California’s Drought Is So Bad That Thousands Are Living Without Running Water

e-porterville-lady

Vickie Yorba, 94, stands next to a water tank outside her home in East Porterville, California.

Most of us are feeling the effects of the California drought from a distance, if at all: Our produce is a little more expensive, our news feeds are filled with images of cracked earth. But thousands of people in California’s Central Valley are feeling the drought much more acutely, because water has literally ceased running from their taps. The drought in these communities resembles a never-ending natural disaster, says Andrew Lockman, manager of the county’s Office of Emergency Services. Most disasters are “sudden onset, they run their course over hours or days, and then you clean up the mess. This thing has been growing for 18 months and it’s not slowing down.”

Here’s what you need to know about California’s most parched places:

What do you mean by “no running water”?
No water is coming through the pipes, so when residents turn on the tap or the shower, or try to flush the toilet or run the washing machine, water doesn’t come out.

Who doesn’t have running water?
While a handful of communities across the state are dealing with municipal water contamination and shortages, the area that’s hardest hit—and routinely referred to as the “ground zero of the drought”—is Tulare County, a rural, agriculture-heavy region in the Central Valley that’s roughly the size of Connecticut. As of this week, 5,433 people in the county don’t have running water, according to Lockman. Most of those individuals live in East Porterville, a small farming community in the Sierra Foothills. East Porterville is one of the poorest communities in California: over a third of the population lives below the federal poverty line, and 56 percent of adults didn’t make it through high school. About three quarters of residents are Latino, andabout a third say they don’t speak English “very well.”

Why don’t they have running water?
Many Tulare homes aren’t connected to a public water system—either because they are too rural or, in the case of East Porterville, because when the community was incorporated in the late 1970s, there wasn’t enough surface water available to serve the community. Until recently, this wasn’t a problem: the homes have private wells, and residents had a seemingly unlimited supply of groundwater. Most domestic wells in East Porterville are relatively shallow—between 25 and 50 feet deep—because water wasn’t far below ground level.

With California in its fourth year of drought, there’s been little groundwater resupply and a lot more demand—particularly as farmers resort to pumping for water—leading the water table to drop dramatically and wells to go dry. Those with money can dig deeper wells, but this generally costs between $10,000 and $30,000—a cost that’s prohibitive for many Tulare residents.

If they don’t have running water, how do they function?
Of the roughly 1,200 Tulare homes reporting dry wells, about 1,000 of them have signed up for a free bottled water delivery service coordinated by the county. Homes receive deliveries every two weeks; each resident is allotted half a gallon of drinking water per day. The county has also set up three large tanks of nonpotable water, where residents can fill up storage containers for things like showering, flushing toilets, or doing dishes. Portable showers, toilets, and sinks have been set up in front of a church in East Porterville.

Wait, people are showering outside a church?
Yup. Some residents have been living without water for over a year, says Susana De Anda, the director of the Community Water Center, a non-profit serving the area. “It’s a huge hygiene issue where we don’t have running water. It kind of reminds me of Katrina,” she says. “The relief came but it came kind of late.”

The state’s offering temporary help, right?
To provide interim relief, the county is also working to install water storage tanks outside of homes with dry wells. The 2,500-gallon tanks, usually set up in yards, are filled with potable water and connected to the home, giving a rough semblance of running water. Only about 170 such tanks have been installed so far, in part because the process for installing the tanks is so laborious. Applicants need to prove ownership of the house, open their home to a site assessment, and more—with each step of the process involving a days or weeks long queue. Some 1,300 homes still don’t have tanks installed.

Hundreds of rental properties don’t have running water, and because domestic water storage tanks aren’t set up at rental units, migrant workers aren’t likely to reap the benefits of this interim solution. Another challenge is misinformation: The free water programs are open to residents regardless of citizenship, but myths still prevents some from taking advantage of the services. When the portable showers were first installed in front of the church, says Lockman, many people suspected they were an immigration enforcement trap. Some parents haven’t been sending their children to school, having heard that child welfare services would take away kids from families that don’t have running water.

Who’s working on this?
This year, the state has set aside $19 million to be spent on emergency drinking water. In Tulare, the Office of Emergency Services, which coordinates a network of contractors covering the needs of half a million people, currently has a staff of four people. (Three more positions were approved this week.)

In the long term, community leaders are working to build an infrastructure so that homes can be linked to a municipal water supply. But that work is “slow and expensive,” says Melissa Withnell, a county spokesperson.

