Wednesday September 10th, 2014

"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
--Geoff Metcalf

Updated 0857 PDT                               
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World & National                 
Obama ready to strike at Islamic State militants in Syria
                   

President Obama is prepared to use U.S. military airstrikes in Syria as part of an expanded campaign to defeat the Islamic State and does not believe he needs formal congressional approval to take that action, according to people who have spoken with the president in recent days.

Obama discussed his plans at a dinner with a bipartisan group of foreign policy experts this week at the White House and made clear his belief that he has the authority to attack the militant Islamist group on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border to protect U.S national security, multiple people who participated in the discussion said. The move to attack in Syria would represent a remarkable escalation in strategy for Obama, who has sought during his presidency to reduce the U.S. military engagement in the Middle East.



Shrink to President: You MUST show strength

Mr. President, I know this consult is uninvited. But, Wednesday you will address the nation about the threat ISIS poses to the world.

You must not let your own psychology interfere with the message you send to our mortal enemies. 

I believe you feel ambivalent about the decency of America.  But if you let that ambivalence be known by ISIS, they will be emboldened.



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Publisher's Summary

Peace. Prosperity. Freedom. After 50 years it ends. In the world of Scyllia darkness is coming. The evil sorcerer Enlokirim has risen from the grave, seeking revenge against those that destroyed him. He searches for the Triangles of Power: nine magical stones that are individually powerful, but even more dangerous together. Amras Oronar, an outcast elf warrior, leads a group of adventurers in hope of stopping Enlokirim. He is joined by Isla Solwen, a vampire hunter and priestess of the dead; Zara Wolf, a barbarian with a mysterious heritage; and Ginerva Page, a witch that knows the history and power of the Triangles. Together they'll face monstrous creatures both living and dead in an effort to save their world... but is that enough?

2010 Michael J Bertolini (P)2014 Michael J Bertolini


Homeland Insecurity: Americans feel less safe than any time since 9/11?

The brutal beheadings of journalists by the terrorist army known as Islamic State has shaken America to its core, with more people saying the United States is less safe now than at any point since 9/11, said a new poll released Wednesday.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 47 percent of Americans believe the country is less safe now than before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York and Washington. That’s more people feeling unsafe than even a year after 9/11 when just 20 percent felt that way.

The fear has prompted more than 60 percent of Americans to back military action against the Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS, which has overrun large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria and declared itself an Islamic caliphate.



'Armed patriots': the private citizens out to secure the U.S. border


With binoculars in hand, an assault rifle slung over his chest and a Glock pistol on his hip, a man named Will scans the banks of the Rio Grande looking for anyone trying to cross from Mexico into Texas.

Will is a member of the Patriots, a group of heavily armed private citizens who use displays of force to intimidate people attempting to cross the border illegally. Since early summer the Patriots have patrolled an area near Brownsville, Texas.




Cameron to head to Scotland as independence campaign gathers steam
                  

Prime Minister David Cameron implored Scots on Tuesday not to vote for independence in next week's referendum after an opinion poll showed a surge in support for a break from the United Kingdom.

Cameron pledged to do all he could to keep the United Kingdom together and said he would head north to Scotland on Wednesday to join the fray.

"In the end, it is for the Scottish people to decide, but I want them to know that the rest of the United Kingdom - and I speak as prime minister - want them to stay."



Russia successfully tests nuclear missile, more planned

Russia carried out a successful test of its new Bulava intercontinental nuclear missile on Wednesday and will perform two more test launches in October and November, the head of its naval forces said.

The armed forces have boosted their military training and test drills since the start of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which Russia considers in its traditional sphere of influence.

The 12-meter long Bulava, or mace, has undergone numerous tests, some successful, and can deliver an impact of up to 100 times the atomic blast that devastated Hiroshima in 1945.



Breitbart News says IRS targeted company for audit

The company that runs the conservative Breitbart.com news site says the IRS has selected the network for an audit, in a move company executives suggest is politically motivated.

Breitbart News Network, a California-based company which runs several conservative websites, says the IRS recently audited its 2012 financial information.

