Monday October 5th, 2015

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World & National

Visibly angrry Hillary went off on Republicans for Benghazi investigation
hillary clinton today

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unloaded on Congress' Benghazi investigation during a Monday morning interview on the "Today" show.

A visibly angry Clinton tore into the Republican-led Select Committee on Benghazi when she was asked how she would react to hypothetical GOP leaders facing scrutiny over their own government email use.

"Look at the situation they chose to exploit, to go after me for political reasons: the death of four Americans in Benghazi," Clinton said. "I knew the ambassador. I identified him. I asked him to go there. I asked the president to nominate him."

Hillary: I will try 'in every way I can' to get guns out of the wrong hands

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pledged Monday to do everything she can if elected president to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them — even if that means working without Congress.

“I really do want to push hard to get more sensible restraints on gun ownership in the wrong hands and then to try to keep track of people who shouldn’t have guns,” Mrs. Clinton said at a town hall in New Hampshire hosted by NBC’s “Today” program.

Pacific-Rim Nations Led by US Agree to Historic Trade Accord
            Image: Pacific-Rim Nations Led by US Agree to Historic Trade Accord

Twelve Pacific rim countries sealed the deal Monday on creating the world's largest free trade area, delivering President Barack Obama a major policy triumph.

The deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, led by the United States and Japan, aims to set the rules for 21st century trade and investment and press China, not one of the 12, to shape its behavior in commerce to the TPP standards.

"After five years of intensive negotiations, we have come to an agreement that will create jobs, drive sustainable growth, foster inclusive development, and promote innovation across the Asia Pacific Region," said US Trade Representative Michael Froman.

BP to pay more than $20B in penalities for 2010 Gulf oil spill
                    The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burns in the Gulf of Mexico, more than 50 miles southeast of Venice, La., on April 21, 2010. (Associated Press) **FILE**

The Obama administration announced Monday it has reached an unprecedented agreement with BP, with the company agreeing to pay more than $20 billion in penalties for economic and environmental damages caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In a press conference at the Justice Department, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the settlement — which includes the largest civil penalty in the history of environmental law — is appropriate punishment for the harm BP inflicted on the region. The money, she said, will be used to both clean up areas damaged by the spill and to pump desperately needed capital into an area that still has not fully covered economically from the disaster.

U.S. commander: Afghan forces called in deadly hospital strike in Kunduz

The top commander in Afghanistan said on Monday that the deadly U.S. air strike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz was called in by local Afghanistan government forces, not Americans.

Initial reports said the Oct. 3 attack, which killed 19, was ordered by U.S. special operations forces.

But Army Gen. John Campbell said that Afghan forces were taking fire from the Taliban and radioed for air support.

Political eyes on John Roberts as new Supreme Court term begins
Chief justice nicks conservative label
             Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. will be put to conservatives' test again as he begins his second decade at the helm of the Supreme Court. He already has become a punching bag on the Republican campaign trail. (Associated Press)

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. enters his second decade at the helm of the Supreme Court with his legacy very much in debate, as conservatives who had championed him now question whether their trust was misplaced.

The court begins its session Monday facing a series of cases over the next nine months that will test the chief justice and his eight associates on issues such as affirmative action, the death penalty, Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate and the intersection of voting rights and illegal immigration.

Russian president keeps tumultouous world guessing

Moscow’s bombings in Syria, coupled with Vladimir Putin’s railing against the U.S. at the United Nations General Assembly last week, have thrust the Russian president into the global spotlight and rejuvenated debate over the extent to which he is an evil geopolitical genius, a strategically brilliant hustler — or some combination of both.

What is clear is that Mr. Putin shows no sign of relinquishing the power he has held in Moscow for 16 years, during which he has established himself as a kind of 21st-century Russian czar bent on pursuing an increasingly militarized and adventurous foreign policy.

Chaffetz: Americans Want a Speaker Who Knows How to Speak

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz said Monday that he's the best choice to become Speaker of the House because his strong suit is just that: speaking.

"I'm arguing that one of my strong suits is actually going on camera and going before the media and making the case to the American people," Chaffetz, who announced his candidacy for the seat over the weekend, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.

He said he does think one of the reasons Republicans have such a strong House majority is because of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has been considered by many as the front-runner to replace Ohio Rep. John Boehner, who announced his resignation in a surprise move last month one day after Pope Francis' historical address to a joint session of Congress.

Plan to transfer Gitmo detainees angers Colorado

The Defense Department’s plan to consider two Colorado prisons as possible destinations for Guantanamo Bay detainees is meeting with outrage from the state’s Republican congressional delegation, demonstrating the political resistance President Obama faces as he tries to honor his promise to close down the Cuba detainee facility.

