Wednesday, March 31, 2010

No Reprimand For General Fighting Repeal of DADT

Lindsay warns of "mass resignations" if DADT policy is repealed by Rhonda J MangusLt. General Benjamin Mixon will not be fired for speaking out against repeal of US Military "Don't Ask,  Don't Tell"  policy 
 A high-ranking Army general  has learned that he will not be fired or formally reprimanded after urging troops to lobby against the repeal of a ban on openly gay military service.
Because US President Barack Obama supports repealing the ban on gays in the military,  the General's active fight against repeal could be considered an act of insubordination.  Obama has called for a year-long review of the policy enacted under former President Bill Clinton.  
But the three-star general has learned that he will not receive any letter of reprimand,  nor will his position be in jeoparady.  
John McHugh, US Army Secretary  told press today that Mixon has been told that what he did was inappropriate. McHugh says he considers the matter to be closed.
Earlier this month,  in part of a backlash against the movement for repeal,  US Marines General James Conway had said that if DADT is repealed,  troops should not have to bunk with homosexuals.    
In February when US Department of Defense Secretary Robert Gates had called for a repeal review of DADT,  the San Francisco Chronicle had predicted a backlash.  
Mixon called on Troops,  Wrote Editors of Paper
Mixon, of Fort Shafter, Hawaii,  had called on troops and their families to contact their superiors and representatives to say that they did not support repeal of the 17 year old policy which bans gays from serving openly in the US military forces. 
 In addition,  Mixon had written  a letter to the editor of Stars and Stripes newspaper saying he didn’t believe that most military personnel would support repeal.   
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both said Mixon’s comments were inappropriate. McHugh said he agreed and that Army chief of staff, General George Casey, had counseled Mixon to this effect.
Mixon now “recognizes the difficulties in appearing to become an advocate in trying to shape the opinion of the force rather than ascertain” its view on the issue, McHugh said.
Mixon is head of Army forces in the Pacific theater. He had urged troops to 'speak up' and urge political leaders not to repeal the ban.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Student Loan Reform (and the Right's Hidden Agenda)

cornell university.Image by matt.hintsa via Flickr

Sara Robinson of Campaign for America's Future believes President Obama's assertion that federal government ought to help with student loans is such a "no brainer" at this juncture that the right's resistance must be due to a hidden agenda.
And what would the goal of such an agenda be?
The first goal is preserving privatization. The conservatives have been telling us for 40 years that there's nothing the government can do that the free market can't do better. Of course, most of us really get it now that "privatization" really means "paying 25% more for the same stuff and letting the private sector skim off the profit while sticking us with the messes." While privatization has worked well in some areas, it's been a disaster in others -- and this is one of them.
Never suggest that the banks and private sector can be outclassed by government, it is a kind of conservative sin. Privatization must be preserved at all costs, lest the federal government come in and attempt to take power away from the corporate sector.
It is obvious that the federal government ought to be involved and interested in college education, and that the right are howling is a sign of the winds of Change blowing right in their faces.
Mistrust of the Middle Class

The whole post-war counter-cultural movement of the 1960s was born of the middle class and much of the working class all attending college at once, Robinson reminds us. Ergo, to defund higher education was always one way that Republicans could keep progressive tendencies at bay. This is a valid point, and it remains sure which side you will fall on will reveal if you are progressive or conservative.
The influence of that "despised class of degreed professionals (journalists, lawyers, accountants, engineers, biologists, etc. etc. etc.)" are those who aggressively monitor private industry on behalf of the public interest. The less of them, the better, which may be why Ronald Reagen slashed student college loans so aggressively in the 1980s.
Robinson points out that in the '80s and '90s, the high rates of student loans guarenteed a reversal of the 1960s and '70s trends:
Sorry, young lawyer; you can't afford to become a public defender. It's got to be corporate law for you. Too bad, young doctor; you might want to join the Peace Corps or work in a ghetto clinic; but you need that HMO paycheck to keep up with the loan payments. And you, young wonk -- you want to take a job with a non-profit defending workers' rights? Hah! Not if you ever want to own a home or have kids. You can have a paycheck and a life, or you can have your principles. But if you want a college degree, you can't have both.
That's one way to tame the upstart rabble, and the other is : Join the Military. Sell your body to the US military, or sell your soul to the US Corporate structure. It is obvious Obama wants to reverse this trend. And that is not Change the unemployed Tea Baggers dare to believe in.
Sell your soul? Or sell your body? To the conservatives, the idea that you're worthy of an education merely because you're intelligent and hard-working and have something useful to contribute to society just isn't enough any more. But if you're willing to forego something intrinsic to your ability to function as a happy, healthy adult, we'll reluctantly punch your ticket.

