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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Panetta Hamstrings Armed Forces On His Way Out

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced today that the ban on women in combat jobs was going to be lifted. As a ten year Army veteran, I was left dismayed and a little bit puzzled. What practical purpose does it serve? Do we really think that having women on the front lines will give us an edge that we did not have before? It seems to me that allowing women into combat jobs does not offer any benefit outside of the realm of politics, and the risks and unknowns with which it may hamper mission success far outweigh any political gains.

It is my personal opinion that if Secretary Panetta truly felt that having women in combat would benefit our Armed Forces in any way, he would have lifted he ban near the start of his tenure. Instead, he does it on his way out the door - which suggests rather that it is a political parting gift to a President whose ultimate goal seems to be a weaker military. (A goal that is directly reinforced by the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary Panetta's replacement.)

And let's take just a second to be realistic: men who are captured will be tortured and/or killed. What do you think is likely to happen to women? What about the rescue teams who know they're going in after a woman? What stupid actions might otherwise professional soldiers take if they see a female being captured and know what will likely happen to her? What if that woman is "involved" with one of the men who sees her get taken?

I could go on citing statistics and studies that discuss gender differences - both physical and psychological - in high stress situations, but I don't think they really address the heart of the issue. The fact is that there are women who CAN handle the stress and rigors of combat. And just as true is the opposite: there are men who CANNOT. But the real issue is this: do we want a military that is first and foremost a formidable fighting force or one that is first and foremost dedicated to enforced equality? We can't have both.

The military is strong in part because it is the most discriminatory workplace in the nation. You can be kept out, fired, or barred from promotion simply for being too tall, too short, too thin, too fat, too sick, too injured,too stupid, and the list goes on. Every move it has made in the direction of political correctness has been a move away from strength.

From the very first day that women were allowed to serve in the military, they have been held to a lower standard than the men who held the same positions. Even as far back as WWII, by regulation the bench seats in standard transport trucks were designated to hold eight men. The same regulation stated that only seven women would fit on the same bench seat, in an effort to ensure that female Marines were given enough space to remain comfortable during transport. Today's Army physical training tests require much higher standards of men than of women - men are required to run faster and do more push ups than women who have the same MOS (military operational specialty).

Every time a job is opened to women in the military, instead of demanding that the women meet the same standards set by the men, they create a new (nearly always lower) standard for the women. As more and more women qualify for jobs based on these lowered standards, the efficiency and overall performance of the unit as a whole is decreased. To add close combat jobs to that list is asking for an Army that cannot help but be weakened as the standards for such jobs are lowered in the name of "equality."

That's not to say there is no place for women in the military. I am a woman and I spent ten years in the Army, most of that as an x-ray/CT tech. And most of the best medics and nurses I met and worked with were women.

To most, my position on this issue may seem sexist. And maybe it is. But the necessarily lowered standards that would allow women into combat jobs remind me a bit of General Shinseki's uniform changes back in 2001. He ordered that starting on June 14, 2001, all soldiers would wear the black beret with their duty uniforms instead of the standard PC (patrol cap). Sure the black beret looked a little bit dressier, but served absolutely no practical purpose. Those of us who had to wear it constantly complained that it didn't block sun, rain, or wind from the face. It didn't stay on very well, especially if it was windy. And it was harder to keep in presentable condition once it had been exposed to the elements. But the people who truly deserved to complain were the ones who had been through hell in Army Ranger training to earn that same black beret.

Just as the accomplishments of the Rangers who had sacrificed blood, sweat and tears to earn those black berets were marginalized by an Army of unqualified soldiers being handed them simply for existing, the accomplishments of the men who meet the more strenuous "male" requirements for any job in the military are minimized and mocked by the women who can do in some cases half the work and then demand not only the same job, but equal pay and an equal chance at promotion and recognition.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Roe? Privacy? Not so much.

Today marks the 40th anniversary of one of the greatest travesties of law yet seen by the United States Supreme Court: Roe v. Wade.

