Tuesday December 16th, 2014

"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
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World & National     

Pakistan School Attack

Militants Kill 126 in Peshawar, Take Hostages
               



Taliban militants attacked a school, killing at least 126 people and taking hostages on Tuesday, an official said — an atrocity condemned by the White House as "heinous" and "horrific."

"The gunmen entered class by class and shot some kids one by one," a student who was in the school at the time told local media.

Provincial official Bahramand Khan said at least 126 people were killed and 122 injured. More than 100 of the dead were school children, he added. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the assault, which appeared to be targeting the children of senior military officials.

Bombs planted by the attackers slowed rescue efforts, a military official said, adding that operations at the scene were "closing up".



15,000 people join 'pinstriped Nazis' on march in Dresden
                 Pegida demonstration in Dresden, Germany


Its members have been dubbed the “pinstriped Nazis” and they refer to their demonstrations as “evening strolls” through German cities. But on Monday night, an estimated 15,000 people joined Pegida, or Patriotic Europeans Against Islamisation of the West, in a march through Dresden carrying banners bearing slogans such as “Zero tolerance towards criminal asylum seekers”, “Protect our homeland” and “Stop the Islamisation”.

Lutz Bachmann, the head of Pegida, a nascent anti-foreigner campaign group, led the crowds, either waving or draped in German flags, in barking chants of “Wir sind das Volk”, or “We are the people”, the slogan adopted by protesters in the historic “Monday demonstrations” against the East German government in the runup to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Associating themselves with the freedom demonstrations has given Pegida protests an air of moral respectability even though there are hundreds of rightwing extremists in their midst, as well as established groups of hooligans who are known to the police, according to Germany’s federal office for the protection of the constitution.
German Politicians Push Back as Anti-Immigrant Rallies Swell...
15,000 march in Dresden...
'Muslims are plotting to infect our food chain with their excrement'...
Hitler's vacation paradise reinvented as condos, hotels, spa...


Sony Hackers Threaten 9/11 Attack on Movie Theaters That Screen 'The Interview'

In the most shocking development yet, the Sony attackers have threatened a 9/11-like attack on movie theaters that screen Seth Rogen and James Franco’s North Korean comedy “The Interview.”

They also released the promised “Christmas gift” of files. The contents of the files are unknown but it’s called “Michael Lynton,” who is the CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment.



Russian Rate Jump Fails to Stop Ruble
               

Richard Haass, president at Council on Foreign Relations, talks about how the fall of the ruble may impact the leadership of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He speaks on “Bloomberg Surveillance.”

The ruble plummeted into a freefall, losing as much as 19 percent as panic swept across Russian financial markets after a surprise interest-rate increase failed to stem the run on the currency.

The ruble plunged to as weak as 80.10 per dollar, a record low, before trading at 72.90 by 5:18 p.m. in Moscow, as Russians scrambled to convert their money into dollars amid concern the government will implement currency controls to slow the outflows. Bonds fell as the RTS stock index tumbled the most in almost six years. Government officials will gather to discuss the financial crisis engulfing the country.



North Korea Calls for UN Probe of CIA 'Torture Crimes'?

North Korea's UN representative decried CIA interrogations as "the gravest human rights violations in the world."

North Korea’s U.N. Ambassador has called on the world body to investigate the CIA for subjecting captured al-Qaeda operatives to “brutal, medieval” forms of torture.

The statement comes as the U.N. Security Council prepares to debate North Korea’s human rights violations on December 22 and 23, the Associated Press reports.



Jeb Bush: I Will 'Actively Explore' Run for President


Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday took his most definitive step yet toward running for president, announcing plans to "actively explore" a campaign and form a new political operation allowing him to raise money for like-minded Republicans.

In a holiday message posted on Bush's Facebook page and Twitter account, the son and brother of past Republican presidents said he discussed the "future of our nation" and a potential bid for the White House with members of his family over the Thanksgiving holiday.