Are farmers taking the water?
Yes, but it’s hard to blame them. Tulare County is among the biggest agricultural producers in the country, growing everything from pistachios and almonds to grapes and livestock. “If you were to just look at the landscape, it’s very green,” says De Anda. “You wouldn’t think we were in a drought.” The industry brings in nearly 8 billion dollars per year, employing many of those individuals who currently lack running water. Permits to drill new wells have skyrocketed—just this year, nearly 700 irrigation wells have been permitted, compared to about 200 domestic wells. (Wells permits are issued on a first come, first served basis.) “It’s like one big punch bowl that’s not getting refilled but everybody’s been slowly drinking out of it and now we have a thirsty football team at the same punch bowl as everybody else,” says Lockman. “Do we have sustainability problems? Oh yeah, absolutely.”

Source: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/07/drought-5000-californians-dont-have-running-water 

Gun Insanity: Activists Call to Ban Gun Emoji

Gun control group jumps shark by going after pixels

Believe it or not, symbols in text messages are the next target for fervent anti-gun activists in New York.

Under the “Disarm the iPhone” campaign, “New Yorkers Against Gun Violence” is calling on Apple to remove the gun emoji from their iPhone devices.

An accompanying video for the ad campaign, which we assure you is real, tries to sell the idea that getting rid of the emoji would somehow lead to less gun deaths.

Daily Beast: Obama Administration Hiding Unclassified Iran Documents

The Obama administration is hiding 17 unclassified documents that are part of the Iran nuclear deal, according to a new report.

The Daily Beast reports a cache of 18 documents are sitting in Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facilities (SCIFs) in the U.S. Capitol complex. Seventeen of the documents, however, are unclassified — which raises the question of why they are being stored in containers normally reserved for classified information.

The administration gave the 18 documents to Congress on July 19, and the legislative body is now tasked with reviewing them before it either approves or denies the landmark deal. The 17 unclassified documents, however, do require a security clearance to view, reports The Daily Beast.

The California Drought: $1.8 billion in losses

drought-californiaForecast calls for $1.8 billion in farm revenue losses…

While California remains gripped by drought, the scale of lost agricultural jobs and lowered revenue is emerging. And the numbers don’t look good.

Vast tracts of farmland—mostly in the Central Valley—have been fallowed, which means idled to accumulate moisture. An estimated 564,000 acres will be idled, according to an economic update on the drought from researchers at the University of California at Davis.

Unused land, of course, triggers lower agricultural output. Based on estimates of 564,000 idled acres, farm revenue losses are forecast at $1.8 billion, and 8,550 fewer farm jobs because of the drought.

The ripple effect of lower agricultural activity is forecast to be even bigger. Idled land means fewer food processing jobs and thin ranks of truckers to haul goods. Spillover, statewide revenue losses are likely to reach $2.7 billion with 18,600 lost full-time and part-time jobs, according to the report.

“This is a very extreme drought,” said Daniel A. Sumner, agricultural economist at UC Davis, and editor of the update released earlier this week. The report includes economic analysis of drought data from May and June.

More idled land

But already researchers think 564,000 idled acres may be too low an estimate.

According to a separate June report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, state acreage of principal crops—which includes field crops such as hay, grains, cotton and potatoes—is running about 900,000 acres or 22.5 percent below the 2013 total of about four million acres.

“Land is incredibly productive,” Sumner said. “Nobody leaves land idle unless something really bad happens.”

Residents fills buckets with non-potable water from a tank set up in front of the Doyle Colony Fire Station on April 23, 2015, in Porterville, California. Private wells here have gone dry.

Getty Images
Residents fills buckets with non-potable water from a tank set up in front of the Doyle Colony Fire Station on April 23, 2015, in Porterville, California. Private wells here have gone dry.

“Things are really day-to-day for the wells …”-Mariilyn Kinoshita, Tulare County’s agricultural commissioner

From big cities to rural communities, year four of a historic drought is shaping water consumption habits statewide. Gov. Jerry Brown in April mandated a 25 percent cut in urban water use—the first ever for California. In San Francisco, for example, home cooks and restaurant chefs are tweaking kitchen rituals such as reducing free-flowing water over vegetables. Watering a home lawn during non-designated times can get you hundreds of dollars in fines.

