this and that

go read betty's 'I raised a monster' - it's a sweet post.  her daughter's become a plant addict. 

she notes that c.i.'s got her daughter singing to the plants. 

back in college, elaine and i were always amazed not just at c.i.'s ability to grow plants but at her ability to save plants.  people would show up with a dead fern, for example, and a week or 2 later, c.i. would have it back to life looking incredible.

she always joked it was the cigarette fumes because, in college, we all smoked.

but it wasn't the fumes.  and she would sing to them and she'd place them near or next to our speakers - we always had music playing. 

to this day, she has that gift.

i know a way to explain it.  you know how you can take a sprig of ivy and put an end in a glass of water and then the ivy will grow?

our 1st semester she did that.  the sprig couldn't have been even 2 inches.  by the end of the 2nd semester that thing ran across 1 wall and down another.  and except for singing to it and sometimes putting it near the speakers, she never really did anything to it.  it never left the mason jar she had started it in.  (actually i think it was a jelly jar.  in the old days, the jelly jars used to sometimes also be kids glasses - after they were empty - and they'd have tweety bird or huckleberry hound or something painted on the glass.) 

and plants just love her.  we try to garden here in the summer and it's not much, mainly it's some larger planters around the deck.  but she'll drop by and she'll look at the plants and sort of mess with them for a little bit and they will respond. 

i honestly think that we have vibrations - i may be too shirley maclaine for you here - and we know colors have vibrations but i honestly believe that all humans have vibrations and i believe that the vibrations of some humans are either compatible with plants or they communicate with plants or they have some magnetic pull or something and that's why some people have a 'green thumb.'

again, my belief.  nothing scientific.  you don't have to agree. 

but i hope we can agree that medicare for all is a need.

Current Medicare beneficiaries should enthusiastically support the Act of 2019. When it becomes law, they will have better benefits (including dental, hearing, vision, and long term care) and no more cost sharing.

we want medicare for all and we need it.  had f.d.r. not died when he did, he would have delivered it because he believed in it.

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Friday, June 14, 2019.  Another push for war on Iran, 20 candidates qualify for the Democratic Presidential candidates debates this month -- all six women made the cut, the press has used sexism repeatedly in the coverage of female candidates -- including the coverage of Tulsi Gabbard and Kirsten Gillibrand, and much more

In the United States, there are 24 candidates vying for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  Of those 24, 20 have met the arbitrary rules of the DNC that will allow them to be on stage for the first debates.  Remember, democracy requires restrictions -- per the DNC. The debates will take place in Miami over two nights -- June 26th and June 27th.  Today, NBC will stage -- stage probably being the key term -- a drawing and the drawing will determine whether you take the stage on the 26th or the 27th.

 Who made the cut?

REUTERS has a photo of all 24 and, from their caption, here are the 20 who made it:

 U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand and Michael Bennet; Former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke, U.S. Representatives Tulsi Gabbard, John Delaney, Eric Swalwell, Tim Ryan, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Former Gov. John Hickenlooper, Gov. Jay Inslee, Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson,  and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

And had I not been so impatient, I would have noticed that REUTERS gave a list of the 20 later in their piece.


It is news that four didn't make it.  But the bigger news would be the 20 who did.  I'm not a sports buff but when they have their draft picks, isn't the news who gets picked?  When you have a spelling bee, you don't open with who didn't win.  So I'm confused as to why you would bury the 20 and open with the four.

Here's another buried lede: Every woman, all six, running for the nomination qualified for the debates.  That's historic.  But, hey, media, look the other way yet again.

Hopefully, if you're vested in the race, you saw your personal choice or choices in the list above.  Here's the four who did not make the cut:  US House Rep and Iraq War veteran Seth Moulton, former US Senator Mike Gravel, the Governor of Montana Steve Bullock and, from Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam.

