Friday February 27th, 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     

GOP Leaves Obama Amnesty Untouched...
             

Congress closed in Friday on approving a short-term spending bill for the Homeland Security Department that would avert a partial agency shutdown hours before it was to begin.

The legislation also leaves intact Obama administration executive actions on immigration that Republicans have vowed to overturn. But Republicans insisted that passing a short-term bill preserved their ability to keep fighting them.

An early vote in the House clearing the way for final passage of the bill was approved easily, 240-183.



Already a conspiracy theory brewing over net neutrality

Why won't they release the rules?!?!

It's been less than 24 hours since the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve strict new regulations on Internet providers, but that's the leading question coming from its critics.

Conservatives are demanding that the FCC release a full copy of the regulations that it's planning to impose on companies such as Comcast and Verizon — and taking the agency's silence as evidence of a cover-up. Readers of an FCC blog post  have suspiciously mused that "these new regulations should have been published by now." It's much the same over on Twitter.

Commissioner: Document worse thaan you imagine
Republicans may Defund Agency



Eric Holder's parting shot
In an exit interview, the attorney general says his critics may be partly driven by race.
              


Attorney General Eric Holder plans to push, during his final weeks in office, a new standard of proof for civil-rights offenses, saying in an exit interview with POLITICO that such a change would make the federal government “a better backstop” against discrimination in cases like Ferguson and Trayvon Martin.

In a lengthy discussion ranging from his own exposure to the civil rights movement of the ’60s to today’s controversies surrounding the shootings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, Holder also acknowledged that he felt some of his own struggles with Republicans in Congress during his six years in office were driven partly by race.
Urges young people to read Malcolm X...
Complains it's too hard to make civil rights charges stick...


CPAC attendees plan to walk out on Jeb Bush
               


A movement is underway to stage an informal protest when former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush hits the CPAC stage Friday.

William Temple, a member of the Golden Isle Tea Party, told The Washington Times that the party doesn’t need another Bush in office, and said that the party should listen to the grass-roots activists that helped fuel their gains in the 2014 election.

“A lot of peoples were not going to come here because they heard Jeb Bush was speaking,” Mr. Temple said before laying out his plan at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“We are going to get up en masse, and we are going to walk out on him,” the 64-year-old said. “We are not going to interrupt anyone’s speech, but we are all going to exercise our right to [use] the bathroom at the same time.”



IRS watchdog reveals Lois Lerner missing emails now subject of criminal probe

               The IRS belatedly told Congress it may have lost some of Lois Lerner's emails after her computer crashed, and asserted that the backup tapes didn't exist. (Associated Press)

The IRS’s inspector general confirmed Thursday it is conducting a criminal investigation into how Lois G. Lerner’s emails disappeared, saying it took only two weeks for investigators to find hundreds of tapes the agency’s chief had told Congress were irretrievably destroyed.

Investigators have already scoured 744 backup tapes and gleaned 32,774 unique emails, but just two weeks ago they found an additional 424 tapes that could contain even more Lerner emails, Deputy Inspector General Timothy P. Camus told the House Oversight Committee in a rare late-night hearing meant to look into the status of the investigation.

“There is potential criminal activity,” Mr. Camus said.



ISIS militant 'Jihadi John' identified


His voice became hauntingly familiar as the masked man with a British accent who appeared repeatedly in brutal beheading videos from ISIS.

But the identity of "Jihadi John" remained a mystery -- until Thursday, when two U.S. officials and two U.S. congressional sources confirmed it.

The man, the officials said, is Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born Londoner.



Hillary takes fire from Democrats over Libya


As Libya descends into a failed state — marked most recently by the beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians by jihadis — Democrats are beginning to question Hillary Rodham Clinton’s rush to war in the country, and one in particular, former Sen. Jim Webb, may make national security the focal point of a presidential campaign.

More than three years after Mrs. Clinton pushed for U.S. airstrikes to end Moammar Gadhafi’s four-decade-long autocracy, the country has been divided between two rival governments, each with its own military, and various tribal militias all competing for power.

As happened with Afghanistan in the 1990s, the chaos has provided Islamist terrorists with a perfect breeding ground to organize, with intelligence officials confirming late last year that jihadis have set up multiple training camps in eastern Libya.



Rubio knocks 'Obama-Clinton' foreign policy

Sen. Marco Rubio said Friday the nation must play a larger role in confronting bad actors on the world stage, blaming the “Obama-Clinton” foreign policy for making the nation less safe.

