Friday June 19th, 2015
"It Is Not A
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Shutdown showdown kicks off with Democrats' defense spending filibuster
Senate Democrats filibustered the annual defense spending
bill Thursday, marking the beginning of shutdown summer — a monthslong
battle between Republicans who want to increase government spending by
some $40 billion next year and Democrats who say at least twice that is
It’s a major reversal from the recent past, when shutdown showdowns were precipitated by fights over how deeply to cut.
This year, fed up with the depth of defense spending cuts they have had
to endure and finally able to do something about it with control of both
chambers of Congress, Republican leaders have gone the other direction,
proposing a major boost for the Pentagon.
Repealing Obamacare would boost economy, but drive deficits deeper says CBO
Obamacare would spur the economy, adding more than half a percent to
the gross domestic product at the beginning of the next decade, the
Congressional Budget Office said in a new analysis Friday that still
found repeal would be bad for the federal deficit.
The dual findings could both boost and hurt GOP leaders’ case as they
prepare for one last major effort to repeal President Obama’s signature
law before he leaves office.
Tens of millions of Americans would lose coverage they’d have under the
Affordable Care Act over the next decade, but that loss would chase
many of them back into the labor pool, where they would both get
insurance through their jobs, and would lead to other current workers
putting in more time on the job.
Ending Obamacare Would Cost $137 Billion
President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul would increase the federal
budget deficit by $353 billion over the next decade, the Congressional
Budget Office said.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would increase spending on
Medicare while reducing outlays for health- insurance subsidies,
Medicaid and coverage for poor children, the agency said in a report
Friday. Repealing the law would probably boost the economy as more
people sought work to get health insurance, reducing the net cost to
$137 billion, the CBO said.
The report is a
blow for Republican lawmakers who have sought to repeal and replace the
Affordable Care Act ever since its passage in 2010. If the law were
undone, about 19 million more people would become uninsured in 2016,
rising to 24 million by 2025, the CBO said.
BORDER IMMIGRATION In Turmoil
ICE Director says no one fired for releasing more than 65,000 criminal aliens
As Twitchy reported earlier today, testimony from a House Oversight
hearing on a massive security compromise of federal computer systems led
a number of people to ask just what it would take for a federal
employee to be fired, or at the very least shamed into resigning. Office
of Personnel Management director Katherine Archuleta was reportedly
offered chances to apologize and resign but “declined to do either.”
This afternoon, House subcommittees on national security and on health
care, benefits, and administrative rules met to discuss President
Obama’s 2014 executive actions on immigration, which allowed illegal
aliens to apply for deferred action status, which protected them from
deportation and authorized them to work legally in the United States.
Those aliens would then be eligible to obtain Social Security numbers
and other government benefits.
Germany will negotiate with Athens 'until last minute'
Berlin will negotiate with Athens "until the last minute", a senior
ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel told Germany's Inforadio on Friday,
but stressed that Greece must be prepared to carry out reforms.
Euro zone leaders will hold an emergency summit on Monday to try to
avert a Greek default after bank withdrawals accelerated and government
revenue slumped as Athens and its international creditors remain
deadlocked over a debt deal.
Peter Altmaier, Merkel's chief of staff, said he still believed it was
possible that Athens and its international lenders could reach a
solution to Greece's debt crisis.
"We will negotiate until the last minute," Altmaier told Inforadio,
adding that the German government did not want "the people in Greece to
be disadvantaged because their government possibly did not recognize in
time that the hour has come."
Charleston shooting prompts gun-rights supporters to call for more concealed-carry at church
He was a young gunman bent on shooting as many worshippers as possible,
but Matthew J. Murray never got as far as Dylann Roof, the suspect in
Wednesday’s South Carolina church massacre.
