Tuesday July 19th, 2016

"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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When Arkell and Dar first met there was no tension or danger. Which in and of itself was strange given two such dangerous beings. Rather, an instant bonding took place which has defied all scientific analysis for the ten years they have been partners. They communicated both telepathically and empathically. Regardless of distance, they `felt' what the other felt. Words like loyalty, trust, understanding, even love were inadequate to express the strength and depth of that symbiotic bonding. From the day Arkell first saw Dar they `became' one. And for the past ten years they had become a legend in the Federation...the penultimate fighting machine. They had never failed in a mission. Eventually, the mere threat to dispatch the `Two That Are One' became sufficient negative incentive to precipitate immediate discussions and to end conflict.
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World & National News

GOP leaders stamp out anti-Trump push at convention

The Republican National Convention kicked off Monday afternoon with a divisive fight over party rules and future presidential nominee Donald Trump, but the party recovered a measure of unanimity by the evening with a series of searing attacks on likely Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

The mother of one of the four Americans killed in Benghazi accused Mrs. Clinton of lying to her and said she should be in prison. Some of the security contractors who defended the diplomatic post in Libya’s second city that September night in 2012 said their comrades in arms would still be alive if the former secretary of state had done her job.

Team Trump pushes back: No 'cribbing' of Michelle Obama's speech
             Melania Trump, wife of Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, speaks during first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Donald Trump’s campaign chairman on Tuesday said Melania Trump used “common words” in her speech at the Republican National Convention Monday, calling the notion that she cribbed from a speech that first lady Michelle Obama gave in 2008 “crazy” and “absurd.”

“There’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech,” Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort said on CNN’s “New Day.” “These were common words and values that she cares about — her family, things like that.”

“I mean, she was speaking in front of 35 million people last night,” Mr. Manafort said. “She knew that. To think that she would be cribbing Michelle Obama’s words is crazy.”

Obama slams 'strange' GOP convention in fundraising email

President Obama criticized Republicans for staging a “strange and outrageous” nominating convention this week and said their proposals would harm the country.

In a fundraising email to Democrats, Mr. Obama reminisced about the GOP convention in 2012, when actor Clint Eastwood lectured an empty chair on stage as if he were talking bluntly to the president. Mr. Obama called that episode “laughable,” but he said there’s worse to come from Republicans this year.

Prosecutors of officers accused in Freddie Gray death face pressure for disbarment
           Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore state's attorney, pauses while speaking during a media availability on May 1, 2015, in Baltimore. Mosby announced criminal charges against all six officers suspended after Freddie Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury while in police custody. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Legal analysts ripped Baltimore prosecutors Monday over their handling of the Freddie Gray case, saying the prosecution should drop all charges against the three remaining police officers or risk more embarrassment in the courtroom.

What’s more, John Banzhaf, an activist law professor at George Washington University, said he would file a complaint Tuesday with the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission calling for the disbarment of the lead prosecutors in the trials of the six police officers accused of wrongdoing in the 2015 arrest and death of the 25-year-old black man.

The pointed criticism came Monday after Lt. Brian Rice was acquitted of all charges for his role in Gray’s arrest and death. The lieutenant was the highest-ranking of the accused officers, and his full acquittal was the third consecutive loss for prosecutors. Another trial ended in a hung jury in December, and a retrial has been scheduled.

Murdoch reportedly to remove Roger Ailes as Fox News CEO

Rupert Murdoch and his two sons have decided to remove Roger Ailes as CEO of Fox News following a sexual harassment lawsuit by former anchor Gretchen Carlson, New York Magazine reported Monday.

The three are in agreement that the 76-year-old executive should go, but they haven’t agreed on the timing, the magazine reported, citing anonymous sources.

Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman at parent company 21st Century Fox, is in agreement with his father that no action should be taken against Mr. Ailes until after the Republican National Convention concludes this week in Cleveland, the magazine reported.

Baton Rouge shooter demonstrated high degree of tactical skill in ambush
Uncovered manifesto showcased his often-contradictory beliefs

The gunman already had shot and killed one police officer and wounded another. But his ambush-style attack in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, wasn’t over.

As officers swarmed to reports of shots fired Sunday morning behind a convenience store, 29-year-old Gavin Long retraced his steps and found East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Brad Garafola trying to help the injured officer. He opened fire, killing Deputy Garafola. Then he turned his attention to the Baton Rouge Police officer and fired two fatal shots at close range.

“My deputy went down fighting. He returned fire until the very end,” Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said Monday, detailing the horrific events that played out Sunday before a member of a SWAT team was able to shoot and kill Long. “I am convinced that if Baton Rouge city SWAT would not have arrived on the scene, we would have had two more deceased deputies and this guy would have been in a position to get in his car and go on, travel and seek other targets.”

Paul Ryan walks fine line, aims to unify GOP despite reservations about Donald Trump

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan opened a new break Monday with his party’s next leader, Donald Trump, saying he’s “not my kind of conservative” — just a day before Mr. Ryan will have to take the stage to defend Mr. Trump in a highly anticipated speech at Republicans’ convention here.

