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Active Duty Military Attending the RNC

By imrdkl in Op-Ed
Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 02:08:00 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

A recent report filed by the Associated Press contained a startling bit of information:

About 15 percent of the 4,800-plus delegates and alternates to the convention in New York are veterans, organizers said Monday. An additional 3 percent are active military personnel.
This report was displayed prominently on the Republican National Committee's website, and lauded gleefully by the fine folks at Free Republic, among others

As it turns out though, it's actually not such a good thing to have active-duty military anywhere near a political convention - if you value your democracy. In fact, up until just a few days before the convention, it was quite illegal for active-duty military even to attend. And yet, there it was in black and white. Active duty military members were not only attending, but participating as delegates in the RNC. How could this happen?


Soon after being published, the original AP report, linked above, was removed from the RNC website, and from most or all of the major news outlets which had published it, including the AP wire service copy. The few outlets which still haven't taken down their copy of it are getting harder to find, but the Google cache will give evidence to its original distribution. The media ran with the news that our beloved military were an important part of the RNC, and they ran hard.

Yet, as any reasonable, freedom-loving American patriot will know, the fact that our active military is now allowed to attend, and apparantly, participate in political conventions is quite disturbing. Indeed, it borders on terrifying - as one of the first necessary steps towards latin-style dictatorship. To that end, political activism on the part of active-duty military folk has always been strictly regulated by a DOD directive known simply as, 1344.10. This directive specified, in very clear terms, exactly what an active-duty military member could, and could not do, when concerning political activism. Unfortunately, this extremely important directive has recently been modified, modified and corrupted by none other than Paul Wolfowitz, our esteemed Deputy Secretary of Defense, who's signature you'll find at the bottom of the new version. With his changes, the door has been opened to active-duty members of the military in our country's most partisan of political events, the Republican National Convention.

What I'd like to offer you now, therefore, is a paragraph by paragraph comparison of the previous version of 1344.10, which was in force up until August 2 of this year, when Wolfy got his grubby paws on it, with his new version, which made this abomination possible. In order to substantiate, or at least, validate, the claim in the AP article linked above, which clearly states that active-duty military are serving as delegates, I'm going to have to make some conjecture, but the basis of my claims lies purely in the actual additions and deletions which have been made to 1344.10. I invite you to open copies of both versions yourself, and follow along, as we retrace the steps which have led to this latest slash at the heart of our democracy.

The first order of the day, when addressing the "defeciencies" of 1344.10, was to get the soldier through the door at the convention. In the previous version of the directive, convention attendance was not explicitly allowed :

4.1.1. - A member on Active Duty may:
[...]
4.1.1.3. - Attend partisan and nonpartisan political meetings or rallies as a spectator when not in uniform.
The new version of the document extends the permissible functions which may be attended to include conventions:
4.1.1. - A member on Active Duty may:
[...]
4.1.1.3. - Attend partisan and nonpartisan political meetings, rallies, or conventions as a spectator when not in uniform.
So, now an active duty military man (or woman) can show up and get through the door as a spectator to the RNC, but they still can't participate. There were clearly some more adjustments which had to be made to correct this deficiency. The original directive specifically forbade, in fact, participation of any sort in political conventions:
4.1.2. - A member on Active Duty shall not:
[...]
4.1.2.3. - Participate in partisan political management, campaigns, or conventions.
So, Wolfowitz added a bit which extends the new right to be a "spectator", to include the right to participate:
4.1.2. - A member on Active Duty shall not:
[...]
4.1.2.3. - Participate in partisan political management, campaigns, or conventions (unless attending a convention as a spectator when not in uniform).
Yes, it's a bit ambiguous, but it does seem to indicate that participation (as a delegate) is now OK for active duty military.

Yet, even with those two big showstoppers which blocked attendance and participation out of the way, there were still some significant hurdles to clear, before active-duty service folk could participate in the RNC as actual delegates. In particular, how were they to become delegates in the first place? Both versions of the directive, after all, specifically prohibit active-duty members of the military from holding or "exercising the functions" of an elective civil office. This eliminates the possibility for active-duty military to become elected delegates - but there are other paths to becoming a delegate. Besides election, delegates can also be appointed, and there are even so-called "automatic" delegates - although it seems doubtful that an active-duty member would be in the role of an automatic delegate. Nevertheless, a convention delegate does not always have to be an "elective" office, and therefore is not always specifically prohibited as a civil office for an active-duty member of the armed services.

With the specific prohibition against holding elective civil office sidestepped, the opportunities for an active-duty serviceman to hold an appointed office were still quite slim. Active Duty being the key limitation. The previous version of the directive excepted some active-duty members from the general prohibition of serving in a non-elective civil office - but these soldiers' term of active duty had to be less than 270 days:

As long as they are not serving on EAD, enlisted members and Reserve officers may hold partisan or nonpartisan civil office if such office is held in a private capacity and does not interfere with the performance of military duties.

(EAD, or Extended Active Duty implies a current duty term longer than 270 days, according to the definition in the previous version of the directive)

The new version completely eliminates the EAD distinction, and simply states that:
A member on active duty may hold or exercise the functions of a civil office in the U.S. Government that is (non-elective), including when assigned or detailed to such office to perform such functions, provided there is no interference with military duties.

Given this change, it seems quite possible, at least to me, that any active duty member may now serve in a non-elective civil office. But there was one last safeguard which had to be removed, before all of this could work - the active-duty serviceman had to be able to become a delegate-candidate. That is, the active-duty member had to get their name on the list of potential delegates, because the committees don't just appoint delegates out of the blue.

Well, naturally, nomination or candidacy for civil office (whether elective or otherwise) is also clearly prohibited in nearly all cases, in both versions of the directive. However, there's an important exception built in to both versions which has been subtly but significantly altered in the latest version. The previous version stated that, regarding nomination or candidacy for civil office:

4.2.1 - [...] When circumstances warrant, the Secretary concerned or the Secretary's designee may permit a member to file such evidence of nomination or candidacy for nomination, as may be required by law.
So, previously, the active duty member might be allowed to file the forms and papers necessary for candidacy, but nothing more. The new version significantly extends this allowance, and creates the necessary, and final loophole which was needed:
4.2.2. - When circumstances warrant, the Secretary concerned or the Secretary's designee may permit a member covered by the prohibition of subparagraph 4.2.1., above, to remain or become a nominee or a candidate for civil office.
Pretty nifty. All it takes now for the active-duty serviceman is the permission of the Secretary (or his minion) to get their name on the delegates ballot list. If they actually get elected, they're out of luck, but if they're appointed as a delegate, they're on their way to New York City.

As stated at the beginning of this note, I've made some conjecture to get this far. I'm not ordinarily a person given to conspiracy theory, either. And I'm clearly not a political wonk. Nevertheless, the timing and the context of the modifications to this extremely important directive, a directive which forms an important part of the foundation of a safe democracy by keeping the military out of politics, is at best questionable, and at worst (and as usual), criminal. That's what got me motivated to present this, but I welcome corrections.

Oh, by the way, there's one other small change which was made to 1344.10 along with getting the military into the RNC, a change which closes a loophole, instead of opening one. It's down near the bottom, if you're following along, in the Enclosure 3 section. While the previous version disallowed partisan political advocacy on the part of active-duty military folk:

E3.3.9. - Participate in any radio, television, or other program or group discussion as an advocate of a partisan political party or candidate.
The new version extends the forbidden zone a bit:
E3.3.9. - Participate in any radio, television, or other program or group discussion as an advocate for or against of a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.
Too bad guys, complaining is out.

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Poll
Why is this important?
o The timing is suspicious 9%
o Allowing the military to be involved in politics is dangerous 18%
o Both 50%
o I couldn't care less 22%

Votes: 44
Results | Other Polls

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Display: Sort:
Active Duty Military Attending the RNC | 296 comments (243 topical, 53 editorial, 6 hidden)
Indeed. (2.18 / 11) (#3)
by wireless orc on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 04:43:41 PM EST

Soldiers should be excluded from the political process; they shouldn't even have the right to vote.

It saved the Weimar Republic, it will save the United States.

Are you now or have you ever been a soldier? [N/T] (1.50 / 2) (#14)
by gr3y on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 06:53:45 PM EST



I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]
Do you seek to enter the United States (2.00 / 5) (#18)
by wireless orc on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 07:13:49 PM EST

to engage in export control violations, subversive or terrorist activities, or any other unlawful purpose? Are you a member or representative of a terrorist organization as currently designated by the U.S. Secretary of State? Have you ever participated in persecutions directed by the Nazi government of Germany; or have you ever participated in genocide?

[ Parent ]
Is that a no? [N/T] (1.50 / 2) (#31)
by gr3y on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 07:49:06 PM EST



I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]
No. (1.50 / 2) (#32)
by wireless orc on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 07:50:36 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Are you currently on active duty? [N/T] (1.50 / 2) (#34)
by gr3y on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 07:53:12 PM EST



I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]
Uh, no. (none / 1) (#35)
by wireless orc on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 07:57:24 PM EST

I am not, nor have I ever been, a soldier.

[ Parent ]
Ah. (1.50 / 2) (#40)
by gr3y on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 08:50:32 PM EST

Interesting. Are you eligible to vote in the United States?

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

Nope. (none / 1) (#41)
by wireless orc on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 08:54:47 PM EST



[ Parent ]
So you're ineligible to vote... (1.50 / 6) (#43)
by gr3y on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 09:14:41 PM EST

But you believe soldiers should be denied the right to vote?

Interesting.

I don't think citizens should be allowed to vote at all until after a public service requirement is completed - time spent in the military equal to non-military service at a rate of two years for every one year, with eight years minimum public service required to earn the right to participate in the electoral process, and a maximum age on entry into public service of twenty-four.

So, four years serving your country in the military, or eight years in the Peace Corps, earns you the right to vote. If you don't start by the time you're twenty-four, you are permanently disenfranchised, like a felon.

I'd be able to vote under that scheme. You wouldn't, but you're ineligible so it shouldn't matter.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

Uh. (none / 1) (#44)
by wireless orc on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 09:23:11 PM EST

I guess you misunderstood my original post. I was making fun of the article by showing how idiotic such proposals are. Obviously, the Weimar Republic was not saved at all.

I will be less subtle next time.

[ Parent ]

I didn't misunderstand at all... (3.00 / 1) (#50)
by gr3y on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 11:19:37 PM EST

because I asked questions to determine the relevant facts before responding.

Your answers framed my response, but did not otherwise change the content of my response. Regardless of the fate of the Weimar Republic or the facetiousness of your post, I don't think people who won't serve their country should be allowed to vote. They want the benefits of freedom without the cost...

I did rate you a "0", because my initial reaction was: "troll". K5 won't let me change it.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

That's a lie (2.50 / 1) (#54)
by Torka on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 12:48:56 AM EST

All you have to do is change your vote in the drop down box and hit "Rate all" again. If you don't *want* to change your vote, just admit it.

[ Parent ]
I tried it *three* times... (1.50 / 2) (#55)
by gr3y on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 01:11:40 AM EST

and when I reloaded the page it was still "0".

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

Freedom without the cost? (none / 0) (#63)
by astopy on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 08:28:35 AM EST

Get real, if the decisions being made affect me then I should be able to vote. If I couldn't vote, I wouldn't be inclined to comply with the law.

[ Parent ]
Get real yourself. (none / 0) (#80)
by gr3y on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 01:20:11 PM EST

Felons are not relieved of their responsibility for complying with the law of the land because they can't vote, and neither are minors.

For an entire generation, the "cost" of participating in the democratic process is boycotting the major gas companies one day out of the year, or an inconsequential ten-year Southren Baptist boycott of Disney because of "Gay Day".

All the while they fill the tanks in those SUVS with gasoline whose price is stabilized by the sweat and labor of a minority they despise. How's that for reality?

That minority has paid for the privilege to make the hard decisions. It sounds like it was just handed to you. Ask yourself: who's more likely to place a high value on their right to participate? Hint: not you.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

Let me clarify... (none / 0) (#93)
by astopy on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 04:53:21 PM EST

Felons are not relieved of their responsibility for complying with the law of the land because they can't vote, and neither are minors.

Felons and minors either had or will have the chance to vote, and so should (obviously) comply with the law. What I disagree with is that you should have to do something such as join the military before you can vote, for two reasons: 'serving the country' and 'serving the government' aren't necessarily always the same thing (this is an objection to military service in general); and if only the people who have performed military service can vote then those who object to military actions will be unable to vote, meaning that our wishes and opinions will not be reflected by the actions of our government.

If I was denied the right to participate in the democracy I live in simply because I haven't been in the military, then I would not feel the need to respect the laws which that democracy created. I was not saying that felons and minors have no responsibility to obey the law, but I was saying that if I was never given the chance to vote I would certainly feel no responsibility myself.

I'm not sure what your point about gasoline was; care to clarify?



[ Parent ]
Hmmm. (3.00 / 1) (#103)
by gr3y on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 07:52:15 PM EST

Well, my original post about this was quite clear that the mandatory service obligation need not be military service, but that each year in the military would be worth two years of civilian service, with eight years minimum required. Any other civilian service such as Job Corps or Peace Corps would also qualify.

My point is that we should raise the barrier to entry for the vote. I believe that if we give the right to participate in the electoral process some price we will alter peoples' perception of it, make it something worth exercising. We've tried MTV, motor votor, rap the vote, rock the vote, Martha Quinn on a train with Bill Clinton, etc. and none of it has worked. Take a cue from the diamond cartels and introduce a little artificial scarcity, and people will see it as something worth having.

Regarding gasoline... The price of gasoline is kept stable by the militaries of the West as crude oil is ultimately the fuel of the world's industrial economy. In my experience, the people who decry the inevitable consequences of this, i.e., the use of the military to maintain stability in the Middle East, are not the ones who pay the price for it, i.e., the soldiers who secure the peace or even their families.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

Huh? (none / 0) (#147)
by damiam on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 08:12:54 PM EST

Why do you think the Peace Corps are inferior to the military? They've done infinitely more good in this world over the past 45 years than the military.

[ Parent ]
I don't think service in the Peace Corps... (none / 0) (#201)
by gr3y on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 08:32:21 PM EST

is inferior to military service. The likelihood that an individual will be killed is much higher in the military. The personal risk is greater. The personal cost is also greater. I believe that should be recognized.

The question of which has been more beneficial over the past 45 years would be interesting to debate. Most people have such short memories.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

Read Starship Troopers, have ye? nt (none / 1) (#191)
by Russell Dovey on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 06:06:12 PM EST


"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

A slight modification to the concept, yes. (none / 0) (#203)
by gr3y on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 08:41:22 PM EST

Qualified public service, not mandatory military service. Some people object to military service, even after they've joined they become consciencious objectors. They shouldn't be asked, nor expected, to set aside their personal beliefs to earn the vote.