"The Obama administration's timing on this is exquisite, but try as they might through various methods to silence us, we will only get more emboldened,” Stephen K. Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart News Network, said in a written statement.

The audit comes as the agency faces sustained complaints that it targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny as they sought nonprofit status, before the agency ended the practice last year.

Since the practice was made public – by the IRS itself and the inspector general’s office – other conservative groups have come forward claiming they were subjected to unwarranted scrutiny by the agency.



Internet Slowdown Day: Why Your Favorite Sites Have the 'Spinning Wheel of Death'

Internet Slowdown Day is here.

While the Internet itself won't be slowing down, expect to see the dreaded "spinning wheel of death" loading symbol featured prominently on some of your favorite websites, including Netflix, Foursquare, Etsy and more.

The group of websites have banded together into "Team Internet" to protest proposed changes to net neutrality rules, which would allow Internet service providers to charge high traffic websites more or essentially force them to create a "slow lane" for customers.



Roger Goodell under fire for the way the NFL (mis)handled Ray Rice incident

As questions arose about how the NFL investigated domestic violence allegations against Ray Rice, commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday that the league asked for, but was not given, video showing the ex-Ravens running back punching his then-fiancee on an elevator.

Goodell told CBS that “no one in the NFL, to my knowledge” had seen a new video of what happened on the elevator until it was posted online.

“We assumed that there was a video. We asked for video. But we were never granted that opportunity,” Goodell said.



Hundreds in Lynn, MA Tested for Tuberculosis

More than 30 Lynn Community Health Center employees and 800 patients are being tested to determine if they were exposed to tuberculosis after center doctors confirmed a case.

Center Director Lori Berry says after confirming the single positive test for tuberculosis in a male health care worker around Labor Day, center medical workers contacted and tested employees as well as patients ‘‘having sufficient exposure to warrant testing.’’

City Health Director MaryAnn O'Connor tells The Daily Item the identified case at the center is ‘‘not a reason to panic’’ and said people should not stay away from clinic

The Center for Disease Control’s website describes tuberculosis as bacteria ‘‘that usually attack the lungs’’ but can attack other parts of the body, and if not treated properly can be fatal.



Kerry in Iraq: Global Coalition Would Defeat IS

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in Iraq to talk with the country's new government, predicted Wednesday that the international coalition Washington is seeking to build to defeat jihadists in Iraq and Syria would ultimately succeed.

"We all know - I think we come to this with great confidence - that, ultimately, our global coalition will succeed in eliminating the threat from Iraq, from the region and from the world," Kerry said in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Kerry made the comments after meeting earlier with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at the start of a weeklong trip to the Middle East to rally countries to an international alliance for battling the Islamic State militant group.



Philippines plans to give Muslims autonomous zone as part of peacee proposal

The president of the overwhelmingly Catholic Philippines proposed Wednesday to give Muslims in the south the ability to run their own government under their own flag, part of a peace plan aimed at ending a four-decade rebellion that has killed 150,000 people.

The draft law submitted by President Benigno Aquino III to Congress fleshes out a peace deal signed in March by the country's largest Muslim insurgent group, the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front.



Ebola death toll rises to at leaste 2,296 WHO says

A doctor works in a laboratory on collected samples of the Ebola virus at the Centre for Disease Control in Entebbe, about 37 km (23 miles) southwest of Uganda's capital Kampala, August 2, 2012. REUTERS/Edward Echwalu

The death toll from the worst Ebola outbreak in history has jumped by almost 200 in a single day to at least 2,296 and is already likely to be higher than that, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

The WHO said it had recorded 4,293 cases in five West African countries as of Sept. 6, a day after its previous update.

But it still did not have new figures for Liberia, the worst-affected country, suggesting the true toll is already much higher. The WHO has said it expects thousands of new cases in Liberia in the next three weeks.