Deep in agricultural counties, farmers are churning through the summer heat with little to no surface water supplies and digging deeper for groundwater—water buried underneath the earth’s surface. Groundwater flows naturally to the top, or can be pumped to the surface through wells.

Like dipping into a savings account, groundwater can account for half of total state water consumed in drought years.

More groundwater is being pumped at a faster pace than groundwater sources can replenish their moisture levels. In 2014 and 2015, farmers will have pumped at least 11 million acre-feet of additional groundwater to make up for lost surface supplies, according to UC Davis. (An acre-foot is roughly 325,000 gallons of water. Just imagine a swimming pool that’s an acre across and a foot deep.)

After decades of groundwater extraction, pockets of land have been sinking from Merced down to Bakersfield—at first by inches, and now by feet.

Read MoreRising tensions over monitoring groundwater

One of the hardest hit drought areas in the Central Valley is Tulare County, where roughly 1,000 private well failures have forced hundreds of rural residents to use buckets and temporary sources of water to bathe, cook and clean.

“Things are really day-to-day for the wells holding up,” said Marilyn Kinoshita, Tulare County’s agricultural commissioner.

Sector breakdown of losses

Dairy cows graze in a pen at the Van Ommering Dairy Farm in Lakeside, California.

During the winter, unusually warm temperatures left record low snowpacks that eventually melt and trickle down to fill large reservoirs. With less water, every pocket of agriculture is being hit, from dairy to rice farmers.
  • Rice farmers are planting about 30 percent less rice this year, according to the California Rice Commission.
  • The dairy and cattle industries are forecast to lose $350 million in revenues, according to UC Davis research.

The dairy industry is getting hit from all sides. The economy of China, a big U.S. dairy consumer, has slowed. Meanwhile, dairy farmers are paying for higher feed prices as hay farmers have lowered production due to water shortages.

Said Sumner: “Dairy is in a world of hurt right now.”

Source: http://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/09/revenue-loss-due-to-california-drought-to-top-1-billion.html

10 Stories That Prove Guns Save Lives

guns save lives

In a nation that already has more than 200 million guns, gun control does little other than make the work of rapists, robbers, murderers and nuts like Adam Lanza easier. When faced with gun control laws, the law abiding citizen has no choice other than to disarm or become an outlaw, but people with bad intentions are faced with no such moral dilemma. That’s why the best friend of a rapist or a potential Adam Lanza is the gun control advocate who’s working tirelessly to insure that his targets can’t adequately defend themselves.

On some level, even diehard advocates of gun control know this, which is why they want people with guns defending them. Our police aren’t going to disarm, the military isn’t going to try to fight our enemies with non-violent protests and the White House will never become a “gun free zone.” But, what happens when the bad man with the gun is right there and the military, the police, and the President’s Secret Service aren’t on the scene? Then having a gun may be the difference between living or dying, between being raped or being okay, between saving your children or watching them die.

The hypocrites who want men with guns to protect them when they’re in trouble, but want to prevent other law abiding citizens from defending themselves love to use anecdotal evidence to make their case. Those of us who are pro-Second Amendment then usually talk about our Constitutional rights or reel off statistics to counter them, but we have our own stories. There are thousands of good and decent Americans who are alive today precisely because they had guns. Gun control advocates might think the world would be a better place if those people and the ones you’re about to read about were dead and the people menacing them had gotten away with their crimes, but those of us who are serious about our Second Amendment rights disagree.

1) On February 12, 2007, a lone gunman, Sulejman Talovic, opened fire at the crowded Trolley Square shopping mall, killing five bystanders. Armed with a shotgun with a pistol grip, a 38-caliber handgun with rubber grips, and a backpack full of ammunition, he set forth on his rampage through the mall.But he did not get as far as he had hoped. He was stopped by off-duty police officer Kenneth Hammond of the Ogden City Police Department, who was at Trolley Square having an early Valentine’s Day dinner with his pregnant wife. When they heard shots, she called 911 and he drew his weapon and confronted Talovic. He was joined by Sgt. Andrew Oblad of the Salt Lake City Police Department. They pinned down Talovic, stopping further deaths, until a SWAT team from the Salt Lake City Police Department killed him.

Hammond, a man with a weapon, was credited with saving “countless lives.”

2) That’s right. There was not a mass killing spree in Atlanta on Thursday, but there could have been. We’ll never know — and thankfully so, because an armed guard stepped in.As reported by USA Today, “A 14-year-old student was shot at an Atlanta middle school Thursday afternoon, and another student was taken into custody, police said.”