Heinlein is fascinating. He had some very interesting ideas, but he was also a bit of an extremist.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

BTW: Have you ever been arrested (none / 1) (#42)
by wireless orc on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 08:56:13 PM EST

or convicted for any offense or crime, even though subject of a pardon, amnesty or other similar legal action? Have you ever unlawfully distributed or sold a controlled substance(drug), or been a prostitute or procurer for prostitutes?

[ Parent ]
That's a bit extreme (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by aphrael on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 07:14:21 PM EST

as nobody in the political world would ever dare suggest denying soldiers the right to vote.

[ Parent ]
Military Right to Vote (3.00 / 1) (#127)
by Le164 on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 01:38:26 PM EST

The military got the right to vote at the same time as minorites got the right to vote,... the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For most of the USA history the military DIDN'T vote at all. I'm a Army brat, my father was in for 24 years and he thought giving soldiers the right to vote was a mistake, that the military shouldn't vote on any military related concerns and I thought he was wrong, ..now I'm not so sure.

[ Parent ]
Minor error, but more than semantics (3.00 / 1) (#110)
by kurtmweber on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 10:13:09 PM EST

Your statement "they shouldn't even have the right to vote" incorrectly implies that rights can be granted and revoked by fiat. You should have said "they don't even have the right to vote" and then the debate would be whether or not that statement is correct.

Rights are objective entities; their existence is not contingent on government fiat or a piece of paper. There's a major difference between the EXISTENCE of a right (which is absolute and objective) and the PRACTICAL FREEDOM TO EXERCISE a right (which is all that governments can grant or revoke--not the right itself).

It's more than semantics--it's the fundamental ideological difference between an enslaving socialist despotism and a free individualist republic.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
Sorry, but (none / 1) (#128)
by wireless orc on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 02:01:40 PM EST

I do not agree with your ideology.

[ Parent ]
Fine (3.00 / 3) (#129)
by kurtmweber on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 02:07:37 PM EST

But you're wrong.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
s/ideology/terminology/; # -nt (none / 0) (#174)
by MrLarch on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 11:33:04 AM EST



[ Parent ]
RIghts cannot be, in practice, absolute. (3.00 / 1) (#148)
by israfil on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 08:53:03 PM EST

Rights are political fictions.  They may, in one man's opinion, be absolute, objective, and unrepealable.  However, they are arguable.  Because two people can disagree on what is a "right", they are subjective.  Their "numenological" objectivity is irrelevant in a political sense.

So, given this, the question of whether two people  can vote IS a question for dialogue.  For example, by what reason do we exclude minors from voting?  Is it not their right?  Well, no.  Unless the nation chooses to ratify and realize that right, it is a fantasy.  Blacks and women gained the right to vote... they didn't have it before.  It can easily be argued that they SHOULD have had it.   However, the did, in fact, not have it, by any measurable and practicable standard.

So, having swept away objective rights into the dustbin of crap-tastic fantasy, let's move to real life.

Should military personnel have the right to vote?  On this point I am unclear.  I believe it does make good sense to limit one's service to one's country to EITHER military or civilian service at any given time.  However, I think voting is probably a reasonable right for all citizens, even those serving in the military.   However, such is only the case, in my view, if that vote can be by secret ballot.  

Also, I do not think that those in military service should be permitted partisan participation.  Non-partisan participation is wonderful.  A soldier in his home town should be able to come to the town-council meeting and voice his personal views.  However, to allow military intrusion into parties would begin to extend the executive government function, occupied by a partisan electee (the president), into (potentially) the various parties.  

Now, I suspect that even with these changes, the USA will not slide into a morass of fascist excess , but it is important to consult upon, and judge these matters very carefully, in the interests of preserving a strong, thriving and mature democracy.
-
i. - this sig provided by /dev/arandom and an infinite number of monkeys with keyboards.
[ Parent ]

Major, major fallacy (2.00 / 2) (#171)
by kurtmweber on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 10:40:39 AM EST

Because two people can disagree on what is a "right", they are subjective.
Two people can disagree on the diameter of Earth--does that mean that the diameter of Earth is subjective? Of course not. It is objective; there's just disagreement as to its objective value. It's the same thing with everything else.

Please don't make such enormous and obvious fallacies in the future--it will greatly help your credibility. Thanks!

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
Bullshit. (3.00 / 4) (#176)
by FieryTaco on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 12:37:20 PM EST

The diameter of the Earth is a physical property. The right to vote is a social frabrication. If you want to believe that the right to vote is a physical attribute of - something - then one would have to assume that elections are naturally occuring events, rather than a method that some societies have chosen to order themselves.

[ Parent ]
False (none / 0) (#223)
by kurtmweber on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 09:36:30 AM EST

The right to vote is a physical property of the Universe, too. Those nations that reject that are rejecting reality outright. Reality is not optional.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
You're not sane, are you? (none / 0) (#235)
by FieryTaco on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 12:43:55 PM EST

NT

[ Parent ]
More sane than you (none / 0) (#242)
by kurtmweber on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 04:37:05 PM EST

After all, you're the one who's rejecting objective reality altogether.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
If there is an objective reality... (none / 0) (#294)
by israfil on Tue Sep 21, 2004 at 09:06:54 AM EST

... which I actually do believe, btw, you cannot substantiate the view that rights of this or that are part of it.  Because we are subjects of that objective reality, we cannot independently know of a certainty what it is.  We can surmise, hypothesize, etc.  But, staying away from the mystical for a moment, which is a personal experience of truth anyway and is not transferable, your perspective and mine on a given facet of objective reality may differ.  They may, in fact, both be equally accurate or inaccurate in different ways.

The fact that we cannot have perfect and complete knowledge of reality means that in effect, we cannot ever know that which is objectively real.  We have to put up with subjective sub-sets of reality.
-
i. - this sig provided by /dev/arandom and an infinite number of monkeys with keyboards.
[ Parent ]

He just wants to make himself look special. (none / 0) (#280)
by Craevenwulfe on Fri Sep 10, 2004 at 08:32:04 AM EST

He's not actually substantiated much of his 'effort'. Repeated parrot fashion a few phrases he's read without understanding them.

[ Parent ]
excuse me? (2.50 / 2) (#197)
by gdanjo on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 07:59:26 PM EST

Two people can disagree on the diameter of Earth--does that mean that the diameter of Earth is subjective? Of course not. It is objective; there's just disagreement as to its objective value. It's the same thing with everything else.
Two different frames of references can observe two different values for the diameter of the earth, and both will be correct. Only an "outside observer" is able to say, objectively, who is right - he'll conclude that both are wrong, and only he himself is right.

The problem is that he, too, has an "outside observer" to prove him wrong. And all indications are that all frames of reference have an "outside" frame of reference - and therefore, there is no objective truth (at least, there is no accessible objective truth, in which case it may as well not exist).

Even phisical properties can be "re-interpreted", and the only "objective universal" is this: there is no objective universal.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Sad times (2.60 / 5) (#45)
by jd on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 09:30:44 PM EST

Basically, what this means is that you can be in the military AND in a "civil government" capacity, provided the Sec. of Defence doesn't complain.

The laws governing the American "separation of powers" are there for a reason, guys! The whole idea of the American system is that if you have one set of powers, someone else has a different set that counterbalance your own, so that nobody can outright abuse power.

This would be about the same as being able to be a member of Congress AND a Supreme Court judge at the same time. If you make the laws, there are some very good reasons why you shouldn't be the one ruling whether those laws are acceptable.

The military have minimal oversight, as things stand. The Supreme Court ruling that the Gitmo prisoners are entitled to civilian court hearings has been largely ignored, with the military opting for military tribunals (with much lower standards and virtually no appeal process) instead. It's very unlikely that the Supreme Court will be able to impose its ruling over and above the DoD's version of how things should be done.

There are a few things they're banned from, however. Law enforcement in the US, for example. No problem - just appoint a few Generals as Supreme Court justices and get the ban overturned as "unConstitutional", or have them elected to Congress and have the ban revoked through through an Act.

I'm not convinced I want to see Joe Soldier, with a fully automatic and immunity to the civil courts, patrolling the streets of the US. They've done a crappy job, when policing the streets of other countries, and have been equally crappy when it comes to holding prisoners. I'm not seeing much evidence of any respect for US law, in the handling of Gitmo or the handling of any of the US citizens arrested on "terror"-related charges. Why should I expect them to respect the law, when in positions of authority over matters only civilians have had any right to in the US?

The CIA is openly vowing to spy on US citizens, and damn civil rights. For that matter, they want to damn all Internationally-imposed rights, too. The new CIA director describes the International Red Cross as a bunch of whiners. Do we really need to throw in some berserkers from the ranks to run Conventions, be elected as Mayor or Governor, or control the budget passed by Congress?

The British have long allowed their military to act as law-enforcement, and it has been a disaster, with numerous abuses of authority and even alleged assassinations of (lawful) political opponents to the Government. Half the reason the US split with Britain in the first place was that this kind of abuse of power was intolerable.

If the US is just going to adopt the same practices itself, it may as well go back to being a colony and have done with it. If the population is going to be ruled without representation and without right-of-reply, then what the hell does it matter who does the ruling? It's not as if it would make any difference. Hell, if you're going to allow gun-toting nutcases to run the asylum, why not just make bin Laden the next President? Sure, he'd ruin the country, eliminate civil liberties, destroy the Constitution and butcher freedom (along with the populace) but if we're going to do that to ourselves anyway, we might as well get someone who can do the job of slaughtering us all properly.

Heh? (2.80 / 5) (#65)
by GenerationY on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 09:01:50 AM EST

The British have long allowed their military to act as law-enforcement, and it has been a disaster, with numerous abuses of authority and even alleged assassinations of (lawful) political opponents to the Government.

What utter nonsense.
This isn't another ignorant and simplistic take on the Northern Ireland question is it?
If so lets take the example of the Kent State Massacre. Funny how America can drop its history every decade or so but other countries are held to things that happened before the white man ever settled across the Atlantic.


[ Parent ]

national guard is a bit different (3.00 / 3) (#73)
by godix on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 12:20:09 PM EST

The ban is on regular military forces, the National Guard may be used domestically. National Guardsmen have been used to protect black children when integrated schooling was first started, perform at jobs considered vital when the workers went on strike, loan vehicles to the BATF to storm Waco, helped maintain peace during countless state of emergencies, and of course were on campus during protests. Like all government actions you can debate on if these should have been done or not the deabte shouldn't on the fact that the Guard did it, they're designed to be used domestically at a Governors or Presidents discression.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
Hmm (none / 0) (#106)
by GenerationY on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 08:55:13 PM EST

Well I don't know if I see much of a difference between the National Guard and "the military" for the present purposes. They are armed aren't they?

I think my real point is with the OP's assertion because it is ludicrously incorrect. I mean, Churchill lost the 1945 election because it got out that he'd thought about sending troops to deal with striking miners in 1910.

I dunno, I've got to stop biting on this IRA propaganda. Its just its kind of hard when its so wide of the mark and also constitues implicit support for people who'd be be prepared to kill everyone I know to make a political point supported by a tiny minority of the people actually involved.

[ Parent ]

Thatcher (3.00 / 3) (#112)
by jd on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 11:04:00 PM EST

And the Miner's Strike.

If I need to say more, then you weren't there. I was. And I saw British troops used against workers who were conducting a lawful and largely peaceful strike.

As for Northern Ireland, I am proud to be Mancunian. And I know damn well that the Stalker Affair was about derailing an investigation into unlawful practices. Few in Manchester will ever forgive the treachery that the Thatcher regime perpetrated against the honest folk of Britain.

Nor, I suspect, will those in Gibraltar. If you didn't watch "Death on the Rocks", I suggest you find a copy.

No, true Brits don't forgive easily and forget rarely. Memories last a long time, mostly because those who abused their power got away with it freely, whilst those who suffered were denied both justice and recompense.

Few will forgive Norman Tebbit's "get on your bike" remarks. Few will excuse the sinking of the Belgrano - less because of the Argentinians crimes than because the British Government deliberately perverted the course of justice and then destroyed evidence (the logs of the incident were acknowledged to be destroyed). The British were right to use whatever means they could to remove the Argentinian occupiers, but lying to the British about what they were doing - even after it no longer mattered in any military sense - that's not forgivable.

The British Government is elected to serve the British. They are Public Servents. They are servents who have developed ideas well above their station.

Sad to say, I can think of nothing better to say about any other country or any other leader. They have become petty dictators, obsessed with massaging their own egos and their own power trips. If there's ever been a good reason to look at cryogenics, then sitting out reality until the world evolves something resembling decency might be it.

The world is no longer a place where any one person can make any kind of impact, except a negative one. That's not a world I care to live in. Problem is, until someone comes up with the technology, I guess I have to. That doesn't mean I have to like it.

[ Parent ]

Again, no. (2.00 / 3) (#116)
by GenerationY on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 04:44:10 AM EST

Thatcher And the Miner's Strike.

If I need to say more, then you weren't there. I was. And I saw British troops used against workers who were conducting a lawful and largely peaceful strike.

NO, YOU DID NOT. THAT IS A COMPLETE LIE. SHOW ME A SINGLE PICTURE OR RELIABLE PIECE OF EVIDENCE OF A MEMBER OF THE REGULAR ARMY ATTACKING A MINER.

I mean, I'm no fan of Thatcher but that never actually happened. Take the Battle of Orgreave. If there was a time to use the army, it was there. But it just didn't happen. The funny thing is that I know where you are coming from, its feels like it might have happened some how. But it didn't beyond the original claim that soliders were going in in police uniforms. There has never been any support for that suggestion since. The police were in full riot gear. But they were still the police, not soldiers. Ironically it did come out that there were off-duty soldiers present...but they were on the picket lines with their friends.

And in fairness if you think the strike was peaceful were you really there? I remember flying pickets and violent attacks on scabs. The whole thing was pretty damn awful.

[ Parent ]

Apology (none / 0) (#165)
by GenerationY on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 07:52:27 AM EST

I've just reread my comment and I'm sorry I said "lie".
It wasn't really in my mind that you were indulging in a deliberate falsehood.
I just don't think that your assertion was actually the case.

[ Parent ]
It's a leftover (none / 0) (#175)
by godix on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 12:36:07 PM EST

These days you're right, the only real difference is the National Guard and the Army is the equipment and the fact the National Guard can legally act against US citizens if ordered to. Historically though there is an important reason for the guard and a distinct difference between them and that army. The national guard was insituted when states rights vs federal power was a real concern and it was important that the individual states had a militia they controled instead of relying on a federal army for support. The Guard is one of many things we have still have hanging around from that debate.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
What you need to remember about the NG. (3.00 / 5) (#82)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 01:35:01 PM EST

Once upon a time each state had it's own militia - a volunteer army to defend that state from all comers, including the federal army. These militias were under the control of their Governors, not the President. This was a period when any local big-wig could literally raise his own regiment and go off and help in some military task - shooting Indians, defending the Alamo, whatever. In such organizations, the soldiers often used their own personal weapons.

