Wednesday October 29th 2014

"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     

Joint Chiefs Favor 21-Day Quarantine for Troops in Ebola Countries
                       

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is expected to accept a recommendation by Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to quarantine for 21 days all U.S. troops returning from Ebola-stricken countries, The New York Times reported.

An unofficial "controlled monitoring" period of 21 days for soldiers returning from Liberia is already in place on the orders of Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff.

President Barack Obama said that it was "sensible, based in science" for the civilian medical workers not to face quarantines so that volunteers would not be discouraged from heading to Africa. "They are doing God's work," Obama said Tuesday, the Times reported.



State Department plans to bring foreign WEbola patients to U.S.?
                   A hazmat worker looks up while finishing up cleaning outside an apartment building of a hospital worker, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Dallas. The Texas health care worker, who was in full protective gear when they provided hospital care for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who later died, has tested positive for the virus and is in stable condition, health officials said Sunday. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

The State Department has quietly made plans to bring Ebola-infected doctors and medical aides to the U.S. for treatment, according to an internal department document that argued the only way to get other countries to send medical teams to West Africa is to promise that the U.S. will be the world’s medical backstop.

Some countries “are implicitly or explicitly waiting for medevac assurances” before they will agree to send their own medical teams to join U.S. and U.N. aid workers on the ground, the State Department argues in the undated four-page memo, which was reviewed by The Washington Times.
Document revealed...
Australia becomes first developed nation to shut borders...
CONFUSION: Obama assails quarantines...
Jeb: 'Incompetent'...
LAWYER: Maine Nurse Refusing To Observe Quarantine Order...
Residents panic...
COPS: NYC Ebola doc lied about movements...
Father sues for discrimination after Ebola fears keep daughter from school...
Hagel considers isolation for ALL TROOPS deployed to W Africa...
Earnestly...


Obama White House bothered, bewildered and on the ropes
                      

The days dwindle down to a precious few, and the White House continues to be bewitched, bothered and bewildered. The gang that can’t shoot straight keeps banging away. A lot of feet at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. are riddled with holes.

The Republicans demonstrated remarkable discipline in this campaign, committing few mistakes and this time saying a minimum of silly and destructive things, standing aside while Barack Obama and his befuddled legion make their incompetence a centerpiece of the campaign. The Republicans have finally taken to heart the ancient wisdom that when your opponent is shooting himself, be kind, considerate and helpful. Stay out of his way.



NASA: No danger to space steation after supply rocket blows up


An Orbital Sciences Corp. Antares rocket making only its fifth flight exploded seconds after launch from the Virginia coast Tuesday, erupting in a spectacular fireball and destroying an uncrewed Cygnus cargo ship in a disheartening failure for NASA's commercial space station resupply program.

The mishap occurred about 15 seconds after liftoff from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility as the 139-foot-tall two-stage rocket climbed away on the power of its two Russian-built first-stage engines.




Shocking Harvard poll: Millennial voters want GOP in charge, abandon Obama

Harvard University on Wednesday provided new proof that the Democrats are going to be broadsided in Tuesday’s national elections as millennial voters, in a shocking shift, now prefer a Republican-controlled Congress and give President Obama his second lowest grade ever.

A new and massive poll of 2,029 18- to 29-year-olds from Harvard’s Institute of Politics just released found that of those who say they will “definitely be voting,” 51 percent want the GOP in charge, 47 percent favoring Democratic control.

Because the numbers are close, however, Harvard said the kid vote is “up for grabs.”



Joe Biden, Top Obama Officials Get Cheap Family Vacations at Federal Log Cabin

Vice President Joe Biden, his wife and 11 other family members spent four nights on vacation this August at a lakeside log cabin overlooking the snowcapped peaks of Mount Moran in Grand Teton National Park.

