Friday August 28, 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     

White House concedes new gun laws would not have stopped Va. gunman
                  In this framegrab from video posted on Bryce Williams' Twitter account and Facebook page, Williams, whose real name is Vester Lee Flanagan II, aims a gun at WDBJ-TV television reporter Alison Parker as she conducts a live on-air interview in Moneta, Va., on Aug. 26, 2015. Moments later, Flanagan fatally shot Parker and cameraman Adam Ward and injured Vicki Gardner, who was being interviewed. The station said Flanagan was a former employee at WDBJ and appeared on air as Bryce Williams. (Vester Lee Flanagan II/Twitter via Associated Press)

The White House conceded Friday that new gun regulations probably wouldn’t have prevented the gunman who murdered two television journalists in southwestern Virginia this week.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said it appears that a proposal championed by President Obama to require background checks on purchases at gun shows “would not have applied in this particular case.”

Earnest said the White House has never suggested that one piece of gun legislation would prevent all gun violence in the U.S. But Mr. Earnest said the proposal on background checks, which failed in the Senate in 2013, would prevent other shooting deaths around the country every day.



Hillary Camp Says One-Fifth of Delegates Secured for Nomination

As Hillary Clinton's campaign seeks to project dominance in a field that could soon include Vice President Joe Biden, her top advisers are touting a decisive edge on a little-discussed metric: superdelegate commitments.

At the Democratic National Committee meeting in Minneapolis, where Clinton spoke on Friday, senior Clinton campaign officials are claiming that she has already secured one-fifth of the pledges needed to win the Democratic presidential nomination. They come from current and former elected officials, committee officeholders, and other party dignitaries.

The campaign says that Clinton currently has about 130 superdelegates publicly backing her, but a person familiar with recent conversations in Minneapolis said that officials are telling supporters and the undecided in the last few days that private commitments increase that number to more than 440—about 20 percent of the number of delegates she would need to secure the nomination.



Hillary allowed to break rules in speech at DNC
                Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, hugs Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. before addressing the summer meeting of the Democratic National Committee, Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

The Democratic National Committee demonstrated Friday that when it comes to Hillary Rodham Clinton, the rules do not apply.

Mrs. Clinton, the front-runner for the party’s presidential nomination, was allowed to break the time limit on her speech Friday to the DNC’s summer convention in Minneapolis. Her speech lasted about 24 minutes, despite an announcement beforehand by DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz that speeches by presidential candidate at the meeting would be limited to 7 minutes.

Afterward, Mrs. Wasserman Schultz told the crowd of party faithful that she had erred in her original announcement and that the time limit was actually 15 minutes, though Mrs. Clinton exceed that restriction by about 9 minutes.



IRS must say if White House sought taxpayers' information

A federal judge Friday ordered the IRS to turn over the records of any requests from the White House seeking taxpayers’ private information from the tax agency, delivering a victory to a group that for two years has been trying to pry the data loose.

It’s not clear that there were any such requests — but Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the IRS cannot just refuse to say so by citing taxpayer confidentiality laws, known as section 6103 of the tax code.
 



European Exodus

Thousands flee war zones and persecution i hope of finding promised lands in Europe

As Budapest rushes to shore up defences on its border with Serbia, refugees continued to surge into the country in record numbers.

Some 3,241 migrants, including almost 700 children, arrived in Hungary yesterday alone, the highest ever number, according to police.

The majority crossed the border near the village of Roszke. Most of the migrants had begun their gruelling journey in Syria, Afghanistan or Pakistan.

In a further sign that Budapest is clamping down on migrants, police chief Karoly Papp announced more than 2,000 so-called 'border hunter' patrols with dogs, horses, and helicopters would be sent to the frontier from September as reinforcements to the already heavy security presence.



Obama EPA rule as federal power grab over state waters

President Obama’s push to extend the EPA’s regulatory hand to ditches and small streams to enforce clean water rules was blocked Thursday by a federal judge, who said the administration had overstepped its bounds in trying yet another end run around Congress.

Judge Ralph R. Erickson called the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt “inexplicable, arbitrary and devoid of a reasoned process,” and issued an injunction preventing the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from claiming oversight of millions of acres of land that contain small bodies of water.

The EPA, though, said it will only honor the injunction in the 13 states that had sued, and will move forward with the rules in the rest of the country.