Unfortunately, the Industrial Revolution mad that impossible. Faced with the prospect of having to buy fighter planes, tanks, etc.. and of having to train their volunteers to use them, the states caved - they bought into the idea of a National Guard, a Guard that uses the Pentagon's hand-me-downs as equipment and which is only partly still under the states' controls.

Between that and gun control, if the army ever turns on us we're screwed.

I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]

Erm... wrong (none / 0) (#140)
by cr8dle2grave on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 07:17:49 PM EST

The Supreme Court ruling that the Gitmo prisoners are entitled to civilian court hearings has been largely ignored, with the military opting for military tribunals (with much lower standards and virtually no appeal process) instead. It's very unlikely that the Supreme Court will be able to impose its ruling over and above the DoD's version of how things should be done.

Go back and reread the SCOTUS ruling. They most certainly did not hold that Gitmo detainees are entitled to a civilian court hearing.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
When were you at Free Republic? (1.39 / 23) (#46)
by the ghost of rmg on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 09:42:31 PM EST

First of all, let me start by asking when were you at Free Republic and how are you so acquainted with the goings on there? Only a freeper would have such intimate knowledge of that particular blog of ill repute. "Fine folks" indeed.

But assuming that this isn't just a Rethuglican gloat-fest on your part or perhaps some scheme to draw further attention to that crasstastic Convention of yours, let me just say that this is some fucked up, repugnant assed shit. As I mentioned in a previous comment, the last thing this country needs is more jarheads in politics.

I realize that history is not the forté of this particular forum, but we should remember that the military represents coercion and tyranny -- the very anathema of our liberal democratic society. It was the army that brought down the Roman Republic and the military that made the Third Reich the killing machine it was. No matter what the Right tries to shove down our throats, no matter what kind of rhetoric they force on us, and no matter how much they tell us we need to "support the troops," just remember what history tells us: The military will be our undoing.

"Beware of the military industrial complex." -- So Ike tells us. But how wary are we? Not at all. Our current government is the military industrial complex. It's time to turn that around.

Remember, if you vote for four more years of Bush, either by voting for him, Nader, or by not voting at all, you are voting AGAINST the Republic. You are voting for a slow slide toward fascism.

It's time to let this fantasy about supporting the troops fade away. We've already supported them too much. There's a reason it's called military service.


rmg: comments better than yours.

You gotta work more on your delivery. (none / 1) (#81)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 01:28:03 PM EST

I was with you right up to that second to last sentence.

Why? Because John Fucking Kerry is no better than Bush. He'll do the exact same crap Bush is doing, he'll just wrap it up in socialist lingo so that the Left thinks they're only "preventing hate speech" and "promoting inclusion" until they suddenly find themselves in a re-education camp for being insufficiently enthusiastic about the revolution of the week.

I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]

That's not the problem at all. (none / 1) (#98)
by the ghost of rmg on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 06:18:08 PM EST

It's that people here basically agree with the sentiment behind this comment, so they don't do any more than zero it out of guilt. I guess I'm too used to the dailykos. Next time I'll do a classic right winger.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
A few points (none / 0) (#160)
by samUnion on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 02:38:20 AM EST

>It was the army that brought down the Roman
>Republic.
No, it wasn't. The mob brought down the empire. The mob essentially forced Julius Ceaser to take the title of Emporer, which was the act to bring down the Republic. >the military that made the Third Reich the
>killing machine it was
So it wasn't the hate, and spite of hitler? It wasn't the politicians in control of the military? >Remember, if you vote for four more years of
>Bush, either by voting for him, Nader, or by
>not voting at all, you are voting AGAINST the
>Republic.
That's not such a bad thing; I want a democracy, not a republic! >Our current government is the military
>industrial complex.
Our current government is exactly what every other orginization on earth is: people trying to make as much money as possible. It sucks, it's life, deal.

[ Parent ]
A**-tastic (none / 0) (#173)
by cdyer on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 11:31:24 AM EST

But assuming that this isn't just a Rethuglican gloat-fest on your part or perhaps some scheme to draw further attention to that crasstastic Convention of yours, let me just say that this is some fucked up, repugnant assed shit. As I mentioned in a previous comment, the last thing this country needs is more jarheads in politics.

The words you italicize in this paragraph both contain the word, "ass." What exactly are you driving at here?



[ Parent ]
I really shouldn't have to do this (2.83 / 12) (#51)
by Kasreyn on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 12:25:36 AM EST

But I think the point must be made.

The new version of the document extends the permissible functions which may be attended to include conventions:
4.1.1. A member on Active Duty may: [...] 4.1.1.3. Attend partisan and nonpartisan political meetings, rallies, or conventions as a spectator when not in uniform.


-----------------------------------------

...Clover, who thought she remembered a definite ruling against beds, went to the end of the barn and tried to puzzle out the Seven Commandments which were inscribed there. Finding herself unable to read more than individual letters, she fetched Muriel.

"Muriel," she said, "read me the Fourth Commandment. Does it not say something about never sleeping in a bed?"

With some difficulty, Muriel spelt it out.

"It says, 'No animal shall sleep in a bed
with sheets,'" she announced finally.

Curiously enough, Clover had not remembered that the Fourth Commandment mentioned sheets; but as it was there on the wall, it must have done so.


-----------------------------------------

If Paul "Clinton's Military" Wolfowitz is Squealer, then who are the news media?

That's right. The sheep.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
That's the point. (3.00 / 8) (#53)
by aphrael on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 12:47:38 AM EST

The directive was *changed* sometime between the democratic party convention and the republican party convention.

[ Parent ]
yes! (1.28 / 7) (#58)
by reklaw on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 01:36:04 AM EST

Those dastardly lawmakers, changing laws and all! I hope you will share more of your insightful Animal Farm analogies with us in the future.

Damnit, I love Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. It pains me to see them so often abused.
-
[ Parent ]

Timing is the issue. (3.00 / 8) (#74)
by aphrael on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 12:38:14 PM EST

Changing it after one party's convention and before the other is a manifestly political act.

[ Parent ]
the point is (2.00 / 3) (#95)
by reklaw on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 05:19:13 PM EST

there's no parallel to Animal Farm whatsoever. In this story, a law was changed, legally, and the timing was political. In Animal Farm, what was basically the farm's constitution was gradually rewritten by the pigs, and the animals were too trusting and too stupid to notice.
-
[ Parent ]
exactly: the law changes slowly but surely (3.00 / 4) (#114)
by Stylusepix on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 03:26:50 AM EST

You said it. They're rewriting the law slowly but surely, into something different.

I think that parallels can be made with Animal Farm. The constitution is a'changing ! Look at new amendments.. And acts, and rulings that go against its nature...

And this ? Well. I see the parallel just too clearly.
Go; you're an it-getter, but No; it's all in good fun (and games). Laugh, in stock?
[ Parent ]

assumptions (none / 1) (#208)
by aphrael on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 12:26:47 AM EST

there's no parallel to Animal Farm whatsoever. In this story, a law was changed, legally, and the timing was political. In Animal Farm, what was basically the farm's constitution was gradually rewritten by the pigs, and the animals were too trusting and too stupid to notice.

You're familiar, I hope, with the idea of an unwritten constitution? Eg, that there is a set of basic shared assumptions under which our political culture operates that are tantamount to a constitution in that they can't be violated openly without the violating party committing political suicide?

They aren't as widely shared as many of us had thought, apparently, and they're being changed, slowly, secretly, without the media noticing or caring. That's very animal farm.

[ Parent ]

Lawmakers? (3.00 / 2) (#146)
by damiam on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 08:07:33 PM EST

When did Wolfowitz become a lawmaker?

[ Parent ]
I have a question for you (2.62 / 8) (#60)
by curien on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 04:36:29 AM EST

I'm not really clear: do you find the changes themselves to be inappropriate, or do you simply find the timing of the changes to be such?

--
This sig is umop apisdn.
Timing. (3.00 / 2) (#75)
by aphrael on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 12:38:34 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Perhaps you will be so kind (none / 0) (#86)
by imrdkl on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 02:26:44 PM EST

As to make us a poll with the appropriate options? (no funny business, please)

[ Parent ]
Done. (none / 1) (#209)
by aphrael on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 12:28:31 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Both, but mostly the regs. (3.00 / 3) (#79)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 01:15:34 PM EST

On the timing, the implications are lousy, but I don't think it was a deliberate attempt to prevent the Democrats from having active duty soldiers attend their convention, so much as some RNC staffer said "hey, wouldn't it be great if we could brag about how many soldiers we have at the convention!" So, they rushed to get the regs were altered to make that possible.

But those regulation changes were poorly thought out and ill-considered.

I realize this is a stereo-typical "slippery slope" argument, but the USA has always prided itself on how the civilian government keeps the military in a firmly subordinate role.

Will allowing Sgt. Rock attend the convention trigger a military coup? Of course not; but what happens next? 10 years on, will both parties be racing to show how many soldiers "endorse" their convention?

And that's the insidious part - much as a cop can intimidate by his simple presence, simply showing a bunch of soldiers clapping and waving when candidate X speaks can make a powerful message. After all, we want to support our boys, right? And obviously, our boys like Ms. X, so we should vote for her!

After that, I'll just put on my tin-foil hat because I don't think it would be a far step from that to having Colonel Y announce that he's running for President for "the good of the country".

I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]

Citizen military (none / 0) (#166)
by curien on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 08:11:51 AM EST

Yes, it is important not to allow the military to get involved in politics, but I am just an Airman, not "the military". I am also a citizen of the United States, and it is my Constitutional right to engage myself in the political process.

The UCMJ does place some restrictions on my political activity, but only when I'm in uniform. When I'm on leave or pass and I'm not in uniform or otherwise identifying myself as a military member, the UCMJ places no restrictions on my political involvement.

I find the restrictions in this DoD reg (of which I was completely unaware) to be heinously restrictive, as they limit my participation in the political process as a citizen.

--
This sig is umop apisdn.
[ Parent ]

Good points but... (none / 1) (#170)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 09:26:14 AM EST

I have to disagree. You're right - in the attempt to control the group we supress the rights of the individual. But there doesn't seem to be anyway around it.

For a while, I considered the idea that restrictions on political activity might be limited to officers, but even that doesn't work out. I can conceive of a scenario where a charismatic military leader could "encourage" his men to voice their opinions as a group.

I could try to concoct various what-if scenarios but they would all be just that - hypothetical situations. I do have to say I'm surprised you never heard about the restrictions before - they were laid out pretty plainly for me.

If it makes you feel better, the same restrictions apply to the civil service.

I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]

He's a junior enlisted man (3.00 / 2) (#218)
by wiredog on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 08:53:32 AM EST

When I was in we were told that it the while not in uniform bit that was important. If we were in civilian clothes we could say what we wanted, as long as we didn't ID ourselves as military.

The regs. are enforced more strongly against NCOs and officers.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

ID'd as military. (none / 0) (#257)
by garlic on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 10:09:49 PM EST

So, the RNC knows these guys that attend are military somehow, and then crows about the fact. That's shady on the RNCs part at least, and potentially a violation of the military attendees by telling the RNC that they were military.

HUSI challenge: post 4 troll diaries on husi without being outed as a Kuron, or having the diaries deleted or moved by admins.
[ Parent ]

What I should've said was (3.00 / 2) (#265)
by wiredog on Wed Sep 08, 2004 at 08:31:38 AM EST

ID ourselves publicly as military. That is, to the press, or when participating in a protest march, etc.

During Gulf War 1 we had some national guardsmen at the university I was at get in a bit of trouble for participating in a demonstration while in uniform.

Of course the school being in Utah meant that they were demonstrating in favor of the war.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

Get another job (none / 1) (#236)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 12:48:19 PM EST

Ordinary civil service employees in most states are banned from holding elected office for most government organizations -- it's not just a military thing.

You can still speak out against things, or serve on a non-partisan school or library board or whatever. You simply cannot hold elected office while serving in a legally protected civil service job.

Its bad practice to confuse the chain of command and reduces the effectiveness of an executive government organization. If I was the Captain of the detachment that you are serving in as an airman and as some political or political party figure, I'd have to treat you differently.

Why? Because if I piss off an ordinary airman, its no big deal. If I piss off an airman who is also the local political party chairman, you are going to use your political influence to get me in trouble.

If you feel the need to run for political office or serve on a party committee, that's fine. Get another, non-government job.

[ Parent ]

Nice catch, wrong conclusion... (2.28 / 7) (#61)
by Skywise on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 04:44:44 AM EST

This is hardly a slide towards facsism.  The military code is clear here.  IF there were active military delegates at the RNC (and the only way we know this is from a RNC press release) then the those military personnel are IN VIOLATION of military law.

Otherwise, the changes to the law clarify that active military members are allowed to be SPECTATORS at conventions so long as they're not in uniform.  Something that wasn't explicitly denied to them to begin with.

I suspect that an investigation is in order.

i suspect (3.00 / 2) (#64)
by vivelame on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 08:42:47 AM EST

it won't happen.

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
Consider rereading the story (none / 1) (#104)
by imrdkl on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 07:56:39 PM EST

AD members absolutely could not be spectators before Aug 2 - the modification to subparagraph 4.1.2.3, "unless attending a convention as a spectator when not in uniform", is what made it possible.

As to your first point, the other changes to the directive do make it quite possible for active duty to attend as appointed delegates, and it seems clear that's exactly what they've done.

An investigation seems unlikely to me, but there's always hope.

[ Parent ]

The wording in the code was vague. (3.00 / 4) (#107)
by Skywise on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 09:26:02 PM EST

Before the rewrite The code says that active duty military personnel may not *participate* in conventions but the rules preceeding that code state that non-uniformed active-duty personnel may *attend* political events.

Does attentance == participation?

That could be interpreted as a contradiction in the wording.

The new ruling adds that conventions may be attended as a *spectator*.  No more contradiction.

You're correct that before Aug 2, it'd be a bad idea to show up to the convention as a military member.  But they COULD attend off-site parties during the convention.

What's the difference?  (Aside from the Republican's getting a slight edge this year)

And it still misses the point that they CANNOT participate in the convention process (IE be delegates), which is your entire argument.


[ Parent ]

the *really* troubling point isn't (2.78 / 14) (#62)
by vivelame on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 06:25:47 AM EST

the presence of active-duty militaries at the RNC.
It's the fact that the report has been pulled from every uh_i-thought-they-were-independent news sources without a word, and the whole thing is swept under the carpet.
What else did they pull/hide/never told you, exactly?

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
Very much so. (3.00 / 7) (#69)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 09:59:19 AM EST

Actually, following the blogs and both conventions this year, all sorts of flaws in the mainstream press have come out. Not just ignoring the SBVFT, but publishing articles about speeches written in the past tense but before the speech even took place and, my current favorite, a news report appeared, then disappeared, on the AP wire that claimed that when Bush told his audience about Clinton's heart attack, they cheered.

