Thanks Obama! William Teach lays out what this means
(The Hill) The United States on Saturday lifted sanctions against Iran and announced that four Americans held prisoner in the country will be returning home, in a whirlwind day of diplomacy that cements President Obama’s engagement with Iran as a pillar of his legacy.
The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog certified Iran has fulfilled its promises to prevent it from building a nuclear weapon, after decades of tensions, years of negotiations and months of work to implement the international nuclear deal reached six months ago.
The State Department confirmed moments later that the nuclear deal is now implemented, thereby lifting a slate of sanctions.
In Vienna, Secretary of State John Kerry touted the step as a vindication of diplomacy in the face of doubters.
“I think we have also proven once again why diplomacy must be our first choice and war a last resort,” Kerry said.
John Kerry is, perhaps the most glaring example of why idiots should never be given any power. William Teach sums up the stupidity of Kerry and this deal
Again with the strawman argument that we either go to war with Iran or have peace. Of course, said peace breaks down to Iran pinky swearing to not work on developing nuclear weapons for somewhere in the range of 8 to 10 years, at which point they are pretty much free to do whatever they want, leaving a future president to deal with the mess, all while Iran is flush with cash from selling oil, and flush with even more influence over the Middle East. How does this future president reign in Iran at that point? Would they have any standing to get Europe and the United Nations on board when it’s learned that Iran is once again developing nuclear weapons?
Yes, the Leftist Obama has simply ensured a far greater chance of a more costly war in the not too distant future. Frankly, the pacifism of the left has caused more wars than it ever stopped. You cannot successfully pursue peace through weakness and vacillation, yet the left falls into the same trap every time. Teach also links to Marco Rubio, who lays out exactly what this disastrous measure means
As our men and women in uniform were being used as propaganda props by the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, President Obama was preparing to provide their hostage takers with upwards of $100 billion in sanctions relief and endorse an Iranian nuclear capability.
That relief will begin today, the so-called “Implementation Day” of President Obama’s deeply flawed deal with Iran. Iran will receive much-needed funds to expand its regional aggression and its support to terrorist groups like Hezbollah.
By channeling this money to Tehran and giving the mullahs international legitimacy, the Obama administration is fueling the greatest growth in Iranian power since the Islamic Republic was established in 1979. What’s worse, for months Iran has telegraphed in word and deed how it plans to utilize this newfound power—namely, to dominate the Middle East and threaten American security.
When President Obama announced the nuclear deal last July, he expressed hope for a new era of cooperation with Iran. Ever since, Tehran has mocked him. Missiles have been fired near a U.S. aircraft carrier. Iran has violated an international prohibition on tests of ballistic missiles only to have the United States back away from imposing new sanctions for fear of upsetting Iran. Iran continued to take innocent Americans hostage in an effort to eventually free criminals imprisoned in the U.S.
So now the only real questions are when does the bill on this latest Leftist venture into capitulating to tyrants and mad men come due, and how much American blood will it cost to correcting the foolishness of the worst leader in our nations history?
Back in September we noted that the Army had reviewed the case of Bowe Bergdahl and recommended a charge of Misbehavior Before the Enemy. They later released their suggestions for how to handle his prosecution and pushed for no jail time after his lengthy period of capture. It was further determined that the Sergeant should face a Special Court Martial where he would likely get a relatively lenient punishment. As it turns out, those were only suggested proposals and those calls have been rejected by Gen. Robert B. Abrams of Army Forces Command. He’s ordered the case to move forward and Bergdahl will face a full Court Martial on charges of desertion among other things. (New York Times)
A top Army commander on Monday ordered that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl face a court-martial on charges of desertion and endangering troops stemming from his decision to leave his outpost in 2009, a move that prompted a huge manhunt in the wilds of eastern Afghanistan and landed him in nearly five years of harsh Taliban captivity.
The decision by Gen. Robert B. Abrams, head of Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., means that Sergeant Bergdahl, 29, faces a possible life sentence. That is a far more serious penalty than had been recommended by the Army’s investigating officer, who testified at the sergeant’s preliminary hearing in September that prison would be “inappropriate.”
According to Sergeant Bergdahl’s defense lawyers, the Army lawyer who presided over the preliminary hearing also recommended that he face neither jail time nor a punitive discharge and that he go before an intermediate tribunal known as a “special court-martial,” where the most severe penalty possible would be a year of confinement.
