Friday, December 21, 2012

4 Dead After Shooter's Spree in Pennsylvania

Three people were killed in Pennsylvania, on Friday, during a man's shooting spree. By the end of it police had killed the shooter, and were processing five separate crime scenes.

It began about 09:00 EST in Geeseytown, at the Juniata Valley Gospel Church. A man shot through the windows of the church, then came inside, shot and killed one of the two women working there, and then left. He then drove to a nearby house, shot and killed a man there, and drove away once again. As he drove, he crashed head on to another vehicle, shot and killed that driver, and spend off once more.

Not long after that he crashed head on to a police cruiser, got out of his vehicle and opened fire. The three officers, inside the cruiser, returned fire, killing the shooter. All three officers were injured in the crash and or shooting, but were later released after receiving treatment at the hospital.

Police have not yet identified the victims or the shooter. They are working on figuring out a motive, but say they're not near one yet. No connection between the shooter and his three victims has been found. Nor have they found a connection between the victims, other than that they all were within a few miles of each other, when the shootings happened.

South Sudan Shoots Down UN Helicopter

A UN helicopter was shot down in South Sudan, on Friday, killing all four Russians on board.

Secretary General Ban Ki Moon was quick to condemn the shooting of a clearly marked helicopter.

South Sudan claims that they thought they had shot down a Sudanese plane dropping weapons to the Yau Yau rebels.

The South regularly accuses Sudan of supplying the Yau Yau.

They have since apologized for shooting the helicopter, but state that the UN had told them they had nothing in the area, before they opened fire.

Russia has already warned they would abandon the mission, due to previous attacks upon UN helicopters.

After this incident they will most likely go through with their promise.

Denver Testing Emergency Sirens

Denver will be testing it's emergency sirens, during Friday.

The Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is holding the test.

Fifty-six new sirens and twenty-one upgraded sirens will be tested at some point during the day.

A statement from the city of Denver joked that any sirens heard during the day, would not be the end of the world, just a test.

The emergency sirens are mostly used to warn of tornadoes, but could be used for any form of emergency situation.

IDF Solider Attacked Near Ramallah

An IDF soldier, who was on guard, Thursday night, was attacked by two assailants.

Overcast conditions allowed the two to sneak onto the base, near Ramallah.

Around 02:00 IST, two men came upon the guard and pepper sprayed him before he could react.

They then beat him and stole his rifle.

An IDF spokesperson said, "Although the incident has criminal characteristics, the IDF regards it as a terror attack. The IDF will continue to fully investigate the incident."

The IDF believes that it was carried out by two Palestinian men.

Deadly Freeze Hits Eastern Europe

Eighty-nine people have been reported dead, due to the freeze hitting eastern Europe.

Ukraine says at least eighty-three have died there, with Bulgaria and Romania combining for the other six.

Temperatures have gone as low as -9F, during the last week and heavy snows have buried some areas.

Military forces have been sent out to try and keep roads clear as the Ukrainian government opens shelters to provide warmth and hot food for the elderly and homeless.

Forecasters warn that if anything changes it will be temperatures dropping even further.

Around one hundred people die annually from Ukraine's winter, and this one looks to be a lot worse than normal.

39 Killed in Kenyan Tribal Violence

At least thirty-nine people were killed, on Friday, in the Tana River Delta, of Kenya.

Members of the Pokomo tribe raided into the Orma area, killing thirty and losing nine of their own, in the process.

Twenty of the thirty dead Orma were women and children.

Another thirty people were injured, during the attack, which also saw at least forty-five homes burnt down.

This latest fight brings the death toll, for the month of December, over one hundred.

The two groups are fighting over pastures for their livestock.

Kenyan authorities say no one was arrested, but they will be sending extra security forces, in hopes of stopping further violence.

Renewed Clashes in Alexandria

Clashes renewed in Alexandria, Egypt as protesters and Morsi supporters tried to attack each other.

Police were able to keep the two sides apart, using teargas at times to force them to back off.

Reports of at least twenty injured came out, including one police officer.

However, thanks to police efforts, blood didn't run like it did earlier in the week.

Last time the two sides fought with sticks, stones, clubs, and swords.

Saturday will see the second half of voting for the controversial proposed constitution.

Opponents say that it is too close to Shariah law, while supporters chant about how that's exactly what they want.