So, the question becomes: how do we bring this back home to them? Spread it around to as many blogs as possible is probably the next step, or try to get Paul Krugman interested. (He's the NYT columnist who recently announced that he really and truly believes in the vast right-wing conspiracy.)


I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]

ignoring the SBVFT (none / 0) (#217)
by wiredog on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 08:49:22 AM EST

The local newspaper where I live hasn't ignored them. In fact, it's been pretty diligent about pointing out how they are, at best, being less than truthful.

Of course, my local paper is The Washington Post.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

They did for the first several weeks (none / 1) (#224)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 09:37:09 AM EST

which is one of the reasons the SBVFT gained so much power - people on the right became indignant about what they saw was uneven treatment of the candidates - Bush being tarred as "AWOL" based on nothing more than speculation, while eye witness testimony about Kerr was ignored.

If the media had addressed SBVFT to the same degree they went after Bush, the whole thing would have blown over in a few days, I think.

I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]

Because it's not "news" (2.42 / 7) (#84)
by Skywise on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 01:43:32 PM EST

It was a press release. Which means the contents were provided by the RNC and just repeated verbatim by the news sources. The RNC said they made a mistake and retracted the release and the news services complied becuase *they didn't compile the information*.  Press releases get retracted all the time for things like incorrect statements or because of a changed situation and certainly the RNC didn't say "oh, hey pull this thing because we did something illegal"  Because if they did, the news services would have immediately turned it into a story.

[ Parent ]
yeah, yeah. (2.66 / 6) (#118)
by vivelame on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 06:27:38 AM EST

And if Michael Jackson issued a press release stating "i DID fuck children", and subsequently retracted it, you'd be like "OH! the liberal media!".

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
hm (3.00 / 3) (#261)
by joeyo on Wed Sep 08, 2004 at 02:22:39 AM EST

it would seem that the proper way to handle retractions, even in the case of press releases, is to leave the original release up and issue a retraction statement voiding the previous release.

--
"Give me enough variables to work with, and I can probably do away with the notion of human free will." -- Parent ]

I'm also sure that Kerry (none / 0) (#278)
by Skywise on Thu Sep 09, 2004 at 02:51:38 PM EST

Has left the original release of his war record up on his website and just issued errata statements...

[ Parent ]
Good job. (2.72 / 11) (#68)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 09:43:38 AM EST

I might quibble with choosing words like "terrifying", but it's op-ed, so you're in the clear.

One thing that isn't clear from your article though - is it now possible for the Secretary to permit an active-duty soldier to hold an elected office? I mean, are we looking at an opening for Generals to be Governors?

That last provision (E3.3.9) is interesting in that it's obviously a protection against active-duty (i.e., fresh from Iraq) soldiers from doing a SBVFT on Bush.

I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di

Thanks, and I don't think so (3.00 / 3) (#100)
by imrdkl on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 06:24:08 PM EST

The active-duty soldier is forbidden from holding elective civil office in both versions. Previously, they could file papers to get on the ticket, but nothing more. The new version seems to give the secretary more leeway in helping the active-duty member become a candidte and hold onto the candidacy. I suppose this might include mandatory meetings, filing deadlines, interviews, campaigning? But if they're elected, it seems to me the only possible way to accept the office is to get off of active duty.

As always, IANAL. There may be more loopholes than meet the eye here, and indeed there are rumours about delegates who are elected AD members .

Thanks again for your fair treatment and unbiased support of this piece.

[ Parent ]

-1, need more proof (1.50 / 2) (#76)
by tugrul on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 12:40:33 PM EST

I first heard of this during the Eric Alterman interview on C-SPAN recently. Given his positions, it would have seemed that he would have railed on this if it were true, but he said they turned out to be reservists. And at least one other press release from that day uses the term reservists instead:

http://www.republicanconvention.org/news/releases/081604_2.shtml

I can't vote this up until I see more proof than a press release.



I disagree (3.00 / 10) (#78)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 01:06:14 PM EST

First, it is indisputable that the regulation was changed in-between the two conventions. This could, of course, be a coincidence.

Second, it is indisputable that the regulations have been changed to (a) loosen restrictions on allowing soldiers to participate in political conventions and (b) prevent soldiers from participating in the new style of "anybody-but-X" politics.

Third, the RNC did issue the press release and it did repeatedly  use the words "active duty". This, also, could be innocent - a screw up by some PR flack who doesn't realize the difference between a reservist and an active duty soldier -  but in conjunction with the regulation changes it does not look good.

When people smeared SBVFT, I defended them because, having looked at the actual evidence, most of it is on their side. The same is true in this case, you may not like what the evidence says, but it is strongly suggestive. Certainly suggestive enough to demand an explanation.

I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]

heh... (2.40 / 10) (#91)
by ShadowNode on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 04:44:31 PM EST

This does of course make the RNC a perfectly legitimage military target, should someone want to fly planes into it.

I'm glad I moved to Canada last fall (1.93 / 16) (#92)
by MichaelCrawford on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 04:53:04 PM EST

It's common for Americans to promise to move to Canada if their candidate loses. While a popular promise, it's not often kept in practice.

I didn't wait.

We had lots of reasons to move to Canada last October, my wife's homesickness being a major one.

But a major reason for me was that I didn't feel safe in America anymore. It was nothing to do with fear of the terrorists. I felt pretty safe from terrorists in the woods of Owl's Head, Maine.

No, I feared what the United States had already become, and I feared even worse the direction that I feared I might take.

In particular, I didn't want to be in the US on election day.

Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but I've spent a lot of time wondering whether Bush will step down if he loses, and what might result if he didn't.

My wife, a Newfoundlander, is sponsoring me for a landed immigrant visa. It would be permanent residency, like getting a green card in the U.S. It took a while to get all the documentation I needed, so I didn't apply until four months ago. My immigration attorney estimates I have eight more months to wait for my reply.

I await it anxiously - I don't want to have to go back. I think Canada's a really nice place, there are lots of nice people here. Canada suits me just fine.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


welcome (3.00 / 2) (#101)
by Run4YourLives on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 06:47:02 PM EST

enjoy the heath care and lack of fundamentalist nut jobs.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Thanks! (3.00 / 3) (#111)
by MichaelCrawford on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 10:44:05 PM EST

I'm still paying for my health care, until my immigration is approved.

Even so, paying for health care in Canada is a lot cheaper than paying for it in the US.

Lots of people gripe the system is breaking down, but my experience with the health care here is that's I get a whole lot better treatment here than in the US.

The two main things I miss are the nice weather from back in Santa Cruz, and good Mexican food. Mexican food can be had sometimes, but not like in Santa Cruz.

I live in Truro, Nova Scotia. It's a nice town, but pretty quiet. Whenever we can, we go to Halifax, it's a wonderful city.


-- Today's programming tip: Writing Cross-Platform Softw
[
Parent ]

Canada (1.00 / 3) (#117)
by kurioszyn on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 06:09:03 AM EST

And I presume the grass is greener as well ...

Good ridance.


[ Parent ]

You're thinking of BC (nt) (none / 0) (#138)
by scruffyMark on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 06:31:31 PM EST



[ Parent ]
or Quebec. (none / 0) (#155)
by The Honorable Elijah Muhammad on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 10:48:37 PM EST

... there's more to it than poutine and militant anti-americans.

... well, not much more.


___
localroger is a tool.
In memory of the You Sad Bastard thread. A part of our heritage.
[ Parent ]
youre lucky (none / 0) (#102)
by lukme on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 07:02:46 PM EST

In a lot of respects, Canadian policy is more friendly towards the general population.


-----------------------------------
It's awfully hard to fly with eagles when you're a turkey.
[ Parent ]
bullshit (2.50 / 8) (#115)
by Armada on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 04:34:06 AM EST

You left because you found a job in Canada and your wife is from there. Don't try to construe it as some horribly grave decision that was made solely on who was President.

Alec Baldwin didn't leave because the US was the same the day before and the day after Bush's inaguration. Who the president of the US is has nothing to do with your decision. You would have left if Gore was president as well. You were destined to.

[ Parent ]

I agree (none / 1) (#119)
by labradore on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 09:45:36 AM EST

To feel so strongly that there that deep and dangerous faults have developed in one's country, to be impelled by such feeling to take drastic action, to choose flight before resistance or reform: this is cowardice.

But you're right. He probably left for money, not fear.

[ Parent ]

Choosing reform actually (none / 0) (#125)
by MichaelCrawford on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 12:42:17 PM EST

I have my wife to think of. She's not American, it's not her problem, and I don't want her to be endangered.

I think that my greatest potential contribution to political reform is my writing, and I can do that from anywhere. That's why I still write stuff like Is This the America I Love?.

Also I can still vote from Canada, and donate to US political candidates.


-- Today's programming tip: Writing Cross-Platform Softw
[
Parent ]

Ah yes, so like the moral majority... (2.00 / 9) (#126)
by Skywise on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 12:53:20 PM EST

You so despise you will tell us how to live and how to think but you won't get your hands dirty and let others do the hard work for you.

Yeah, you'll do great in Canada.

[ Parent ]

Actually I brought my business with me (3.00 / 3) (#124)
by MichaelCrawford on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 12:39:29 PM EST

I didn't find a job in Canada actually. I have the same job I had in the US. I'm self-employed doing software consulting. GoingWare Inc. is a Delaware corporation, and I'm it's sole stockholder, and sole employee.

One advantage of consulting is that I can do it from most anywhere.


-- Today's programming tip: Writing Cross-Platform Softw
[
Parent ]

So if Bush loses and steps down (none / 0) (#121)
by Skywise on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 11:57:19 AM EST

You'll move back?

I doubt it.

[ Parent ]

No (none / 0) (#123)
by MichaelCrawford on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 12:37:40 PM EST

I'll be considerably relieved if bush loses and steps down, but I have other reasons to prefer Canada.

The lack of jingoistic gun nuts is a significant one, and I think the US will still have them when bush is gone.

There was also my wife's homesickness. She never much liked living in the US, and felt very isolated when we lived in Maine. She's much happier here. She's also very apolitical. What Bush might or might not be up to doesn't bother her.


-- Today's programming tip: Writing Cross-Platform Softw
[
Parent ]

Oh dear, how upsetting. (2.00 / 2) (#134)
by The Aggrandised Mu on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 03:07:18 PM EST

How do you feel about Nietzschean gun nuts such as myself? I really hope I'm not all that off-putting.

I think of people starving
But do you think I care
Let them all die hungry
So I can breathe their air.
[ Parent ]
Isolated in Maine, but not Nfld... (none / 0) (#137)
by scruffyMark on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 06:28:22 PM EST

Sounds kind of funny, but I follow...

Incidentally, hello from scruffy on macosx.com

[ Parent ]

She's from NF, but we live in Nova Scotia (none / 0) (#142)
by MichaelCrawford on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 07:40:27 PM EST

Bonita is from a very small town far away from anywhere in Newfoundland. I spent a few months there after our wedding, and it is remote, but she has lots of family there. But when we moved, we moved to Truro, Nova Scotia, where she was a student at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College when we met.

There's probably 40,000 people or so in Truro, and she has lots of friends here.

She started school in Halifax over the summer, and that's a pretty big city, several hundred thousand people at least.


-- Today's programming tip: Writing Cross-Platform Softw
[
Parent ]

Population (none / 0) (#154)
by The Honorable Elijah Muhammad on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 10:47:33 PM EST

370,000


___
localroger is a tool.
In memory of the You Sad Bastard thread. A part of our heritage.
[ Parent ]
Welcome to Canada! (none / 1) (#135)
by bobzibub on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 06:02:14 PM EST

Being a Canuck in the US, I can sympathize with your wife.  I went back on a visit about a year ago (to BC, or Victoria/Vancouver and Sannich) and it is difficult to describe how peaceful it was.  

No continuous beating of war drums.  No threats of terrorism.  No ultra-slimy character assassinations in local or federal political adverts.  No (as you mention) slow but inevitable decay of the ideals that Americans hold.  Politics was fun there b/c you knew that no matter who won, not one unsuspecting peasant gets their mud-hut bombed to shite.

I recall the sun reflecting on an ocean lapping against the sand and being at peace finally.  (For you Yanks who need a break, there is a ferry to the Sannich penninsula which departs north of Seattle WA.)

A whole-hearted welcome to you and your family!  Have a highly taxed but oh-so-tasty Sleemans for me will ya?  And may your family enjoy the guilt-free pleasure of living in a peaceful land.

Cheers,
-b

[ Parent ]

Sleemans? (none / 1) (#143)
by MichaelCrawford on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 07:44:49 PM EST

What's a Sleemans? Something I should know about?

Highly taxed, yes. One does not emigrate to Canada to avoid taxes.

But I feel better about paying taxes to Canada. I know the money is going to peacekeeping, health care, and looking after the unfortunate. I was really sickened by how many of my US tax dollars were going to killing people in these wars, while at the same time people are dying on the street in the US because they cannot afford health insurance.

I often contemplated tax protest while in the US, but I would surely have gone to prison if I did. Much easier to move to a country where I don't object to paying taxes.

The US is not going to get one nickel of my money this year. My taxes are now going to Canada, and that suits me just fine.


-- Today's programming tip: Writing Cross-Platform Softw
[
Parent ]

Sleemans.. (none / 0) (#153)
by The Honorable Elijah Muhammad on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 10:46:20 PM EST

.. is a brewery in Ontario, roughly what Keiths is to Nova Scotia.

It's decent, nothing special though. The cream ale is good.


___
localroger is a tool.
In memory of the You Sad Bastard thread. A part of our heritage.
[ Parent ]
I'll see if the liquor store has it (none / 0) (#183)
by MichaelCrawford on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 03:50:27 PM EST

they carry a lot of fancy beers.

I often drink keiths in the pubs around here. I also like Rickard's Red.


-- Today's programming tip: Writing Cross-Platform Softw
[
Parent ]

My favorite... (none / 0) (#184)
by The Honorable Elijah Muhammad on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 04:28:01 PM EST

... is still Caffrey's, but very few places here seem to serve it (Maxwell's Plum is the only one I can think of offhand) ... and it's stupidly expensive in the liquor stores (something like 2.79 for a 440ml can) .... other than that I typically drink... whatever else is available. Keith's is nice.

Rogue's Roost on Spring Garden (under planet pool) has a couple excellent beers of their own, the imperial ale is nice (dark), as is the cream ale (not-dark) ... they have a nice ipa as well.


___
localroger is a tool.
In memory of the You Sad Bastard thread. A part of our heritage.
[ Parent ]
Paranoia (1.33 / 3) (#161)
by juju2112 on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 03:51:16 AM EST

Perhaps your paranoia is simply a result of being Schizoaffective?

[ Parent ]
Just because you're paranoid... (3.00 / 2) (#182)
by MichaelCrawford on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 03:49:36 PM EST

Doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

I was quite paranoid last fall, as a result of stress from work. But the paranoia has been effectively treated by increasing my dose of risperdal.

