Wednesday February 3rd, 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

Petulant Trump: 'Ted Cruz didn't win Iowa, he stole it'
              
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speak with a members of the media Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Donald Trump said Ted Cruz “stole” his win in the Iowa caucus after the Texas senator’s staff spread rumors that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race with the hopes of garnering the retired neurosurgeon’s votes — and as a result, Mr. Cruz’s votes should be “nullified”

“Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Wednesday.




Zika mosquitoes' habits may foil US elimination efforts

               

Health experts are bracing for Zika virus to spread to the United States by April or May, borne by a mosquito that craves human blood, feeds during the day and lives under beds and inside closets.

Until now, the best weapon against disease-carrying mosquitoes in the United States has been outdoor pesticide fog sprayed by truck and airplane. But health experts fear the typical approach will do little to eradicate the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries Zika.



Japan oreders SDF to shoot down North Korean missile
                  

Japan on Wednesday condemned Pyongyang’s plan to launch a space rocket, calling it a thinly disguised test of a long-distance ballistic missile.

The government ordered Aegis ballistic missile defense warships of the Maritime Self-Defense Force and land-based Patriot PAC-3 rocket units to respond should projections show components falling in Japanese territory.

“This will effectively mean the firing of a ballistic missile. It would be a clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and a grave, provocative act against the security of our country,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a Lower House session Wednesday.



White House veto threats keep on coming

The White House has issued two more veto threats against Republican-sponsored bills, picking up the pace of confrontation with GOP leaders.

The Office of Management and Budget said Tuesday that President Obama would likely veto House measures pertaining to oversight of capital markets and the tightening of banking regulations.



In big shift since 2008, red states now outnumber blue states in U.S.

For the first time in eight years, there are more “red” states than “blue” states in the country, according to new analysis of political party affiliations in the U.S. from Gallup.

In 2015, there were 20 states that were solidly Republican or leaned Republican, compared to 14 that were solidly Democratic or leaned Democratic, with 16 “competitive” states, according to the analysis released Wednesday.



Putin's forces refuse to attack Islamic State in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces are not attacking the Islamic State in Syrian unless the terror army is battling troops of President Bashar Assad, the U.S. said on Wednesday.

The assessment from Operation Inherent Resolve directly contradicts Moscow, which repeatedly claims its war planes are unleashing strikes on the Islamic State, headquartered in Raqqa in central Syria.



D.C. to pay residents a stipend for not committing crimes
D.C. Council gives preliminary approval

The D.C. Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to an anti-crime bill that includes a provision that would pay residents who might commit or become the victims of violent crime to stay out of trouble.

The provision is part of a comprehensive crime bill introduced by Council member Kenyan McDuffie called the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Amendment Act (NEAR), which already has won kudos from the Black Lives Matter movement because it “treats and responds to violence in our community as a public health issue, integrates new approaches to prevent crime and improves law enforcement training and data collection.”




Obama rebuts anti-Muslim rhetoric in first US mosque visit

Seeking to rebut what he views as perilous election-year bombast about Muslims, President Barack Obama is at a mosque in Baltimore on Wednesday, his first visit to such a site in the United States.

"Muslim Americans keep up safe," Obama told the audience, crediting the contributions Muslims have made to communities. "They are our police. They are our fire fighters. They're in (the Department of) Homeland Security."




UN halts Syria talks as government closes in on Aleppo

A United Nations envoy halted his attempts to launch Syrian peace talks on Wednesday after the army, backed by Russian air strikes, made a major advance against rebel forces north of Aleppo, choking opposition supply lines from Turkey to the city.

In what rebels called a punishing assault, the government forces ended a three and a half year siege of the Shi’ite towns of Nubul and al-Zahraa, a key step in a wider campaign to recapture all of Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city before the war.

The government's territorial breakthrough came after hundreds of bombing raids by Russian warplanes. The U.N. said it had been told hundreds of families had been uprooted following "an unprecedented frequency of air strikes in the past two days". Three aid workers were among the dead.



The Islamist wears Dolce & Gabbanna
Haute couture headscarves won’t counter violent extremism

In the “culture” section of the venerable Atlantic magazine last month, there was a news item I wouldn’t want you to miss: “The Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana has just launched a line of hijabs (headscarves) and abayas (cloaks) in the label’s signature playful, theatrical aesthetic.”

The article’s author, “fashion historian” Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, goes on to wax enthusiastic about how these “pieces” are being “accessorized,” including with “oversized sunglasses, cocktail rings, stilettos, and statement bags.” She saves for the last paragraph, her analysis of the deep meaning of these stylistic innovations:



Obama's searech for a 'safe' gun?
Soldiers on the battlefield are more interested in a weapon that works

Just after the Battle of Gettysburg, Christopher Spenser, inventor of a revolutionary repeating rifle, escorted Abraham Lincoln out to the East Lawn of the White House to do a bit of target shooting. Lincoln was so impressed that he ordered Gen. James Ripley, the Army’s chief of ordnance, to purchase tens of thousands of Spenser’s repeaters at once and issue them to soldiers. Sadly, Ripley disobeyed Lincoln and continued to equip Union Soldiers with a single-shot rifle that had to be loaded from the muzzle, using a ramrod. Some historians postulate that had the Union possessed repeating rifled arms after Gettysburg, perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides might have been saved.

A half-century later, Theodore Roosevelt returned from the Spanish American War furious that his Spanish enemy possessed a superior rifle. After his election he took personal charge of the Army’s effort to produce a first-class rifle. He became so engaged in the new Springfield rifle’s development that he fired it often and obsessed over every detail. One of his most notable memos even criticized the weapon’s bayonet, protesting that “it broke off as soon as it hit it would have no moral effect and mighty little physical effect.” Needless to say, the Army changed the rifle’s bayonet design immediately. The Springfield was such a superior weapon that the military kept it in action as late as the Korean War.


                 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.