Valor knows no gender

“Today, by moving to open more military positions—including ground combat units—to women, our armed forces have taken another historic step toward harnessing the talents and skills of all our citizens.  This milestone reflects the courageous and patriotic service of women through more than two centuries of American history and the indispensable role of women in today’s military.  Many have made the ultimate sacrifice, including more than 150 women who have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan—patriots whose sacrifices show that valor knows no gender.” President Barack Obama

Charlie Pierce: “According to the 2010 study, a recent IDF report found that female combatants maintained alertness better, were more knowledgable and professional when using their weapons, and had better shooting abilities than men. But even still, like in many other nations, a good number of combat positions remain closed to them, including much of those on the front lines. And though there was a 400 percent increase in Israeli women military careerists between 1999 and 2009, the brass ceiling in many ways still remains. [...] But momentum is gathering. And while, again, this morning’s change has a three-year span before the military needs to make final decisions about which combat roles it will open to American women, over the next few years, across the world—in South Korea, in Australia, and now in the U.S. — more and more women will see combat with some, but, if precedent holds, not all of the titles they damn well deserve. [Via NPR]

Mother Jones: “If the United States had previously allowed women to serve officially in military combat roles, including special operations forces, there might be fewer sexual assaults in the armed services, the Pentagon’s top general told reporters Thursday. Having studied the issue of rampant sexual misconduct in the ranks, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted that he has concluded that the phenomenon exists partly because women have been subordinated to men in military culture: “It’s because we’ve had separate classes of military personnel.””

Additionally the United States is, once again, lagging behind the rest of the civilized world in finally opening combat roles to women. Over a dozen other countries have allowed it for years, such as: (Buzzfeed)

  1. Canada
  2. Israel
  3. Finland
  4. Poland
  5. Norway
  6. Denmark
  7. France
  8. Romania
  9. Germany
  10. Sweden
  11. The Netherlands
  12. Australia
  13. New Zealand

And what are some of the silliest reactions to this news so far?

  • Steve Benen: Internet television personality Allen West was not at all pleased with the Pentagon’s decision to lift the military’s ban on women serving in combat, calling this part of “another misconceived liberal vision of fairness and equality.” Of course, given that West was forced from the military after an interrogation in which he threatened to kill a police officer, then fired a 9mm next to his head to make the threat credible, maybe he’s not the best judge on military qualifications.
  • Tucker Carlson also tweeted: “The latest feminist victory: The right to get your limbs blown off in war. Note to Tucker: 130 American women have been killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. And of the several hundred who are injured, one now serves quite ably in Congress. (Rep. Tammy Duckworth flew helicopters.) I suspect that many feminists might well agree with Carlson: Women ought to have the right to get their limbs blown off if they’re as qualified as men are. Duckworth, whose limbs were, well, blown off, was as good a pilot as the many more men who were injured by IEDs too. This is quaint and false chivalry.
  • David Frum: “The people we are likely to meet on the next battlefield are people who use rape and sexual abuse as actual tools of politics. In Iranian prisons, rape is a frequent practice. Women are raped before they are executed. In Iran, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan rape is a conscious tool of subjugation and it is something women will be exposed to. In the name of equal opportunity they will face unequal risk.” — Adam Serwer: “It’s true that women face the danger of sexual assault if captured. The same could be said of men. Frum’s objection seems somewhat selective; women in the US military are more likely to face sexual assault from their comrades in the service than they are to be killed by enemy fire. Perhaps that’s less sensational than the thought of scary foreigners violating American women, but it’s a more urgent threat.”
  • WSJ Op-ed: Women shouldn’t be allowed in combat positions because men poop and it would be humiliating to poop in front of women.
  • Bill Kristol: “It’s predictable that few in our political and cultural elites will speak up for biology, for common sense, or for decency or honor.”

Finally, WHY is ending the ban so crucial? Andrew Sullivan:

Without the combat designation, women veterans can be denied the benefits they need, particularly medical and psychological, because they were designated non-combat while serving. Receiving many benefits from the VA is dependent on “if the veteran engaged in combat with the enemy.” A critical part of the approval process is what was the veteran’s designated military occupational speciality. If women will have noncombat MOS even if they engaged in combat because they are women then that means the VA might not approve them for combat related requests for benefits.  Women are not being treated equally under the law because of the noncombat designation.

I expect there will be a massive  lawsuit on behalf of all the female veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to be retroactively reclassified as having served with combat duty in order to get the medical benefits they will need from the VA for the rest of their lives.  Because right now, that shit is being denied and will continue being denied for the entirety of their lives, all because they were designated ‘non-combat’ when they served.

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Deadbeat Dad) says Democrats want “everyone to be the same”

At a town hall event on Sunday, the tea party’s favorite deadbeat dad, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), said that his political opponents want everyone to be exactly the same, according to Raw Story:

“You feel like I do. You’re scared. Young, old, middle-class, wealthy, or poor — you’re scared. All I’m going to ask you, and I’ll ask you when I am done, is you gotta take that fear and you better turn it into something really productive, because the other side — guys, I hear it every day — the other side is working every bit as hard as we are who believe in freedom. The side that wants everybody to live in a $200,000 house, and everybody have a blah kind of health care, and everybody to go to college, the side that wants everybody to look and sound and be the same, because that is what they worship, equality, that side is working their tail off.”