I don't have any of the kinds of fears that I was having last fall, always thinking the police were after me. Flashing lights and sirens don't bother me anymore. I also haven't hallucinated in months.

I don't spend as much time thinking about it, but I'm still glad I'm not going to be in the US for the elections.

I don't think it's just one of my symptoms.

However, you illustrate a challenge that I and many mentally ill constantly face - how to distinguish delusion from reality? Mentally ill people face both real and imaginary threats. How to tell which is which?


-- Today's programming tip: Writing Cross-Platform Softw
[
Parent ]

I gave up on mental health (none / 0) (#247)
by killmepleez on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 06:15:50 PM EST

However, you illustrate a challenge that I and many mentally ill constantly face - how to distinguish delusion from reality? Mentally ill people face both real and imaginary threats. How to tell which is which?
In fact, all people face this challenge. The mentally ill are simply blessed with the inability to be peacefully oblivious to universal subjectivity.

__
"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "J
[ Parent ]
The BIG problem with moving to Canada (none / 0) (#192)
by rogun on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 06:33:29 PM EST

From what I know about Canada it's a lovely place and I've often thought about moving there myself. I won't criticize you for your decision, but I will point out a problem you're creating by doing so.

I'm sure that many Canadians will agree with me when I say that you could have been more useful in the USA than in Canada. It has to be more difficult fighting against Bush's re-election when you're in Canada than if you were still in the USA. Can you still vote in the election?

One reason I decided not to move elsewhere is because I do love the USA and I'd rather fight to save it from a Bush disaster than move elsewhere. And, as Bush runs this country into the ground it hurts Canada as well. We have to fight back and can't give in.

I know you didn't move to Canada specifically because of Bush and I'm not talking directly to you. Rather, I want to make this point to others who are following this thread and are considering following your lead.

[ Parent ]

I can still vote & remote political activism (none / 1) (#202)
by MichaelCrawford on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 08:32:31 PM EST

Yes, I can still vote. I can register to vote in the last district where I lived in the US, so that would be Owl's Head, Maine. That also means I get to vote for the Maine governor, and legislators, and I imagine maybe even Owl's Head selectmen.

However, the procedure to register is kind of hard to understand, so I haven't actually done it yet. I didn't register in time for the Maine primaries, they kind of took me by surprise, but I'll make sure I register in time for the November elections.

The govt has a website to help with this but I don't have the URL handy. I'll look it up later and post it as a reply.

Now, about working for change while no longer in the US. This only applies to me, and people like me in a certain way: I feel that the best thing I can do to effect change in my Mother Country is to write more articles like Is This the America I Love? and Change the Law.

I feel that I'm a very talented writer, and some of my articles are very popular. "Change the Law" is a section from "Links to Tens of Thousands of Legal Music Downloads"; the copy on my own website was served to 65,000 distinct hosts last month, and looks like will have even more traffic this month.

You know, the pen is mightier than the sword and all that.

Writing is something I can still do just fine north of the border.

It's also something I can do more confidently from here. I have received some very frightening, hateful email from some people who read "Is This the America I Love?". Not to say somebody couldn't travel to Canada to have it out with me about it, but I saw enough gun-toting patriots in the vicinity of Owl's Head, Maine that I was more worried that someone in my own neighborhood might object to it.


-- Today's programming tip: Writing Cross-Platform Softw
[
Parent ]

So, if the USA really does become the (none / 1) (#199)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 08:01:48 PM EST

fascist imperial power some people fear - if that happens -

how will living in Canada protect you? Are you planning to defend yourself with beer bottles?

I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]

heh (none / 1) (#219)
by EMHMark3 on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 09:31:06 AM EST

Just wait 6 months and the cold will kill any invading force :)

T H E   M A C H I N E   S T O P S
[ Parent ]

Wave after wave of moose(nt) (none / 1) (#227)
by cburke on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 10:38:19 AM EST



[ Parent ]
I'll see your CA, and raise you NZ... (none / 0) (#212)
by ehintz on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 02:02:52 AM EST

I suppose Canada is a good start, but I went for the serious break and headed to New Zealand. And I'm loving it. Anyway, good on ya, from a fellow ex-pat. I do hope you're still excersising your right to vote as an overseas citizen...

Regards,
Ed Hintz
[ Parent ]
Just wait till you see Canadian politics... (none / 0) (#226)
by lurker4hire on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 10:19:24 AM EST

<spooky voice> DEATH BY COMMITTEE!!!! </spooky>

and the sequel

<angry voice> WE HATE ONTARIO!!!! </angry>

part III

<tired voice> Referendum? NOT AGAIN!!! </tired>

[ Parent ]

Not to be offensive (none / 1) (#246)
by godix on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 05:35:59 PM EST

but you're being paranoid here, increase your med dosage. A coup would require a hell of a lot of prep groundwork and I see no indication of that. Domestic military hasn't been increased, if anything the opposite has happened as we've deployed the national guard to Iraq. While Bush has plenty of 'tough times' type talk he also has lots of 'freedom' talk right along with it and I somehow doubt someone planning a possible coup would spend so much time talking about freedom. Many of the complaints people have about him stem directly from the fact he has principles and tries to stick to them (stem cell research for example), I doubt a principled man would want to overthrow the US. While it's true that there are violent mobs dedicated to political ideas roaming the streets in America those violent mobs are AGAINST Bush and it's rather unlikely that Indymedia will produce some brownshirts for Bush.

So considering that indications are that Bush isn't setup and hasn't tried to setup the needed elements for a coup what makes you think Bush is going to overthrow the US? Are you seriously unable to realize that supporting policies you don't like isn't the same thing as being dictator intent on destroying democracy?


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]

No need for a military coup (none / 1) (#268)
by John Asscroft on Wed Sep 08, 2004 at 12:19:22 PM EST

He who controls the vote counting, controls the vote. And we good Republicans now control the vote counting in many critical states, thanks to the voting machines controlled by our good friends at ES&S (Chuck Hagel's company) and Diebold. Soon we will be able to give Saddam-like majorities to the President without a single shot being fired!

- Your Attorney General
We must destroy freedom to save it from the terrorists who want to destroy freedom. Else the terrorists have won.
[ Parent ]

Mispelling (1.50 / 4) (#105)
by RyoCokey on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 08:11:24 PM EST

Yet, as any reasonable, freedom-loving American patriot will know, the fact that our active military is now allowed to attend, and apparantly, participate in political conventions is quite disturbing. Indeed, it borders on terrifying - as one of the first necessary steps towards latin-style dictatorship.

I think you meant "not."



The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick
No (3.00 / 2) (#136)
by scruffyMark on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 06:24:37 PM EST

The military has to be 'above' partisan considerations. If an active duty officer can also be an elected official, you can quickly get exactly the situations you used to see in Latin America.

General so-and-so becomes president. He immediately has his defense minister promote him to supreme general, and fire his opponents in the military. He then uses his direct command of the military structure to call out the army (without the need to withstand public debate in congress, which he would have to do if he acted only as commander-in-chief by virtue of his presidency) to any demonstrations, opposition political events, labour strikes, etc.

[ Parent ]

Frankly, I support the change (none / 0) (#159)
by RyoCokey on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 02:10:55 AM EST

I see no reason as to why, if they are allowed to vote, they should not also be able to participate in a political convention like other registered voters.

I'm glad to see democracy is actually being helped by the Bush administration for a change.



The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick
[
Parent ]
Have you paid attention to the real world? (2.58 / 12) (#120)
by labradore on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 10:43:55 AM EST

Conventions most certianly are not (anymore) the time or place for influencing party platforms, policy or any other constructive work in the political process. They are mainly publicity tools designed to show the parties and the candidates as they would like to be seen by their target audiences.

Secondly, the largest and most important part of the tradition that the military be seperate from and subserviant to civilian authority relies on the military's own self-regulation. All soldiers and especially officers are very strongly discouraged from making political statements or playing roles in partisan politics while they serve. Without that policy established and enforced by the military itself, the idea of seperation and civilian control would be meaningless.

I agree, it's ridiculous to have A.D. soldiers at a political convention and ridiculous to have changed the rules so some soldiers could dishonor themselves by breaking our great tradition. They they do so by clearly signalling their own leanings to their peers, subordinates and the civilians they have pledged to serve.

However, this is not startling, terrifying or even extremely important. It's an indication that Bush's guys have gone overboard. It bothers me, but it's not the war in Iraq or the Saudi sponsorship of both U.S. politics and muslim terror--both much more important issues.

While I'm near the subject, I've got to express regret, once more, that the Democrats have nominated a guy so liberal and objectionable to most conservatives that we would rather stick with Bush and all his administration's faults than to hazard the spectre of socialism in the White House.

The Democrats tried to do otherwise, (none / 0) (#139)
by pb on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 07:15:31 PM EST

but the Republicans seemed to like Howard Dean even less...
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Interesting but difficult problem... (none / 0) (#286)
by Gooba42 on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:47:23 AM EST

Why are the two major parties fighting over the same pool of voters? There are all sorts of people out there, some of whom would vote for any candidate you presented.

The only reason it matters whether the Republicans like the Democrats' candidate is because neither party has done anything to influence a significant non-voting chunk of the population. They might get 51% of the votes cast but in the big picture that's really only about 25% of the total possible voters.

They really aren't doing a very good job of being in touch with the people. They are, in fact, so out of touch that half of all the people who could be voting don't care enough about it to be bothered. If you motivated even half of the non-voters you'd win a landslide of the total votes but it won't happen. It's much easier to maintain a power structure based on a smaller base with more blind faith than it is to sway a large populace of people with diverse interests.

Ultimately both major parties seem to rather they only had to win 25%+ of the population than to say or do anything significant.

[ Parent ]

How is Kerry liberal? (none / 0) (#141)
by FlipFlop on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 07:22:32 PM EST

While I'm near the subject, I've got to express regret, once more, that the Democrats have nominated a guy so liberal and objectionable to most conservatives that we would rather stick with Bush and all his administration's faults than to hazard the spectre of socialism in the White House.

Could you please define what constitutes a 'liberal' and explain how Kerry fits that definition? And also how Bush differs from it?

AdTI - The think tank that didn't
[ Parent ]

That's easy. (1.57 / 7) (#158)
by Zerotime on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 01:18:33 AM EST

Kerry is a liberal in the same sense that John Howard is a liberal.

---
"You don't even have to drink it. You just rub it on your hips and it eats its way through to your liver."
[ Parent ]
John Howard? Australia, right? (none / 0) (#205)
by falloutboy on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 09:17:28 PM EST

I don't know anything about John Howard's policies. Can you elaborate?

[ Parent ]
Sure. (2.50 / 4) (#207)
by Zerotime on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 12:11:30 AM EST

Basically, John Howard is the head of the Liberal party, which is the moderate-right major party with a "hooray for America" policy. Opposing that is the Labour party, which is a moderate-right major party with a "boo, USA!" policy. Other than that minor idealogical difference, they're pretty much the same - as I hear the the Republicrats and the Demoblians are in the 'States. Kerry is a liberal only in the sense that he's got a vaguely different campaign strategy to Bush.

Or, er, something. This sounded a lot more clever when I came up with it last night.

---
"You don't even have to drink it. You just rub it on your hips and it eats its way through to your liver."
[ Parent ]

Impossible request (none / 1) (#214)
by NaCh0 on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 07:08:19 AM EST

For any liberal position Kerry has taken, I'm sure you can find him supporting the opposing view on the same issue. That's why nobody knows where Kerry stands.

--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.
[ Parent ]
Bullswitzel (3.00 / 4) (#164)
by rogun on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 06:18:02 AM EST

Any candidate the Democrats would have nominated would have been deemed as "too liberal", with the notable exception of Lieberman, who would've lost by a landslide. If you think Kerry is too objectionable, then who would you suggest? I won't argue that Kerry being from the North won't help his chances in the South, but he's far from being "too liberal."

In fact, Southern bred John Edwards is probably more liberal than Kerry. This is just another successful GOP spin that's far from the truth and you bought it.

You have some good points about the significance of this article, but every issue is important. Just because it's unlikely to be the turning point in the election doesn't mean that it should be ignored. And this would be an important story even if there were no election this year, because it affects the sovereignty of our democracy and the role in which the military plays in it. Of course it only matters if we care about our democracy and are willing to stand up to defend it. If you're not, then you're right and it doesn't matter.

[ Parent ]

Lieberman (none / 1) (#221)
by emmons on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 09:31:32 AM EST

You underestimate Lieberman. He's centrist enough that he would have pulled a good number of Republicans from Bush who, in this election, are only voting for Bush because to them he's less scary than Kerry.

The Democrats were so pissed about anything having to do with Bush during the primary that they forgot their sense of strategy and ran as far to the left as practically possible and nominated Kerry. Now they have a problem.

---
In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]

Re: Lieberman (2.00 / 2) (#248)
by rogun on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 06:34:06 PM EST

Lieberman probably would draw more Republicans from Bush than Kerry, but he'd have a more difficult time getting Democrats to the polls as well. The problem with Lieberman is that he doesn't excite anyone, which is something he would need to do even as a centrist. Many Democrats really dislike Lieberman and you can include me on that list.

I have a difficult time imagining anyone viewing Kerry as more "scary" than Bush. I don't know who these people are you mention, but they would likely feel the same way if Lieberman were the Democratic candidate. President Bush is the scariest President I've seen in my 40 years as an American and neither Kerry nor Lieberam come close.

The Democrats ran as far to the left as possible? That's funny because Kerry supposedly won the Democratic nomination because he was more centrist and not as far left or as angry as Howard Dean. Remember? I think you've been drinking the GOP Kool-Aid.

The truth is that all of this is Republican propaganda. There is a big difference between running far left and refusing to play Republican Lite anymore. The Democrats were getting trounced trying to play the centrist role, where they pretended to be more conservative than Republicans, while Republicans steadily moved further right. Republicans are much farther from the center of the political spectrum than Democrats and this is coming from someone who lives in the South.

The Democrats don't have a problem. Kerry is currently trailing Bush by a few points (which is excpected after the GOP convention), after having led him most of the year. The election is far from over and Kerry is already regaining the points he's lost in the polls.

[ Parent ]

Plenty of folks who don't want the job (2.33 / 3) (#238)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 01:04:16 PM EST

Dean and Libermann would have both would have been better candidates.

Other than being "anyone but Bush", Kerry has no credentials and no platform. Edwards is probably a pretty smart guy, but his two years as an undistinguished Senator doesn't really impress either.

The problem is that Kerry (he's a war hero you know) has never championed much of anything. He talk too much about healthcare, because in the process of making him a multi-millionaire, lawyers like Edwards made OB/GYNs inaccessible to millions of poor women. Hell, the man isn't even against the Iraq war!

Bush is clear about what he stands for, right or wrong. That will win him his second term.

