Saturday, June 28, 2014

On average, 22 veterans commit suicide each day. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), unemployment, substance abuse, and homelessness are some of the many challenges veterans face upon returning home. 
The Library of Congress Veterans History Project hosted a panel today discussing the causes, effects, and treatments for PTSD among veterans. In order to dispel myths about post-traumatic stress and alleviate stigmas and misconceptions, experts and clinicians stress that PTSD should not be something we talk about in hushed tones. It is imperative that we pay special attention to the stories of mission, purpose, and service that our veterans can teach.

In light of National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Day, Townhall got a first look at one veteran’s assessment of the traditional paradigm of veteran reintegration.

Chad Grills, an Army Infantry Veteran who has served in Iraq and Egypt, says that the recent headlines of tragedy and corruption at the Department of Veterans Affairs are only the beginning symptoms of larger systemic problems. He believes that America needs our veterans to become the leaders, entrepreneurs, and politicians of the future.

Grills explains that the VA often gives outdated, irrelevant information on how to deal with post-traumatic stress. In his book project Veterans: Don’t Reintegrate, Rebuild America, he creates the roadmap veterans should receive when they return to the states.

Townhall asked Chad Grills to describe the strategies leaders can use to address the veteran suicide rate:
Addressing The Veteran Suicide Rate
The veteran suicide epidemic will only slow down when we remove barriers to talking about these issues. Real suicide prevention training in the military begins when leaders get up and share their own stories of battling depression. Many military leaders fear that they’ll lose their jobs should they display vulnerability. The sad part is, these fears are well founded. But, speaking openly and candidly about depression carries a huge opportunity. This display of vulnerability has the potential to ignite camaraderie amongst units. All leaders have to do is tell a simple story that showcases their own vulnerability.
This display will allow future conversations about the subject to happen more naturally.
• When it's appropriate or comes up in conversation, tell a story about battling your own depression.
• Sit with the feelings of awkwardness that might arise, from both your subordinates, and yourself.
• Fight that cringe, push past it, and acknowledge verbally how ridiculous it is that something so important is so hard to talk about, and move on.
• The next display of vulnerability is easier, and a sense of camaraderie is inevitable after a unit is allowed to have honest conversations.

Real, public displays of speaking without shame about topics like depression are a must to build the trust that can save lives later.
How leaders can effectively address veteran unemployment:
Employment Strategies
It’s important that veterans ignore every traditional channel of getting hired. This includes avoiding sending unsolicited resumes and most career fairs. Instead, veterans should connect directly with the highest-level person at any company they may be interested in working for. Ideally, find the email addresses of three upper level folks (C level executives are fine) and reach out directly. Keep your email short, to the point, and ask a thoughtful question at the end. Don’t ask for a job, but include a signal that you’ve studied the company and are curious what tips that executive might offer for an aspiring person in their field. The goal is to start a meaningful dialogue. These are the decision makers who can eventually contact HR and expedite the interview process. When hiring managers are handed a resume by their bosses, they tend to study it more closely then those that come in unsolicited.
In order to publish his book, Chad Grills has set up a Kickstarter campaign that expires July 11. You can click here to donate.
Night Watch

North Korea: Military crews fired three short range rockets or missiles into the Sea of Japan today. News outlets speculated they might have been new cruise missiles. 
 
Comment: It is normal for North Korea to test rockets and missiles, especially new weapons. South Korean press reported this was the tenth episode of firings this year, which is much higher than in most years.

The North recently has chosen to use rocket and missiles launches to display its displeasure with South Korea or the US or both. It said so in propaganda statements. Thus, today's launches could be the start of another complaint over South Korean or US training.

Afghanistan: A spokesman of the Ministry of National Defense said that fighting in Sangin District of Helmand Province has nearly ended, but that operations continue in Nawzad, Musa Qala and Kajaki districts. He admitted that Taliban fighters still control a region in Sangin.

Comment: Open sources contain few details of the fighting, but it is an important test of the capabilities of Afghan forces. They could use air support, which was essential to the safety of US and NATO forces. Air power is the one capability of which the Taliban remain afraid and for which they are defenseless.

Iraq: Security. Lieutenant General Ata said today that Iraqi security forces cleansed the University of Tikrit from the terrorist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) elements and raised the Iraqi flag on the university building. He said that this took place following a heli-borne assault by Iraqi special forces. He said that scores of terrorists were killed in this operation. At least one Iraqi helicopter crashed during the assault.

ISIL claimed to have taken control of major natural gas fields in northern Iraq today and of another town southwest of Baghdad.

A suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt killed at least seven and injured 36 others in a Baghdad neighborhood.

Comment: The counter-attack at Tikrit is the most salient of recent signs of an emerging counter-offensive. Iraqi forces are taking advantage of ISIL's over-extension which degrades its ability to defend territory beyond Mosul. ISIL might have lost its opportunity to execute a terror attack in Baghdad.

Politics. The new Iraqi parliament will convene its first session on 1 July.

Iraq-Russia: Prime Minister al-Maliki told the press today that Iraq has bought used fighter jets from Russia and Belarus to battle Islamist militants. He said the aircraft should arrive in two or three days.

"God willing within one week this force will be effective and will destroy the terrorists' dens," he said.

Comment: Al-Maliki did not disclose the numbers or types of aircraft or other arrangements, such as technical support, spare and repair parts, ordnance supplies and training assistance. He did make clear, however, that he went to the Russians and Belarus for assistance because US aid takes so long to arrive.

Provided the Russians and Belarus can deliver what they promise on time, both will have stolen another march on the US. As in Afghanistan, air superiority is the antidote to the terrorists' ground mobility.

In his press interview, al-Maliki confirmed the reports of Syrian air strikes inside Iraq. He denied requesting the Syrian air strikes, but indicated he welcomed any and all help. He said, "They carry out their strikes and we carry out ours, and the final winners are our two countries."

Syria: The Syrian air force on 26 June carried out an airstrike 138 kilometers (85 miles) west of Mosul, in the Rabia border area, targeting elements of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant,

Comment: The Rabia border crossing point is in far northwestern Iraq, just south of the Turkey-Iraq-Syria tri-border point. It is on a main highway and the railroad line that runs from Mosul to Turkey, via northeastern Syria.

Cameroon: Defense forces killed 10 Boko Haram terrorists in three clashes in northern Cameroon near the border with Nigeria since Sunday.

Comment: These are the only ten Boko Haram members reported to have been killed by security forcesthis week. Nigeria managed to capture two, but killed none.

Two of the clashes occurred at small villages in northern Cameroon. Cameroonian defense forces killed the attackers and drove them away with no reported casualties for the forces of order and civilian populace. Somehow Nigeria cannot do what Cameroon does regularly to defend villages.

End of NightWatch

Obama letting Benghazi suspects off hook, recent arrest “small potatoes”

 Pamela Geller / Atlas Shrugs

“He was low-hanging fruit,” one source told Fox News. “We could have picked him up months and months ago and there was no change, or urgency to do this now.” Obama tries to hide his weakness and fecklessness with actions like this one. It’s a futile effort. The world knows that the global policeman has left the arena.

