Tuesday March 31st, 2015

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World & National     

Benghazi panel summons Hillary Clinton


A House panel Tuesday formally requested Hillary Clinton to testify about the private server and email account she used while serving as secretary of state.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi, sent a request to Clinton's personal attorney, David E. Kendall, requesting that Clinton appear before the committee no later than May 1 for a transcribed interview about the server and email.

The request comes after Kendall told Gowdy that the server had been wiped clean and that it would be impossible to recover the 30,000 emails Clinton deleted last year.



Hillary used multiple devices for email
              

Hillary Rodham Clinton e-mailed her staff on an iPad as well as a BlackBerry while secretary of state, despite her explanation she exclusively used a personal e-mail address on a homebrew server so that she could carry a single device, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The dispute over her e-mails has cast a shadow over Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination who is widely expected to announce her candidacy next month.



Sharyl Attkisson: Hillary Must Be Hiding Something 'Very Bad'

There must have been "very, very bad or embarrassing" things on Hillary Clinton's personal email server that was wiped clean – including information on the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya, says former CBC News investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson.

In an interview Monday, Attkisson said it was just "common sense" that the deleted data was likely worse than the firestorm created by its deletion.

"In my experience, there must've been some very, very bad or embarrassing things on there, because it appears as if she'd rather take the heat for the actions erasing the server at a time when she knew it was being sought by Congress and under Freedom of Information Act request, and probably lawsuits … than turn over what was really in them," she said.



Iran nuke talks to continue in new phase

              

Wrapping up six days of marathon nuclear talks with mixed results, Iran and six world powers prepared Tuesday to issue a general statement agreeing to continue talks in a new phase aimed at reaching a final agreement to control Iran's nuclear ambitions by the end of June, officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Officials had set a deadline of March 31 for a framework agreement, and later softened that wording to a framework understanding, between Iran and the so-called P5+1 nations — the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

And after intense negotiations, obstacles remained on uranium enrichment, where stockpiles of enriched uranium should be stored, limits on Iran's nuclear research and development and the timing and scope of sanctions relief among other issues.

Iran talks lead to more talks...
Tehran refuses to give up enriched nuclear material...
Iran militia chief: Destroying Israel 'nonnegotiable'...
Hackers threaten 'electronic holocaust'...
Drone Spat in Iraq...
Saudis Make Own Moves...
Rabbi compares Obama to Haman, archenemy of Jewish people...
French Fear Plans To Make Iran Key Middle East Ally...
Venue for talks is 'gilded cage' under constant surveillance...
GALLUP: Iranians already living better under eased sanctions...




Reporters say federal officials, data increasingly off limits

Stacey Singer, a health reporter for the Palm Beach Post in Florida, was perusing a medical journal in 2012 when she came across something startling: a federal epidemiologist’s report about a tuberculosis outbreak in the Jacksonville area. Singer promptly began pursuing the story.

But when she started seeking official comment about the little-reported outbreak, the doors began closing. County health officials referred her to the state health department. State officials referred her to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even though the CDC’s own expert had written the investigative report, the agency’s press office declined to let Singer speak with him. A spokesman told her it was a local matter and sent her back to the state office in Tallahassee.

Through public records requests, Singer eventually was able to piece together the story of a contagion that had caused 13 deaths and 99 illnesses — the worst the CDC had found in 20 years.



Indiana to 'Clarify' new law decried as anti-gay


Republican lawmakers in Indiana promised Monday to amend a religious liberties bill that critics have labeled as anti-gay, bowing to protests that have rapidly spread to several other states considering similar measures.

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma (R) said the legislature would act as soon as this week to “clarify” the state’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which grants individuals and businesses legal grounds to defend themselves against claims of discrimination. The fix, Bosma said, would make clear that the law does not allow people to discriminate against gays, as critics contend.

Fact Checker: Is this law ‘the same’ as the one Obama backed?



Broken City
Rahm Emanuel and the unraveling of Chicago.

