Obama authorizes the Pentagon to call upon reserve troops

Obama authorizes the Pentagon to call upon reserve troops

President Obama issued an executive order on Thursday which authorized the Pentagon to call upon reserve troops in order to combat the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus that has ravaged the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. He also opened the door to an Ebola “czar” to coordinate the response because, according to him, an additional official may be helpful as his advisers work to deal with terrorism and the upcoming flu season.

“I hereby determine that it is necessary to augment the active Armed Forces of the United States for the effective conduct of Operation United Assistance, which is providing support to civilian-led humanitarian assistance and consequence management support related to the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa,” stated the executive order, which was delivered to Congress on Thursday.

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President Obama approves a Civil War soldier for the Medal of Honor

President Obama approves a Civil War soldier for the Medal of Honor

More than 150 years after his courageous death in the Battle of Gettysburg, an officer in the Union Army is being awarded the highest military decoration that the United States has to offer, thanks to a campaign by his descendants and Civil War buffs that has lasted decades.

The White House announced yesterday that President Obama has approved the Medal of Honor for 1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing, who was killed in the line of duty while standing his ground against Pickett’s Charge during the pivotal, three-day Battle of Gettysburg.

Congress has to grant a special exemption in December of last year in order for Lt. Cushing to receive the award posthumously, as recommendations normally have to be made within two years of the heroic act, and the medal awarded within three years.

Cushing was born in Delafield, Wisconsin, raised in Fredonia, New York, and buried at his alma mater, West Point, after being killed on July 3, 1863, at age 22. He commanded somewhere around 110 men and six cannons, defending the Union position on Cemetery Ridge against Pickett’s Charge, a major Confederate thrust that could have turned the tide in the war. Cushing received a bullet wound in the head.

Read more about the story at The Week.


Obama has authorized surveillance flights over Syria

Obama has authorized surveillance flights over Syria

President Barack Obama has authorized surveillance flights over Syria, which could very well be a precursor to airstrikes in the war-torn country. President Obama won’t necessarily seek congressional approval for airstrikes against Islamic State militants in the country, according to White House officials. As for the Syrian government, it has clarified that any unilateral attack by the United States will be considered an act of “aggression”.

Defense officials confirmed on Monday evening that the Pentagon was preparing to conduct both manned and unmanned reconnaissance flights over Syria using a combination of aircraft, including drones and U2 spy planes. A senior administration official confirmed that President Obama approved the flights during the weekend.

These reconnaissance flights are a significant step towards the United States taking direct military action in Syria, and intervention which would undoubtedly alter the battlefield in the nation’s three-year civil war. Administration officials said that the United States had no intention of notifying the Assad government of the planned flights. President Obama, who has expressed nothing but disdain for the Assad government, does not want to be seen as aiding the Syrian government, even if it was inadvertent.

“It is not the case that the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser. “Joining forces with Assad would essentially permanently alienate the Sunni population in both Syria and Iraq, who are necessary to dislodging ISIL,” he said, using the group’s alternative name, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

“There are a lot of cross pressures here in this situation,” the White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, told reporters. “There’s no doubt about that. But our policy as it relates to pursuing American interests in this region of the world are actually really clear, that we want to make sure that we are safeguarding American personnel.”

Read more about the story at The Huffington Post.



Boehner isn’t going to let Obama have a “blank check” to fix the border crisis

Boehner isn’t going to let Obama have a “blank check” to fix the border crisis

Speaker John Boehner said President Obama will not given a blank check to deal with the immigration crisis at the southern border. Speaking at his weekly press briefing Thursday, Boehner said “…the administration started earlier this month by signaling some openness to changes in the 2008 law to accelerate the process of returning these children to their home countries.”

“Now, the president and his team have apparently flip-flopped. Now they want billions in new spending, with no commitment to actually solving the problem.” Boehner made Republicans’ stance clear, “…there’s going to be no blank check for the president and his allies.” Taxpayers want accountability, not for their taxpayer money to be improperly used, he said.

“What the president is asking for is a blank check. He wants us to just throw more money at the problem without doing anything to solve the problem. The administration ought to get its act together,” says Boehner.

Obama has asked for $3.7 billion to shore up the Southwest border amid the influx of unaccompanied minors crossing into the country from Central America. House Republicans instead have offered about $1.5 billion and proposed a host of changes to a 2008 human trafficking law that would make it easier for these children to be deported back to Central America.

Some U.S. officials say that amending current law to allow speedier return of the Central American youths can be done while ensuring proper protections of the unaccompanied minors. Boehner said he wants an immigration plan in place before the August recess, but that may be difficult because Congressional Democrats have so far been reluctant to make changes to Democrats say it would put the kids at risk by sending them back to brutal gangs. Read more about the story here.


Is McCain Fanning the Obama-Clinton Flames?

Clinton McCain Obama

With the Republican Nomination locked up for John McCain and his cross-party rivals duking it out, one would think that the GOP campaign staff would focus on raising money, finding a vice-president, and establishing a foundation of support.

Then again, if “one” were clever, they would be fanning the flames of the Democratic nomination race, pushing for Clinton to stay in as long as she can (or outright win, if that’s still possible) so they can continue to wear each other down.

While there is no way to be sure what is going on in the deepest bowels of the McCain camp, it can be assumed that a trusted handful of people are doing what they can to keep the Clinton-factor alive and well. Images leaked, memos publicized, voters contacted, all in the name of promoting Clinton as the better Democratic candidate.

McCain is on better footing against Clinton if she is able to pull off a miracle. While he has plenty of ammo against her, Obama is the anti-McCain. He is youthful, vibrant, and exceptionally well spoken. He pulls in the vote of the 20- and 30-somethings. Clinton does as well, but not nearly to the degree that Obama will in a head-to-head battle with McCain.

Then, there is the mudslinging aspect. Hillary and Bill are masters of mud, slinging it with such skill and precision that it’s a wonder how Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush even survived the onslaught. The problem they are having now is Obama lacks the experience that helps to accumulate mud. While Hillary was putting together a nice resume of lies and deniable sniper attacks, Obama was still in political grade school.

Where there’s a Clinton, there’s a way, and as long as the GOP can keep her active, she’ll be tossing a kitchen sink (full of knives) at the enigma that is Barack Obama. That is the McCain campaigns best ally – to stay squeaky clean for as long as possible while Clinton and Clinton work their voodoo on Obama.

In the end, it will be Obama versus McCain, but for now, some people behind the scenes are ready with the adrenaline shots to the heart for Clinton. The paddles are in hand and juiced up. They’ll keep it alive as long as they can.

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Related: Al Gore: Milking Non-Commitment for Everything its Got

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