Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Dominionist cabal to control the military and why it's like Dune

Actually, sort of disconnected rants about women and gays in teh military and the forced fundamentalism in the US military.

This stupidity started in the late '70s when the far right evangelicals began to take over the military. The first thing was deglamorization of alcohol, which destroyed the Club system. The club system was rank specific, and acted as a way to teach and monitor drinking. It wasn't perfect, but we looked out for each other.

Then the brass decided to make it impossible to drink on base - the military police waited outside the Clubs to arrest drivers. And being stopped on post was a career killer.

By the mid-80s, the brass had managed to institute rules that you couldn't drink while deployed in Bosnia. Then it became you couldn't drink on any deployment. In other words, they would trust us with people's lives, but not with a beer.

In our current debacle, beer is rationed out like morphine. Imagine combat and having nothing to let you relax your screaming brain. No wonder we have so many PTSD cases coming out of the theatres.

Now that they think they have a cadre of teetotalers, they're going to kill off the last of the smokers.

The idea is to have a Puritanically biased military force without those distracting nasty vices - a Crusader ideal of the Christian Soldier. They want religious cultists to replace an apolitical, professional military cadre. They want a armed cult that owes allegiance to what they think their god wants, not to the Constitution and the rule of Law.

This is the model for other cult driven militias such as the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, the SS of Nazi Germany, Serbian nationalists, Chinese Communists, North Korean Army, etc.

It's Un-American.

Note: Iran/Kuwait as a means of isolating and conditioning the military, ala Dune. Isolation, control of access to vice. Computer links normalize harsh conditions and enhance susceptibility to influence.
Sets up a we/other relationship with an esoteric and Puritanical enemy which does not (apparently ) display vices except extreme brutality and mindless violence. (cartoon/graphic/computer aspect) death by remote and video game point system.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

VA application for PTSD/MST (redacted)

Notice of Disagreement

15 May 2011

This letter is to inform you that I, Robyn B. Blanpied, VA 060 42 1483 formally disagree with the denial of benefits dated May 25, 2010.

I disagree with the decision to deny me compensation for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Military Sexual Trauma.) Citing a lack of documentation adds insult to injury. There was no one to tell, and even a breath of it was enough to bring down the wrath of the senior staff. (see Tailhook attachments)
It wasn't until I was out of service for a decade that the term "Military related sexual trauma" was even used to describe experiences like mine. The trauma from the effects of rape, assault and physical violence does not rely on a written record. It is very real.

My PTSD is a result of assault, discrimination, unfair evaluations and harassment at the hands of fellow officers of the United States Armed Forces over the period of my service from July 1978 to my early retirement, Sept 1994.

The assaults and abuse were a direct result of policies approved and instituted by the government of the United States and Department of Defense, and are part of the long sad story of the Armed Forces failure to place their own anti-discrimination policies over the personal opinions, desires and whims of those in command over me.

Because of the institutional failure to place the value of my service and my commission as an officer above the fact of my gender, I believe I have been betrayed by my government, my fellow officers and the Department of Defense.

The trauma and degradation of this betrayal at the hands of fellow officers and the complicity of civilian oversight has robbed me of my ability to support myself by holding a job or to enjoy almost all aspects of life. I am in bankruptcy, on food stamps and a short time away from being homeless. They have left me with a deep mistrust of anything displaying the American flag or associated with the military.
Because of the institutional pressure not to object to the abuse of my person, rank and uniform, there is no personal paper trail other than rejection for assignments and promotion. There are, however, official statements, written policies and the public statements of the leadership of DoD , SecDef and Congress.

I am submitting a few of these official statements and policy positions of Congress, DoD and the Sec Def as being illustrative of the official mindset that encouraged the abuse, assault and discrimination that traumatized me as a result of serving my country.

Because my story reaches into the past, it does not fit into the OEF/OIF template. The abuse suffered by women currently in combat zones is rooted in the debasement of female officers like me. It reflects the official government view that women are not full citizens or soldiers. They are the corroborating testimony, or 'buddy letters' demanded by the Veteran's Administration as proof that my abuse was condoned and officially encouraged.