The four-bedroom Brinkerhoff Lodge, where they stayed, is owned and operated by the National Park Service. Under a policy adopted in 1992, after controversy over VIPs using the cabin for vacations, the National Park Service banned purely recreational activities by federal employees at the property, restricting its use to “official purposes.” But in recent years, the park service has interpreted that same rule so broadly as to again allow senior officials to take cheap vacations in Grand Teton with friends and family.

While visiting the park, Biden held no events, kept no public schedule, and his staff initially declined to answer a reporter’s question about where he spent the night. Last week, after TIME uncovered documents confirming his stay at the lodge, Biden’s office said the Vice President planned to personally reimburse the park $1,200 for “renting the Brinkerhoff” for his family’s vacation.



Nurse in Ebola Quarantine Flap Says She Won't Obey Maine's Isolation Rules
Kaci Hickox Says She Will Go to Court if Restrictions Aren’t Removed by Thursday

The Maine nurse who traveled to West Africa to care for Ebola patients said Wednesday that she won’t self-quarantine for 21 days, setting up a possible legal battle with Maine, which asserted Tuesday that it has the right to impose quarantines on residents potentially exposed to the virus.

Speaking on “Good Morning America” from Maine, 33-year-old Kaci Hickox said, “If these restrictions are not removed for me by tomorrow morning, Thursday morning, I will go to court.”

She said she remains “really concerned by these mandatory quarantine policies for aid workers.”



Yellen's Declaration Of Non-Independence

For as long as I can remember, every Federal Reserve chairman, of either party, has fought vigorously to defend the Fed’s independence from the political arms of government.

And for good reason. The president and legislators face elections every two to six years, and have trouble thinking beyond the next campaign. But since the United States is a going concern that expects to stay open for business indefinitely, we want our central bank to maximize our economic performance over the long term, with the lightest possible demands for short-term results.

Congress has set out these short-term demands very explicitly: The Fed has a dual mandate, enshrined in American law, to try to achieve full employment while maintaining price stability. In contrast, take for example the mandate of Germany’s central bank, which is essentially only to maintain price stability – a policy it has tried to export to the European Central Bank ever since joining the eurozone.

The deal is pretty simple. The Fed’s job is to create the biggest possible pie. Elected officials get to decide how the pie should be distributed and consumed.

Yet Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s recent speech, “Perspectives on Inequality and Opportunity From the Survey of Consumer Finances,” betrayed a lack of appreciation for this straightforward division of labor and the sensible policies behind it.




Assessing Common Core
The education leviathan is bad for everyone

Common Core is bad for students, and it’s bad for teachers, parents and state and local autonomy. It is a federal intrusion and all-encompassing leviathan that legally should not be allowed to stand, let alone wrap its tentacles around students from kindergarten until they graduate from high school and head to college.

There is no evidence national standards increase student achievement. Even if there were, we should not be using these particular standards. The Common Core State Standards are academically mediocre at best, according to professors, curriculum experts, child psychologists and many teachers. That is especially true for the younger grades — specifically, K-3 — where a mountain of information will be hammered into these young students even though there is evidence such practices do not lead to academic gains that last as students get older.



Obama's phony foreign-aid reform
The president boosts aid spending rather than fixing its flaws

Four years ago, President Obama promised in a United Nations speech to “change the way we do business” with foreign aid and “seek partners who want to build their own capacity to provide for their people.” A year earlier, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton complained that “a lot of these aid programs don’t work” and lamented their “heartbreaking” record of failure. However, Mr. Obama, like numerous prior presidents, is more devoted to boosting aid spending than to fixing its flaws.

The Agency for International Development (AID), the largest foreign-aid bureaucracy, was caught last week massively suppressing audit reports revealing waste, fraud and abuse. More than 400 negative findings were deleted from a sample of 12 draft audit reports, The Washington Post reported. In one case, more than 90 percent of the negative findings were expunged before the report was publicly released. Acting Inspector General Michael Carroll buried the embarrassing audit findings because he “did not want to create controversy as he awaited Senate confirmation to become the permanent inspector general,” according to some AID auditors.



