Tuesday December 1st, 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

Obama anti-ISIS coalition crumbles as Arab allies focus elsewhere
             Saudi pilots involved in U.S.-led coalition airstrikes on Islamic State targets sit in the cockpit of a fighter jet in Saudi Arabia on Sept. 24. (Associated Press)

The major Arab powers once deemed essential to the fight against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq have largely pulled back from the U.S.-led military campaign, undercutting the Obama administration’s claims about the depth and reach of the coalition it has built with allies in the region.

The Obama administration consistently touts the “65-nation coalition” it has assembled to fight the group also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh — but critics say that fewer than a dozen nations today are contributing anything significant to the campaign.

Obama insists threat from climate change just as serious as terrorism?
             U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Centre, in Paris, on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Obama discussed the COP21 climate change summit, and the threat of terrorism from the Islamic State Group. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Obama defended spending his energies on a climate-change summit at a time of high concern over terrorism Tuesday, saying global warming is an imminent danger to the world.

“This one trend, climate change, affects all trends,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference in Paris. “This is an economic and security imperative that we have to tackle now. Great nations can handle a lot at once.”

Obama warns Putin on intervening in Syria

President Barack Obama warned his Russian counterpart Tuesday (December 1) against intervening in Syria's civil war, suggesting that Vladimir Putin is aware of the dangers his country faces by entering the bloody conflict.

"I think Mr. Putin understands that ... with Afghanistan fresh in the memory, for him to simply get bogged down in an inconclusive and paralyzing civil conflict is not the outcome that he's looking for," Obama said at a news conference in Paris.

Cameroen says government unanimous on Syria strikes

British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday his government had unanimously agreed a motion on air strikes against militants in Syria, portraying the ruling party as united on an issue that has split the Labour opposition.

Cameron wants to launch the strikes as soon as possible against Islamic State in Syria, convinced Britain can no longer "sub-contract" its security to other countries after the group said it was behind last month's Paris attacks.

Senate GOP Believe They Can Pass Obamacare Repeal
         Image: Senate Republicans Believe They Can Pass Obamacare Repeal

Senate Republicans were moving ahead Monday night with a bill to repeal a key provision of Obamacare, believing they can get 51 votes, The Hill reports.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced an amendment to a House-passed bill that would phase out Medicaid expansion over a two-year period in hopes of gaining the support of conservatives. The bill would deal with the individual mandate portion of Obamacare, which requires individuals and large companies to buy health care insurance.

"I think we’ve found a pretty good spot so I’m optimistic," Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn told the Hill. "We are going to do more, repeal more of ObamaCare."

Trump demands $5-Million from CNN to particiapte in Republican debaste

Like a star football player holding out before training camp, Donald Trump said he may demand CNN pay him to be in next presidential debate.

At a campaign rally in Macon, Georgia, Mr. Trump said he pulls in such big ratings that he deserves $5 million from CNN.


Obama's EPA ignores congressiional mandaete for ethanl in gasoline

The Obama administration backed off its so-called ethanol mandate Monday, dealing a blow to President Obama’s promise of a green energy revolution just as he and other world leaders opened a new round of historic climate change talks in Paris.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s latest round of ethanol mandates — known as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and initiated during President George W. Bush’s time in office — came under fire from all sides, with proponents of ethanol blending saying the rules fall far short of what the nation needs to continue cutting greenhouse gas emissions and from critics who say the entire system is flawed and must be scrapped.

Hillary, Aides Dismissed Criticism Over 'What Dofference Does it Make' Comment

New emails released by the State Department Monday show that Hillary Clinton and her top aides were dismissive of criticism after her appearance in a 2013 Senate Committee hearing regarding the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

While the then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shut down questions about the motivations of the attackers, who left four Americans dead in the Libyan City, her response received a lot of blow back from political pundits around the country, The Hill reports.

“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans,” Clinton told Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., in the hearing. "Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?”

Chicago Mayor Fires Police Chief

Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired the city's police chief Tuesday, a week after the release of a dash-cam video that showed a white Chicago officer fatally shooting a black teenager 16 times.

Emanuel called a news conference to announce the dismissal of Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who only days ago insisted to reporters that the mayor had his "back."

Protesters have been calling for McCarthy's dismissal in response to the handling of the death of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old who was killed in October 2014.

US Expanding Special Operations Force in Iraq

Defense Secretary Ash Carter says the U.S. is expanding the U.S. special operations force in Iraq to help Iraqi and Kurdish forces fight Islamic State militants.

Carter told the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that over time, these special operators will be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence and capture IS leaders. Carter says that will improve intelligence and generate more targets. He did not offer troop numbers, but said it was being done in cooperation with the Iraqi government.

New law facilitates military dogs' return to U.S.

The U.S. military prides itself on “leaving no man behind,” but it’s been a different story for some of its war dogs.

America’s fighting canines, who undoubtedly saved many lives in battle by detecting hidden bombs, do not always make it home during the long war on terrorism for a variety of reasons. Some were retired overseas, making them “civilians” ineligible for military-funded transportation back to the States.

The showboatseing student, hard at work

There is much to do for the student with awakened conscience. Scrubbing out the moral stains on America, to make the grove of academe the bright spot of the fruited plain, is a job bigger than anyone first imagined.

But a new wave of Nancy men is hard at work. Amherst College in Massachusetts, whence so much politically correct moonshine bubbles and flows, is finally getting around to throwing Lord Jeff out of his job as Official Mascot. Minerva, the Roman goddess of the arts, will be altered in the spirit of the times to keep her place as the inspiration of students of Union College. Another Indian tribe has fallen to the white man at the University of North Dakota. The Fighting Sioux are reduced to mere birds.

Cutting government down to size
Republicans can take their cue from postwar Democrats

The GOP debates so far have shown that the Republican presidential candidates are far from united on how best to boost the economy. Tax and regulatory reform are critical. But as a first step they should consider following the path Democrats took immediately after World War II: shrink the government.

During the war, from 1942 to 1945, the United States deployed what amounted to a centralized, command economy. The federal government diverted men and materials to the war effort using edicts and price controls, rather than allowing markets and prices to allocate resources.

                 Medal of Honor
Army Medal of HonorNavy Medal of HonorAir Force 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.

Rank: Captain
Organization: U.S. Army
Date of Issue: 07/08/2002

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

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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