Tuesday April 26th, 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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Values for a New Millennium: Activating the Natural Law to Reduce Violence, Revitalize Our Schools, and Promote Cross-Cultural Harmony | [Robert Humphrey]



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Shadow of Worlds: The Worlds of Man

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World & National

Defense bill amendment targets Obama micromanagement, gives Pentagon leverage
            
President Barack Obama walks with Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., his nominee to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 5, 2015. Obama chose the widely respected, combat-hardened commander who led the Afghanistan war coalition during a key transitional period during 2013-2014 to succeed Army Gen. Martin Dempsey. Walking behind them is Vice President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

A key congressional Republican hopes to use a major defense bill to give the Pentagon more leverage in policy fights with President Obama’s White House aides, following complaints from past defense chiefs that the West Wing has tried to micromanage national security and military policy and ice the Defense Department and other agencies out of major decisions.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry plans to offer an amendment to the defense authorization bill to cap the size of the National Security Council, now headed by close Obama aide Susan E. Rice. The bill also could subject the council’s head to congressional confirmation in the future, The Washington Times has learned.

News of the amendment comes in the wake of sharp criticism from Mr. Obama’s former defense secretaries — Robert M. Gates, Leon E. Panetta and Chuck Hagel — that their access to and influence over the president were often stymied by an inner circle of less-experienced White House officials.



Trump, Hillary aim for sweeps of Northeastern primaries
          Donald Trump at West Chester University

Donald Trump is aiming for a sweep of all five Northeastern states holding primaries Tuesday, including Pennsylvania, with his rivals pinning their hopes of stopping the Republican front-runner on a fragile coordination strategy in the next rounds of voting.

For Democratic leader Hillary Clinton, wins in most of Tuesday's contests would leave little doubt that she'll be her party's nominee. Rival Bernie Sanders' team has sent mixed signals about his standing in the race, with one top adviser suggesting a tough night would push the Vermont senator to reassess his bid and another vowing to fight "all the way to the convention."

Clinton was already looking past Sanders, barely mentioning him during recent campaign events. Instead, she deepened her attacks on Trump, casting the billionaire businessman as out of touch with Americans.




Obama on why the U.S. won't "destroy North Korea"
 
President Obama is back at the White House after a week in the Middle East and Europe. During his trip, "CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose spoke with the president in Germany for a wide-ranging interview. Mr. Obama had just announced 250 additional American troops will go to Syria to help in the fight against ISIS.

But the president also faces other big challenges in Asia, including North Korea's claims of successful ballistic missile tests and China's military installations on man-made islands in disputed waters of the South China Sea.

"How aggressive do you see the action in the South China Sea? And do you worry that they will cross some line, in which you'll have to respond more aggressively?" Rose asked the president.



Bright flash of light marks incredible moment life begins when speerm meets egg
             A fluorescent flash captures the moment that sperm enzyme enters the egg

Human life begins in bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing ‘fireworks’ on film.

An explosion of tiny sparks erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception.

Scientists had seen the phenomenon occur in other animals but it is the first time is has been also shown to happen in humans.



EMP Alert: 2 N. Korean Satellites now Orbit Over U.S.
'The threat continues to race, hare-like, at an alarming rate'

North Korea now has two satellites orbiting over the United States capable of performing a surprise electromagnetic pulse attack at an altitude and trajectory that evade U.S. National Missile Defenses, a national security expert warned in an interview with Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Peter Vincent Pry told G2 Bulletin that the satellites can be commanded either to deorbit and hit a target on the ground or explode at a high altitude to create an EMP effect that would knock out the unprotected U.S. national electrical grid system and all life-sustaining critical infrastructures that depend on it.

“The threat,” Pry said, “continues to race, hare-like, at an alarming rate, compared to the tortoise pace of our preparations.”



Obama's 97 percent climate change consensus includes 'deniers'
          
The 97 percent of scientists frequently cited by President Obama who agree on climate change? Some of them are actually climate “deniers.”

Take David Legates, University of Delaware professor of climatology. He’s known as a leading “denier” for his skeptical take on the catastrophic climate change narrative, but he does agree that the climate is changing — which, by Mr. Obama’s standard, puts him in the 97 percent.



Former University of Missouri professor; I was fired because I'm white

Melissa Click, the former University of Missouri assistant professor who was fired after she tried to block a student journalist from covering a campus protest, suggested in a recent interview that her public termination was a matter of “racial politics.”

“This is all about racial politics,” she told The Chronicle of Higher Education in an interview published Sunday. “I’m a white lady. I’m an easy target.”



Obama's limited troop deployments pose no threat to Islamic State in Raqqa

President Obama’s decision to send a few hundred special operations forces into Syria is a good step, military analysts say, but the limited deployment underscores his opposition to any significant American ground forces to directly fight the Islamic State.

That prohibition means the Islamic State’s network of safe havens centered around Raqqa, Syria, from where it orchestrates deadly attacks in Europe, will stay in operation indefinitely.

In the near term, adding 250 U.S. troops, mostly special warriors, to the 50 previously inserted in Syria should result in an accelerated process to assemble, train and advise the anti-Islamic State Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition.



AmeriCorps Volunteers Escorted Women to Abortion Clinics


Several AmeriCorps volunteers recently helped young women get abortions, which is a "direct violation" of the federal funding rules that cover the group, The Hill reports.

The volunteers worked as "abortion doulas" in New York City, comforting pregnant women and driving them to clinics, a summary of the report says.

The group self-reported the violations among "a few volunteers" at one of 38 community health centers that works with AmeriCorps' health division, The Hill quoted a statement from the National Association of Community Health Centers.
Latest News Update



Federal Judge Upholds North Carolina Photo ID Mandate

Lawsuits challenging changes to North Carolina's election law failed to show it hampered the ability of minority voters to exercise political power, a federal judge ruled Monday in dismissing the cases.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder ruled against the U.S. Justice Department, the North Carolina NAACP chapter and named voters. They sued alleging the law was passed to discriminate against poor and minority voters in violation of the Constitution and U.S. Voting Rights Act.



One last attempt to derail the Donald

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride to town on Saturday night, and if early polls determined presidents John McCain and Ross Perot would be playing poker with Harry Truman and Chester Alan Arthur in the ex-presidents club. But it’s a rare beggar who owns even a spavined horse and John McCain and Ross Perot never got a key to the Oval Office washroom.

The wise men who think they can wet a finger to the wind in April to determine the winners of November are not wise. Nothing is as fickle as politics, and nobody would tell you that quicker than an experienced politician with a reputable pollster. Polls come with fine print.



The dying dreeam of globalization
Republicans blanch at Trump’s unvarnished talk, and the Democrats pretend it’s the ‘60s

The Republican Party is in trouble, or so goes the conventional wisdom. Certainly, the party is passing through a painful and difficult transition. But in the broad context of history, it’s a necessary transition — from the politics of old reflecting a world that no longer exists to a new brand of politics reflecting the world as it is. One reason this election season is so raucous and unpredictable is that the voters know this transition is necessary but can’t seem to get the attention of the political elites.

But in the broad context of history, the Democratic Party is in far worse shape than the Republicans. Declining even to try addressing the politics of today, it’s stuck in yesterday, where no political party can survive.


                 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.