Some outlets insist that this is the end of the road for those four.  That doesn't have to be the case.  Already, Bullock is speaking out against the decision process.  When he does that, he's speaking to anyone and everyone who's ever been cheated out of something for arbitrary reasons -- actually a large pool of people -- and he's speaking for his supporters and the supporters of the other three left out.  He could gain some traction that way.  Seth started his campaign very late and he's often spoken of how that might mean he doesn't qualify for the first debates.  Point being, he could qualify for later ones if he stays in the race.  Mike Gravel has a lively campaign that could overcome this and use it to fuel further actions.  Wayne Messan's the only one I'd be concerned about.  He has not gained traction.  Even his Tweets have tended to underwhelm.  That said, this decision not to allow him on stage might be the fuel that forces him to go deeper and he may end up at the next debates.

The debates after June?  Just because the 20 qualified does not mean that they will qualify for the next debate.  The DNC is making rules up as it goes along.  Didn't they get in trouble for that last time?  Or are we pretending that siding with one candidate before the primaries even start is one of the DNC rules?

At any rate, 20 made the cut for the first round.

One of the twenty is US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard.  Yesterday, she took part in a WASHINGTON POST online event.  Robert Costa (WASHINGTON POST) distorts, attacks  and slimes her:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), an Iraq War veteran who is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, forcefully defended her foreign policy positions on Thursday, dismissing “neocon war hawks” who have supported increased U.S. military intervention abroad and encouraging engagement with Russia and Syria on counterterrorism efforts.
Those views have drawn attention to Gabbard’s White House bid from antiwar voters, from war-weary liberals to libertarian conservatives who are unhappy with the GOP establishment. They have also been criticized by some Democrats, who believe the United States should take a hard line on Russia and on Syria, which has used chemical weapons in the country’s eight-year conflict and committed human-rights abuses, according to watchdog groups and the United Nations.

Gabbard, in an interview at a Washington Post Live event, did not waver from positions that have put her outside of the mainstream of her party. She argued that the United States could “perhaps” work with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Vladi­mir Putin in the coming years to counter the rise of Al-Qaeda-linked fighters and other terrorists in the Middle East.
“There are others within the region who share that objective. I think that we should be working with them,” Gabbard said.

The leader of the United States has to be prepared to meet with any leader.  In May 2008, when then-Senator Barack Obama was asked, he made clear that he would meet with the leaders of 'rouge nations' and that he would do so without preconditions.  From POLITIFACT:

 "Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?"
"I would," Obama said. "And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous." 

His position was debated (including here) but the only ones attacking him for it and maligning him for it were the right-wing press (led by THE NATIONAL REVIEW).  Eleven years later, Tulsi gets attacked and distorted for putting into practice what Barack supported.

And can someone explain to Howard Dean -- one of the great fake asses of all time -- that he needs to close his blowhole?  No woman needs to hear Howard's opinions of their actions.  The fat ass sat on the sidelines allowing rampant sexism in 2008 when Hillary Clinton was a candidate and waited until she was no longer in the race to finally recognize sexism.  He was the Chair of the DNC.  He had nothing to say about women when it mattered so he should probably shut his damn mouth about women now.

And shame on women who have looked the other way as Tulsi has been attacked.  She's a stronger candidate than most of the men in the race -- and I can't think of a man that's stronger than her -- maybe as strong.  And yet women have allowed Tulsi to be attacked and have joined in the attacks.  That's Bitch Whoring, not sisterhood.

We're the only ones, right here, in this space, who've noted that Tulsi was being treated in a sexist manner by the press.  They didn't treat her the way they did veterans Mayor Pete and Seth.  They treated her as 'the girl.'  And thank you to friends in the press who responded to that critique because I do see some improvement from those I spoke with about it..

But this is beyond crazy.  A flock of women on Twitter pretend to care about women and feminism but they either join in the attacks on Tulsi or they stay silent.  That is outrageous.