Planned Parenthood admits it manipulates rules on fetal organ sales
                      Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, admitted in an 11-page letter Thursday that its affiliates have accepted payments ranging from $45 to $60 "per tissue specimen" from abortions, but said that they were reimbursements to cover costs, which federal law allows. (Associated Press)

In a letter to Congress intended to defend its practices and attack its hidden-video critics, Planned Parenthood wound up lending credence to accusations that it manipulates rules on selling fetal organs to maximize profit.

Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, admitted in an 11-page letter Thursday that its affiliates have accepted payments ranging from $45 to $60 “per tissue specimen” from abortions, but said that they were reimbursements to cover costs, which federal law allows.

But she also said that “adjustments that facilitate fetal tissue donations rarely occur at our few clinics that offer women this service,” prompting David Daleiden of the pro-life Center for Medical Progress to declare that she had proved the point of his group’s investigation — that “adjustments occur.”



Appeals Court Reverses Ruling That Found NSA Program Illegal

A federal appeals court on Friday ruled in favor of the Obama administration in a dispute over the National Security Agency's bulk collection of telephone data on hundreds of millions of Americans.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed a lower court ruling that said the program likely violates the Constitution's ban on unreasonable searches.

But the impact of the appeals court's ruling is uncertain because Congress has passed legislation designed to replace the program over the next few months. The appeals court sent the case back for a judge to determine what further details about the program the government must provide.



A Glimpse Into Abedin's Life in the Clinton Bubble

A new report provides a glimpse into Huma Abedin's life inside the Hillary Clinton bubble, a life that ties her to the former secretary of state's email scandal threatening to derail her presidential campaign.

Abedin has worked closely with Clinton ever since she was a White House intern in 1996 during President Bill Clinton's second term in office. Today, Abedin is Clinton's right-hand woman on the campaign trail — but she's been implicated in the email scandal stemming from Clinton's use of a private email address and server during her time as secretary of state.

A Washington Post report details Abedin's history with Clinton.

Reports suggest emails from Abedin and another Clinton aide at the state department, Jake Sullivan, triggered the FBI investigation into Clinton's alternative email setup — which eventually involved a small company in Denver with an office in a loft apartment storing her email server in a bathroom closet.



30 Senators Now Support Iran Nuke Deal, Obama Needs 4 More?

Delaware Sen. Thomas Carper is now the 30th Senate Democrat to come out in support of the Iran nuclear deal, moving President Barack Obama a step closer to having sufficient backing to ensure the deal stands.

Obama is trying to muster 34 votes in the Senate so that lawmakers cannot kill the deal. The 30 senators in support of it are all Democrats and independents who vote with Democrats.



Donald Trump's brand hurting Republicans? Poppycock

Having attracted an estimated crowd of 25,000–30,000 people in Mobile, Alabama this past week and a record 24 million viewers watching the first Republican debate, it’s hard to believe that Donald Trump is hurting the Republican party.

Those who adhere to this view are engaging in wishful thinking. They are missing the importance of branding and marketing within today’s political arena. These pundits see branding and marketing merely as “thesaurus alternatives” to words like “selling” and “communicating,” without understanding these two vital constructs.



A late apology in clintonspeak

Hillary Clinton attempted to “come clean” about her emails again, like a sinner squirming in the hands of an angry god, but the partisan gods do not seem to be appeased.

She conceded in Iowa on Wednesday that she “knows people have raised questions about my email use as secretary of state, and I understand why. I get it. So here’s what I want the American people to know: My use of personal email was allowed by the State Department. It clearly wasn’t the best choice. I should have used two emails, one personal and one for work.”

This is a typical Hillary cocktail of evasion, exaggeration and misrepresentation, served up in clintonspeak, a language writ by Bubba, test fired in Arkansas and perfected in Washington, where euphemism and the passive voice (“mistakes were made”) are highly prized. She carefully does not say she did anything wrong, only that some people, who don’t know what they’re talking about, think she did, and she’s sorry about that much. Given that people are usually ignorant and prone to misunderstand their betters, she might have done things differently, and if the hicks want an apology, that’s all they’re going to get.



                 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.

VERSACE, HUMBERT R.
'Rocky'
Rank: Captain
Organization: U.S. Army
Date of Issue: 07/08/2002
VERSACE, HUMBERT R. Photo
Citation

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.