Projection, much? It’s as if he’s accusing the Democrats of being the political party known for driving away people who aren’t white, male, conservative, fundamentalist Christian heterosexuals. It seems to me that a political party which scorns diversity in every way imaginable, and which works diligently to create divisions according to wealth and health and race and sexuality, and which attempts to legislate their beliefs onto society as a whole IS ACTUALLY THE POLITICAL PARTY that wants everyone to be the same.   

I’ll just leave this here:


Source: drunkonstevphen

Ever notice how it’s usually only conservative white men who’d like to return to the past?

Rick Santorum’s weird and narrow-minded religious vendetta presidential campaign, which is based entirely on GOP conservative values and HIS interpretations of Biblically-based social guidelines, seems to highlight his personal desire to take our country “back” to some golden, shiny moment in recent history. What Santorum and the GOP don’t want to understand is that returning to any point in the past would be a dream shared only by other white, conservative men (who are primarily of a certain age).

Below, Donna Trussell describes it as Santorum’s “Rockwellian” America. In reality, this is Santorum’s “Completely Fictional” America, because of the many problems that only society and taxes, progress, science, education, and equality solved for people who weren’t born wealthy, white, and male all at the same time.

Rick Santorum’s poodle-skirt vision of America

In Santorum’s “Rockwellian” America, men stand by their devoted wives and delightful children. They all work hard, go to church on Sundays, do their homework. Then the parents launch their competent, well-educated kids into a world eager to employ them. Everything is copacetic in Sweater World.

So what’s the problem with having a kid, even if the pregnancy was unplanned? The baby will give you a reason to settle down, or stay together. Even if the father has disappeared, that’s okay. Your family and community will bundle you up with love and support. That kid will be the best thing that ever happened to you.

It’s not like the parents are unemployed, or the boyfriend is beating up the girlfriend and molesting his stepdaughter. It’s not like a girl or boy has to perform sex acts on adults just to survive.

Oh, if only.

As cornball as Norman Rockwell’s illustrations were, their sentimental scenes would be a welcome break from the violence, uncertainty, poverty, rape and sexual abuse that besets the lives of many women and children.

Let these pro-life Republican men who are so concerned about innocent lives put their money where their mouths are. Let them beef up the welfare system by way of a special tax on the wealthy. Let’s put aside a mandatory trust fund that will pay for decent housing, schooling and food for 18 years of each new life created.

But that’s not what the GOP has in mind. Republicans want to control the actions of women and girls, not provide for them. Continue…

It’s difficult, if not impossible, for a patriarchal system to control the minds and lives of women, when women know they can easily control their own fertility (or lack thereof). There will be no going back, no matter how much Mullah Santorum fearmongers about the Bible and Satan and the ‘dangers’ of contraception in this year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Twelve.

And with regard to people in this country who aren’t rich or white or male, if we could just move the Republican Party’s traditional, knee-jerk viewpoints from the Old Testament over to the New Testament, we might actually experience some progress toward a golden, shiny moment in our country’s future instead of reminiscing over fictional tv reruns and the good times that never were for a majority of people.

Obama’s promises: honest follow-through

“Under Obama, support for marriage equality and marijuana legalization has crested to record levels. Under Obama, a crucial state, New York, made marriage equality for gays an irreversible fact of American life. Gays now openly serve in the military, and the Defense of Marriage Act is dying in the courts, undefended by the Obama Justice Department. Vast government money has been poured into noncarbon energy investments, via the stimulus. Fuel-emission standards have been drastically increased. Torture was ended. Two moderately liberal women replaced men on the Supreme Court. Oh, yes, and the liberal holy grail that eluded Johnson and Carter and Clinton, nearly universal health care, has been set into law. Politifact recently noted that of 508 specific promises, a third had been fulfilled and only two have not had some action taken on them. To have done all this while simultaneously battling an economic hurricane makes Obama about as honest a follow-through artist as anyone can expect from a politician.” — Andrew Sullivan, from his Newsweek cover story on Obama’s critics.

For more see:

Marriage equality in New York V

“Some undeniable logic for those against gay marriage”


Marriage equality in New York IV


Marriage equality in New York III

Steve Martin & Alec Baldwin

Marriage equality in New York II

Source: heartinthebay

Marriage Equality in New York

Future generations are going to look back on this issue and wonder: Why the Hell would some people try to stop other people from GETTING MARRIED?!

Governor Andrew Cuomo signs New York’s marriage equality bill into law late Friday.  (Photo: Nathaniel Brooks / The New York Times)

Front page, the New York Times, Saturday 25 June 2011.

N.Y. governor signs gay marriage into law; same-sex weddings to commence in 30 days

Image: Empire State Building lit up by rainbow lights in honor of marriage equality, via