[ Parent ]

Re: Plenty of folks who don't want the job (2.50 / 4) (#250)
by rogun on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 07:00:24 PM EST

You may be right about Dean, but not Lieberman. There's a huge difference between the two and I'm interested in hearing how you came up that both would be better.

I find it ironic that you would say a distinguished Senator has no credentials when Bush is the one who has no credentials. The only credential that Bush has is in knowing how to mislead the American populace to take the country to war with a country that poses no threat. Bush hasn't done anything to deserve credentials. But, he has been wrong a lot and you can't spell Wrong without a Dubya.

Your fantasy that Edwards has made health care less acceptable is laughable. I guess you bought that nonesense when Bush said that OB/Gyn's are unable to practice their love for women. Meanwhile, I can't afford the medicine I need to stay alive because Bush won't let me import drugs from Canada. Oh wait, I forgot that he recently flip-flopped on that too.

I agree that Bush knows what he stands for, but what I find sad is that he doesn't tell you. What I find sad is that Bush has flip-flopped many more times than Kerry, but you're unaware of it. I'm not being condescending here, but rather telling you the truth.

Bush did not support the Homeland Security Dept until he was forced to do so. Bush did not support the 9/11 Commission until he was forced to do so.  Bush prevented Congress from looking into known Saudi ties to the 9/11 terrorist, as Bob Graham states in his new book. Heck, he even recently said that the war on terrorism isn't winnable. So what are we doing in Iraq again?

[ Parent ]

If people like you could READ (none / 0) (#266)
by duffbeer703 on Wed Sep 08, 2004 at 10:20:28 AM EST

The world would be lovely.

I didn't write anything that would indicate that I am a Bush supporter at all, and I resent your assumption that I am.

I also didn't claim that Edwards single-handedly made healthcare less "acceptable" [sic]. I did claim and affirm that trial lawyers like Senator Edwards have taken advantage of a legal environment that enriches trial attorneys and leaves women, particularly low-income women in urban area without access to prenatal care.

The fact that the Democrats put a loser like Kerry on the stump against an easy to beat candidate like Bush reflects the decrepit state of the party.

Whether you agree or not, the public, and Republican voters in particular have a clear understanding of what Bush stands for.

Kerry is a different story. Other than platitudes like "I'm going to create more jobs" and "I'm a war hero", nobody really knows anything about the man. There's no healthcare or medicaid platform, no platform on Iraq & Terror, no platform on economic growth or reform.

I disagree with Bush on plenty of issues and would love a viable alternative. Unfortunately, Kerry isn't the man.

[ Parent ]

I apologize if I came across as too harsh (none / 1) (#273)
by rogun on Wed Sep 08, 2004 at 07:29:18 PM EST

but I can read and I never suggested that you were a Bush supporter. Your false assumptions are common among Democrats and independents as well, so my criticizm of your views shouldn't have been taken as a sign that I believed you were a Bush supporter. My response was to your views and not to your political affiliation.

I grew up in a family of trial lawyers, but I'm not one myself and I'm no expert on the judicial system. I'd be interested in hearing your view of why you think trial lawyers are to blame for a lack of prenatal care for women. Having grown up around lawyers and doctors, I can tell you that I have a dislike for many in both fields. But I think that lawyers receive a plethora of undeserved criticizm as a result of political malfeasance.

You won't hear me disagreeing with you about the state of the Democrat Party. Many Democrats are speculating that the party won't be around for much longer because of it's current state. But the reason I support Kerry isn't because he's a Democrat. I'm not a yellow-dog Democrat and I don't just vote the party line.

I don't agree that most Republican voters have a clear understanding of what Bush stands for, although they seem to think they do. Perhaps this is what you meant, but it's difficult for anyone to understand what Bush stands for when he's done little to back up his rhetoric with actions.

I also disagree that nobody knows what Kerry stands for. I think I have a pretty good idea and I know of others who do as well. He hasn't done a good job at relaying his ideas to the public, but that's also a result of the current state of the Democrat Party. Kerry wasn't my first choice either, but I don't regret his candidacy like I would have if Lieberman had won. I do like Kerry and I do believe that he'll make a good President.

My view is that the Bush Campaign has successfully created a false image of Kerry and that many, including yourself, have bought it. I lay the blame for this on the shoulders of the Kerry Campaign, the Democrat Party, and the big media. I'll admit that I consider Bush a grave threat to our nation and that there are many, many Republicans who I'd vote for before Bush. But I'm happy to say that I not only consider Kerry a viable alternative, but also someone who will make a very good President.

Just as the Bush Campaign has painted a false image of Kerry, it has also painted a false image of Bush. Many people speak of how little difference there is between the platforms of the two candidates, but that's only because the Bush Campaign has adopted Kerry's position on many issues. Why would they do this? Because their own position is so radical that they know it wouldn't go over well with the populace and the incumbent has the advantage when all else is equal.

This is all crystal clear to me. My view of Bush was formed while he was still the Governor of Texas and I can't iterate to you just how predictable his first four years have been to me. I'm not surprised by any of the messes that we now find ourselves in and I expect them to only get worse with another four years. Those of us who have been labeled as "Bush haters" have understood this for a long time and our dislike for him has little to do with partisan politics. I'd gladly trade the current Republican President for a John McCain, Chuck Hagel, Rudy Guiliani, or any number of other Republican politicians, even though I disagree with most of their political views.

[ Parent ]

Just so we're clear here... (1.00 / 3) (#122)
by Skywise on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 12:11:59 PM EST

I've said this in a reply, but I wanna give this greater visibility:

Before the change:
Active Duty Military personnel may:
4.1.1.3. - Attend partisan and nonpartisan political meetings and rallies.

4.1.2. - A member on Active Duty shall not:
[...]
4.1.2.3. - Participate in partisan political management, campaigns, or conventions

What is a convention, but a partisan meeting and/or rally?

Therefore, the rules already imply that attendance is okay, participation is not:

The rules after the change clarify that:

May:
4.1.1.3. - Attend partisan and nonpartisan political meetings, rallies, *or conventions as a spectator when not in uniform.*

Nay not:
4.1.2.3. - Participate in partisan political management, campaigns, or conventions *(unless attending a convention as a spectator when not in uniform).*

** IT IS STILL ILLEGAL FOR THEM TO BE DELEGATES **
(because that would be "participation")

And if there were Active-Duty personnel there at the RNC they need to be court-martialed.

Yes, it's dastardly and *evil" that the Republicans got this passed between conventions. (Though I suspect the DNC brought this up during their convention as needing clarification because they had active-duty people who wanted to attend the DNC to show their support against Bush and against the war and their "evil" military commanders said NO because they're firmly in Bush' back pocket.)  But unless this rule gets changed in the next 2 years, then the political advantage will go away at the next convention.

Note again that it's *always* been legal for non-uniformed active-duty military personnel to take part in after hours and off-site convention parties.  So this whole military coup thing is chicken little because they could just setup the coup at the strip club down the street from the convention!

There's more to this than a simple clarification (3.00 / 2) (#131)
by imrdkl on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 02:41:09 PM EST

As I pointed out, there was some inference involved in my article in validating the AP article's claim, but there's clearly more going on here than the simple clarification which you assert. Had there been only the changes which you've emphasized, I might be inclined to believe that it was just another (dastardly) ploy, as you say, but there were other changes - changes which clearly make it much easier for AD members to run for, and hold all types of appointed civil office.

And I think you may want to look up the definition of the word, unless. The act of participation doesn't usually include spectators.

[ Parent ]

You are aware... (none / 1) (#132)
by Skywise on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 02:48:23 PM EST

That there are elected civil servants who have been reactivated for military service.

[ Parent ]
Yes, I knew that (none / 1) (#133)
by imrdkl on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 03:02:29 PM EST

But that has nothing to do with candidacy or nomination, does it? The people you're referring to (NG, reserves, etc) were neither elected, nor "exercising the functions" of their office(s) while on AD, but if their orders specify more than 9 months callup, then they must step down from their (elected) office before they leave.

Is your point that these folks, under the new directive (4.2.2), may now remain candidates for reelection when they get back, or? If so, I can see how that would be fair, but the change would also apply across the board, to those who've never held a political office, but simply want to run while on AD. (Imagine that campaign ad... "Johnny can't be here tonight, because he's off in Iraq, but he sure wants your vote)

[ Parent ]

Another nail in the coffin... (1.50 / 4) (#130)
by canwaf on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 02:16:13 PM EST

When are we going to see the official rise of the new American Fascismo?

Wasn't there some modifications to the messed up american election thingie that allows the President, during times of trouble, stay President even though he was defeated?

This is a dangerous mix, I want out of North American quick...

Meh (none / 1) (#229)
by jmzero on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 11:18:15 AM EST

One has to note that the danger here is not from Bush - who's policy is the product of the same old committees and political processes.  The danger is in some future guy who sweeps to power, and then abuses these provisions made now.  That's not to say Bush won't abuse laws, but only to do the kind of stuff he's already done - and my world, at least, remains something other than a Mad Max type dystopia.

As to getting out of North America, that isn't a good solution if there really was a wacky American president.  "We have always been at war with the European Union" after all.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

I call bullshit. (1.57 / 7) (#144)
by outis on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 07:56:53 PM EST

You say that "it's actually not such a good thing to have active-duty military anywhere near a political convention - if you value your democracy."

Are you on drugs? Why shouldn't they be there? They're citizens too, right?

Dumbass.

No, he's just stupid. (1.14 / 7) (#150)
by eeg3 on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 10:26:12 PM EST

The idea that the military shouldn't interfere/participate in any political movement is archaic. This was an idea "back in the day," when people were worried about soldiers interfering with government in any circumstance, because they were afraid they could use their power to control thought. This isn't the case anymore (if it ever was, which I don't think this was ever a valid worry), and he's just trying to make it sound like they're going to do something like this because he's a democrat.

He, like other democrats, doesn't want people to know that soldiers support Bush, when their main idea in this election is that "We need to get our troops out of Iraq, because they want to go home!" Every soldier I have spoken to has supported Bush, and many of them want to go back to Iraq after they have finished their duty.

-- eeg3(.com)
[ Parent ]
RIght. There are no modern examples of (2.80 / 5) (#152)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 10:42:13 PM EST

the military interfering in democratic elections. Sure.

Read a newspaper once in a while, why don't you?

I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]

Show me one. (1.50 / 4) (#156)
by eeg3 on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 11:18:13 PM EST

Show me an example of military interfering with elections and whatnot that has happened in the United States. Feel free to go back as far as you please.

-- eeg3(.com)
[ Parent ]
He doesn't need to (3.00 / 6) (#167)
by wrax on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 08:12:29 AM EST

show you any evidence of military tampering inside the US in elections, previously there was a law that prohibited the uniformed military from participating in political events in the US so it couldn't happen, but there are plenty of examples to be found in other countries of the military hijacking the country.

Here is an example of a search for "Military Coup" from google news.
--------------------

I don't know whats worse, the fact that people actually write this crap or the fact that people actually vote it up.
[ Parent ]

Sigh. (3.00 / 3) (#169)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 09:06:23 AM EST

So, you're arguing that the laws preventing the US military from interfering in politics are unneeded because the US military hasn't interfered in politics?

Could you please read a history book? Start with the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire and work your way up to the debates over the design of the US constitution. A few brief stops to ponder the evolution of the British monarchy might be helpful, too.

I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]

Right... (1.00 / 2) (#177)
by eeg3 on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 01:02:54 PM EST

Because everyone knows that the political party conventions are the stomping grounds to change policy. The roman empire is a lot different than the US. Don't compare apples and oranges. You're making a big deal over nothing. The term is for you is overreacting.

-- eeg3(.com)
[ Parent ]
he's trying to point out your faulty logic (3.00 / 4) (#178)
by eyespots on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 01:08:23 PM EST

The concept of "The military influencing elections won't happen in the US because it hasn't happened in the US" is faulty logic.

Instead he's saying you take a look at history and see that it happens more often than not. Apparently you can't be bothered, however, to see the similarity between the past and the present.

[ Parent ]

If the military... (1.80 / 5) (#179)
by eeg3 on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 01:58:36 PM EST

wanted to control the country, they could. Your laws aren't going to stop that. Thinking laws will is faulty logic. Who is going to enforce those laws, if the military is against you? Yourself? You're going to fight a military with overwhelming power? Ha. Good luck!

-- eeg3(.com)
[ Parent ]
you sir, are scary. (1.66 / 3) (#187)
by lurker4hire on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 04:56:26 PM EST

In order for a military to be effectivly used against the population it is drawn from you need a considerably fucked up culture.

Unfortunately for the rest of the world, it looks like you guys are heading there full steam ahead. It's a pity really, there was a point in time when America really was the shining example of freedom. Leading the way with a cutting edge constitution (those pesky law things you think so lowly of that made your country great) that carried the rest of the world forward in terms of freedom and rights.

To where will we look for an example now?

[ Parent ]

France [nt] (none / 1) (#225)
by nebbish on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 09:46:25 AM EST


---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

uh, i don't know about that. (nt) (none / 0) (#263)
by vivelame on Wed Sep 08, 2004 at 06:37:33 AM EST



--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
I see. (none / 1) (#198)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 07:59:43 PM EST

So, tell me. Given the structure of the US government - if a general takes control by direct force (as opposed to indirectly influencing the election - which is what these regs are about) - how will he pay his troops?

See, he can sit his ass down at the oval office desk if he wants, but he won't have any troops for very long if the Treasury Department stops cutting checks.

On the other hand, if a general uses the troops to sway or intimidate the electorate, there's no stopping him. And that, last time I checked was fascism. It also happens to be how generals frequently take control of democracies.

I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]

I think the generel approach for a Warlord (none / 0) (#215)
by acebone on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 08:34:52 AM EST

is plundering and pillaging.
--------- Je suis un étranger en tranché
[ Parent ]
It's generally quite difficult (none / 0) (#220)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 09:31:06 AM EST

to sustain any army through pillage when everyone's getting paid by direct deposit.

I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]
You realize (2.33 / 3) (#216)
by Grognard on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 08:48:37 AM EST

that the Roman military turned on the empire because of out-sourcing, right?  Romans found it beneath them to serve, so they hired barbarians to fill the ranks - barbarians who figured out that it was better to take what they were protecting rather than get by on their salary.

Troops only turn on their own people when isolated from those people - either by military policy or social convention.  Allowing members of the military to take part as individuals, decreases that isolation.

[ Parent ]

Partly true. (none / 1) (#222)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 09:34:01 AM EST

IIRC, joining the military was also the ticket to Roman citizenship.

But, you have a point. The problem is balancing the needs and rights of individuals against the danger they represent as a collective. That's why we allow our soldiers to vote, etc.., we just don't let them use their position to endorse particular political positions.

I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]

Indeed...and that's the key (none / 0) (#239)
by Grognard on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 01:44:06 PM EST

we just don't let them use their position to endorse particular political positions.

