Archive for the ‘military’ Category

I’m surprised that World Net Daily columnists produce posts that are pro-Intelligent Design (ID). ID is basically creationism (though none in the ID movement will admit to that, but they continuously claim religious freedom as the way to spread their ideas despite claiming it’s all science). The main superficial difference between ID and creationism is that ID proponents do a *wink*wink* when asked who the Designer is rather than saying it’s the Judeo-Christian god. I would’ve thought that’s too coy for WND folks.

But not so for Jerry Newcombe, who on September 2, 2014, published the column, “Charles Darwin and World War I.” The article has gotten a measly 52 comments, to the point that it was the non-crazies who got the most up-voted comments, basically laughing at the idea.

I’ve discussed this idea before, though in my other blog. Primarily, it was in the post, “If Darwin Is Responsible for the Holocaust, Newton Is Responsible for Bombs.”

You might be wondering how World War II and the Holocaust are related to World War I. If you are, you probably don’t follow the ID movement as much as I.

The issue is simply pigeon-holing Darwin: If any person in any way who had any sort of responsibility in any atrocity happened to ever espouse any idea remotely related to evolution or that other people have linked to evolution, then it’s Darwin’s fault.

I’m not exaggerating. That is one of the main tactics of the ID movement.

In this case, Jerry Newcombe is parroting Discovery Institute’s (the main “think”-tank of the ID movement) John West:

Dr. John West, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute of Seattle, says: “Historians continue to debate the causes of World War I, which were complex.” West has directed a new film, “The Biology of the 2nd Reich,” which highlights a link between Darwinism and the great war.

West states, “Social Darwinism was certainly one of the key issues that exerted a profound influence on German militarism before, during, and after the conflict.”

Newcombe goes on to talk about Hitler and Nazi Germany. Because of course those are related to WWII. He peripherally relates it to WWI:

The new film, on Darwin and World War I, quotes Charles Darwin: “The support which I receive from Germany is my chief ground for hoping that our views will ultimately prevail.” The film shows the link between Darwinism and German militarism, including genocide the Germans committed against a tribe in one of their African colonies.

The film quotes Hitler, who later set out to finish the work begun in WW I: “The law of selection exists in the world, and the stronger and healthier has received from nature the right to live. Woe to anyone who is weak, who does not stand his ground! He may not expect help from anyone.”

So, because Hitler used a concept from biology that had been applied by sociologists to term something in Victorian culture, Darwin caused WWI and WWII.

Who cares that Darwin died in 1882, three decades before World War I?

In an unattributed article published on April 3, 2014, WND stated, “Support ‘Gays in Ranks or Quit, Chiefs Told.” It has the sub-title, “Coast Guard commandant describes Obama’s pressure on repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.'” For readers who don’t remember, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was a President Clinton -era law that stated that people in the military could not ask a soldier’s sexual orientation, but if their orientation was discovered to not be heterosexual, they could be discharged. While the number peaked in the later Clinton and early Bush years, a total of 13,650 soldiers were discharged under DADT.

On a related note, recall that enshrined in the US Constitution, the President of the United States is the Commander-in-Chief (CiC), meaning that he or she has full powers over the military (though Congress balances that through its power to declare war and its power to control funding). This means that if the President sets a policy, if the President orders something with respect to the military, you have to follow it. Or get out.

That was kinda left out of this WND article, that people in the military don’t really have the option of saying “no” to the CiC. Instead, it tries to imply that President Obama set rules and he – surprisingly – expected them to be carried out, otherwise – gasp! – you should resign:

“We were called into the Oval Office and President Obama looked all five service chiefs in the eye and said, ‘This is what I want to do,’” Papp said.

Papp, who will retire in May, said he could not divulge everything Obama said in the 2010 meeting because it was in private communications within the Oval Office.

“But if we didn’t agree with it – if any of us didn’t agree with it – we all had the opportunity to resign our commissions and go do other things,” he said.

The issue was Obama’s abandonment of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that allowed homosexuals to serve in the military as long as they kept their proclivities to themselves. Now the military promotes open homosexuality in the ranks.

Hmm. Heaven forbid not following what the CiC says and expecting to remain in the military. And as an added bonus, we get WND “reminding” us that the military now actually “promotes open homosexuality.” Yup, upon joining, you’re given a rainbow flag, a triangle pin, and your first homework assignment is to kiss a member of the same gender. Right?

Or maybe that’s a bit of hyperbole?

