Tag: Robert Gates

Mar 06

Robert Gates “opened his kimono” at West Point


Speaking at West Point, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates casually suggested that the US of A is “sick in the head,” and needs to see a shrink.  After ten years into the Afghanistan war, eight years into the second Iraq war, with multiple ongoing “low-intensity” conflicts in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia and constant drumbeats for war against Iran,  all while American warships are currently bearing down on Libya, Gates stepped aside the lectern, nonchalantly “opened his kimono” and said, “Any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General [Douglas] MacArthur so delicately put it.”

Gates briefly leant his pudgy frame upon the lectern with expert familiarity and self-possession before closing his kimono and returning to his otherwise disinterested cardboard platitudes about the future of American Exceptionalism abroad.

Standing in the wings quietly pounding a baseball bat in his palm, ever ready to burst an Arab bubble, blow three trillion bucks, kill a million innocent people, and crash the global economy “because we could,” was Tom “Tony Soprano” Friedman, wondering to his own goddamned self:

When one looks across the Arab world today at the stunning spontaneous democracy uprisings, it is impossible to not ask: What are we doing spending $110 billion this year supporting corrupt and unpopular regimes in Afghanistan and Pakistan that are almost identical to the governments we’re applauding the Arab people for overthrowing?

Wow, America, you’re not nearly as fucked in the head as we thought.  

Feb 25

A Revolutionary Speech by the Secretary of Defense


Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, speaking at West Point today…

In my opinion, any future Defense Secretary who advises the President to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it.”

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wasn’t just cobbling together yet another version of the wishy-washy “Powell Doctrine” enunciated once upon a time by the former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell, with all its easily miscontrued conditions: Is a vital national security interest threatened? Do we have a clear attainable objective?

Yes, of course the Vietcong, the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, penguins, liberals, and lolcats threaten vital national security interests!

This shit meant nothing, not even to the whore/general who dreamed it up and then turned into a cheerleader for invading Iraq, the Land of Imaginary Weapons of Mass Destruction!

But there isn’t nearly as much wiggle-room about a big American army in Asia!

Or Africa!

Or the Middle East!

“Don’t go there!”

And after enunciating the “Gates Doctrine,” Gates launched a full-tilt attack on the bureaucratic imbecility of the Pentagon!

To find inspiring work for its young officers after combat deployments, the Army must encourage unusual career detours, Mr. Gates said, endorsing graduate study, teaching or duty in a policy research institute, Congressional office or other branch of government. The defense secretary urged the cadets to master foreign languages and cultures.

Mr. Gates said his main worry was that the Army might not overcome institutional bias that favored traditional career paths. He urged the service to “break up the institutional concrete, its bureaucratic rigidity in its assignments and promotion processes, in order to retain, challenge, and inspire its best, brightest, and most-battled tested young officers to lead the service in the future.”

Master foreign languages and cultures!

War as a liberal art!

What next? A Department of Peace, and an honest citizen for President instead of a cowardly, sadistic thug like George W. Bush, or a sociopathic con-man like Barack Obama?



Feb 12

Egypt: A Revolution Co-opted By The Regime It Opposes

“The news is more evidence of the close ties between Israel, the United States and Mr Suleiman, who is tipped to replace Hosni Mubarak as Egypt’s president”, writes Christopher Hope in a February 09 article in the UK Telegraph, who explains his sourcing as “The close relationship has emerged from American diplomatic cables leaked to the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph.”

Mr Suleiman is Israel’s preferred candidate to replace 82-year-old Mr Mubarak. A secret hotline between Mr Suleiman and the Israelis was said to be “in daily use”, according to US diplomatic cables.


Mr Suleiman worked hard to position himself as the main Egyptian link with Israel. According to the cable, he was blocking attempts by the Israelis to form links with other members of the Cairo government.

This was, according to Mr Diskin, because of Mr Suleiman’s “desire to remain the sole point of contact for foreign intelligence”.

The efforts paid off. In 2008, Mr Suleiman was named as Israel’s preferred successor to Mr Mubarak and the new secret direct hotline was in daily use. By early 2009, Dan Harel, deputy chief of staff at the Israel Defence Staff, was reporting that “on the intelligence side under Suleiman co-operation is good”.


