Sunday, September 30, 2012

RIP Raylene Rankin: Rise Again


A stunningly beautiful voice - silenced....

When the waves roll on over the waters
And the ocean cries
We look to our sons and daughters
To explain our lives
As if a child could tell us why

That as sure as the sunrise
As sure as the sea
As sure as the wind in the trees
We rise again in the faces
of our children
We rise again in the voices of our song
We rise again in the waves out on the ocean
And then we rise again

When the light goes dark with the forces of creation
Across a stormy sky
We look to reincarnation to explain our lives
As if a child could tell us why

That as sure as the sunrise
As sure as the sea
As sure as the wind in the trees
We rise again in the faces
of our children
We rise again in the voices of our song
We rise again in the waves out on the ocean
And then we rise again

We rise again in the faces
of our children
We rise again in the voices of our song
We rise again in the waves out on the ocean
And then we rise 

Uploaded by on Mar 20, 2011
Off The Album: North Country.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Zadroga Funds MUST be protected from sequester cuts

Friday, September 28, 2012

Glen Caplin (Gillibrand) 917-865-7556
Max Young (Schumer) 202-380-5990
Brice Peyre (Maloney) 646-831-1649
Kevin Fogarty (King) 202-225-3062
Ilan Kayatsky (Nadler) 212-367-7350

New York Lawmakers Fight to Protect 9/11 Health & Compensation Programs from Looming Budget Ax
Lawmakers Advocate for the Heroes Who Answered the Call of Duty on 9/11 to be Treated With Same Dignity As Military Veterans -- Slashing 9/11 Treatment and Compensation Funds Violates Congressional Rule and Intent, and Contradicts Precedent to Aid Injured and Sick Victims

New York, NY – U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Charles Schumer (D-NY), joined by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Peter King (R-NY), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today urged the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to preserve funding for the critical 9/11 health programs that were passed into law under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act should any sequestration budget cuts go into effect next year. A preliminary report by OMB shows that $24 million is slated to be slashed from the Victim Compensation Fund, and an additional $14 million would be cut from the World Trade Center Health Fund in 2013, as part of the deal to cut over $1 trillion in defense and domestic programs, known as sequestration.

The lawmakers wrote in a letter to OMB Acting Director Zients, “[W]e all agree that applying sequestration to these two programs [established by the James Zadroga 9-11 Health and Compensation Act] does not make sense, is not consistent with Congressional intent, does not follow precedent regarding trust funds provided for victims, and we would urge OMB to reconsider this initial finding if it is required to proceed with a sequester… We are concerned that OMB has not fully investigated the facts under which these programs operate.”

“Nothing exemplifies this unbalanced and draconian approach to deficit reduction more than asking our
heroes who have already sacrificed so much to sacrifice yet again,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Our 9/11 heroes who answered the call of duty should be treated with the same dignity as our veterans. Just as we have come together as Democrats and Republicans to fight for our heroes, I urge our colleagues to do the same and work towards a balanced approach that keeps struggling families from sacrificing the most.”
“This is one of the most poignant examples of why we must work to avert the sequester,” said Senator Schumer. “We can entirely avoid this problem if both parties agree to support a balanced deficit reduction plan that includes revenues as well as sensible savings. But in the event that they don't, we must work to make sure there that the burden does not fall on the national heroes who are finally receiving the help they deserve through the Zadroga Act. Veterans have been exempted from sequestration and the heroes who have rushed to towers after 9/11 should be treated the same. They risked their lives in a time of war and suffered for it.”

“Sequestering 9/11 health funding would be a monumental misapplication of the law and a gross affront to those who continue to suffer the health consequences of the terrorist attacks and their aftermath,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “The World Trade Center Health Program and the Victim Compensation Fund are both paid for with a dedicated funding stream and do not contribute one cent to our nation’s budget deficit. Needlessly cutting health funding for responders, workers, and residents who are sick or dying as a result of their exposure to Ground Zero toxins would literally be adding insult to injury.”

“We have come too far and our 9/11 heroes have endured too much for this funding to be subjected to a bureaucratic reduction,” said Congressman King. “It would be a cruel hoax to finally allow these individuals to start their necessary treatment, only to find out they will not be able to continue it through no fault of their own.”

“I am quite concerned that, among the vast devastation that sequestration would bring, it will also include cuts to Zadroga Act funding,” said Congressman Nadler. “We have all worked extremely hard, with the help and support of 9/11 first responders and survivors, to obtain health care and compensation for those who need it, and we must not now, all of a sudden, ration assistance for the sick. We are urging the Office of Management and Budget to reconsider its determination on Zadroga’s exemption from the sequester. The health and well-being – not to mention peace of mind – of thousands of responders and survivors of 9/11 depend on it.”

In addition to noting that cuts to these programs would be devastating for the families of 9/11 victims and first responders, the five members of Congress also listed three key reasons why the 9/11 programs should be exempt from automatic cuts:

· The preliminary budget fails to take into account New York City’s agreement to voluntarily pay 10% share for the 9/11 program. Under federal rule, “activities financed by voluntary payments to the government” are exempt from sequester. Lawmakers pointed out that according to this statute, the City’s voluntary contribution should be protected from the sequester process.