Rahm Emanuel is probably going to be reelected mayor of Chicago, but it won't have been a pretty road to get there. He failed to garner a majority in the first round of voting, back in February—a rebuke, of sorts, from voters, who had four years ago given him 55 percent of the first-round vote. As a result, he now faces an April 7 runoff against county official Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

When political junkies in the rest of the country think about Emanuel, they tend to focus on his legendary haughtiness. To take one example: A constituent who met with Emanuel earlier this month to protest the closing of mental-health clinics complained that the mayor had yelled, "You're gonna respect me!" (Emanuel's camp denied to The Huffington Post that the mayor had yelled.) Such haughtiness has certainly hurt Emanuel during this campaign. Whereas his predecessor, Richard M. Daley, was perfectly capable of arrogance, his personality didn't seem to offend Chicagoans the same way Emanuel's does. Daley had the bluster of the common man; Emanuel comes across as imperious. "Daley could be your brother or uncle," one labor leader told me recently. "Rahm is more upper class." The press in Chicago has been fond of recounting how Emanuel was seen with his extremely wealthy friend, Illinois's Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, at a posh Montana resort carrying a bottle of wine that's only available through an exclusive buyer's club—which costs six figures to join.



Why Operation Jade Helm 15 is freaking out the Internet--and why it shouldn't

The mission is vast both geographically and strategically: Elite service members from all four branches of the U.S. military will launch an operation this summer in which they will operate covertly among the U.S. public and travel from state to state in military aircraft. Texas, Utah and a section of southern California are labeled as hostile territory, and New Mexico isn’t much friendlier.

That’s the scheme for Jade Helm 15, a new Special Operations exercise that runs from July 15 to Sept. 15. Army Special Operations Command announced it last week, saying the size and scope of the mission sets it apart from many other training exercises.



Iraqi forces in 'major advance' against IS in Tikrit

Iraqi government forces have made major advances against Islamic State (IS) militants in Tikrit, officials say.

Army officials claimed on Tuesday that as much of 75% of the city had been recaptured, including the city centre and government headquarters.

Iraqi forces were rejoined in the battle by Shia militias, who announced last week they would boycott fighting while US was carrying out air strikes.



Obama to veto NLRB legislation

President Obama Tuesday will veto a GOP-backed resolution that would overturn a National Labor Relations Board rule making it easier for workers to hold union-organizing elections, his second veto since Republicans took control of the Senate in January.

The White House said Mr. Obama is vetoing the resolution in the Oval Office, and has invited news photographers to record the scene.

The Senate earlier this month voted 53-46 to pass the resolution, in which lawmakers blocked the regulatory action. Mr. Obama also has vetoed Keystone XL pipeline legislation this year.



U.S. allies humiliate Obama, rush to join China's new bank
Observers say episode marks diplomatic defeat for Obama.

The rush to join the China’s new development bank for Asia has become a stampede, with even longtime U.S. allies such as Georgia, South Korea, Australia and even Taiwan now saying they are ready to join despite the clear reservations of the Obama administration.

China is putting up half of the planned $100 billion initial capitalization for the Shanghai-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), designed to help finance trillions of dollars in infrastructure projects needed for the booming East Asian region in the coming decades.

At least 42 countries are now expected to be “founding members” of the AIIB, up from 21 when China and a group of Asian and Middle East countries formally signed a memorandum of understanding to open the bank last October, including Germany, Britain, France, Switzerland, Turkey and Russia. Beijing has pressed countries to join by the March 31 deadline, saying only founding members will have a say in setting up the AIIB’s initial structure and lending guidelines.



They're ready for Hillary, but is Hillary read?

The Syndicate convened the Bilderberg Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Illuminati and the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy over the weekend at a secret hideaway in downtown Shangri-la to talk about themes for the 2016 campaign.

The Syndicate picks presidents, but calls in other smaller but powerful cartels to help. Next year the chosen Democrat is Hillary Clinton. There’s not yet a chosen Republican, though the Bilderberg Group and the Council on Foreign Relations are rooting for Jeb Bush. The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy likes Ted Cruz. No final decision on candidates yet, but the campaign themes were locked in by Sunday night when everybody went home:

“Vote for Hillary: She ain’t much but she’s all we’ve got.” The Republican candidate will stick with the tried and sometimes true: “Vote Republican: We’re not as bad as you think.”