Mr Suleiman has already won the backing of Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, to lead the “transition” to democracy after nearly three weeks of demonstrations calling for Mr Mubarak to resign.

As far as I know now, even after the military takover of Egypt this morning by Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the High Military Council that took control of Egypt on Friday, Omar Suleiman remains Egypt’s Vice President, presumably having taken over the duties and the powers of the President after Hosni Mubarak resigned this morning. This is an assumption I’m making here – if anyone has differing information about Suleiman’s role now, please let me know.


Professor Gilbert Achcar of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, grew up in Lebanon, and is currently Professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London. His books include The Clash of Barbarisms: The Making of the New World Disorder, published in 13 languages, Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy, co-authored with Noam Chomsky, and most recently the critically acclaimed The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives.

In this interview from Feb. 08, 2011 Achcar talks with The Real News Network’s Paul Jay about the Egyptian protest movement, about the Egyptian Army, and about the illusions that many harbored and still harbor about the role and intentions of the Egyptian military in the sweeping revolutionary movement that developed over so many years of oppression of ordinary Egyptians and flowered into the mass movement we’ve all been watching the past couple of weeks:

Dec 20

We can help Bradley Manning!

Each of us can help in trying to alleviate or end the plight that PFC Bradley Manning finds himself in — that of total isolation for seven months running now, no sheets nor  pillows for his bed, unpermitted to exercise and is under constant surveillance.  The U.S. government is holding Manning under these deplorable conditions, supposedly, for his role in having sent various various TRUTHS to Wikileaks, concerning areas in our wars and otherwise, without any charges having been had or placed against him. (Some of which information was known to some of us before such revelations through our own truth-seeking, but not to Americans, in general!)

Thanks to David Swanson, published with his thanks to Ed Fisher, there is very complete information as to how WE may help this 23-year old Bradley Manning.

How to Report the Torture of Bradley Manning to the United Nations

Here is where you can report Bradley Manning’s torture to a higher legal authority than Eric “The Law Is What Obama Says It Is” Holder.

Sample information to include:

a. Full name of the victim:

Bradley E. Manning (born 17 December 1987), Private First Class (PFC), United States Army

b. Date on which the incident(s) of torture occurred (at least as to the month and year):

Ongoing from May, 2010.

The following is a summary of the conditions under which PFC Manning is being held, which in the opinion of experts and even International Law, constitute torture:

“Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old U.S. Army Private accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, has never been convicted of that crime, nor of any other crime. Despite that, he has been detained at the U.S. Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia for five months — and for two months before that in a military jail in Kuwait — under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture. Interviews with several people directly familiar with the conditions of Manning’s detention, ultimately including a Quantico brig official (Lt. Brian Villiard) who confirmed much of what they conveyed, establishes that the accused leaker is subjected to detention conditions likely to create long-term psychological injuries”  Salon

Journalist Glenn Greenwald has investigated and published an extensive report on this issue. Please refer to this article in full for more details: Salon

c. Place where the person was seized (city, province, etc.) And location at which the torture was carried out (if known):

* Camp Arifjan, a military jail in Kuwait

* U.S. Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia

“Manning was arrested by agents of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command in May 2010 and held in pre-trial confinement in a military jail at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.”


d. Indication of the forces carrying out the torture:

The President of the United States, The Congress of The United States, The United States State Department, The United States Justice Department, The United States Department of Defense, The United States Army, The United States Navy, The United States Marine Corps. All of the above are responsible for this illegal activity.

Furthermore, the torture of PFC Manning is not an isolated incident, rather, it is part of a policy shift that has been documented in The United States over the course of at least two Administrations, those of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

For example, The United States has been found by the United Nations Committee against Torture to be responsible for:

* the US opinion that the Geneva Convention does not apply to, and would undermine, its War on Terror

* the US attempt to sidestep provisions of the Convention by applying it only to US territory, rather than areas under US control

* the fact that detainees are not always registered, depriving them of safeguards against acts of torture

* allegations of secret detention facilities which are not accessible to the International Red Cross

* the US refusal to comment over the existence of such facilities, and the allegations of torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment which have emanated from them

* the US involvement in enforced disappearances and its refusal to accept that this is a form of torture

* the rendition of subjects, without judicial procedure, to states where they face a real risk of torture

* the use of secret ‘diplomatic assurances’ to justify deporting detainees to country’s with poor human rights records