If they were allowed to participate while holding themselves out as a representative of the service (in uniform, etc.), that would be problematic.

[ Parent ]

There have been no expamples in the US (3.00 / 3) (#172)
by nebbish on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 10:45:39 AM EST

Because up until now laws were in place to stop it from happening.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

against the law? (none / 1) (#196)
by yoders on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 07:32:53 PM EST

"There have been no expamples in the US
Because up until now laws were in place to stop it from happening."

You mean that in some countries it is legal for the military to take over?  Holy smokes, they must be pretty stupid.

\
"It doesn't work, but that's okay because we finished ahead of schedule" --anonymous
[ Parent ]

No (2.50 / 2) (#213)
by nebbish on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 05:19:27 AM EST

Illegal for them to get into a position where they have the opportunity to take over.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Military and politics (3.00 / 3) (#245)
by John Asscroft on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 05:31:35 PM EST

Our military should be just like those in Pakistan and Turkey, where armed soldiers can go into the conventions of the political parties and shoot anybody who disagrees with what the military wants (though they rarely have to -- just the presence of military personnel in uniform carrying weapons is generally enough to cow any dissent against military rule). We need MORE participation by the military in our political process, not less!

-- Your Attorney General
We must destroy freedom to save it from the terrorists who want to destroy freedom. Else the terrorists have won.
[ Parent ]

Hello Hyperbole (1.50 / 8) (#149)
by tarpy on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 08:54:10 PM EST

Yet, as any reasonable, freedom-loving American patriot will know, the fact that our active military is now allowed to attend, and apparantly, participate in political conventions is quite disturbing. Indeed, it borders on terrifying - as one of the first necessary steps towards latin-style dictatorship.

So, sign up to be in the AF, surrender your 1st amendment rights at the door? What crack-head world are you living in?

The rest of your drivel does nothing to support these points.

Please, beg, borrow, or hell, even steal, a clue.


Sir, this is old skool. Old skool. I salute you! - Knot In The Face
That would be the crack-head world (3.00 / 3) (#151)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Sep 05, 2004 at 10:40:35 PM EST

that's bound by the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The rules prohibiting the army from endorsing - even implicitly - a particular candidate for office are as old as our country; and they were put there for a damn good reason.

By the way - I did volunteer to serve in the USAF, though my service was not long. Did you?

I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]

Scary. (3.00 / 4) (#180)
by aphrael on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 02:08:45 PM EST

The fact that the reason for that rule isn't obvious to a lot of the people posting here is scary.

[ Parent ]
Thank you, public education system (3.00 / 3) (#186)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 04:46:30 PM EST

They know so little of history or reality.

I'm betting he didn't click on the google link listing military coups, either.


I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]

If its that obvious, will you please explain it? (none / 1) (#204)
by falloutboy on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 09:12:20 PM EST

I'm a civilian with a moderate interest in history and no particular interest in the military. I have no idea why active duty personnel would be prohibited in the manner proscribed by the pre-Wolfowitz rules. Will you explain it to me?

[ Parent ]
The guardians of the republic (3.00 / 4) (#206)
by aphrael on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 12:00:12 AM EST

It's quite common, historically, for democratic governments to be overthrown by the military (think, for recent examples, of Chile in 1973). It's also quite common for democratic governments to be subverted by the military in such a way that the forms of democracy are preserved but all effective political power runs through the military (think Argentina in the 1950s).

We're at a low risk of that here because the military is pretty much trained to be (a) apolitical, and (b) to see themselves as the guardians of democratic values. Weakening (a), however, so that the military both becomes associated with one side in our domestic political debates and becomes accustomed to expressing itself as a political organization and not just as a servant of the politicians is dangerous. It increases the risk that the military will see itself as, in effect, the kingmakers.

Republics have always been susceptible to this problem: they rely on their militaries for defense (except in special cases like Switzerland) and this creates a situation in which it is possible for the military to decide that it is appropriate and even necessary for it to seize power.

Anything which weakens our protections against that is per se a bad idea.

[ Parent ]

'Think of Chile in 1973'? (none / 0) (#255)
by aphasia on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 09:37:26 PM EST

You're addressing people who think Chile is something you can get on a hot dog at a baseball game.

"You have *huge* brass balls. Tex would be jealous." --ti dave
[ Parent ]

the reason for that example (none / 0) (#259)
by aphrael on Wed Sep 08, 2004 at 01:16:25 AM EST

is to show that it happens in modern times to relatively modern countries.

[ Parent ]
Even more common... (none / 0) (#293)
by mrt on Thu Sep 16, 2004 at 03:06:57 AM EST

It's quite common, historically, for democratic governments to be overthrown by the military (think, for recent examples, of Chile in 1973).

It's even more common for the US to be involved in the overthrow, as they were in Chile and 19 other countries.

So if the there is a force in the US that overthrows democratically elected governments and replaces them with more amenable dictators, why then is the US government safe from a military coup?

Could it be that the US government (regardless of which party is actually in 'power'[ho ho]), is already amenable to those 'at work forces', and so does not need overthrowing?


-

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous
[ Parent ]
Would enlisted vs officer make a difference? (none / 1) (#249)
by jolly st nick on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 06:36:20 PM EST

An interesting question this raises is exactly where to draw the line. One could argue, for example, that to have an apolitical army, that membership in a political party should be banned, or perhaps even voting itself. I think most of us would take the position that no more rights should be taken from active duty personnel than are strictly necessary. For one thing, I think a totally disenfranchised military would probably be bad for political stability.

Speaking as a person who has not served in the military, I don't really know enough to have a fully informed opinion on this. In any exercise in line drawing, it's helpful to have some information on the pros and cons, because inevitably the line is drawn where there is perceived balance between them. Participating in a convention seems to be quite a bit more than party membership but quite a bit less than holding elective office, so it would seem to be an appropriate place to consider drawing a line on one side or the other. What exactly are the conflicts that are added when you go from being a mere party member to being a delegate? Are they the same for everyone? For example, might there be a difference between officers and enlisted?

[ Parent ]

No difference between officers and enlisted (3.00 / 2) (#264)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Sep 08, 2004 at 06:41:37 AM EST

at this point - it's a good question and I was wondering if it would make a difference.

As I mentioned in other posts, the purpose of the rules is not to disenfranchise individual soldiers but, rather, to prevent the military as a group from wielding excessive influence. Thus the restrictions are designed to allow basic political activity (donations and voting) but prohibit behavior that could be construed as military endorsement of a particular political candidate.

Being a delegate crosses that line, I think. It gives one party the ability to say "our boys overseas support us and not them,  you should support our boys overseas!"

I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]

Uhm, the real world (2.50 / 2) (#243)
by John Asscroft on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 05:25:26 PM EST

You sign away your rights when you join the military. I suggest that you a) read the enlistment contract, and b) read the Bill of Rights, which has explicit exceptions written into it for the rights of people serving in the active duty military (for example, soldiers have no right to a jury trial). In particular, the dictates of military discipline strictly limit the rights that an active-duty soldier can display. For example, public criticism of the conduct of a superior is conduct contrary to the disciplinary needs of the military, and has been punishable by the chain of command ever since George Washington gathered up the first Continental Army outside of Boston.

- Your Attorney General
We must destroy freedom to save it from the terrorists who want to destroy freedom. Else the terrorists have won.
[ Parent ]

correction (none / 0) (#284)
by onemorechip on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 01:33:28 AM EST

Actually the Bill of Rights passage you seem to be thinking of says: "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger."

This does not take away the soldier's right to a jury trial; it only removes the requirement of presentment or indictment by Grand Jury before the soldier can be held to answer for a "capital or infamous crime", and only under limited circumstances, namely, when the case arises during actual service, and only in time of War or public danger.

A separate amendment, the sixth, contains the guarantee of the right to trial by jury, and it contains no exceptions. It is a right guaranteed to "the accused", "in all criminal prosecutions". Note too that there are no exceptions for non-citizens.

Whether this right is observed in practice is a different question, as is the question of whether it is legal for a recruitment contract to contain a waiver of the recruit's rights (one can waive one's right to a jury trial, but to do so in advance of any actual crime?). Nevertheless, this is a right that the U.S. Government is constitutionally bound to guarantee to all persons accused of crimes within its jurisdiction.


--------------------------------------------------

I did my essay on mushrooms. It's about cats.
[ Parent ]

An interesting point here (2.66 / 9) (#162)
by rogun on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 06:02:51 AM EST

The new directive came after the Democrats convention, which hardly seems fair. I remember hearing some people wondering why certain known active duty Kerry supporters were not speaking at the Democrat convention and the response given was that they were not allowed for the reason cited here. It hardly seems fair that the DOD, or Paul Wolfowitz specifically, can change the rules at a moments notice to favor Bush.

Active Duty supporters (3.00 / 2) (#168)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 09:02:48 AM EST

would not have been allowed to speak even after the rules change, but otherwise you get the point - this smells like a lame attempt to bolster the number of vets and soldiers at the RNC, overlooking the little matter of chipping away at the barrier between the military and politics.

I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]
Who is in a position to change it? (none / 0) (#285)
by Gooba42 on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:33:03 AM EST

That bit about the campaigning and rallies and such should have a little addendum forbidding any of it in an election year.

What trustworthy person has the power to make the necessary changes?

[ Parent ]

Apparently Paul Wolfowitz has the ability (none / 0) (#290)
by rogun on Thu Sep 16, 2004 at 12:40:21 AM EST

Other than him, I have no idea.

[ Parent ]
So (2.00 / 2) (#185)
by trhurler on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 04:42:04 PM EST

How DOES it "turn out" that having active duty personnel involved in a convention is a very bad thing if you value democracy? I think maybe you mean "if you value Democratic Party victories." That's not the same thing.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Civillian control (none / 0) (#190)
by cameldrv on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 05:50:53 PM EST

It's very important that particularly officers do not have a public political orientation. If it is clear that say, everyone important in an army division is of a certain party, plotting a coup becomes much easier and less risky.

[ Parent ]
A nice idea (none / 0) (#193)
by trhurler on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 06:41:52 PM EST

But we already know that 90+% of military personnel are Republican leaning, to say the very least. If all that were preventing a coup were a lack of knowledge of their party orientation, then clearly we would be in deep trouble.

Why is this not really a problem? Because those people in the military - or at least, the vast majority of them - believe in our system of government, in our freedom, and so on. They would not support ANY coup, no matter who carried it out. THAT is what must be maintained, and it is not dependent on party affiliation or the knowledge thereof. I might expect this sort of restriction on military involvement in politics in, say, Germany, where the view of the system as sacrosanct is much less prevalent and the history of the nation is much more frightening, but I don't believe that even in such a place, it would effectively prevent any coup that would otherwise have succeeded.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
90% Republican?? (none / 0) (#253)
by rywri on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 09:24:11 PM EST

But we already know that 90+% of military personnel are Republican leaning, to say the very least.

Where do you get that statistic? Did you just pull it out of nowhere? I would definitely like to see the true numbers, especially given the percentage of enlisted who are only in the military because of promises about education and employment. People who need to join the military in order to go to school would most likely vote Democrat.

[ Parent ]
Um... (none / 0) (#272)
by trhurler on Wed Sep 08, 2004 at 04:41:09 PM EST

Well, we have polls, for one thing. Yes, many officers are Democrats, but officers are a tiny minority, and many of them are also Republicans. Among enlisted types, religious, nationalist conservatism is by far the most popular political position.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
No democracy here. (1.50 / 2) (#195)
by javaman83 on Mon Sep 06, 2004 at 07:21:25 PM EST

We don't have a democracy for me to value. This is a representative republic. Democracy is mob rule.

Wow! Wrong both times (none / 0) (#292)
by mrt on Thu Sep 16, 2004 at 02:54:49 AM EST

This is a representative republic.
No, the USA is a democratic republic. This is an internet website.

Democracy is mob rule.
No, democracy (the original meaning), is rule by class (profession, not socioeconomic). The ancient Greeks had a ruling body made up of the various trade/craft guilds. Each guild would vote for a representative, and that representative would join the ruling body.

-

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous
[ Parent ]
Chicken Little (2.00 / 2) (#211)
by jubal3 on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 12:57:27 AM EST

Ya, sure, we're gonna have a military coup because soldiers can exercise their constitutional liberties like the citizens they are.

This is of course along the same lines as the "fact" that we are allgoing to be rounded up and put into camps because the FBI can read our library records.

Don't you guys ever get tired of screaming about the end of the Republic that never happens? Try living under an ACTUAL dictatorship sometime. It might give you a bit of perspective.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***

Federal property (none / 1) (#254)
by kahako1 on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 09:31:30 PM EST

As a soldier I am not a citizen. I am the property of the Federal Government. I have given up my rights as a citizen to defend yours. As federal property I should not be allowed to hold political office. The constitution is clear on this. Civilians are in charge of the military.
"... always look on the bright side of death..." - Eric Idle
[ Parent ]
Neither history, the Constitution nor (none / 1) (#258)
by jubal3 on Wed Sep 08, 2004 at 01:10:35 AM EST

the U.S. Supreme court agrees with your assertion.

When I joined the U.S. Military, I most emphatically did not give up my rights as a U.S. Citizen. The courts have ruled on this time and again, that members of the military do not give up their basic constitutional rights, among these I might point out, is the right to vote, and to be active in political affairs of my choice.

The military has been able to squelch some compromises out of the courts in very obvious cases where security and mission trump rights, but not much more so than allowing the military to exercise prior restraint upon journalists covering wars.

You are NOT property of Uncle Sam, and anyone who says you are is full of it.

Historically, many serving members of government have volunteered  for duty with the armed forces, most notably in WWII.

Previously this was handled by "pairing" the vote with a member of the opposite party in the case of congressmen who served. This served to nullify both votes so the incumbent did not have to resign his office.

No one suggested these people should be able to hold simultaneous political offices with military ranks (except in cases of reservists).

The whole point is that Soldiers have rights too, and attending political conventions, or even being voting delegates, is not a public office.

Anyone who has information to the contrary, feel free to post a link, but I'm not aware of party political officers being considered "elected officials" by any stretch of the imagination.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

Yet another k5 history major. (none / 1) (#262)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Sep 08, 2004 at 06:34:11 AM EST

First, I'm a registered Republican and I think this is was a terrible idea.

Second, these rules were not some Clintonian invention - versions of them have been in place since Washington was president.

Third, the same rules apply to the civil service and for the same reasons.

I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]

Rad (none / 0) (#270)
by jubal3 on Wed Sep 08, 2004 at 04:00:39 PM EST

my other reply, then please supply me the federal law that prohibits Civil Servants from being officers in a political party, showing up at political conventions, etc.