· The 9/11 health programs should be added onto the list of federal health and compensation programs that are already immune from cuts. There are currently 150 exemptions, including at least six programs established for injuries and illnesses, signed into law by February 2010—nearly a year before the 9/11 health bill was passed. Had the 9/11 health bill existed then, the 9/11 programs would have been among the items protected from sequestration.

· The proposed budget cuts are an affront to the 9/11 health law that was already formulated to cut the deficit. The 9/11 law was already devised to be fully paid for and to cut the deficit. According to the Congressional Budget Office's estimate, the law slashes $433 million from the deficit.
The budget already spares veterans from most of the automatic budget cuts. OMB released a letter in April assuring that programs under the Veterans Affairs agency would be exempt from sequestration. 
Full text of the lawmakers’ letter is below:

Dear Acting Director Zients,

We are writing to convey our deep concern about the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) initial determination that the programs established by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act are subject to sequestration under the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012. As Members of Congress, some of whom voted for the “Budget Control Act of 2011” and some of whom voted against, we all agree that applying sequestration to these two programs does not make sense, is not consistent with Congressional intent, does not follow precedent regarding trust funds provided for victims, and we would urge OMB to reconsider this initial finding if it is required to proceed with a sequester.

The September 14, 2012 “OMB Report Pursuant to the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 (P. L. 112–155)” identifies the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program, administered by the Department of Health and Human Services and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), administered by the Department of Justice as programs subject to sequestration. Both of these programs are listed as being subject to a 7.6 sequester percentage with the WTC Health Program’s $190 million budget authority for FY 2013 slated for a $14 million reduction and the VCF’s $322 million budget authority reduced by $24 million. Not only would these cuts be devastating for the victims that need assistance, we are concerned that OMB has not fully investigated the facts under which these programs operate.

For example, the 7.6% sequester estimate was applied to the total $190 million health program instead of subtracting the 10% payment volunteered by the City of New York prior to calculating the cut. Pursuant to the PAYGO Statue, Section 11(g) ‘‘Activities financed by voluntary payments to the Government for goods or services to be provided for such payments” are exempt from sequester. The City of New York has voluntarily agreed, through a memorandum of understanding (MOU), to pay a 10% share for the program. Therefore, including their portion of the funding violates the sequester process.

In addition, as OMB is aware, the PAYGO Statute which was signed into law in February 2010 includes 150 exemptions. Among the programs exempted are similar health and compensation programs that have been established for other injuries and illnesses such as: the Payment to Radiation Exposure Compensation Trust Fund, Radiation Exposure Compensation Trust Fund, Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Fund, Vaccine Injury Compensation, Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Trust Fund, and the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund to name a few. But the 9/11 health and compensation funds did not exist at the time the PAYGO Statute was enacted. The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which established these funds, was not passed by the Congress until December 2010 and was signed into law by the President in January of 2011. Clearly had the 9/11 Heath and Compensation programs existed in February 2010, when the PAYGO law was passed, they would have been included on the list of specific exemptions and therefore we request that both the health and compensation programs are excluded from sequestration.

Moreover, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, when enacted, was not only fully PAYGO compliant with a dedicated stream of revenue that fully pays for the program, but in fact provided an additional $433 million in deficit reduction, revenue above what the Act spent. Given that it was fully PAYGO compliant and in fact in the end will lead to over $400 million in deficit reduction we do not believe that subjecting the two programs to sequester is proper or consistent with the precedent set by similar health and compensation programs provided to injured workers.

In conclusion, we know that the task before OMB is difficult and it is our sincere hope that Congress will find an alternative to sequestration. However, as your report states on page one, “The estimates and classifications in the report are preliminary. If the sequestration were to occur, the actual results would differ based on changes in law and ongoing legal, budgetary, and technical analysis.” We therefore write to you in the hope of pointing out that we do not believe that Congress intended to have these two programs fall under sequestration.


Video: The real Obama in his own words

A little reminder!!~

Suicide and the US Military

From War On Terror News:


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Brits and Americans speak a common language - or do we?

My regular readers know that English as she is spoke is the ongoing cause for much amusement as I try to edumacate my American friends on the nuances of the English language.  In turn, I learn much on an almost  daily basis about words that Americans use - which they claim are legitimate words! - that I have never heard of.

As part of my ongoing efforts, I offer the following observations which comes courtesy of the BBC:

Britishisms and the Britishisation of American English

There is little that irks British defenders of the English language more than Americanisms, which they see creeping insidiously into newspaper columns and everyday conversation. But bit by bit British English is invading America too.

"Spot on - it's just ludicrous!" snaps Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the University of California at Berkeley.
"You are just impersonating an Englishman when you say spot on."

"Will do - I hear that from Americans. That should be put into quarantine," he adds.
And don't get him started on the chattering classes - its overtones of a distinctly British class system make him quiver.

But not everyone shares his revulsion at the drip, drip, drip of Britishisms - to use an American term - crossing the Atlantic.

"I enjoy seeing them," says Ben Yagoda, professor of English at the University of Delaware, and author of the forthcoming book, How to Not Write Bad.

