Obama Speech to Soldiers Met with Silence
by Neil Munro
August 31, 2012
President Barack Obama was greeted with fleeting applause and extended periods of silence as he offered profuse praise to soldiers and their families during an Aug. 31 speech in Fort Bliss, Texas.
His praise for the soldiers — and for his own national-security policies — won cheers from only a small proportion of the soldiers and families in the cavernous aircraft-hangar.
The audience remains quiet even when the commander-in-chief thanked the soldiers’ families, and cited the 198 deaths of their comrades in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The audience’s reaction was so flat that the president tried twice to elicit a reaction from the crowd.
“Hey, I hear you,” he said amid silence.
The selected soldiers who were arrayed behind the president sat quietly throughout the speech.
CNN and MSNBC ended their coverage of the speech before it was half-over.
The president’s speech to the soldiers is part of his constitutional duties as commander-in-chief.
But Obama and his wife are also trying to reach out to military families in several critical swing-states, including Virginia and Florida. (RELATED: Obama warm to scientists, cold to soldiers)
That outreach, however, has been damaged by repeated flubs from the White House, including its public emphasis on soldiers’ wounds rather than on their accomplishments, and Obama’s effort to distance himself from the anti-jihad campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For example, Obama gave Vice President Joe Biden the task of developing a post-war agreement with Iraq’s government in 2009. The effort failed, reducing U.S. gains from the campaign that killed almost 4,500 troops, and as well as thousands of jihadis and Sunni insurgents seeking to regain power. The subsequent withdrawal of nearly all U..S. troops has allowed Iran to increase its influence in Iraq. In turn, that influence helps it support Syria’s dictatorship against Sunni insurgents.
White House officials are trying to avoid additional flubs. On Friday, for example, White House officials rushed to debunk a report that the president had used an autopen to sign condolence letters to soldiers’ families.
Throughout Friday’s speech, the loudest reactions came when the president name-checked the nicknames of the soldiers’ brigades. Major military units have their own rival cheers, and those could be heard from portions of the audience when he referred to individual units.
The troops’ silence continued through several obvious applause-lines.
There was isolated cheers when Obama said his withdrawal policy would ensure “fewer deployments … more time to prepare for the future, and it means more time on the home front, with your families, your home and kids.”
The silence deepened when the president lauded his strategy of withdrawal from the war. “Make no mistake, ending the wars responsibly makes us safer and our military even stronger, and ending these wars is letting us do something else; restoring American leadership,” he said amid complete silence.
When he said demobilized soldiers would find jobs because “all of you have the skills America needs,” he got little reaction.
There was no reaction when he promised stepped-up recruitment of soldiers for police jobs.
Read more: http://goo.gl/WjUKC
Detroit Man Attempts to Turn Himself In for Double Homicide ... Police too Busy to Arrest Him
by Jason Howerton
September 2, 2012
A Detroit man suspected of fatally shooting two men attempted to turn himself in on Saturday but, to his surprise, there were apparently no police officers available to take him into custody.
The shooting occurred at around 1:30 a.m. Saturday in Detroit, a city grappling with high crime rates. Witnesses said several people were attending a “social event” when the suspect, identified only as a 36-year-old male, lost his temper in an altercation, pulled out a gun and started shooting, WDIV reports. After the smoke cleared, two men were dead and two others wounded. The shooter fled the scene in his car.
About two hours after the shooting, Detroit police say the suspect arrived at a Detroit Fire Engine Station and said he was involved in the deadly shooting that night, seemingly turning himself in. The fire station called the police, expecting them to rush to the station to pick up the murder suspect. Instead, the police told them that area patrol units were too busy “handling high priority runs” and therefore “no units were dispatched to the location,” according to the report.
This allowed the suspect to actually leave the fire station on his own free will. Fortunately, the suspected shooter went directly to the 10th Police Precinct where he was finally taken into custody.
Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee announced late Saturday that the department would be launching an administrative investigation to figure out why the appropriate resources were not made available.
“Every effort to ensure that this person was taken into custody should have occurred,” Godbee said in a statement. “Therefore an administrative investigation will be conducted to determine if this police run was handled appropriately and to ascertain if there were any other patrol resources which should have been made available to respond to the Detroit Fire Engine Quarters.”
The two men who died in the shooting were identified only as a 23-year-old and a 37-year-old. Two other men, 19 and 34, were listed in serious condition Saturday, according to police.
After learning about the bizarre incident, Detroit Fire Department Senior Chief Lewis Roelans said, “Isn’t it ironic? You call for the police and even we can’t get them.”
Read more: http://goo.gl/xarjQ
|Barr (left) has submitted her letter of resignation|
Top ICE Official Forced Out Over Sexual Misconduct Claims
The Associated Press
September 1, 2012
A senior Obama administration political appointee and longtime aide to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano resigned Saturday amid allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior lodged by at least three Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees.
Suzanne Barr, chief of staff to ICE Director John Morton, said in her resignation letter that the allegations against her are "unfounded." But she said she was stepping down anyway to end distractions within the agency. ICE, a division of the Homeland Security Department, confirmed Barr had resigned. The Associated Press obtained a copy of Barr's letter.
Barr is accused of sexually inappropriate behavior toward employees. The complaints are related to a sexual discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by a senior ICE agent in May.
In her letter to Morton, Barr said she has been the subject of "unfounded allegations designed to destroy my reputation" and is resigning "with great regret."
"Of greater concern however, is the threat these allegations represent to the reputation of this agency and the men and women who proudly serve their country by advancing ICE's mission," Barr wrote. "As such, I feel it is incumbent upon me to take every step necessary to prevent further harm to the agency and to prevent this from further distracting from our critical work."
Barr went on leave last month after the New York Post reported on the lawsuit filed by James T. Hayes Jr., ICE's special agent in charge in New York. Additional employees came forward with their allegations around the same time.
In one complaint, Barr is accused of telling a male subordinate he was "sexy" and asking a personal question about his anatomy during an office party. In a separate complaint, she is accused of offering to perform a sex act with a male subordinate during a business trip in Bogota, Colombia. She's also accused of calling a male subordinate from her hotel room and offering to perform a sex act. The names of two of Barr's accusers were censored in affidavits reviewed by AP.
Homeland Security's office of professional responsibility and inspector general have been investigating the allegations.
Read more: http://goo.gl/tGS38