Wednesday September 24th 2014

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World & National      

Obama Calls on UN to Dismantle ISIS 'Network of Death'

                Image: Obama Calls on UN to Dismantle ISIS 'Network of Death'

Declaring the world at a crossroads between war and peace, President Barack Obama vowed at the U.N. on Wednesday to lead a coalition to dismantle an Islamic State "network of death" that has wreaked havoc in the Middle East and drawn the U.S. back into military action in the region.

Speaking to the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly, Obama said the U.S. would be a "respectful and constructive partner" in confronting the Islamic State militants through force. But he also implored Middle Eastern nations to take the lead in addressing the conditions that have sparked the rise of extremists and to cut off funding to terror groups.



Semper Latte: Obama causes firestorm by saluting Marines with coffee cup
                         President Obama saluting U.S. Marines while holding a coffee cup. Photo via Instagram

President Obama returned a formal military salute by saluting with a coffee cup he had in his hand as he stepped off his U.S. Marine Corps helicopter in New York on Sunday.

A video of the gesture that some are calling the “latte salute” was uploaded to the White House Instagram account.
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What is the Korasan Group?

Shortly before the United States and its Arab allies launched air strikes on Islamic State (IS) positions across Syria on Tuesday, cruise missiles launched from US warships in the Gulf and Red Sea struck two areas west of the city of Aleppo.

The targets were not leaders of IS, the jihadist group that has declared the creation of a caliphate in the large swathes of Syria and Iraq under its control, but seasoned al-Qaeda operatives who the US says had established a safe haven to plot attacks on the West.

The missiles targeted training camps, a bomb factory, a communication building, and command-and-control facilities belonging to what Washington calls "the Khorasan Group".



Obama Brings Up Ferguson at U.N.?

                       

In his United Nations speech, President Obama will bring up the summer shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.

"I realize that America’s critics will be quick to point out that at times we too have failed to live up to our ideals; that America has plenty of problems within our own borders. This is true," Obama will say, according to prepared text of his address.

"In a summer marked by instability in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, I know the world also took notice of the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri – where a young man was killed, and a community was divided. So yes, we have our own racial and ethnic tensions. And like every country, we continually wrestle with how to reconcile the vast changes wrought by globalization and greater diversity with the traditions that we hold dear."



Liberia warns Ebola may force region back into conflict

Liberia has warned it may slip back to civil war along with neighbouring Sierra Leone if the Ebola epidemic ravaging west Africa is allowed to continue to spread.

Information Minister Lewis Brown said the lack of urgency in the international response risked allowing a breakdown of societies in the region, where the outbreak has claimed almost 3,000 lives.



How the U.S. Screwed Up in the Fight Against Ebola

It was a small victory in a grim, relentless, and runaway catastrophe. In July, Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, both American medical workers in Liberia, became stricken with Ebola hemorrhagic fever after treating dozens suffering from the disease, which has a mortality rate of between 50 percent and 90 percent. They were rushed doses of an experimental cocktail of Ebola antibodies called ZMapp, flown home via a Gulfstream III on separate flights on Aug. 2 and 5, and isolated inside a special tent called an “aeromedical biological containment system.” The U.S. State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) coordinated the flights, operated by Phoenix Air, a private transport company based in Georgia. Cared for in a special ward at Emory University in Atlanta, they recovered within the month and later met with President Obama. It appeared a win for the White House.

Mapp Biopharmaceutical, the San Diego company that developed ZMapp, is also in a way a White House project. It’s supported exclusively through federal grants and contracts that go back to 2005. The antibody mixture hadn’t yet passed its first phase of human clinical trials, but after the two Americans were infected with Ebola, the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency access to ZMapp.



Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Why I can't resign now
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is pictured. | AP Photo
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is pushing back against suggestions that she should soon retire, saying President Barack Obama would be unable to get a justice like her through the Senate.

“Who do you think President Obama could appoint at this very day, given the boundaries that we have?” the 81-year-old justice told Elle Magazine in an interview excerpt released Tuesday. The wide-ranging interview portrays Ginsburg — seen as a member of the court’s liberal wing — as attuned to the dynamics in Congress and some of the greater political and social discussions in the U.S.

In the interview, she suggested that Senate Republicans would likely block any potential nominee like her.



Osama's former chief in Europe, cleared by Joran court
 
A Jordanian court last night acquitted radical cleric Abu Qatada of terrorism charges and immediately freed him, ending more than a decade of legal cases against the firebrand preacher.

Abu Qatada, who was deported from Britain last year, was found not guilty of conspiring to attack tourists in Jordan during millennium celebrations, due to insufficient evidence, officials said.

The 53-year-old, who had pleaded not guilty, broke into tears following the verdict, while members of his family applauded and shouted Allahu Akbar.



Was suspect planning to attack Prime Minister?