"As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for president of the United States," Bush wrote.



Congressman claims Boehner 'Tricked him' into voting?
Switching from “no” to “yes,” he allowed the cromnibus through — and now he’s mum.


For a member of Congress to accuse his party leaders of lying to him, and for their aides to return the favor, is about as rare as the drama that surrounded last week’s procedural vote — a vote that led to the passage of the $1.1 trillion spending bill.

That’s the situation Representative Marlin Stutzman (R., Ind.) found himself in last week after he lent his support to the spending package at a moment when it seemed unlikely to ever receive a final vote. Stutzman initially voted no on what is known as “the rule” — the procedural step that allows House leadership to bring the bill to the floor for debate. When he and one other member switched their no votes to yes, they set the stage for the ultimate success of the spending package.




GOP, Eager to Set Policy, Names Senators to Top Committees


Republicans gained seats on powerful committees in Congress, marking an opportunity for them to put their stamp on key legislation in the new year, Politico reported.

With a 54-46 seat majority in the 114th Congress, GOP senators gain three seats on several top committees, Politico noted, including  Finance, Judiciary, and Environment and Public Works.

Among the Republicans named to serve on those committees come January are Dean Heller of Nevada, Dan Coats of Indiana and Tim Scott of South Carolina (Finance); and David Vitter of Louisiana, David Perdue of Georgia and  Thom Tillis of North Carolina (Judiciary).



Obama Exedcutive Order Could Give 20-Million Amnesty?

Arizona Sheriff Babeu said, "The fact is it's not just the 5 million that President Obama promised, we learned that Jeh Johnson the Secretary of Homeland Security, put out a six page memo, and he said that anybody who's been here since January of this year, anybody prior to that date, they are allowed to stay here. There will be deferred action," adding "This number that President Obama promised would be 5 million is now 20 million illegals."

When host Neil Cavuto asked for clarification, the sheriff explained, "Because Jeh Johnson put out this memo, President Obama said on TV, 'if you're been here five years or more, there will be deferred action, they will be given a work permit, a driver's license, all access to our social programs,' but Jeh Johnson, the very same day, put out a memo directed to all 23 agencies under the Department of Homeland Security saying that any illegal that's been here this year as of January of 2014, they are entitled to this deferred action."




Battle of the Bulge 70 years later 'An ever-famous American victory'

Seventy years ago today, the last and most devastating battle of World War II in Europe occurred when Nazi forces staged a surprising, massive attack as Allied forces moved eastward toward the German border.

The confrontation eventually involved over a half-million Germans and an equal number of Americans, no matter that after the D-Day or Normandy invasion in June, it appeared almost certain that the European phase of the war was over. For Allied forces had liberated the Low Countries and France and set their sights on Berlin. However, Adolf Hitler had one last gambit, namely, to take advantage of the few American troops assigned in the mountainous and heavily forested area along the French, Belgian and Luxembourg borders called Ardennes. A successful invasion there, in Hitler’s reckoning, would permit German forces to move on to Antwerp, the Belgian port critical to supplying Allied forces, and provide time to develop more shock weapons such as the V-2 rocket. After an initial September 1944 launch, more than 3,000 V-2s had been produced and fired at Allied sites.



Rectal feeding terror suspects

Lunch can sometimes be a big deal in Washington. Lunch is where alliances are struck, deals are made, and sometimes where foes become more or less friends over a shrimp cocktail or a chicken salad at the Palm. But if Karl Rove invites you to lunch, be sure you get to pick the restaurant.

Mr. Rove, a personable fellow who was deputy chief of staff in George W. Bush’s White House and is sometimes credited with being the genius of George W.’s success, turns out to be a big fan of “rectal feeding,” as used by the CIA to persuade terror suspects to spill their secrets. Rectal feeding consists of tubes inserted you know where so unhappy things can be dispatched to a dark destination on the alimentary canal, sort of like eastbound barge traffic on the old C&O.


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.