Thursday September 11th, 2014

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



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The Cold Tower: The Dark Heritage Saga, Book 1 | [Michael J Bertolini]

The Cold Tower: The Dark Heritage Saga, Book 1

Publisher's Summary

Peace. Prosperity. Freedom. After 50 years it ends. In the world of Scyllia darkness is coming. The evil sorcerer Enlokirim has risen from the grave, seeking revenge against those that destroyed him. He searches for the Triangles of Power: nine magical stones that are individually powerful, but even more dangerous together. Amras Oronar, an outcast elf warrior, leads a group of adventurers in hope of stopping Enlokirim. He is joined by Isla Solwen, a vampire hunter and priestess of the dead; Zara Wolf, a barbarian with a mysterious heritage; and Ginerva Page, a witch that knows the history and power of the Triangles. Together they'll face monstrous creatures both living and dead in an effort to save their world... but is that enough?


World & National                 

Obama outlines plan to 'eradicate cancer' of Islamic State fighters
             


President Obama vowed to “destroy” Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terrorists in a prime-time address Wednesday that sought to restore eroding public confidence in his leadership and ability to safeguard national security.

The president announced a “systematic campaign of airstrikes” against fighters with the ISIS “wherever they exist,” signaling U.S. targets will expand from Iraq to Syria. [READ FULL TEXT OF OBAMA'S SPEECH.]

“I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country wherever they are,” Obama said during the 15-minute address from the White House. “That means I will not hesitate to take action against [ISIS] in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”


WILL TAKE TIME TO ERADICATE THIS CANCER...
THIS IS NOT OUR FIGHT ALONE...
MORE TROOPS...
YOU WILL FIND NO SAFE HAVEN...
PEACE PRIZE PREZ DECLARES WAR....
Will arm ISIS allies in Syria...
Five things that could go wrong...



ISIS Rebel Rivals Fear US Airstrikes Couold Help Assad?

The prospect of the first American attacks on Syrian soil during three years of brutal civil war captivated Syrians on Thursday, prompting intense debate over whether airstrikes on the extremist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria would help or harm President Bashar al-Assad, his armed Syrian opponents and war-weary civilians.

Raqqa, the northeastern city that ISIS has ruled for more than a year, was abuzz with the news. Civilians fled areas near ISIS headquarters. Anti-ISIS insurgents pronounced themselves energized by the prospect of new American aid and said Turkish officials had recently contacted them, promising new arms to fight the foreign-led Sunni group.



Kerry Presses Arab States to Speak Against ISIS
                 

Secretary of State John Kerry plunged into an intensive series of meetings here with Arab officials on Thursday to coordinate strategy against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The meetings are being hosted by Saudi Arabia, which has agreed to provide bases for the training of moderate Syrian rebels who are battling the Sunni militants and the Assad government in Damascus, the Syrian capital.



'Pistorius 'negligent'
Kinda/Sorta Not Guilty...too much

                Photo
Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius was "negligent" when he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year, South African Judge Thokozile Masipa said on Thursday.

Masipa, who adjourned the reading of her verdict until 0730 GMT (08:30 a.m. BST) on Friday, also said she was "not persuaded" that a reasonable person with Pistorius' abilities would have fired the shots that killed the law graduate and model.



NFL to look into its handling of Rice case

The NFL called in a former FBI director to examine how it pursued and handled evidence in the Ray Rice domestic violence case as pressure increased for the league to be more transparent about its original investigation.

The move late Wednesday came hours after The Associated Press reported that a law enforcement officer said he sent an NFL executive a video in April that showed Rice striking his then-fiancee at a casino. Goodell has maintained that no one in the NFL saw the video until it was released by TMZ Sports Monday.



Area schools scramble to meet the emotional needs of undocumented children?

All summer, Central American children caught at the U.S.-Mexico border have been trickling into the Washington area, sent to live with relatives in Latino communities. Now, they are descending en masse on the region’s public schools, bringing an array of problems that school officials are scrambling to address.

Ripped from distant worlds, most of the new students speak no English, and some are psychologically scarred from abuse by gangs or smugglers. Reunited with parents or other relatives they barely know, and still grieving for family and friends back home, they may feel depressed and rese



Get Angry Now

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President Obama now says he will wait until after the November elections to implement an "executive amnesty" for 11 million illegal aliens, so as not to hurt Democrats' chances this year.