Because I began my service as one of the first female line officers, I had no guideposts for behavior outside the UCMJ. Trusting in my fellow officers adherence to their oaths of service, I did file a sexual harassment complaint against the 21st NORAD upon my departure in 1977. The complaint was dismissed, though my charges were not disproved. (See Tailhook)

Even in the most benign environment, (Aerospace Audiovisual Service, Norton AFB, 1979 - 1989, it was routine to be accosted by senior officers and civilians with requests for sex, attempts to grope and fondle, and suggestions of career consequences if I did not comply. Twice, I was forced to physically subdue officers from attacking me in the workplace. They were not amused that I fought back. Female officers were routinely shunted to less demanding and career enhancing positions, with the endorsement of the AAVS commander.

I was then assigned to HQ MAC Scott AFB. I was given few or no duties, not allowed to take part in conferences and meetings, and isolated.

My assignment as Commander, Det 2, 1361 AVS was unremarkable, except that my Commander, Col. Jack Johnson, started each call to me with the question "Are you pregnant yet?" Complaints to his superior officer were not effective. In order to perform my duties, I learned to swallow and submit.

At the time, it was AAVS policy that women officers were barred from command of audiovisual units in Europe.

Instead, I was assigned as Commander Det 2, 1363 AVS, Osan AB Korea, 1985-86. Most of my problems were with younger officers who demanded reproduction of pornographic (and copyrighted) material for inclusion in their routine briefings. This was common at the time. The wing and base commander downplayed or dismissed my position as commander, barring me from attendance at staff meetings attending by all other commanders at Osan AB. After a disastrous fuel tank explosion, which killed 31 people, I refused to turn over my unit's visual documentation of the incident to the people under investigation for liability. My position was validated by the Commander of 8th Army, but I didn't make any friends.

After Korea, I was assigned as the Director of Operations of 1365 AVS, Lackland AFB TX. I was proposed for assignment to CENTCOM in Florida, but was refused because they did not want to have women . It was normal for women officers to be forced to wear Muslim religious garb and follow Saudi religious practices, so CENTCOM refused as many women as possible. This was my second rebuff for assignment to CENTCOM, the first being before I commanded in Korea.

The commander was Lt. Col Jim Council . When I reported for duty, Lt. Col. Council reassigned me as an assistant to the previous DO, whom he had fired. After a year in the position, that officer retired, and I was reluctantly allowed to take my assigned post. Lt. Col Council encouraged the other staff members to exclude me from operations discussions, social events and daily business. At one time, he went so far as to steal all the materials for a Combat Camera Handbook he had ordered me to create. The materials were returned after I proposed going to the Security Police to report a theft from my office. The handbook was adopted by Combat Camera/AAVS, and was still in use when I retired in 1994. I received no credit.

Lt. Col. Council would depart the unit at noon on a regular basis to drink with the other members of his staff at an off base bar, the Fertile Turtle. His secretary and I remained at the unit. This behavior was condoned by HQ AAVS.

When I was selected for promotion to Major, Lt. Col. Council placed a slip of paper with my line number on my desk, without comment, and assembled the rest of the unit to depart for a party. I was not invited.

These instances are merely examples of the daily degradation and abuse Lt. Col. Council inflicted on me over the two and a half years he was my commander. Requests for assistance from Combat Camera/AAVS HQ were met with a deafening silence. My prior accomplishments were publicly ridiculed and downplayed by Lt. Col Council in front of junior officers and enlisted personnel.

I was selected on a by name request to be assigned to Pacific Command HQ, Camp Smith HI, as an International Political Military Affairs officer.

A few months after my arrival, COL. Joseph Stager, USANG, was appointed as my supervisor, even though I was a Regular officer, he was not. COL Stager had been assigned to PACOM because his own Civil Affairs Guard unit would not give him an assignment due to inability to perform. COL. Stager had very little experience with active duty military, most of his expertise being in the civilian advertising world with Proctor & Gamble.

Stager immediately established himself as a martinet, with disturbing tendencies to fly into passionate rages over small incidents. He attempted several times to form an intimate personal relationship with me, including invitations for cruises, dinners, and other activities. COL Stager was married at the time.

My refusal to comply led to him destroying what was left of my career. His supervisor was too distracted in building a Special Ops branch from scratch to provide more than reassurances to me. COL Stager did his best to undercut me with the staff, subordinates and fellow officers. Although I had extensive command post experience, he assigned me to the role of calling the transport busses. He did so in a meeting with my peers, claiming that "lots of command post experience was necessary" before I could be assigned duties commiserate with my rank. Over my protests, he allowed Reserve and Guards forces to display pictures of naked women in provocative poses in the duty area.

