Thursday February 26th, 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     
FCC Approves Net Neutrality in Straight Party-Line Vote
     Federal Communication Commission (FCC) ChairmanTom Wheeler, center, joins hands with FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, left, and Jessica Rosenworcel, before the start of their open hearing in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015. Internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile would have to act in the "public interest" when providing a mobile connection to your home or phone, under new rules being considered by the Federal Communications Commission. The rules would put the Internet in the same regulatory camp as the telephone, banning providers from "unjust or unreasonable" business practices. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

In what one Republican called a “monumental shift toward government control of the Internet,” the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved a proposal granting the federal government the authority to regulate Internet broadband providers under the same law as public utilities.

The five commissioners voted 3-2 along party lines in favor of the proposal known as net neutrality. The 332-page plan, which has not yet been publicly released, bans broadband providers from blocking, throttling or prioritizing certain Internet pages over others. The FCC has said the proposal will not seek to impose any new taxes or fees.



'Jihadi John' from Islamic State beheading videos unmasked
               

Investigators believe that the "Jihadi John" masked fighter who fronted Islamic State beheading videos is a British man named Mohammed Emwazi, two U.S. government sources said on Thursday.

He was born in Kuwait and comes from a prosperous family in London, where he grew up and graduated with a computer programming degree, according to the Washington Post.

In videos released by Islamic State (IS), the black-clad militant brandishing a knife and speaking with an English accent appears to have decapitated hostages including Americans, Britons and Syrians.



Obama: 'Consequences' for ICE Officials Who Don't Follow Execuitve Amnesty
           
President Obama warned workers at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: implement executive amnesty, or else. He made the comments in a town hall event on immigration on MSNBC.

According to the White House pool report, President Obama was asked for reassurance that people wouldn't be deported as the legal battle over the executive amnesty plays out in the courts.

“Until we pass a law through Congress, the executive actions we’ve taken are not going to be permanent; they are temporary. There are going to be some jurisdictions and there may be individual ICE official or Border Control agent not paying attention to our new directives. But they’re going to be answerable to the head of Homeland Security because he’s been very clear about what our priorities will be,” Obama said, according to a partial transcript provided by the pool reporter.



Foreign governments gave millions to foundaton while Hillary was at State Dept

              

The Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, including one donation that violated its ethics agreement with the Obama administration, foundation officials disclosed Wednesday.

Most of the contributions were possible because of exceptions written into the foundation’s 2008 agreement, which included limits on foreign-government donations.

The agreement, reached before Clinton’s nomination amid concerns that countries could use foundation donations to gain favor with a Clinton-led State Department, allowed governments that had previously donated money to continue making contributions at similar levels.



Lynch AG nomination clears commitetee with GOP votes, amid charges of racism

The SenateJudiciary Committee cleared Loretta Lynch on Thursday to be the next attorney general, virtually guaranteeing she will be confirmed in the full Senate next month, even as Democrats intimated that Republicans who opposed her were guilty of racism.

Ms. Lynch, an African-American and U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, has won widespread praise for her work as a prosecutor — but has suffered by comparisons to current Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and because she declined to distance herself from President Obama’s claims of unilateral executive powers, which have angered Republican lawmakers.

“The senate cannot confirm someone to this post who’s going to support and advance a scheme that violates our Constitution,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, who said the vote was part of “a constitutional tipping point.”


 
Boehner Blows Kisses to the Press, Won't Budge on DHS
Funding for the department expires at midnight on Friday.

February 26, 2015 With less than two days to go before a Homeland Security Department shutdown, John Boehner isn't blinking.

"We passed a bill to fund the department six weeks ago. Six weeks ago!" the House speaker said during a press conference Thursday. "It's time for the Senate to act. How many times do I have to say it?"

Boehner doesn't appear to be going along with his Republican counterparts in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is looking to avert a shutdown by offering Democrats a clean funding bill for DHS. The speaker would not say whether he would back a Senate funding bill without provisions that would defund President Obama's executive actions on immigration. At one point, Boehner blew kisses at reporters after they asked whether he would.



Treasury won't explain decision to make $3-Billion in Obamacare payments?


The U.S. Treasury Department has rebuffed a request by House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R- Wis., to explain $3 billion in payments that were made to health insurers even though Congress never authorized the spending through annual appropriations.

At issue are payments to insurers known as cost-sharing subsidies. These payments come about because President Obama’s healthcare law forces insurers to limit out-of-pocket costs for certain low income individuals by capping consumer expenses, such as deductibles and co-payments, in insurance policies. In exchange for capping these charges, insurers are supposed to receive compensation.

What’s tricky is that Congress never authorized any money to make such payments to insurers in its annual appropriations, but the Department of Health and Human Services, with the cooperation of the U.S. Treasury, made them anyway.