Stay on top of what’s really happening. Follow me on Twitter here. Like me on Facebook here.
Obama3“Sources: US letting Benghazi suspects off hook, recent arrest ‘small potatoes,’” by Adam Housley, FoxNews.com, June 27, 2014:
Despite President Obama’s promise to stay focused on hunting down those responsible for the 2012 Benghazi attack — and despite a recent arrest touted as a major takedown — sources say little has been done to nab the other suspects.
According to multiple sources on the ground, including some with direct knowledge of the operations to identify and hunt the Benghazi suspects, intelligence that could have been acted upon at times has been ignored or put on hold. Further, they say, the recent capture of Ahmed Abu Khattala — now on a ship bound for the U.S., expected to arrive this weekend — was an easy one.
“He was low-hanging fruit,” one source told Fox News. “We could have picked him up months and months ago and there was no change, or urgency to do this now.”
Former Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack. Khattala was long thought to be involved, but is also considered by some to be rather low on the suspect list.
According to sources, the United States has a “target list” that initially contained about 10 suspects identified within days of the attack and eventually grew to more than 20 as American Special Forces conducted surveillance in and around Benghazi.
The four groups on the “target list” include Ansar al-Sharia, with the top target being the “Emir of Ansar al Sharia,” Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda bin Qumu. He was a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay for more than five years and at the time was classified by analysts at the prison as “a probable member of Al Qaeda.” Despite this significant threat to American security and allies, bin Qumu was released as part of an amnesty for militants in 2008. Sources told Fox News that intelligence has shown his involvement in the attacks, and actionable intelligence has for some reason been ignored.
In this same group, but at the bottom of the list, is Khattala.
Multiple sources with direct knowledge of the Benghazi attack also question why more of the investigation hasn’t been centered on the Libyan landlord of the American facilities in Benghazi, Mohammad al-Bishari. Some in the region that night insist that al-Bishari “knows a lot more than he is letting on” and “is a key connection to everyone else that night” — and should be at the very least intensely questioned about what he may know about the attack. Al-Bishari is also said to have bought a new hotel in Benghazi.
When contacted by Fox News, al-Bishari asserted his innocence and said that the United States still owes him money for the damage done to both the consulate and the annex the night of the Benghazi attack.
Others on “the target list” include Al Qaeda and “Libyan militants.”
As Fox News previously reported last fall, American Special Forces on multiple occasions weren’t allowed to go after harder and more important targets, even though they had multiple chances and opportunities to do so over the course of 16 months. The team, which was officially assigned around Tripoli to train Libyan Special Forces, was also tasked with finding the Libyan suspects responsible for the Benghazi attack. While a U.S. official told Fox News that the operators in question were not specifically tasked with finding the Libyan suspects responsible for the Benghazi attack, a source in the region countered the claims, saying “it’s partly a cover.”
Complicating the hunt, the U.S.-developed training camp on the outskirts of Tripoli was taken over a few months ago by militia groups who are now hoarding weapons, according to sources. The worry is this camp, abandoned by U.S. trainers, is being used to attack the new Libyan government and possibly western interests.
As for Khattala, the investigation has shown that he was essentially the ground force commander and is directly tied to Ansar al-Sharia and the broader network including Al Qaeda — and there is direct evidence linking him before and after the attack. Khattala was also a member of the Libyan Shield, a militia formed to protect Benghazi while operating separate from Tripoli. Intelligence has shown that it and almost all the Libyan militias are tied to Ansar al-Sharia — and commanders from some of these militias thought to be friendly and who have worked with American personnel have flipped sides and affiliated with Ansar al-Sharia.
“Ansar al-Sharia is saturating the whole region of eastern Libya with money, training and personnel. They are now the biggest organization in town,” one intelligence source said.

“[Khattala] is the actionable guy and the target, but the [Al Qaeda] network is much larger. He is tied to terrorists throughout the region by our guys on the ground. Overall he is small potatoes to the larger Al Qaeda and terrorist network in the region,” said another intelligence officer.
The post Obama letting Benghazi suspects off hook, recent arrest “small potatoes” appeared first on Pamela Geller, Atlas Shrugs.

ISIL on Twitter: “#CalamityWillBefallUS”

Robert Spencer / Jihad Watch

On Twitter today, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is heavily promoting the hashtag “#CalamityWillBefallUS.” The account from which these are taken is “Prophet’s Khilafa,” which bills itself thusly: “This account is dedicated to spreading the #NEWS of #Islamic_State_Of_Iraq_And_Sham\#ISIS to the #English speaking audience.”

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Newsmax

Rep. Darrell Issa on IRS Chief's Testimony: 'One Step Shy of Perjury'
By Todd Beamon
 
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa on Friday said that IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was "one step shy of perjury" in the testimony he gave before the panel this week on the missing emails in the agency's targeting scandal.

"He was disingenuous, which is a nice term — or, in fact, he didn't tell the whole truth, which is what I said in front of the whole committee," the California Republican told Greta Van Susteren on her Fox News program. "He's certainly way past meeting his obligation of as an officer of the court to tell the whole truth."

Issa was referring to Koskinen's testimony at a rare Monday night hearing in which he attacked "obstruction by the IRS" over emails written by former supervisor Lois Lerner that the committee wants for review.

The Internal Revenue Service said two weeks ago that it lost a trove of Lerner's emails in a 2011 computer crash.

"I'm sick and tired of your game-playing in response to congressional oversight," Issa told Koskinen at the hearing.

The agency was found in May 2013 to have targeted tea party, conservative, and religious groups in their applications for tax-exempt status. Lerner headed the division that scrutinized the applications. The targeting occurred before the 2012 elections.

Lerner, who retired last September because of the scandal, was found in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about the targeting before Issa's committee.

In his interview, Issa told Van Susteren that many of the missing emails could be recovered.

"There's two sides to every email," he said. "Many of Lois Lerner's emails went to multiple recipients. A great deal of them can still be found."

Issa described Lerner as "a criminal conspirator" — regarding both the missing emails and the targeting of the conservative groups. His committee has also subpoenaed records from Lerner's term as head of the Federal Election Commission after reports that she had engaged in similar scrutiny of conservative groups.

"We don't know who all she conspired with," Issa said, adding that both his panel and the House Ways and Means Committee have recommended that the Justice Department pursue criminal charges against Lerner.