Or maybe it's just a lot of 'brave' bitches are just chicken s**t scared?  In 2008, most of these Alyssa Milanos weren't around defending Hillary from sexism.  Those of us who were have the bruises and scars.  Those of us who defended Hillary from sexism made a difference -- as did Hillary in 2008.

Why a bunch of useless 'women' want to whine about this or that but don't want to defend a serious candidate from sexist coverage is beyond me.

I'm not talking even about supporting her campaign, you can back whichever candidate you choose to.  I'm talking about calling out sexism to ensure that it ends.  Some of the crap that was pulled on Hillary in 2007 and 2008 is never going to be pulled on a female candidate again because it was specifically called out.  You want to help all women?  Tell the media to stop the sexism against Tulsi or any other woman seeking the presidential nomination.

On Thursdays, we note women in Congress and the actions they emphasize.  That's a regular feature here.  Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is always included on that.  We're noting here something already noted last night but it's an important issue and one we've long noted here:

June 13, 2019 

After Recent Department of Defense Report Highlights Its Continued Failure to Address Crisis of Military Sexual Assault, Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Group of Senators to Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act and Calls On Congress to Act

Gillibrand’s Renewed Push Follows Shocking DoD Report Showing Sexual Assaults in the Military Dramatically Increased While the Number of Cases Going to Trial Went Down; Five Years After Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey Said Military Was ‘On the Clock’ to Fix Military Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault Remains Pervasive and Many Service Members Still Have Little Faith in the System; Bipartisan Legislation Would Create Impartial, Fair, and Accountable Military Justice System

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, today led a bipartisan group of Senators to reintroduce the Military Justice Improvement Act, which would professionalize how the military prosecutes serious crimes by moving the decision over whether to prosecute them to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors. According to the Department of Defense’s own data in this year’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) report, there were an estimated 20,500 instances of sexual assault – a massive increase over the 14,900 estimated in the previous 2016 survey. The number of women in the military who experienced sexual assault increased by 50%, from 8,600 in FY2016 to 13,000 in FY2018. In fact, by DoD’s own admission, the odds of young service women experiencing a sexual assault is one in eight, yet commanders have sent fewer cases to trial – from 588 in FY2014, to 389 in FY2016, to 307 in FY2018.

“Our nation’s military leaders have spent decades promising ‘zero tolerance’ on sexual assault, but it’s painfully clear that they’ve failed at that mission. The Pentagon, by its own admission, is out of time – and should now be out of excuses,” said Senator Gillibrand. “For years, survivor after survivor has told us the change we need to make in the military justice system to end the scourge of sexual assault in our military – the same change that some of our allies all around the world have already made: move the decision to try these crimes outside of the chain of command to trained military prosecutors. The Department of Defense has tried incremental reforms, but they clearly haven’t worked. Sexual assault is still pervasive – in fact the latest DoD numbers show that sexual assaults in the military have dramatically increased while the number of cases going to trial has gone down. None of this is acceptable. It’s long past time for Congress to step up and create accountability where the DoD has failed. That is how we will finally give our men and women in uniform a justice system that is fair, professional, and actually works.”

Five years ago, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey, said the military was “on the clock” to fix military sexual assault, and indicated it would be right to bring a bill back to the floor in a year if they hadn’t solved the problem. In the years since, incremental reforms have been implemented yet sexual assault in the military has remained pervasive and dramatically increased over the last two years, with many service members still having little faith in the military justice system.

The Military Justice Improvement Act would professionalize how the military prosecutes serious crimes like sexual assault, which would help remove the systemic fear that survivors of military sexual assault describe in deciding whether to report the crimes committed against them. This legislation would remove the sole decision-making authority over whether serious crimes are prosecuted from the military chain-of-command and give it to independent, trained military prosecutors. Uniquely military crimes, such as a soldier going AWOL, and other non-judicial and administrative remedies would stay within the chain of command.