Obama to ban bullets by executive action, threatens top-selling AR-15 rifle

It’s starting.

As promised, President Obama is using executive actions to impose gun control on the nation, targeting the top-selling rifle in the country, the AR-15 style semi-automatic, with a ban on one of the most-used AR bullets by sportsmen and target shooters.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives this month revealed that it is proposing to put the ban on 5.56mm ammo on a fast track, immediately driving up the price of the bullets and prompting retailers, including the huge outdoors company Cabela’s, to urge sportsmen to urge Congress to stop the president.
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Byron Allen Goes To War With Sharpton, Obama, Comcast


Legendary TV talk show host Byron Allen is taking on Al Sharpton, President Obama, and the most powerful media corporations in the world in a battle to spotlight the crisis at the heart of American race relations. It’s a daunting mission. But for some reason he doesn’t sound scared.

Allen told The Daily Caller that top media interests are actively freezing out and in some cases destroying black-owned media companies — and they’re paying Reverend-turned-MSNBC host Al Sharpton to give them racial cover to do it.

As for Washington politicians like Obama? According to Allen, they’re bought out by the very same interests, and they’re playing a part.



Mark Cuban: FCC Regs Will Spill Over, 'TV As You Know It Is Over'

Dallas Mavericks owner and investor Mark Cuban predicted that proposed FCC Internet regulations will end up impacting TV and “your TV as you know it is over” on Thursday’s “Squawk Alley” on CNBC.

Cuban began by predicting “the courts will rule the Internet for the next however many years.” He then explained, “let’s just take it all the way through its logical conclusion. All bits are bits, all bits are equal. If all bits are equal, then let’s look at what a stream bit is an example. So when Henry and I do an interview, and it’s streamed lived on the Internet, there’s a camera, it goes through an encoder, it sends it out via server or some manner to the Internet, you click on Business Insider and you watch the stream, right? Now, let’s look at CNBC on Comcast. There’s cameras right in front of you, they go through a switcher, they go through an encoder, it’s put through a server, it goes to Comcast, and it’s streamed in a managed service environment to television. It’s the exact same thing. And if it’s the exact same thing technologically and all bits are equal, then why shouldn’t CNBC and all TV networks that are delivered on cable, and Telco, and fiber like Verizon, why shouldn’t they be part of the open Internet as well? And if they are and all bits are equal, now, let’s take it one step further. It’s the purview of the FCC now. The FCC, right? So, the FCC now has to apply their same standards to content, don’t they, that they do to television content because that’s where it is and there’s going to be certain citizens who think ‘well now, since all content is delivered over the Internet because all bits are bits, and it’s a fair, and open, and equal Internet — decency standards.’ And remember the FCC is the same agency that fought Nipplegate for eight years over a wardrobe malfunction.”

He added, “your TV as you know it is over.”



Ben Carson charges Democrats with taking advantage of blacks

Dr. Ben Carson grabbed the Democratic Party's third rail with both hands Thursday morning, launching a political attack based on his complaint that liberals are 'making people dependent' in majority-black American inner-cities.

Race politics have been the near-exclusive domain of the Democrats since the civil-rights era of the 1960s, and Barack Obama's successful White House bid in 2008 solidified their position.

But Carson – the most prominent black Republican in the 2016 presidential picture – told the Conservative Political Action Conference near Washington, D.C. on Thursday that the Democrats now see African-Americans' support as an entitlement – choosing to 'keep them suppressed and cultivate their votes.'



The stranger in the White House

After six years, Americans still don’t know Barack Obama

Does Barack Obama love America?

At this point, who really cares?

Half of America isn’t paying much attention to him, and the other half is thinking about who might succeed him in 2016.

And yet, thanks to a recent comment by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the question shows it still has political legs.

The problem is that it misses the real point.



Time to be honest about Israel


Embracing the sumptuous history of snubs, leaks and insults by the Obama administration towards Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, prominent Democrats are now hurling recriminations at Mr. Netanyahu. They are livid at his accepting House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to address Congress about Iran. The charge is that he is undermining America’s purportedly invulnerable bipartisan embrace of Israel, as though his precarious country’s imminent existential concerns over the administration’s backdoor dealings with Iran are thin political pretense.

But with much of the Middle East perilously destabilized - also arguably by Obama’s foreign policy - fear of a nuclear Iran is of course a legitimate concern for Mr. Netanyahu. The pretense is the vaunted myth of American bipartisanship on Israel. Everyone in Washington knows the parties are deeply divided on Israel and that the chasm is rooted in fundamental philosophies. Far from being personal or cyclical, the partisan division has steadily grown over the past 25 years regardless of who is in the White House or who controls Congress.




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.