Syria Launching Scuds Again

Both NATO and the US are saying that Syria is back to launching scud missiles at rebel targets.

Syria is again denying their use, but the US and NATO both claim to have visual evidence, from surveillance satellites and drones.

The regime had been accused of firing them a week before, but had halted their use.

International and rebel worries are that the Assad regime will begin attaching their prepared chemical weapons, to the missiles, and launch those.

Meanwhile, the UN says that between two and three thousand Syrians are fleeing the country, every day.

According to their numbers, over a million people are currently refugees in other countries and at least four million have been displaced, but are still in Syria.

Those estimates place a fifth of the country's population as either refugees in other countries or displaced inside Syria.

During the twenty-one month conflict over fifty thousand people have died.

Russia's Duma Passes Anti-Magnitsky Act

Russia's lower house, the Duma, passed the anti-Magnitsky Act, on Friday.

The bill blocks certain US citizens from entering Russia or adopting Russian children.

It also bans dual citizens from belonging to foreign non-governmental organizations.

Putin has backed off from agreeing to sign it, stating that Russian opposition to the bill may be too large.

He reminded the Duma that petitions against the bill, must be investigated, before he can sign it.

Opponents claim to have over one hundred thousand signatures, of people who are against the bill.

This all was in response to a US bill, called the Magnitsky Act, that places a visa ban and implements asset freezes on Russian officials believed to be responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky.

Magnitsky mysteriously died in 2009, in a Moscow jail, after accusing officials of tax fraud.

From The Mouth of Matuszak: State Department Report on Benghazi

The unclassified version of the US Department of State's report on the terrorist attacks in Benghazi and elsewhere begins:

Four Board members were selected by the Secretary of State and one member from the intelligence community (IC) was selected by the Director for National Intelligence. Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering served as Chairman, with Admiral Michael Mullen as Vice Chairman. Additional members were Catherine Bertini, Richard Shinnick, and Hugh Turner, who represented the IC.

The criminal investigation of the September 11-12, 2012, Benghazi attacks, for which the statutory responsibility rests with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was still underway at the time of this report. The Board enjoyed excellent cooperation with the Department of Justice and FBI throughout preparation of this report. The key questions surrounding the identity, actions and motivations of the perpetrators remain to be determined by the ongoing criminal investigation.

This leads us to wonder if the report is a smokescreen meant to obfuscate and distract as Eric Holder and his political lackeys attempt to sweep the incident under the rug or if investigators are being thorough. Holder's negligence to prosecute anything that may embarrass Obama or the socialists is well known. Operation Fast and Furious and the voter intimidation conducted by Holder's buddies in the Black Panthers are among the more known examples.

The report later states:

The Benghazi attacks also took place in a context in which the global terrorism threat as most often represented by al Qaeda (AQ) is fragmenting and increasingly devolving to local affiliates and other actors who share many of AQ’s aims, including violent anti-Americanism, without necessarily being organized or operated under direct AQ command and control.

This is something that will fail to snow any military intelligence professional who worked the war efforts anytime since 2001. One of the traits of AQ's organization has always been its fragmentation and dispersal. It has always employed local affiliated groups, granting them limited direction and logistical support. This is nothing new. That it would come as a surprise or be seen as some new tactic by the current administration should raise serious questions about the administration's competence.

The review board's report prefaces its findings with excuse after excuse. It attempts to equate the duty of an ambassador with that of a soldier, indicating that taking such a position assumes an acceptance of dying for the country. There is a difference, however. Soldiers and military members are armed. They are taught to fight as long as they have the means to resist. Ambassadors are unarmed and are not combat soldiers.

The first finding is that the attack in Benghazi was an armed assault and not a protest. The attack was against two separate facilities. It states the same things that reporters in new media have stated all along.

The second finding is an admission of incompetence and negligence.

Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department (the “Department”) resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.
The real question that should chime in our heads concerns the security. Why were there contract guards from anywhere but the US? Better yet, where were the US Marines? The US Marines traditionally have embassy details. The report implies that the Marine detachment was not authorized because the Benghazi mission was a temporary one. The diplomatic staff largely consisted of temporary personnel assigned for no more than forty days at a time. So they hired locals for security.