This changes the game entirely in terms of Bergdahl’s ultimate fate. The maximum penalty for desertion during time of war is death, though the only soldier to be executed for this in the modern era was Private Eddie Slovik in 1945. Absent a death sentence, Bergdahl could easily face life in prison without the possibility of parole, but that’s still not a given. The officers who sit on the jury and the judge handling the case will make the ultimate determination, and as Doug Mataconis pointed out yesterday, Bowe could still wind up being out of the service (albeit at a lower rank) and back home in fairly short order.
In terms of the case against Bergdahl himself, the maximum charge he faces is life in prison but his ultimately punishment could end up being less severe depending upon both how the jury of officers that ultimately hears Bergdahl’s case views the case and how any subsequent appeals may go assuming that he’s convicted. Given the facts as we know them, acquittal seems unlikely but Bergdahl could ultimately receive a sentence far less than life in a military prison, and indeed could even end up getting off with a sentence as relatively light as loss of rank and a dishonorable discharge. Additionally, his ultimate fate is likely to take years to determine since the process is likely to outlast the Obama Administration itself.
Two points here: first of all, Doug brings up an interesting point in terms of politics. The reality is that this subject is now completely outside the hands of politicians and elected officials, with the singular exception of the President should he choose to extend a pardon. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t be talking about it on the campaign trail, particularly with the country’s renewed focus on terrorist groups and the candidates vying to show how tough they can be. The Court Martial is going to take quite a while if previous history (such as Chelsea Manning) is anything to go by. We’ll likely be well into the general election by the time this show reaches a crescendo and Hillary, along with her eventual GOP opponent, will be asked about it.
As to the final determination, it seems almost impossible that Bergdahl will be found innocent on all charges. Too much of this case has already been tried in the media and the court of public opinion and there seems to be too much evidence for him to get off without a conviction on something. Will it be desertion? That’s actually an open question because no matter how obvious it may seem to outside observers, the definitions are tricky. A good defense team may be able to make a case based on intent and the soldier’s state of mind when he walked off his post which could introduce enough doubt in the jury’s minds to avoid the most serious charge. And even if he is convicted on all or most of the charges, the defense will certainly be reminding the court that Bergdahl has already served a rather severe sentence in captivity for his actions… far worse than he would get in any SuperMax.
In a best case scenario for the defense, he could conceivably still just be busted down to E-1 and given a dishonorable discharge and lose all of his benefits. Would that be justice? I really don’t know. We’ll have to leave it up to the jury.
H/T Truth And Action
A group of 400 U.S. servicemen stationed in Ireland received an unexpected surprise while eating lunch at an airport.
Los Angeles-based philanthropist Shlomo Rechnitz was on his way to Israel with his family when he spotted the servicemen eating standard bagged lunches, while other passengers ate at trendy restaurants. Rechnitz went straight to the commander, insisting he pay for all the servicemen to get lunch wherever they wanted.
The commander asked why.
In a video captured of the event, Rechnitz explained exactly what prompted his generosity.
“The reason is that… you guys risk your lives to protect me and my family,” Rechnitz tells the crowd of servicemembers. “If I get to go out and see a whole bunch of Army soldiers and Marines. That’s something that makes me proud. I’m on my way to Israel actually now. I just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“I’ll take it off my taxes, don’t worry,” he added.
The servicemen applauded.
Iraq War veteran Joe Leal knows firsthand the difficulties associated with readjusting to domestic life after combat.
“You hear this, ‘We support the troops,’ and there’s commercials out there where troops will be walking down the airport and people will clap, like, ‘Thank you for your service,’” Leal says. “But what happens after they take the uniform off?”
That concern – coupled with a booming Los Angeles homeless veteran population – prompted Leal to launch the Vet Hunters Project, a grassroots movement of veterans helping other ex-servicemen and women.
On this Veterans Day, The Daily Signal takes a closer look at the organization and the lives it’s changing.
Please support this fantastic organization.
The Goals Of Donald J. Trump’s Veterans Plan
The current state of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is absolutely unacceptable. Over 300,000 veterans died waiting for care. Corruption and incompetence were excused. Politicians in Washington have done too little too slowly to fix it. This situation can never happen again, and when Donald J. Trump is president, it will be fixed – fast.
The guiding principle of the Trump plan is ensuring veterans have convenient access to the best quality care. To further this principle, the Trump plan will decrease wait times, improve healthcare outcomes, and facilitate a seamless transition from service into civilian life.
The Trump Plan Will:
1. Ensure our veterans get the care they need wherever and whenever they need it. No more long drives. No more waiting for backlogs. No more excessive red tape. Just the care and support they earned with their service to our country.
