic State strategy.

“What strategy?” asked a Pentagon official involved in counterterrorism analysis. “We are now floating along, reacting to ISIS,” using a common acronym for the Islamic State.

This source said the military has a plan for introducing ground troops and defeating the Islamist group, but the belief is that President Obama will never activate it.



US storm death toll hits 17, as Texas town braces for dam to fail?
           

A dam near Dallas was on the brink of collapse Wednesday following heavy rains and deadly flooding, and officials were warning residents and farmers to get to high ground as they worked frantically to pump out lake water and ease pressure on the earthen structure.

Officials expected the dam to fail sometime Wednesday and send a wall of water down Highway 287 in Ellis County and affect about 25 homes, Fox4News.com reported.

The report of the compromised dam in Midlothian, which is on Padera Lake about 25 miles southwest of Dallas, came as the statewide search continues for 11 people. The death toll from the Memorial Day weekend storms reached 17 in the U.S., and 14 in Mexico.




Hillary emails: State proposes release that could stretch into 2016?

The State Department told a federal court Tuesday that it will still likely be next year before it’s able to release all of former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails publicly, though officials said they’ll release them in batches every two months or so between now and then.

Originally, the Obama administration had proposed dumping all 30,000 or so emails on Jan. 15, or just as Mrs. Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, would be preparing to face voters for the Iowa caucuses that kick off primary season.

But Judge Rudolph Contreras rejected that, saying the emails were too important to delay, and demanding the State Department come up with a faster plan.

In response, the administration last week released the first of the emails — nearly 300 messages related to the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack. Those messages constitute just 1 percent of the total Mrs. Clinton had withheld until she was notified last year that she was in violation of open records laws.



Air Force Has New 'Pulse' Super Weapon
Destroys Electronics from Air

The Air Force has reportedly picked Lockheed Martin’s long-range Joint Air-to-Surface Missile to carry a new “superweapon’ – a pulse-generated beam weapon capable of destroying electronics and computers from miles away.

Major Gen. Thomas Masiello of the the Air Force Research Laboratory says the technology, known as CHAMP — for Counter-electronics High-powered microwave Advanced Missile Project — can destroy electronic equipment with bursts of high-power microwave energy, Flight Global reports.

The technology will be "miniaturized" to fit the Lockheed missile, Flight Global reports.

This revolutionary development in weaponry, right out of a Star Trek episode, could radically change warfare, experts say, as the new revelations may spark a new arms race for such technology.



ISIS Social-Media Chatter Prompts Bulletin About Possible US Targets

Social media-savvy Islamic State (ISIS) supporters and propagandists are overwhelming U.S. investigators trying to keep up with the jihadist plots and threats that, according to an ominous bulletin, suggest "military bases, locations, and events could be targeted in the near-term," Fox News reports.

The six-page bulletin obtained by Fox News warns that law enforcement and military personnel should be wary at upcoming national holidays and military events due to the "heightened threat of attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant."

ISIL is another name used to describe the ISIS militants.

The bulletin was sent from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and National Counterterrorism Center one day before the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Fox News reports.



Amending the Patriot Act, not ending it

The Senate, which will never be known for an overly demanding work schedule, returns from its week-long recess a whole day early to deal with the mess being made of one of our most important anti-terrorist intelligence programs. That program, now encompassed by Section 215 of the unfortunately named Patriot Act, has its roots in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, or FISA.

As its name implies, FISA was intended to enable U.S. intelligence agencies to intercept communications between foreign spies in the United States and their bosses overseas. Section 215 has been the foundation upon which the National Security Agency’s metadata-gathering program was built.



Conservatism, the Chevy of American leadership

Imagine General Motors trying to sell you a Chevy truck by airing an ad featuring a Ford F-150 pickup truck bursting into flames, killing a family of four and ending with anguished relatives waiting for news of their loved ones in a hospital emergency room.

Would such a commercial inspire you to buy a Chevrolet instead?

This kind of depressing, fear-driven, scorched-earth, negative advertising has dominated political advertising for the past 20 years. In 2012, the top three GOP outside groups spent $299,449,218 on negative advertising, nearly 15 times what they spent on ads that actually promoted Republicans, and the Democrats were busily doing the same thing.



Medal of Honor
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.


BENAVIDEZ, ROY P.
Rank: Master Sergeant
Organization: U.S. Army
Company: Detachment B-56
Division: 5th Special Forces Group


 
BENAVIDEZ, ROY P.
 
