Daily Archives: February 9, 2018

General Kelly’s Willful Ignorance is a Product of Military Culture

By Michael Bryan

People are shocked that Gen. Kelly demonstrably knew that the President’s Staff Secretary, Rob Porter, could not obtain a permanent clearance due to domestic abuse allegations, and yet kept him in a position which required him to handle Top Secret and above materials.

I am not.

As a former prosecutor who has handled hundreds of domestic violence allegations, I handled several dozens of charges against male members of the armed forces. Invariably, if the accused was an officer, the member’s commander reached out to me to inform me of what a fine officer and national security asset the accused was. Rarely did they ask me directly to drop the charges, but they almost always served as character witnesses for the accused. Invariably, I would be informed of the damage that would be done to national security, and the waste of the expensive specialized training the taxpayers had invested in the officer, should he be convicted and be unable to continue his military career. The formal zero-tolerance of domestic violence had led to an informal culture of always believing the best of the man.

I’m sure there exists no formal policy of disbelieving domestic abuse charges against members, but what I observed was a definite culture of men covering for men in the military. Perhaps it was all rationalized as force protection: keeping vital national security assets at the work on behalf of the nation. But the result was a steady pressure to exempt military officers from the consequences of their crimes against women.

Having seen, first-hand, how the military’s culture handles allegations of domestic violence against those whom they consider mission-critical personnel, I am not at all surprised that General Kelly gave Rob Porter the benefit of every possible doubt to keep him at his post.

I have little doubt that the military culture General Kelly marinated in his whole career influence his thinking in his new role. The key difference in his new context is that General Kelly was now confronted with an FBI background report refusing to grant Porter clearance due to credible allegations of abuse. Allegations of domestic abuse arising in such an inquiry are made under the threat of federal felony criminal charges if the women are lying to FBI investigators. That is not “he said, she said”: that is “she said in peril of felony charges, he said without consequences.”

The question in my mind is not “did General Kelly protect Rob Porter from the consequences of his crimes against women,” but “how often has he done so in the past?” To the investigative reporters of the nation I say, look into General Kelly’s command history: I guarantee you this is not the first time he has willfully disbelieved women about the violence of men in his command.

Update: I was just proven correct about this prediction.

“Smoke Signals” & “More than Frybread” American Indian films at the Loft

Double Feature!

Smoke Signals & More Than Frybread

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 11 AT NOON | GENERAL ADMISSION: $15 • LOFT MEMBERS, TRIBAL MEMBERS & UA/PCC STUDENTS WITH VALID ID: $10
SMOKE SIGNALS starts AT NOON • MORE THAN FRYBREAD starts AT approximately 1:50pm
PLEASE NOTE: WE CANNOT ACCEPT PASSES OR GROUPONS FOR THIS SCREENING

Co-presented by the UA American Indian Alumni Club and The Loft Cinema.

“Don’t miss this special 20th anniversary screening of the acclaimed 1998 hit, Smoke Signals (presented on 35mm), paired with the hilarious 2012 comedy, More Than Frybread! Miss Native American University of Arizona will be on hand to introduce the films, and delicious homemade frybread will be available for sale on our patio. A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit the UA American Indian Alumni Club.

Smoke Signals / 20th Anniversary / 35mm film print!

Billed as the first feature film entirely written, directed and acted by Native Americans, director Chris Eyre’s award-winning 1998 Sundance hit Smoke Signals is a funny, touching and honest look at what it is to be Indian in America.

Written by Sherman Alexie, based on four of his own short stories, Smoke Signals follows Victor (Adam Beach) and Thomas-Builds-the-Fire (Evan Adams), two young Idaho men with wildly different memories of one Arnold Joseph (Gary Farmer), a former resident of their Idaho reservation who split years before and has just died in Phoenix. Arnold’s popular, athletic son, Victor, remembers him best as an alcoholic, occasionally abusive father who drove off one day and never came back. By contrast, the highly-quirky, always-talking Thomas Builds-the-Fire, whom Arnold had saved from certain death years earlier, has chosen to romanticize the man’s life and deeds in a way that drives Victor crazy. However, circumstances bring this odd couple together in a funny and funky road trip to Phoenix to retrieve Arnold’s ashes. Along the way, they must confront the reality of Arnold’s legacy, which has profound and unexpected effects on both of them. (Dir. by Chris Eyre, 1998, USA, 89 mins., Rated PG-13)

More Than Frybread

In the deliciously fun, award-winning comedy More Than Frybread, twenty-two Native American frybread makers, representing all twenty-two federally recognized tribes in Arizona, convene in Flagstaff to compete for the first ever, first annual, state of Arizona Frybread Championship!

The film takes a larger-than-life turn as four passionate contestants (Teresa Choyguha, Dey & Nite, Camille Nighthorse and Tatanka Means as hip-hop Navajo frybread rock star, Buddy Begay)”

https://loftcinema.org/film/smoke-signals-and-more-than-frybread-double-feature/

 

 

After Aqua Buddha shutdown, Congress passes bipartisan CR spending bill; Senate to take up DACA next week

You may have missed it overnight while you were sleeping, but we had the second government shutdown in history under one-party control of the government, this time due to the antics of Senator Aqua Buddha, Rand Paul (R-KY).

Aqua Buddha used the arcane rules of the Senate that allow a single senator to hold up business in the chamber to inveigh against the GOP embracing deficit spending (after he voted for the GOP tax bill in December that guaranteed deficit such spending). The dumbest shutdown ever:

Incensed that a bipartisan budget deal would balloon the national debt, Paul delayed a roll call on a long-term budget agreement until after the midnight deadline to fund the government.

That set in motion a shutdown that ultimately lasted just over six hours — even though Paul’s protest didn’t change a single word of the document, and he knew it wouldn’t from the very beginning.

“When Rand Paul pulls a stunt like this, it easy to understand why it’s difficult to be Rand Paul’s next door neighbor,” Rep. Charlie Dent told Politico. “The whole delay and filibuster exercise on the budget agreement is utterly pointless.” (The congressman was referring to an incident last year in which Paul’s neighbor Rene Boucher attacked Paul, breaking multiple ribs, in a landscaping dispute).

After Aqua Buddha’s publicity stunt finally ended, the Senate moved to pass the bipartisan budget deal. The House followed suit early this morning. Congress votes to end government shutdown:

The Senate passed the measure on a 71-28 vote shortly before 2 a.m.

The House vote, around 5:30 a.m., was 240-186. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) had urged her members to oppose the bill over the GOP’s failure to resolve the standoff over 700,000 Dreamers, but her efforts ultimately fell short. Seventy-three Democrats ended up backing the bipartisan package, which came after months of closed-door talks.

The defeat was a bitter one for Pelosi and other top Democrats, who have sought for months to tie a resolution of the fight over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to the budget caps negotiations.

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