Rep. Doug Lamborn, the Colorado Republican who represents the district in which both prisons are located, called it “outrageous and unacceptable for President Obama to waste time and taxpayer dollars on a dangerous fantasy that will go nowhere.”

SpaceX proposing cost-effective reusable rockets

As India launches its first observatory in space and Europe places a probe on a comet, SpaceX is hoping to help the U.S. lead the space race with reusable rockets and the kind of raw power not seen since the glory days of the Saturn V.

Earlier this year California-based enterprise SpaceX launched the Dragon, a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket carrying unmanned cargo to the International Space Station. The company has hoped to land the rocket on a floating barge in the ocean but has yet to succeed.

Patrick Kennedy memoir takes hard look at dad Ted's drinking problems

A new book by former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, youngest son of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, openly discusses what he says are the mental illnesses and addictions of himself and his family members, and takes on what he portrays as a veil of secrecy used to hide the problems of America’s most famous political family.

The memoir, “A Common Struggle,” due out Monday, focuses heavily on his relationship with his father and how the younger Kennedy often felt he let his father down while coping with bipolar and anxiety disorders and repeated trips to rehab, even as a Rhode Island congressman.

Legendary Vietnamese general Vo Nguyen Giap dies at 102
            Image result for Vietnamese Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap

Vietnamese Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, who helped communist forces push French and later U.S. troops to withdraw after decades of war in the southeast Asian country, has died, according to local media reports.

He was 102.

Giap helped form Ho Chi Minh's communist rebels into an army while France tried to hold onto colonial rule in French Indochina after World War II -- and he eventually led the rebels in a key 1954 battle that led to France's withdrawal.

After the French left and Vietnam was partitioned into the communist North and the U.S.-backed South, Giap -- the North's defense minister and military commander -- helped guide the communists in a bloody 20-year war with the South and U.S. troops. The North took the entire county in 1975.

Creating a buffet for Russian tyrants
Obama’s feckless Middle East policy is revealed as a disaster of incompetence

Russia is sweeping into Syria with what one defense official described to Fox News as “the largest deployment of Russian forces outside the former Soviet Union since the collapse of the USSR.”

As Russian officials continue to play Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama for the fools they are, the world has realized Russian President Vladimir Putin is not rushing in to stop ISIS, he’s doing something much different. He’s saving his client, Syrian tyrant Assad, but also he intends to defeat the United States, the West in general, and to take control of the region.

The Secret Service's rortten culture
The agency leaked embarrassing personal information about a persistent congressional critic

Nothing illustrates so well how rotten the Secret Service’s management culture is as an assistant director’s effort to retaliate against a member of Congress by advocating leaking embarrassing information about him.

Referring to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the agency’s chief critic in Congress, Assistant Director Edward Lowery wrote in a March 31 email to the Secret Service assistant director in charge of congressional and public affairs, “Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out,” according to a report by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general. “Just to be fair,” he added.

                 Medal of Honor
Army Medal of HonorNavy Medal of HonorAir Force 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.

Rank: Captain
Organization: U.S. Army
Date of Issue: 07/08/2002

Captain Humbert R. Versace distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period of 29 October 1963 to 26 September 1965, while serving as S-2 Advisor, Military Assistance Advisory Group, Detachment 52, Ca Mau, Republic of Vietnam. While accompanying a Civilian Irregular Defense Group patrol engaged in combat operations in Thoi Binh District, An Xuyen Province, Captain Versace and the patrol came under sudden and intense mortar, automatic weapons, and small arms fire from elements of a heavily armed enemy battalion. As the battle raged, Captain Versace, although severely wounded in the knee and back by hostile fire, fought valiantly and continued to engage enemy targets. Weakened by his wounds and fatigued by the fierce firefight, Captain Versace stubbornly resisted capture by the over-powering Viet Cong force with the last full measure of his strength and ammunition. Taken prisoner by the Viet Cong, he exemplified the tenets of the Code of Conduct from the time he entered into Prisoner of War status. Captain Versace assumed command of his fellow American soldiers, scorned the enemy's exhaustive interrogation and indoctrination efforts, and made three unsuccessful attempts to escape, despite his weakened condition which was brought about by his wounds and the extreme privation and hardships he was forced to endure. During his captivity, Captain Versace was segregated in an isolated prisoner of war cage, manacled in irons for prolonged periods of time, and placed on extremely reduced ration. The enemy was unable to break his indomitable will, his faith in God, and his trust in the United States of America. Captain Versace, an American fighting man who epitomized the principles of his country and the Code of Conduct, was executed by the Viet Cong on 26 September 1965. Captain Versace's gallant actions in close contact with an enemy force and unyielding courage and bravery while a prisoner of war are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect the utmost credit upon himself 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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