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TODAY
Monday April 27th, 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     

George W. Bush Bashes Obama on Middle East
             

In a closed-door meeting with Jewish donors on Saturday night, former President George W. Bush delivered his harshest public criticisms to date against his successor on foreign policy, saying that President Barack Obama is being nave about Iran and the pending nuclear deal and losing the war against the Islamic State.

One attendee at the Republican Jewish Coalition session, held at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas with owner Sheldon Adelson in attendance, transcribed large portions of Bush’s remarks. The former president, who rarely ever criticizes Obama in public, at first remarked that the idea of re-entering the political arena was something he didn’t want to do. He then proceeded to explain why Obama, in his view, was placing the U.S. in "retreat" around the world. He also said Obama was misreading Iran’s intentions while relaxing sanctions on Tehran too easily.



Clinton Foundation admits making mistakes on taxes
                U.S. presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participates in a discussion in a classroom at New Hampshire Technical Institute while campaigning for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination in Concord, New Hampshire, April 21, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The Clinton Foundation's acting chief executive admitted on Sunday that the charity had made mistakes on how it listed government donors on its tax returns and said it was working to make sure it does not happen in the future.

The non-profit foundation and its list of donors have been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks. Republican critics say the foundation makes Hillary Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, vulnerable to undue influence.

After a Reuters review found errors in how the foundation reported government donors on its taxes, the charity said last week it would refile at least five annual tax returns.
Combined government grants and donations...
Top Hillary bundler quits over unanswered questions...
Candidate Clinton ignores media; Longest time without interview...



Eleanor Clift: Clinton Defenders Wrong to Attack Peter Schwizer

It is a mistake for supporters of Bill and Hillary Clinton to write off conservative author Peter Schweizer as a "right-wing hack," argues veteran Washington journalist Eleanor Clift.

Writing in the Daily Beast, the liberal-leaning Clift, who has defended the Clintons in the past, warns that such attacks on Schweizer, author of the forthcoming book "Clinton Cash," are untrue and doomed to fail.

If Schweizer "were as off-base as the campaign and its allies portray him, would a high-quality publication like The New York Times risk its reputation by partnering with him?" Clift asks. "And would Common Cause, the gold standard for good-government groups, which is currently chaired by former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, be calling for an independent review that would be made public of all large donations to the Clinton Foundation?"



US to launch blitz of gas exports, eyes global energy dominance
The US Energy Department prepares a wave of LNG gas permits in the latest move to redraw the world's oil and gas landscape
           
The United States is poised to flood world markets with once-unthinkable quantities of liquefied natural gas as soon as this year, profoundly changing the geo-politics of global energy and posing a major threat to Russian gas dominance in Europe.

"We anticipate becoming big players, and I think we'll have a big impact," said the Ernest Moniz, the US Energy Secretary. "We're going to influence the whole global LNG market."

Mr Moniz said four LNG export terminals are under construction and the first wave of shipments may begin before the end of this year or in early 2016 at the latest.



Supreme Court Throws Out Obamacare contraception Ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday revived religious objections by Catholic groups in Michigan and Tennessee to the Obamacare requirement for contraception coverage, throwing out a lower court decision favoring President Barack Obama's administration.

The justices asked the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision that backed the Obama administration in light of the Supreme Court's June 2014 ruling that allowed certain privately owned corporations to seek exemptions from the provision.

Obama's healthcare law, known as Obamacare, requires employers to provide health insurance policies that cover preventive services for women including access to contraception and sterilization.



Baltimore cleans up after Saturday protests, vandalism
Some Baltimore businesses remained closed Sunday after vandalism from Saturday's protests.

Muna Karki watched from a darkened second-floor window above the family-owned liquor store on Howard Street on Saturday night as demonstrators charged past, kicking at the storefront security gate.

"We closed, and then we watched from upstairs, but the crowds went right by. Thank God," Karki said Sunday, recounting Saturday's demonstrations to protest the death of Freddie Gray.

Howard Discount Liquors — owned by Kaji Karki, Muna's husband — escaped damage, save for a bent security gate.

After protestors left trash and rocks in the streets, Sandtown-Winchester resident Wayne Snipes cleans up on Riggs Avenue. (Jessica Anderson, Baltimore Sun)

Other businesses, including several 7-Eleven stores and a McDonald's just down the street, weren't so lucky.



Theater shooting trial hinges on defendant's sanity

Was the man who has acknowledged killing 12 people outside a suburban Denver movie theater sane?

How jurors decide on this crucial element of James Holmes' case will determine whether the former neuroscience graduate student is executed, imprisoned for life or spends an indefinite time in a psychiatric hospital for 12 and injuring 70 others as he rampaged through a movie theater during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.

Opening arguments begin Monday afternoon in the case against Holmes that began nearly three years ago.



Mylan Rejects Teva's $40 Billion Takeover Offer

The drug maker Mylan on Monday pointedly rejected a $40 billion takeover bid from an Israeli competitor, Teva, setting up a potentially drawn-out battle between the two.

The widely expected move sets up three-way battle among global pharmaceutical companies specializing in generic brand drugs. Mylan, which is incorporated in the Netherlands, is pursuing a roughly $33 billion takeover bid for Irish competitor Perrigo that so far has also been rejected.

In a sharply worded letter to his counterpart at Teva, Mylan’s executive chairman, Robert J. Coury, deplored what he described as a flawed corporate culture at his counterpart and a bare-knuckled takeover approach.



Japan, U.S. Bolster Alliance Amid Delicate Dance With China

Japan and the U.S bolstered their strategic alliance for the first time in almost two decades as they seek to respond to China’s increasingly assertive posturing in the Asia-Pacific region.

New defense guidelines released Monday in New York expand U.S.-Japanese cooperation around the globe and into space and cyberspace. Japan will take on a more robust role, and will now have the power to defend U.S. ships or shoot down a ballistic missile heading for the U.S., according to a joint statement on the new rules.



Liberals and magical thinking

We all know that children think magically, and naturally inhabit a world of fantasy and imagination. It’s the perfect place to be when you’re a kid. The problem is, adults on the left seem to have decided they deserve to live in that same magical world, where facts and logic and reason just don’t exist.

Last week I appeared on “Fox and Friends,” the Fox News Channel powerhouse morning program, to discuss an elementary school in Maine reading a book about a “transgendered child” to its students in all classes, including kindergarten. Parents were not informed beforehand, and many were furious. I appeared with a psychologist, not to discuss transgenderism, but whether presenting this sort of information to small children, who are without the capacity for conceptual thinking, was appropriate.



Hillary's foreign policy 'achievements'

Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for president and the Earth did not move. This wasn’t exactly a surprise since the bench in the Democratic Party isn’t deep. Her brief for doing so is based on the claim she is a woman who cares about the middle class. Of course, this is an odd construction since she had little experience as a member of this class.

Many journalists have commented on her various dissimulations from her opposition to the “surge” in Iraq to her Benghazi testimony to being fired upon in Serbia to her private emails to her financial bonanza on a $1,000 investment in the commodities market. What remains unanalyzed, though, is her foreign policy record.

After all, this subject is the basis for her professional experience. As secretary of state, she did have experience on an international scale. But what, if anything, did she accomplish?



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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