"It's like a birdwatcher. If I find an American saying one, it makes my day!"

Last year Yagoda set up a blog dedicated to spotting the use of British terms in American English.

So far he has found more than 150 - from cheeky to chat-up via sell-by date, and the long game - an expression which appears to date back to 1856, and comes not from golf or chess, but the card game whist....

The Beeb has much more to say on the topic, and offers these examples:

  • Do the washing up - British for "wash the dishes"
  • Keen on/ keen to - a British way of saying "to like" or "be eager to"
  • Barman - bartender
  • Bit - as in "the best bit" of a film... Americans would usually say "part"
  • To book (eg a hotel) - Americans would say "reserve"
  • Called Joe - Americans say "named" Joe
  • To move house - a British way of saying "to move"
Go read the rest here.

Pic: Afghan kids in "Bush's war for oil"

Or something like that.

From UK Forces Afghanistan comes a great picture of some of the real reasons our Troops went to Afghanistan:

Ten years ago, fewer than a million Afghan children attended school. TODAY, more than 8.2 million children are going to schools (figures from UNICEF)!!

Zadroga Bill 9/11 funds to feel slash of Obama budget cuts

Detective James Zadroga was a NY police detective who died from all the garbage he breathed on 9/11 and the aftermath.  His name became synonymous with the ongoing fight waged by our First Responders to get justice in the form of compensation for the lingering killer diseases that continue to strike down our 9/11 First Responders. I have written about these well-documented battles here, here, and here, for starters.

After years of government refusal to recognise the stunningly obvious connection to the illnesses of our 9/11 First Responders, and after years of politicians refusing to agree to some measure of monetary compensation for our dying First Responders and their families, agreements were finally reached, and mechanisms set in place. 

All good, right?  Wrong. 

Now comes word that the funds allocated within the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act could be affected by the ongoing budget shenanigans..  I found this on Peter King's site:

NY pols vow to preserve Zadroga funds from cuts

September 21, 2012

Three New York congressmen vowed Thursday to try to preserve funds for 9/11 responders from being cut if Congress doesn't enact deficit-cutting measures by Jan. 2.

About $329 million in funds allocated in the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act could be cut automatically if Congress doesn't come up with other budget-cutting measures. That money is part of the $1.2 trillion to be chopped if Congress doesn't act.

"We're going to have to fight as hard as we can to keep this money," said Republican Peter King of Seaford, who joined Manhattan Democrats Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler in a statement issued Thursday.

The $1.2 trillion cuts in defense and domestic programs, known as sequestration, would begin by the end of this year unless Congress amends the Budget Control Act of 2012.

As part of a deal that raised the country's borrowing limit, the act, passed earlier this year, called for a super committee that was supposed to find up to $1.5 trillion in savings, or sequestration would be triggered. The committee failed to find such savings.

King, who voted for the bill, called it the "least worse alternative" they had at the time.
Nadler's spokesman, Ilan Kayetsky, said the congressman, who voted against the bill, would introduce legislation Friday to cancel sequestration.

Maloney, who also opposed sequestration, called the potential Zadroga Act cuts "yet another reason why lawmakers must join in a bipartisan fashion." But sources conceded there was little anyone could do now for the 9/11 funds, short of making sure the automatic cuts don't occur. "A specific legislative fix is unlikely," a congressional source said.

The possibility of cuts is a bitter pill for first responders who lobbied for years to get the $4.3 billion law passed and signed into law in January 2011.

"We're prepared to fight," said John Feal, founder of FealGood Foundation, a responder advocacy group. "We're not going to accept these cuts."(emphasis mine)

Truthfully, I have NO words for how much this disgusts me, which is why I am emphasising the words of others.

This is wrong, on oh so many levels and the Obama administration can add this to the long list of their budgetary shortcomings that they *should* be shamed of - if they were capable of shame at all, that is.

Please:  PAY ATTENTION, America...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Landfill: Fallen Heroes' Remains final resting place?

How the Military deals with the Fallen Heroes from the current Global War On Terror, has been an ongoing debate for a few years now.  An investigation was called for, and launched, after it came to light that Arlington National Cemetary - supposedly a most sacred and hallowed final resting place of our Fallen Heroes - had been inappropriately and disrespectfully handling the remains.

In February this year nbc reported:


Defense Secretary Leon Panetta formed the task force in December after an investigation by the Air Force, which runs the facility, found that some remains of U.S. military personnel weren't handled "in accordance with procedures."

The Air Force acknowledged that it had disposed of the incinerated remains of at least 274 service members in the landfill before it ended the practice in 2008. At the time, officials said records went back only to 2003.

But the independent panel found that the practice went back at least to 2001, and it discovered that "several portions of remains" recovered from the 9/11 attacks at the Pentagon and at Shanksville, Pa., also ended up in a landfill:

Prior to 2008, portions of remains that could neither be tested nor identified, and portions of remains later identified that the [family or other representative] requested not to be notified of (requesting that they be appropriately disposed of) were cremated under contract at a civilian crematory and returned to [Dover]. This policy began shortly after September 11, 2001, when several portions of remains from the Pentagon attack and the Shanksville, Pennsylvania, crash site could not be tested or identified.