That’s the kind of year 2016 is shaping up to be. Nobody yet figures to make anyone throw his hat in the air, which is logical since no one wears a hat any more. (Women were nuts to give up hats and take up ugly shoes.) Recycling is not yet for everybody, but it works in presidential politics.



When even 'trust but verify' won't do

If the United States cannot verify that Iran isn’t developing nuclear weapons, then President Obama swears he won’t strike a deal with Tehran. This week, though, he seems hell-bent on doing precisely that, despite lingering questions about Iranian cheating. It is enough to drive a good man to distraction. Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton even argued in an editorial last week that we should bomb Iran ourselves before the Israelis beat us to the punch.

Those lingering questions about verification led me back to the archives and my 1981 study on verifying SALT II, the once-controversial U.S.-Soviet agreement on controlling strategic weapons. A generation later, it is not clear if we are better or worse off, whether those difficult Cold War experiences provided lasting lessons or only fading memories of a discarded history.

The article resulted from a term paper written for a notoriously demanding Harvard graduate school professor. The academic world was intrigued by those “national technical means of verification” President Carter had revealed in a 1978 speech. If our spy satellites were so good, then wasn’t SALT II or any future arms control agreement a slam dunk? If we could see every square inch of the USSR, monitor Soviet missile telemetry and intercept Politburo communications, then wouldn’t the all-seeing eyes of the U.S. intelligence community be able to detect Soviet cheating? As a junior intelligence officer, I wasn’t so sure, having already encountered bureaucratic agendas.



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.
CAVAIANI, JON R. Photo
Jon R Cavaiani
  Citation

S/Sgt. Cavaiani distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action in the Republic of Vietnam on 4 and 5 June 1971 while serving as a platoon leader to a security platoon providing security for an isolated radio relay site located within enemy-held territory. On the morning of 4 June 1971, the entire camp came under an intense barrage of enemy small arms, automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenade and mortar fire from a superior size enemy force. S/Sgt. Cavaiani acted with complete disregard for his personal safety as he repeatedly exposed himself to heavy enemy fire in order to move about the camp's perimeter directing the platoon's fire and rallying the platoon in a desperate fight for survival. S/Sgt. Cavaiani also returned heavy suppressive fire upon the assaulting enemy force during this period with a variety of weapons. When the entire platoon was to be evacuated, S/Sgt. Cavaiani unhesitatingly volunteered to remain on the ground and direct the helicopters into the landing zone. S/Sgt. Cavaiani was able to direct the first 3 helicopters in evacuating a major portion of the platoon. Due to intense increase in enemy fire, S/Sgt. Cavaiani was forced to remain at the camp overnight where he calmly directed the remaining platoon members in strengthening their defenses. On the morning of S June, a heavy ground fog restricted visibility. The superior size enemy force launched a major ground attack in an attempt to completely annihilate the remaining small force. The enemy force advanced in 2 ranks, first firing a heavy volume of small arms automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade fire while the second rank continuously threw a steady barrage of hand grenades at the beleaguered force. S/Sgt. Cavaiani returned a heavy barrage of small arms and hand grenade fire on the assaulting enemy force but was unable to slow them down. He ordered the remaining platoon members to attempt to escape while he provided them with cover fire. With 1 last courageous exertion, S/Sgt. Cavaiani recovered a machine gun, stood up, completely exposing himself to the heavy enemy fire directed at him, and began firing the machine gun in a sweeping motion along the 2 ranks of advancing enemy soldiers. Through S/Sgt. Cavaiani's valiant efforts with complete disregard for his safety, the majority of the remaining platoon members were able to escape. While inflicting severe losses on the advancing enemy force, S/Sgt. Cavaiani was wounded numerous times. S/Sgt. Cavaiani's conspicuous gallantry, extraordinary heroism and intrepidity at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. 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.