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Daily Archives: June 29th, 2016

Brexit Effects?
The conversation on the “Brexit” and its effect on the U.S. is all over the place as to for and against. Several  of our own States (Texas in particular) have wanted and (still do) advocate for leaving the United States. Their reasons are more of the Government being too big and in some cases want the Government to mind it’s own business. Looking at what is provided by the Government, are the states that want to opt out willing to establish diplomatic relations in any or all of the Countries that the Federal government  now cooperates with? This involves establishing and maintaining embassies, having some sort of army to protect those outposts. The Dupublican’s upset in the Congress gave heart to the anti Obama and Scamocratic factions. The issue not recognized is the rise of the Tea party within the Dupublican party. The thing to consider is that the separatists are acting in anger with no thought of the future. Actions taken in anger now without careful consideration of the long view will cause  effects that are difficult to overcome. These vocal sectors have caused an already weak Congress to act (or not) in ways that do more harm than good and have allowed the rise of Donald Trump as the front runner that the Dupublican party doesn’t  want but are accepting because they are afraid of losing votes and thereby their Congressional seats. None of pro Brexit group have looked far enough ahead to understand what the long range effect of their voting will bring. The result that none of the pro exit supporters have looked at are that Russia and IS are loving the separation because they can slip in and deliver their own messages . Other major players on the world stage who could benefit from this are not as happy with as this affects their connections world wide regardless of the other issues they may have with the so called ‘Free World” or the West. It is worth watching or listening to our own Presidential candidate and his followers hailing the ‘Brexit’ without understanding what it really means and the accompanying baggage.

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By Eugene Kiely

It’s a simple question, one that we ask candidates, campaigns and political committees all the time: “What evidence do you have?” We almost always get an answer. But that has not been the case with Donald Trump’s campaign, which typically does not respond to fact-checkers or provides scant information when it does.

That’s why we were heartened to see NBC’s Lester Holt ask Trump “what evidence do you have” to support two of Trump’s claims in a June 22 speech that we and other fact-checkers found contained numerous false claims.

Holt asked Trump about his claim that Clinton’s private email “server was easily hacked by foreign governments.” Trump went on to say “our enemies” probably even have the emails Clinton deleted, meaning they have a “blackmail file” on her. “This fact alone disqualifies her from the presidency,” Trump said.

But it is not a fact. As we wrote, there is no evidence that Clinton’s server was hacked — let alone by hostile foreign governments. We have written that the private server was not approved by the State Department, and it was the subject of security concerns within the department and a target of attacks outside the department. But there’s no evidence at this point that any of the attempts were successful.

Holt asked Trump, “What evidence do you have?” that her server was successfully hacked. When that didn’t elicit a response, Holt asked again, “But is there any evidence that it was hacked other than routine phishing?” Trump finally said that he heard or read about Clinton’s email being successfully hacked. Asked where he got that information, Trump said, “I will report back to you. I’ll give it to you.”

Holt asked Trump how he could make his claim “with such certainty” without evidence. Trump replied, “I don’t know if certainty. Probably she was hacked.”

Similarly, Holt pressed Trump on his claim that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens “was left helpless to die as Hillary Clinton soundly slept in her bed.” As we wrote, there is no evidence for that, either. We know that Clinton was involved in the government’s response to the attacks, which began at about 3:45 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, and we know that she sent the last of two emails about Stevens’ death at 11:38 p.m. EDT.

We also know that she went home at some point during the attacks. She testified that she stayed up all night, but as we wrote, we cannot independently verify whether Clinton did sleep that night — but neither can Trump, and he admitted as much to Holt. Trump said “who knows if she was sleeping … she might have been sleeping.”

Holt isn’t the only one who has demanded evidence from a presidential candidate.

CNN’s Jake Tapper did the same earlier this month when he asked Trump to provide evidence to support the claim that Trump was opposed to the Iraq war before it started. There is no evidence of that, either, as we have written. Trump responded to Tapper by saying, “I think there is evidence. I will see if I can get it.”

And CBS’ Charlie Rose, reading from one of our articles, asked Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders in April about his claim that Clinton relies heavily on campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry. Sanders’ response to Rose was misleading, so we wrote about that, too.

But these are exceptions rather than the rule. As Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler has written, “astonishingly, television hosts rarely challenge Trump when he makes a claim that already has been found to be false,” adding that Trump’s campaign “does not even bother to respond to fact-checking inquiries.”

We, too, would like to see more TV news anchors challenge the presidential candidates on statements that fact-checkers universally agree are false and misleading, especially those that are made without any evidence. It just takes a simple question, “What evidence do you have?”