These cremated portions were then placed in sealed containers that were provided to a biomedical waste disposal contractor. Per the biomedical waste contract at that time, the contractor then transported these containers and incinerated them. The assumption on the part of [Dover] was that after final incineration nothing remained. A [Dover] management query found that there was some residual material following incineration and that the contractor was disposing of it in a landfill. The landfill disposition was not disclosed in the contractual disposal agreement.

Read the full report (.pdf)

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and the Air Force chief of staff, Gen. Norton Schwartz, said they hadn't yet had a chance to review the entire report. ...

Read the rest here.

While the focus of that news story is 9/11, it also talks of the Military remains since 9/11.  It is now documented that almost 300 Fallen Heroes remains of the GWOT were not handled in the proscribed way. 

Gold Star Families have been fighting the US Department of Defense for many years, and one Gold Star Wife leading that fight has been Gari-Lynn Smith.  What she has gone through, and the DoD response to her, is no less than mind-boggling. 

Last Sunday was yet another step in this Gold Star Wife's determination to honour her husband's sacrifice:

Bittersweet and emotional tribute at KG landfill draws large crowds, national media

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

King George—On Sunday, what could have been mistaken for a White House Rose Garden event, complete with a podium, notable guests flanked by a speaker system, a band, American flags, 80 white chairs for special guests, a line of news cameras, reporters and photographers and hundreds of standing audience members, was in actuality a memorial.  However, unlike the meticulously executed memorial services Americans have come to expect for fallen Iraq and Afghanistan American service members, this ceremony lacked the support of the United States Department of Defense.  The memorial was held at the King George Landfill where hundreds of service members’ remains were dumped after being incinerated by a Department of Defense contractor as “medical waste.”

The memorial service, which was spearheaded by Ruby Brabo, Dahlgren member of the King George Board of Supervisors, who is the wife of an active-duty Army soldier, took place after months of debate among the King George Board of Supervisors.  Brabo faced opposition from some of her fellow board members; specifically Joseph W. Grzeika and Dale W. Sisson, Jr., who, along with some King George County citizens, did not believe placing a memorial at the landfill would be appropriate. 

 However during a Board of Supervisors meeting in the spring, Gari-Lynn Smith, the widow of Army Sergeant First Class Scott R. Smith, and Dr. Richard Lorey, a Navy veteran who worked as a physicist at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren joined forces.  Smith, who discovered the DoD scandal and attempted cover-up wrote a letter that Lorey read to the entire board in which she explained that she and other Gold Star Families—those military families who have lost a loved one in combat—needed the memorial to be close to where the remains were and not at the King George County Courthouse as some had suggested.  At that time, although reluctant, the board members who were opposed to the memorial voted with Brabo to unanimously agree that a memorial should be erected where the remains lay.


Gari-Lynn Smith uncovered the scandal that rocked the Department of Defense and led to the Pentagon having to admit to the inappropriate disposal of remains of killed service men and women in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan upon their return to American soil at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.  Dover Air Force Base serves as the country’s primary point of return for military members killed overseas.  

Smith’s husband was an explosives ordinance technician whose job it was to dismantle improvised explosive devices—one of which ultimately exploded—killing Sergeant 1st Class Smith on July 17, 2006.

“When I found out that my Scott had been killed,” Smith said, “once I got past the shock and despair, I wanted to know what exactly happened.”  

She said that she knew something was awry when, she says the Department of Defense wouldn’t give her any clear answers.  In countless e-mails Smiths shared with The Journal it’s evident that DoD officials were not being forthright or forthcoming with Smith.

“At one point I was told he had died four hours before he even went on the mission,” she said angrily with a quiver in her voice during a private tour of the quiet, scenic field where Waste Management officials believe her late husband’s remains would likely be....

There is much more here, and it IS a must-read.

 I have to believe that all in the Military whose mandate it is to care for, and handle the precious remains of our returning Fallen Heroes do so with the best will in the world.  However, when even one Gold Star Wife or Gold Star Family has to go through what Gari-Lynn Smith has had to endure, seems to me there is something very wrong with a system whose reason for being is to pay due honour to our Fallen and their families.

I KNOW the US Military can do better.

Some Gave All: Captain Carl Manley

Captain Carl Manley dies in Afghanistan

26 Sep 12
It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Captain Carl Manley of the Royal Marines died in Afghanistan on Monday 24 September 2012.

He died at Bagram Air Force Base from what are believed to be natural causes.
Captain Manley, aged 41, was a Royal Marines officer who had served his nation with dedication and courage for more than twenty years.
His Commanding Officer said:
"His combination of ferocious work ethic and humility ensured that he made a sustained contribution to ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] operations on this and his previous tours of Afghanistan. A highly valued Royal Marines officer, he will be missed by all those who worked with him."
Captain Manley was devoted to his wife and three children, whose loss cannot be portrayed. Captain Manley's wife said:
"To us, Carl was the loveliest husband and father. We can't imagine life without him; we are so very proud of him and everything he has achieved, both professionally and for the family.