I don't call it a travesty because I disagree with the concept of an unwritten but implied right to privacy - in fact, the context and the text of the entire Bill of Rights suggests exactly that. When you combine the 4th Amendment (a right to keep your home and property private in regards to unwarranted search and seizure) and the 5th Amendment (a right to keep information private, especially in regards to confidences that may incriminate you), it's clear that the founders believed that some things were to remain private. Add in the 9th and 10th Amendments that allude to "other rights" that belong to both the sovereign states and the individual citizens that are not specifically enumerated, and the concept of an absolute "right to privacy," especially within one's home or marriage relationship, is hardly a stretch.

But Roe has very little to do with privacy.

First, the entire case was predicated on lies. Both of the women whose cases were conjoined when they were heard by the Supreme Court, claimed falsely that they had been raped. Both of those women now regret that they were ever a part of the court case that made them famous. Both of those women routinely speak at pro-life events to this day.

Second, the case hides behind the "right to privacy" while creating a singular lack of privacy. A woman's "right" to keep her reproductive choices (which is not at all what Roe guarantees, but I'll get to that) is theoretically at issue - but in order for her to enact her choices, she must include at least one doctor, counselor, receptionist, and presumably her partner as well.

But now, let's talk about what Roe really decided. The way the law was written makes it abundantly clear that "a woman's right to choose" was not at all what the Justices had in mind. The law clearly states that, since the mother's health is the only justifiable reason for terminating an otherwise healthy pregnancy, the decision to terminate is one that should be made by a physician - and the law further stipulates that the opinion of two physicians rather than one is preferable.

So according to Roe, a "woman's choice" is always secondary to the official recommendation of a physician.

Next, if you read the language of Roe, it is also clear that the Justices never intended that decision to justify abortions outside of the first trimester. Prior to the twelfth week of pregnancy, the woman is referred to as simply "the woman." In every reference made after the twelfth week, she is instead referred to as "the mother."

A final thought, quoted from my own post in February of last year:
Now consider this: if a baby is born at twenty-eight weeks gestation and the mother asks to have him killed, she will likely be placed in the psych ward. If that same baby is carried to term and the mother opts to abort two weeks prior to the due date, in some states she can even get financial assistance to do so. What is the difference between the two babies? Physical location at the time of the act.

If you read up on current literature and arguments being put forth, very few people actually argue whether or not the unborn is a child. *They don't care.* Many of them argue that whether or not the baby is alive is irrelevant because the Supreme Court gives them the "right" to abort *in spite of* the personhood of their child. In much the same way slave owners felt they could beat or kill their “property,” abortion advocates feel their “privacy" allows them to use the unborn's physical location as a justification for free reign to murder.

Consider the images you see above. An unborn child at 20 weeks has fully formed facial features, genitalia, fingers and toes. She has fully functioning stomach, kidneys and bladder, and has had a beating heart for months. She can suck her thumb, somersault, kick, and grab. The movement of her fingers through her liquid environment is forming the unique ridges on each of her fingertips that will become fingerprints, in the same way that a long bath forms wrinkles in human skin after birth.

And for 40 years now, in the United States of America, it has been legal for the woman carrying her to kill her - sometimes for reasons as trivial as "convenience."

Friday, January 18, 2013

Why We Have to STOP Eating Liberals for Breakfast

Every day when I log in to Facebook or Twitter, I see that someone has posted another hundred or so memes (and there are probably more that I don't see) that make fun of liberal thinking. And why not? It's easy. It's entertaining. Best of all, it's usually fairly accurate. But the main thing is, it's a part of the culture war in which we all absolutely need to be engaged.

But we can't spend our days just making fun of liberals and laughing about it. We can't allow ourselves to believe that in creating yet another condescending Wonka we have done our part. Why not? Because ridicule alone does not work. If it did, America would not have elected a mom-jeans wearing, dope smoking, petulant narcissist who campaigned in 57 states, pitches like a girl, and ate a dog. Seriously.