He withheld the paperwork for my promotion recommendation until the day it was due in Admin, and refused me time to attempt to complete it myself. I was passed over for Lt. Col.

The general atmosphere of PACOM was such that his actions were not remarkable. I was the only female officer assigned to the J-3 at PACOM. I was unmarried. While I was stationed at PACOM, the Tailhook scandal broke. This scandal occurred because an Admiral's aide complained that junior officers attacked and assaulted her in the hall of the Hilton hotel. After almost a year of investigation, the DoD found that she had no right to deference or respect regardless of her rank, position or seniority. They suggested she needed to get a sense of humor, and female officers were blamed for the slowdown in fraternity style parties with senior officers and civilians in attendance. (See Tailhook attachments)

The concept that an officer had been assaulted was never even considered, reflecting the official position that women were not 'real' officers. This attitude continues today, even though women have been dying in combat for more than a decade. (See Tailhook , Women in Combat attachments)

This decision marked a nightmare time for female officers. We had been declared outsiders, not 'real' officers. We were the target for every man with a sense of resentment against woman. We were not fellow officers. We were to blame.

For example, a public affairs officer who had been admonished for harassment of women was assigned my duties for a classified deployment, including command of my personnel. When they arrived at the secured area, he was deep sea fishing and unable to verify their status. They were detained by military police, and the mission was not visually documented. When I phoned him for an explanation, he called me a prostitute. Upon his return, he was awarded a medal and promoted.

My complaints to his supervisor about him resulted in the downgrade of my end of tour medal by the Deputy J-3, an Air Force brigadier general.

At the same time, General Merrill McPeak, was appointed Chief of Staff of the Air Force by Secretary Cheney. During the 1st Gulf War, he testified before Congress that he would never allow women to fly fighters. (See McPeak attachment)
He also declared that officers serving outside the Air Force proper, that is in Joint, combined, or diplomatic positions would not be considered for promotion. This was the board I met for promotion to Lt. Col.. A second board was ordered, but the damage done to my career and reputation was too much to overcome. I took early retirement as soon as it was offered.

The struggle to maintain an appearance of dignity while also trying to be a role model for younger women was brutal. I was no innocent, but the acceptance of official and routine degradation of women officers, together with the contempt of senior officers of encouraged junior officers to attack with impunity.

The examples cited above only scratch the surface of the daily abasement and humiliation at the hands of my "fellow officers."

There impact have stolen my ability to support myself. Upon leaving the military, I went back to school. While working towards my Master's in Historic Preservation, I became the default curator at the USS Bowfin Submarine Memorial and Museum for a year. My PTSD/MST triggered

when I was refused a raise from $12.00 an hour by the Director, a retired Navy Captain. His rationale was that I was incompetent because I was female. This triggering event reinforced the pattern of defenselessness in the workplace.

I found menial part time work that did not involve interacting with other people. I destroyed or threw away all my uniforms, citations, awards and most records. I still avoid military as much as possible, including depictions of American flags, which I associate with abuse and humiliation.

I was being treated by Tripler US Army Medical Center for symptoms of depression; including panic attacks, inability to function in a work environment and increased retreat from social relationships and normal function behavior.

I left Hawaii in part because of its associations with the military. In New Orleans, I continued treatment at the VA clinic, and was officially diagnosed with PTSD/MST. I thought I had beaten the monster, and found employment as a Main Street Manager, a job I was qualified for by study and experience My working conditions were extremely poor, and the only active member of my Board of Directors was very abusive to me. His abuse closely mirrored the treatment I had been subjected to in the military. After an ambush meeting where I was accused of unfounded allegations, I collapsed mentally and physically.

Because I am part of an older generation, it is hard to communicate the realities of that time. Tailhook is not even a faint memory for most. I read of continuing problems with assault, rape and abuse of female soldiers in the OIF/OEF theatre but at least there is the recognition that there is a problem. In my time, it was all my fault.

Reviewing the application submitted on my behalf by the DAV, it was disconcerting to find that my gynecological records were submitted as evidence of trauma. Abnormal pap smears and cone biopsies have nothing to do with my condition. I could relate a few more stories about the medical system's treatment of women, though. I did force myself to submit a hand-written narrative of a few of incidents that occurred during my period of service, but it was not submitted with my original application.

The refusal of my claim, based on the superficial reading of my evaluations was a further blow. As part of the syndrome, I assumed my claim might be denied, even though my VA therapist tried to reassure me. I have been in this system too long to believe I might be of any worth to the country I served. The board's facile evaluation confirms that I am correct.

