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Friday September 19th, 2014
"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
Updated 1112 PDT
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Scottish referendum: Scotland votes 'No' to independence
Scotland has voted to stay in the United Kingdom after voters decisively rejected independence.
With the results in from all 32 council areas, the "No" side won with 2,001,926 votes over 1,617,989 for "Yes".
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond called for unity and urged the unionist parties to deliver on more powers.
Prime Minister David Cameron said he was delighted the UK would remain together and that commitments on extra powers would be honoured "in full".
UK HIGH DRAMA! BIG CITY WANTS OUT...
Angry with Washington, 1 in 4 Americans open to secession
The failed Scottish vote to pull out from the United Kingdom stirred secessionist hopes for some in the United States, where almost a quarter of people are open to their states leaving the union, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found.
Some 23.9 percent of Americans polled from Aug. 23 through Sept. 16 said they strongly supported or tended to support the idea of their state breaking away, while 53.3 percent of the 8,952 respondents strongly opposed or tended to oppose the notion.
Why the US Government's Counter-Terrorism Tweeters Are Finding it Tough to Fight ISIS Online
In its ascent, ISIS—the murderous extremist group controlling territory in Syria and Iraq that President Barack Obama has declared war on—has wielded a powerful weapon: social media. Its extensive online presence, which ranges from the posting of lolcat-like photos to videos of violent beheadings, has extended the organization's reach and boosted recruitment efforts that have fueled its rapid growth. And the State Department has mounted an initiative to beat back the Internet propaganda of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL. But a senior State Department official says that because the group's social media messaging contains an "element of truth," it is hard to combat its online campaign.
In 2011, the State Department launched the Center for Strategic Counter-terrorism Communication, which developed anti-terrorism Twitter accounts that were first directed at Al Qaeda. The goal: to directly engage with people overseas who were interested in or drawn to the beliefs and actions of extremist organizations. The online campaign is called "Think Again, Turn Away," and it includes accounts in several languages, including Arabic, Urdu, Somali and English. These Twitter feeds routinely posts articles and messages countering jihadist claims and arguments. The group also manages social media accounts on Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, and Google Plus.
US, Reliant on Iraqis, Faces Tough Road on ISIS
The American strategy to roll back the territorial gains of the Islamic State (ISIS) will be difficult and complex as advisers try to train and coordinate airstrikes with Iraqi forces, The New York Times reported.
Military officials say that, despite the White House's insistence that there will be no American troops on the ground, American special forces will likely be needed to mount a successful campaign in the urban regions.
"There is no one in this building who does not know that clearing out the cities will be much harder," a senior Defense Department official told the Times. "That's when the rubber is going to meet the road."
Dem Rep: 40 American ISIL Fighters Have Already Returned to the United States
These individuals under surveillance, 'being tracked' by the FBI
Rep. Tim Bishop (D., N.Y.) warned during a recent speech that up to 40 radicalized U.S. citizens who have fought alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS) have already returned to the United States, where they could pose a terrorist threat.
Bishop claims that of the 100 or so Americans who have traveled to the Middle East to join ISIL’s ranks, some 40 have returned and are currently being surveilled by the FBI, according to his remarks, which were filmed and uploaded to YouTube last week.
Rift widens between Obama, US military over strategy to fight Islamic State
Flashes of disagreement over how to fight the Islamic State are mounting between President Obama and U.S. military leaders, the latest sign of strain in what often has been an awkward and uneasy relationship.
Even as the administration has received congressional backing for its strategy, with the Senate voting Thursday to approve a plan to arm and train Syrian rebels, a series of military leaders have criticized the president’s approach against the Islamic State militant group.
Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, who served under Obama until last year, became the latest high-profile skeptic on Thursday, telling the House Intelligence Committee that a blanket prohibition on ground combat was tying the military’s hands. “Half-hearted or tentative efforts, or airstrikes alone, can backfire on us and actually strengthen our foes’ credibility,” he said. “We may not wish to reassure our enemies in advance that they will not see American boots on the ground.”
Enterovirus Cases Confirmed in Southern California
California’s first cases of a virus that has been spreading across the country were confirmed Thursday by the state’s chief health official.
Four cases of enterovirus D68 have been confirmed, all in Southern California. One was in Ventura County; three others were in San Diego County.
Respiratory illnesses caused by an enterovirus are sending children to hospitals as the disease spreads across the country, health officials say. (Credit: CDC)
Respiratory illnesses caused by an enterovirus are sending children to hospitals as the disease spreads across the country, health officials say. (Credit: CDC)
The patients ages ranged from 2 to 13 years old.
American Not an Oligarch Where Masters of the Universe Decide Immigration Law
Thursday on the Senate floor, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) railed against the secret deals President Barack Obama has made with IT CEOs to use his executive power and grant amnesty to upwards of 5 million illegal immigrants already living in the United States.
Partial transcript as follows:
I'm sure this will make the activists, the politicians, and certain billionaire executives who enjoy dinner parties at the White House very happy that the president is doing these things. But what about what's good for America? What about what's this the interest of the American people? America is not an oligarchy. The masters of the universe, they don't get to meet at the White House and decide how to run this country. When the American people learned what was in the Senate amnesty bill and guest worker bill that doubled the number of guest workers, for which every single Senate Democrat voted, the people said no, no, no.