Specifically, the Military Justice Improvement Act would do the following: 

·         Grant the authority to send criminal charges to trial (disposition authority) to designated judge advocates (military lawyers) in the rank of O-6 or higher who possess significant criminal justice experience.
·         Ensure that judge advocates vested with disposition authority would
·         Be outside the chain of command of the accused.
·         Exercise professional prosecutorial judgment when deciding whether to proceed to court martial.
·         Render decisions to proceed to trial free from conflicts of interest.

In addition to Senator Gillibrand, this legislation is cosponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Tina Smith (D-MN), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM).

“Justice is a founding principle enshrined in the Constitution. Those who have dedicated themselves to protecting and defending the Constitution as part of the armed forces deserve justice as much as anyone else. But their fidelity has been betrayed by a system that discourages reporting of sexual assault and far too often fails to punish perpetrators. This is the fourth Congress I’ve supported this legislation. It’s time for it to become law. We owe it to the heroes who put their lives on the line in service to their country and ask for so little in return,” said Senator Grassley.

The military has failed to address the sexual assault crisis, letting victims down and harming our military’s readiness, recruitment and retention efforts. Unfortunately, far too many of our men and women in uniform do not trust they’ll get the justice they deserve if they pursue it through the current system,” said combat Veteran and Senator Tammy Duckworth. “As a former commander of an assault helicopter company, it’s become clear to me that we need to pass meaningful reforms to bring more perpetrators to justice and ensure survivors have the resources and support they need to heal and be able to resume the careers they dreamt about from the time they entered the military. I’m proud to have worked with Senator Gillibrand on her new Military Justice Improvement Act, which will help deliver justice to survivors without sacrificing military commanders’ abilities to maintain discipline within their unit at home or while deployed.”

“Sexual assault is one of the most under-reported crimes in the nation, and recent data shows that incidents are increasing at an alarming rate in the military. Service members need to have confidence that if they come forward, justice will be pursued without retribution or stigma,” said Senator Shaheen. “This legislation will empower military prosecutors with the authority they need to step outside of the military chain of command’s decision-making power for the most serious crimes, helping to ensure perpetrators are held accountable for their crimes and that survivors are treated fairly and shielded from retaliation. No service member should be intimidated out of reporting an assault – I urge Leader McConnell to bring this bill up for a vote so we can protect and support our service members seeking justice.”

“I’ve been deeply moved by the courageous accounts of military sexual assault survivors whose bravery reminds us that this horrific crime is all too common. The current system for prosecuting these heinous crimes is simply inadequate, even as reported assaults have increased dramatically. We have much more work to do to ensure survivors, in and out of uniform, have access to the support they need and the fair and effective justice system they deserve. It ought to renew and reinvigorate our push to protect all of our military men and women from these horrific crimes,” said Senator Blumenthal.

“The brave men and women who serve our country should not fear retaliation from their peers and superior officers when they report sexual assault and harassment. Sexual assault in the military is a serious crime, and personal bias or conflicts of interest from their fellow service members should not prevent survivors from getting the justice they deserve,” said Senator Hirono. “The Military Justice Improvement Act would put the decision to pursue these serious crimes in the hands of trained and professional military prosecutors, and ensure that survivors of sexual assault are not victimized again when they report military crimes. This legislation takes a critical step towards changing the culture surrounding sexual assault and harassment, and I urge my colleagues to support and pass this measure.”

“Sexual harassment and assault cannot be tolerated in our society, whether it’s in the military, at home, in the executive suite, or anywhere else,” said Senator Heinrich. “We must take serious steps to address this issue head on. This legislation that Senator Gillibrand has tirelessly pursued since I came to the Senate will make our Armed Services stronger. I am proud to cosponsor the Military Justice Improvement Act to create a military justice system that holds perpetrators accountable and cultivate a safer, more respectful environment for our servicemembers.”

“The current military justice system is failing servicemembers who have experienced sexual assault crimes,” said Senator Warren. “Servicemembers have had enough of the same vague commitments – it’s time for real structural change to ensure justice for survivors.”

