469 posts categorized "Military"

September 11, 2014

13 years ago today

10678733_365526136947806_1312274803573980007_n
(Photo courtesy U.S. Public Safety News & Events)

In lower Manhattan last night, a tribute in lights on the eve of today's 9/11 anniversary. Among the legacies of that awful day have been reckless military adventures abroad and threats to civil liberties here at home. Citizen, awake!

September 03, 2014

Biden: ISIS destined for 'gates of hell'

Palestinian parody about ISIS

Thanks to MEMRI for this glimpse into Middle Eastern political humor. Charlotte Alfred at HuffPo reports.

August 30, 2014

McCain and sidekick weigh in on Obama and ISIL

NYT offers a preview of the Sunday morning political shows on its op-ed page.

As predictable as the dawn. This week the President is a hapless weakling; next week, if he issues an executive order on immigration, he'll be a tyrant. It would be nice if those interviewing McCain and his closeted and overcompensating sidekick would ask them how their hawkish approach worked under Mr. Obama's predecessor. But the media has been much more interested in the President's haberdashery.

August 27, 2014

Commission charts path for open transgender military service

Justin Snow reports at Metro Weekly:

More than three months after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the White House voiced support for a review of the military’s ban on transgender service, a new report finds the Pentagon could immediately open the armed services to transgender Americans in a way that is consistent with military readiness and core values.

August 22, 2014

Fischer: God Will Use ISIS To Punish America For Gay Rights

Kyle Mantyla reports at Right Wing Watch on the latest lunacy from Bryan Fischer of AFA.

August 14, 2014

'All we say to America is be true to what you said on paper'

Tell it, Martin. Words from 46 years ago that are as apt as when he spoke them, the day before he was taken from us.

August 13, 2014

Sectarian Scavengers

Ann_Coulter_at_book_signing
(Photo by Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons)

My latest column is now up at Metro Weekly. It is subtitled, "Amid war and plague, right-wing Americans export religious intolerance." Here's an excerpt:

In Entebbe on August 9, more than one hundred LGBT Ugandans celebrated the first Pride Uganda since the Constitutional Court overturned the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) for being passed without a quorum. Entebbe is on Lake Victoria, and the paradise suggested by some of the photos would not make you think the revelers risked mob violence, unless you noticed the masks some wore.

A British name for an African lake is a relic of the same colonial legacy that keeps homosexuality illegal despite AHA being tossed out. African leaders are strangely selective in their outrage over Western influences. They embrace foreign laws, religions, and aid while treating sexual minorities who have always lived among them like hostile aliens. American evangelicals like Scott Lively incited the persecution with the slander that gays recruit and sexually abuse children. This pious vulture denies any responsibility for the consequences, including LGBT Ugandans being hunted like animals.

Read the whole thing here.

August 06, 2014

Tea and crumpets

20140802_wwd000

KAL's cartoon, from The Economist.

Meanwhile, in NYT, a clear, sensible voice on Israeli colonialism that most Americans just don't want to hear.

July 31, 2014

This evening on Make It Plain on SiriusXM Progress

I will be Mark Thompson's guest at 7 pm Eastern Time this evening on SiriusXM Progress, Channel 127, to discuss my column for this week, "Blood on a Beach," concerning the current conflict between Israel and Gaza.

The photo below, taken from the International Space Station, shows the border between Israel and Egypt and the Mediterranean coastline.

800px-Border_between_Israel_and_Egypt_visible_from_space

Blood on a Beach

BssH3yiIQAAEpnR
(Photo courtesy Anthony Bourdain)

My latest column was painful to write. Its subhead is: "The taboo against criticizing Israel hurts both Israel and America." Here is a portion:

We are all implicated in what is done in our name. We must face our shared responsibility for American politics and its bloody consequences abroad. We war with our own values when we condone behavior by an ally that we would condemn back home.

Last week I told bereaved Jewish Iranian immigrant friends who had lost their mother, "May her memory be for a blessing." What would I say to relatives of children killed in Gaza? Sorry my taxes subsidized it? Sorry our politics makes it hazardous to talk about innocent Palestinians? There are no innocents? That last one would do Al Qaida proud. One friend said the deaths were regrettably necessary. Isn't that a line from Dr. Strangelove?

Speaking of cold-blooded analysis, demographic trends show that without a two-state solution, Israel must eventually choose between being a democracy and being a Jewish state. What will America do then? Israel's bunker mentality, and its posturing as a victim despite its power, blind it to its slow self-destruction. Assisted suicide is still suicide.

Our ubiquitous social media are a game changer: having seen pictures of dead boys on a beach, we cannot un-see them.

Read the whole thing here.

UN Official Chris Gunness Breaks Down On Air After School Bombing

Think Progress reports:

Cameras on Wednesday captured a spokesman for the United Nations mission devoted to assisting Palestinian refugees breaking down in tears over the latest artillery fire against a U.N.-run school killed at least twenty civilians.

United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) spokesman Chris Gunness has been a go-to source for information on what’s happening on the ground in the Gaza Strip for the past three weeks, as first airstrikes, then Israeli ground forces, have waged a war. The Israeli government has defended its actions as protecting Israeli citizens, focusing its assault on Hamas — which the United States and many other governments rank as a terrorist organization — and the militants allied with them. But in the course of the latest incursion, the dead have been almost entirely on the Palestinian side of the conflict, with the vast majority of them being civilians.

Gunness-aja-638x357

Note: YouTube keeps taking this video down. Contemptible. If they keep doing it, I will look for another copy to post.

July 29, 2014

John Oliver on our insecure nukes

Quick, hide under a picnic blanket!

July 26, 2014

The polite debate on Israel and Gaza, in case you missed it

Early in the week, Jon Stewart illustrated the response often received by anyone who criticizes Israel in any way, or simply expresses sympathy for innocent children killed in a conflict.

July 24, 2014

This Land Is Mine

Pretty well sums it up. Lovely singing by Andy Williams.

Gohmert: Bomb Iran (because Gaza)

The latest incoherence from Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX).

Night in Gaza

Gaza_from_space

From Alexander Gerst aboard the International Space Station, a photo of Gaza at night. It is hard to tell ordinary lights from explosions.

Israel Is Destroying West Bank Houses To Punish Hamas’ Family Members

Palestinian_home_destroyed
(AP photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Very Old Testament. Bibi (and I mean you and your fanatical supporters and not your nation), may you reap what you sow.

July 18, 2014

DOD: Chelsea Manning May Begin Transition in Prison

Advocate.com reports:

WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning has been approved to begin receiving hormone replacement therapy while serving her 35-year prison sentence at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., the Associated Press reports.

This is the right decision. Denial of healthcare is not an appropriate form of punishment. All prisoners are entitled to proper healthcare, and transgender prisoners are no exception.

Obama: evidence suggests Russia-backed separatists downed Malaysia Airlines

Update: London-based Russia Today reporter Sara Firth has resigned in protest over the lies her employer demanded regarding the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. Good for her.

July 17, 2014

NBC News Pulls Veteran Reporter from Gaza After Witnessing Israeli Attack on Children

Hospital-inset
(Ayman Mohyeldin reports from Gaza City on killing of four Palestinian boys by Israel. Photo credit: NBC News)

NYT reports that Israel has begun its expected ground assault on the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald reports:

Ayman Mohyeldin, the NBC News correspondent who personally witnessed yesterday’s killing by Israel of four Palestinian boys on a Gazan beach and who has received widespread praise for his brave and innovative coverage of the conflict, has been told by NBC executives to leave Gaza immediately. According to an NBC source upset at his treatment, the executives claimed the decision was motivated by “security concerns” as Israel prepares a ground invasion, a claim repeated to me by an NBC executive. But late yesterday, NBC sent another correspondent, Richard Engel, along with an American producer who has never been to Gaza and speaks no Arabic, into Gaza to cover the ongoing Israeli assault (both Mohyeldin and Engel speak Arabic).

Mohyeldin is an Egyptian-American with extensive experience reporting on that region. He has covered dozens of major Middle East events in the last decade for CNN, NBC and Al Jazeera English, where his reporting on the 2008 Israeli assault on Gaza made him a star of the network. NBC aggressively pursued him to leave Al Jazeera, paying him far more than the standard salary for its on-air correspondents.

Yesterday, Mohyeldin witnessed and then reported on the brutal killing by Israeli gunboats of four young boys as they played soccer on a beach in Gaza City. He was instrumental, both in social media and on the air, in conveying to the world the visceral horror of the attack.

NBC, you are beneath contempt.

July 07, 2014

George Takei: Why I love a country that once betrayed me

Gay actor George Takei tells of when soldiers with bayonets came to his Los Angeles home when he was 5 and sent his family to a Japanese-American internment camp on a presidential order, without due process. He then talks about his heroes, including the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the most decorated unit in American military history. And he explains why he loves America and is committed to democracy.

June 22, 2014

Bauer: Obama 'Obsessed' With Gay Issues, Will 'Destroy' Republic

Brian Tashman of Right Wing Watch reported from Friday's "Road to Majority" summit. In this clip, Gary Bauer offers an astonishing catalog of lies about our 44th president, from he destroyed America's military to he declared war on the Little Sisters of the Poor. One wonders how many wars the (in my view) more-than-sufficiently hawkish Obama would have to start in order to avoid the former charge. As to the latter charge, it appears to be based on the nuns having to fill out a form concerning their religious exemption to the contraception mandate in ACA, because they don't just want to avoid providing such converge to their employees--they want to prevent their employees from getting it from anyone.

In short: as usual with the radical religious right, if they are prevented from imposing their intolerant doctrines on others, they claim their own freedom has been infringed. And the commandment against bearing false witness is once again trampled by the ones most loudly announcing their righteousness. As the saying goes, God help us.

June 19, 2014

Megyn Kelly Confronts Dick Cheney

Get the popcorn! Megyn Kelly on Fox News confronts Dick and Liz Cheney on their shameless blaming of President Obama for the Bush-Cheney debacle in Iraq. As a general principle, the arsonist should not criticize the firefighter.

June 07, 2014

Presenting colors

A color guard provided by the United States Military District of Washington marched in the Capital Pride Parade today. I saw them as they turned from 17th Street NW onto P Street. They were right behind Dykes on Bikes, who were behind a couple of police cars. Happy Pride!

Ghosts on a beach

This haunting blend of current and historic photos says more than I can after watching ceremonies at Omaha Beach yesterday marking the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landing in Normandy. In the video of the ceremonies below, my favorite part is near the end, when President Obama interacts with the old soldiers, now in their 90s, who were there 70 years ago. In his remarks he mentioned that his maternal grandfather was in Patton's army that followed the invasion to liberate Europe from the Nazis. These moments are important as more than just ceremonies; they are a reminder of the cost of war. By June 6, 1944, my father had been a prisoner of war for nearly 16 months, having been captured in Tunisia at Kasserine Pass in February 1943. This year he would have turned 96.

June 04, 2014

Richard Grenell Behind PR Campaign For Soldiers Critical Of Bowe Bergdahl

Richard-grenell-fnc-20140602

Media Matters reports:

Fox News contributor Richard Grenell and his public relations firm have been coordinating interviews for soldiers criticizing the actions of recently-released Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

Those critics have said that Bergdahl, who had been imprisoned by the Taliban since 2009, risked the lives of soldiers who tried to find him after he reportedly walked off his Afghanistan base.

Several media outlets have reported on these soldiers and their concerns, including Fox News, The New York Times, Time, The Los Angeles Times, The Daily Mail, and The Daily Beast. According to a report in Buzzfeed, Fox News contributor Richard Grenell and his firm Capitol Media have "played a key role in publicizing" these critics.

Grenell served as a spokesman for former U.N. ambassador (and current Fox News contributor) John Bolton in the George W. Bush administration, and also worked for a short time on the Romney 2012 campaign.

Ah, Richard Grenell. Here is my piece on him from 2012.

March 06, 2014

Feder: Gays In The Military, 'Armed With Vibrators,' Greater Threat Than Putin

Um, what?

(Hat tip: Right Wing Watch)

March 03, 2014

American troops perform in drag; WND gets its panties in a twist

Some American troops donned drag for a charity performance in Okinawa. World Net Daily is appalled.

Kerry on Russia's 'incredible act of aggression'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told President Obama after speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin that she was not sure he was in touch with reality.

March 02, 2014

World War 3 Russia vs Ukraine and Europe Simulation

Prediction: this is not going to happen. But Winter Storm Titan is headed for the eastern U.S.

January 25, 2014

Swedish Marines make parody of 'Greased Lightning' in Afghanistan

This is what happens when you allow Swedes to serve in the military.

January 17, 2014

Hiroo Onoda, Soldier Who Hid in Jungle for Decades, Dies at 91

From NYT, a remarkable story of perseverance and devotion to duty that bears reading.

Marine Corps Tweets Out MLK Weekend Warning: ‘Don’t Be A Lone Shooter’

Think Progress reports.

Un-effing-believable.

January 07, 2014

Former DefSec Gates criticizes Obama in memoir

WaPo reports.

Ryan Teague Beckwith tweets, "Instead of a memoir, Robert Gates should have just given lots of loud off-the-record interviews on the Acela." Obama never stops being punished for reaching across the aisle. Gates complains about civvies on the White House staff asking skeptical questions of military brass. Clutch the pearls!

December 16, 2013

Holiday flash mob at Air & Space

On December 3 at the National Air & Space Museum, the U.S. Air Force Band performed a flash mob version of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" and "Joy to the World." Here's to high musical and production standards.

(Hat tip: Bob Witeck)

December 03, 2013

Dan Choi profiled by American Prospect

DAN-CHOI_AP

Gabriel Arana at American Prospect profiles activist Dan Choi. Here's a passage that conveys his situation:

By the time “don’t ask, don’t tell” was abolished, Dan had been interviewed scores of times, appearing in all the major newspapers and news networks (save Fox); spoken at dozens of gay-rights rallies from Wichita to Moscow; lectured at universities from Texas A&M to Harvard; and been named a “brave thinker” by The Atlantic.

Now, Dan wakes up most days with nothing to do. After the sun rouses him from his spot on the couch, where he sleeps under his “affirmation quilt”—fan letters are printed on each square—he takes two capsules of Hydroxycut, a diet pill loaded with caffeine, and Wellbutrin, an antidepressant used to treat bipolar disorder. Sometimes he goes for a long bike ride or works out at the gym in his building. He attends fundraisers and art openings, occasionally in uniform. Now and then, he drives to Fire Island, a gay vacation destination off Long Island. He earns a living by giving speeches at $10,000 a pop, which the Gotham Artists agency arranges for him. He smokes pot—a lot of it, he admits. “I can’t tell the difference,” he says, “between being high and not.”

Dan is an Iraq war veteran with PTSD whose personal health was not helped by his encounter with fame. He is a wounded warrior who needs help. I know some have tried. It is a sad story.

(Photo by Associated Press)

November 25, 2013

Fischer: God Will Curse America For Making A Deal With Iran

The latest from Bryan Fischer at AFA, courtesy Right Wing Watch. If God were so closely monitoring the world, She'd have zapped this hateful loon long ago. Or at least unplugged his mic.

November 24, 2013

Nuclear agreement reached with Iran; Republicans denounce before seeing details

Late Saturday night, after news broke that Secretary of State John Kerry and foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China had reached an agreement in Geneva with Iran to halt its development of nuclear weapons, President Obama appeared in the White House State Dining Room to describe some of the details:

While today’s announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal. For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back. Iran has committed to halting certain levels of enrichment and neutralizing part of its stockpiles. Iran cannot use its next-generation centrifuges, which are used for enriching uranium. Iran cannot install or start up new centrifuges, and its production of centrifuges will be limited. Iran will halt work at its plutonium reactor. And new inspections will provide extensive access to Iran’s nuclear facilities and allow the international community to verify whether Iran is keeping its commitments.

As soon as the news broke, and without bothering to wait for the details, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) tweeted:

@JohnCornyn
Amazing what WH will do to distract attention from O-care

Cornyn thus echoed what others were tweeting sarcastically in anticipation of reflexive GOP denunciations of the diplomatic breakthrough. One wag tweeted:

@jonlovett
Someone get the details of the deal out quickly so the people who hate it already can find out why

Sen. Lindsey Graham ‏(R-Closet) quickly offered his usual overcompensating saber-rattling that bars any thought of preventing war:

@GrahamBlog
Unless the agreement requires dismantling of the Iranian centrifuges, we really haven't gained anything. #IranNukes

Continue reading "Nuclear agreement reached with Iran; Republicans denounce before seeing details" »

November 15, 2013

Nuclear tests, 1945-1998

Memolition writes:

Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a beautiful, undeniably scary time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project’s “Trinity” test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan’s nuclear tests in May of 1998. This leaves out North Korea’s two alleged nuclear tests in this past decade (the legitimacy of both of which is not 100% clear).

Each nation gets a blip and a flashing dot on the map whenever they detonate a nuclear weapon, with a running tally kept on the top and bottom bars of the screen. Hashimoto, who began the project in 2003, says that he created it with the goal of showing”the fear and folly of nuclear weapons.” It starts really slow — if you want to see real action, skip ahead to 1962 or so — but the buildup becomes overwhelming.