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TODAY
Monday March 2nd, 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 Threatened to Shoot Down IAF Iran Strike
Kuwaiti paper claims unnamed Israeli minister with good ties with the US administration 'revealed the attack plan to John Kerry.'

         Barack Obama

The Bethlehem-based news agency Ma’an has cited a Kuwaiti newspaper report Saturday, that US President Barack Obama thwarted an Israeli military attack against Iran's nuclear facilities in 2014 by threatening to shoot down Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran.

Following Obama's threat, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was reportedly forced to abort the planned Iran attack.

According to Al-Jarida, the Netanyahu government took the decision to strike Iran some time in 2014 soon after Israel had discovered the United States and Iran had been involved in secret talks over Iran’s nuclear program and were about to sign an agreement in that regard behind Israel's back.

Netanyahu takes off on 'historic' US mission...
Tickets in High Demand Despite Dems' Boycott...
'I could scalp that ticket'...
White House Offers Rebuttal Before Speech...
Collision Course 6 Years in Making...
KRISTOL: Vindication for Zionism...
Election watchdog orders TV and radio stations to impose 5-minute delay on broadcast...
Kerry asks for benefit of doubt on Iran...
Palestinian activist: Boycott of Israeli products begins...


Iran deal could threaten Israel's existence

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the United States on Monday that the nuclear deal it is negotiating with Iran could threaten Israel's survival and insisted he had a "moral obligation" to speak up about deep differences with President Barack Obama on the issue.

In a preview of a planned address to Congress on Tuesday that has already imperiled U.S.-Israeli ties, Netanyahu voiced fears that talks between Iran and world powers would allow Tehran to become a nuclear-armed state and said this must not happen.




Bill Clinton's portrait contains Monica Lewinsky reference
              Former President Bill Clinton is pictured. | AP

An artist who painted a portrait of former President Bill Clinton says there’s more to the piece than one might see at first blush.

Pennsylvania artist Nelson Shanks told the Philadelphia Daily News that he included a shadow of a blue dress in the 2006 portrait that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. It’s an apparent reference to the Monica Lewinsky scandal, with Shanks adding that the 42nd president is “probably the most famous liar of all time.”



Feds raid Texas political meeting

Fingerprint, photograph all attendees, seize phones
                fbi

In a deliberate “show of force,” federal and local police forces raided a political meeting in Texas, fingerprinting and photographing all attendees as well as confiscating all cell phones and personal recording devices.

Members of the Republic of Texas, a secession movement dedicated to restoring Texas as an independent constitutional republic, had gathered Feb. 14 in a Bryan, Texas, meeting hall along with public onlookers. They were debating issues of currency, international relations and celebrating the birthday of one of their oldest members. The group, which describes itself as “congenial and unimposing,” maintains a small working government, including official currency, congress and courts.



Obama hit for filling embassies with political allies, highest in 27 years

Career diplomats are finding that they can't advance to top State Department posts such as ambassadorships because President Obama has stuffed political appointees into those jobs, the most ever in his second term.

"Yes, it's a problem," said Robert Silverman, president of the American Foreign Service Association. "This is an ongoing struggle. We need to maintain the ability for our top people to go straight to the top," he said.

The issue is a big one: While the State Department has a good record for hiring a diverse workforce of diplomats and experts who often take hardship posts to move up the ladder, the Obama White House is keeping way too many of the best jobs for its political allies.



Foreign guest workers imported to process unemployment claims?


It's nearly 8 p.m., and inside a state office building two dozen computer experts design and troubleshoot a system that will take and process millions of unemployment claims each year.

It's a $200 million Employment Development Department project, but with the exception of two managers, everyone inside the office is from outside of the U.S. They are employed by Deloitte, a major U.S. IT company hired by the state to create and manage its Unemployment Insurance Modernization project. The mostly Indian nationals are allowed to work here under a visa program called H-1B.

Tech companies like Microsoft, Intel, Google and Facebook say they need hundreds of thousands of foreign workers to fill jobs here because American colleges can't crank out computer science grads fast enough. In 2013, the industry lobbied Congress on the issue to the tune of almost $14 million.



Twitter employees over blocked account
Terror group supporters threaten social network, as well as co-founder Jack Dorsey specifically

Isis supporters have threatened Twitter employees, including co-founder Jack Dorsey specifically, with death over the social network’s practice of blocking accounts associated with the group.

In an Arabic post uploaded to the image-sharing site JustPaste.it, the group told Twitter that “your virtual war on us will cause a real war on you”. It warned that Jack Dorsey and Twitter employees have “become a target for the soldiers of the Caliphate and supporters scattered among your midst!”

Twitter’s terms of service explicitly ban “direct, specific threats of violence against others”, and the company has followed YouTube in proactively shutting down Isis-related Twitter accounts, with the aid of the UK’s counter-terrorism internet referral unit.



Going to pot: D.C.'s cannabis convo

Part patchouli, part power suit, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts gathered over the weekend for the District’s first cannabis convention since the city legalized recreational marijuana — offering a glimpse of the emerging markets that could take hold in the nation’s capital.

Although the faint smell of marijuana hung over the Southwest D.C. hotel’s exhibition hall — where attendees could get tips on how to grow it, buy products to smoke it and speak with consultants on how to market it — nowhere could “it” be found.

It was a pot convention without any pot — out in the open anyhow.



Jindal blasts congressional Republicans for 'post-election stress syndrome'

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) challenged his party's leaders in Congress to get over what he dismissively diagnosed as "post-election stress syndrome" and immediately pass an alternative to the health-care law and make other progress on conservative priorities.

In an address here Saturday to the Club for Growth, an advocacy group that long has been an antagonist to establishment Republican leaders, Jindal said he had grown impatient with the slow pace of progress of the GOP's new Senate majority and expanded House majority.



Netanyahu's Moment

Sometimes a speech is just a speech. Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech about Iran policy on March 3 will not be his first address to Congress. It will make familiar, if important, arguments. One might assume that, like the vast majority of speeches, it would soon be overtaken by events in Israel and the United States and the world.

But the Obama administration’s reaction to the Israeli prime minister’s appearance suggests Netanyahu’s is more than just another speech. An administration that disdains the use of disproportionate force has been, to say the least, disproportionately forceful in its efforts to undermine Netanyahu’s message and discredit the messenger. What is Obama so worried about? What is he, if we may put it indelicately, so scared of?



Obamacare threatens to end John Roberts's dream of a nonpartisan Supreme Court


The first time the Affordable Care Act came before the Supreme Court, its constitutional foundation under attack, John G. Roberts Jr. was its unlikely savior. In a spectacular display of spot-welding, the chief justice joined fellow conservatives on some points and brought liberals on board for others. Roberts was the only member of the court to endorse the entire jerry-rigged thing, and even he made sure to distance himself from the substance of the law. (“It is,” he wrote, “not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”) Still, his efforts rescued President Obama’s signature achievement on grounds that many had dismissed as an afterthought.

As long as Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is on the court, he will most often be the decider when the justices split along their familiar ideological fault lines. But, slowly and quietly, Roberts is the one trying to build its legacy. He sees it as somehow exempt from the partisan fugue that long ago enveloped Washington. Justice Stephen G. Breyer has worried that the public might see him and his colleagues as “nine junior-varsity politicians”; public approval of the Supreme Court is falling. But while all of the justices bristle at the notion of a political court, the eponymous head of the Roberts court has the most to lose. After all, its decisions cannot be respected if the court is not respected. “It is a very serious threat to the independence and integrity of the courts to politicize them,” Roberts said at his 2005 confirmation hearings.



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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