* the indefinite detention of prisoners without charge at Guantanamo Bay without legal safeguards or judicial assessment of justification

* the inadequate training provided to police and military personnel on the UN’s prohibition of torture

* the 2002 authorization of the use of interrogation techniques, such as water-boarding, shackling, sexual humiliation, and dogs, which have resulted in the deaths of some detainees

* the apparent impunity of police and military personnel accused of torture and not prosecuted

* the lenient sentences given to many people convicted of torture

* the proposal to withdraw the right of habeas corpus to Guantanamo detainees

* the difficulties that victims of abuse have faced in obtaining redress and compensation

* the apparent failure to ban evidence obtained under torture from being used at military commissions, and the limitations placed on the right of detainees to complain

* substantiated information which indicates that US sanctioned executions can be accompanied by severe pain and suffering

* numerous, reliable reports of sexual assault of detainees and sexual violence perpetrated by detainees on each other, to which ‘persons of differing sexual orientation’ are particularly vulnerable

* the humiliation of female prisoners and the shackling of female detainees during childbirth

* the large number of children sentenced to life imprisonment

* the extensive use of electro-shock devices which have caused several deaths

* the harsh regime imposed in ‘supermaximum’ security prisons, and prolonged isolation periods which may be used as a form of punishment

* reports of brutality and excessive force used by law enforcement officers and the numerous allegations of the ill-treatment of racial minorities, migrants and homosexuals which have not been properly investigated.


e. Description of the form of torture used and any injury suffered as a result;

* PFC Manning has been placed in a form of solitary confinement that is cruel and unusual. This is a term utilized within US Constitutional Law, and US citizens are supposed to enjoy protection against this form of treatment.

The US Supreme Court has had occasion to adjudicate on this issue. As long ago as 1890, the US Supreme Court wrote:

“A considerable number of prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semifatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible to arouse them, and others became violently insane; others still, committed suicide; while those who stood the ordeal better were not generally reformed, and in most cases did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of any subsequent service to the community. (In re Medley, 1890)”

. . . . .


Nov 16

Monday: Welcome Back From Your Trip, Mr. President of the Republican Party

President Obama is back from his Pan Pacific – Asian debt sales trip, and the Lame Duck session of Congress is now officially underway.

Dan Choi,Lt Dan Choi,Get Equal,White House Protest,DADT

Lt. Dan Choi and 12 other Get Equal civil rights activists handcuff themselves to the White House fence on Monday, Nov 15, 2010, to protest the military’s discriminatory policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” (photo of murky screenshot from video was highlighted. )

Nov 12

Supreme Court Just Nuked Log Cabin Republicans On DADT Stay

Happy Friday from the Obama Administration:


The U.S. Supreme Court refused on Friday to pause enforcement of the military’s ban on openly gay and lesbian service members while that policy faces a legal challenge.

The high court sided against the Log Cabin Republicans, a GOP gay rights group, that had asked that discharges of gay and lesbian members of the armed forces under military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy be suspended.

The Supreme Court of the United States sided with Eric Holder’s Department of Justice and the Obama White House, and against the Log Cabin Republicans, letting the military’s unpopular and discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy stay in place while it is undergoing a legal challenge that is trundling through the Federal appeals process, after Judge Virgina A. Phillips of the Central District of CA ruled that DADT was unconstitutional on September 9, 2010.


On October 12th, Judge Phillips issued an injunction to suspend DADT and

(3) Orders Defendants United States of America and the Secretary of Defense immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have commenced under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Act, or pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 654 or its implementing regulations, on or prior to the date of this judgement.

That is where and when the Obama administration could have let the thing die, but, oh no, they have to go on appealing and defending it.  On October 14, the DOJ under Eric Holder appealed with a request for an emergency stay on Judge Phillip’s injunction, and on November 1 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed it, pending appeal to the Supreme Court.

The policy change is currently stuck in the Fiscal Year 2011 Defense spending appropriations bill, and Senator John McCain of Arizona successfully filibustered it on September 21st.  His wife Cindy McCain, and her daughter Meghan, are doing their usual good- cop Republican routine and calling for the policy to end.  His 2008 Vice Presidential running mate is busy planning a book tour and promoting her new reality TV show on her twitter account.  The first stop on the book tour is in …. Phoenix, AZ.    A leaked draft of Gate’s review of DADT has shown that the report says repeal would not be detrimental to the military.



