Thursday August 27, 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     

Obama, Congress head for showdown over defense bill curbs on Gitmo
            
President Obama points to the audience as he departs after speaking at the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit on Overcoming Poverty at Gaston Hall at Georgetown University in Washington on May 12, 2015. (Associated Press)

The Obama administration and Congress are heading for a showdown over the president’s plan to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer its remaining terrorists abroad or to U.S. prisons.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced last week that Pentagon assessment teams are looking at creating prisons for the terrorists at Leavenworth, Kansas, and Charleston, South Carolina, as well as other locations. Mr. Carter said he is dealing with two groups of Gitmo prisoners: those who can be transferred to other nations and a group of hard-core terrorists who must remain in detention as enemy combatants.

Releasing the terrorists to other nations is said by defense officials to be problematic and a cause of friction between the White House and Pentagon. Differences between the president’s advisers and former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ultimately led to Mr. Hagel’s ouster in February, according to defense officials.



Biden Tops Polls
            


Here's one more reason to continue speculating about whether Vice President Joe Biden will enter the presidential race: he polls better nationally against the leading three Republican candidates than Hillary Clinton, and has a higher favorability rating, too.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday, if Biden was the democratic candidate, he would beat Donald Trump by eight points (48 - 40 percent), former Florida Governor Jeb Bush by six points (45 - 39) and Senator Marco Rubio by three points (44 - 41). Clinton only beats Trump by four points (45 - 41), Bush by two points (42 - 40) and Rubio by one point (44 - 43).

Does Biden Know What's Hidden in Hillary Emails?
Clinton Takes 'Responsibility', Saying It 'Wasn't Best Choice'...



Obama agenda and legacy in the hands of federal judges
Legal analysts say it’s hardly surprising that President Obama — a lame-duck who has leaned on his own powers to move his domestic agenda — finds himself at the mercy of the courts.

                  

A federal judge in Teas has put President Obama’s deportation amnesty on hold, while another judge in the District of Columbia is poised to rule any day now on whether the House can sue to stop parts of the administration’s Obamacare spending.

Meanwhile, no fewer than six federal judges in the District are refereeing Mr. Obama’s broad pledges of transparency and how they stack up against the way his State Department operated under Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary.

Indeed, much of Mr. Obama’s agenda — and his legacy — sits in the hands of federal judges across the country, who are hearing challenges to his immigration and environmental policies as well as bigger constitutional fights such as congressional Republicans’ charge that he has discarded the separation of powers that is meant to protect taxpayers’ wallets and rights alike.



Pollsters dumfounded by Trump


Polling experts agree on one thing when it comes to Donald Trump’s presidential run: They’ve never seen anything like it.

The businessman’s dominance of the Republican presidential race is forcing experienced political hands to question whether everything they know about winning the White House is wrong.

The shocks have come in quick succession, with the businessman first rocketing to the top of national polls, and then taking double-digit leads in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.



Charlie Danies Rips Congress in Open Letter
In this June 9, 2013, file photo, Charlie Daniels performs at LP Field on Sunday June 9, 2013, in Nashville Tenn. (Photo by John Davisson/Invision/AP, File)

“The Devil Went Down to Georgia” hit-maker Charlie Daniels posted a lengthy rant on Facebook Monday blasting Congress as “a breed of milksop, politically correct, scared of their own shadow, pushover, pathetic excuses for public servants.”

“You don’t even have the courage to face down an out of control president, even when he makes a deal with the devil,” the country music star wrote, referring to President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. “Don’t you bunch of timid capons even care what kind of world you’re leaving to your children and grandchildren, not to even mention the rest of us? Are you really party partisans before you’re parents and grandparents or even human beings?

“You have allowed Obama to tilt the Supreme Court so far to the left that they’re little more than a shameful extension of the Executive Branch,” Mr. Daniels wrote. “You have talked for decades about the porous southern border but have done absolutely nothing about it. You have allowed cities in this nation to declare themselves sanctuary cities where they protect the worst of the worst criminal aliens, American citizens paying an awful price for your silence.



Solyndra lied to governmente to secure Obama stitmulus cash

Solyndra, the solar panel manufacturer that took more than $500 million from President Obama’s stimulus then went bust, sticking taxpayers for the loss, lied to federal officials to secure the loan, the Energy Department’s inspector general said in a report released Wednesday.

But the Obama administration goofed too and may have cut corners in fully vetting the project because of “political pressure” from top Democrats and Solyndra itself, the investigators said in their report, which took four years to complete.

Most of the blame lies squarely on Solyndra, however. Investigators said company officials lied to the government and to independent market analysts and a credit ratings agency, inflating the value of contract commitments in order to appear more financially promising.



