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World & National

Obama campaigns for his legacy as Republicans attack hit a nerve

       Time and again in recent weeks, Mr. Obama has launched into an unsolicited, spirited defense of his record, in a tone that sometimes betrays a deep annoyance with the Republicans' attacks against him. (Associated Press)

President Obama is making a point of ignoring the Republican presidential debates, but the candidates’ campaign rhetoric is obviously hitting a presidential nerve or two.

Time and again in recent weeks, Mr. Obama has launched into an unsolicited, spirited defense of his record, in a tone that sometimes betrays a deep annoyance with the Republicans’ attacks against him

NATO warns of 'troubling' Russian escalation in Syria

NATO’s secretary general warned Thursday of a “troubling escalation” in Russian military activities in Syria, saying the alliance stands firmly behind member Turkey even as Moscow broadens its air and sea attacks.

“NATO is able and ready to defend all allies, including Turkey, against any threat,” Jens Stoltenberg said from the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels as defense ministers gathered for a meeting.

“In Syria, we have seen a troubling escalation of Russian military activities,” he added.

Putin's motives questioned as Russia targets pro-Western rebels, not Islamic State, in Syria
            Russian naval ships launched cruise missiles Wednesday as President Vladimir Putin's military bombarded parts of Syria by air, land and sea, claiming Islamic State militants were the targets. (Associated Press)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, ignoring Washington, escalated his war in Syria against Islamist armies Wednesday by launching a sea bombardment along with air and land attacks.

NATO allies said the Russians are overwhelmingly targeting pro-Western rebels, rejecting Moscow’s public relations line that it is going after a common enemy: the Islamic State’s terrorist army.

Kevin McCarthy faces possible floor fight in speaker bid as conservatives back Daniel Webster
              House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is expected to garner a majority of support when the House Republican conference casts secret ballots Thursday for speaker. But with more than 30 conservatives opposing him, the California Republican would fall short of the 218 votes needed to win a floor vote scheduled for Oct. 29. (Associated Press)

The conservative House Freedom Caucus announced Wednesday that it would back Rep. Daniel Webster to be the next speaker, which would provide enough support to the Republican conference to deny the position to establishment favorite Kevin McCarthy, the current majority leader.

Emerging from a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill, conservative lawmakers pledged to present a united front in support of Mr. Webster, Florida Republican, signaling that the same rift in the conference that forced Speaker John A. Boehner to resign would continue to roil the largest Republican majorities in the House since the 1920s.

Divided Republicans vote for new speaker, but won't be last word...

Judge says Hillary's server is private

A federal judge ordered the State Department Wednesday to request former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton not delete any government business emails she may still have, but said he doubts he can force her to do anything.

Judge Reggie B. Walton said since Mrs. Clinton used her own BlackBerry and computer devices, and kept her email server at her home, he doesn’t have authority over the records she created on those.

Hillary emails were vulnerable to hackers, tech firm warned

A technology subcontractor that has worked on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s e-mail setup expressed concerns over the summer that the system was inadequately protected and vulnerable to hackers, a company official said Wednesday.

But the concerns were rebuffed by the company managing the Clinton account, Platte River Networks, which said it had been instructed by the FBI not to make changes. The FBI has been reviewing the security of the e-mail system.

The subcontractor, Datto, which specializes in backing up data, had not been aware that it was handling Clinton e-mails until media reports in August noted Platte River Networks’ involvement with the controversy surrounding the former secretary of state’s e-mails.

CNN Shrinks Dem Debate By One Hour

Last month, CNN hosted a Republican presidential primary debate. The main event was a 3-hour affair.

Next week, the same network will host a Democratic presidential primary debate. But this time, the debate will be one hour shorter -- it'll span only 2 hours.

Of course there's a big difference in the number of candidates in each of the debates. The Republican debate featured 11 candidates. The Democratic debate will probably be made up of 5 candidates.

Congress probing U.S. spy agencies' possible lapses on Russia

Senior U.S. lawmakers have begun probing possible intelligence lapses over Moscow’s intervention in Syria, concerned that American spy agencies were slow to grasp the scope and intention of Russia’s dramatic military offensive there, U.S. congressional sources and other officials told Reuters.

A week after Russia plunged directly into Syria’s civil war by launching a campaign of air strikes, the intelligence committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives want to examine the extent to which the spy community overlooked or misjudged critical warning signs, the sources said.

Hillary moves left, opposes Obama's Trans-Pacific trade deal

Hillary Clinton announced her opposition Wednesday to the Pacific Rim trade deal, breaking with President Obama in another move to the left for her presidential campaign.

The front-runner for the Democratic nomination gave Obama a heads-up of her opposition before announcing she’d oppose the Trans-Pacific ­Partnership (TPP) in an interview with PBS “NewsHour” host Judy Woodruff.

“What I know about it, as of today I’m not in favor of what I’ve learned about it,” Clinton said in the interview.

...But supported it 45 times?

Democrats thwarting Benghazi investigation

Rather than cooperate, Democrats from the start have tried to thwart the Benghazi probe from within, Chairman Trey Gowdy said in a letter released Thursday that accused Democrats of bad faith and also announced the release of emails that call into question the relationship between former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and her associate Sidney Blumenthal.

Mr. Gowdy said it was Democrats, not Republicans, who “selectively leaked information” to try to set the political narrative about the probe. Mr. Gowdy said Democrats have been more interested in that than in actually participating in the investigation, and he accused the top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, of acting as defender of Mrs. Clinton rather than as honest auditor.

Democrat browbeats Afghan war commander

A senior Democrat on the Housed Armed Services Committee on Thursday unleashed a harsh attack on the 14-year-long Afghanistan war, calling it a “failure” as Islamic extremists have simply set up shop in a list of other places to conduct terrorism.

Rep. Loretta L. Sanchez of California, the second ranking committee Democrat, lectured Army Gen. John Campbell, the top commander in Afghanistan, and she ridiculed the basis for chairman Mac Thornberry, Texas Republican, defending the mission.

Beware Putin and his 'anti-Hitler coalition'
The Russian’s deceit rivals the knavery of Stalin

Contrary to the principles of American foreign policy of the last 70 years, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry tacitly invited Russia to “help” monitor things in the Middle East. Now they are learning that there are lots of Middle East scenarios far worse than the relative quiet Iraq that the Obama administration inherited in January 2009 — and soon abandoned.

Russian President Vladimir Putin liked the American invitation so much that he now has decided to move in permanently. Mr. Putin now wants the West to join his new Syria-Iran-Hezbollah-Iraq axis against the Islamic State — or to at least sit back and allow Russia to straighten out the Middle East as it sees fit.

Ban gun-free zones
Deranged gunmen target places where no one can shoot back

Would you put a sign outside your house saying, “Doors unlocked,” or “We’re not home”?

An underreported study released a year ago by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), the organization led by America’s leading gun policy expert John Lott, found that 92 percent of mass shootings since 2009 have taken place in designated gun-free zones.

                 Medal of Honor
Army Medal of HonorNavy Medal of HonorAir Force 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.

Rank: Captain
Organization: U.S. Army
Date of Issue: 07/08/2002

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.