Friday July 25th, 2014
"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
Updated 1352 PST
World & National
Gallup has Obama Job Approval at 39%
Gallup tracks daily the percentage of Americans who approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as president. Daily results are based on telephone interviews with approximately 1,500 national adults; Margin of error is ±3 percentage points.
Israel 'unanimously rejects Kerry ceasefire proposal'
The Times of Israel is liveblogging events as they unfold through Friday, the 18th day of Operation Protective Edge. Israel’s government and Hamas officials were considering a ceasefire offer advanced by US Secretary of State John Kerry. West Bank violence continued to escalate, with five Palestinians reported killed in riots. With the Gaza death toll said to pass 700, Israeli military sources said several hundred Hamas gunmen had been killed. The IDF death toll is 35. IDF-Hamas fighting in Gaza remains intensive, and rockets are still being fired into Israel, but foreign airlines are returning to Ben-Gurion airport. (Thursday’s Live Blog HERE).
REPORT: Hamas Morale Collapsing...
States are trying to circumvent federal nutrition standards that would limit sugary foods at school fundraisers.
Barely a month after federal regulations for school cafeterias kicked in, states are already pushing back.
Specifically, they're fighting nutrition standards that would considerably alter one of the most sacred rituals of the American public school system: bake sales.
Twelve states have established their own policies to circumvent regulations in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that apply to "competitive snacks," or any foods and beverages sold to students on school grounds that are not part of the Agriculture Department's school meal programs, according to the National Association of State Boards of Education. Competitive snacks appear in vending machines, school stores, and food and beverages, including items sold at bake sales.
Simas Ignores Subpoena Again as White House Defies Issa
Top White House political adviser David Simas refused again Friday to honor a congressional subpoena, prompting Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to vote to rebuke the administration.
The Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted 19-14 to reject the White House’s claim that Simas has absolute immunity from a subpoena from Congress.
Republicans said they were standing up for the principle that no one is above the law, and Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa quoted a long list of Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, who have backed Congress’ right to subpoena top administration officials.
NATO, Pentagon: Russia Has 15K Troops at Ukraine Border, Moving Heavy Artillery
Russia has now amassed around 15,000 troops along the border with Ukraine, the U.S. ambassador to NATO said on Friday, and the Pentagon warned that movement of Russian heavy caliber artillery systems across the border into Ukraine is "imminent."
The Pentagon went further, suggesting Russia is escalating the military action there. U.S. Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute offered the troop estimate during a security forum in Colorado, saying there were "now up again over about 15,000 Russian troops amassed along the border with Ukraine."
Homeowners Association: Veteran Can't Build Furniture For Military Families in Need
A war veteran who builds furniture in his garage and gives it to military families in need could be forced to shut down the saws.
A homeowners association is telling Dennis Kocher he needs to close up shop after years of doing business, or he could be fined between $100 and $1,000.
The new mandate cuts deep, as he’s been building cabinets and dressers for a decade, donating most to military families.
Dempsey Compares Putin's Ukraine Move to Salin's Invasion of Poland
Today the U.S. government claimed the Russian military is firing artillery into Ukraine and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs said it reminds him of Russia’s invasion of Poland in 1939.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s new use of Russian military force inside Ukraine harkens back to 1939 when Joseph Stalin led a Russian invasion of Poland, and Dempsey predicted Putin was far from finished.
Dempsey was speaking to the Aspen Security Forum and responding to the news that the U.S. government is accusing the Russian military of firing artillery from Russian territory into eastern Ukraine in support of separatists there. The latest development represents a dangerous escalation of the crisis on the part of Putin, and the Russia-Ukraine crisis is now a global problem, he said.
Armed Doctor Saves Lives
The patient who opened fire on a caseworker and psychiatrist in a small office at a unit of Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Delaware County would likely have shot more people if the doctor hadn't shot him, a prosecutor said Friday.
Richard Plotts, 49, of Upper Darby Township, was carrying a loaded revolver and 39 more bullets when he arrived for the meeting at the medical center campus Thursday, authorities said. Plotts allegedly got off enough shots to kill the caseworker, Theresa Hunt, and wound psychiatrist Lee Silverman before Silverman drew his own weapon and shot Plotts three times.
But "if Dr. Silverman did not have the firearm, and did not utilize the firearm, he'd be dead today," Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said said. "And other people would be dead today."
Obama to Urge Central Americans Leaders to Slow Wave of Migrants
President Obama will urge the presidents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to do everything they can to stem the flow of migrant children toward the United States when he meets with them on Friday at the White House, officials said.
The president called the meeting with Presidents Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras, Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala and Salvador Sánchez Cerén of El Salvador to emphasize the importance of striking at the root causes of what he has called a humanitarian crisis on the border between Mexico and the United States. Aides said Mr. Obama would press them to do more to convince their citizens not to make the dangerous journey to America.
Study Finds Delays for VA Mental Health Care, High Suicide Risk
More than two-thirds of veterans who needed mental health care at a Veterans Administration clinic suffered long delays getting appointments, according to Stars and Stripes, citing a study by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
The IAVA survey of young veterans, mainly from the Army or Marine Corps, also revealed that almost 50 percent of veterans know at least one veteran who has tried to kill himself.
The 2,000 veterans who replied to the survey said that suicide and mental health are the biggest issues facing soldiers who took part in the Iraq and Afghan wars after the 9/11 attacks.