2. Support the whole veteran, not just their physical health care, but also by addressing their invisible wounds, investing in our service members’ post-active duty success, transforming the VA to meet the needs of 21st century service members, and better meeting the needs of our female veterans.
3. Make the VA great again by firing the corrupt and incompetent VA executives who let our veterans down, by modernizing the VA, and by empowering the doctors and nurses to ensure our veterans receive the best care available in a timely manner.
The Trump Plan Gives Veterans The Freedom To Choose And Forces The VA To Compete For Their Dollars
Politicians in Washington have tried to fix the VA by holding hearings and blindly throwing money at the problem. None of it has worked. In fact, wait times were 50% higher this summer than they were a year ago. That’s because the VA lacks the right leadership and management. It’s time we stop trusting Washington politicians to fix the problems and empower our veterans to vote with their feet.
Under a Trump Administration, all veterans eligible for VA health care can bring their veteran’s ID card to any doctor or care facility that accepts Medicare to get the care they need immediately. Our veterans have earned the freedom to choose better or more convenient care from the doctor and facility of their choice. The power to choose will stop the wait time backlogs and force the VA to improve and compete if the department wants to keep receiving veterans’ healthcare dollars. The VA will become more responsive to veterans, develop more efficient systems, and improve the quality of care because it will have no other choice.
The Trump Plan Treats The Whole Veteran
We must care for the whole veteran, not just their physical health. We must recognize that today’s veterans have very different needs than those of the Greatest Generation.
The Trump Plan Will:
1. Increase funding for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury and suicide prevention services to address our veterans’ invisible wounds. Service members are five times more likely to develop depression than civilians. They are almost fifteen times more likely to develop PTSD than civilians. This funding will help provide more and better counseling and care. More funding will also support research on best practices and state of the art treatments to keep our veterans alive, healthy and whole. With these steps, the Trump plan will help the veteran community put the unnecessary stigma surrounding mental health behind them and instead encourage acceptance and treatment in our greater society.
2. Increase funding for job training and placement services (including incentives for companies hiring veterans), educational support and business loans. All Americans agree that we must do everything we can to help put our service men and women on a path to success as they leave active duty by collaborating with the many successful non-profit organizations that are already helping. Service members have learned valuable skills in the military but many need help understanding how to apply those skills in civilian life. Others know how to apply those skills but need help connecting with good jobs to support their families. Still others have an entrepreneurial spirit and are ready to start creating jobs and growing the economy. The Trump plan will strengthen existing programs or replace them with more effective ones to address these needs and to get our veterans working.
3. Transform the VA to meet the needs of 21st century service members. Today’s veterans have very different needs than those of the generations that came before them. The VA must adapt to meet the needs of this generation of younger, more diverse veterans. The Trump plan will expand VA services for female veterans and ensure the VA is providing the right support for this new generation of veterans.
4. Better support our women veterans. The fact that many VA hospitals don’t permanently staff OBGYN doctors shows an utter lack of respect for the growing number female veterans. Under the Trump plan, every VA hospital in the country will be fully equipped with OBGYN and other women’s health services. In addition, women veterans can always choose a different OBGYN in their community using their veteran’s ID card.
The Trump Plan Will Make The VA Great Again
The VA health care program is a disaster. Some candidates want to get rid of it, but our veterans need the VA to be there for them and their families. That’s why the Trump plan will:
1. Fire the corrupt and incompetent VA executives that let our veterans down. Under a Trump Administration, there will be no job security for VA executives that enabled or overlooked corruption and incompetence. They’re fired. New leadership will focus the VA staff on delivering timely, top quality care and other services to our nation’s veterans. Under a Trump Administration, exposing and addressing the VA’s inefficiencies and shortcomings will be rewarded, not punished.
2. End waste, fraud and abuse at the VA. The Trump plan will ensure the VA is spending its dollars wisely to provide the greatest impact for veterans and hold administrators accountable for irresponsible spending and abuse. The days of $6.3 million for statues and fountains at VA facilities and $300,000 for a manager to move 140 miles are over. The Trump plan will clean up the VA’s finances so the current VA budget provides more and better care than it does now.
3. Modernize the VA. A VA with 20th century technology cannot serve 21st century service members and their needs. The VA has been promising to modernize for years without real results. The Trump plan will make it happen by accelerating and expanding investments in state of the art technology to deliver best-in-class care quickly and effectively. All veterans should be able to conveniently schedule appointments, communicate with their doctors, and view accurate wait times with the push of a button.