“The stark reality is that far too many sexual assault victims serving in the military claim to have faced some sort of retaliation for reporting the crime. It’s obvious the current justice system is not protecting members of the military that fall victim to these heinous crimes,” said Senator Murkowski. “In the unfortunate event that a serviceman or servicewoman falls victim to sexual assault or sexual harassment, they must have the opportunity to seek justice in a fair and unbiased environment. I am proud to join my colleagues in support of legislation that protects the rights of military sexual assault survivors by requiring military professionals outside of the victim's chain of command to make the decisions regarding their case. Every victim deserves justice and ability to speak up – we need to ensure these terrible crimes are not swept under the rug.”

“Every American deserves a fair justice system. Yet we still have military sexual assault and harassment reports that are not properly investigated, and in many cases survivors are reprimanded for speaking out,” said Senator Merkley. “It’s past time for Congress to pass this bipartisan legislation so we can make critical improvements to the process under which these cases are reviewed. These brave Americans serve their country, and we must do everything we can to ensure they do so with safety and accountability.”

“Too many sexual assault victims in the military remain silent because they do not trust the military justice system to hold their perpetrators accountable and protect them from retaliation,” said Senator Coons. “The failure of our military to prevent sexual assault remains unacceptable.  I support this carefully crafted legislation because we need to remove any appearance of bias from the ways in which accusations of sexual assault are handled in our armed forces.  This legislation will help ensure victims have the confidence to come forward to report crimes.  I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this important legislation.”

“Service members who’ve been victims of sexual assault should not have to fear retaliation for bravely coming forward and seeking justice,” said Senator Menendez. “It’s clear that we need to do more to ensure that our military justice system is both providing protection and fairness that survivors deserve, and is holding the perpetrators who’ve committed these violent crimes accountable for their actions.”  

“As a former prosecutor, I know how important it is to have strong policies in place to combat sexual assault, and the military is no exception. Our legislation will improve the system for reporting and prosecuting sexual assault in the military and support survivors throughout the process. Our men and women in uniform put their lives on the line fighting for our country—we must make sure each one of them has trust and respect within their own ranks,” said Senator Klobuchar. 

“I am grateful to the victims who have had the bravery to come forward, but there are still far too many service members who feel they cannot report an assault without adverse consequences to their careers,” said Senator Brown. “We need to do everything we can to root out this problem, starting with a military justice system that holds perpetrators accountable and creates a safer environment for our nation’s heroes.”

“Women and men who honorably serve our nation deserve our utmost respect, and part of our responsibility to look out for them means ensuring there are systems in place to get justice for victims of sexual assault in the military,” said Senator Smith. “We owe it to those who make sacrifices for our nation to have systems in place so victims do not live in fear of coming forward, and they know there is a system of justice in place that will work for them.”

“The Military justice Improvement Act is a critical step toward creating a safer environment and more reliable system of accountability and survivor services for military survivors of sexual assault. I stand ready to work with my colleagues in the Senate to seek justice for survivors,” said Senator Casey. 

“Sexual assault is a horrific wrong, and, tragically, it has proven far too pervasive in our armed forces,” said Senator Cruz. “We have a solemn obligation to protect the young women and men in the military, and to keep all of them safe from sexual violence.  Decades of experience have shown that, under the status quo, far too many victims of assault are reluctant to come forward because they fear their attackers will not be prosecuted. That’s why, for many years, I’ve joined with Sen. Gillibrand to help lead this bipartisan effort to ensure sexual assault cases are handled by career military prosecutors — to honor our commitment to every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, and Marine — and its why I’m proud to do so again.”

“We must speak the truth that past efforts to protect our men and women in uniform from sexual assault have failed, and we must change the system,” said Senator Harris. “As a former prosecutor, I’ve seen up close how painful it can be for survivors to come forward with an accusation—we owe them a fair and impartial opportunity to seek justice. I’m proud to be a part of this bipartisan effort to reform the military justice system to better protect all service members and support survivors.”

