Friday January 16, 2015
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Dozens held across Wurope in Islamist suspect sweeps
Belgian, French and German police interrogated dozens of Islamist
suspects on Friday as much of Europe remained on heightened security
alert after last week's killings in Paris and raids in Belgium in which
two gunmen were killed.
In Paris there was a fresh scare when a gunman took several people
hostage at a post office in a northwestern suburb. A siege ended when he
gave himself up to police. No one was hurt. Authorities said they could
not confirm whether the incident was related to terrorism.
Obama to Senate Dems: 'I'm going to play offense'
The president said he’s prepared to veto hostile legislation, including an Iran sanctions package.
President Barack Obama made clear Thursday in a closed-door session with
Senate Democrats that he’s prepared to veto hostile legislation from
the GOP-controlled Congress, including an Iran sanctions package on the
front-burner of Capitol Hill.
According to several sources at the Thursday summit in Baltimore, Obama
vowed to defend his agenda against Republicans in Congress, promised to
stand firm against GOP efforts to dismantle his agenda and called on his
Democratic colleagues to help sustain his expected vetoes. The
president also was explicit over his administration’s opposition to an
Iran sanctions bill, promising to veto legislation with his
administration in the midst of multilateral nuclear negotiations with
the Middle Eastern regime.
Even though Obama’s position on Iran sanctions differs from a number of
powerful Democrats, the session, several sources said, was more of a pep
rally than confrontation. Despite his lame-duck status, the president
promised that he would not sit on the sidelines in the next two years.
He vowed more executive actions to implement his agenda, something bound
to prompt anger from Republicans who have called the president’s
unilateral moves, particularly on immigration, an unconstitutional power
Senate GOP leaders may abandon House effort to defund amnesty...
McConnell: 'We're going to try to pass it'...
Republican lawmaker details secret effort for broad immigration bill...
GOP RETREAT! 'There is no exit strategy'...
Arizona passes law requiring students to pass civics test
Arizona became the first state in the nation on Thursday to enact a law
requiring high school students to pass the U.S. citizenship test on
civics before graduation, giving a boost to a growing nationwide effort
to boost civics education.
Both the Arizona House and Senate quickly passed the legislation on just
the fourth day of the legislative session, and newly elected Republican
Gov. Doug Ducey signed it into law Thursday evening.
Kerry Pledges 'To Share A Big Hug With Paris'
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pledged “to share a big hug with
Paris” and express American solidarity with the French people following
last week’s deadly terrorist attacks.
Kerry arrived in Paris on Thursday from Sofia, Bulgaria, where he said
his trip to France is not an apology for the Obama administration’s
failure to send a senior official to last weekend’s unity march.
Instead, he explained it is to express the “affection” Americans have
for France, which has been on edge since the attacks on the satire
publication Charlie Hebdo among other attacks across France.
Belgium arrests 15 over foiled plot to 'kill police'
Belgian investigators said a plot to murder police officers across the
country had been foiled "within hours or days" of being launched by
raids in which two Islamist gunmen were killed.
Fifteen suspects were in custody on Friday, they said, after a dozen
raids around Brussels and in Verviers, the eastern town where two men
believed to have fought in Syria were shot dead on Thursday after
opening fire on police with assault weapons.
Two of those under arrest were seized in France, but state prosecutors
said they still had no evidence of a link between the Belgians and
Islamists who killed 17 people in Paris last week at a Jewish store and
satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
Top ObamaCare official stepping down
The leader of the agency charged with the ObamaCare rollout is stepping down after five years on the job.
Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Center for Medicaid and Medicare
Services (CMS), announced her departure Friday, which will take effect
"It is with sadness and mixed emotions that I write to tell you that
February will be my last month serving as the administrator for CMS,"
Tavenner wrote in an email to staff.
Just 37% approve of Obama in week markekd by Paris MIA
President Obama’s public approval rating has dropped to just 37 percent,
with 55 percent disapproving of his job performance, according to the
first Reuters/Ipsos political tracking poll of the year.