"Always smiling, he never had a bad word to say about anyone. Everything he did was selfless, at work and at home. The world has lost a really special person."

More here.

Rest In Peace, Captain.

Landstuhl: MWD JaJo visits his wounded partner

Working Dog reunites with handler during hospital bedside visit JaJo rests his head on the hand of his injured handler in the intensive care unit at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. JaJo and his handler were injured by blast injuries sustained in Afghanistan. 

Working dog reunites with handler during bedside hospital visit

September 24, 2012
By Chuck Roberts

LANDSTUHL REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER, Germany (Sept. 24, 2012) -- When an injured handler of a military working dog regains consciousness from a blast or other incident downrange, the first thing they ask is, "How is my dog? How is my dog?"

A Soldier recently injured in Afghanistan asked the same question in the intensive care unit at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany. When his nurse told him JaJo (pronounced "zsa-zso") was being treated for injuries at a nearby military veterinary clinic, but was doing fine, she said a tear of relief rolled down his cheek.

Only one day after surgery, JaJo, with a bandaged foot and shrapnel wounds visible across his body, was allowed to visit his handler and friend -- an infantry Soldier recovering from the same incident, whose name is being withheld for patient privacy reasons.

Although JaJo had half of his spleen removed and suffered two broken bones in his right-rear foot, the young German shepherd appeared uninjured as he eagerly made his way bedside. Although his handler wasn't initially aware of his visitor, JaJo licked his outstretched hand and was ready to jump up and share the bed. Moments later, an eye opened as JaJo licked his hand again and the Soldier was alert enough give his friend a loving cuddle.

"If he could, JaJo would lay on that bed all day," said Capt. (Dr.) Catherine Cook, officer-in-charge of the Military Working Dog Ward at the Dog Center Europe facility at Pulaski Barracks. Cook said JaJo is expected to recover from his wounds and could be able to deploy again as a Tactical Explosive Detection Dog, but first would be medically evacuated, or medevaced, stateside to convalesce. His handler will also soon be medevaced to the U.S. to continue his long-term recovery. ... 

The rest of this story (for now..)  here. 

Wednesday Hero

Capt. Jennifer Curtis
Capt. Jennifer Curtis U.S. Air Force 
 In April 2011, Captain Jennifer Curtis received a short-notice deployment to Firebase Chamkani, Afghanistan, where she embedded with U.S. Army Special Forces to assist with village stability operations.
 Captain Curtis quickly realized that her deployment would be dangerous when she first arrived at the firebase located in the mountains on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan and her helicopter was targeted by mortar rounds. After being on the receiving end of more than 126 mortar rounds over the course of her deployment, 
Captain Curtis became accustomed to this hazardous way of life. One night, the mortars hit her encampment. "Rockets were shot and landed right in the middle of our compound," she said. "There was a lot of shrapnel wounds. People were unconscious". Because the camp was on lockdown, Curtis was the only medic on the scene for the first 20 minutes of the attack. She didn’t have much time to think.
You can read more on Capt. Jennifer Curtis here and here These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero. Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

Wednesday Hero Logo

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Some Gave All: Captain James Anthony Townley

Captain James Anthony Townley dies in Afghanistan

24 Sep 12
It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Captain James Anthony Townley from the Corps of Royal Engineers died in Afghanistan on Friday 21 September 2012.

Captain Townley died in Camp Bastion, Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, from wounds sustained whilst serving at Forward Operating Base Shawqat.

Captain James Anthony Townley

Captain James Townley was born on 22 September 1982 in Tunbridge Wells. He grew up near Glastonbury in Somerset, going to school in the local area.

Having received a first-class degree in Engineering and Computer Science from University College Oxford, he worked as a tax associate for Price Waterhouse Coopers before attending the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in January 2007.

He commissioned into the Corps of Royal Engineers in December 2007 and promoted to Lieutenant soon after completing his Royal Engineer Troop Commanders' Course before serving in 28 Engineer Regiment, based in Hameln, Germany. 

Captain Townley was an avid sportsman who enjoyed a wide variety of sports including skiing, mountain biking, kite surfing and sailing. Having rowed for his college at university, he later went on to represent the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and his regiment. 

Captain Townley was attached to 21 Engineer Regiment from 28 Engineer Regiment for the duration of Operation Herrick 17. He deployed to Afghanistan on 5 September 2012 with 4 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 21 Engineer Regiment and was based in the Nad 'Ali district of Helmand Province as the Battle Group Engineer supporting 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment.

Upon arrival, he immediately immersed himself in operations that directly supported the transition to Afghan-led security, providing specialist advice on engineer tasks and capabilities. He had quickly established himself as a professional and charismatic officer.

In his time with 28 Engineer Regiment he shone as an intelligent, experienced and highly competent individual who had great plans for the future. With unrivalled commitment to his soldiers, he combined consummate professionalism and ability with a personable, humorous and approachable character.

Extremely popular with his fellow officers, Captain Townley lived life to the full and was at the heart of the Regiment both professionally and socially.

Above everything else, he will be remembered for his selfless commitment to every undertaking, his strength of character and his faultless integrity. 

