Wednesday April 27th, 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

Trump declares himself 'presumptive nominee' after Northeast sweep
            Donald Trump waves to supporters after speaking at a primary night event Tuesday in New York. (Associated Press)

Donald Trump steamrolled the GOP field and swept all five Northeast primaries Tuesday night, putting even more distance between himself and his competitors for the party’s presidential nomination as he tries to win enough delegates to avoid a divisive convention fight.

Networks called races in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Connecticut just after polls closed, citing exit polling that showed Mr. Trump with insurmountable leads among primary voters. Networks also called Rhode Island and Delaware for Mr. Trump around 8:30, citing early returns.



Gingrich tells GOP establishment: 'Get over it'

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says that Donald Trump's five big wins Tuesday night mean the only thing left for establishment Republicans to do is to "get over it" and accept that Trump will be the GOP nominee.

"You see the momentum building here," Gingrich said on Fox News Tuesday night. "I think it'd be very, very hard, virtually impossible, to stop him from winning the nomination at this point."



Adm. McRaven decries Senate's meddling with Navy SEALs
Alleges fellow sailor was punished for hostility to whistelblowers
        McRaven

The nation’s former top special operations officer has taken on the leadership of the Senate Armed Services Committee in defense of a fellow Navy SEAL.

Retired Adm. William McRaven, who headed U.S. Special Operations Command, penned a biting op-ed this week in The Tampa Tribune. Though he mentioned no politician by name, his target was clearly Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, Arizona Republican and an ex-Navy fighter pilot, and Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the panel’s top Democrat and a West Point graduate.

They worked in tandem to stop the promotion of Adm. McRaven’s battle mate, Rear Adm. Brian Losey, currently the top SEAL as commander of Naval Special Warfare Command in San Diego.



Obama administration fails to screen Syrian refugees' social media accounts
     Refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq have fled to Europe in search of asylum. President Obama wants the U.S. to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees this fiscal year, but officials are not screening all social media accounts. (Associated Press)

The Obama administration isn’t vetting the social media profiles of all Syrian refugees despite promises made last year after the San Bernardino terrorist attack, which exposed holes in the U.S. immigration screening process.

Concerns over refugee screening spurred Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, on Tuesday to cancel his state’s cooperation with federal authorities trying to resettle Syrians.



White House slams proposal to downsize national security council

The White House hit back Tuesday at a House Republican proposal to limit the size of the White House national security council to gain leverage in disputes with the president over military policy.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the suggestion floated by House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, Texas Republican, is hypocritical. He said Congress “doesn’t seem like they’re at all prepared to pass a budget for our military this year” and has refused for two years to consider an authorization of military force against the Islamic State terrorist group.



Ex-Speaker Hastert to find out if he will face prison

Former speaker Dennis Hastert will learn on Wednesday whether his stunning fall from grace will also include prison time for bank fraud that he committed as part of an effort to cover up an accusation of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy.

Hastert, who was the longest serving GOP speaker in history, pleaded guilty in October to one count of making illegally structured withdrawals to avoid triggering banking laws that would have required his banks to report the transactions.

Prosecutors have asked U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin to sentence Hastert to up to six months in federal prison for the charge.



How 2016 Democratic race compares to 2008

Bernie Sanders insists he will stay in the presidential race, in spite of the odds against him. He wants to stick around long enough to have an impact on the party's platform.

The 2016 Democratic primary race is echoing 2008, when Clinton was the Democrat who wouldn't drop out. Many Clinton supporters at this point eight years ago also said they couldn't image getting behind her opponent, then Senator Barack Obama, and there were real concerns about party unity then, too.

But what happened next created a template Democrats could follow this time, even though there are some roadblocks that didn't exist in 2008, reports CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes.



Brexit Shadow Hides Deeper Cracks in U.K. Economic Firmament

Britain’s vote on its future in the European Union is diverting attention from deeper economic problems.

As the country thrashes about in an identity crisis, risking a schism with its main trading partner, growth is losing momentum and continues to be lop-sided. Services, the engine of the economy’s recovery, expanded at the weakest pace in almost a year in the first quarter, while industrial production extended its decline.

That underscores the fragility of the economy at a time when the Bank of England is warning uncertainty stemming from the June 23 referendum may already be having an effect. Added to that, some of the nation’s biggest companies are in crisis, with two retailing stalwarts appointing administrators in the past week and Tata Steel’s move to sell its U.K. business raising questions about the future of British industry.



FBI Chief Urged to Keep Apple in Dark on How iPhone Was Hacked

FBI officials have recommended against conducting a review to determine whether the vulnerability that was used to hack into a dead terrorist’s iPhone should be disclosed to Apple Inc., according to a person familiar with the matter.

The recommendation has been submitted to FBI Director James Comey for a final decision, after which it will be conveyed to the White House, said the person, who asked not to be identified before Comey acts.



The Mr. Rogers Doctrine
Obama wants Saudi Arabia and Iran to ‘share the neighborhood’

Barack Obama last week visited Saudi Arabia, an unusual nation with which the United States has had a relationship that can be accurately characterized as both strategic and strange — and one that is now severely strained. To understand how we got to this juncture requires at least a smattering of modern history.

It’s polite to say that Ibn Saud, in the first third of the 20th century, united most of the tribes living on the Arabian Peninsula. It’s more accurate to say he defeated those tribes, conquering their lands, along with a source of enormous future wealth that lay under some of them.



Lead, follow or get out of the way
The president shows no intention of defeating the Islamic State

The terror attacks in Paris of just five months ago brought to the fore the following question: Is it going to take the equivalent of the Paris bombings here before President Obama takes decisive action against the Islamic State? After the attacks in Brussels, the question is now more relevant. The president has yet to act decisively against the Islamic State. Why? We know where it is headquartered, we know where the centers of gravity are located that allow its continuance of terror, and we know more can be done to halt the Islamic State’s evil.

There have been some positive actions, but they are undercut by an obsession with avoiding “collateral damage.” A January attack on an Islamic State bank demonstrates the case. The outcome could have been much more effective if the organization’s entire banking enterprise was hit simultaneously. Many lucrative financial sites were targetable — but they were not hit due to unwarranted concerns about the possibility of unintentional civilian casualties. America’s enemies today are exploiting our paralyzing and excessive restraint to spread their terror. What can be done to reverse the tepid U.S. approach currently in place?


                 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.