Mr. Ryan has perhaps the trickiest job of any of those speaking at the gathering, needing to project party unity even as he vehemently disagrees with Mr. Trump on big issues, and many of his own troops in Congress would prefer to keep Mr. Trump, their presidential nominee, at arm’s length in the coming campaign.

“He’s not my kind of conservative, but I come from a different part and wing of the party,” Mr. Ryan told reporters at a lunch hosted by The Wall Street Journal — though the Wisconsin Republican did add that he views Mr. Trump as a conservative of some sort, though coming from a very different ideological path.

Democrat-funded protests bacckfire as officer killings boost support for police
       Baton Rouge Police Department Officer Markell Morris holds a bouquet of flowers and a Superman action figure that a citizen left at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, where wounded police officers were brought after Sunday morning's shootings. (The Times via Associated Press)

The horrifying slayings of eight law enforcement officers in the past 10 days may come back to haunt Democrats funding protests against police behind the scenes in hopes of energizing black voters in November.

Instead of juicing turnout for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the unrest may wind up backfiring by whipping up public sympathy for police and creating an opportunity for Republicans to run on a law-and-order message, analysts say.

“The proof of that will be on Election Day. But I would say the problem with the strategy is that it has contributed to a climate of support for law and order, and that, I think, is an immense advantage for Donald Trump,” said political analyst Floyd Ciruli.

ISIS leaders urge fighters to 'go get a truck' and kill infidels

Two weeks before the massacre in Nice, a French-speaking fighter for the Islamic State went on social media to urge Muslims in France to “go get a truck” and kill infidels.

That is exactly what Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel did on July 14, taking a rented truck and plowing through a mass of people watching fireworks on Bastille Day on the Riviera. He killed 84 people.

The Islamic State, known as ISIL and ISIS, has taken credit for radicalizing Bouhlel in one of its signature style attacks: convince a “lone wolf” to commit mass murder and become a martyr, as happened in Orlando, Fla., nightclub massacre.

French officials have said that Bouhlel, by all accounts a misfit and petty criminal, was quickly radicalized. Officials says they have found no firm ties to ISIL, but the probe shows he searched information on ISIL on the Internet.

Turkey's Erdogan Recounts Night of Coup, Mulls Death Penalty

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a series of televised appearances overnight in which he disclosed dramatic details of his survival on the night of a failed coup and raised the specter of reintroducing the death penalty to punish conspirators.

He told U.S. broadcaster CNN he narrowly escaped death after coup plotters stormed the resort town of Marmaris where he was vacationing.

"Had I stayed 10, 15 additional minutes, I would have been killed or I would have been taken," he said in the interview broadcast late Monday.

UnitedHealth Sees $200 Million More in Losses for Obamacare

UnitedHealth Group Inc. on Tuesday said it anticipated another $200 million more in losses this year on the individual insurance business created under U.S. President Barack Obama's national healthcare reform law, citing the program's high medical costs.

The largest U.S. health insurer said the problem was confined to this one business line, which it plans to exit in 2017 for the most part.

This was the third quarter in a row when UnitedHealth has booked anticipated losses for the program known as Obamacare. In April, it said it expected $650 million in losses on the program this year.

The last yelps of sore losers

Time is running out for the sore losers in Cleveland (and other places). Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee, and attacks on him now, deserved or not, are attacks on the party and can only cripple the chances of taking back the White House.

Elephants have long memories, and losers in the primaries who have further presidential ambitions, imagining that four years of Hillary Clinton will whet a ravenous appetite for someone else in the year 2020, had better think this through. Anyone who helps Hillary this year, however good it might feel now, will pay dearly four years hence.

The agents out to demolish the Trump candidacy still roamed the hotel corridors, coffee shops and drinking holes along the Lake Erie shore Monday night, spreading doubt, confusion and resentment, and eager to share their cultivated rage with anyone willing to listen. Not many delegates were.

Educating warriors for curent readiness and future success
Soldiers and sailors studying online deserve equal access to academic advisers

Recruiting and retaining capable and motivated service members is paramount to maintaining a high-quality fighting force to defend our country. It is undeniable that educational and training assistance programs are critical to attracting men and women to join and remain in military service. These promised and earned education benefits not only ensure readiness while on active duty, but they also help prepare our servicemen and women to succeed later in civilian life.

Since its inception in the 1970s, the Defense Department’s Tuition Assistance Program, along with educational opportunities provided to active-duty members by colleges serving the military, has allowed service members to avoid the challenges I faced. In 1958, I was the 18-year-old breadwinner for my family; working as a draftsman while attending college at night. Like so many young men at the time, I received my draft notice. I wanted to use my engineering background so I enlisted in the U.S. Navy, putting my college education on hold, in hopes of obtaining my degree through the Navy’s Enlisted Scientific Education Program. Starting as mess cook on a diesel attack submarine, I worked my way up through the ranks to eventually earn my commission together with my Navy Wings of Gold, which was difficult without a college degree.

   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.

Rank: Captain
Organization: U.S. Army
Date of Issue: 07/08/2002

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.