Captain James Townley, was a remarkable young man. He leaves behind his parents, Peter and Jacqui, his brother, Nick, and girlfriend, Helen. 

Capt Townley's family said:
"James was a wonderful, loving and caring son and brother. He was devoted to his girlfriend, Helen. He was our guardian angel and our hero. We were so proud of him. He touched every part of our lives and his loss has left a huge chasm that we can never fill.
"James will never be forgotten and always in our hearts and thoughts."..

More of this Fallen Hero here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Some Gave All: Sergeant Jonathan Eric Kups

Sergeant Jonathan Eric Kups dies in Afghanistan

22 Sep 12
It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Sergeant Jonathan Eric Kups, from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, died at Camp Bastion, Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, on Friday 21 September 2012.
Sergeant Kups was from Nuneaton, Warwickshire. He was born on 28 October 1973 and joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) in June 1992 where he trained as an electronics technician. In the early years of his career he specialised in radar and ground-to-air weapons, completing an operational tour in Northern Ireland.

As he progressed through his career he turned his expertise to the operation and repair of electronic warfare systems, subsequently completing a number of deployments with 14 Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare).
In 2011 Sergeant Kups moved to 104 Force Support Battalion REME before being attached to 4 Close Support Battalion REME for its deployment on Operation HERRICK 16.

With his vast experience, Sergeant Kups was able to effectively lead and develop his soldiers in a very busy electronic repair section. A man of considerable military experience, Sergeant Kups was well respected by his section and by the unit as a whole.

Sergeant Kups' untimely death is a great loss to his family and the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. He leaves behind his wife and three children.
The family of Sergeant Kups said:
"Jonathan was a wonderful husband and loving father to three children. He was a loyal man with a wide circle of friends, a devoted son, son-in-law, grandson and brother."
His children said:
"You're the best Dad; always in our hearts - our hero."
His wife added:
"I love you now, forever and always and evermore."...

Read more about the life of Sgt Kups here.

Rest In Peace, Sir.

Video: "What is it to be American?"

As my regular readers know, when our Warriors speak, I pay attention.  THIS video is Benjamin Smith, former US Navy SEAL giving a first-hand perspective about the threats we face in this country and how each citizen must do their duty to preserve our republic.

Watch it - share it!  PAY ATTENTION!
"We are at a momentus time in history."

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Video: Mute Button

For just this once, I agree with Pelosi....via Ulsterman comes the latest Romney ad:

Friday, September 21, 2012

UPDATED: IDF Soldier Killed in Terrorist Attack on Egypt Border

From Israel National News:

by Gil Ronen and AFP IDF soldier killed

An Israeli soldier was killed and another was lightly to moderately injured when terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula opened fire on an IDF patrol in the Mount Sagi area, on the Israel-Egypt border, at around noon Friday. Heavy exchanges of fire ensued, during which the terrorists were killed. 

One of the terrorist reportedly detonated himself in the attack. The three terrorists were reported killed. 

An initial investigation showed that the terrorists entered into Israel through an area where there is no security fence and that they were heavily armed.  

Large IDF forces converged on the location of the firefight, in the Har Harif area, and engaged the terrorists until they were eliminated. 

"A very large terror attack was prevented," said IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai. "The terrorists apparently intended to infiltrate the territory of the state of Israel. They were found with explosive belts, vests and guns." According to Voice of Israel government-sponsored radio, he said the terrorists intended to blow themselves up amidst soldiers. 

IDF Soldier Killed
IDF Soldier Killed
Brig. Gen. Mordechai said it was not known yet which terror group carried out the attack. He added that the IDF is certain that no other terrorists are on the loose inside Israel. The section of the border where the incident occurred is the last one in which the security fence has not been completed. Construction there is expected to end later this year.

"They opened fire toward IDF troops that were guarding the workers (building the security fence) in that area. Another force that was nearby... rushed to the area and targeted those three terrorists," said military spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Avital Leibovich, according to AFP"A very big terror attack was thwarted by the response of these soldiers."

The IDF is holding a situation assessment following the attack.

In Egypt, a security source and witnesses reported hearing an explosion followed by heavy gunfire.
Border security incidents have increased over the past 18 months as a wave of lawlessness has gripped the Sinai since the overthrow of veteran Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

On August 5, Islamist militants staged a bloody ambush on an Egyptian security post, killing 16 border police before crashing an armored vehicle and a truck through the Israeli border fence where they were killed by troops.

Six weeks earlier, at least three militants had on June 18 sneaked across the border from Sinai and ambushed two cars carrying Israeli construction workers, killing one and sparking a firefight with the army in which two of the gunmen died. The third fled back to Egypt.

The most serious incident for the Jewish state took place in August 2011, when another group of gunmen from Sinai infiltrated southern Israel and staged a series of ambushes that killed eight Israelis.

Israel has accused Gaza-based militants of using the Sinai as a launching pad for cross-border attacks and has demanded that Egypt crack down on Islamist elements in the lawless peninsula.

In a bid to prevent such attacks, as well as the entry of illegal immigrants from Africa, Israel has been working on the construction of a massive steel barrier along its border with the Sinai. 