4. Empower the caregivers to ensure our veterans receive quality care quickly. Caregivers should be able to easily streamline treatment plans across departments and utilize telehealth tools to better serve their patients. As we have seen from the private sector, the potential for new, innovative technology is endless. Abandoning the wasteful and archaic mindset of the public sector will give way to tremendously effective veteran healthcare.
5. Hire more veterans to care for veterans. The more veterans we have working at the VA, the better the VA will be. They understand the unique challenges facing their community. To increase the number of veterans hired by the VA, this plan will add an additional 5 points to the qualifying scores of veterans applying for VA jobs.
6. Embed satellite VA clinics in rural and other underserved areas. The Trump Administration will embed satellite VA clinics within hospitals and other care facilities in rural and other underserved areas. This step will ensure veterans have easy access to care and local hospitals and care facilities can handle the influx of patients without backlogs while tapping the specialized knowledge of VA health specialists.
When Joshua Acevedo left the Marine Corps as a sergeant in 2013 following four combat tours, he felt betrayed by the service he once loved. Now the former infantry squad leader will receive the service’s fourth-highest valor award – something he says he hopes will restore his faith in the Corps.
Acevedo joined the Marine Corps with the hope of turning it into a career. The veteran of three combat tours in Iraq, he deployed to Afghanistan’s Helmand province in September 2010, where he was tasked with leading a squad largely seen by his battalion leaders as the unit’s black sheep.
But what his Marines lacked in spit shine and polish, they more than made up for in courage and capability, he said. The members of Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines began covering the bulk of the company’s combat missions. Their skill would even earn them a reputation among the enemy forces they were annihilating.
“They were bad asses, no doubt about it,” Acevedo said of his squad, which left country without a single injury. “They were the kind of Marines I learned about growing up. They enabled me to do a lot more than I could have done with a bunch of meritorious kids.”
Their camaraderie was most evident in a day-long firefight just north of Durzay. Acevedo’s actions resulted in a Silver Star nomination.
But the honor was soon buried beneath allegations of a battlefield murder.
The once-celebrated squad leader was ostracized, and fighting a battle for which he was ill-equipped. As was his habit in the ‘Stan, Acevedo would emerge victorious – but this time, he would not emerge unscathed. The court battle cost him a career, and caused him to lose faith in his beloved Corps.
Five years after Acevedo and his Marines faced an ambush on the battlefield, the former sergeant will be recognized by one of this generation’s most revered leaders. Retired Gen. Jim Mattis will read a citation for a Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device before Acevedo is pinned with the medal at a Marine Corps birthday ball on Oct. 31.
It’s a moment Acevedo said he hopes will take away some of the bitterness he has felt since leaving the Marine Corps.
From hero to zero
On Nov. 20, 2010, Acevedo and his squad were hours into a firefight when the squad leader ordered his assault element to take an enemy-infested hilltop.
Their individual rushes were soon halted by PKM machine gun fire from the direct front. Simultaneously, the support element got hit by a new attack from the east, and could do little to cover their fellow Marines.
The enemy was gaining fire superiority and the Marines were low on ammunition. The assault element radioed that it was down to one magazine each, 25 Squad Automatic Weapon rounds and a few grenades. The team said they would fix bayonets if Acevedo wanted them to continue the push.
He gave the order: Fix bayonets.
But Acevedo would not let his Marines go it alone. He gathered what ammo he could from the support element. His pockets were soon stuffed with M203 rounds, his kit was full of 5.56 mags, and he held all the SAW ammo he could find. After a quick prayer, he ran the 100 yards that stood between him and his Marines. Not only was it covered by enemy fire, it had not been swept for IEDs.
“The guys said the ground around me got chewed up pretty good, but nobody hit me,” he said. This run through the field of fire would earn him the Bronze Star with V.
Reinforcements arrived after a successful AH-1 Cobra gun-run.
“We had the option to get on the bird,” Acevedo said. “I took a vote: Do you guys want to get out of here or do you want to stay? With big-ass grins they said, ‘Give us some ammo and we’ll stay all day.’”
The hill was soon taken, and the black sheep squad returned to Patrol Base Hernandez under the cover of darkness. It was one of many victories. The squad’s area of operations, which had firefights at least every other day, went silent by the end of their second month on station.
“It didn’t shift elsewhere, it just stopped,” said former Capt. Nicholas Schmitz, who was their platoon commander.
While that battle ceased, another soon raged. A Marine attached to the company claimed he saw Acevedo shoot an unarmed insurgent during a firefight.
Acevedo’s career came to a screeching halt for the next year as he was investigated for murder.
