A series of pertinent – and impertinent – observations about military justice
A recent Washington POST article reveals that USAF Lt Gen John Hesterman will continue to draw his retirement pay of $156, 578 per year, apparently after an Officers Grade Determination Act action. His conduct – sharing sexually suggestive emails with a female officer when they were both married—was not serious enough to reduce him in rank. He keeps his third star, saving him about $20,000 per year. The Air Force investigation determined that his emails were sexually suggestive, indicating his desires to be with the woman romantically.
Our difficulty is not so much with this particular case but with the huge disparity in the treatment of the powerful versus those lacking “friends in high places.” What would the Air Force do with, say, a Captain in the same predicament?
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A friend sends along prophecy for the future — a world of artificial intelligence, electric cars, 3-D printing, and robots.
· Self-driving cars will likely appear by 2018, triggering a disruption of the auto industry. With self-driving cars, youngsters will never need a driver’s license. Cars will become computers on wheels. Car insurance companies will experience massive upheaval without accidents, insurance rates will drop radically.
· In terms of health, patients will convey information over a medical device built into their phone. The device will identify nearly all diseases. his could lead to everyone in the world having access to world-class computerized medicine.
· 3-D printing will create everything from spare airplane parts to shoes.
· Perhaps 75% of today’s jobs will disappear in the face of new technology.
· Future farmers likely will be replaced by cheap agricultural robots.
· Science will produce artificial meat far more cheaply than raising cattle or hogs.
· Longevity might mean a life span of over 100 years.
· Education will be accomplished through cheap smart phones – everyone will have access.
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In a similar vein, the Navy TIMES reveals that the Marines are working on battlefield gun-wielding robots, micro drones, driverless cars, and self-unloading supply aircraft.
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Equally interesting in what artificial intelligence may mean to the practice of law. An IBM machine called Watson is said to research bankruptcy law precedents in seconds. Supposedly Watson has 90% accuracy. Watson was purchased by one of the country’s biggest law as a “robot lawyer.” The firm has 900 lawyers and plans to introduce Watson into other legal specialties as well.
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History was made last week when the Senate confirmed Eric Fanning as the next Secretary of the Army. Mr. Fanning is the first openly-gay man to hold an armed service top civilian position.
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Air Force TIMES reports that airmen are once again being allowed to decorate aircraft. This extends beyond fighters and bombers to refueling tankers, and even drones. It will be interesting to see if “cheesecake” pictures show up, given today’s mores.
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Reviewing a recent book on incarceration, Michelle Alexander points to an enviable prison rehabilitation program in Norway. She claims that America’s death penalty and indefinite solitary confinement are viewed with horror by most Western democracies. America’s minimum sentences, three-strike laws, militarized police forces, and contracted-out prisons badly scar our reputation, she argues. In the US, more than 2 million of our poorest, darkest, and most marginalized citizens are locked in cages, she protests; on release, they are relegated to permanent second-class status and stripped of basic civil rights.
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In a recent letter to the Washington POST, retired General David Petraeus protests those who would demonize and denigrate Islam. He points out that that American Muslims ably serve in US intelligence agencies and the Armed Forces – many of them immigrants or children of immigrants. They have been “vital assets in the fight against radical Islam.” He does not deny the West is at war with Islamist extremism and its fanatical ideology. But, he protests, politicians engage in bigotry when they demonize the Islamic faith and its adherents. This is counter to American fundamental values; moreover, it is corrosive to our vital national security.
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A recent Facebook item — the old Vet says:
I came prepared to serve. I came prepared to be wounded. I came prepared to die.
But when I returned, I did not come home to be forgotten.