As noted in the letter from my C&P evaluator, Helena Costales, M.D., I am unable to function in a working environment. I am reclusive, won't open mail, answer the phone or initiate communication, even with my relatives. I avoid medical care at the VA, and am subject to panic attacks when I do manage to keep appointments.

The attachment are digests of the fallout from Tailhook, remarks to Congress by then Air Force Chief of Staff Merrill, and a quote from then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Three articles analyzing Tailhook from a cultural aspect are included as demonstrating the general attitude of my fellow military officers towards me.
A later article on 'Women in Combat' illustrates the persistence of the institutional denial of equality to women service members.
Together, they prove the pattern of willful discrimination at the highest levels of DoD and the US government that resulted in my severe, chronic, trauma and PTSD.

Damn you all. You've killed me.

Robyn B. Blanpied, Ph.D., Major, USAF (ret.)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

George Lakoff on the Christofascist Worldview

What Conservatives Really Want
Posted on February 19, 2011 by georgelakoff

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—Dedicated to the peaceful protestors in Wisconsin, February 19, 2011

The central issue in our political life is not being discussed. At stake is the moral basis of American democracy.

The individual issues are all too real: assaults on unions, public employees, women’s rights, immigrants, the environment, health care, voting rights, food safety, pensions, prenatal care, science, public broadcasting, and on and on.
Budget deficits are a ruse, as we’ve seen in Wisconsin, where the Governor turned a surplus into a deficit by providing corporate tax breaks, and then used the deficit as a ploy to break the unions, not just in Wisconsin, but seeking to be the first domino in a nationwide conservative movement.

Deficits can be addressed by raising revenue, plugging tax loopholes, putting people to work, and developing the economy long-term in all the ways the President has discussed. But deficits are not what really matters to conservatives.
Conservatives really want to change the basis of American life, to make America run according to the conservative moral worldview in all areas of life.

In the 2008 campaign, candidate Obama accurately described the basis of American democracy: Empathy — citizens caring for each other, both social and personal responsibility—acting on that care, and an ethic of excellence. From these, our freedoms and our way of life follow, as does the role of government: to protect and empower everyone equally. Protection includes safety, health, the environment, pensions and empowerment starts with education and infrastructure. No one can be free without these, and without a commitment to care and act on that care by one’s fellow citizens.

The conservative worldview rejects all of that.

Conservatives believe in individual responsibility alone, not social responsibility. They don’t think government should help its citizens. That is, they don’t think citizens should help each other. The part of government they want to cut is not the military (we have over 800** military bases around the world), not government subsidies to corporations, not the aspect of government that fits their worldview. They want to cut the part that helps people. Why? Because that violates individual responsibility.

But where does that view of individual responsibility alone come from?

The way to understand the conservative moral system is to consider a strict father family. The father is The Decider, the ultimate moral authority in the family. His authority must not be challenged. His job is to protect the family, to support the family (by winning competitions in the marketplace), and to teach his kids right from wrong by disciplining them physically when they do wrong. The use of force is necessary and required. Only then will children develop the internal discipline to become moral beings. And only with such discipline will they be able to prosper. And what of people who are not prosperous? They don’t have discipline, and without discipline they cannot be moral, so they deserve their poverty. The good people are hence the prosperous people. Helping others takes away their discipline, and hence makes them both unable to prosper on their own and function morally.

The market itself is seen in this way. The slogan, “Let the market decide” assumes the market itself is The Decider. The market is seen as both natural (since it is assumed that people naturally seek their self-interest) and moral (if everyone seeks their own profit, the profit of all will be maximized by the invisible hand). As the ultimate moral authority, there should be no power higher than the market that might go against market values. Thus the government can spend money to protect the market and promote market values, but should not rule over it either through (1) regulation, (2) taxation, (3) unions and worker rights, (4) environmental protection or food safety laws, and (5) tort cases. Moreover, government should not do public service. The market has service industries for that. Thus, it would be wrong for the government to provide health care, education, public broadcasting, public parks, and so on. The very idea of these things is at odds with the conservative moral system. No one should be paying for anyone else. It is individual responsibility in all arenas. Taxation is thus seen as taking money away from those who have earned it and giving it to people who don’t deserve it. Taxation cannot be seen as providing the necessities of life, a civilized society, and as necessary for business to prosper.