Regaining lost faith
Acevedo doesn’t like to discuss the matter that landed him in an Article 32 hearing.
“I was bitter when I left the Marine Corps,” he said. “I left thinking this brotherhood they talk about doesn’t even exist.”
He was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing. Joseph Low, a Marine veteran who took on Acevedo’s case pro bono, said it was nothing more than a Marine “shooting his mouth off” with an untrue war story that kept getting bigger and bigger. Eventually, someone in an official capacity gets wind of the tale and the Marine Corps is forced to investigate.
Low said Corps officials did the right thing by investigating the claims, but said the service needs to do a better job of helping Marines who are found innocent in these cases “pick up the pieces.”
“There is no rebuild,” he told Marine Corps Times. “We’ll go into some of these towns in Iraq and Afghanistan and pour a lot of money and personnel hours into rebuilding the damage that was caused, but they don’t do that with individual Marines.
“I wish I could spend time with some Marine Corps officials to help them understand that accusations, true or untrue, are like a bullet out of a gun – you’ll never get it back.”
Acevedo’s case was a perfect example of that, Low said. They were able to punch holes in the claims made by the accuser, a corporal who served as a photographer during 2/1’s deployment. But the legal hiatus was also a career killer for Acevedo.
He had served eight years when the yearlong investigation started. During that time, he was unable to complete career requirements necessary to advance to staff sergeant. When ultimately cleared, Acevedo had no fight left in him.
But Low, along with Acevedo’s squad and platoon commander, would not remain quiet. Once the Marine was cleared of the charges, they pushed with vigor to ensure his actions would receive the honor due.
Schmitz, in particular, was determined to see it through. While some Bronze Stars have been turned around in as little as four months, he spent the next four years pushing through bureaucracy and cutting red tape. The former captain, who got out in 2013, admitted that he grew disillusioned and cynical, himself.
“The guy is a combat leader who did some incredible things,” he said. “It seemed like the Marine Corps couldn’t say anything good about the guy.”
“It’s disappointing that what you have done in combat and what you did to save other lives is purposefully erased and buried due to some allegations,” said Low, who joined Schmitz in his campaign.
Acevedo now works in Iraq for Triple Canopy, a provider of integrated security and mission support services. He will receive his Bronze Star with V at the Marine Corps Ball in Sonoma, California. A number of former squad members will be at his side. He would have it no other way.
“It is more of a squad award in my eyes,” he said. “Absolutely nothing could have been done without them.”
Schmitz also reached out to Mattis and asked the former head of U.S. Central Command to take part. He quickly agreed.
“The valor displayed by Sgt. Acevedo stands on its own, unadorned by who is privileged to present the actual award to him,” Mattis told Marine Corps Times. “I’m a guest at the weekend USMC birthday celebration and my role is simply to do what every Marine does when a Marine’s performance is recognized by peers and superiors as valorous – to stand and pay my respects.”
Schmitz asked Acevedo if he wanted Mattis to pin on his medal, which many Marines would consider a great honor.
“Hell no,” he said. “I like Mattis. He is a bad ass. But he wasn’t there. You were. I want you to pin it on.”
Acevedo hopes that moment will help him find closure. For the past five years he has been haunted by unanswered questions: Was he a good leader? Was he a good Marine?
“We used to joke that it is a short fall from hero to zero,” he said. “I left as a zero, and I feel like I’m always chasing it. I feel like this might let me let it go.”
A U.S. military 240-foot long blimp has broken loose from its moorings at Aberdeen Proving Grounds and is drifting northeast above the fall foliage of Pennsylvania.
The Air Force has scrambled two F-16s from the Atlantic City Air National Guard base to track the blimp, which officials say is holding at 16,000 feet. The blimp broke free at 12:20 eastern time. “NORAD officials are working closely with the FAA to ensure air traffic safety, as well as with our other interagency partners to address the safe recovery of the aerostat,” NORAD said in a statement.
The much-maligned Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated netted Sensor System, or JLENS, is not technically a blimp because it it has no propulsion, rather it is a tethered aerostat. Similar but smaller aircraft have been used for overwatch surveillance to protect U.S. bases overseas for years, including in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The JLENS has been in testing since 2009. Raytheon, the manufacturer, has billed the JLENS program as a meant to detect missile and large drones via radar. Raytheon demonstrated that the X-band radar could pick up multiple ballistic missiles back in 2012. The JLENS’s ability to track other other objects like drones is much less clear.