We need to be paying attention. We need to rip off the band-aids. We need to demand that the curtain be pulled back. We need to be relentless in our quest to expose the man who passes himself off as the wizard at the controls.

And sometimes that means that instead of creating one more comparison that shows the laughably arbitrary differences between the "military style assault rifle" that is now illegal in New York with the perfectly legal rifle that differs only in aesthetics, we should be calling our Senators en masse to demand proper vetting of the most recent Presidential appointments.

Sometimes it means that instead of tweeting "I eat liberals for breakfast," we should be tweeting local newspapers and television personalities to expose the agendas splashed all over their pages and airwaves.

Sometimes it means that instead of allowing yourself to be drawn into yet another pointless battle of wits on the social media site of your choice, you should be teaching your children what liberty means and why it is important enough to inspire men to die to keep it alive.

But mostly it means that you must remember that although humor can be an effective tool, it cannot be effective alone. So keep reminding the public that hiding behind children is a tool used most often by dictators and Al Qaeda operatives. Keep pointing out the fact that Joe Biden can't open his mouth without providing conservatives with a week's worth of jokes. Talk some more about the President's disregard for our economic struggles while he putts through yet another $1 million plus vacation. But make sure you're not doing that at the expense of phone calls, emails, letters, and even personal visits to your state and federal representatives. Make sure that you're not giving the local news a pass while you rush to defend conservatism against some jerk on Facebook. And above all: make sure you educate yourself on every topic you plan to attack - because even humor fails if the underlying facts are weak.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Firearm Registration: It's No Megan's Law

I'm going to make a couple of uncomfortable - but apparently necessary - comparisons.

In today's announcement in regards to gun control, President Obama made it clear that one of his main goals is to tighten regulations concerning firearm registration and the requirements individuals must meet in order to obtain said registrations. As part of tightening those regulations, the President has issued executive orders allowing doctors to circumvent HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). This means that your personal health information - information that doctors *used to be* legally bound to keep private - can now be divulged to the clerk at your local sporting goods store simply because you have chosen to exercise your 2nd Amendment rights.

Something doesn't seem quite right about that, am I right?

What about the idea of law-abiding citizens being forced to obtain permits and register legal weapons in the first place? 

(Here's where the uncomfortable comparisons come in.)

In 2003, a case called Smith v. Doe came before the Supreme Court. Two defendants (referred to in this case as John Doe I and John Doe II) claimed that, after being convicted of sexual offenses, being forced to comply with Megan's Law (forcing them to register as sex offenders on state databases) was a violation of the Constitution's ex post facto clause, since Megan's Law was not passed until after their respective convictions.

The court held that because the intent of Megan's Law was not punishment (which would have been precluded by ex post facto) but rather to disseminate information that would increase public safety, it was perfectly legal for the states to force prior offenders to comply.

Why is this relevant? Justices Ginsburg and Breyer dissented, claiming that the registration and reporting provisions of Megan's Law imposed "onerous and intrusive obligations on convicted sex offenders, and exposed them to humiliation and ostracism."

How is forcing a citizen to place his name on a list, expose himself to possibly being outed by a public media outlet, and allowing any sporting goods salesman to access his private medical records any less of an "onerous and intrusive obligation"? Not to mention the fact that in this case, the "onerous and intrusive burden" is laid upon someone who is attempting to follow the law rather than one who has proven he has no regard for doing so.

To take it one step further: how is enforced individual firearm registration any different than Nazi Germany forcing all Jews to wear the Star of David? In both cases, the government is setting a particular group of law-abiding citizens apart - labeling them - so that at the opportune time they can be more easily singled out.

Also, I'm thoroughly enjoying the irony that both Ginsburg and Breyer in particular find it onerous and burdensome for convicted sex offenders to be forced to register their names and locations but not for every citizen to be forced to buy health insurance. But that's another matter entirely.

