Tuesday February 2nd, 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

Ted Cruz wins Iowa caucuses
                
At a victory party at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Sen. Ted Cruz said his caucus win was a victory for "courageous conservatives" and a blow to the Washington establishment. (Associated Press)

Sen. Ted Cruz halted Donald Trump’s GOP presidential coronation, defeating the billionaire businessman in Iowa’s caucuses Monday night in a vote that showed just how dissatisfied rank-and-file Republicans are with their party’s establishment.

Mr. Cruz held an insurmountable lead with 28 percent of the vote, with 99 percent of precincts reporting. Mr. Trump was in second place with 24 percent with Sen. Marco Rubio nipping at his heels at an impressive 23 percent, boosting the first-term Florida senator into the top tier of the Republican field.



Hillary claims victory; Bernie lauds 'virtual tie' in Iowea
             Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, accompanied by former President Bill Clinton and their daughter Chelsea Clinton speaks at her caucus night rally at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Hillary Clinton claimed a victory in the Iowa caucuses Monday night, but so did Sen. Bernard Sanders, who outperformed expectations and reset the Democratic presidential primary, putting a serious dent in Mrs. Clinton’s aura of inevitability.

Mrs. Clinton held a slim lead of 49.8 percent of delegates awarded to Mr. Sanders‘ 49.6 percent, with 99.9 percent of Iowa precincts reporting as of 8:30 a.m. East Coast time. There was still one precinct left to count.


Obama presidency now effectively over

In the past week he has delivered a major speech to fellow Democrats, announced a new retirement savings plan and computer science initiative — heck, he has even vowed a billion-dollar push to cure cancer. But President Obama just can’t catch a break.

Welcome to the end of the Obama presidency, when the most powerful man on earth is now a sideshow for the performers in the Republican and Democratic primaries, which began in earnest Monday with Iowa’s caucuses.



Donald Trump receives Nobel Peace Prize nomination

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump is reportedly in the running to receive the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.

Mr. Trump, who has attracted international backlash over his controversial rhetoric and call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., has reportedly earned a nod for the award thanks to his tough talk on terrorism and other security threats from around the world, according to Nobel watcher Kristian Berg Harpviken, the director of the Peace Research Institute of Oslo.

In the nomination letter Mr. Harpviken said he had received, supporters said Mr. Trump deserved the prize for “his vigorous peace through strength ideology, used as a threat weapon of deterrence against radical Islam, ISIS, nuclear Iran and Communist China,” Agence France-Presse reported.



FBI Joins Flint, Michigan Water Contamination Probe

The FBI is joining a U.S. criminal investigation into Flint, Michigan's water contamination crisis, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit said on Tuesday.

Gina Balaya, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit, said in an email that federal prosecutors in Michigan are "working with a multi-agency investigation team on the Flint water contamination matter, including the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the EPA's Office of Inspector General ... and the EPA's Criminal Investigation Division."



Pentagon to Reshape Spending Amid Chaniging Security Environment

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Tuesday the Pentagon would seek a $582.7 billion defense budget next year and reshape its spending priorities to reflect a new strategic environment marked by Russian assertiveness and the rise of Islamic State.

Carter, speaking to the Economic Club of Washington, said the Pentagon's funding request would be in line with last year's congressional budget deal but spending would be refocused to address five big challenges facing the U.S. military: Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and Islamic State.



U.S. -led coalition aims to recapture ISIS 'caliphate' in Iraq, Syria


The U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State aims this year to recapture Iraq’s second city Mosul, working with Iraqi government forces, and drive the jihadis out of Raqqa, their stronghold in northeast Syria, Arab and Western officials say.

If it succeeds, the coalition will have struck a crippling blow against Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria.



And now, here comes New Hampshire


The wind and snow of Iowa gives way to the ice and slush of New Hampshire, and the long, long trail to sunny South Carolina has never looked so inviting to so many. No one could have survived these last weeks but for the ample supply of hot air from the candidates to raise the temperature to barely tolerable.

But now Iowa fades to the past, yesterday’s news, not to be heard from again for another four years. The caravan, with its noisy trumpets and yapping dogs, moves on to make noise somewhere else. Round and round the spinning goes and where it stops nobody knows, but there are a couple of reassuring reminders that life goes on. The wise men of the Republican establishment will continue to try to make Donald Trump a non-person, unworthy of the company of Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney in the pantheon of worthy Republican candidates of the past.



Wounded Warrior waste
Beware of charities that spend donations on themselves

In 2014, the New York attorney general obtained a $25 million settlement from two fundraising companies that raised money for veterans charities — only for much of that money to go into the pockets of the fundraisers, not to the vets.

What then should we make of the prospects for the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP)?

Last week, CBS News and The New York Times reported on scandalous profligacy at the well-known WWP. According to one report, the organization spent more than $26 million on conferences, conventions and meetings in 2014 — or “about the same amount the group spends on combat stress recovery — its top program,” according to CBS. A lavish expenditure highlighted in the reports is WWP flying about 500 employees to a five-star resort in Colorado. The watchdog CharityWatch reports that WWP spends as little as 54 percent of its budget on programs.


                 Medal of Honor
 Army 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.