“Our men and women who serve need the confidence that the justice system is pursuing justice.  While our military is full of many great leaders who are working hard to change military culture, the fact remains that in our country justice is expected to be an impartial process administered by professionals outside of the chain of command.  The victims, and those accused, deserve that system,” said Senator Leahy. 

“Protect Our Defenders proudly supports the Military Justice Improvement Act. Despite decades of promises from military leadership to end the scourge of military sexual assault, the crisis has only worsened,” said Don Christensen, President of Protect Our Defenders. “While the rate of sexual assault continues to climb, prosecutions under the commander controlled system have plummeted. Quite simply, the status quo has failed. By empowering military prosecutors, MJIA will bring accountability for those who commit these heinous crimes and justice for survivors.”

“The lack of substantive progress in addressing the pervasiveness of sexual assault in our nation's military is unacceptable and a matter that requires immediate and decisive redress. The failure to protect survivors and ebb these unspeakable crimes reflect poorly on our military and erodes the public confidence in the institution,” said Jeremy Butler, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). “IAVA's 2019 membership survey revealed a shocking 61% of veterans believed the DoD is not effectively addressing this crisis. We commend Senator Gillibrand's long-standing commitment to this critical issue.”

“At SWAN we hear from and work with survivors on a daily basis. Their stories are always similar. If they decide to come forward and report they are generally not believed; they are seen as creating a problem where none existed before and they almost always suffer retaliation. They consistently tell us that their commanders failed them in profound ways,” said Dr. Ellen Haring, Colonel, CEO of Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), US Army (retired). “As a former Commander I can tell you that I would not want to have to decide if or when to move forward with the investigation of a sex crime because I know that  my knowledge and expertise in this area is limited and that any JAG officer assigned to my command as an adviser would be a generalist. Furthermore, there are simply too many possible conflicts of interest for Commanders to be the best decision makers in sex crime cases not to mention the fact that there are Commanders themselves who have been perpetrators.”

Emily Martin, Vice President for Education and Workplace Justice at the National Women’s Law Center said, “Women join the military to serve and protect their country—not to be sexually assaulted. But it’s a cruel reality that far too many women in the military are sexually assaulted on the job. And for the one in three who reports their abuse, little is done to stop it and they face routine retaliation by their commander and cohorts for speaking up. Senator Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 would attack the scourge of military sexual violence by removing prosecution authority over sexual assault from commanders. This inherent conflict of interest that shields perpetrators from facing the consequences of their abuse must end.”

“Inaction on MJIA leaves military commanders trapped in an impossible position. In my Marine Corps service, I witnessed first hand how the actions of my commander in the aftermath of a sexual assault tore apart cohesion, trust, and discipline within my unit. We need to place these decisions in the hands of expert prosecutors, allowing commanders to focus on their mission, where their expertise lies. The status quo is unsustainable, and there can be no more excuses. The more than 125,000 members of Common Defense call upon every Senator who supports justice for our troops and mission-effectiveness for our military to support the bi-partisan Military Justice Improvement Act. We see this vote as a critical, moral test of whether our representatives stand with everyday service members and veterans like us,” said Alexander McCoy, USMC Veteran Sergeant, Political Director of Common Defense.

“As not only a Military Sexual Assault Survivor, but as a former Commanding Officer of Navy War Ship, it is my belief the some crimes are so heinous, so serious, that they need to be handled by trained professional military judges.  While the military has made some strides in combating sexual assault over the last few years, it still remains a pervasive problem that is not consistently addressed adequately at the command level.  Sending these felonies to a professionalized military judicial system, out side of the victims and accused chain of command, demonstrates how seriously this crime is taken, that perpetrators will not be allowed to get away with these crimes, and re-emphasizes to countless victims that they will be taken seriously and treated with respect,” said Lieutenant Commander Erin Elliott, United States Navy.