The freshman lawmaker told activists at the Conservative Political Action Conference that the nation is on the “road to decline,” but said voters are “one election away from triggering another American century.”

“Around the world because of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy, our allies no longer trust us and our enemies no longer fear us,” he said.

The Obama administration, Mr. Rubio said, “treats the Ayatollah of Iran with more respect then the prime minister of Israel.”



GOP dismisses CBO director, picks Republican stalwaert

Republicans Friday announced they will not keep current chief congressional scorekeeper Douglas Elmendorf and will replace him with Keith Hall, an economist with a long record of service in Washington and deep ties to Republicans.

Mr. Hall will take over as the director of the Congressional Budget Office with a term extending into 2019.

He was chief economist to President George W. Bush, and has also been commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and chief economist at the Commerce Department.



DC legalizes pot in capital, despite threats from Congress


The District of Columbia defied threats from Congress and moved forward Thursday with legalizing possession of marijuana after a voter-approved initiative.

Despite last-minute maneuvers by Republican leaders in Congress and threats that city leaders could face prison time, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city was implementing marijuana legalization as approved by voters. The new law took effect at 12:01 a.m.



The FCC on Net Neutrality

Yesterday's decision by the FCC to regulate Internet providers as common carriers is being hailed as a victory by most of the groups supporting net neutrality, and as a loss by the cable and telecommunications companies that will now be regulated. But as much as I back the concept of net neutrality – the idea that Internet providers shouldn't discriminate among content providers – I worry that we really don't know where these changes will lead to, and that there are likely to be unintended consequences that we can't predict.

The actual ruling, which came on a 3-2 partisan vote, classifies the Internet providers as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act, as opposed to an information service. The FCC has promised to "forebear" many of the regulatory powers it would have under that act, but it hasn't yet published the final ruling, so many of the details remain unknown.



Leonard Nimoy, Dies at 83
              
Leonard Nimoy, the Hollywood renaissance man who fashioned a long and prosperous career as the supremely logical and cerebral science officer Mr. Spock from Star Trek, has died, his wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, told The New York Times. He was 83.

The actor tweeted on Jan. 14, 2014, that he had lung disease. “I quit smoking 30 years ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Grandpa says, quit now!!” As he always did, Nimoy signed off with the acronym LLAP, short for “Live Long and Prosper,” his Star Trek character’s most celebrated phrase.

Nimoy was a vagabond TV character actor when he made his debut as the somber Spock on NBC’s Star Trek, which debuted on Sept. 8, 1966. He went on to play or voice the half-Vulcan, half-human on live-action shows, cartoons, films, video games, etc. all the way through J.J. Abrams’ movie sequel Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) -- marking an amazing span of nearly 50 years.



Clinton Foundation's money 'problems' problematic for Hillary

For all the tales you’ve heard about Hillary and Bubba, they’re actually simple folks with simple tastes. All they want is money.

Bubba likes the ladies, too, though he never pays much attention to them with their clothes on. The years cool ardor and blight opportunity, and even if good ol’ boy charm and boudoir magic have survived he may not be up for another championship season. But money, unlike sex, knows no season.

If the past is prologue, we shouldn’t be surprised by the revelations emerging in the newspapers. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Clinton Foundation has dropped its ban, self-imposed, on collecting money from foreign governments and is taking on boodle at an accelerating pace. The Journal says this raises “ethical questions” for skeptical folk as Hillary gets seriously to work assembling a presidential campaign.



Obama's bogus cure for boondoggles

No smoking gun shows that ‘evidence-based’ reform works

In the 1930s, peasants who were starving due to the Soviet regime’s brutal farm collectivization policy lamented, “If only Stalin knew.” Nowadays, American social scientists look at floundering federal programs and lament: “If only Congress knew.” The solution, they say, is the “evidence-based” reform movement, which will magically beget a new era of good governance.

“Since its earliest days, the Obama administration has been pursuing the most important initiative in the history of federal attempts to use evidence to improve social programs,” according to Brookings Institute analyst Ron Haskins. Mr. Haskins, the author of “Show Me the Evidence: Obama’s Fight for Rigor and Results in Social Policy,” touts a 2012 Office of Management and Budget memo announcing that federal “programs that can prove their effectiveness with data will be more likely to get the funds they seek.”




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.