In the Spring, when a Florida man flew a gyrocopter from Pennsylvania to the steps of the U.S. Capital, NORAD declined repeated requests for information as to whether or not the JLENS detected the slow moving helicopter moving toward Washington, D.C. They also have yet to respond to a Defense One Freedom of information Act Request for information about the matter.
Meanwhile, the Dem candidates are yapping about prison reform and Black lives matter.
Via Stars and Stripes:
Senior members of Congress are investigating the case of two Veterans Affairs executives accused of abusing their positions to get plum jobs and perks, part of a pattern of unjustified moving incentives and transfers identified by the agency’s watchdog.
The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing on the alleged abuses for Wednesday.
And earlier this week, the chairman, ranking member and two others on the Senate panel that oversees the Department of Veterans Affairs called on Secretary Bob McDonald to hold the benefits executives accountable for what they called a “shockingly unethical misuse of funds.”
“Our committee confirmed your nomination to fundamentally overhaul and reform this struggling agency,” the senators wrote in a letter released Tuesday, signed by Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), top Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut) and Sens. Patty Murray (D-Washington) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.). “But, unfortunately, it is clear… that your well-intentioned and meaningful efforts to change the culture of VA have not yet taken hold.”
The senators asked McDonald to document “any actions you are taking” to stop the practice of “inappropriate” job relocations and provide them with a plan to overhaul the approval and reimbursement process for relocations – in particular, a program where the government buys employees’ homes.
They also demanded documentation of any federal personnel requirements that prohibit agencies from lowering the salaries of senior executives who are transferred to new jobs that carry less responsibility.
Deputy Inspector General Linda Halliday reported in September that two senior executives gamed VA’s moving-expense system for $400,000 in what she described as questionable reimbursements, with taxpayers paying $300,000 for one of them to relocate 140 miles, from the District to Philadelphia.
Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves “inappropriately used their positions of authority for personal and financial benefit when they participated personally and substantially in creating opportunities for their own transfers to positions they were interested in filling,” investigators found.
Rubens and Graves kept their salaries of $181,497 and $173,949, respectively, even though the new positions they took as directors of the Philadelphia and St. Paul, Minnesota, regional offices had less responsibility, overseeing a fraction of the employees at lower pay levels. Rubens had been deputy undersecretary for field operations.
He remembered his knife fight training from the Army five decades ago.
Via Fox News:
A former Army vet is recovering from stab wounds after putting himself between 16 terrified children and a knife-wielding teen determined to kill at an Illinois public library this week.
“He actually ran into the room yelling, ‘I’m going to kill some people!’” James Vernon told the Pekin Daily Times Thursday.
Vernon, 75 – a retired Caterpillar technology worker and Army vet – is recovering from surgery at his home in Morton, Illinois. He was leading a chess club meeting with local kids at the Morton library Tuesday afternoon when Dustin Brown, 19, burst into the room holding a knife in each hand and threatening the children.
“I failed my mission to kill everyone,” Brown told police Thursday, according to a prosecutor’s court affidavit that accompanied formal charges, including attempted murder.
Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, who helped take down a gunman on a train in Belgium, was stabbed four times in the chest in Sacramento early Thursday morning, Air Force Times has learned.
“A1C Spencer Stone has been transported to a local hospital, and is currently being treated for injury,” Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Karns said in an email in Air Force Times. “The incident is currently under investigation by local law enforcement. He is currently in stable condition.”
Sacramento Deputy Police Chief Ken Bernard said Stone was with four other friends – one male and three females – when they got into a dispute with another group of people that culminating in Stone being stabbed.
“He is currently being treated for what appears to be non-life threatening but very significant injuries,” Bernard said during a news conference on Thursday. “The assault does not appear to be a random act. It’s believed to be related to a nightclub incident.”
The incident was not an act of terrorism or a hate crime, said Bernard, who repeatedly declined to answer questions about how the altercation started. Police are looking for two suspects, described as Asian men wearing white t-shirts and blue jeans who drove a gray or black Toyota Camry.
Police have not yet spoken to Stone, so they don’t know if he was drinking before the assault, said Bernard, who added that police believe “folks in his party were drinking that evening.”
On Aug. 21, Stone and two friends Army Spc. Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler, bravely disarmed and subdued a gunman on a train from Amsterdam to Paris. The gunman stabbed Stone about an inch-and-a-half from his carotid artery and nearly severed Stone’s thumb during the struggle.
Stone later told reporters that he did not hesitate to charge the gunman even though he fully expected to be killed.
“I’m not going to run away,” he told reporters on Sept. 15. “I’m not going to leave everyone to die. I’d rather die trying than sit back and watch everyone get slaughtered.”