September 21 2012
Netanel Yahalomi (right). Photo: wiki commons.

The Israeli soldier killed on Friday in an attack by terrorists who opened fire near the border with Egypt has been identified as Corporal Netanel Yahalomi, and an IDF inquiry into Friday’s incident shows that the terrorists – all of whom were killed by IDF forces – waited for people attempting to cross into Israel illegally to receive attention from IDF personnel, and then opened fire on the remaining IDF soldiers at a border post.

“He went to defend the State and land. That is what he fought and was killed for,” Natanel’s sister Avital said on Friday. “He died so we could live here. It was not an unnecessary death. God will give us the power to cope.”...

More here.
  From A Soldier's Mother

September 22, 2012

Lost Peace....

On Friday afternoon, news of yet another terrorist incident on the Egyptian border came through. The first news said three Palestinians had died after they blew themselves up. The next report spoke of an exchange of fire.

Minutes before Shabbat, I heard that one soldier had been killed, another wounded. This shattered so much of the Shabbat peace I was looking forward to. As I was lighting candles, I remembered speaking with a friend the night before. She told me her son was stationed on the Egyptian border. There are miles and miles of border; no real reason to worry and yet, of course, I did. But truthfully, no matter whose son it was, some family was in shock and mourning.

After the Sabbath ended, we learn his name. He was 20-year-old Corporal Netanel Yahalomi, and he is being buried tonight....

Much more of this must read here. 

POW/MIA Recognition Day

The United States’ National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed across the nation on the third Friday of September each year. Many Americans take the time to remember those who were prisoners of war (POW) and those who are missing in action (MIA), as well as their families. 

National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag is displayed with the United States flag.
National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag is displayed with the United States flag. © C. Justice Jr.

Many Americans across the United States pause to remember the sacrifices and service of those who were prisoners of war (POW), as well as those who are missing in action (MIA), and their families. All military installations fly the National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag, which symbolizes the nation’s remembrance of those who were imprisoned while serving in conflicts and those who remain missing.

Veteran rallies take place in many states on National POW/MIA Recognition Day. United States flags and POW/MIA flags are flown on this day and joint prayers are made for POWs and those missing in action. National POW/MIA Recognition Day posters are also displayed at college or university campuses and public buildings to promote the day. Remembrance ceremonies and other events to observe the day are also held in places such as the Pentagon, war memorials and museums.

From War On Terror News:


  As a result of resolutions passed in Congress, the first official commemoration of POW/MIAs was in 1979, when the first national ceremony was held.  The observance is one of six days of the year that Congress has mandated flying of the POW/MIA flag, created by the National League of Families', at major military installations, national cemeteries, all post offices, VA medical facilities, the World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the offices of the secretaries of state, defense and veterans affairs, the director of the selective service system and the White House. 
            The DoD has more than 600 people dedicated to the worldwide mission of accounting for the more than 83,000 missing service members from conflicts as far back as World War II

ALWAYS remembered...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Video: 'America, waiting til when?'

From Secure America Now:

20 September 2012

SECURE AMERICA NOW launches “America, Waiting Until When?” in wake of exclusive polling that indicates large majority of Americans support a strong U.S. national security policy and backing of Israel against terrorist threats and Iran.

The initial ad is the just released ”America, Waiting Until When?”, which features Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussing the looming threat of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. “I say, ‘Wait for what?’” Netanyahu asks rhetorically, in the ad, referring to U.S. inaction on the Iranian threat.

In Obama's world $15 is the new $5

As my regular readers know, my 'friends' over at OfA continue to send me at least four emails daily reminding me how much they need my money and support. (This even as they wine and dine with Jay-Z and Beyonce and other millionaires.)

Up until recently, $3 has been the usual beg, but these days $25 is the starting point.Guess inflation has hit the BHO Truth Team, and perhaps explains why the US economy is in such dire straits.

Today's first email is from my 'pal' Joe (J-O-B-S is a 3 letter word) Biden.  What is interesting to me, though, as Joe asks for $5?  IF you hit the 'donate' button?  The lowest donation point is $15.  Read on:

Look, you've really got to get involved here.

We've got the last Dinner with Barack of this campaign coming up, and before this tradition is over I think you should give it a shot.

Supporters like you mean a lot to Barack and me -- it's time for you to take your seat at the table. Chip in $5 or whatever you can and you'll automatically be entered for a chance to fly out with a guest for dinner with the President. Your airfare and hotel are on us:



P.S. -- We've got just 48 days left in this campaign -- and every last one counts. Donate today and help fund our ground game for these last few weeks.