Assault in the military is one of those things that is supposed to end but doesn't.  I'm not a big fan of former Senator Claire McCaskill but I do give her credit for calling out the nonsense the US military was pimping not all that long ago.  They were steering victims of rape and assault into non-disclosure avenues.  This was to help the survivors, the brass maintained.  Bulls**t, it was to hide as many assaults and rapes as they could.  Claire called that b.s. out for what it was.  I part with her where Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and many assault survivors did as Claire became a little too cozy with the brass.  But this nonsense has been going on forever and a day and it's not ending.  Why?  It's the culture.  I'm not referring to the culture of violence or a culture that devalues women -- though, yes, those cultures exist in the military -- I am referring to a culture of we-don't-answer-to-you.

Yes, you do.  It's why there is civilian control over the military.

And the military's refusal to seriously address this issue should result in people demanding not only results on this issue but equal justice.  The military has refused to fix their problem so let's turn it over to civilian courts.  Military justice has always been a joke.  Let's turn these matters over to the civilian courts so that this little pet of that little general doesn't get away with a crime.

There should never be a Suzanne Swift to begin with.  Command rape?  We have to discuss that this is wrong and against military guidelines?

I'm sorry, where did that issue get confusing?  What was the quandary there?

And, in the end, who gets punished?

Suzanne.  She self-checks out.  Because the people in charge will not address what took place.

I'm sorry, in what world do we tell a rape survivor that she has to remain in the same unit as her rapist?

The military is happy to punish women who speak out after being assaulted and raped.  It's just not too keen on punishing those who carry out the assaults.

Ask anyone working on this issue seriously for service women and veterans and they'll tell you Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is a real fighter on this issue because she has been.

And when I see various male reporters and some women (Queen Bees) basically ridiculing her for her focus on 'women's issues,' I see sexism.  These are serious issues.  And they need to be addressed.  That they need to be addressed is outrageous, I agree.  In 2019, these issues should be settled.  But they aren't.  And we need people like Kirsten who step up and lead on these issues.

She will be on the stage in the June debates and that is a very good thing.

And, in fact, please register this reality: Six women are among the 24 candidates for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  All six women -- Tulsi, Kirsten, Marianne Williamson, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar -- qualified for the debates.

Take a moment to take pride in that.  You don't have to support any of their campaigns, but let's happily embrace the reality that the 2020 race has included more female candidates than ever before and that every declared female candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination ,made the debates.  Those arbitrary hurdles were tough -- four candidates weren't able to make the debates.  So let's applaud the fact that six strong women qualified.

Again, you don't have to vote for one of them to be proud that the six show strength, courage and leadership.

We need leadership.  Some are pushing for war on Iran, we need leadership now more than ever.

(By the way, that POST attack on Tulsi, would have been the perfect time for the paper to have noted that they presented a gas attack as carried out by the Syrian government and we now know for a fact that was a lie.)

Jake Johnson (ICH) reports:

In a press conference that immediately evoked memories of the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday claimed Iran was behind alleged attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman without presenting one single shred of evidence.
"This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high-degree of sophistication," said Pompeo, who did not provide any details on the intelligence he cited.
After asserting Iran was also behind a litany of attacks prior to Thursday's tanker incident—once again without presenting any evidence—Pompeo said that,"Taken as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security."
Pompeo—who has a long history of making false claims about Iran—did not take any questions from reporters following his remarks, which were aired live on America's major television networks.

"Mike Pompeo has zero credibility when it comes to Iran," Jon Rainwater, executive director of Peace Action, told Common Dreams. "He's long been actively campaigning for a confrontation with Iran. He has a track record of pushing bogus theories with no evidence such as the idea that Iran collaborates closely with al-Qaeda."

History repeats.

"Remember the Maine!" and US lies about being attacked start wars!

If only war were on NETFLIX -- it would get cancelled after three seasons.  Instead, we have never-ending wars that go on forever these days.

Iraq's already been destroyed.  Can it really take more destruction if the US uses it as a staging platform for war on Iran?

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