I hope you all will join me today in taking a few minutes out to remember our fallen heroes, and the sacrifices made by the families they left behind. This does not mean we must support the wars. I hate most of America’s wars and have opposed most in my lifetime, but those who serve didn’t start any of them. In my opinion, it is appropriate to to hate the wars, as long as we love, honor and respect the warriors.
Yesterday I got the rest I needed to recover from my long volunteer day in prison. I’m current with replies. Tomorrow appears routine.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’s took me 3:24 (average 4:51). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From NY Times: The military prosecutors seeking to have Pfc. Bradley Manning convicted of violating the Espionage Act over his release of secret government files to WikiLeaks will face an additional burden at his court-martial under a ruling on Wednesday by a military judge.
The judge, Col. Denise Lind, ruled at a pretrial hearing that prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Private Manning had “reason to believe” that the files could be used to harm the United States or to aid a foreign power. Prosecutors had contended that they should be required to prove only that he willfully disclosed defense-related files to win a conviction under the spying law.
I think the judge made the right decision. Unlike many on the left, I believe that Manning should receive some punishment. In Civil Disobedience (one of my favorite books), Henry David Thoreau made it clear that the moral authority for civil disobedience is that the perpetrator considers the issue so important that he or she willingly accepts the consequence of punishment to emphasize that point. That said, I also believe that after being convicted of a charge less than espionage, he should be sentenced to time served and released. He has been punished more than enough already.
From Huffington Post: Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) turned to the Bible on Wednesday during a congressional hearing, using the Great Flood to support his claim that climate change isn't man-made…
The Great Flood really exists! It is a flood of BS, and the B stands for Barton.
From The New Observer: An N.C. House lawmaker is equating any prayer to the Islamic God with terrorism.
In an email exchange with a constituent, Republican state Rep. Michele Presnell of Burnsville was asked whether she was comfortable with a prayer to Allah before a legislative meeting. Presnell responded: “No, I do not condone terrorism.”
The first-year lawmaker who represents a district in the North Carolina mountains is a co-sponsor of House resolution 494, a measure asserting that North Carolina can establish a state religion. She did not return a call for comment Monday about the string of emails obtained by Dome.
This is what happens when bigoted Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians ignore the First Amendment.
Yesterday I zonked out for most of the day. Today I don’t really feel up to posting an extra article, but the subject is too important not to do so. Lynn, would you put it on C2, please? I’m current with replies. I’ll be staying down today.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’s took me 4:28 (average 4:25) (ARGH! ). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From NY Times: The Pentagon’s decision to end its ban on women in combat is a triumph for equality and common sense. By opening infantry, artillery and other battlefield jobs to all qualified service members regardless of sex, the military is showing that categorical discrimination has no place in a society that honors fairness and equal opportunity.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who overturned the ban this week, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who unanimously urged him to do it, deserve praise for bringing military policy in line with reality. Women have been in the thick of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan for more than a decade. More than 280,000 have been deployed there, thousands have been injured and more than 150 killed. With the rule abolished, such service and sacrifice will no longer be unofficial and unrecognized.
This is a hard one for me. I grew up learning to treat a woman like a lady and, with the rare exceptions, like Palin and Bachmann, who have clearly earned the right to be treated like whores to the Koch Brothers and other billionaires. Respect for women is so deeply ingrained in me, that I can’t help feeling a bit alarmed at the notion of women in combat. Nevertheless, I fully agree with this decision, because what matter’s is not how I feel about exposing women to that danger. What matters is how the women who decide to make that choice feel, especially those with exceptional shoe sizes.
From Huffington Post: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced legislation Thursday that would ban more than 150 types of assault weapons along with certain high-capacity gun magazines, saying she knows she faces an uphill battle to get her measure through Congress but, with the help of the American public, it can be done.
Feinstein’s bill is far more detailed than the 1994 assault weapons ban that lapsed in 2004. Her bill would stop the sale, manufacture and importation of 158 specifically named military-style firearms and ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. It would also ban an additional group of assault weapons that accept detachable ammunition magazines and have at least one military characteristic — a new provision she said addresses a loophole in the 1994 law.
I fully support this, even though Feinstein is a fool. When Republicans filibuster this bill, as they surely will, I wonder what she will have to say about opposing real filibuster reform.
I’m still down, and it’s particularly frustrating today, because it’s a prison volunteer day, and I have to stay home. I’m current with replies. Maybe tomorrow.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’s took me 3:54 (average 4:47). To do it click here. How did you do?
From MoveOn: Just When You Thought Sexism Was On The Way Out, 2012 Happened
The best way must be to end the Republican War on Women by sending the Republican Party the way of the Whigs. Here’s the link to MissRepresentation. (This is the first ‘Daily Share’ I have received in many days.)
From NY Times: Chuck Hagel has been nominated to supervise the beginning of this generation-long process of defense cutbacks. If a Democratic president is going to slash defense, he probably wants a Republican at the Pentagon to give him political cover, and he probably wants a decorated war hero to boot.
Since Bought Bitch Mitch, McConJob, and Lindsey Poo all have their panties in a bunch, it must be good for America. While there are times that I have disagreed and will disagree with Hagel. I think Obama made a good choice here.
From Daily Kos: We are seeing a measurable fracture, a two-part breakage to the Republican Party. This results from infiltration of the GOP based on contributions from the same families and sources of money that financed the John Birch Society from the beginning. Birchers in the House are pursuing JBS goals and recycling JBS slogans.
This is the Birch Society, not the populist Tea Party from 2009.
Effectively, based on "Fiscal Cliff" votes and the changeover to 2013, we have three distinct caucuses in the House of Representatives:
– Regular Democrats (now 201 Members)
– Business Republicans (84 Members)
– Birch Society Republicans (150 Members)
Birchers are anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-compromise, and opposed to taxes in all forms and appearances. The Bircher billionaires’ agenda is not the mainstream Republican businessmen’s agenda.
The Koch family helped found the John Birch Society. They have financed Birchers since 1984 and remain the prime backers for these Bircher Republicans. They assure that JBS ideological slogans and xenophobic paranoia define Bircher campaigns.
I have long said that the top-down Birchers were the original source for top-down Teabuggery, because of the many absurd conspiracy theories and propensity for Koch sucking they have in common.
The following day the Republican Party declared war on the war on poverty.
I’m sorry, but I still feel like something I should bury in the deep end of my kitty-box. I’m current with replies. I hope I’m back tomorrow.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’s took me 3:40 (average 4:39). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From MoveOn: What’s The Big Deal About Fracking? This. This Is The Big Deal
If you ask me, that’s a big fracking deal!
From NY Times: The cadet, Blake Page [the cadet who dropped out of West Point because of proselytism], detailed his complaint in an article for The Huffington Post, accusing officers at the academy of “unconstitutional proselytism,” specifically of an evangelical Christian variety.
On the phone on Sunday, he explained to me that a few of them urged attendance at religious events in ways that could make a cadet worry about the social and professional consequences of not going. One such event was a prayer breakfast this year at which a retired lieutenant general, William G. Boykin, was slated to speak. Boykin is a born-again Christian, and his past remarks portraying the war on terror in holy and biblical terms were so extreme that he was rebuked in 2003 by President Bush. In fact his scheduled speech at West Point was so vigorously protested that it ultimately had to be canceled.
Page said that on other occasions, religious events were promoted by superiors with the kind of mass e-mails seldom used for secular gatherings. “It was always Christian, Christian, Christian,” said Page, who is an atheist.
For the officers in charge of West Point to conduct such evangelism is a clear violation of the First Amendment, because they are establishing extreme right-wing pseudo-Christianity as the de facto religion of a government funded and operated service academy. They need discipline for their failure to protect the Constitution of the United States.
Yesterday I was supposed to have a CoDA group in prison. The prison had a power outage, so we could not get in to work with the guys. How frustrating! I’m current with replies. I hope to get articles posted tomorrow, before I leave for another volunteer day in prison.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’s took me 4:02 (average 5:35). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From MoveOn: KILLER ROBOTS: The Scariest Weapons You Have Never Heard Of
I have never made a big stink about drones, because every time a drone is used, there is a human flying it. The only difference between a drone attack and any other airstrike is the location of the pilot. Military robots are fine for such things as bomb disposal, but machines that can decide to kill without human intervention must never be allowed.
Note that there is not a single Black, Latino or Asian face in the bunch, and even an old TomCat can tell there are no kitties in that collection. I guess the next year’s Republican Wars on Minorities and Women start in the House.
To be clear, I am not, and have never been a fan of David Petraeus. I opposed his COIN strategy in Iraq, and admit that I was wrong. It was effective. I opposed him adopting COIN in Afghanistan. This time I was right. One size did not fit all. I opposed his inclusion in the Obama administration. I am not surprised that the scandal is becoming more and more complex.
The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, is under investigation for alleged inappropriate communication with a woman at the center of the sex scandal involving former CIA Director David Petraeus, a senior U.S. defense official said on Tuesday.
The shocking revelation threatens to fell another of the U.S. military’s biggest names and suggests that the scandal involving Petraeus – a retired four-star general who had Allen’s job in Afghanistan before moving to the CIA last year – could expand much further than previously imagined.
The U.S. official said the FBI uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of communications – mostly emails and spanning from 2010 to 2012 – between Allen and Jill Kelley, who has been identified as a long-time friend of the Petraeus family and a Tampa, Florida, volunteer social liaison with military families at MacDill Air Force Base.
It was Kelley’s complaints about harassing emails from the woman with whom Petraeus had had an affair, Paula Broadwell, that prompted an FBI investigation, ultimately alerting authorities to Petraeus’ involvement with Broadwell. Petraeus resigned from his job on Friday.
It was unclear how Allen knew Kelley, but he was stationed in Tampa as the deputy director of the U.S. military’s Central Command for the three years until he took over in Afghanistan in 2011. Petraeus was head of the Tampa-based Central Command from 2008 to 2010…
The only thing I know for certainly is that the conspiracy theories coming from the Republican echo chamber are InsaniTEA, unless you want to believe that Eric Cantor conspired with Democrats to prevent the scandal that would have thrust Little Lord Willard into the White House.
Under GW ChickenHawk, when Rumsfeld was Defense Secretary, the senior levels of the military were decimated, because all who had the integrity to oppose their unsound and illegal policies were pushed down or out. What we have left are largely opportunists, who were willing to goose-step behind Bush to enhance their careers. Perhaps we need to be examine these people more closely.