He also noted the release of emails this week by Ways and Means showing that Lerner referred Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley for a possible audit.

"She broke rules. She broke laws — and it's very clear after the Grassley revelation that this was somebody who was trying to hurt people with her actions," Issa said.

He noted that she had "sent 1.1 million records to the Department of Justice hoping to get prosecutions against" the nonprofit groups.

Issa and GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio requested IRS documents in the matter earlier this month.

"It didn't always work, but she sure tried," Issa said.


High court rules against Obama on appointments

Richard Wolf, USA Today

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court dealt a blow to the powers of the presidency Thursday, ruling decisively that President Obama violated the Constitution by going around the Senate to name key labor and financial watchdogs.

Resolving a longstanding battle between the two other branches of government, the justices declared invalid key "recess appointments" made by Obama in 2012 when the Senate was holding only pro-forma sessions every three days.

But the majority opinion by Justice Stephen Breyer did not go further and strike down most other methods by which presidents fill key jobs when the Senate is unavailable. While the ruling as it affects Obama's appointments was unanimous, four conservative justices would have applied the restriction far more broadly.

Instead, the court stopped short of limiting such appointments to remote periods and circumstances, as a federal appeals court had ruled last year.

"Because the Senate was in session during its pro forma sessions, the president made the recess appointments before us during a break too short to count as recess," Breyer said. "For that reason, the appointments are invalid." He was joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Cast in the hyper-political environment of 2014, the battle pit Obama's brazen appointments against Senate Republicans' unprecedented efforts to block or delay his nominations. It lost its immediate relevance last fall when Democrats changed the Senate's rules to deprive the Republican minority of its ability to block nominations.

"More than anything, today's Supreme Court ruling underscores the importance of the rules reform Senate Democrats enacted last November," said Majority Leader Harry Reid.

If Republicans take control of the Senate in November, however -- and whenever the White House and Senate are controlled by opposite parties -- the high court's ruling will prevent presidents from sidestepping the Constitution's confirmation process during similar three-day recesses.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell hailed the ruling. "The president made an unprecedented power grab by placing political allies at a powerful federal agency while the Senate was meeting regularly and without even bothering to wait for its advice and consent," he said. "A unanimous Supreme Court has rejected this brazen power-grab."

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the remaining four justices that a president's recess appointments power should be limited far more than the court allowed, because the Senate always can be called back into session to confirm nominees.

"The majority practically bends over backward to ensure that recess appointments will remain a powerful weapon in the president's arsenal," he said. "That is unfortunate, because the recess appointment power is an anachronism."

After enduring three years of Republican opposition, Obama opened 2012 by naming three members to the quorum-starved National Labor Relations Board and the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau while the Senate was gaveling in and out every 72 hours, usually without conducting any business.

Obama said the Senate, for all intents and purposes, was in recess. Under the Constitution, presidents can fill vacancies during recesses for up to two years without Senate confirmation.

Enter Pepsi bottler Noel Canning of Yakima, Wash., which contested a 2012 decision of the labor board dominated by Obama's recess appointees. It won more than it bargained for at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which ruled that such appointments are constitutional only when vacancies occur and are filled during the annual break between congressional sessions.

That is a more literal reading of the Constitution that Scalia endorsed in his opinion, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. Had their view prevailed, future presidents would have been far more limited in making recess appointments.

Stiill, the high court's ruling means that hundreds of decisions made by the labor board while dominated by Obama's recess appointees in 2012 and half of 2013 will be called into question. The new five-member board, including four members since approved by the Senate, may have to revisit those cases. Consumer protection chief Richard Cordray has since been confirmed by the Senate, so he can reaffirm his prior actions.

Ronald Reagan made 232 recess appointments during his eight years in office. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush each made well more than 100. In 1903, Theodore Roosevelt made more than 160 recess appointments during one short break between congressional sessions.

To date, Obama has made only 32 recess appointments. But in this case, he did so to get around the Senate's intransigence rather than its absence -- something both liberal and conservative justices frowned upon during oral arguments in January.

The recess appointments power was more pertinent when senators left town on "horseback," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said at the time.

Added Justice Elena Kagan: "This is not the horse-and-buggy era anymore."
Op-ed:  
An armchair terrorist vets moderate rebels  
By: Diane Sori

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse in the Middle East...just when you thought hell had already broken loose...in sashays Barack HUSSEIN Obama...a muslim and what I call an 'armchair terrorist' in his own right...who had the audacity to now ask Congress for $500 million to help "train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the moderate Syrian armed opposition."