An armed guard disarmed the shooter moments after the 1:50 p.m. shooting in a courtyard at the Price Middle School in southeast Atlanta.

Atlanta Public Schools public information officer Steve Alford said the teen’s wound was more toward the back of the neck, WXIA-TV reported.

An armed off-duty Atlanta police officer who works at the school subdued the shooter and had him drop his weapon, Police Chief George Turner said.

3) Over the past couple days we’ve been hearing a whole lot about deadly rampages that have occurred throughout America, but what we haven’t heard much about are the deadly rampages that have been prevented thanks to armed, trained, responsible security and citizens. Yesterday in San Antonio, an off-duty police officer prevented mass murder after taking out a gunman before he could kill anyone.Gunfire erupted at the Mayan Palace Theatre on Southwest Military Sunday night just before 9:30 pm. This shooting comes just days after a deadly rampage at a school in Connecticut and sparks memories of the mass slaying at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.

Investigators tell News 4 WOAI the gunman is 19-year-old Jesus Manuel Garcia. They say he worked at the China Garden restaurant right next to the Mayan Palace Theater. Police say Garcia opened fire at China Garden because of relationship problems with his girlfriend who also worked at the restaurant, although she was not present at the time. Officers explain that Garcia then continued to fire his weapon across the parking lot and into the theater. Garcia even opened fire on a San Antonio Police Department patrol car explained Detective Lou Antu, spokesman for the Bexar County Sherriff’s Office.

“Everybody was just coming out of the side of the theater, running out the emergency exits. And everyone was screaming and running,” explained a moviegoer named Megan.

Garcia was finally stopped by a deputy who was working an off-duty job at the theater. The deputy shot Garcia four times.

4) Nick Meli is emotionally drained. The 22-year-old was at Clackamas Town Center with a friend and her baby when a masked man opened fire.”I heard three shots and turned and looked at Casey and said, ‘are you serious?,'” he said.

The friend and baby hit the floor. Meli, who has a concealed carry permit, positioned himself behind a pillar.

“He was working on his rifle,” said Meli. “He kept pulling the charging handle and hitting the side.”

The break in gunfire allowed Meli to pull out his own gun, but he never took his eyes off the shooter.

….

Meli took cover inside a nearby store. He never pulled the trigger. He stands by that decision.

“I’m not beating myself up cause I didn’t shoot him,” said Meli. “I know after he saw me, I think the last shot he fired was the one he used on himself.

5) A Texas burglary suspect dialed 911 early Tuesday morning to report that an armed homeowner was threatening to shoot him, MyFoxDFW.com reported.James Gerow, the homeowner, told the station that he awoke and discovered a man wearing a dark hoodie inside his Springtown, Texas home. Springtown is a small city Northwest of Fort Worth.

Gerow grabbed his gun and followed the man out to a truck in his driveway.

With gun in hand, Gerow convinced the man to drop his keys. He told his wife to call 911 and waited for deputies to arrive.

6) On January 19th, an elderly homeowner in MO was forced to defend himself when a 30 year old suspect broke into his home and assaulted him.The homeowner fired a shot at the intruder, striking him in the arm.

The suspect then fled the scene, but was captured by police after a brief manhunt.

The homeowner was taken to the hospital for treatment of the injuries he sustained in the assault. The homeowner had to be airlifted to a second hospital for head injuries.

The suspect is charged with 1st degree assault and 1st degree burglary.

7) There were frightening moments for a Loganville family forced to fight back against a robber chasing them in their own home Friday afternoon.CBS Atlanta News has uncovered new details regarding a home invasion in Loganville on Friday.

Walton County investigators said the homeowner involved wasn’t the only target and released the chilling 911 call from the incident.

A mom and her twin 9-year-old children tried hiding near the attic – but the crook wouldn’t back down.

Police say the crook was armed with a crow bar and the terrified woman inside the home opened fire on the crook, striking him five times.

8) According to The Associated Press, a 14-year-old Phoenix boy shot an armed intruder who broke into his home at approximately 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 23. At that time, the boy was babysitting his younger siblings, ages eight, 12 and 12.The incident started with a woman ringing the doorbell to the residence. Since the boy didn’t recognize the woman, he refused to open the door.