Instead of waiting to be enraged in December, voters, could you please be enraged now? Once the holiday season kicks off, you'll be too busy going to parties and Christmas shopping to notice that you're suddenly living in Mexico.

Getting Obama to postpone a rancid idea isn't something to celebrate. Yay! We did it! We forced him to delay doing something the country doesn't want for SIX WEEKS! Every Republican candidate better be jamming Obama's threat down the throats of their Democratic opponents.



McCaine Rips Jay Carney: You 'Distored' Facts on Iraq

Former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's honeymoon didn't last long in his first day as a CNN contributor, when Sen. John McCain accused him of distorting facts.

The two were part of a panel discussing the speech President Barack Obama had just finished on his plan to attack the Islamic State (ISIS) with airstrikes in Syria.



Firefighters Disciplined for Displaying US Flag Decals???

In a week commemorating the 9/11 attacks that elevated firefighters to the status of heroes, four firemen in a suburban Chicago fire department were sent home and threatened with further discipline for refusing to remove American flag and Marine Corps stickers from their firehouse lockers.

Craig Bronaugh, the African-American chief of the Maywood Fire Department, saying that a picture of a monkey smoking a cigarette posted on a locker showed racism, issued an order that all stickers be removed from helmets and lockers, including American flag stickers.

When the four firefighters, including the African-American local union president David Flowers, refused on Tuesday, they were sent home, Chicago's local CBS affiliate reports.



Ceremony Marks 13th Anniversary of Sept. 11 Attacks

A woman grieves at her husband's memorial in New York before observances on Thursday for the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. AFP/Getty Images

Family members of those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and 1993 World Trade Center bombing gathered in lower Manhattan Thursday morning for the annual rite of remembrance.

The ceremony, at the National September 11 Memorial, marks the 13th anniversary of the morning when two passenger planes struck the Twin Towers in a series of attacks that also left destruction at the Pentagon and western Pennsylvania.



Beyond a strategy of no strategy

American presidents are often remembered by quotes that encapsulate their national security views. Think John F. Kennedy’s invocation of the “long twilight struggle” against communism, or Ronald Reagan urging Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” or declaring the Soviet Union an “evil empire.”

President Obama’s definitive line was not delivered at the Brandenburg Gate or in Cairo or even at West Point, but instead at an August 28 White House press conference. In attempting to explain how the U.S. would halt the rise of Islamic radicals in Iraq and Syria he admitted: “We don’t have a strategy yet.” I didn’t think it was possible to articulate a less compelling leadership vision than “leading from behind” or “don’t do stupid [stuff],” but I was wrong.



When America wages war


James Madison is commonly referred to as the father of the Constitution, in large measure because, in the secrecy of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, he kept the most complete set of notes. He also had a very keen mind and a modest demeanor and an uncanny ability to solidify consensus around basic principles that are woven into the Constitution.

After he wrote the Constitution and before he became Thomas Jefferson’s secretary of state and eventually a two-term president, he was a congressman from Virginia. When he spoke on the floor of the House, the parts of the Constitution he was most adamant about restrained the president. Chief among those restraints, in Madison’s view, was the delegation to Congress, and not to the president, of the power to wage war.

Madison knew that kings became tyrants through war. He fervently believed that by keeping the war-waging power in the hands of the president and the war-making power in the hands of Congress, the Constitution would serve as a bulwark against tyranny. He explained:



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.
CARPENTER, WILLIAM KYLE Photo

CARPENTER, WILLIAM KYLE
Rank: Lance Corporal
U.S. Marine Corps
Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Automatic Rifleman with Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), 1 Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on 21 November 2010. Lance Corporal Carpenter was a member of a platoon-sized coalition force, comprised of two reinforced Marine squads partnered with an Afghan National Army squad. The platoon had established Patrol Base Dakota two days earlier in a small village in the Marjah District in order to disrupt enemy activity and provide security for the local Afghan population. Lance Corporal Carpenter and a fellow Marine were manning a rooftop security position on the perimeter of Patrol Base Dakota when the enemy initiated a daylight attack with hand grenades, one of which landed inside their sandbagged position. Without hesitation, and with complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Carpenter moved toward the grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow Marine from the deadly blast. When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine. By his undaunted courage, bold fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of almost certain death, Lance Corporal Carpenter reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.



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.