The Wire

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This article points out again that the most vocal voices are in a minority regarding firearms.

SAN ANTONIO — Veterans are becoming more vocal in the nation’s gun control debate, using their service and experience with weapons as a platform in the wake of the Orlando nightclub killings.

Veterans have blitzed the media in recent days to make their arguments. Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal highlighted one side of the debate in the New York Times, writing that veterans should amplify lawmaker efforts to pass legislation aimed at more stringent background checks, including restrictions on felons, domestic abusers and individuals who have been subject to terror investigations by the FBI.

Roughly 2.5 million troops have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, with many earning experience and perspective on the utility of firearms at war and home.

Much of the domestic gun control debate centers on the AR-15 family of rifles, first introduced in the late 1950s and later adopted by the U.S. military in the 1960s during the war in Vietnam, when it was designated as the M-16.

The M-4, a carbine variant of the M-16 with a collapsible stock and shortened barrel, has become the standard service weapon for military and tactical police units.

“We are trained in the use of firearms, and many of us have served in combat. And we all think our country must do more to save lives from being cut short by gun violence,” McChrystal wrote Thursday. “As this national crisis continues to rage, I ask my fellow veterans — patriots who have worn the uniform, who took an oath to protect our Constitution and the Second Amendment, who served this great country — to add your voice to this growing call for change. America needs you.”

McChrystal, senior commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan from 2009-2010, resigned after critical comments about President Barack Obama’s war policies were made public in Rolling Stone magazine.

On June 10, McChrystal joined a group of former military officials and veterans called Veterans Coalition for Common Sense to lobby lawmakers for tighter gun laws.

The group launched their initiative two days before Omar Mateen, 29, killed 49 and wounded more than 50 in a gay nightclub in Orlando. The attack killed an Army reservist and an Army veteran.

Former infantry officer Nate Bethea went a step further in his New York Times Magazine commentary piece also published Thursday. Bethea wrote variants of the weapon he carried in Afghanistan — the standard issue M-4 semi-automatic carbine rifle — have little practical use outside a war zone.

“I don’t want an assault rifle, because I don’t want to think of my home country as a battlefield. I don’t want civilians to own assault rifles, because I think the risks outweigh the rewards,” he wrote.

On Monday, Bethea told Stars and Stripes that he’s not a gun expert, but he knows a lot about shooting a M-4.

“The notion of someone needing a rifle like that for home defense or any other purpose seems like a retroactive justification,” he said.

Bethea, who has been familiar with firearms since a young age, said he is not against all gun ownership. His parents use a Winchester .22 rifle to defend livestock in rural Indiana from predators. But military-grade rifles are a step too far for practical defense, he said.

“It’s fun shooting. I’d like to go shoot a MP-5,” he said, describing a sub-machine gun. “But I don’t need one in my home.”

Former Navy SEAL Dom Raso took the opposite viewpoint on the AR-15 rifle in a video released Wednesday by the National Rifle Association.

The video, titled “The AR-15: Americans’ Best Defense Against Terror and Crime,” opens with President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential frontrunner Hilary Clinton making remarks about “assault weapons” and “weapons of war,” terms commonly associated with the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

AR-15-style rifles are the most popular rifles in the country, according to the NRA.

“This firearm gives average people the advantage they so desperately need and deserve to protect their life, liberty and happiness,” Raso said in the video, connecting the utility of the rifle for citizens to defend against attacks like the ones in San Bernardino and Orlando.

The video has generated more than 300,000 views in less than a week and landed Raso on a Fox News segment Thursday morning. Raso did not reply to an interview request from Stars and Stripes.

Online military communities have also joined the gun debate.

After New York Daily News reporter Gersh Kuntzman penned an essay Wednesday in which he described firing an AR-15 “sounded like a cannon” and gave him “temporary (post-traumatic stress disorder),” the military satire website Duffel Blog said he would receive the National Defense Service Medal and compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The article has more than 36,000 shares on social media—soaring far above other recent articles.

Kuntzman was also the subject of memes on military-themed Facebook pages this week. One community page for infantry combat veterans has used Kuntzman’s photo to generate dozens of memes critical of his perceived lack of knowledge about firearms.

The high-profile discussion on gun control policy continued as four gun-focused bills introduced by the Senate were voted down Monday, which included measures to bolster background checks and restrict people on terrorist watch lists from purchasing firearms.

“I don’t see why we make these things so readily available when they’re designed specifically to kill the enemy,” Bethea said, speaking about AR-15-style rifles.

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