A short time later, the boy heard a loud bang, which he correctly assumed was someone attempting to force entry through the door. The boy gathered his siblings and hurried them upstairs as he armed himself with a handgun from his parent’s bedroom.

From the top of the stairs, the boy saw a man break open the front door.When the man pointed a gun at the boy, the boy shot the man.The man did not fire his weapon.

9) The 53-year-old woman, who is also a veteran private school counselor, was alone at the time of the Wednesday morning attack. She lives on East Mount Tabor Circle in Duluth.The woman was getting out of the shower when she was met by a strange man with a kitchen knife, police said. They said there was a struggle in the bathroom, and she fell in the tub. Police later identified the man as Israel Perez Puentes, a Cuban national who lived in Alpharetta.

“The male was armed with a kitchen knife, a struggle ensued between the two of them. She fell in the bathtub injuring herself,” Gwinnett police spokesman Edwin Ritter said.

The woman tried to fight the man off with a shower rod, and he forced her into her bedroom, police said. They said she told her attacker she had money in the room. But she grabbed a .22-caliber handgun and shot the man nine times, police said.

Police said the man ran out of a back door and collapsed in the yard. He later died at the Gwinnett Medical Center. The victim, who was injured in the scuffle, was also taken to the hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. Police have not released her name.

10) Monica Jones said Thursday she was more angry than afraid when she rushed to the aid of a screaming neighbor girl, pointed a shotgun at a man who had allegedly ripped off the youngster’s clothes, and warned: ”Stay put or I’ll shoot.””You don’t think about getting hurt,” Ms. Jones, a mother of three, said in an interview. ”If someone is getting hurt, I can’t close my door.”

Police credit Ms. Jones’ quick action with preventing the 12-year-old girl from being raped.

”She’s a heroine,” said police Capt. Robert Richters. ”She did an outstanding job – simply outstanding.”

But Ms. Jones, 28, said her actions under the circumstances were only normal.

”I wasn’t going to stand back and let this man take this child and do awful things to her,” she said. ”She wasn’t nothing but a baby. If she were my child, I would hope somebody would be there to save her.”

 

Source: http://townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2013/02/02/10-stories-that-prove-guns-save-lives-n1503549/page/full

Why Greece Won’t Pay

greece-debt

For almost six years Greece has been on the cusp of financial disaster. Its Northern European and international creditors have extended loans, suspended interest payments and forgiven some debt.

But European lenders have also stubbornly kept to the old-fashioned principle that debtors freely borrowed their money from lenders, and therefore most borrowed money must be paid back, regardless of the current financial status of the debtors.

Greece counters that after all sorts of austerity budgets, it simply can no longer inflict the necessary pain on its relatively tiny population to squeeze out enough cash to pay its well-off creditors. In other words, borrowed money only sometimes must be paid back — depending on the relative wealth of the respective borrower and lender.

Economists still bicker over what caused the crisis. Was it Greek structural inefficiencies coupled with appetites for expensive foreign imports that Greeks could not afford? In the last decade, high-priced Mercedes cars became as common in Athens as the swimming pools that dotted the Aegean landscape.

Was the Greek tragedy more due to endemic corruption, rampant tax evasion and cronyism? Longtime residents of Greece knew that it was a national pastime to conduct business off the books, to give discounts for non-reportable cash payments, and to cram boated state bureaucracies with friends and cronies.

Or maybe the borrow-and-spend spree could have continued were it not for the 2008 financial meltdown on Wall Street that stopped the merry-go-round of lending and borrowing?

Politicians likewise fight over the best ways to solve the crisis.

Write off the Greek debt but make Greece abandon the euro and perhaps the European Union as well? Or write off the debt but only in exchange for radical reforms in the Greek economy that will preclude another borrowing spree? Or write off the debt and just let Greece do as it pleases?

Behind all the acrimony is an unspoken Greek assumption that has nothing to do with either economics or politics, but reflects a growing trend around the world.

The thinking goes something like this. The rich Northern Europeans have more money per capita than do the Greeks. They could write off the entire Greek debt and not really miss what they lost. In the Greek redistributionist mindset, why should one group of affluent Europeans grow even wealthier off poorer Europeans?

Athens has adopted the equality-of-result mentality that believes factors other than hard work, thrift, honesty and competency make one nation poor and another rich. Instead, sheer luck, a stacked deck, greed or a fickle inheritance better explain inequality. Fate or cosmic unfairness can result in good but poor people owing money to bad but wealthy people.