Winging it in the Middle East
Obama’s senseless flight ban punished an ally and no one else
This week, a terrorist group tried to shut down Israel’s airport, and couldn’t. So President Obama stepped in and did it for them.
I’m speaking, of course, of the Federal Aviation Administration’s ban on flights to Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, ostensibly after a Hamas rocket crashed about a mile away. The initial ban was on Tuesday for 24 hours, after which the FAA extended it for another day.
All that came to an end late Wednesday when the FAA announced it was suddenly lifting the ban saying, according to The New York Times, that it was “satisfied with the security precautions Israel had taken to assure flight safety at the airport.”
President doesn’t enforce gun laws he has, but wants more
His triumph in 2012 gave President Obama the flexibility he wanted to begin an all-out push for gun control. He thought the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School would give him the momentum he needed to marshal public opinion behind White House demands for more laws to eliminate “gun violence.”
The public reaction wasn’t what he expected. The public didn’t want more laws; it wanted the laws on already on the books to be enforced. That’s precisely what the administration hasn’t been doing, according to figures obtained by our own Kelly Riddell.
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
Rank: Lance Corporal
U.S. Marine Corps
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
Let Slip the Dogs of War.
On a Short Leash?
By Geoff Metcalf
November 5, 2003
"Vivacity, leadership, must be had, and we are not allowed to be nice in choosing.
We must fetch the pump with dirty water, if clean cannot be had."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
I love the Army. Metcalfs have served in the Army since before we officially had one. However, I am apoplectic over the chairborne- politically correct cancer-brain flatulence, which reportedly intends to excoriate Lt. Col. Allen B. West for doing his job and saving lives.
The Army has myopically filed a criminal assault charge against an American officer who coerced an Iraqi into providing information that foiled a planned attack on U.S. soldiers. http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20031028-113335-6042r.htm.
Col. West did not torture or physically harm the Iraqi detainee. He did used psychological pressure to scare the snot out of the bad guy. And it worked! After twice firing his service weapon away from the wannabe terrorist (who was an Iraqi police officer) the detainee talked and gave up the information on a planned attack.
Lives were saved and now some uniformed bureaucrats back in the rear with the gear want to destroy the life of a combat leader. It is enough to gag maggots.
When Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan interrogates a bad guy working with terrorists by shooting him in the arms and legs we cheered. When an Army officer scares an enemy in a combat zone with a loud noise they want to nail him to a wall?
The same kind of politically correct desk jockey types who are Jonesing to put women in combat, neuter fighter jocks, and impose rules of engagement for a cricket club instead of barbaric 13th century guerrillas, now seek to destroy an exceptionally effective combat leader. What is wrong with this picture?
Col. West was with the 4th Infantry occupying areas around Tikrit (Saddam's hometown)…a real bad neighborhood infested with bad guys intent on killing him and his troops.
An informant reported that there was an assassination plot against Col. West.
The informant told the soldiers that one person involved in the attack was a town policeman.
Col West had the policeman detained but interrogators couldn't get anything of substance out of him.
FM22-100 (the Army leadership manual) notes that, "Leaders are responsible for the welfare, discipline and tactical deployment of their troops."
Col. West wrote in an email, "I asked for soldiers to accompany me and told them we had to gather information and that it could get ugly…"
He said his soldiers "physically aggress[ed]" the prisoner. Apparently they pushed him around.
After the pushing around failed, Col. West says he brandished his pistol.
"I did use my 9 mm weapon to threaten him and fired it twice. Once I fired into the weapons clearing barrel…and the next time I did it while having his head close to the barrel. I fired away from him. I stood in between the firing and his person.
He said, "I admit that what I did was not right but it was done with the concern of the safety of my soldiers and myself." I disagree. Given the results…that saved lives, his actions were both appropriate and effective.
Unlike many politicians and corporate types with less honor and character he did not try to cover up or hide what he did. He informed his superior of his actions.
The incident resulted in the bad guy providing the location of the planned sniper attack and the names of three guerrillas.
If Col West had waited for the ambush and shot and killed the Iraqi cop, no harm/no foul. However, because he 'scared' him with an implied threat of force 'preemptively', the Army wants to destroy his life and blow off over 19 years of superior dedicated service? For what…implementing 'The Bush Doctrine' down to Battalion level?
His wife, said, "My husband is a top-of-the-line officer. My husband is an African-American. He has had to overcome a number of things to get where he is."
Col. West is prepared to "…accept being retired at the grade of major and paying whatever fine required, but resignation and prison seems an attempt to destroy me,"…BULLFEATHERS! Now, more than ever, we NEED officers like this man.
The Army's division of political correctness doesn't like West's interrogation tactic. An Article 32 hearing has been scheduled lead to the court-martial and a potential prison term of eight years. They should have given him a medal and promotion.
Some soldiers are hinky about the Army's drive to punish the officer for an interrogation technique that probably is used regularly to get information from terrorists.
There ARE consequences to what we do and don't do. For a military struggling with morale, recruiting and retention issues to do what they are to Col. West WILL exact a cost. It is a cost we cannot and should not be forced to endure.
Woodrow Wilson observed," Leadership does not always wear the harness of compromise…Men of strenuous minds and high ideals come forward.... The attacks they sustain are more cruel than the collision of arms.... Friends desert and despise them.... They stand alone and oftentimes are made bitter by their isolation...."
Please don't allow Col. West to "stand alone." Spread the word. There IS an election around the corner.