In conservative family life, the strict father rules. Fathers and husbands should have control over reproduction; hence, parental and spousal notification laws and opposition to abortion. In conservative religion, God is seen as the strict father, the Lord, who rewards and punishes according to individual responsibility in following his Biblical word.

Above all, the authority of conservatism itself must be maintained. The country should be ruled by conservative values, and progressive values are seen as evil. Science should NOT have authority over the market, and so the science of global warming and evolution must be denied. Facts that are inconsistent with the authority of conservatism must be ignored or denied or explained away. To protect and extend conservative values themselves, the devil’s own means can be used against conservatism’s immoral enemies, whether lies, intimidation, torture, or even death, say, for women’s doctors.

Freedom is defined as being your own strict father — with individual not social responsibility, and without any government authority telling you what you can and cannot do. To defend that freedom as an individual, you will of course need a gun.

This is the America that conservatives really want. Budget deficits are convenient ruses for destroying American democracy and replacing it with conservative rule in all areas of life.

What is saddest of all is to see Democrats helping them.

Democrats help radical conservatives by accepting the deficit frame and arguing about what to cut. Even arguing against specific “cuts” is working within the conservative frame. What is the alternative? Pointing out what conservatives really want. Point out that there is plenty of money in America, and in Wisconsin. It is at the top. The disparity in financial assets is un-American — the top one percent has more financial assets than the bottom 95 percent. Middle class wages have been flat for 30 years, while the wealth has floated to the top. This fits the conservative way of life, but not the American way of life.
Democrats help conservatives by not shouting out loud over and over that it was conservative values that caused the global economic collapse: lack of regulation and a greed-is-good ethic.

Democrats also help conservatives by what a friend has called Democratic Communication Disorder. Republican conservatives have constructed a vast and effective communication system, with think tanks, framing experts, training institutes, a system of trained speakers, vast holdings of media, and booking agents. Eighty percent of the talking heads on tv are conservatives. Talk matters because language heard over and over changes brains. Democrats have not built the communication system they need, and many are relatively clueless about how to frame their deepest values and complex truths.

And Democrats help conservatives when they function as policy wonks — talking policy without communicating the moral values behind the policies. They help conservatives when they neglect to remind us that pensions are deferred payments for work done. “Benefits” are pay for work, not a handout. Pensions and benefits are arranged by contract. If there is not enough money for them, it is because the contracted funds have been taken by conservative officials and given to wealthy people and corporations instead of to the people who have earned them.

Democrats help conservatives when they use conservative words like “entitlements” instead of “earnings” and speak of government as providing “services” instead of “necessities.”

Is there hope?

I see it in Wisconsin, where tens of thousands citizens see through the conservative frames and are willing to flood the streets of their capital to stand up for their rights. They understand that democracy is about citizens uniting to take care of each other, about social responsibility as well as individual responsibility, and about work — not just for your own profit, but to help create a civilized society. They appreciate their teachers, nurses, firemen, police, and other public servants. They are flooding the streets to demand real democracy — the democracy of caring, of social responsibility, and of excellence, where prosperity is to be shared by those who work and those who serve.

**This number was incorrectly reported as 174 in an earlier version of the article. Thanks to my many readers who contacted me with a more accurate number.

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3 Responses to What Conservatives Really Want

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I could have written this.

I want to not be invisible anymore.

I want to get up and shower and have somewhere to go.

I want to punch the people who talk about the recession being over.

I want to not have to choose between toilet paper or dog food.

I want to take back all the money I spent on student loans for an education that does me no good now.

I want to stop mending the waistband of five-year-old sweatpants.

I want to not consider two tacos for a dollar at Jack In The Box a splurge.

I want to walk into a job interview not reeking of desperation.

I want to be able to afford a simple goddamned urn for my daughter's ashes.

I want to pay just one bill on its due date, not have to wait until the FINAL NOTICE.

I want to be able to drive across town to pick my kid up so he doesn't have to walk in the rain.

I want to shop at the Dollar Store because I'm thrifty, not because it is the only way I can afford luxuries like body wash, toothpaste and laundry soap.

I want to be able to drive the two hours to Santa Cruz to visit my dying friend.

I want to pay for a haircut, instead of using the kitchen scissors to “even up the ends again”.

I want to have a shit job to bitch about.

I want to not panic every time the doorbell rings unexpectedly.

I want to split a tab or treat someone to something.

I want to wear contact lenses again, instead of these wobbly old glasses.

