Friday November 14, 2014

"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     

Obama considers plan to delay deportation for millions
                   

President Obama is considering an executive order that would prevent as many as 5 million people from being deported, administration officials said Thursday.

But the officials — speaking on condition of anonymity, citing internal deliberations — said the details of the immigration plan are still being developed and called reports of specific action "pre-decisional."



GOP Split on Using Shutdown to Stop Obama Amnesty
                     

House Republicans appear to be facing their first test of unity as they grapple with how to respond to President Barack Obama's anticipated executive action on immigration, which could come as early as next week.

According to The Washington Post, the leadership is intent on pursing an approach that would denounce the president's actions but deal with its enactment in the months ahead by making incremental changes to the law.

A lawsuit on executive authority, similar to one that was launched last summer, is also among the options being considered.

Conservative lawmakers, however, have their own plan: to attach an immigration clause in the spending bill that would prevent the president from acting alone, putting Congress on a crash course with the White House that would likely trigger a government shutdown. "It's a big test for the leadership. We cannot listen to the loudest, shrillest voices in our party," Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent, told the Post. "At some point we have to fund the government, and we should not fight to attach some demand.



Obama Affirms Support for Democracy in Myanmar

The last time President Obama met Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in 2012, it was in the glow of Myanmar’s opening to the West — a historic turn toward democracy that handed Mr. Obama a diplomatic victory and catapulted Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy icon, from house arrest to the political front lines.

On Friday, the two leaders met here again, but this time as battle-scarred political veterans. Both are struggling with setbacks in the rough-and-tumble politics of their home countries; both face doubts about their leadership and a dimming of their star power.



'Comedy of errors': Secret Service officer chatted on cell phone as intruder scaled White House fence
                       White House Breech.jpg

Secret Service officers bungled the response to a White House intruder by committing a series of what one lawmaker is calling a “comedy of errors,” including one officer who was on his cell phone when the man jumped the fence and multiple officers who assumed bushes would stop him.

The details were revealed in an executive summary of a DHS report, first reported by The New York Times, on the Sept. 19 incident. Accused intruder Omar Gonzales was able to scale the White House fence, sprint untouched across the lawn and make it all the way into the East Room before he was apprehended.



Landrieu down by 16...Louisina becoming Laugher 

'Her campaign is running on fumes': Final Senate race looks to be a Louisiana laugher as internal polls show GOP's Bill Cassidy opening up 16-point lead over Sen. Mary Landrieu

Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu is trailing her Republican challenger by a giant 16-point margin in a runoff for one of Louisiana's two U.S. Senate seats, according to poll results obtained by MailOnline.

The survey, commissioned by GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy's campaign, was leaked to media in order to fire a shot over the senator's bow and send a signal to energy lobbyists that her ship is taking on water.

It suggests that Democrats' worst fears have been realized even though Landrieu edged Casssidy by 1 percentage point on Election Day.



Dempsey: 'We're Certainly Considering' Dispatching US Forces To Fight with Iraqi Troos Against ISIS
             http://static01.nyt.com/images/2011/05/31/timestopics/Martin-Dempsey/Martin-Dempsey-articleInline.jpg

In a recording released days after he was reported to be wounded in an airstrike, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) purportedly said the U.S.-led coalition’s campaign had failed and it would eventually have to send ground troops into battle.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi urged his followers to “explode the volcanoes of jihad everywhere,” according to the 17-minute message posted online Thursday. The recording appeared authentic, matching previous ones from the group, though it has not been independently confirmed.

The statement surfaced four days after Iraqi officials said al-Baghdadi was wounded in an airstrike in Iraq. It was not clear when the recording was made, but there were references to events since the weekend – including pledges of allegiance to the IS group by militants in Libya and Egypt.



Vladimir Putin arrives in Brisbane for G20 Amid tough talk by Tony Abbott

TONY Abbott has launched an extraordinary public attack on Vladimir Putin, accusing the Russian President of trying to create “lost glories” of the old Soviet Union.

The attack came just hours before Mr Putin arrived at Brisbane Airport amid heavy security last night, with the two leaders to come face to face again today for the G20 summit.

In a dramatic escalation of hostility, Mr Abbott yesterday revealed he had told Mr Putin that Russia must try to reclaim its superpower status for “ideas and values” or “peace and freedom” instead of trying to recreate the old Soviet Union.



Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone surgeon will become first non-US citizen flown back to America for Treatment

A surgeon infected with Ebola in Sierre Leone will be flown to the University of Nebraska Medical Center for treatment this weekend, it has been revealed.

Dr Martin Salia, 44, was born in the West African nation, but is a permanent resident of the U.S, according to an official in the federal government with direct knowledge of the case.

This which would make him the first non-U.S. citizen to be flown back to the states for treatment, said the individual, who was not authorized to release the information and spoke anonymously.



Islamic State Commanders Liable for Mass war Crimes: UN

 Islamic State commanders are liable for war crimes on a "massive scale" in northeast Syria where they spread terror by beheading, stoning and shooting civilians and captured fighters, U.N. investigators said on Friday.

The experts told world powers to make sure the commanders guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity were held accountable by the International Criminal Court.

The latest report by the independent U.N. investigators is based on interviews with more than 300 men, women and children who fled or still live in Islamic State's northeastern stronghold, including Aleppo.



Britain to Seize Jihadists' Passports and Stop Them From Returning Home

Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday outlined plans to seize passports from radicalized Britons and stop them from returning from fighting overseas, while proposing landing bans on airlines that fail to comply with London's no-fly lists.

"We will shortly be introducing our own new Counter-Terrorism Bill in the UK," he said in a speech to Australia's parliament in Canberra before he travels to the G20 leaders' summit in Brisbane this weekend.

"New powers for police at ports to seize passports, to stop suspects traveling and to stop British nationals returning to the UK unless they do so on our terms.



Democrats working through the five steages of grief, still in denial

Washington usually lives up to its reputation as a place where time stands still when all people in all the other places want to move, if not at warp speed, faster than Congress will. The Democrats, still as addled as the famous duck hit on the head by the farmer’s wife with a long-handled wooden spoon, are still trying to get through the famous five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. They’re still stuck on denial. How could such a thing happen when we’re so wise, so good, so compassionate, so sincere?

These are the stages of grief that Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the late and eminent Swiss psychiatrist who pioneered near-death studies, came up with in her book “On Death and Dying,” which was written to help women facing new lives as widows. But the categories can be applied accurately as well to life in Washington, where losers usually regard defeat and going back to Peoria as something considerably worse than death. Losing is doom writ large when applied to whole political parties.



Obama's policies fall like dominoes
From Keystone to Obamacare, lame-duck status tarnishes the Democratic brand

After the thrashing Barack Obama and his party got in last week’s elections, it is now clear that the Democrats are leaderless and in disarray, and he is no longer relevant in the domestic-policy battles of his last two years in office.

The Republican-run House and Democratic Senate now plan to vote to bypass President Obama’s stubborn opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. That would be seen as a stunning, bipartisan rebuke of the president’s failed energy policies.




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.