Some 70% of troops surveyed said the effects of repealing the ban would be positive, mixed or nonexistent, the paper said, citing a Pentagon report.

According to the newspaper, (the WAPO)  which spoke to people who had read the unreleased 370-page study, the survey results have led the report’s authors to conclude that objections to openly gay colleagues would drop once troops were able to live and serve alongside them.

However, a significant minority opposes serving alongside openly gay troops, with opposition apparently strongest in the Marine Corps.

Currently the Marines have fewer active personnel (14%) than any other branch of the military except for the Coast Guard.

Nicholson’s response from Servicemembers United

“These results confirm what those of us who actually know the modern military, especially the rank and file troops, have said all along. The men and women of America’s armed forces are professionals who are capable of handling this policy change,” said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and a former U.S. Army Human Intelligence Collector who was discharged under the law in 2002. “In light of these findings, as well as the Secretary of Defense’s recent call for Senate action on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ during the lame duck session, there is no longer any excuse for failing to bring the defense authorization bill back up during the first week of the post-election legislative session.”


Since the Democratic Party took the House of Representatives in 2006, there have been over 2,000 discharges of servicemembers under the discriminatory DADT policy.  Since the Clinton administration, there have been over 13,000.  The Democrats now have a short window of time in a lame duck session to accomplish anything,  before they can kiss their supermajorities goodbye.  One of the political fatalities of the last election was Representative Patrick Murphy of PA, who introduced the amendment repealing DADT into the bill.   In an interview, the President asked for assistance from the Log Cabin Republicans to get more Republican votes to get the bill changing the policy through the Senate (before the Nov 2, 2010 election).  Secretary of Defense Robert Gate’s military review report on DADT is “due” out officially now on December 1st.   The lame duck session will begin next week.

Apparently there is an (unspoken)  assumption being made, that if a conservative, Republican dominated Senate passes something the Supreme Court will not rule to over turn the law or declare it unconstitutional later.

Oct 23

US Wants MORE CIA in Pakistan, $ for Weapons, Using Wikileaks as Excuse

Like clockwork in being timed with the latest wikileaks release:

After increasing the number of drone attacks in September, now the US is pressuring Pakistan to let in more covert paramilitary and CIA forces to increase the unknown, classified number that are already there – to support the death by drones program that is killing an unknown number of militants and civilians.  The story in the WSJ also says that Pakistan’s Inter – Services Intelligence agency, ISI, is currently doing most of the intelligence gathering and that CIA chief Leon Panetta has called them “very cooperative.”

Wall Street Journal:


The Obama administration has been ramping up pressure on Islamabad in recent weeks to attack militants after months of publicly praising Pakistani efforts. The CIA has intensified drone strikes in Pakistan, and the military in Afghanistan has carried out cross-border helicopter raids, underlining U.S. doubts Islamabad can be relied upon to be more aggressive. Officials have even said they were going to stop asking for Pakistani help with the U.S.’s most difficult adversary in the region, the North Waziristan-based Haqqani network, because it was unproductive.

Pakistani officials believe the CIA is better able to keep details of its operations largely out of the public eye, although the agency’s drone program has received widespread attention and is enormously unpopular with the Pakistani public.

U.S. military forces on the ground remain a red line for Islamabad. A senior Pakistani official said if the Pakistan public became aware of U.S. military forces conducting combat operations on Pakistani territory, it would wipe out popular support for fighting the militants in the tribal areas. Whether covert CIA forces would cross that line however, remains an open question.

Back in July, the public relationship wasn’t so cozy.

HuffPo, 7/6/10


…. but the US – Pakistan relationship is at the heart of Washington’s counterterrorism efforts.

But the CIA became so concerned by a rash of cases involving suspected double agents in 2009, it re-examined the spies it had on the payroll in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. The internal investigation revealed about a dozen double agents, stretching back several years. Most of them were being run by Pakistan. Other cases were deemed suspicious. The CIA determined the efforts were part of an official offensive counterintelligence program being run by Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the ISI’s spy chief.

Recruiting agents to track down and kill terrorists and militants is a top priority for the CIA, and one of the clandestine service’s greatest challenges. The drones can’t hit their targets without help finding them. Such efforts would be impossible without Pakistan’s blessing, and the U.S. pays about $3 billion a year in military and economic aid to keep the country stable and cooperative.