I want to be able to buy a present for my goddaughters.

I want to go to the theater to see a movie and pay for my own damn ticket.

I want to drive a completely legal car legally.

I want to not have to choose between buying tampons or a pound of ground beef.

I want to buy a book that ISN'T on the 25-cent rack at the Thrift Store.

I want to stop avoiding my friends because they're pitying or worse.

I want to not have to invent new ways to rearrange my resume and STILL get no response.

I want to get my dogs their shots so I can take them to the park.

I want to use good trash bags.

I want to wake up without dread that today is the day it will all come tumbling down.

I want to consider owning a spicebox and a mortar and pestle NOT a pipe dream.

I want a new bra.

I want to feel like a real person again.

I want to BE a real person again.

I am sick to death of this Middle Class poverty (not a penny to my name, but the remnants of a better life all around me)

I am sick to death of dumbing down my resume, groveling for jobs I could have done at sixteen and STILL not getting hired.

I am sick to death of feeling powerless.

I am sick to death of apologizing and being shamed and embarrassed for being one of the long-term unemployed.

I am sick to death of tailoring my resume to each job and STILL not getting a response from 99% of the companies I apply to.

I am sick to death of people telling me that I “really should see a doctor” when nothing would please me more, except that I can't afford to do so.

I am sick to death of not even getting interviewed for open positions, and then getting shitty service from the person they DID hire when I didn't even get an interview.

I am sick to death of turning down invitations to do things with friends, because I can't afford to do so.

I am sick to death of pretending that holidays don't exist because I can't afford to celebrate them.

I am sick to death of throwing away 2/3 of my mail without even opening it because I know that there's a bill or a statement from someone I owe that I can't afford to pay.

I am sick to death of explaining to other people that “getting a job at McDonalds” is not as simple as they think.

I am sick to death of hiding, being quiet, trying to play nice, mentally composing suicide letters, trying to figure out who can take care of my dogs/cat/kid when it all goes to hell like it is bound to do.

I am sick to death of feeling powerless.

I am sick to death of being unable to pay my own way.

I am sick to death of people telling me that “it could be worse”, because I know that it could and I am convinced that it will and I am only biding my time in this limbo which is a certain kind of hell all its own.

I am sick to death of these conversations where my friends and I try to brainstorm ways to get the hell out of this town/state in hopes that there is some place where we can still trade hard work for decent wages and crawl out of the hellhole we've fallen into.

I am sick to death of having to look my son in the eye and admit that I have failed him, that I failed his sister, that I have failed us all.

I am sick. And sad. And exhausted. And undone.

3:46 PM PT: I am overwhelmed by the support and suggestions and the stories you have all shared. I wish new bras and shoes and hope and joy for each one of you who is, in one way or another, where I am at. What I did not expect was the laughter you also managed to squeeze in there, though some of it through tears, and for that too, I am so grateful. Thank you all.
Originally posted to laurustina on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 12:27 PM PDT.
Also republished by WYFP?, Personal Storytellers, Unemployment Chronicles, and Class Warfare Newsletter: The Plutocracy VS the Working Class.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Drug testing in the military - Unintended consequences

It used to be common to hear "the military has gone weak since they let Blacks/women/gays join."


Leadership died when they started pee testing officers and NCOs for drugs.

Instant degradation and destroyed morale.

"Here's the keys to the nukes. Pee in the bottle because you can't be trusted."

Clear message to the troops that officers aren't held to a higher standard.

The only challenge was from a newly-minted female 2nd Lt. She lost and resigned her commission rather than have her oath questioned.

The rest of us caved. We went off and peed, while under the close observation of a service member of the same sex. As one of the rare female officers, guess who got tapped a lot, both for donating and observing. Yeah.

If you're eating, stop. This isn't pretty.

The protocol for female urine gathering was as follows. The donor was obliged to position herself over the toilet, skirt up or pants down. She would then reach down and spread the lips of her labia apart with her fingers so the observer could watch the urine leave the donor's urethra and drop into a plastic cup.

The observer watches the sample be turned over to the clerk, who seals and labels it. Next donor is allowed into the bathroom. And so it goes.

This usually occurred in dank airport style bathrooms, since women's latrines were afterthoughts in most places.

Hostility to women or just paranoid? Either way, not conducive to a sense of obligation and noblesse oblige in your officer ranks.