Party political officers are NOT elected officials, they have ZERO governmental function or authority.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

Hrm. You're right. (none / 1) (#271)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Sep 08, 2004 at 04:22:54 PM EST

Either I'm senile or things have changed I was in the civil service in 1988. (The law was revised in 1993)

The current law prohibits political activity in the work place but doesn't prohibit civil servants from attending outside political functions - as long as they don't use their uniform or otherwise use government resources.


I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]

Take the poll! (1.75 / 4) (#228)
by imrdkl on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 11:08:16 AM EST

Better late than never.

Also, anyone seen thelizman? I like to see his take on this.

Man your arrogant! (1.16 / 6) (#231)
by LO313 on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 11:22:15 AM EST

Your poll is written like CNN poll. So either we agree with you or we don't care. Put a few more options in there you moron!

[ Parent ]
Count yourself lucky (2.00 / 2) (#237)
by imrdkl on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 12:59:21 PM EST

I could have stuffed the ballot box.

[ Parent ]
Wow! (1.25 / 4) (#240)
by LO313 on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 02:30:35 PM EST

That's creative. Maybe the poll should be by punch card. Hanging chads, galore!

[ Parent ]
I think you've missed the boat (none / 1) (#230)
by LO313 on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 11:20:25 AM EST

I read through the "old" version and I can see no reason why a soldier on active duty cannot attend a political convention as a delegate. You refer to active duty personel not being able to hold "elective civil office". How is this violated by being a delegate? A civil office is defined in the document as: E2.1.3. Civil Office. A non-military office involving the exercise of the powers or authority of civil government, to include elective and appointive office in the U.S. Government, a U.S. territory or possession, State, county, municipality, or official subdivision thereof. I'm sorry to burst your conspiracy theory bubble but a political party is not a civil office.

I would love to hear from someone who has been at one time on active duty and was active in a political party. I understand the need for the seperation of the military from our civilian government. I just don't see how this is affected here? Active duty personel are not supposed to do pretty much anything in "an offical capacity" in uniform unless its specifically approved. Look at astronauts, they were for a long time AD pilots. Whenever they spoke to the public they dressed in civilian clothing never their uniform.

My take on these changes is that these were put in because of the situation our country is in currently where a number of members of political parties are on active duty but not overseas. I know I heard about a member of the GOP from Iowa, where I live, was in Iraq and would have been the head of the delegation had he been here. Should a member who is now on active duty but stationed still in their home state not be allowed to participate in the process? As far as speaking at the DNC to show not every member of the military is behind the President, that would violate the old and new rules. Even out of uniform, they would be presented as a captain or general or whatever. That would be a gross violation of the rules.

For what its worth, I think this is much ado about nothing.

What? (none / 1) (#232)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 11:44:56 AM EST

It's explicitly probhibited! Paragraph 4.1.2.3, I believe.

I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]
True but (none / 0) (#233)
by LO313 on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 12:00:26 PM EST

section 4.1.1.3 could supercede section 4.1.2.3. That's why this was clarified. And as I stated, there are active duty reservists now who more that likely if not on active duty would be participating. So, since they are on active duty now but won't be in 6 months this should preclude them from participating in the politcal process? That is un-democratic. Are they standing there in their uniforms waving the flag and threatening the civil liberties of independents who don't vote for Bush? NO! I believe this to be a clarification to adjust for a changing dynamic in our country and nothing more. No matter how much you and other paranoid fools wish it to be.

[ Parent ]
The entire basis of your argument (2.00 / 2) (#241)
by imrdkl on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 02:32:56 PM EST

Is misinformed. Delegates are indeed elective civil offices, and their representation in most states corresponds directly to the voting districts which are represented by ordinary congressmen. This isn't a membership in a private club, son. This is as civil and as elective as any other office.
The majority of the delegates are elected by the general public. Any citizen can run for election in the spring primary for a convention seat. Publicly elected delegates represent the United States Congressional Districts in which they reside and are elected by the party members of those districts.
So why don't your bad self back down do the farm where you came from and insult your cows, or fondle your chickens, hmm?

[ Parent ]
You're STILL full of it (none / 1) (#275)
by jubal3 on Thu Sep 09, 2004 at 12:34:14 AM EST

Party offices are NOT civil elective offices.

They excercise no power, they pass n laws, enforce no public regulations, they collect no public tax monies, etc, etc, etc.

They are not bound by sunshine statutes, civil service regulations, and on and on and on....

Delegates are NOT public officials.
They're elected officers of political parties.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

Uh huh, and your saying so makes it true, right? (none / 0) (#276)
by imrdkl on Thu Sep 09, 2004 at 11:18:01 AM EST

Look, you can claim that it's not true that all the way to Jupiter, pal, and it doesn't mean squat. The fact is that I've provided documented proof that, indeed, some delegates are elective offices. Therefore, these delegates cannot be AD members. The rules are clear on that.

The rest, those which are not elected, can now be active duty members, due to the changes to the candidacy/nomination subparagraphs, also noted in the text of this article.

[ Parent ]

You are right (none / 0) (#296)
by jubal3 on Wed Sep 22, 2004 at 01:03:33 PM EST

However, you are using the narrowest possible definition of elected officials.

I actually called the Penn. Scty of State's office, and you are correct, that state puts delegates up for election in party primaries, administered by the state.

So I guess, taking all this into account, delegates from Pennsylvania can't be AD service members.

Point being, I wanted you to know I didn't just ignore your point, I did actually follow it up. :)


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

Citizens first, soldiers second (2.00 / 3) (#234)
by mveloso on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 12:24:58 PM EST

Remember, soldiers are your neighbors, and are citizens as well.

Besides, you're trusting an AP report? AP was the same org that published the "crowd boos Bill Clinton/crowd cheers Bill Clinton retraction story." They've got at least one Jayson Blair in there somewhere,

Huh? (none / 0) (#283)
by Wah on Sat Sep 11, 2004 at 10:54:33 AM EST

So they are going to report my regular activities to the Republicans too?

Umm, if that's your metric for dismissing news stories (if a source has ever got one thing wrong....) then I don't know what you do get information of the outside world.

Other than that, I don't really see the point of your comment.  Soldiers are citizens that are the property of the government, as such they should not be actively participating in a political process that is going to decide who controls said government.
--
umm, holding, holding...
[ Parent ]

Isn't there a further conflict? (none / 0) (#287)
by Gooba42 on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:50:30 AM EST

As I understood it and as reported awhile back, Active Military are not allowed to speak out against the sitting president.

As the Commander In Chief he is their ultimate superior and to speak out against him is insubordination and punishable.

Interpret it as you may, but I'm sure for the purposes of this election anyone doing military service would face penalties for any significant service rendered unto the Democrats.

[ Parent ]

Why do you hate America? (1.12 / 8) (#251)
by sellison on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 07:17:47 PM EST

Our soldiers are good honest Americans, and they deserve to have their political voices heard!

Leave it to the dems to try and suppress yet another group and call it "democracy".

"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush

you misunderstand the complaint (none / 0) (#260)
by aphrael on Wed Sep 08, 2004 at 01:18:19 AM EST

which is basically this: soldiers have been allowed to express one viewpoint but not its opposite.

[ Parent ]
Silly boy (none / 0) (#267)
by imrdkl on Wed Sep 08, 2004 at 11:13:15 AM EST

I do this because I love my country. Why do you love fascism?

[ Parent ]
Conventions are bad in the first place. (none / 1) (#256)
by kahako1 on Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 09:55:35 PM EST

Why do we as tax payers support the selection of a parties candidate? I think this is an injustice and a waste of tax money. The parties should be responsible for selecting their own candidate. Tax money should only be used during the election that actually results in a the selection of the office holder.
I don't like seeing my tax money spent to help the Republican party select George bush, the Democrat Party select John Kerry, The Libertarian Party select Michael Badnarik, the Green Party select David Cobb, The Constitution party select Michael Peroutka, the Peace and Freedom party select Leonard Peltier, or Ralph Nader select himself to run form president (I have only listed the parties registered in CA).
"... always look on the bright side of death..." - Eric Idle
primaries (none / 0) (#269)
by aphrael on Wed Sep 08, 2004 at 01:46:28 PM EST

Why do we as tax payers support the selection of a parties candidate? I think this is an injustice and a waste of tax money. The parties should be responsible for selecting their own candidate.

I'm not going to speak to the conventions, as they are an anachronism, but taxpayer funded primaries are a good idea.

Start with the assumption that in most cases it is only possible for the two major parties to successfully field a candidate - and that in some states or, at least, in some districts, it is only possible for one major party to successfully field a candidate. The public primary then becomes the only way to ensure that the voters have a say in who is governing them.

I don't know if this would be a problem today, but it was a serious problem when the public primaries were adopted in the late nineteenth/early twentieth centuries.

[ Parent ]

Nitpick (none / 0) (#277)
by Peter Trepan on Thu Sep 09, 2004 at 12:18:06 PM EST

The Libertarian Party doesn't accept tax-funded contributions for just that reason. Eliminating taxes for programs that aren't needed by everyone is a large part of their platform, and they don't want to appear hypocritical.


Truth is more of a stranger than fiction. -- Mark Twain
[ Parent ]
Is there a problem here? (1.66 / 3) (#274)
by khallow on Wed Sep 08, 2004 at 07:33:59 PM EST

I read through the story. First, no law was broken. The DoD directive that you seem to think important dates back from 1986 and it's not a law or even an executive order. That inherently puts it far down in importance.

Active military personnel are US citizens and should have the right to attend political conventions. It doesn't seem fair to me that politicians can attend a republican convention, but active duty servicepeople who are putting their lives on the line for the US can't. IMHO, you should be happy in fact that Republicans listen to people who saw actual combat in Iraq.

PS, how did this end up on the front page? There's nothing interesting here. A DC bureacrat changes in a minor way internal rules to favor his political party and it's being heralded as the end of US democracy?

Stating the obvious since 1969.

Boy did you miss the boat. (3.00 / 3) (#279)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Sep 09, 2004 at 04:03:15 PM EST

First, those minor regulations are the implementation of a federal law, called the Hatch Act.

Second, the Hatch Act is a lot older than 1986, and my understanding was itself an update of principles that go back to the creation of this country.

Third, many Americans, think it's a bad idea to allow the military to have a say in civilian politics. To argue otherwise is to ignore most of world history and modern geopolitics.

Fourth, the rules were changed between the conventions - so even if the changes were okay, they were timed to give the RNC an opportunity that the DNC did not have.

Fifth, all these points have been covered several times in the comments here. Frankly, you should read those comments in the discussion before deigning to shower us with your wisdom.

I was watching the convention when suddenly this guy jumped a wall and tried to attack Dick Cheney. The Secret Service was totally unprepared - they di
[ Parent ]

No, you did. (none / 0) (#288)
by Kadin2048 on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 02:35:09 PM EST

This whole line of discussion seems both alarmist and stupid.

First of all, you have to make the distinction between "servicepeople" and "soldiers," because they are NOT the same thing. When in uniform, an individual is a soldier, and is both an agent and representative of the US Government and of their branch, and their presence at any political function would be wholly inappropriate, undemocratic, etc.

However, out of uniform and while on their own time, servicepeople are just ordinary citizens like everyone else. They have a right to participate in the political process, in the same ways that anyone else might, with the exception of actually holding a political office.

The historical principles which I believe you are referring to, which would more or less disallow anyone in the military from exercising political power while in uniform or not, have no place in today's world. I believe, and I think you will find that current military teachings support, that it is a serviceperson's duty to exercise their individual power within the democratic government that they are sworn to protect.

There was a time when it was considered improper for a member of the military to even vote, and this seems to be the situation that some would like to return to, in theory if not in practice. I find this very disturbing, as it treats the military not as a group of intelligent, thinking citizen-soldiers, but instead simply as a Clausewitzian tool with which to accomplish political ends.

It is this situation which is inherently dangerous and a threat to democracy; where soldiers do not actively participate in or feel a connection to the government and political system they serve. To say, as this article is doing, that having a few off-duty military personnel participating in a convention is a threat to democracy, is ridiculous.

A military whose members are detached and do not feel a connection -- as CITIZENS, not as soldiers -- to their government, runs the risk of becoming an amoral juggernaut, and that is truly something which deserves the alarming tone which this article so easily uses.

[ Parent ]

Go read Animal Farm... (none / 1) (#289)
by Elendale on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 03:58:47 PM EST

"When in uniform, an individual is a soldier, and is both an agent and representative of the US Government and of their branch, and their presence at any political function would be wholly inappropriate, undemocratic, etc."

Oh, so you're fine with them erasing everything up to that point? But you realize they could just cross out the "while not in uniform" part and then presto! Instant uniformed military presence. What's to stop them from doing that? Because you don't like it? That's clearly not relevant here- you're arguing against "not liking it" as a legitimate reason for being against these changes. So by your metric why would this be a bad thing?

So okay, we have uniformed soldiers at our conventions- no wait, scratch that: we have uniformed soldiers at the Republican convention. Clever thing delaying your political convention like that. Anyway, another stroke of the pen and you've got armed, uniformed soldiers at political conventions. Hmm, that seems pretty bad...

But of course, nothing like that could ever happen here in the USA! That would be unthinkable.


---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


[ Parent ]
Go read Animal Farm ten times (none / 0) (#295)
by khallow on Tue Sep 21, 2004 at 11:15:50 AM EST

But of course, nothing like that could ever happen here in the USA! That would be unthinkable.

For that last spew, I think you should do a little penance. Animal Farm, ten times. You probably believe that Nazi Germany or the USSR came about merely because they voted for the wrong guy.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Chain of command? (none / 0) (#291)
by mrt on Thu Sep 16, 2004 at 02:48:34 AM EST

The first duty of a soldier is to carry out his or her orders recieved from his/her superior officer. Ultimately, those orders come from the Government, who (thoretically in a democracy) is elected by "the people". In other words, the soldier recieves his orders from "the people", however indirectly.

Ultimately, the use of force is the final arbiter of whether or not one's will can be carried out, and so a soldier carries a much greater burden of political neutrality than another type of public servant in a democracy, because as a citizen, a soldier can influence the types of orders he/she recieves from the Government, inverting the chain of command, and opening the possibility of the military determining policy rather than the citizenry.

I think THAT is the thing you need to guard against to protect the concept of "of the people, by the people and for the people".

Now, of course soldiers are people too. And citizens as well, with an equal say in how their country is run. The important distinction is that they belong to an organisation that requires them to obey orders, whether they agree with them or not.


-

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous
[ Parent ]
don't worry too much (none / 1) (#282)
by zerocommazero on Fri Sep 10, 2004 at 12:57:54 PM EST

From a few friends I have in Iraq, I'm getting the impression that most troops are very disgruntled over there. Most are pretty pissed about getting shot at and bombed by the very same people they're trying to save.
"I have a few truths for the men in this audience. It's your fault for all the violence in this country and it's your fault for all the crime in this country."-Peter Griffin at the Million Man March
Active Duty Military Attending the RNC | 296 comments (243 topical, 53 editorial, 6 hidden)
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