Much like Chicken Little claiming that the sky is falling, E. Michael Maloof still gets his EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) weapon warning in every few weeks. I wonder if he writes anything else for WND? His latest two were published on January 30 and February 10, and there was a third snippet of an article on February 14: “China Reveals ‘Ace’ Against U.S. Military,” “Approaching Iranian Warships Raise EMP Threat,” and “Expert: Iran Ships a Dry Run for Later Nuke/EMP Attack.” Maloof is also an occasional guest on the late-night radio program, Coast to Coast AM, also talking about this threat.

As usual, if you want background on what an EMP is, see my first post on the subject from August 1, 2013.

The latest can be summarized by the opening paragraphs of the first two articles:

Members of the Chinese military are looking to use an electromagnetic pulse as part of a “one-two punch” to knock out – literally within seconds – all defensive electronics not only on Taiwan but also on U.S. warships that could defend the island.

National security experts have expressed alarm over the announcement by Iran that it will position its warships off the coast of the United States, from where they could launch a nuclear warhead to explode at high altitude to create an electromagnetic pulse.

The posts got 207 (4.64/5 average), 458 (4.65/5 average), and 24 ratings (4.5/5 average) each. They also got 507, 778, and 49 comments each.

Pretty much all the comments are anti-Obama. What a few of the lower-rated comments mention that Maloof seems to ignore is that, well, it’s not like we can’t do this to them. The United States has the largest military in the world, by far, and much of the military technology is hardened against this kind of thing. Not to mention all the bases and ships (submarine, surface ships, planes) around the world that could retaliate practically instantly if such an attack were ever launched. Yes, if an EMP attack were ever launched and successful, it would be bad news, but it would be worse news for whomever launched it.

I’m surprised it took WND so long to post this story, but they finally did their normal three-paragraph quote from FOX “news” under the headline, “Air Force Drops ‘So Help Me God’ from Oaths.”

Since I’ve read this story before, I’ll summarize: The Air Force has several oaths that they require people to take. They contain, “So help me God” within them. Clearly, this is a violation of church-state separation, the act of requiring an affirmation as part of your governmental program, but part of that affirmation is to a deity. So, one who does not believe in “God” must either lie – which kinda flies in the face of an oath – or not participate in that job, which means the government has placed a religious barrier in the place of a public office/service.

So, the latest news from at least a week or two ago that WND is just catching up on is that the Air Force has now dropped the requirement that people include the words “So help me God” in their oaths. If you want to include them, you can. It’s just no longer required.

Which of course you would not know if you read the WND article. After all, the sub-title to the article is, “Academy claims ‘oversight’: ‘Whoever was doing the editing didn’t catch it.'” Not sure I understand, considering that on October 26, they were pretty clear about removing it, to the point that congressmen were complaining about it on November 9. (And WND’s story was put out on Nov. 20.)

As of this writing (3 days after posting), it has 10 ratings (4.20/5 stars) and 64 comments. The comments aren’t really worth going into, they all kinda go off on the false premise that this was an “oversight” or are anti-Obama.

If there’s something (two things) that one can say typifies many conservatives, it’s that the government should be shrunk and the military should be strengthened. Yes, that is a VERY reduced version of the argument, but I don’t think I’ve misrepresented its principle (please correct me if I’m wrong). In that sense, I find the positions a tad dissonant since government funds the military.

That’s the purpose of this column by E. Michael Maloof, taking a break from warning us we’re all DOOOOOOMED by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack and taking the time to explain, “Obama ‘Gutting Military’ by Purging Generals.”

President Obama has fired “nine generals and flag officers, on top of at least four similar dismissals during his first term.” WND wrote: “Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, claims it is part of Obama’s strategy to reduce U.S. standing worldwide. “Obama is intentionally weakening and gutting our military, Pentagon and reducing us as a superpower, and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged,” he charged.”

This of course plays into the conspiracy that President Obama is trying to weaken the United States for a takeover by [insert boogyman of the week, such as the UN, China, Russia, Muslims, etc.]. This is also bad because, apparently: “The military is looked upon as one of the last bastions of conservative ideas, even though under the Obama administration, it, too, has become a testing ground for social experimentation. The efforts include openly homosexual behavior and women in combat.”

The article was VERY widely read by WND fans, garnering 1,869 ratings as of today with an average of 4.81 out of 5 stars. It also has a whopping 1404 comments. The article was published around 10 days ago, and it’s still garnering comments. The comments are what one would expect for WND, Obama = evil = Hitler and various other comparisons and complaints.

What they ignore is that this has been talked about for several years as a way to reduce the deficit; or, at least to reduce some spending. It’s something that I remembered because of the name: Star Creep. There are numerous articles about it, but here’s one from 2012. The idea is that generals keep getting promoted and then sit at the Pentagon not doing much but get paid to sit there. And when they retire, they somehow make even more money.