Why Women Do Not Belong in the U.S. Infantry
Marine infantry isn’t broken, it doesn’t need to be “fixed”
Author: Capt Lauren F. Serrano

While reading the February issue of the Marine Corps Gazette, I skimmed past the “Be Bold” advertisement calling for readers to submit articles that challenge a Marine Corps policy or way of doing business. Immediately a current “hot topic” came to mind, but as usual I quickly discarded it because I have purposely avoided publicly disagreeing with the passionate opinions of many of my female peers and friends. After weeks of contemplation and debate, I am “being bold” and coming clean: I am a female Marine officer and I do not believe women should serve in the infantry.

I recognize that this is a strong statement that will be vehemently challenged by many. I have not come to this opinion lightly and I do not take joy in taking a stance that does not support equal opportunity for all. I have spent countless hours discussing this topic with many civilians and Marines and have discovered that a large number of people agree with the arguments in this article but do not wish to get involved in the public discussion. Interestingly, most of the people who want to incorporate women into infantry are civilians or young, inexperienced Marines.

Most of the more seasoned Marines with whom I have spoken tend to oppose the idea of women in infantry—perhaps this is failure to adapt or perhaps it is experienced-based reasoning. National Public Radio’s recent segment, “Looking for a Few Good (Combat-Ready) Women,” stated, “Col Weinberg admits there’s anecdotal evidence that female Marines, who make up 7 percent of the force, aren’t rushing to serve in ground combat.”1 If the infantry had opened to women while I was still a midshipman or second lieutenant I probably would have jumped at the opportunity because of the novelty, excitement, and challenge; but, to my own disappointment, my views have drastically changd with experience and knowledge. Acknowledging that women are different (not just physically) than men is a hard truth that plays an enormous role in this discussion. This article addresses many issues regarding incorporating women into the infantry that have yet to be discussed in much of the current discourse that has focused primarily on the physical standards.




Get your Patton on!

As President Obama dawdles developing a strategy for dealing with ISIS, a seemingly puzzled and frightened news media endlessly ponders, “What should Obama do?”

Let’s face it; even the most hawkish observers insist upon trumpeting the requisite “No Ground Troops” disclaimer. Our elite media and leadership class have bombarded us so often with the notion that America is too war weary to put up with sending troops to an Arab land that no “national conversation” about it ever ensues.

Instead, the disclaimer routinely asserts that America need only send air power coupled with limited special forces and trainers to oversee foreign ground troops such as the Kurds. Now Secretary of State John Kerry plays Obama “Mini-Me” in drawing a red line against sending ground troops while demanding certain NATO nations develop a plan for him. While Obama has, at last, called for ultimately dismantling and destroying ISIS, he envisions a multi-year process operating from a distance and in reliance upon a yet to be formed coalition of the willing- an “anti-surge.” Is that military strategy or a political transfer of responsibility for failure onto our next president?



A football thug exposes a sordid NFL underbelly

The incident in which Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice savagely beat his fiancee in an elevator has garnered much attention, largely because the savagery was captured on video.

The video evoked a visceral response in almost everyone, present company included. To brutally attack someone you supposedly love with enough force to threaten her life is very abnormal behavior. If the perpetrator is simply punished, but this behavior is not addressed, it is likely to manifest itself again, perhaps with even more serious consequences. Of course, punishment for this heinous act is warranted, but where would any of us be if, after we committed some terrible act, everyone just piled on and no one sought to help us?


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.
CARPENTER, WILLIAM KYLE Photo

CARPENTER, WILLIAM KYLE
Rank: Lance Corporal
U.S. Marine Corps
Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Automatic Rifleman with Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), 1 Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on 21 November 2010. Lance Corporal Carpenter was a member of a platoon-sized coalition force, comprised of two reinforced Marine squads partnered with an Afghan National Army squad. The platoon had established Patrol Base Dakota two days earlier in a small village in the Marjah District in order to disrupt enemy activity and provide security for the local Afghan population. Lance Corporal Carpenter and a fellow Marine were manning a rooftop security position on the perimeter of Patrol Base Dakota when the enemy initiated a daylight attack with hand grenades, one of which landed inside their sandbagged position. Without hesitation, and with complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Carpenter moved toward the grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow Marine from the deadly blast. When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine. By his undaunted courage, bold fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of almost certain death, Lance Corporal Carpenter reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.



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.