Murray had already shot and killed two people in the parking lot when
he burst into the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. Before he could
pull the trigger again, however, the 24-year-old shooter was gunned
down by Jeanne Assam, a volunteer security guard with a concealed-carry
That was eight years ago, but even though Ms. Assam was credited for
saving as many as 100 lives that day, a dozen states continue to
restrict the carrying of concealed firearms in churches — including
Russia nears deal to supply China with 24 Su-35 fighter jets
The Chinese military is close to signing a deal with Russia for 24 Su-35 fighter jets supplied by United Aircraft Corp.
Yuri Slyusar, who heads the Russian company, acknowledged the planned sale but would not discuss its status.
should go to the federal service on military cooperation, not us. Our
position is that we still believe that we will sign the contract to
sell 24 aircraft this year,” Mr. Slyusar told reporters at the Paris
Air Show, Military.com reported Friday.
New Russian cruise missiles prompt Pentagon to build better shield for U.S. cities
The Pentagon is
building a better U.S. missile defense shield as officials try to gauge
the threat posed by advanced Russian cruise missiles.
officials are working on ways to better protect U.S. cities that
involves F-16 fighter jets working in concert with sensor-laden
aerostat balloons and warships, Defense One reported Thursday. A
critical component of the plan includes new radar sensors for F-16s
that patrol Washington.
a good deal of attention to ensuring we’re properly configured against
such an attack in the homeland, and we need to continue to do so,” Adm.
Sandy Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said May
19 in Washington, Defense One reported Thursday.
WikiLeaks to Leak More than 500,000 Saudi Documents
WikiLeaks is in
the process of publishing more than 500,000 Saudi diplomatic documents
to the Internet, the transparency website said Friday, a move that
echoes its famous release of U.S. State Department cables in 2010.
WikiLeaks says in a statement that it has already posted roughly 60,000 documents. Most of them appeared to be in Arabic.
There was no
immediate way to verify the authenticity of the documents, although
WikiLeaks has a long track record of hosting large-scale leaks of
government material. Many of the documents carried green letterhead
marked "Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" or "Ministry of Foreign Affairs."
The candidate who says the darndest things
We need the
comic relief, and like little children, Donald Trump can always be
counted on to say the darndest things, usually about himself. The
Donald often blows hard, but he’s funny, sometimes even witty, and says
things a lot of people think and would like to say, but are afraid.
First Amendment or not, talking out loud can be risky in the land of
the free and the home of the brave. The Donald is very, very rich —
just ask him — so he can afford to stick his thumb in anybody’s eye
that deserves a thumb. He can fire people but nobody can fire him.
The Donald is
guaranteed press, some of it good and some of it not so good, but
there’s always lots of it. The political correspondents usually operate
without an institutional memory — history was first recorded only six
months ago — and with little context. The Donald can be used to make
Republicans look mean, snarky and foolish. He’s what newspapermen used
to call “good copy.” He says whatever pops into his head, looking for
an exit. Frankness can be amusing, depending on who’s on the other end
of the taunt.
Time for New Strategy in Iraq, Syria
It's time for a
new strategy in Iraq and Syria. It begins by admitting that the old
borders are gone, that a unified Syria or Iraq will never be
reconstituted, that the Sykes-Picot map is defunct.
We may not want
to enunciate that policy officially. After all, it does contradict the
principle that colonial borders be maintained no matter how insanely
drawn, the alternative being almost universally worse. Nonetheless, in
Mesopotamia, Balkanization is the only way to go.
Because it has
already happened and will not be reversed. In Iraq, for example, we are
reaping one disaster after another by pretending that the Baghdad
government — deeply sectarian, divisive, and beholden to Iran — should
be the center of our policy and the conduit for all military aid.
Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action
enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving
Armed Services of the United States.
to its recipient by the President of the
United States of America in the name of Congress.
first award of the Medal of Honor was made March 25, 1863 to
JACOB PARROTT.The last award of the Medal of Honor was made
September 15, 2011
to Sergeant DAKOTA MEYER.
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
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
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
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
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
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