Friday, May 22, 2009

Great way to think about torture & Gitmo

So this debate on the direction our national security under President Barack Obama hit a new level of crazy when both the President and former Vice President Dick Cheney gave speeches, and the media hyped the shit out of these "Dueling Speeches" to set up the false equivocation that is Obama v. Cheney.

You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.

You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty... we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I'd prefer you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to.

- Colonel Jessep, 'A Few Good Men'
Maybe we should get Jack Nicholson to play Dick Cheney. But Dick Cheney had five draft deferments and never served in uniform. And Joe, did you forget that at the end of the scene in 'A Few Good Men' Nicholson's character is taken into custody? Because he broke the law.

No matter how much I respect the military and the Intelligence community, they have to follow the law. And even the guys actually on trial in the movie get punished because they followed orders. Because those orders broke the law. And people who were "just following orders" need to be punished, not as harshly as those who ordered it, but punished none-the-less.

And look, a trial; the rule of law could handle this situation. America is based on laws, the Constitution, and the right to a fair and speedy trial. Tell me where Gitmo and waterboarding (I mean, TORTURE) fits into that?

And just take this part:
I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I'd rather you'd just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post.
The idea that people who don't serve can't question now we run our military or our national security policy is just crazy. Even more so because the Commander-In-Chief of the United States Armed Forces (aka, the President) has, more often than not, not worn a uniform in their lives. Like the last three Presidents who never really served.

But in the end, it's not like Obama is actually changing all that much. As David Brooks points out, while Cheney is still fighting for his ideas, he really lost the battle after the 2004 election. On national security, the 1st Obama term will look a lot like the 2nd Bush term.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rachel Maddow calls out the crazy of Senate... Democrats...

Rachel Maddow calls out the seeming about-face on whether or not to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Everyone was for it during the election, now the funding to actually close Gitmo went down 90 to 6. Thank you Senators Durbin (D-IL), Harkin (D-IA), Leahy (D-VT), Levin (D-MI), Reed (D-RI), Whitehouse (D-RI) for being the 6 standing your ground against the 90. So, are we scared about having guys from Gitmo popping up and serving us Big Mac's in the drivethru? Because American's know how to lock poeple up. We do it well. But yes, I understand that we want to know where they are going before we send them there. But the fear mongering doesn't help that. Allowing money to be spent closing and relocating does help, you know, close Gitmo. Which I thought we all were on board for. Well, Jeff Sessions (R-AL) wasn't on board, but he's crazy!

Rush wants MSNBC to stop talking about him

Rush Limbaugh wants MSNBC to stop talking about him, because he thinks they are using him for ratings. Wouldn't that mean people were watching to see Rush called-out for his craziness? I mean, yeah, everything TV news puts on air is for ratings, but I know if I had a radio show were I get to speak my mind, I would LOVE it have it talked about on MSNBC, FOX News or even Univision! Personally, I find Rush relaxing because I don't have to think when he's talking. :-)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is Bullshit!

By Lt. Daniel Choi

Open Letter to President Obama and Every Member of Congress:

I have learned many lessons in the ten years since I first raised my right hand at the United States Military Academy at West Point and committed to fighting for my country. The lessons of courage, integrity, honesty and selfless service are some of the most important.

At West Point, I recited the Cadet Prayer every Sunday. It taught us to “choose the harder right over the easier wrong” and to “never be content with a half truth when the whole can be won.” The Cadet Honor Code demanded truthfulness and honesty. It imposed a zero-tolerance policy against deception, or hiding behind comfort.

Following the Honor Code never bowed to comfortable timing or popularity. Honor and integrity are 24-hour values. That is why I refuse to lie about my identity.

I have personally served for a decade under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: an immoral law and policy that forces American soldiers to deceive and lie about their sexual orientation. Worse, it forces others to tolerate deception and lying. These values are completely opposed to anything I learned at West Point. Deception and lies poison a unit and cripple a fighting force.

As an infantry officer, an Iraq combat veteran and a West Point graduate with a degree in Arabic, I refuse to lie to my commanders. I refuse to lie to my peers. I refuse to lie to my subordinates. I demand honesty and courage from my soldiers. They should demand the same from me.

I am committed to applying the leadership lessons I learned at West Point. With 60 other LGBT West Point graduates, I helped form our organization, Knights Out, to fight for the repeal of this discriminatory law and educate cadets and soldiers after the repeal occurs. When I receive emails from deployed soldiers and veterans who feel isolated, alone, and even suicidal because the torment of rejection and discrimination, I remember my leadership training: soldiers cannot feel alone, especially in combat. Leaders must reach out. They can never diminish the fighting spirit of a soldier by tolerating discrimination and isolation. Leaders respect the honor of service. Respecting each soldier’s service is my personal promise.

The Department of the Army sent a letter discharging me on April 23rd. I will not lie to you; the letter is a slap in the face. It is a slap in the face to me. It is a slap in the face to my soldiers, peers and leaders who have demonstrated that an infantry unit can be professional enough to accept diversity, to accept capable leaders, to accept skilled soldiers.

My subordinates know I’m gay. They don’t care. They are professional.

Further, they are respectable infantrymen who work as a team. Many told me that they respect me even more because I trusted them enough to let them know the truth. Trust is the foundation of unit cohesion.

After I publicly announced that I am gay, I reported for training and led rifle marksmanship. I ordered hundreds of soldiers to fire live rounds and qualify on their weapons. I qualified on my own weapon. I showered after training and slept in an open bay with 40 other infantrymen. I cannot understand the claim that I “negatively affected good order and discipline in the New York Army National Guard.” I refuse to accept this statement as true.

As an infantry officer, I am not accustomed to begging. But I beg you today: Do not fire me. Do not fire me because my soldiers are more than a unit or a fighting force – we are a family and we support each other. We should not learn that honesty and courage leads to punishment and insult. Their professionalism should not be rewarded with losing their leader. I understand if you must fire me, but please do not discredit and insult my soldiers for their professionalism.

When I was commissioned I was told that I serve at the pleasure of the President. I hope I have not displeased anyone by my honesty. I love my job. I want to deploy and continue to serve with the unit I respect and admire. I want to continue to serve our country because of everything it stands for.

Please do not wait to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Please do not fire me.

Very Respectfully,

Daniel W. Choi
New York Army National Guard

Ron Reagan also talked about this on his radio show.

Rachel Maddow & Larry Wilkerson

Wednesday, May 6, 2009



Astroturfing: "a word in English describing formal political, advertising, or public relations campaigns seeking to create the impression of being spontaneous "grassroots" behavior, hence the reference to the artificial grass, AstroTurf."

Welcome to the YouTube generation's own astroturfing nut jobs. They make you think there are millions of people taking their time to post crazy shit on YouTube out of anger and frustration at the government and more directly, Barack Obama and his supporters (aka, Americans!).

This is the same idea that fueled the Tea Parties. And watch below:

And yes, that YouTube video has some of the same angry, offensive comments. Angry Americans or Astroturf? My vote, at least for NHMntnHIGH, goes for Astroturf.

* I included the video, because I like watching my President. even if the astroturfers on YouTube don't. But they are watching him... on YouTube... my head hurts...

Friday, May 1, 2009

Is Stephen Colbert just saying what YOU want to hear?

From this study.

So, I lied. But this is only a short blog.

Among other things, this is why I love my President.

And after watching that it reminded me of this. Mostly because the President interrupts the press secretary.