Thursday May 21st, 2015
"It Is Not A
Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong
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China warns U.S. surveillance plane
The Chinese navy issued warnings eight times as a U.S. surveillance
plane on Wednesday swooped over islands that Beijing is using to extend
its zone of influence.
The series of man-made islands and the massive Chinese military build-up
on them have alarmed the Pentagon, which is carrying out the
surveillance flights in order to make clear the U.S. does not recognize
China's territorial claims. The militarized islands have also alarmed
America's regional allies.
Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell told CNN's Erin Burnett
Wednesday night that the confrontation indicates there is "absolutely" a
risk of the U.S. and China going to war sometime in the future.
ISIS is 'everywhere,' in full control of ancient Syrian city of Palmyrah
"They are everywhere."
That is the stark observation about ISIS fighters in Palmyra from a
26-year-old resident there, detailing the terrorist group's swift,
destructive takeover of yet another city in its quest to brutally expand
This capture threatens a UNESCO World Heritage Site described as having
"stood at the crossroads of several civilizations," with its art and
architecture mixing Greek, Roman and Persian influences, according to
that U.N. group. U.N. and Syrian officials have expressed fears that
ISIS plans to destroy the ruins, just as it flattened the ancient
Assyrian city of Nimrud and smashed statues in Iraq's Mosul Museum.
But Palmyra, which is also known as Tadmur, isn't just a matter of
history. Today, it's also home to tens of thousands of people -- many of
whom, if they haven't already fled, cower in fear they'll meet the same
grisly fate of so many others conquered by ISIS.
Emails reportedly show confidant told Hillary Benghazi attack planned by AQ-tied fighters
longtime Clinton confidant reportedly advised then-Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton two days after the 2012 Benghazi terror attack that an
Al Qaeda-tied group had planned the deadly assault and used a protest
as cover -- but despite this warning, Clinton's U.N. ambassador went on
to publicly claim the attack was simply "spontaneous."
The guidance from ex-Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal was contained in a
memo sent Sept. 13, according to The New York Times. It is the latest
documentation effectively contradicting the administration's early
narrative that the attack was driven by protests over an anti-Islam
Internet video -- and raising questions over why officials stuck to
that story for days.
Teamsters spend big on politics while preparing to cut pensions?
Union tosses cash at lobbying despite retirement shortfalls
have begun informing retirees and current workers that their pension
benefits may soon be cut, the final ironic twist to a lobbying campaign
that saw the union spend its own members’ dollars to win the right to
shrink their retirement pay.
notifications began going out from the Teamsters Central States Health
and Welfare Pension Fund this spring, a decision that could ultimately
affect 410,000 current pension participants and a total of more than 10
million U.S. workers nationwide. Cuts could begin as early as next year.
The cuts were
made possible after the lame-duck Congress late last year passed the
Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (MPRA), enabling any multiemployer
pension fund to cut benefits to workers and current retirees if the
plan is underfunded by at least 20 percent.
Pentagon: No major review underway on strategy to defeat ISIS
fall of Ramadi to the Islamic State, the Pentagon has not been asked by
the White House to conduct a wholesale review of the strategy to defeat
ISIS, multiple defense officials told Fox News.
there be? It was one battle," one official said. A separate official
said the Pentagon "continuously" reviews its strategy and said a major
review was "not necessary."
military official confirmed that the Obama administration is looking
into arming Sunni tribes to help retake Ramadi, taking a page from the
"Anbar Awakening" when 30 tribes united in 2006 to defeat Al Qaeda in
Iraq with support from the U.S. military.
But multiple defense officials said these arms would not go to the Sunni tribes directly.
Senate averts trade filibuster, delivers big win to Obama in fast-track fight
Democrats bucked their party’s liberal wing and helped head off a
filibuster Thursday, putting the Senate on course to approve fast-track
trade negotiating powers and delivering President Obama’s biggest
second-term domestic priority.
The 62-38 vote
barely topped the 60 votes needed to surmount the filibuster, and only
after a half-hour’s worth of deal-making on the Senate floor.
economic health and prestige are on the line today,” said Sen. Orrin G.
Hatch, Utah Republican and chairman of the Finance Committee, who led
the floor debate on passing the bill, known as Trade Promotion
Authority, which will allow Mr. Obama to conclude trade deals he’s been
trying to negotiate.
Texas demands Obama prove he's halted deportation amnesety
Texas asked a
federal judge Wednesday to consider imposing a fine on the Obama
administration lawyers who misled the court over President Obama’s
amnesty, filing papers saying the Justice Department is still trying to
hide details of how Homeland Security botched the rollout of the
General Ken Paxton, who is leading the lawsuit trying to stop Mr.
Obama’s amnesty, also said the misleading and other errors — including
approving 2,000 amnesty applications even after Judge Andrew S. Hanen
issued an injunction — cry out for the court to babysit the
administration, including making them prove that the illegal immigrants
really are sending back their wrongly-issued works permits.
came in the case that has halted Mr. Obama’s deportation amnesty, where
the administration is pleading with Judge Hanen not to punish them
despite having admitted they broke his injunction — inadvertently, they
Barack Obama could duck fight over U.S. ambassador to Cuba
Barack Obama may be able to quickly remove Cuba from the state sponsors
of terrorism list, restore some trade with the communist-led island and
even establish a U.S. Embassy in Havana. But when it comes to
appointing an ambassador to Cuba, at least one top Democrat says the
president should bide his time.
require Senate confirmation and a nomination could trigger a
potentially bitter fight with 2016 overtones: Two of the senators most
opposed to Obama’s rapprochement with Cuba — Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz —
are running for president. It’s also an unnecessary battle, some argue,
because the U.S. mission in Havana can be run without an official
ambassador, and the lead American envoy there now is well-regarded.
Obama tells Coast Guard grads climate change threatens U.S.
Rising seas and
thawing permafrost caused by warmer global temperatures threaten U.S.
military bases and will change the way the U.S. armed services defend
the country, President Barack Obama said on Wednesday.
commencement address at the United States Coast Guard Academy, Obama
underscored the risks to national security posed by climate change, one
of his top priorities for action in his remaining 19 months in office.
"The threat of
a changing climate cuts to the very core of your service," Obama told
the 224 graduating cadets, who studied the impacts of global warming as
part of their curriculum.
How Republicans can capture the millennial vote
The Republican party has a problem when it comes to millennials. What’s the use in ignoring it?
In 2012, young
voters overwhelmingly turned out for Democrats. But there was also
another dynamic at work: During that election cycle, most millennials
wanted to avoid being labeled as a Republican. To align oneself with
the “R word” was, in their minds, to support a party that was out of
touch with the young, cosmopolitan and intellectually curious
But that’s the past. What about the future?
A 'safety valve' for mandatory minimum sentences
In the waning
days of Maryland’s legislative session, casual observers were probably
surprised to see a freshman, conservative Republican from Western
Maryland leading the fight on the Senate floor to reform our state’s
harsh mandatory minimum laws. In fact, I was joined by a majority of
Republicans in the Senate in voting for this important reform.
Just as society
is ill-served when a violent offender receives a light sentence, we
should also acknowledge we are ill-served when people are punished too
harshly. Criminal sentences should match the crime. That’s why it’s
time for Maryland to reform our one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter
approach to drug crimes and address the often unjust consequences that
arise from mandatory minimum sentences.
Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action
enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving
Armed Services of the United States.
to its recipient by the President of the
United States of America in the name of Congress.
first award of the Medal of Honor was made March 25, 1863 to
JACOB PARROTT.The last award of the Medal of Honor was made
September 15, 2011
to Sergeant DAKOTA MEYER.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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