Two Hundred Retired Generals, Flag Offiers Call on Congress to Reject Iran Deal

Nearly two hundred retired generals and admirals sent a letter to Congress asking members to oppose the Iran deal, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The retired officers warned in the letter that the nuclear deal was “unverifiable” and would “threaten the national security and vital interests of the United States” by providing Iran a 10-year path to a nuclear bomb and handing the regime $150 billion in sanctions relief:

    In summary, this agreement will enable Iran to become far more dangerous, render the Mideast still more unstable and introduce new threats to American interests as well as our allies. In our professional opinion, far from being an alternative to war, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action makes it likely that the war the Iranian regime has waged against us since 1979 will continue, with far higher risks to our national security interests. Accordingly, we urge the Congress to reject this defective accord.



Iran May Have Built Extension at Nukek Site While Working on Deal

Iran appears to have built an extension to part of its Parchin military site since May, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said in a report on Thursday delving into a major part of its inquiry into possible military dimensions to Tehran's past atomic activity.

A resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency's Parchin file, which includes a demand for IAEA access to the site, is a symbolically important issue that could help make or break Tehran's July 14 nuclear deal with six world powers.

The confidential IAEA report, obtained by Reuters, said: "Since (our) previous report (in May), at a particular location at the Parchin site, the agency has continued to observe, through satellite imagery, the presence of vehicles, equipment, and probable construction materials. In addition, a small extension to an existing building appears to have constructed."



Trump on TV Shootings: 'This isn't a gun problem; this is a mental problem'

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said in the wake of Wednesday morning’s shooting deaths on live TV of a reporter and videographer in Virginia that it isn’t a gun problem but a “mental problem.”

Asked Thursday on CNN’s “New Day” if he would do something different about gun policy, Mr. Trump said: “Well, I don’t think I would, because this is really a sick person. This isn’t a gun problem; this is a mental problem.”

“Frankly, you know, a case like this, he snuck up on ‘em. Whether it was a gun or a knife or whatever it would have been, it would have been something,” Mr. Trump said. “But you know, you’re not going to get rid of all guns, so I know one thing: if you tried to do it, the bad guys would have ‘em, to use an expression, and the good folks would abide by the law. They’d be hopeless and. … it would be a hopeless situation for them, and I think it’s a big mistake.”



Ex-DIA Chief: Intel Reports on Terror Foght Politicized, Analysts Pressured

Terror analysts were pressured by senior military and intelligence officials to alter their assessments about the strength of the Islamic State group (ISIS)  —  and the effectiveness of the U.S.-led fight against the jihadists, the Daily Beast reports.

If analysts' reports were too pessimistic, or questioned whether the Iraq military could beat ISIS, they were either sent back  —  or never made it to the desks of senior policymakers, sources tell the Daily Beast.

In other cases, analysts wrote what they felt they were expected to write, the Daily Beast reports.



A treaty as hollow as the Iranian nuclear deal

It is ironic that Thursday marks the anniversary of the signing of the Kellogg-Briand treaty in Paris in 1928 designed to renunciate war as an instrument of national policy

Similarly, Congress is soon to vote on President Obama’s deal with Iran that, in the White House’s reckoning, is the only alternative to war with the rogue nation. The Kellogg-Briand agreement, named after American Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg and French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand, like Mr. Obama’s Iran diplomatic concoction, represented naivete to the utmost degree because the means to prevent military action were conspicuous by their absence or weakness.

The treaty, also called the Pact of Paris, was the brainchild of Briand who in 1927 urged a bilateral agreement with the United States to outlaw war, fearful that Germany might once more threaten European nations without such a denunciation by the leading force of the world. But then President Calvin Coolidge wanted nothing to do with bilateralism, and Secretary of State Kellogg made the idea palatable by urging all nations to agree to the idea. Although the United States, France and Germany were the first to sign, some 64 signatories emerged by July 1929.



The modern malleability of gender and race

In the present postmodern world, we are told that there is no such thing as a biologically distinct gender. Instead, gender is now socially constructed. It can be defined by the individual in almost any way he or she sees fit.

In the old days, many clinical psychologists would have believed that Caitlyn Jenner — who first came to fame as Olympian Bruce Jenner — is experiencing a well-chronicled psychological state known as transvestism, or the innate pleasure in wearing the clothes and assuming the manners and appearance of the opposite sex.
 
Caitlyn Jenner, however, identifies as transgendered. But even if the term is new, the condition is not. References to people acting or dressing as if they were members of the opposite sex — or somewhere in between — were commonly found in the works of ancient authors such as Catullus and Petronius. The difference is that the Greeks and Romans saw it as a psychosexual condition, while today’s postmoderns insist that the transgendered have assumed a self-constructed and genuinely new sexual identity.

Have they really?



                 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.

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.