Default, then, is sometimes morally justified. The Greeks fault their most prominent creditor, Germany, for its cruel past Nazi occupation of Greece, for its cold obsessions with the financial bottom line, and for its ethnocentric manipulation of the euro and the EU itself.

Something similar to the Greek mindset arose during the U.S. housing bubble and collapse of 2008.

Millions of Americans unwisely took out subprime mortgages for houses they could not afford and then walked away from their debt when the economy tanked. They understandably blamed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, avaricious Wall Street speculators, rah-rah realtors and dishonest banks that pushed overpriced homes and mortgages onto the unsuspecting.

The current student debt fiasco is also similar. Young people who have little money owe lots of it — $1 trillion in aggregate — to banks that already have lots of it.

It no longer matters how the debt was incurred, only that poor students and ex-students are unlikely to pay most of it back.

Everybody but students is supposedly to blame. The universities constantly upped tuition costs while pushing loan packages on students. The weak economy offered few good jobs to the recently graduated and indebted. The government foolishly guaranteed the loans and thus greenlighted greedy campuses and banks to charge whatever they pleased.

Students are as likely to pay back their $1 trillion as Greece is its $350 billion.

The Obama administration is sympathetic to the mindset of debtors. Its sloganeering suggests that wealth creation is either not really the work of the individual (“you didn’t build that”) or something that reflects greed rather than thrift (“I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money”).

Greece will not pay because an increasing number of nations in the Western world do not look at borrowed money as a contractual agreement that is central to a modern economy. Instead, they see renouncing debt as both a moral act and a reasonable method of wealth redistribution.

Payback depends not on who legally agreed to what with whom–but on who has money and who doesn’t.

In short, debt has been redefined as equality and fairness.

Source: http://townhall.com/columnists/victordavishanson/2015/06/25/why-greece-wont-pay-n2016822/page/full

DISTURBING: Why the TSA Allowed Security Officials on Terror Watchlists to Be Hired…

 The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been heavily criticized over the years for a wide array of practices and missteps. But the latest report from the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security shows perhaps one the TSA’s greatest problems.

The TSA failed to identify at least 73 airport employees who were “linked to terrorism.” According to the Inspector General’s report:

“[O]ur testing showed that TSA did not identify 73 individuals with terrorism-related category codes. According to TSA data, these individuals were employed by major airlines, airport vendors, and other employers.”

The report’s findings claim that the TSA “acknowledged” specific individuals who fall under the terrorism-related category codes “represented a potential transportation security threat.”

In addition, the report alluded to why the TSA failed to identify the potential terrorists:

“This occurred because TSA is not authorized under current interagency watchlisting policy to receive certain terrorism-related category codes as part of the watchlist extract they used for vetting.”

The specific terrorism-related category codes were redacted from the report, as well as the identities of the individuals who posed a potential threat to airport security.

Source: DHS OIG analysis of NCTC matching results

The TSA also attempted to address the lapses in vetting and security. In 2014, the TSA Administrator signed a memo to “partially address” the weakness in security and vetting protocols.

Current airport policies rely on individuals to “self-report disqualifying crimes.” But if the individuals do self-report, they pose a risk of being terminated from their job.

The TSA has had a string of bad press lately. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced that Melvin Carraway, the Acting Administrator for the TSA, had been reassigned after it was discovered that undercover agents successfully carried fake weapons through security checkpoints.

Source: http://www.ijreview.com/2015/06/340671-airport-security-failure-as-73-potential-terrorists-employed/

A Marine Sacrificed His Life to Save His Brothers in Arms (and Receives his Honors only 11 Years Later)

While attempting to clear a house in Iraq in 2004, 25-year-old Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta was shot and mortally wounded. Insurgents then threw a grenade into the house, and Peralta grabbed it and pulled it to his body, shielding his brothers in arms from the bulk of the blast.

His comrades hailed him as a hero. Staff Sgt. Adam Morrison, who was there when it happened, told the Orange County Register:

“Because of Rafael Peralta, I’m here today.”

Although the Navy and Marine Corps initially recommended him for a Medal of Honor due to his heroic actions, it was denied by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in 2008 and others since, NBC News reports.

Image Credit: Screenshot/YouTube

Image Credit: Screenshot/YouTube

Why? It was suggested that Peralta was “too injured” to know what he was doing:

The decision came after the inspector general of the Defense Department fielded a complaint and Gates assembled a team of experts that recommended the highest honor be denied.