Pakistan has its own worries about the Americans. During the first term of the Bush administration, Pakistan became enraged after it shared intelligence with the U.S., only to learn the CIA station chief passed that information to the British. The incident caused a serious row, one that threatened the CIA’s relationship with the ISI and deepened the levels of distrust between the two sides. Pakistan almost threw the CIA station chief out of the country.

July 2010 – HuffPo says 8 years after the war in Afghanistan, a very poor and not very large country, was not going so well, the Obama administration finally became “concerned” about their intelligence partners in the region.   Three months after the first batch of wikileaks were released,  April 5, 2010.    

Oct 18

October Surprise: Bin Laden Upgraded to House From Cave For Wikileaks Release

From CNN, Your Most Trusted News Source:  

The October Surprise

Anonymous NATO Spokesperson Upgrades Osama Bin Laden From Cave To House in Pakistan, Getting a Jump on the Latest Wikileaks Which Will Show He’s Working at al- Zawahiri’s International House of Naancakes

Kabul, Afghanistan, CNN, Monday, October 18, 2010


Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri are believed to be hiding close to each other in houses in northwest Pakistan, but are not together, a senior NATO official said.

“Nobody in al Qaeda is living in a cave,” said the official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the intelligence matters involved.


The official would not discuss how the coalition has come to know any of this information, but he has access to some of the most sensitive information in the NATO alliance.

Wikileaks Donation Site Shut Down

CNN, Friday October 15, 2010


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claims the U.S. government was behind the decision by Moneybookers to shut down the account, an allegation denied by American officials.

According to e-mails provided to CNN by Assange, Moneybookers informed WikiLeaks of its decision in August, shortly after the Pentagon demanded WikiLeaks return all of the military documents and remove them from its website. WikiLeaks refused to do so and is expected to release hundreds of thousands of additional Pentagon papers later this month.

The first e-mail from Moneybookers that notified WikiLeaks of its decision indicated one of the potential grounds for termination was “to comply with money laundering or other investigations conducted by government authorities, agencies or commissions.”

When Assange asked for a further explanation, he received another e-mail from the company saying the account was initially suspended “due to being accessed from a blacklisted IP address. However following recent publicity and the subsequently addition of the WikiLeaks entity to blacklists in Australia and watch lists in the USA, we have terminated the business relationship.”

Sep 10

DADT Overturned, How Hard Will Obama Admin Defend It ?

Six years after the Log Cabin Republicans filed suit, and 7 weeks after closing arguments on July 23,  Judge Virginia A. Phillips of the US District Court, Central District of CA, issued a landmark ruling yesterday, which overturned “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”   Judge Phillips said in her ruling that it violates servicemembers’ Constitutional rights, and that she would issue an injunction against the government to stop it from being further enforced.

Log Cabin Republicans (LCR)  said DADT violates due process guaranteed by the 5th amendment of the Constitution and their freedom of speech, association, and the ability to petition the government, guaranteed by the 1st amendment.

Is this finally the end of one of President Clinton’s least popular compromises of the last century ?  Or will the Obama administration, who has dawdled on fulfilling a campaign promise to end DADT by refusing to issue an executive order, appeal, and continue to waffle and defer to yet another Pentagon study after Defense Secretary Gates’ latest one is due out on Dec 1 2010 ?

Since the policy was first introduced in 1993, over 13,000 military personnel have been discharged because of DADT, with 619 being discharged in 2008 and 428 being discharged in 2009.  (In the first two years of the Bush administration, it was 1,241 and 1,273 troops discharged, respectively).  Per wikipedia, of the the 26 counties of NATO, more than 22 of those already permit gay people to serve,  all of the countries of the European Union except Greece permit gay people to serve, and of the UN Security Council, 3 countries, Great Britain, France, and Russia permit gays to serve, with only the United States and China still stuck in the past.  


The decision puts the White House in a quandary, since it comes as the Obama administration is in the middle of a cautious and drawn-out attempt to lift the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the US military.

But those carefully calibrated plans may now be thrown out the window, after Judge Phillips granted a request for an injunction halting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” from operating, saying evidence showed that it had a “direct and deleterious effect” on the military.