Stone, Skarlatos and Sadler all received France’s Legion of Honor. Stone was later awarded the Purple Heart and Airman’s Medal. Four days ago, he posted a picture on Instagram after receiving Belgium’s highest honor from that country’s prime minister.
A Sacramento TV station reported that Thursday’s stabbing happened about 12:45 a.m. on a Sacramento street corner.
The victim suffered “multiple stab wounds to his torso,” ABC10 Sacramento reported. Police initially said he was in critical condition but is now expected to survive.
Although the Air Force has identified Stone as the stabbing victim, Sacramento police have not officially named the person who was stabbed.
Sacramento police said they received a call from about the stabbing from a passerby, a news release says.
“It is believed that the victim was out with a group of friends when a physical altercation led to the victim being stabbed multiple times in his upper body,” the news release says. “Detectives were called to the scene to assist with the investigation and the victim is currently being treated for what appears to be non-life threatening injuries.”
The news release does not include the name of the man stabbed, who is only identified as “a man in his 20s.”
“The Sacramento Police Department respects the identity of all crime victims and appreciates your patience as we work to provide you with further details,” the news release says.
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James posted on Facebook on Thursday that she was saddened to hear that Stone had been involved in the stabbing incident.
“His injuries are serious but he is in stable condition,” James wrote. “Many of you know that he risked his life weeks ago to save many lives during a French train attack. The circumstances for today’s incident are under investigation by the local law enforcement. Meanwhile, please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
House lawmakers say the Veterans Affairs Department’s $2.6 billion budget shortfall for this fiscal year is further proof of administrators’ incompetence and poor planning.
VA officials have a slightly different take, saying the shortfall is a sign of their extraordinary efforts to get veterans the medical care they need, regardless of the cost.
Either way, the department has a gigantic deficit to fill in the next three months.
It also could mean furloughs, hiring freezes and program cancellations if a solution can’t be found.
“We are going to do the right thing for veterans and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson told members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Thursday. “But to succeed, we need the flexibility to use funds to meet veterans needs as they arise.”
Without that, he said, “we get to dire circumstances before August. We will have to start denying care to some veterans.”
Lawmakers were enraged that the department is only now informing them of significant shortfalls in this year’s budget, with the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.
“I have come to expect a startling lack of transparency and accountability from VA over the last years,” said committee chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla. “But failing to inform Congress of a multibillion-dollar funding deficit until this late in the fiscal year… is disturbing on an entirely different level.” – Source: Military Times
Meanwhile, back at the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest says the United States will direct $4.5 billion to help address the dire conditions inside Syria and in refugee camps scattered across the region. – Source: Breitbart
The money will come through the U.S. Agency for International Development and Congress will not have to approve the additional spending.
So, the Veterans face a $2.6 Billion shortfall in their health care, but the While House and Congress have found a whopping $4.5 Billion to ship over to help Syrians who are overrunning Europe.
Priorities are definitely in order at the White House and in the halls of Congress.
Deserter Bowe Bergdahl with the Taliban.
Retired Colonel David Hunt broke the news on The O’Reilly Factor that the the Obama administration had proof that Bowe Bergdahl deserted to the Taliban.
The Obama administration did not use the evidence in his trial.
Colonel David Hunt explained it:
Col. David Hunt (retired): June 30, 2009, Bergdahl deserts his post in southeast Afghanistan. July 1st and 2nd, in a standard briefing to a commander of his unit, Fourth Brigade ot the 25th Infantry division, we have tapes of Taliban talking on Bergdahl’s phone saying that Bergdahl wanted to join them. And we have the Taliban on their own phones talking about Bergdahl trying to join them. This information was known July 2nd on and yet we still traded him for five terrorists, had a White House ceremony and now we’ve taken two years since he’s come back to do something which takes 90 days. The government has not yet and it doesn’t sound like it’s going to even use these tapes against Sgt Bergdahl.
Bill O’Reilly: How did they get the tapes?
Col. Hunt: It doesn’t make sense. None of it makes any sense on Bergdahl.
Bill O’Reilly: How did the government get the tapes?
Col. David Hunt: There are programs, we’ve been doing it since World War II, in which we listen to the enemy, and people who are speaking Pashtun and any language the Taliban in that section are using, were listening because they were told to and they were also listening to Bergdahl’s phone. What they heard was the Taliban on Bergdahl’s phone because he had joined them by then. So it’s a military program.
Bill O’Reilly: So, once again the tapes say that Bergdahl deserted and wanted to join the Taliban.