Citation

Master Sergeant (then Staff Sergeant) Roy P. Benavidez United States Army, who distinguished himself by a series of daring and extremely valorous actions on 2 May 1968 while assigned to Detachment B56, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, Republic of Vietnam. On the morning of 2 May 1968, a 12-man Special Forces Reconnaissance Team was inserted by helicopters in a dense jungle area west of Loc Ninh, Vietnam to gather intelligence information about confirmed large-scale enemy activity. This area was controlled and routinely patrolled by the North Vietnamese Army. After a short period of time on the ground, the team met heavy enemy resistance, and requested emergency extraction. Three helicopters attempted extraction, but were unable to land due to intense enemy small arms and anti-aircraft fire. Sergeant Benavidez was at the Forward Operating Base in Loc Ninh monitoring the operation by radio when these helicopters returned to off-load wounded crewmembers and to assess aircraft damage. Sergeant Benavidez voluntarily boarded a returning aircraft to assist in another extraction attempt. Realizing that all the team members were either dead or wounded and unable to move to the pickup zone, he directed the aircraft to a nearby clearing where he jumped from the hovering helicopter, and ran approximately 75 meters under withering small arms fire to the crippled team. Prior to reaching the team's position he was wounded in his right leg, face, and head. Despite these painful injuries, he took charge, repositioning the team members and directing their fire to facilitate the landing of an extraction aircraft, and the loading of wounded and dead team members. He then threw smoke canisters to direct the aircraft to the team's position. Despite his severe wounds and under intense enemy fire, he carried and dragged half of the wounded team members to the awaiting aircraft. He then provided protective fire by running alongside the aircraft as it moved to pick up the remaining team members. As the enemy's fire intensified, he hurried to recover the body and classified documents on the dead team leader. When he reached the leader's body, Sergeant Benavidez was severely wounded by small arms fire in the abdomen and grenade fragments in his back. At nearly the same moment, the aircraft pilot was mortally wounded, and his helicopter crashed. Although in extremely critical condition due to his multiple wounds, Sergeant Benavidez secured the classified documents and made his way back to the wreckage, where he aided the wounded out of the overturned aircraft, and gathered the stunned survivors into a defensive perimeter. Under increasing enemy automatic weapons and grenade fire, he moved around the perimeter distributing water and ammunition to his weary men, reinstilling in them a will to live and fight. Facing a buildup of enemy opposition with a beleaguered team, Sergeant Benavidez mustered his strength, began calling in tactical air strikes and directed the fire from supporting gunships to suppress the enemy's fire and so permit another extraction attempt. He was wounded again in his thigh by small arms fire while administering first aid to a wounded team member just before another extraction helicopter was able to land. His indomitable spirit kept him going as he began to ferry his comrades to the craft. On his second trip with the wounded, he was clubbed from additional wounds to his head and arms before killing his adversary. He then continued under devastating fire to carry the wounded to the helicopter. Upon reaching the aircraft, he spotted and killed two enemy soldiers who were rushing the craft from an angle that prevented the aircraft door gunner from firing upon them. With little strength remaining, he made one last trip to the perimeter to ensure that all classified material had been collected or destroyed, and to bring in the remaining wounded. Only then, in extremely serious condition from numerous wounds and loss of blood, did he allow himself to be pulled into the extraction aircraft. Sergeant Benavidez' gallant choice to join voluntarily his comrades who were in critical straits, to expose himself constantly to withering enemy fire, and his refusal to be stopped despite numerous severe wounds, saved the lives of at least eight men. His fearless personal leadership, tenacious devotion to duty, and extremely valorous actions in the face of overwhelming odds were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflect the utmost credit on him and the United States Army.




From the Archives

American Fairness to a Fault — a Deadly One
Tuesday, 10 Nov 2009 02:28 PM

American’s tragic flaw is our unbridled fairness, which has been corrupted ever more by the cancer of political correctness to the point we put ourselves at risk rather than create even the perception of prejudice.

Sometime after the VOLAR (all volunteer) Army, the military veered from the “yes sir, yes sir, three bags full” blind adherence to all orders to the concept of refusing “unlawful orders” and that was ostensibly a good thing.

However, the uniformed services do not set or get to pick and choose foreign policy. The civilian leadership sets foreign policy, and the U.S. military enforces it — with a big, honking combined arms stick.

Retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters has been one of the rare pundits with the courage to target the “culture of political correctness” in leadership of the military. In at least two interviews on Fox, Peters (correctly) blamed the culture of political correctness for the Army’s diffidence in taking action against Nidal Malik Hasan in the wake of knowledge of the problem.

Many mechanisms exist for dealing with matters of deep conscience — all without killing those one might think disagree with in principle.

However, it is not prejudice to discriminate based on threat facts in evidence. Refusal to act judiciously for fear of a tainted perception is just plain dumb.

Notwithstanding the articulated fears of the Army chief of staff and the secretary of Homeland Security, officials made an epic mistake in handling suspicions about Hasan. A mistake founded on political correctness and sustained by diffidence that cost the lives of innocents.

Reportedly, U.S. intelligence agencies were aware (months ago) that Hasan was attempting to make contact with people associated with al-Qaida. He spoke openly to too many people about his angst and misdirected sympathies. He was apparently a poster child for suspicion, and the Army failed bigtime to intervene.

“It is not known whether the intelligence agencies informed the Army that one of its officers was seeking to connect with suspected al-Qaida figures," the officials said.

But you damnbetcha they SHOULD have done so.

Investigators want to know whether Hasan maintained contact with a radical mosque leader from Virginia, Anwar al Awlaki, who now lives in Yemen and runs a Web site that promotes jihad around the world against the United States.

In a recent blog posting titled "Nidal Hassan Did the Right Thing," Awlaki calls Hasan a "hero" and a "man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people."

Increasingly we are told people who knew or worked with Hasan say he seemed to become gradually more radical in his condemnation of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Subordinates and superiors had a responsibility to flag the inappropriate rhetoric, and they apparently did not.

The fear to speak out is a symptom of the PC disease fueled by recriminations and implied threats of discrimination — a fear that indirectly resulted in mayhem.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman said, "If Hasan was showing signs, saying to people that he had become an Islamist extremist, the U.S. Army has to have a zero tolerance," and despite the echo of shutting the barn door after the horse got out, he is right.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey Jr. is concerned that speculation about the religious beliefs of Hasan could “cause a backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers.” He’s right, but such a backlash would be a direct result of the failure of command — not prejudice.

When confronted about whether he thought the Army “dropped the ball” in not responding to warning signs, Casey replied that the Army needs to be careful not to jump to conclusions based on early tidbits of information.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.-S.C., and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., both of whom are veterans, took pains to say that Muslims have served honorably in the military and at risk to their lives.

“At the end of the day, this is not about his religion — the fact that this man was a Muslim,” Graham said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

But, hey, it is (kinda/sorta) about religion (when the FBI says 10 percent of American Mosques preach jihad) — at least from a risk analysis perspective.


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