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.


BENAVIDEZ, ROY P.
Rank: Master Sergeant
Organization: U.S. Army
Company: Detachment B-56
Division: 5th Special Forces Group


 
BENAVIDEZ, ROY P.
 
Citation

Master Sergeant (then Staff Sergeant) Roy P. Benavidez United States Army, who distinguished himself by a series of daring and extremely valorous actions on 2 May 1968 while assigned to Detachment B56, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, Republic of Vietnam. On the morning of 2 May 1968, a 12-man Special Forces Reconnaissance Team was inserted by helicopters in a dense jungle area west of Loc Ninh, Vietnam to gather intelligence information about confirmed large-scale enemy activity. This area was controlled and routinely patrolled by the North Vietnamese Army. After a short period of time on the ground, the team met heavy enemy resistance, and requested emergency extraction. Three helicopters attempted extraction, but were unable to land due to intense enemy small arms and anti-aircraft fire. Sergeant Benavidez was at the Forward Operating Base in Loc Ninh monitoring the operation by radio when these helicopters returned to off-load wounded crewmembers and to assess aircraft damage. Sergeant Benavidez voluntarily boarded a returning aircraft to assist in another extraction attempt. Realizing that all the team members were either dead or wounded and unable to move to the pickup zone, he directed the aircraft to a nearby clearing where he jumped from the hovering helicopter, and ran approximately 75 meters under withering small arms fire to the crippled team. Prior to reaching the team's position he was wounded in his right leg, face, and head. Despite these painful injuries, he took charge, repositioning the team members and directing their fire to facilitate the landing of an extraction aircraft, and the loading of wounded and dead team members. He then threw smoke canisters to direct the aircraft to the team's position. Despite his severe wounds and under intense enemy fire, he carried and dragged half of the wounded team members to the awaiting aircraft. He then provided protective fire by running alongside the aircraft as it moved to pick up the remaining team members. As the enemy's fire intensified, he hurried to recover the body and classified documents on the dead team leader. When he reached the leader's body, Sergeant Benavidez was severely wounded by small arms fire in the abdomen and grenade fragments in his back. At nearly the same moment, the aircraft pilot was mortally wounded, and his helicopter crashed. Although in extremely critical condition due to his multiple wounds, Sergeant Benavidez secured the classified documents and made his way back to the wreckage, where he aided the wounded out of the overturned aircraft, and gathered the stunned survivors into a defensive perimeter. Under increasing enemy automatic weapons and grenade fire, he moved around the perimeter distributing water and ammunition to his weary men, reinstilling in them a will to live and fight. Facing a buildup of enemy opposition with a beleaguered team, Sergeant Benavidez mustered his strength, began calling in tactical air strikes and directed the fire from supporting gunships to suppress the enemy's fire and so permit another extraction attempt. He was wounded again in his thigh by small arms fire while administering first aid to a wounded team member just before another extraction helicopter was able to land. His indomitable spirit kept him going as he began to ferry his comrades to the craft. On his second trip with the wounded, he was clubbed from additional wounds to his head and arms before killing his adversary. He then continued under devastating fire to carry the wounded to the helicopter. Upon reaching the aircraft, he spotted and killed two enemy soldiers who were rushing the craft from an angle that prevented the aircraft door gunner from firing upon them. With little strength remaining, he made one last trip to the perimeter to ensure that all classified material had been collected or destroyed, and to bring in the remaining wounded. Only then, in extremely serious condition from numerous wounds and loss of blood, did he allow himself to be pulled into the extraction aircraft. Sergeant Benavidez' gallant choice to join voluntarily his comrades who were in critical straits, to expose himself constantly to withering enemy fire, and his refusal to be stopped despite numerous severe wounds, saved the lives of at least eight men. His fearless personal leadership, tenacious devotion to duty, and extremely valorous actions in the face of overwhelming odds were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflect the utmost credit on him 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.