I’m not saying that this is the reason that President Obama is removing these generals because of this issue — I did minimal (as in, no) work with respect to investigating this, since the point of this blog is more to point out what WND is thinking rather than be an excellent example of investigative journalism.

More fall-out from the government shutdown. Barbara Simpson spent her column two weeks ago “expos[ing the] administration’s war on traditional religion” through a column entitled, “Obama’s ‘In Your Face’ to Catholics.”

What she is complaining about can be summarized by the first few paragraphs: “[W]hen the administration ordered that military chaplains not celebrate Mass or perform any of their usual religious duties during the government shutdown – or face arrest! Can you imagine, arresting a priest for performing a baptism or officiating at a wedding or celebrating Sunday Mass? Yes, imagine it. That was the order, and it was enforced with the support of the man who is president.”

Of course, the worst part of all was, “They were told they couldn’t even volunteer their services to the faithful.” Gosh darn it!

What she fails to mention is that it was against the law for anyone who was an employee of the federal government to work during the shutdown (unless they were deemed “critical,” which military chaplains are not). And, military chaplains are funded by the federal government (don’t get me started on that …). People could not volunteer their time. They couldn’t work if they wanted to. They couldn’t even answer email from their work address.

So, yet another example of how the rules (the law) that was passed by a majority (otherwise it can’t be passed) is great until it negatively affects your Christian faith, and then you should get a special exemption. Doesn’t work that way, I’m not sorry to say.

I suppose the only high point of this column is that it’s gotten only 2 ratings (5/5) and only 2 comments. So, it was not widely read and people did not agree with it enough to feel motivated to write anything.

Ahem. This is going to be a short post. FOX and other outlets are reporting what WND has headlined, “Obama Pushes ‘Girly’ Hats on Marines.” WND put this out three days ago, it has 14 ratings with an average score of 3.57/5, and it has earned 165 comments. The top ones are of course anti-homosexual and anti-Obama.

In response, I give you the following image. And that is all.

Fox "News" On Girly Marine Hats vs Reality

Fox “News” On Girly Marine Hats vs Reality

It was the fake news story that no one bothered to check.

On October 15, WND put up an article to FOX “news” under the headline, “Army Defines Christian Ministry as ‘Hate Group.’” The subject line says it all, though the article contained the eyebrow-raising (for anyone who knows about the AFA) line, “the American Family Association, a well-respected Christian ministry, should be classified as a domestic hate group because the group advocates for traditional family values.” On WND, it got 18 ratings (4.44/5 stars) and 71 mostly outraged comments, including “JimmyScruton” claiming, “Obama was born in Hell.”

On October 16, WND’s Bob Unruh wrote, “Obama’s War on Christians: AFA Called ‘Hate Group.’” There are numerous quotes from Bryan Fisher, AFA loud-mouth bigoted spokesman. To quote a few paragraphs from WND:

Now, a report by Todd Starnes of Fox News Radio reveals U.S. Army soldiers at a Mississippi base were being instructed that the American Family Association is a “hate group.”

Responding to the report, AFA places the blame at the top of the military food chain.

Brian Fischer, the AFA’s director of issues analysis, told WND the government’s hostility is rooted entirely in the groups’ opposition to same-sex marriage and open homosexuality in the military. AFA also asserts that the Obama administration is using the list of “hate groups” compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a radical leftist group.

“If our military wasn’t headed by a commander in chief who is hostile to Christian faith, these allegations would be laughed off every military base in the world,” he said.

Fischer said the act of linking the organization to hate simply because it adheres to biblical teachings about homosexuality is unjustified.

“The truth is that AFA doesn’t hate anyone. We love everybody. We love homosexuals enough to tell them the truth about the moral, spiritual and physical dangers of homosexual conduct,” he wrote in a commentary on the exploding controversy.

“Our first commander in chief, George Washington, was flatly opposed to the normalization of homosexuality in the military, dismissing two soldiers who were caught in the act. And his language was quite strong. Referring to the ‘attempt to commit sodomy,’ Washington expressed ‘abhorrence and detestation of such infamous crimes.’”

The article goes on with more “evidence” that the Christian minority is being oppressed. The article got 16 ratings (4.50/5 average), and it has garnered 61 comments including a top-rated one by “2soon2b4got10” who wrote in part, “Christianity has been outlawed. But all Muslim prisoners have a Koran and a prayer rug bought and paid for by the us [sic], the American taxpayers.”