The poll clashes with Gallup, which last had Obama at a 46 percent
approval rate. During the period, the president was hit for not sending
an important member of his team to the protests in Paris over recent al
Qaeda terrorist killings.
Worse, with the GOP in charge of Congress, more say that the Republicans
“have better plans on the economy, taxes and foreign policy than do
Democrats,” said the newly released poll.
Global Warming Spin
For the third time in a decade, the globe sizzled to the hottest year on record, federal scientists announced Friday.
Both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA
calculated that in 2014 the world had its hottest year in 135 years of
record-keeping. Earlier, the Japanese weather agency and an independent
group out of University of California Berkeley also measured 2014 as
the hottest on record.
NOAA said 2014 averaged 58.24 degrees Fahrenheit, 1.24 degrees above the 20th-century average.
Saudi delays more flogging of bloggger until wounds heal...
The King of
Saudi Arabia is to refer the case of blogger and activist Raif Badawi's
to the Supreme Court, his wife has told BBC News.
His wife Ensaf
Haidar - who is living in Canada with their three children - said the
decision has given him hope that the authorities want to withdraw his
punshiment, following an international outcry.
come after Saudi authorities postponed Badawi's second round of public
flogging for a week, citing medical reasons, according to a leading
human rights group Amnesty International, the Associated Press
Obama amnesty to qualify 2-million illegal immigrants for tax breaks
CBO estimate released as White House defends non-deportation order from states’ lawsuit
More than 2
million illegal immigrants will be approved for President Obama’s
deportation amnesty over the next few years, and they will be eligible
to collect Social Security and Medicare benefits as well as claim a
special tax break for low-income families, the Congressional Budget
Office said in an analysis Thursday.
predicted that up to 5 million illegal immigrants could be eligible for
his amnesties, but the CBO numbers predict only 2.25 million will have
signed up and been approved by 2017.
VA desteroyed records, punished whistleblower in patient death?
Staff at the
VA’s Cleveland medical center destroyed records into the death of a
patient to avoid unwanted publicity, then punished a whistleblower and
put her under surveillance after she revealed lapses in the patient’s
care, the woman charged in a recent complaint.
Leligdon said superiors began retaliating against her in 2010 after she
reported that VA medical staff could have done more to prevent the
death of a veteran who died after an “altercation” with another veteran
at a VA outpatient mental health clinic, according to a federal
whistleblower lawsuit she recently filed against the Department of
come as the VA tries to assure its own employees and Congress that
whistleblowers won’t be retaliated against for reporting on patient
safety and management problems.
Why Hillary Clinton won't run for president
Hillary can’t win, and that’s why she won’t run. She may not know that
yet herself, but a lot of Democrats want her because she’s all they’ve
got. The Republicans are counting on her to run because they think
she’s the candidate they can beat in what looks from here like it could
be a Republican year.
Lady Macbeth has the resume that makes her plausible, which a lot of
pundits and normal other people confuse with “inevitable.” Everybody
recognizes her name. She doesn’t hear the music but she recognizes the
words and knows policy, and likes to talk about it. She’s a woman, and
that should help with the ladies. (It might hurt, too).
The challenge raised by the Paris slaughter
Avoiding religious terrorism requires rebuilding the civil public square
Out of the
myriad of horrified responses to the monstrous terrorist carnage in
Paris, very few have pointed the way forward for the world. But that
surely is the supreme need of the hour. The core issue at stake for the
world is simple: How do 7 billion people on a tiny blue ball of a
planet live with their differences when the deepest of those
differences are religious and ideological? And when diversity can be
found not only between but within single societies? In short, how do we
respect diversity, and still promote liberty and maintain harmony?
First, we must
face up to the factors that have made the problem urgent: the global
resurgence of religion, often with a political dimension; the
countering of a sometimes aggressive secularism, often seeking to drive
all religion from public life; the floundering of the traditional
settlements for negotiating religion and public life; and the emergence
of a rudimentary global public square created by the Internet. Today,
even when we are not talking to the world, we can be heard by the
world, and the world can organize its response, frequently violent.
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