Friday June 10th, 2016

"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
--Geoff Metctalf


Updated  hrs PT                                                       

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Values for a New Millennium: Activating the Natural Law to Reduce Violence, Revitalize Our Schools, and Promote Cross-Cultural Harmony | [Robert Humphrey]



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World & National

White House calls FBI Hillary email probe 'criminal investigation'
          OOPS: White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday that President Obama won't interfere with 'any criminal investigation' like the one Hillary Clinton faces over classified documents in her private emails

Barack Obama's spokesman described the FBI's probe into Hillary Clinton's classified email scandal as a 'criminal investigation' on Thursday, less than an hour after the president endorsed his embattled former secretary of state to succeed him.

Josh Earnest told reporters during a White House press briefing that Obama was committed to keeping his hands off the investigation, trusting career investigators and prosecutors to follow evidence wherever it leads.

'That's what their responsibility is,' Earnest said. 'And that's why the president, when discussing this issue in each stage, has reiterated his commitment to this principle that any criminal investigation should be conducted independent of any sort of political interference.'



Emails in Hillary Probe Dealt With Planned Drone Strikes
Some vaguely worded messages from U.S. diplomats in Pakistan and Washington used a less-secure communications system

At the center of a criminal probe involving Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information is a series of emails between American diplomats in Islamabad and their superiors in Washington about whether to oppose specific drone strikes in Pakistan.

The 2011 and 2012 emails were sent via the “low side’’—government slang for a computer system for unclassified matters—as part of a secret arrangement that gave the State Department more of a voice in whether a Central Intelligence Agency drone strike went ahead, according to congressional and law-enforcement officials briefed on the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe.



How Clinton Donor Got on Sensitive Intelligence Board
            PHOTO: At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, ABC News Brian Ross asks Rajiv Fernando about his 2011 appointment to the State Departments International Security Advisory Board.
Newly released State Department emails help reveal how a major Clinton Foundation donor was placed on a sensitive government intelligence advisory board even though he had no obvious experience in the field, a decision that appeared to baffle the department’s professional staff.

The emails further reveal how, after inquiries from ABC News, the Clinton staff sought to “protect the name” of the Secretary, “stall” the ABC News reporter and ultimately accept the resignation of the donor just two days later.

Copies of dozens of internal emails were provided to ABC News by the conservative political group Citizens United, which obtained them under the Freedom of Information Act after more the two years of litigation with the government.



'McConnell Waffles on Trump...

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that Donald Trump needs to pick an experienced running mate because “he doesn't know a lot about the issues” and strongly urged him to change course on his rhetoric.

In an extraordinarily frank interview with Bloomberg Politics' Masters in Politics podcast, McConnell, who is on a book tour touting his autobiography The Long Game, also expressed broader concerns about the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

“He needs someone highly experienced and very knowledgeable because it's pretty obvious he doesn't know a lot about the issues,” McConnell said. “You see that in the debates in which he's participated. It's why I have argued to him publicly and privately that he ought to use a script more often—there is nothing wrong with having prepared texts.”




















Brexit Poll Swings Spur Outflows Amid Pound Volatility Blowout

Everything you need to know about the state of play in the referendum campaign.

The ebb and flow of opinion polls on the June 23 referendum and questions about their ability to forecast the outcome continue to dominate sterling trading. The pound has fallen to near a two-month low against the yen and the Swiss franc, while its two-week volatility versus the dollar continues to climb, trading just shy of its peak in 2008.

European equities saw outflows for the 18th straight week, Bank of America Merrill Lynch strategists write in a note, citing EPFR Global data. Sterling corporate credit may continue to underperform euro counterparts even if the U.K. votes to remain within the European Union, Bloomberg strategist Simon Ballard writes. Television debates and developments in the migrant crisis could all impact the result, while voter turnout remains a key focus for many analysts.



San Francisco official seeks to ban Blue Angels  flyovers
        The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration team performs a flyover above graduating U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen during the Academy's graduation and commissioning ceremony in Annapolis, Md., on May 27, 2016. (Associated Press)

A San Francisco supervisor has accused the Blue Angels of striking terror into the community “when they strafe neighborhoods” and seeks a flyover ban on the “killing machines” in the aftermath of the fatal crash of a Blue Angels jet in Tennessee last week.

City Supervisor John Avalos said he plans to introduce a nonbinding resolution that would ban the squadron of six F/A-18 fighter jets from flying over the city.
                 
“It’s about them crashing and hitting a building — a place where people live,” Mr. Avalos told the San Fransisco Chronicle. “It’s about the terror that they cause in people when they strafe neighborhoods. That’s something I hear about all the time when Blue Angels fly overhead.”



State lawmakers want judge in Standford rape case investigated

A dozen state lawmakers are calling for a review of Judge Aaron Persky’s conduct and urging prosecutors to seek a stricter sentence in the Stanford sexual assault case that sparked national outrage.

In a letter Friday to the state Commission on Judicial Performance, the lawmakers asked that Persky be investigated for misconduct. A separate petition to recall Persky has 1 million signatures, its organizers said, and is expected to be delivered to the commission’s offices in San Francisco on Friday.



Google accused of manipulating searches, burying negative stories about Hillary

An explosive report released Thursday suggests that Google manipulated its search engine to boost Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton by burying unflattering stories about her.

A video posted by SourceFed, a news and pop-culture website, accused Google of attempting to boost secretly Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy.



And now the real fun begins

The primaries are at last over, and not a day too soon. Now Democrats and the Republicans can turn to dismantling each other in pursuit of the presidency. This should be a campaign to remember.

Bernie Sanders talked to President Obama Thursday. Nobody got a transcript of remarks but when he emerged from the White House the senator from Vermont sounded more like a valedictorian than the roughhouse pursuer of Hillary Clinton.



The other driver of congressional gridlock
‘Chevron deference’ allows federal agencies to usurp the role of lawmaker

It is a bedrock principle of America’s founding: Congress, as elected by the people, shall write all laws that govern the United States. Yet while that principle remains on paper, it has eroded today to a degree likely unrecognizable by the Founding Fathers. In what has come to be known as “Chevron deference” — a reference to a 1984 Supreme Court case — the federal government has found a powerful tool for expanding the size and reach of government to a scope never intended. And perhaps more importantly, it is a factor contributing to the congressional gridlock so many Americans bemoan today.

Chevron deference is a judicial doctrine established by the Supreme Court in its 1984 opinion, Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. It requires judicial deference to federal agency interpretations of statutory ambiguity or gaps, so long as such interpretations are reasonable. What’s “reasonable” is left to the prerogative of federal agencies, which are mostly run by partisan appointees.



   Medal of Honor
 Army 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.