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Friday April 24th, 2015
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'American Sniper' derailed by Muslim complaints at University of Maryland
The University of Maryland joins the University of Michigan in the ranks of educational institutions with an “American Sniper” controversy.
Muslim student protests prompted the University of Maryland at College Park to announce the cancellation of the movie about deceased Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.
“American Sniper only perpetuates the spread of Islamophobia and is offensive to many Muslims around the world for good reason. This movie dehumanizes Muslim individuals, promotes the idea of senseless mass murder, and portrays negative and inaccurate stereotypes,” the university’s Muslim Students Association said in its petition, Fox News reported Thursday
Al-Qaeda cell planned suicide attack on Vatican
Italian police busted an al-Qaeda-linked terror ring that planned, but never carried out, an attack on the Vatican five years ago and is believed to have been involved in a bombing in Pakistan that killed more than 100 people, authorities said Friday.
Raids were carried out simultaneously in seven different Italian provinces with arrest warrants for 18 suspected Islamic extremists following a lengthy investigation in Cagliari, capital of the Italian island Sardinia.
Authorities uncovered plans for a suicide bomber plot against the Vatican in 2010, when Pope Benedict XVI was pontiff. Evidence includes a "martyr's vow" from a would-be suicide bomber threatening to strike against the Vatican, the spiritual focal point for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
Italian police round up terror suspects in failed Vatican plot
Italian security forces were rounding up 18 Islamic extremists Friday who prosecutors said were behind a failed 2010 plot to attack the Vatican as well as a bombing at a Pakistan market that killed more than 100 a year earlier.
Prosecutor Mauro Mura told reporters in Cagliari, Sardinia, on Friday that wiretaps indicated the suspected terrorists, including two former bodyguards for Usama bin Laden, planned a bomb attack at the Vatican and went as far as to send a suicide bomber to Rome. Mura said the attack plans never went further and that the suicide bomber left Italy, though it wasn't clear why.
Authorities said nine suspects had been caught, and another nine were being sought, three of whom were believed to still be in the country. One of the suspects arrested Friday had a construction business in Sardinia that participated in work for a Group of Eight summit planned for Sardinia but that was later moved to quake-stricken Aquilia, in Abruzzo to boost reconstruction. Another was an imam in the northern province of Bergamo.
Illegal immigrant deportations plummet as amnesty hampers removal efforts
Deportations have plummeted by another 25 percent so far this year, with the government even struggling to find enough criminals to kick out of the country, according to the latest statistics that suggest President Obama’s amnesty has hampered removal efforts.
That could undercut Mr. Obama’s legal justification for the deportation amnesty, where the pace of deportations has been raised as a key way of judging whether the president is complying with the law by trying to grant “deferred action” to millions of illegal immigrants.
The numbers for the first six months of fiscal year 2015, which began Oct. 1, are striking: The government has deported just 117,181 immigrants, which is just three-quarters of the 157,365 immigrations kicked out during that same period a year earlier, according to figures provided to Congress.
Climate models WRONG: recent changes down to 'natural variability'
Global warming hasn't happened as fast as expected, according to a new study based on 1,000 years of temperature records.
The research claims that natural variability in surface temperatures over the course of a decade can account for increases and dips in warming rates.
But it adds that these so-called 'climate wiggles' could also, in the future, cause our planet to warm up much faster than anticipated.
Ash piles up from eruption of Chile's Calbuco volcano
Twin blasts from the Calbuco volcano in southern Chile sent vast clouds of ash into the sky, covering this small town with thick soot and raising concerns Thursday that the dust could contaminate water, cause respiratory illnesses and ground more flights.
Ensenada, in the foothills of the volcano, looked like a ghost town but for an occasional horse or dog roaming its only street. Most of the 1,500 residents had evacuated after the initial eruption Wednesday, with only about 30 people refusing to leave out of worry for their homes and animals.
Daniel Patricio Gonzalez left with his wife, 7-year-old son and 4-year-old twins, but he returned to town Thursday night to assess the damage. The roof at the restaurant he manages had caved in from the weight of the mounting ash.
Liberal Common Cause demands Clinton Foundation, Hillary audit
The financial issues plaguing Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign have become too much even for liberal groups, and now Common Cause is calling for an independent audit of donations to the Clinton Foundation.
Amid suggestions that foreign governments donated to the foundation in hopes of getting special treatment from President Obama's State Department when Clinton was his top diplomat, the group on Friday said a "thorough review" is needed.
"Six years ago, at Mrs. Clinton's confirmation hearing for her appointment as secretary of state, then-Sen. Dick Lugar observed that 'that foreign governments and entities may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the secretary of state.' He was right, and his remarks remain relevant today as Mrs. Clinton seeks the presidency," said Common Cause President Miles Rapoport.
Armenians worldwide mark 1915 genocide of 1.5 million people
Around the world on Friday, tens of thousands of people of Armenian descent commemorated the genocide 100 years ago of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks.
The annual April 24 commemorations mark the day when the mass killings started. An estimated 1.5 million died in massacres, deportations and forced marches that began in 1915 as Ottoman officials worried that the Christian Armenians would side with Russia, its enemy in World War I.
The event is widely viewed by historians as genocide. Turkey denies the deaths constituted genocide, saying the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.
Congressional GOP Mulls Backing Obamacare Subsidies?
Congressional Republicans are considering plans that could allow Americans to temporarily keep their Obamacare policies and subsidies, even if the Supreme Court strikes down those subsidies in June.
There are already more than a half-dozen competing plans under discussion in response to the King v. Burwell case, which will determine if people who buy coverage on the federal healthcare exchange are entitled to subsidies, reports The Hill.
The plaintiffs in the landmark case say people who get subsidies through the federal exchange are getting them illegally, as the Affordable Care Act says that such aid is available only through state-established healthcare exchanges. But the Obama administration is arguing that when the bill passed, Congress intended for the subsidies to help everyone who enrolls in the program.
Obama Bowing to Iran Deal
In December, President Obama said that he wished to see Iran ultimately become a "very successful regional power." His wish — a nightmare for the Western-oriented Arab states — is becoming a reality. Consider:
The Clinton money-market account
If we can believe Hillary Clinton (and there’s no reason why anyone should), she and Bubba have gone from “dead broke” when they left the White House to accumulating riches that beggar Croesus, the ancient king of Lydia, and Midas, who was rich even before he started selling mufflers for Pontiacs and Chevys. Nevertheless, Hillary and Bubba are lining up now for seconds.
Bubba was always untouchable, having established that he was a sinner from Hot Springs, where they knew about sinning, a good ol’ boy who just couldn’t help himself. The ladies were suckers for a wink and a smile, and the men envied his gift for getting away with what needed getting away with. He once even recruited a panel of preachers to examine his ethics, but he never submitted a promised copy of the diagnosis.
But that was then, and this is now, and the present day is a different day. Hillary has none of the Clinton charm. Unfair as it may be, and life as JFK reminded us is often unfair, ladies can sometimes get by with gifts of looks and grace, but never with a rascal’s deceit and charm.
Getting back to business
Anyone looking for signs that Barack Obama’s presidency is running out of gas got a glimmer of hope this week from his daily schedule.
President Obama traveled to Florida Wednesday for a tour along the swampy Anhinga Trail in Everglades National Park to talk about “climate change” or, as it is called by his friends, “global warming.”
The last time I checked the top 10 issues the American people worry about most, climate change wasn’t one of them.
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.
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.