Southern Poverty Law Center report listed militia group at center of FBI probe

The Seal of the United States Federal Bureau o...Image via Wikipedia

Michigan-based Group is center of FBI probe;  Planed violent opposition to US Government, and attacks on law enforcement 
A radical right wing fringe group based in Michigan and at the center of an FBI probe is awaiting the Anti-Christ.
Their website,  which detailed plans to kill police officers,  has this statement:  
"Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment," reads. "The only thing on earth to save the testimony and those who follow it, are the members of the testimony, til the return of Christ in the clouds. We, the Hutaree, are prepared to defend all those who belong to Christ and save those who aren't. We will still spread the word, and fight to keep it, up to the time of the great coming."
Agents have charged nine suspects in an April plan to attack law enforcement officials.  The group's leader,  David Brian Stone, is one of the charged.
  In the court indictment,  it was stated the group  planned to "oppose by violence  the US government"  and that plans to kill police officers and clash with law enforcement officials  were included in the strategy of their planned April attack.  
Seven of the suspects are due to be arraigned in court today.  
Fox News has reported that FBI Field Office Director Andrew Arena in Detroit, has said the case is an example of "radical and extremist fringe groups" found throughout society.
The Christian-faith based group has a "Doctrine of Hutaree"  which advocates that believes stand firmly in opposition to a corrupt government.  A YouTube video put out by the group depicts camouflaged members with high-powered rifles preparing for a final battle of the forces of good and evil.  Weapons are fired in the two minute segment.  
One video  that has been viewed more than 21,000 times, can be found on its YouTube channel  and reveals the groups militia training.  
Group was Listed with 512 Right Wing Extremist Patriot Groups Compiled by Southern Poverty Law Center 
Hutaree was one of more than 500 right wing extremist "Patriot" groups listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center's compilation of groups which posed a threat to United States Government and society.  
The SPLC had put out a report reveal a 244% increase in right wing militia groups under the Obama administration,  and had pointed out the heightened dangers of an increased domestic terrorism presence in the US.  
A spokesman for the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia, Michael Lackomar, told the Associated Press that one of his team leaders got a frantic phone call Saturday evening from Hutaree members concerning a raid on their property in southeast Michigan by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Hutaree was named in a list of 512 so-called active "patriot" groups in the U.S. last year by the Southern Poverty Law Center in its spring intelligence report on extremist organizations. Of those groups, 127 were militias, including Hutaree. The remaining groups, according to SPLC, engage in "groundless conspiracy theorizing" or advocate anti-government doctrines.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

No Gay Imitation of Christ at Texas University

Tarleton State UniversityImage via Wikipedia

University Nixes Gay Imitation of Christ
A play to be performed at Tarleton State University, by Terrence McNally which features a gay Christlike figure , sparked protests and has been cancelled.
Corpus Christi, was one of several student-directed productions that were to be performed Friday on the Stephenville campus as part of an assignment for an advanced directing class.
In a written statement last evening, the University stated that the class's professor had canceled the four plays because of safety and order concerns.
The university's president Dominic Dottavio declared the play "offensive, crude and irreverent." He was willing to allow it to be presented, he said, because of freedom of speech and creativity issues.
He emphasized, however, that the university did not endorse the decision by student John Otte, 26, to present the play.
Gay marriage message in College Play
The play takes place in modern day Texas, and the Christ figure performs a gay marriage ceremony for two of his disciples, who are also gay.
Performances were for University students, and media and public had not been invited to attend. It was a class project, and only that, Dottavio stressed in his statement.
The student playwright who sparked the controversy told Texan TV News, a campus journalism project, that it had not been his intent to offend or to spark protests.
In an Opposing Views piece , an opposer who saw the play in another venue said that Tarleton was supported by Christians and tax payers, and that the play, which depicts a gay Christ who says, "F--- God" , among other things, was offensive to those who paid for the University.
"I am both a Christian and gay," Otte said in a video interview. "This play deals with that subject matter, I believe, in a tasteful way. ... I don't believe in a God who hates me for who I am."
"Never did I choose this play to attack Christians," he said. "I am one."
He said he disagreed with the widely held view among Stephenville clergy and others that McNally's play is blasphemy.
"I personally don't believe that," Otte said. "I respect those people's feelings that do believe that. I respect your religions."

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Conservatives and GOP Have Suffered Worst Legislative Defeat Since 1960s

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Conservatives Have Suffered the Worst Legislative Defeat in 40 Years 

David Frum admits this is GOP Waterloo with no mitigating factors 
Conservatives and Republicans today have surely suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.  Calling it "a defeat of free market economics and Republican values"  and a virtual "Waterloo",  the conservative forum of David Frum is seething.  
For the GOP,  this is a defeat of such magnitude that there are few mitigating factors.  Even,  says Frum,  if conservatives attempt to console themselves with the idea that the House will flip in 2010,  it is still a terrible blow.  
 And Frum points out something else:  By November, the economy will have improved, and the benefits of the healthcare bill will be starting to show.  They may be overly confident about a real change in 2010.  As Huffington Post puts it, this is an enormous  -  if modifed  - victory for Democratic legislation, and proves the Tea Partiers and GOP to be ineffectual and stymied.  
As Frum says , even if there is a November victory,  So what? "Legislative majorities come and go. This healthcare bill is forever. A win in November is very poor compensation for this debacle now.".  
Frum says the GOP are themselves to blame.  Strategic plotting forgot one thing:  Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton’s 42%.   Within the Democratic Congressional caucus,  the liberal block is bigger,  more robust,  far more powerful than under Clinton in '93-94.  And the Democrats do not forget history, nor were they willing to let their Waterloo of 1994 recur.  
Too late to second guess now,  Frum says.  It is law, it is irrevocable.  
"  David Frum:  No illusions, please:  The Bill will Never be Repealed"  .  Rush Limbaugh Made the GOP Fail 
And then Frum follows up with his most priceless gem of wisdom:  
"We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat."  
He lays the blame on Tea Party Fox News pundits:  "Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?" 
Frum hits the nail on the head :  The talk radio pundits thrive on anger,  recrimination, fear, passion.  They give pseudo-information,  the incite to fury.  And why?  For advertising, ratings.  Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck caused the GOP to fail,  Frum says.  And he is right on target.  
So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.
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Under New Influence