A pdf of the complete ruling by Judge Phillips is here, Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America and Robert M Gates, Secretary of Defense:



Many of the lay witnesses also spoke of the chilling effect the Act had on their ability to bring violations of military policy or codes of conduct to the attention of the proper authorities.


The Act prevents servicemembers from openly joining organizations such as the plaintiff in this lawsuit that seek to change the military’s policy on gay and lesbian servicemembers; in other words, it prevents them from petitioning the Government for redress of grievances. John Doe, for example, feared retaliation and dismissal if he joined the Log Cabin Republicans under his true name or testified under trial; thus, he was forced to use a pseudonym and to forgo testifying during trial. (Ex. 38 Doc Decl. pp 6- 8; see Trial Tr 88:19- 90:15, July 13, 2010, 708:21- 709:4, July 16, 2010 )

Furthermore, as discussed above, the Act punishes servicemembers with discharge for writing a private letter, in a foreign language, to a person of the same sex with whom they shared an intimate relationship before volunteering for military service. It subjects them to discharge for writing private e- mail messages, in a manner otherwise approved, to friends or family members, if those communications might lead the (unauthorized ) reader to discern the writer’s sexual orientation. These consequences demonstrate that the Act’s restrictions on speech are broader than reasonably necessary to protect the Government’s interest. Moreover, the Act’s restrictions on speech lead to the discharge of servicemembers with qualifications in critically needed occupations, such as foreign language fluency and information technology. The net effect of these discharges, as revealed not only in the testimony of the lay witnesses but also of the experts who testified and Defendants’ own admissions regarding the numbers of servicemembers discharged and the costs of recruiting and maintaining an all volunteer military force, compel the conclusion that the Act restricts speech more than reasonably necessary to protect the Government’s interests.  

Finally, it again must be noted that Defendants called no witnesses, put on no affirmative case, and only entered into evidence the legislative history of the Act. This evidence, discussed in Section IV(C)(1) above, does not suffice to show the Act’s restrictions on speech are “no more than what is reasonably necessary” to achieve the goals of military readiness and unit cohesion. (See supra Section IV (C)(1)

VI. Conclusion

Throughout the consideration and resolution of this controversy, the Court has kept well in mind the overriding principle that “judicial deference to such congressional exercise of authority is at its apogee when legislative action under the congressional authority to raise and support armies and make rules and regulations for their governance is challenged.” Rostker, 453 U.S.at 70.  Nevertheless, as the Supreme Court held in Rostker, “deference does not mean abdication.” Id. at 67,70.  Plaintiff has demonstrated it is entitled to the relief sought on behalf of its members, a judicial declaration that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Act violates the Fifth and First Amendments, and a permanent injunction barring its enforcement.

“Deference does not mean abdication….”  but since the Obama Dept. of Justice abdicated putting on much of a defense, does this mean they’re finally going to stop deferring to this form of discrimination ?

Aug 17

Monday Humor: Harry Goes Tea Party, Gates Surges Self, Delay, & Other Stories of After the Crash

( Note:My computer and internet connection has been a bastard all weekend, and then it locked up badly on the first thing I wrote this am, and I can’t get @#$%^&*#$%^& effing iphoto to stop crashing everything else, and photobucket sucks, so you’re getting this instead.  Deal with it.  )

1. Reid breaks with Obama, comes out against Ground Zero mosque.


“The First Amendment protects freedom of religion,” Reid spokesman Jim Manley said in a statement. “Sen. Reid respects that but thinks that the mosque should be built someplace else.”

Reid is the most senior Democrat to come out in opposition to the mosque.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.), an Independent who caucuses with Democrats, had questioned the wisdom of building the mosque, too.

We’re all glad that you candidates have so much time on your hands after solving the rest of the nation’s problems, that Sen Reid, via his trusty spokesperson, and Exxon via Shakespalin can get into a pissing match over New York real estate to help get re elected. I know for sure that every am every unemployed Nevadan gets up every am and thinks,  if only the zoning in Manhattan was different, I wouldn’t have lost my house to foreclosure and we’d get more tourists visiting again.  

2.  McChrystal to Teach at Yale in fall of 2010


The course will be offered in fall 2010 by Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, where McChrystal has been appointed a senior fellow.

teach what ?   A graduate course on leadership ?   You’d think that West Point would be interested. Oh, wait….  

3. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates  to Retire Sometime in 2011


“I think that it would be a mistake to wait until January 2012,” he said. It might be hard to find a good person to take the job so late, with just one year to go in the president’s current term. And, he added, “This is not the kind of job you want to fill in the spring of an election year.”  

It isn’t ?


Gates quickly intervened, taking both programs outside normal channels. He added $16 billion to build more MRAPs on a crash schedule. And he fired the Air Force’s chief of staff, Gen T. Michael Moseley, in part for negligence with the nuclear command, but mainly, according to knowledgeable officials, for his sluggishness on the drones.

So, near the end of 2007, Gates called on Gen. David Petraeus, then the U.S. commander in Iraq and the architect of the counterinsurgency strategy there, to chair that year’s Army promotion board, which would advance 40 colonels to the rank of brigadier general. More than a dozen of the Army’s promising colonels, at least one of whom had been passed over twice, got their stars. With this single stroke, the Army’s culture — the signals sent to the troops of what kind of soldiers get promoted and what kind don’t — changed dramatically.

Even before Obama’s term formally began, Gates launched a three-month review of every major line item in the half-trillion-dollar defense budget, drawing the entire building — the highest-level civilian analysts and military officers — into the process. By April 2009, his teams had compiled a list of 50 programs primed for change. Gates decided to kill, slash, or restructure 33 of them, including some of the services’ most cherished weapons systems.


All told, Congress approved 31 of Gates’s 33 cuts. The other two — the C-17 cargo plane and an alternative engine for the F-35 fighter — Gates has vowed to kill this year.

….  Even before Obama’s term began….  

The article almost doesn’t sound like a puff piece until the part where Gates started waxing eloquent about necon PNAC “military analyst”  Frederick Kagan and the American Enterprise Institute,  Frederick Kagan and his wife  Kimberly Kagan, who runs the “Institute for the Study of War,”   (more links here:  http://docudharma.com/diar…    )

are the two hired right wing think tank hacks the Pentagon trots out now and then to make up excuses to keep doing the same thing over and over.

Gates says we aren’t the Soviets in Afghanistan because we didn’t kill a million and displace 5 million more-  ignoring the fact that is what happened in Iraq under Bush, Cheney, L Paul Bremer, and his predecessor, Def. Sec. Rumsfeld.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R…

The humorous part comes from the fact that Gates is pushing for reforms in weapons contracting at the Pentagon in preparation for selling more armaments and weapons to “allies,”  and that he is “passionate, “revved up” and “stoked” about these military budget economies.   Time to deploy that Golden Parachute as a Military Weapons Procurement Consultant Dude !

Jan 29

Obama’s SOTU Rhetoric .vs. Governing

Obama sure looked good last night.

He was poised, articulate, even more forceful than aloof at various times.  He sure seemed like he really cared. I certaintly wouldn’t mind getting the chance to talk with him. He seems like such a well intentioned guy.

The only problem is Obama outright lied in several places, and his wonderful rhetoric is in great conflict with his actual governing decisions and priorities. For example:

1. Obama assured us again that he was “Ending the Iraq War”.  First he said that he would have all our “combat” troops out by August.  Then a few sentences later he claimed that “all our troops” (unqualified) would be out of Iraq. But the reality is that this is the man who brought back George W. Bush’s outgoing War Secretary, Robert Gates (CIA-IRAN-CONTRA crook) to run his War Policies. Gates and Obama and Hillary Clinton (also a WarHawk) are all in agreement that at least 50,000 troops will remain permanently in Iraq, and of course, the 17 unwelcome U.S. Military Bases will also be there permanently.  The private contractors Halliburton and Blackwater (which operates under another name now), will all continue to remain as well.  Obama’s claim to end the Iraq War in August 2010 has about as much validity as his claim to end Guantanimo within 1 year. The crooked Oil Contracts, the Corporations, the Military Bases, the huge multi-hundred million dollar U.S. Embassy, and at least 50,000 troops to protect all of that — ain’t going nowhere.  