Wanting...as he says..."to empower the moderate Syrian opposition," what this man does NOT get or gets but does NOT give a damn about is that the Syrian opposition are themselves terrorists as they get funding, weapons, and support from al-Qaeda...and that ISIS...whose base of operations into Iraq is from Syria...is a direct offshoot of al-Qaeda.

In other words Barack HUSSEIN Obama has now in-our-face taken sides on America's behalf...without 'We the People's' permission I might add...in a sovereign nation's civil war and done so on the side of the 'so-called' moderate Syrian rebels. But what he can't get through his thick skull is that there is NO such thing as a moderate terrorist...oops I mean rebel...and know that these rebels are indeed terrorists but terrorists who love to pose with American politicians to show that even terrorists can smile for the cameras before they take a knife to your throat.

So as the saying goes, 'one hand washes the other' and Obama's hands are the dirtiest of all as he's had and still has direct contact with these anything but moderate rebels. And with his having already chosen sides for America, Obama fails to understand that as bad as al-Assad is he is still better than those out to remove him from office.

And with the Senate Armed Services Committee already having approved a version of the defense policy bill authorizing the Defense Department to provide 'equipment, supplies, training, and defense services' to elements of the Syrian opposition that have been screened...gee I wonder by who as it has NOT been made public which 'supposed' moderate Syrian rebels they intend to train and support. And with Obama now wanting $500 million out of the $1.5 billion package targeted for what he calls a 'regional stabilization initiative' involving his muslim brethren in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq...Obama again does NOT care that he's supporting...that he has America supporting...the badder of the two bad guys.

So by his funding these anything but moderate rebels, Obama is actually helping to fund and equip ISIS, because ISIS has many members working amongst these 'moderate rebels'. And ISIS is the most brutal of the brutal whose focused goal is to establish an islamic caliphate in the region one head at a time if need be, and who right now has overrun major portions of Iraq along with surrounding Baghdad on three sides.

And as ISIS slowly completes its choke hold on Baghdad, having major area's north and west of the city already under their control, they've now reached the town of Mansouriyat al-Jabalthat's which is just an hour from the outskirts of Baghdad city proper...a town that's home to four natural gas fields, and that folks is NOT good at all. And with al-Qaeda proper having begun to merge with both ISIS forces and troops from the al-Nusra front...and with ISIS now controlling all key border crossings on the Iraqi side of the Syrian border along with their taking of U.S. made weapons from retreating Iraqi forces...you just know Iraq could soon fall. And if Iraq falls could Syria...especially its eastern portions...or Afghanistan be far behind.

Can that scenario really happen...YES it can...as Obama wants our Congress to help fund and arm these bast*rds to help expedite the process of establishing his oh-so-wanted islamic caliphate post haste. And to speed up that process the funding of the so-called 'moderate rebels' fits into his plan quite nicely. After all, since he physically can't join in the battle...NOT that this wimp in presidential clothing would ever have the courage to pick up a gun and fight...what Obama feels he can at least do is fund and side with those out to kill us all...that is all of us who unlike him do NOT straddle the ground with our butts in the air pointing east.

But even with things in Iraq looking their bleakest right now one glimmer of hope did surface...a glimmer that could have American blood spilled and treasure spent maybe NOT being in vein...a glimmer that NO thanks to Obama had Iraqi forces... American trained Iraqi forces...launching an airborne assault on Saddam Hussein's hometown and now rebel-held city of Tikrit, as they landed three helicopters with commandos in a stadium for a counter-attack against the ISIS forces...and they successfully held them back.

And so as Obama now escalates the U.S. role in the Middle East in Syria by his choosing sides with the 'supposed' vetting and then funding rebel fighters (but hopefully he'll do so with Congressional approval and without us actually funding islamic extremists and terrorists as the militant and moderate rebels seem to have merged and morphed into one cohesive force) this man has now inserted America into Syria's civil war.

And with his sending 300 military advisers into Iraq to help 'advise' the government forces on how to deal with ISIS and to help train them in that dealing, Obama has inserted us back into the Iraq conflict after his having pulled us out two years ago. And with said pull-out that should have meant the U.S. involvement in the Iraq war theater was over...involvement in a country that now thanks to ISIS has little if any effective national borders left. Yet by doing what he's doing with the military advisers along with his having drones flying overhead...isn't he getting us again involved in a war without a 'Declaration of War' from Congress...just something to think about...just something to fear.