Pertinent and impertinent observations about military justice
SECURITY VERSUS DEMOCRACY: Retired Air Force General and CIA director Michael V Hayden has published his book “Playing to the Edge.” It addresses American intelligence in these troubled times. Today, a technological revolution is underway, leading to a world of digital “breaking and entering.” He forecasts a rough era for democracy – people crave security and endorse methods to keep them safe; at the same time, they want a viable democracy.
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GOOD COP, BAD COP: A Washington Post analyst corroborates institutional dysfunction with an amazing statistic: Confidence in the police is at a 22-year low. Only 52% of Americans tell Gallup pollsters that they have deep trust in the police.
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PSEUDOSCIENCE? A forensic scientist and a judge jointly write in the Washington Post that about 490 people have been exonerated since 1989 after being convicted on the basis of false/misleading forensic techniques. Too often, say these commentators, “experts” invoke unscientific terms, claiming 100% accuracy for questionable forensic practices.
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ELECTION HEEBIE-JEEBIES? The American Psychological Association reports that 52% of American adults are experiencing some sort of election-related stress.
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WIZARD OF OZ: A Washington Post book reviewer discloses the true story of “The Wizard of Oz. It’s allegedly an extremely misunderstood piece of 125-year old political propaganda regarding the gold standard. Dorothy and her companions supposedly travel to the Emerald City to find out the “truth” about this debated currency issue. Important clue: the abbreviation Oz really stands for the word ounces –the amount of pure gold in US currency.
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SALLY HEMINGS AND THOMAS JEFFERSON: Essayist Bitni Danielle protests that Sally Hemings was far from the “Mistress” of President Jefferson. The writer decries the fact that Jefferson, then 44, allegedly began his sexual liaison with her when Hemings was 14: “She wasn’t Jefferson’s mistress; she was his property. And he raped her.”
Jefferson owned 607 slaves at Monticello; he granted only two people their freedom when he was alive and five in his will. He never freed Hemings, says Ms. Danielle.
The author points to other slave-owning Founders whose actions are more commendable to modern eyes – Ben Franklin, who became an outspoken abolitionist later in life; and George Washington, who freed his slaves.
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We recollect an Air Force regulation containing some really odd uniforms.
One was a summer uniform with shorts and long socks, and a pith helmet.
Another was a strange blue jacket, buttoned down the front, the sort of thing a drugstore clerk might wear. It appears to have been limited to Air Force bases in Alaska.
And – shades of Batman! – the oddest of all: Extremely sophisticated mess dress formalwear, with a huge black cape to be worn over the formal uniform.