Col. Hunt: Yes the tapes are available. The government’s not using them.
The Obama administration knows these tapes are out there yet chose not to use the evidence during Bergdahl’s trial.
It’s just the latest Obama scandal.
Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, hailed as a hero around the world for helping stop a gunman’s planned rampage on a train in France last month, will receive the Purple Heart, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Monday.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter will preside over the award ceremony Thursday at which Stone will receive the Purple Heart, as well as the Airman’s Medal, James said at her keynote address at the Air Force Association’s Air and Space Conference. The Air Force had previously announced Stone would receive the Airman’s Medal, which is the Air Force’s highest noncombat award.
Stone’s friend, Army Spc. Alek Skarlatos of the Oregon National Guard, will also be honored in the Pentagon’s center courtyard Thursday.
Stone, Skarlatos and their friend Anthony Sadler were on vacation Aug. 21 when they subdued, disarmed and hogtied a heavily armed gunman on a train heading from Amsterdam to Paris. The gunman, who was armed with an AK-47, a Luger and a box cutter, stabbed Stone during the melee, sending him to the hospital. France awarded all three Americans the Legion of Merit within days of the attack.
Stone “personified [Air Force] values in an extremely heroic fashion when he stopped evil on a French train three weeks ago,” James said.
James said Stone will appear at the AFA conference, as well as other events around Washington later this week.
Last month, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Stone was not eligible for other valor awards such as the Bronze Star with “V” or the Silver Star because his bravery was not during combat. But Welsh left open the possibility of awarding him the Purple Heart, if the attack was determined to be a terrorist attack. Welsh said that at the time the precedent set by awarding the Purple Heart victims of the 2009 Fort Hood attack could allow Stone to receive the same award.
Purple Hearts are typically awarded only for combat actions. But the 2015 Defense Authorization Act extended eligibility for the Purple Heart to service members killed or wounded in attacks by foreign terrorist organizations.
Doug Sterner, curator of the Military Times Hall of Valor, said last month that awarding Stone the Purple Heart – because it is almost always considered a combat medal – could open the door to higher valor awards.
In her speech, James joked about the instant celebrity Stone’s bravery brought him – including an appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Live talk show, in which Stone received a new sports car.
“In case you missed it, let me assure you, because I watched Jimmy Kimmel the other night, Spencer Stone will not have any difficulty getting here to Washington, because he was just awarded a brand new Camaro,” James said. “So he’s got a sweet new ride.”
The YouTube page of Iranian “Supreme Leader” Ali Khamenei has released a new video titled “if any war happens,” which casts a particularly threatening tone in predicting that the Islamic Republic would defeat the United States should war break out between the two sides.
The video begins by quoting President Obama when he mentioned that the United States could quickly dispose of Iran’s military apparatus, should the U.S. need to deploy the military option to stop Iran from becoming armed with a nuclear weapon.
Next, a photo of the White House appears, with the Ayatollah’s voice in the background stating, “A U.S. official has said that he can destroy Iran’s army.”
“I do not want to say anything more in this regard. Our predecessors used to call such statements, ‘boasting among strangers,’” Khamenei adds, as another image is shown of an individual pulling a weapon out while standing next to two men who appear to be a portrayal of Americans in cowboy hats.
The video then highlights Iran’s military arsenal, and includes a short animation of ships storming a “USS NAVY” warship, while also showcasing its homemade tank, and a U.S. drone that Iran claims it has reengineered for its military’s use.
Next, the video flashes to a photo that shows two missiles along with a Hezbollah flag and a photo of its leader, Hassan Nasrallah.
“We neither welcome nor begin any war,” the Ayatollah’s voice continues, while an animation appears of an Iranian missile being fired at U.S. troops in Afghanistan. “They must know that should any way break out, one will emerge humiliated out of it,” he adds.
“One will emerge humiliated out of it,” and it “will be invading and criminal America,” Khamenei concludes, as a photo is shown of American soldiers carrying a coffin draped with an American flag.
The video concludes with a photo of Khamenei marching among Iran’s military leaders with the caption, “Iranian Army.”
Khamenei’s provocative video comes just days after he threatened to annihilate Israel within the next 25 years.
“Firstly, you will not see 25 years; God willing, there will be nothing as Zionist regime by next 25 years. Secondly, until then, struggling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists,” the Iranian dictator tweeted Wednesday.
The same day, the Mullah pledged that Iran would never again negotiate with the “Great Satan” America following the nuclear accord between world powers and Tehran.