Whether the people that are stuck there are classified as being “combat” troops or not, is hardly relevant. The War and the Foreign Occupation has not ended, is not ending, and will not end. The vow to end the Iraq War is another empty promise from President Obama, and until and unless he stops listening and empowering the likes of Robert Gates – no meaningful change to this corrupt War policy will truthfully occur.  We have over 1.5 million dead Iraqis, over 2 million Iraqi refugees, over 5,500 dead Americans, over 75,000 wounded or disabled Americans, and have wasted of some 3-Trillion of the taxpayers dollars.  Clearly our Foreign Policy does far more damage to our own Country (as well as to the World) then anything any terrorist could ever dream up.  Obama’s patty-cake policy on confronting the tragedy of the U.S. Iraq intervention is sadly insufficient.  

Moreover, he is expanding our excessive American Militarism and violence to the far corners of the Earth even more by tripling the troop exposure in Afghanistan, starting War with Pakistan, killing civilians with cowardly CIA-run, unmanned Drones equiped with Hellfire bombs, threatening Iran, Yemen, and Venezuela (via Columbia). He has embraced the illegitmate Bush-era policies of detaining people with no charges, and no rights. And he has kept torture sites such as Bagram, Gitmo, and Abu Grahib open for business, while additionally directly outsourcing human torture through the disgraceful secret program of CIA renditions to Foreign prisons.  And let us never forget that the Obama Military budget far exceeds any of the Miltary budgets submitted under Bush & Cheney.  While the words sounded good, the governing remains a shameful tragedy, and a bankrupt wasteland of corruption and unnecessary human carnage, and bloodshed.

2. Obama also spoke about the plight of the middle-class and winning their trust.  He said: “To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve.”  It is hard to take him seriously however when his administration has empowered and promoted the very special interests that were responsible for the Financial meltdown, such as Timothy Giethner, Lawerence Summers, Ben Bernanke, and unabashed GOP-Lite Corporatists like Rahm Emanuel. If Obama wants to help the middle-class, why are the crooked Banking/WallStreet elites hand chosen by him to run his policies? Why does he want to give the Federal Reserve even more power, instead of audit them?

Dec 18

Obama No Longer Fooling The Left

We have now reached a point where there is beginning to boil over a lot of open criticism and disappointment finally from the “mainstream”  left over the performance of Barack Obama, and his leadership skills.

Instead of just a few grumblings, made over hushed tones, immediately followed by pronouncements about how it’s only been just 3 months…5 months…8 months… etc., people are now coming to the full realization, even on DailyKos now, that Obama is not going to govern in a manner that brings about any substantial change whatsoever.

Yet many commentators from Ed Schultz, to Michael Moore, to Arianna Huffington, to Markos, to Keith Olbermann etc. generally see the problem as one of being — that Obama is just too unengaged, or not forceful enough, or not providing strong enough leadership. The idea put forth here is that Obama really wants to do the right thing, but he is just a poor negotiator, or isn’t standing up enough, or too happy to compromise away his real “dearly held” beliefs.

But I disagree with this second part of the analysis. I have seen enough now to come to the conclusion that Obama is really executing the agenda that he wants, and advancing the agenda that he and his friends want. He just fooled a whole lot of people during the Primaries with his (deceptive) lofty rhetoric, deliberately left unspecific, and charming speeches and charisma.  

The problem with Obama, however, is not one of ommission, but one of commission. Recall that just as George W. Bush ran in 1999-2000 as a “compassionate” conservative with no critera at all about what that really meant for the middle-class ( a Dick Cheney Presidency-??). Well, Barack Obama ran his campaign very similarily as “Martin Luther Obama” come to save the little people – with no policy program ever put forward for doing any such thing – and an ever accumlating track record for totally backtracking on the few progressive ideas casually tossed about (then later retracted) throughout his campaign. Things like….suddenly being anti-NAFTA during the critical Wisconsin Primary (which he won), only to immediately reverse himself (and align himself with the pro-NAFTA agenda) once that State had voted for him.

But what we continually see is that Obama has no problem whatsoever with twisting arms, pressuring the Senate, asserting his own will, etc. when he wants them to vote against the reimportation of cheaper, generic Drugs (to prevent seniors from saving enormous amounts of money). He has no problem with villifying Howard Dean right out in the open, or outright intimidating progressive Congressman like Pete DeFazio with the open threat “Don’t think we’re not keeping score, brother“, when he disagreed with Obama’s new Military escalations.  And he has no problem with protecting, and even praising the agenda of Joe Lieberman.

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