In the weeks and months leading up to the attacks, the response from post, Embassy Tripoli, and Washington to a deteriorating security situation was inadequate. At the same time, the SMC’s dependence on the armed but poorly skilled Libyan February 17 Martyrs’ Brigade (February 17) militia members and unarmed, locally contracted Blue Mountain Libya (BML) guards for security support was misplaced.
Then there is this:

The Board determined that U.S. personnel on the ground in Benghazi performed with courage and readiness to risk their lives to protect their colleagues, in a near impossible situation. The Board members believe every possible effort was made to rescue and recover Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith.

The inter-agency response was timely and appropriate, but there simply was not enough time for armed U.S. military assets to have made a difference.
The military emergency response assets were on their way and  told to "stand down". The two accounts conflict. In addition, had the US Marine detachment that was supposed to be on site actually been there instead of ill equipped and untrained local militia, there would have been a military asset on station.

The report goes on to claim that confusion over the responsibility for the security of the embassy mission is largely to blame. Had the proper US Marine contingent been assigned, that "confusion" would have been clear. The highest ranking Marine on the ground would have been in command once the hostilities commenced. However, Obama and his leftist cronies want to cut military manning including the Marines.

Of course, another finger is pointed towards the lack of a federal budget. The mission didn't have the funds to properly equip and secure  the Benghazi mission. This portion of the report is undoubtedly meant to set the stage for rhetoric against cutting spending. However, diplomatic missions have high national security implications. In that aspect, spending should not be cut to either the military or to diplomatic missions. It should be cut from outrageous entitlement spending such as TAMF, TARP, the PPACA, "Obamaphones" and food stamps.

The recommendations issued by the review board include having the State Department and the diplomatic mission personnel be better trained to recognize threats, read intelligence reports, and make better decisions. They also call for better training in Anti-Terrorism, Force Protection, and counter-surveillance tactics, techniques, and procedures. Basically, they are telling those sent on diplomatic missions that they should undergo the mandatory pre-deployment training and briefings given to military personnel. Again, had the US Marine detachment been stationed as it should have been, they would have had all of the above plus a proper response and Non-combatant Evacuation Operation (NEO) rescue force.

The report also documents a timeline of indicators that led from March 18, 2012, up to the attack. These indicators would have led any intelligence analyst who graduated from Fort Huachuca to see the pattern leading to the attack. While listing these indicators in a 20/20 hindsight fashion, they claimed that intelligence analysts cannot be counted upon to see these trends. More than likely, any trained intelligence analyst on the ground wold have identified these trends. If one was present, he was probably ignored by the State Department.

With some common sense, it is clear that the report attempts to shift blame onto the Ambassador, for not informing or recognizing the threat. It attempts to place the blame on congress, for not financing the mission. It tries to place blame on Secretary of State Clinton for her policies and lack of providing better trained diplomats. What the report fails to do is place the blame where it belongs: Barack Obama. The policies were his. The lack of Marines assigned to the diplomatic mission were his. The order to "stand down" was his. The intentional and negligent ignoring of the call for immediate military response and rescue were his.

Then again, holding a fundraiser and salad tossing party in Las Vegas was more important to Obama that day.

Article originally appears at P-G Matuszak's Mental Aikido. Reprinted with permission, all rights reserved.

Boehner Pulls Plan B At Last Minute

With very little time left before the scheduled late night vote on the so called "Plan B" bill, Speaker Boehner pulled it.

Speaker Boehner cited that the bill had a lack of support necessary to pass the House.

The bill most likely would have died in the Senate. Too many Republican senators would have opposed it due to its call to raise taxes on job creators. The lap dog Democratic-Socialists in the Senate would have heeled to Obama's threat to veto the bill. The RINOs and the Blue Dogs would have amended it to death, leaving it a mess.

In the house itself, Nancy Pelosi rallied the Democratic Socialists against the bill, though it was mostly her plan to begin with. Tea Party caucus representatives such as Paul Ryan would have voted against it because it fails to make any declared cuts in spending, particularly in entitlement spending and ridiculous so called "stimulus" grants such as the one to test shrimp on an underwater treadmill.

Freedomworks and other conservative activist organizations pushed for letters, emails, and last minute phone calls to Representatives and to Speaker Boehner's office calling for Plan B to be pulled. The general consensus among conservative voters is that the GOP needs to show leadership in putting forth a plan demanding budget and spending cuts, broadening the tax base, and not increasing any tax rates.  

Original article with additional commentary and analysis printed at P-G Matuszak's Mental Aikido.: