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TODAY
Friday July 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     

Greek banks runnning out of cash

The daily allowance of cash from many ATM machines has already dropped from €60 to €50, purportedly because €20 notes are running out
        A man walks past a graffitti with a EU flag reading in German    

Greece is sliding into a full-blown national crisis as the final cash reserves of the banking system evaporate by the hour and swathes of industry start to shut down, precipitating the near disintegration of the ruling coalition.

Business leaders have been locked in talks with the Bank of Greece, pleading for the immediate release of emergency liquidity funds (ELA) to cover food imports and pharmaceutical goods before the tourist sector hits a brick wall.

Officials say the central bank will release the funds as soon as Friday, but this is a stop-gap measure at best. "We are on a war footing in this country," said Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister.



Oregon launches program to tax drivers by the mile

Oregon launches program to tax drivers per mile

David Hastings is a rare American. This long-time hybrid car owner from Oregon wants to pay higher taxes for roads and bridges and says the current 30 cents per gallon state gas tax barely affects him.

"I've been free-loading on the highways for 20 years driving electric cars or hybrid cars, getting at least 40 miles to the gallon. So I haven't been paying my share," Hastings said.

Now, Hastings will pay more thanks to OReGO -- the first pay-by-the-mile program in the U.S.



Bernie Sander's Revolutionary Roots Were Nurtured in '60s Vermont

                

When he came to Vermont in the late 1960s to help plan the upending of the old social order, the future presidential candidate Bernie Sanders brought with him the belief that the United States was starkly divided into two groups: the establishment and the revolutionaries. He was a revolutionary.

“The Revolution Is Life Versus Death,” in fact, was the title of an article he wrote for The Vermont Freeman, an alternative, authority-challenging newspaper published for a few years back then. The piece began with an apocalyptically alarmist account of the unbearable horror of having an office job in New York City, of being among “the mass of hot dazed humanity heading uptown for the 9-5,” sentenced to endless days of “moron work, monotonous work.”



Federal. State Authorities Enhance Security Measures to Avoid 4th of July Terror


Federal and state law enforcement entities are enhancing security measures and taking action to prevent terrorist attacks on Fourth of July.

As of the time this report was submitted for publication, there was no specific, credible intelligence to indicate any possible attacks on celebrations and events over the July 4th weekend, Breitbart News learned from a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official.

“There is no specific, credible intelligence to indicate any threats against celebrations over the 4th of July weekend,” said the official. “However, we have seen repeatedly calls for violence over the past year by leadership and supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) against members of the military and military installations, law enforcement, the U.S. government, and the American public. These threats are always taken seriously and we continue to work with state and local law enforcement to ensure their safety.”



Support Grows for States to Ignore the Federal Courts


Following last week’s controversial U.S. Supreme Court rulings on Obamacare and gay marriage, voters believe more strongly that individual states should have the right to turn their backs on the federal courts.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 33% of Likely U.S. Voters now believe that states should have the right to ignore federal court rulings if their elected officials agree with them. That’s up nine points from 24% when we first asked this question in February.  Just over half (52%) disagree, down from 58% in the earlier survey. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)



California vaccine bill battle erupts into alll-out political war

Democrats push ahead as immunization mandates awaken ‘sleeping giant’
              Protesters against a measure requiring California schoolchildren to get vaccinated rally at the Capitol in Sacramento on April 8. (Associated Press)

Those people clad in white keeping silent vigil in front of the California state Capitol have a message for Democratic legislators: The thousands who opposed the stricter vaccination mandates signed into law Tuesday aren’t backing down.

As it turns out, however, neither are those Democratic legislators.

In spite of the outcry over Senate Bill 277, which eliminates the personal belief exemption for childhood vaccines, the Democrat-controlled Legislature followed up this week by advancing two more bills expanding immunization requirements, including one aimed at child care workers.



Russia fosters Armenian dependency with $200M weapons loan

The Russian government has agreed to loan $200 million to Armenia as part of a deal that will see the former Soviet Republic buy sophisticated weapons from Moscow at a discount, according to a report on Friday.

Armenia already hosts a Russian military base and the nation’s deputy defense minister, Ara Zazaryan, reportedly told a parliamentary session in the capital of Yerevan that Moscow will provide the money to purchase modern Russian weapons through 2017.

But, according to Agence France-Presse, which first reported on the development Friday, the arms deal has prompted criticism from some in the parliament who claim that the Kremlin is trying to pull Yerevan into an arms race with foe Azerbaijan.



Chicago imposes 'cloud tax'

Officials aim to collect $12M from digital services

Chicago officials have found a way to tax “the cloud.”

Digital media companies and Chicagoans will now be slapped with a 9 percent “cloud tax” on streaming services, the Chicago Sun Times reported Wednesday.

City officials aim to generate $12 million from the new tax. Collections will begin Sept. 1.

“In an environment in which technologies and emerging industries evolve quickly, the city periodically issues rulings that clarify the application of existing laws to these technologies and industries,” mayoral spokeswoman Elizabeth Langsdorf said in a statement, the newspaper reported.



Trump's comments spark poll surge, put 2016 Republican hopefuls on the spot

Despite the backlash from Donald Trump’s comments about Mexicans — and in some cases because of it — the brash real estate mogul’s political star has been on the rise.

Ken Crow, an Iowa tea party activist, says Donald Trump’s comments about Mexicans may have been too blunt for some, but that is exactly why the billionaire real estate mogul and reality star is picking up, not losing, support in polls.

Mr. Crow said people agree that the nation must confront the immigration issue by first securing the border and then dealing with the millions of people living in the U.S. illegally.

“America is looking for John Wayne, and Donald Trump is proving to be John Wayne,” Mr. Crow said. “America is sick and tired of political correctness, and they are sick and tired of media bias destroying candidates.”



American Exceptionalism on Independence Day


It was 239 years ago this week that 56 men pledged "their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor" for the freedom of a new nation, signing a document that might have been their death sentence, the Declaration of Independence.

Their act of courage, like that of the patriots at Concord a year earlier, reverberated around the world. Their words did, too, expressing the cause of the Revolution (and of many revolutions to follow) with a clarity that no one has ever matched.



Hillary Treads Lightly on Iran Deal With Jewish Donors


Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is walking a tightrope with wealthy Jewish donors when it comes to her stand on an Iranian nuclear deal as she positions herself as a better friend to Israel than President Barack Obama has been, Politico reports.

Clinton’s political expertise has confounded liberal and conservative Jewish donors alike, who have met with the former secretary privately and walked away with "sometimes widely varying interpretations about whether she would support a prospective deal," more than 10 "influential donors and fundraising operatives" disclosed to the website.



Obama's Concessions hand Iran the Bomb


The devil is not in the details. It's in the entire conception of the Iran deal, animated by President Obama's fantastical belief that he, uniquely, could achieve detente with a fanatical Islamist regime whose foundational purpose is to cleanse the Middle East of the poisonous corruption of American power and influence.

In pursuit of his desire to make the Islamic Republic into an accepted, normalized "successful regional power," Obama decided to take over the nuclear negotiations. At the time, Tehran was reeling — the rial plunging, inflation skyrocketing, the economy contracting — under a regime of international sanctions painstakingly constructed over a decade.

Then, instead of welcoming Congress' attempt to tighten sanctions to increase the pressure on the mullahs, Obama began the negotiations by loosening sanctions, injecting billions into the Iranian economy (which began growing again in 2014) and conceding in advance an Iranian right to enrich uranium.



The surging truth-tellers of the GOP

Donald Trump is surging in New Hampshire, and Chris Christie’s back on the hunt, sounding like a born-again contender. They’re both long shots — the Donald is off the board — but they’re making the kind of noise the wiseheads say they can’t make.

Bernie Sanders is the October surprise for Hillary, drawing the crowds of autumn a year early, and all the Queen of Avarice is collecting now is the stuff you get on your shoes on a stroll through the barnyard. It’s not a race, not yet, and the Gestapo, some of them decked out in the Nazi regalia available on Amazon, is still out searching for stragglers with a verboten crucifix or an offensive Confederate flag. The president decorates the White House as if it were a billboard, offending millions, and the Gestapo joins the applause.



A declaration of energy independence


The United States is closer than ever before to fulfilling the vision of our Founding Fathers. By achieving energy independence, we can achieve freedom from foreign influence.

Yet on the basis of alarmist and groundless claims, the Obama administration is balking on two key elements of this new energy security: hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — and offshore drilling on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf.

By doing so, the administration is proving itself unworthy of the legacy and pioneering spirit of our nation.



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.


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