The 18-year-old Muslim extremist who was shot dead by police after he stabbed two officers had been researching Prime Minister Tony Abbott's travel plans, it has been reported.

Numen Haider - who was killed outside Endeavour Hills police station in suburban Melbourne on Tuesday evening - was known to police and had been under investigation for his radical views for at least three months.

The ABC reported that Haider had been making inquiries about Mr Abbott's movements, taking particular interest in his plans to travel to Melbourne in coming months.



Obama Using ISIS Campaign for Political Reasons

President Barack Obama based his decision to involve the United States in a campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria for political reasons, economist Jeffrey Sachs told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Obama's insistence to limit U.S. military involvement to airstrikes and advisory roles was against the advice of his military advisors, Sachs explained, adding that the president was concerned about appearing "weak" before the fall elections.



Obama Blurring Policy Lines With Airstrikes in Syria


President Barack Obama is pushing the boundaries of the counterterrorism limitations he's imposed over the past six years by launching massive airstrikes against two terror organizations in Syria, The Washington Post reports.

The wave of bombings targeting the Islamic State (ISIS) is blurring the lines drawn up by military authorization legislation passed after the 9/11 attacks, aimed at preventing al-Qaida and its "associates" carrying out atrocities against the United States.

The terror group broke away from al-Qaida some three years ago and there are no known attacks in the pipeline planned against America by ISIS, according to the newspaper.



Conservativdes Secretely Conspire to OUst Boehner

Several pockets of conservative lawmakers are plotting against House Speaker John Boehner, hoping to prevent the 64-year-old from claiming a third term at the helm of the party.

According to The Hill, frustration with Boehner's leadership style is prompting pockets of his colleagues to discuss ways to find a replacement.

"In tough times, it doesn't mean you play timid, it means to play bold, and I don't see that. And you know what? Time's up," Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar told The Hill, insisting he would vote against Boehner.



Democrats' bad poll numbers getting worse

A rout may be gathering in the November elections

A game-changing revolution is brewing across the nation’s political landscape, though it’s getting little serious attention in the liberal news media right now.

A growing pile of voter-preference polls now show that the Republicans are on the brink of taking control of the Senate and strengthening their hold on the House in what is shaping up to be a complete repudiation of the Democrats and Barack Obama’s failed presidency.



Who wants war?

Obama leads those who say that war is optional

Some pundits are saying that President Obama has been floundering in his response to the ISIS crisis because public opinion polls show most Americans don’t want another war.

I cannot recall a time when most Americans wanted war. That is something we should be proud of. But wars are not always optional.

Even World War II — which some have called “the good war” — was not something that most Americans wanted. But the Japanese took that decision out of our hands when they bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. And Hitler removed any possible doubt when he declared war on us shortly afterward, making sure that we were in the war all over the world.

No one has promoted the dangerous notion that war is optional more than Mr. Obama. He declared peace in Iraq when he pulled American troops out, and he declared victory over al Qaeda because his administration had killed bin Laden (with an assist from the Navy SEALs). But all this make-believe has come back to haunt him, as make-believe often does.



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.

PETRY, LEROY A. Photo

PETRY, LEROY A.

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Organization: U.S. Army
Company: Company D
Division: 2d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
Place / Date: 26 May 2008, Paktya Province, Afghanistan

Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Staff Sergeant Leroy A. Petry distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy in the vicinity of Paktya Province, Afghanistan, on May 26, 2008. As a Weapons Squad Leader with D Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Staff Sergeant Petry moved to clear the courtyard of a house that potentially contained high-value combatants. While crossing the courtyard, Staff Sergeant Petry and another Ranger were engaged and wounded by automatic weapons fire from enemy fighters. Still under enemy fire, and wounded in both legs, Staff Sergeant Petry led the other Ranger to cover. He then reported the situation and engaged the enemy with a hand grenade, providing suppression as another Ranger moved to his position. The enemy quickly responded by maneuvering closer and throwing grenades. The first grenade explosion knocked his two fellow Rangers to the ground and wounded both with shrapnel. A second grenade then landed only a few feet away from them. Instantly realizing the danger, Staff Sergeant Petry, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his safety, deliberately and selflessly moved forward, picked up the grenade, and in an effort to clear the immediate threat, threw the grenade away from his fellow Rangers. As he was releasing the grenade it detonated, amputating his right hand at the wrist and further injuring him with multiple shrapnel wounds. Although picking up and throwing the live grenade grievously wounded Staff Sergeant Petry, his gallant act undeniably saved his fellow Rangers from being severely wounded or killed. Despite the severity of his wounds, Staff Sergeant Petry continued to maintain the presence of mind to place a tourniquet on his right wrist before communicating the situation by radio in order to coordinate support for himself and his fellow wounded Rangers. Staff Sergeant Petry's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service, and reflect great credit upon himself, 75th Ranger Regiment, 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.