Another kick in the pants, in regards to irony: the state of Kansas has repeatedly refused to release the medical records of underage children who have had abortions (and remember, a pregnancy in a child under the age of consent is a fair indicator that a crime has taken place) for purposes of prosecuting the perpetrators of incest and statutory rape - but the guy at the hobby store can have your medical history if you decide you want to own a gun...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hagel: Because What the DoD Needs is a Little More UN Interference.

So... Chuck Hagel.

Yes, technically he's a Republican. He has a 100% pro life rating from the National Right to Life. He gets a 0% from NARAL. So far, so good. Right?

Hagel's rating from the American Conservative Union was 85%, which is considered to be a fairly reliable conservative.

He was for the war in Iraq before he was against it. That's nothing special, any way you look at it. The same could be said for Hillary Clinton, if I'm not mistaken.

Hagel has been quoted as saying that an American Ambassador was "too openly gay" to properly serve the United States in such a capacity.

All that said, it's difficult to see why someone who opposes everything Hagel seems to stand for would want him as a cabinet member. The word from the White House is a little double talk wrapped up and tied neatly with the phrase "when it comes to the defense of our nation, we are not Democrats or Republicans, we are Americans."

So you say.

And then you hear about the rest of what Chuck Hagel stands for. Because if he becomes the Secretary of Defense, what will his opinions on the sanctity of life or homosexuality (or any other conservative principle, really) matter? He won't be voting for anything related to such topics.

His views on American Intervention sound dangerously like former FDR VP Henry Wallace, who once  blamed Stalin's invasion of Poland and the beginning of his assault on Eastern Europe on the "insistent meddling" of the United States.

His tacit support of Iran (by only half-heartedly supporting soft restrictions on their nuclear programs and refusing to vote for any harsher sanctions) points to a failure to support our only democratic ally in the Middle East - Israel. That position is further supported by Hagel's statements in regards to the "oppressed state of Palestine" and his expressed concern that the United Nations is not strong enough where international relations are concerned because the United States doesn't ceded them quite enough power.

In case you weren't already worried about our relationship with Israel, let me point out the fact that, since the resolution that gave Israel a homeland in 1948, nearly every United Nations resolution that concerns Israel in any way comes down sharply in favor of anyone but Israel. Ceding the UN more power in regard to international relations is not likely to end with Israel still standing at all, much less as the Democratic stronghold it is today.

And now we know why Obama wants him. Because he can use Hagel's conservative record in the Senate to get him past the objections of at least a few Senate Republicans during his confirmation hearings. And once he is confirmed, he can use him to further undermine the strength of the United States in the global community.

Infringement? Ok...

Let's get real for a second. Let's think logically about what we're really discussing in terms of "gun rights," "gun control," and "assault weapons."

First, the actual text of the 2nd Amendment:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Sorry, but there's just no way on God's green earth that the Founders intended the right to "bear arms" solely in reference to hunting for purposes of sustenance. How is the right to hunt a deer (when even in 1776 you could have bought a cow or pig from your neighbor) fundamental to the "security of a free State"? Answer: NEWSFLASH! It isn't.

And it wasn't written to make sure individuals could defend themselves and their families from criminal home invaders either, although it conveniently provides for that as well.

The funny thing about the Bill of Rights is that if you read them as written along with some of the Founders' other writings at the time, they were all written with the SAME PURPOSE: to protect individuals from the government.

When you read them through that lens, it's amazing how much "interpretation" is suddenly not required.

"Well, the Founders never meant that average citizens should have "assault rifles" with 15-30 round clips."

If they had known that the federal government would be in possession of nuclear weapons, you're damn straight they would have meant exactly that - if not more.

But the thing that gets me is the number of people who read the last phrase: "shall not be infringed" and are not outraged at what has already been banned. Folks, every "modification" is a limitation. And every limitation is an infringement. Every law on the books that adjusts or modifies your 2nd Amendment in any way is an infringement, and stands in direct violation of the Constitution.