Air Force dumps 'so help me God' from enlistment oath
Members of the U.S. Air Force will no longer be required to say “so help me God” during their enlistment oath.
A legal review of rules that required the phrase occurred after the American Humanist Association threatened to sue on behalf of an atheist airman. The unnamed airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada was denied re-enlistment Aug. 25 after crossing the phrase out of the oath.
“We take any instance in which Airmen report concerns regarding religious freedom seriously,” said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, Air Force Times reported Wednesday. The change in policy goes into effect immediately.
“We are pleased that the U.S. Department of Defense has confirmed our client has a First Amendment right to omit the reference to a supreme being in his reenlistment oath,” Monica Miller, an attorney with the AHA’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, said in a statement Wednesday, Air Force Times reported. “We hope the Air Force will respect the constitutional rights of Atheists in the future.”
Alibaba's IPO to end US dominance in tech sector
Alibaba's IPO could well be the end of U.S. dominance in the world technology sector, a professor from a Britain's business school told Xinhua on Thursday.
"Alibaba's annual growth rate of more than 30 percent shows that the gap between the Chinese companies, Alibaba and Tencent, and U.S. companies is getting ever closer," said Qing Wang, professor from Warwick Business School, one of the most prestigious and highly selective business schools in the world.
The strong performance and fast rise of the Chinese technology companies in the world was helped by an enormous and fast growing domestic market, she said. The competition in that domestic market among the Chinese companies, as well as with multinational corporations that have entered it, was extremely fierce and successful private companies like Alibaba had to be highly entrepreneurial and market-oriented, she added.
Overtakes AMAZON, FACEBOOK...
Most lucrative debut in stock market history...
Company Readying Major Hollywood Assault...
Jack Ma Inspired By Hero 'FORREST GUMP'...
'WE GOT THE TRUST'...
THE FULL INTERVIEW...
Plans roadshow with Clinton, Immelt...
Russia and China, masters of mischief
Behind the scenes, an anti-American axis eggs on rogue regimes
The international security meeting in Paris on Monday showcased a world in fear of the growing threat that the Islamic State poses to the global order. A group of 26 countries have now vowed to fight the Sunni extremist group “by any means necessary,” and more will continue to join the effort.
However, there are two countries it seems that we, once again, can’t count on: Russia and China.
Obama's coalition of the unwilling
America’s usual allies are saying no thanks
Effective leaders never blow an uncertain trumpet. It neither inspires nor encourages, and only poisons the air. Better not to blow at all.
Barack Obama says he wants to “degrade and destroy” the barbarians of the Islamic State, but he won’t call it a war, won’t necessarily fight it to a triumphant conclusion, and won’t even accurately describe the enemy. The president insists that ISIS isn’t even Islamic. (Presbyterians, perhaps, or Quakers?) Who would rally to a call to arms like that?
Washington's 'watchdog' hypocrisy
The advocacy trade seldom bites the hand that feeds it
“Read my lips, no new taxes.” “I did not have sex with that woman … .” “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” Saying one thing and doing another — it’s the way of Washington. While Americans have come to expect hypocrisy and misdirection from their politicians, the rot runs deeper than that: Even the supposed “watchdogs” are playing the D.C. game.
Consider Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the ostensibly nonpartisan group that gained notoriety for filing complaints against Republican politicians and conservative groups (including my own). Backed by funding from liberal multibillionaire George Soros and the left-wing cash clearinghouse Democracy Alliance, CREW put a thorn into the side of the right, accusing conservatives of so-called “pay-for-play” — taking money from interested businesses for advocacy. This is perfectly legal, done by both sides, and a generally accepted practice — but CREW made hay about it for partisan gain.
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.
PETRY, LEROY A.
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Organization: U.S. Army
Company: Company D
Division: 2d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
Place / Date: 26 May 2008, Paktya Province, Afghanistan
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Staff Sergeant Leroy A. Petry distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy in the vicinity of Paktya Province, Afghanistan, on May 26, 2008. As a Weapons Squad Leader with D Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Staff Sergeant Petry moved to clear the courtyard of a house that potentially contained high-value combatants. While crossing the courtyard, Staff Sergeant Petry and another Ranger were engaged and wounded by automatic weapons fire from enemy fighters. Still under enemy fire, and wounded in both legs, Staff Sergeant Petry led the other Ranger to cover. He then reported the situation and engaged the enemy with a hand grenade, providing suppression as another Ranger moved to his position. The enemy quickly responded by maneuvering closer and throwing grenades. The first grenade explosion knocked his two fellow Rangers to the ground and wounded both with shrapnel. A second grenade then landed only a few feet away from them. Instantly realizing the danger, Staff Sergeant Petry, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his safety, deliberately and selflessly moved forward, picked up the grenade, and in an effort to clear the immediate threat, threw the grenade away from his fellow Rangers. As he was releasing the grenade it detonated, amputating his right hand at the wrist and further injuring him with multiple shrapnel wounds. Although picking up and throwing the live grenade grievously wounded Staff Sergeant Petry, his gallant act undeniably saved his fellow Rangers from being severely wounded or killed. Despite the severity of his wounds, Staff Sergeant Petry continued to maintain the presence of mind to place a tourniquet on his right wrist before communicating the situation by radio in order to coordinate support for himself and his fellow wounded Rangers. Staff Sergeant Petry's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service, and reflect great credit upon himself, 75th Ranger Regiment, 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.