Peralta’s family fought the decision for seven years. Now, while he may not be getting the Medal of Honor, his heroic actions are finally receiving some much-deserved recognition.

On Monday, his family posthumously accepted the Navy Cross at Camp Pendleton, according to Fox News.

Image Credit: Screenshot/YouTube

Image Credit: Screenshot/YouTube

The award citation recognizes the Marine’s heroism:

While attempting to maneuver out of the line of fire, Sgt. Peralta was shot and fell mortally wounded. After the initial exchange of gunfire, the insurgents broke contact, throwing a fragmentation grenade as they fled the building.

The grenade came to rest near Sgt. Peralta’s head. Without hesitation and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, Sgt. Peralta reached out and pulled the grenade to his body, absorbing the brunt of the blast and shielding fellow Marines only feet away.

The Orange County Register notes that Peralta has been the recipient of other honors and awards, including having a U.S. Navy Destroyer named after him, and receiving a Purple Heart and a Combat Action Ribbon.

Source: http://www.ijreview.com/2015/06/340764-marines-final-action-saved-lives-7-years-later-memory-getting-honor-deserves/

Unbelievable: Vladimir Putin targets TheBlaze

The New York Times published a mind-blowing story Tuesday about Russia’s Internet Research Agency, a propaganda tool of the Kremlin that would spread disinformation and pro-Putin messages all over the web. While the story is shocking enough on its own, the really interesting piece comes from how one source describes their attacks on TheBlaze.

Reporter Adrien Chen spoke to a former member of the troll factory, Ludmila Savchuk. Here’s a snippet of The New York Times story exposing Russia’s troll factory.

Every day at the Internet Research Agency was essentially the same, Savchuk told me. The first thing employees did upon arriving at their desks was to switch on an Internet proxy service, which hid their I.P. addresses from the places they posted; those digital addresses can sometimes be used to reveal the real identity of the poster. Savchuk would be given a list of the opinions she was responsible for promulgating that day. Workers received a constant stream of “technical tasks” — point-by-point exegeses of the themes they were to address, all pegged to the latest news. Ukraine was always a major topic, because of the civil war there between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian Army; Savchuk and her co-workers would post comments that disparaged the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, and highlighted Ukrainian Army atrocities. Russian domestic affairs were also a major topic.

In addition to spreading propaganda about the Ukrainian crisis, Savchuk also left positive messages about Putin and the Russian economy on stories about the collapse of the Russian ruble.

The Agency created content for almost every social media network, as well as comments on popular news websites…including TheBlaze.

Chen reports:

The only person I spoke with who worked in the English department was a woman named Katarina Aistova. A former hotel receptionist, she told me she joined the Internet Research Agency when it was in a previous, smaller office. I found her through the Anonymous International leak, which included emails she had sent to her bosses, reporting on the pro-Putin comments she left on sites like The Blaze and Politico. One of her assignments had been to write an essay from the point of view of an average American woman.

After reading the story on radio, Glenn felt like America should look at this like a “shark bump”, a warning and a test to see how far the people can be pushed.

“We’ve always done disinformation.  They’re very good at disinformation.  And disinformation makes you not trust the news.  Not trust the legitimate sources.  So you don’t know what to believe anymore,” Glenn said.

“And I think there’s a couple of things that are happening.  One, just by discrediting Twitter, Facebook, the Internet, where you just don’t know who it is, that’s the way most of us are getting our news now, is on the internet,” he explained. “It just undermines credibility.  It undermines faith in one another in what you can and cannot trust.”

“This is a shark bump.  This is early now.  When you give us another year of this kind of atmosphere, you ratchet it up…you can escalate this country so fast.  Then you have the outside.  You have the Russians doing something like this.  No one will believe it.  It will be too late.  You’ll burn a city down.  You won’t stop it,” Glenn said.

While the disinformation strategy for a digital age was incredibly fascinating, Glenn said this type of campaign has been done before.

“There’s no difference between what he’s doing to us and what Cass Sunstein recommended that our own government do to us.  This is what Cass Sunstein said we should do.  The government should set up a disinformation and go to sites like the TheBlaze.com.  He didn’t use that.  But go to sites and pretend to be one of them and just start throwing firebombs,” Glenn said.

Source: http://www.glennbeck.com/2015/06/03/unbelievable-vladimir-putin-targets-theblaze/