I was just ROTC, but I never understood how the ring knockers could stand it.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

ABC sides with Reality

As humans re-start using both sides of their brains to mass communicate, the Power of the Word wains.

Damn, sounds all LTR.

The point is, people are still trying to use just words to control others. The Bible is out of their hands, but they would like to replace it with a mythology of the Founding Fathers and their Sacred Words - The Constitution.

Hm - Ben Franklin as Bacchus or Priapas. I can see that.

The same old language - Latin - but the new priests are lawyers, who speak together and dispense law from their esoteric knowledge of the mysteries of the Bill of Rights.

They will, of course, fail. They've learned nothing from the Arab Spring or Rep. Weiner. The private is once again public.
Or at least our notions of what 'private' is are changing. We'll probably go more Japanese, or at least European.

Americans and the notion of the suburbs have created notions of entitlement to space. (Virgin Land, Machine in the Garden, John Ford, etc.) Which is why the cities are considered corrupting - because they ignore your obvious insight and wisdom and do strange things you're not comfortable with.

We haven't run out of land, but we've made that irrelevant. YouTube. CNN. Comcast. You can't escape the gazillion stimuli your brain processes daily. The trick is, we're using the right brain now, which isn't used to non-linear thinking. It's learning, though.

Used to lecture Korean Exchange students on American Culture. 10 hour series. Wonder if I still have my notes...

I suspect new taboos will take their place.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sacred Words

No more passive acceptance of decoding.

The 500 pound elephant.  Religion. Pretty obvious.  Any believe structure which is dependent on an exclusive ability to interpret the written word loses power and authority as the followers insist on a fuller more visual (and heretical) message to achieve the same level of faith and suspension of rationality for equally accessible sources.

Revealed word religions, which depend on providing a translator/ initiate who is specially trained to decode/speak to god,  are at a disadvantage, not only because their assumption of authority flows solely through the written document but because of an inability to make the total leap to the pagan chaos of social media is dependent on an intellectual  freedom from a supreme authority of  the

As printed words become less authoritative in favor of a chaotic social media, competition between the written, decoded word and the emotional trigger of the visual is always won by the emotional, personalized experience.  Emotional experience will trump authority because of emotion element.  

Faith dependent on a written source that cannot be buttressed by visuals, except  historic artifacts like art must either  incorporate visual, emotional elements (guns, gays, abortion) in order to supply the web of  visual and emotional references which has replaced the linear A to B to C  of the written word, or they must fight against any attempt to infect the written word by reinterpreting it into other words or pictures.  Because once words can made fungible, control through words ceases.

Bible cannot win without moving beyond the sanctity of the word.  Constitutional fetishism flows from a conservative desire to maintain the controllable, linear logic trains.  They recognize the loss of control over religious bondage, and instead redirect the fervor to a different but related field of politics.  The Sanctity of the Biblical/Koranic Word is  passed to the secular document of the Constitution.  "Originalist's" spring up, worshiping the word, not the verbiage.  Faced with over 200 years of experience and interpretation of the Constitution, the sole means of sanctifying such a living document is to attempt to paralyze it in time and attempt to give its words new, occult and sacred meaning that can only be decoded by a select priesthood with special powers.   Sounding familiar here?  Thought it may.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Citizenship and pregnancy - both are all or nothing

Am I a full citizen, or not?  According to GOP's anti-woman law proposals, I'm only 3/5s a citizen.  3/5s a citizen was the degree assigned to slaves.

If the government can regulate  my uterus, which I was born with, then I'm only 3/5s of a citizen.  
It's a body part, no different from my skin color.  If the government rules that I'm not worthy of dying for my country as a full member of the United States military because of my uterus, I'm 3/5s a citizen.
 If my liberty and rights depend on the comfort level of strangers, rather than my Constitutional rights as a full citizen, I'm only 3/5s a citizen.

Twentieth Century Jim Crow laws disenfranchised technically 'equal' citizens. Under the guise of States rights, they enforced a government based discrimination which continues today.  Anti-abortion laws are no different than Jim Crow laws.  They seek to create an enslaved class of people based on physical characteristics.  It reeks of the same patronizing theory that full citizenship is beyond what I can aspire to.

Same old song - but it's gender this time, instead of race.


Here in Ma Ryan's Home for Wayward Musicians, Dr Robyn Ryan has decided to start a blog to share her interesting social an political commentary. Consider it a great page for your coffee hour and enjoy her thoughts on communication in the internet age, citizenship, women's issues, and New Orleans life.