No purchase, payment, or contribution necessary to enter or win. Contributing will not improve chances of winning. Void where prohibited. Entries must be received by September 25, 2012. You may enter by contributing to Obama for America here, by signing up for Quick Donate here, or click here to enter without contributing or signing up for Quick Donate. Three winners will each receive the following prize package: round-trip tickets for winner and a guest from within the fifty U.S. States, DC, or Puerto Rico to a destination to be determined by the Sponsor; hotel accommodations for winner and a guest; and dinner for winner and a guest with President Obama on a date to be determined by the Sponsor (approximate retail value of all prizes $4,800). Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Promotion open only to U.S. citizens, or lawful permanent U.S. residents who are legal residents of 50 United States, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and 18 or older (or age of majority under applicable law). Promotion subject to Official Rules and additional restrictions on eligibility. Sponsor: Obama for America, 130 E. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60601.
Paid for by Obama for America

Cue outrage # 2: Jihad "savage" ad set for NY subway

From NY Times:

Ad Calling Jihad ‘Savage’ Is Set to Appear in Subway

It concludes with the words, “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad,” wedged between two Stars of David.

After rejecting the ads initially, then losing a federal court ruling on First Amendment grounds, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said on Tuesday that the ads were expected to appear next week at 10 subway stations. 

“Our hands are tied,” Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the authority, said when asked about the timing of the ad...

Much more - including an interview with Pamela Geller - here.

GITMO alumnus 'involved' in Benghazi murders

In the 'spontaneous protest' that resulted in the murder of four Americans in Libya last week, all sorts of details are now coming to light, despite the MIC's admin best efforts to paint it all as being about a video.

As a direct result of the Obama release from GITMO program, now comes word that one of the leaders in the terrorist attack was released in 2007.

From FOX News:

Intelligence sources tell Fox News they are convinced the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was directly tied to Al Qaeda -- with a former Guantanamo detainee involved.

That revelation comes on the same day a top Obama administration official called last week's deadly assault a "terrorist attack" -- the first time the attack has been described that way by the administration after claims it had been a "spontaneous" act.

"Yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy," Matt Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said during a Senate hearing Wednesday.

Olsen echoed administration colleagues in saying U.S. officials have no specific intelligence about "significant advanced planning or coordination" for the attack.

However, his statement goes beyond White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, saying the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate was spontaneous. He is the first top administration official to call the strike an act of terrorism.

Sufyan Ben Qumu is thought to have been involved and even may have led the attack, Fox News' intelligence sources said. Qumu, a Libyan, was released from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2007 and transferred into Libyan custody on the condition he be kept in jail....

There is more about this  Benghazi attack - with video - and about this terrorist who has also been linked to 9/11.

As anybody with hallf a brain cell knows, released GITMO alumni more often than not return to their killing ways. 

Long overdue for the MIC et al to quit with the rhetoric and call a spade a spade, or in this case, a terrorist what he is, and their murders of our citizens exactly what they are:  terrorists.

As PJ Media says:

Reconciliation with Islamists is impossible.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

UPDATE: Cue the outrage: New Cartoon -Jew Pushes Mohammed in Wheelchair

From Israel National News:

The new satirical cartoon of Mohammed in a French magazine shows an Orthodox Jew pushing the prophet. Second cartoon: Mohammed in the nude.


French satirical magazine's new cartoons of Mohammed
French satirical magazine's new cartoons of Mohammed
AFP Photo

New satirical cartoons of Mohammed in a French magazine on Wednesday show its cover with an Orthodox Jew pushing the prophet, while in another cartoon Mohammed is shown in the nude, with his back side aimed at a film director.

The cartoon of the wheelchair is entitled “The Intouchables" and refers to an award-winning French film about a poor black man who becomes the caregiver for an aristocratic millionaire quadriplegic and becomes his best friend. He, of course, sees his charge in every state of dress and undress.

The Charlie Hedbo magazine rejected suggestions not to publish the cartoons, which are likely to inflame Muslim rage that already has left more than 30 people dead in violent riots and terrorist attacks over an anti-Islam film posted on the Internet.

The trailer of the satirical amateurish film “Innocence of Muslims" has received nearly 11 million clicks. It contains several immodest scenes that preclude its being posted on Arutz Sheva.

Muslim rage for material that mocks Islam and the prophet Mohammed has been escalating for years since a Danish newspaper depicted Mohammed with a bomb in his turban. Subsequently, Dutch legislator Geert Wilders posted a short movie called “Fitna”, “ which warns the world of radical Islam.

Charlie Hedbo’s offices were firebombed last year after it published an edition called “Sharia Hebdo.”

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault stopped short of asking the magazine not to publish the latest cartoons but expressed his “disapproval of all excesses.” ''We are in a country where freedom of expression is guaranteed, including the freedom to caricature,'' he said on a French radio network.

''If people really feel offended in their beliefs and think there has been an infringement of the law - and we are in a state where laws must be totally respected - they can go to court,'' Ayrault said.

French Muslim leaders appealed for calm, and French government officials are planning to stage a protest over the posting of the "Innocence of Muslims" film.

French police arrested dozens of protesters in an illegal demonstration last Saturday against the movie....(source)

More from Homeland Security NewsWire - a must read here.

Monkey In The Middle posted the film clip used as an excuse to ignite the current murders and rampage. You'll find that here.

War On Terror News is also reporting that France is planning to close its embassies in 20 countries as a 'precautionary measure'. Go read more here.

From Wake Up America, where I also posted this column, reaction from the French media, along with more of the 'offensive' sure-to-outrage cartoons. Be sure to go here to check it out.