And then, October 17, WND wrote, “Army Retreats in Fight with American Family Association.” To quote:

As WND reported Tuesday, a soldier at a Mississippi base presented evidence to media that an Army presenter at a briefing identified AFA as a “hate group,” because of its stance on homosexuality and marriage, according Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes. Army spokesman George Wright confessed the information was “acquired from an Internet search.”

Wright said the information about AFA “did not come from official Army sources, nor was it approved by senior Army leaders, senior equal opportunity counselors or judge-advocate personnel.”

Despite the article being incredibly long, in typical WND style, there is very little else about this particular subject.

So, while we’re on it, let’s take a few moments to review some of what the American Family Association does and stands for. We can start by pointing out that the AFA had their radio host, Sandy Rios, at the “Values Voter Summit” that was held over the past week. To quote from Right Wing Watch:

The former Concerned Women for America president is now a radio talk show host on American Family Radio, the network led by the American Family Association. Like other AFA hosts, she promotes right-wing conspiracy theories, including claims that Obama was not born in America and is actually from Kenya, resettled thousands of Palestinian refugees in the US and exempted Muslim-Americans from Obamacare. Rios will be a good fit for the anti-gay conference as she:

  • Compared same-sex couples to the relationships kidnapper Ariel Castro had with his captives.
  • Warned the “homosexual takeover” of the military will jeopardize the effectiveness of the military.

Besides Sandy Rios, it’s perhaps Bryan Fisher who’s the loudest voice coming out of the American Family Association. Among other things, he has claimed:

And those are all just since September of this year. A month and a half.

We can also look at Todd Starnes, the FOX reporter who originally posted the story. Again, quoting from Right Wing Watch:

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes has become notorious for filing false reports based on right-wing conspiracy theories, which of course makes him a favorite “journalist” among conservative activists. Starnes has also:

  • Said that defeats for anti-gay activists are a sign of “the end of days.”

So, with these in mind, how would you classify the American Family Association? In my personal opinion, “hate group” sounds about right.

Edited to Add (October 26, 2013): WND is still going for this story, this time with another FOX news piece they headlined, “Army: Christians, Tea Party ‘Radical’ Threat.”

Err, majority. Yeah, that’s right.

This World Net Daily link to a FOX “News” story is entitled, “Airmen Say U.S. Air Force Punishing Christians.” To quote:

“There is an atmosphere of intimidation at Lackland Air Force Base,” said Steve Branson, the pastor of Village Parkway Baptist Church in San Antonio. “Gay commanders and officers are pushing their agenda on the airmen. There is a culture of fear in the military and it’s gone to a new level with the issue of homosexuality.”

Branson tells me at least 80 airmen attended a private meeting at the church where he heard them voice their concerns about religious hostilities at the Air Force base. It was a standing-room only crowd.

“The religious persecution is happening,” the pastor said. “It’s getting bigger every day. Gay and lesbian airmen can talk about their lifestyle, but the rest have to stay completely quiet about what they believe.”

Ah yes, it’s ’cause of The Gay. I think I should give my standard statement on this again: Replace “gay” with “black.” Or “Chinese.” So, “Black airmen can talk about their lifestyle, but the rest have to stay completely quiet about what they believe.” How ludicrous does that sound? Very. If you want to be a bigot, you’re going to be punished in an organization that does not allow you to be a bigot.

Of course, the nearly 100 commenters have a different view than I. Let’s just take the top-rated one by “Annette”:

There should be a huge public outcry about this! They need to have all kinds of pressure put on them from the outside. Those who don’t have anything to lose (ie. are not in the military) should be writing letters, protesting, and doing whatever it takes to show these bullies that their INTOLERANCE is not acceptable!

Christians are so used to just being quiet and letting this kind of thing happen. Why is it that we are in this situation now? Because the homosexual movement has been so vocal and persistent. I think they need a little bit of their own medicine.

Yeah, intolerance. Uh huh. And Christians used to “being quiet and letting this kind of thing happen”? Seriously? Really? I think a reality check is needed.

It’s an e-mail into WND, and it’s the only one I’ve ever seen that World Net Daily won’t publish the person’s name (it’s just listed as “Anonymous”): “Soldier: Army Blocking Conservative Websites.”

The e-mail to WND states that the person is in the Army and that when he tried to open a link in an e-mail he got from the Tea Party Nation, he got an error saying that the website could not be accessed because it was a “political/activist group.” Same with the Tea Party Nation website. But not nor Code Pink nor Media Matters.

He concludes: “So it seems the Army is beginning to block conservative sites from access on their computers, but allowing access to progressive websites.”

And I’m fairly shocked that in the last 6+ days, no one has commented on this. Now, it is true that most e-mails WND publishes do not get any comments. But this one is particularly surprising.