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ALCOHOLISM IN THE MILITARY.  “What do you do with a drunken sailor— or soldier or airman?”    In “12 Stepping the Military,” Nancy Olson summarizes the history of alcoholic treatment in the military.  According to the GAO, DOD had no reliable historical data showing the extent of alcoholism in the armed forces.

Commanders generally choose between four unpalatable alternatives

·         leave the alcoholic alone

·         transfer him/her

·         counseling/treatment

·         punishment

A Pearl Harbor survivor named Sgt. Bill Swegan apparently started a one-man operation at Mitchel Field, NY in 1948.  In1953, he transferred to Lackland AFB with the title of psychiatric social worker.  

By the end of the 1950s, however, the military withdrew all support from alcohol treatment programs.

The story then moves to late 1969, where the Navy attempted an alcohol rehab program at Long Beach, California.  It was judged a success.  However, some individuals vehemently opposed viewing alcoholism as an illness.  Among those who sought treatment at the Navy’s Long Beach program – Billy Carter, the president’s brother; and Betty Ford. 

A LIBERAL PERSPECTIVE.  How many people go bankrupt every year because of medical bills?  A liberal friend responds:

Great Britain








United States

GRAND TOTAL:   643, 000

LAWYER’S CORNER.  Jeffrey Toobin, CNN legal analyst and New Yorker contributor, spoke at Stanford Law School on the subject of the Supreme Court in the” age of Trump.”   

A reporter summarized Toobin’s views as follows:

One of the greatest political events of our lifetime is the evolution of the Republican Party since the 1970s.  Moderate and liberal Republicans were formerly well represented, along with conservatives, in all branches of public life; that was reflected in the court.   That Republican Party is gone –the evolution of the court will again reflect the political composition of the country. 

Placing a new appointee on the court has become contentious, taking on strong left/right partisanship.  This is a relatively recent development – Ruth Bader Ginsberg was confirmed with 90 votes.

Republicans much more than Democrats have been focused on a court reflecting their own views and values.  In the 70s, the Republican platform called for gun control, had no provision on abortion.   As Republican views developed on those issues, their advocates, focused more and more on composition of the courts as a specific vehicle to alter legislation and public policy.

Democrats, in contrast, did not especially focus on the courts in their conventions and campaigns or appeal to voters on that basis.

Evangelicals focused on these social issues and chose to set aside negative aspects of Trump’s values and behaviors – they sought transformation of the judiciary (which they are substantially getting, at lower court levels as well.)

In Justice Gorsuch’s first 15 votes, there is only one Justice with whom he has consistently voted – Clarence Thomas.  So the new judge’s conservative credentials have borne out, says Toobin.

What does this mean for the future?     Toobin predicts:

·         Roe v. Wade will be overturned, if not in the next months, at some point.  Many states have positioned themselves to pass legislation banning abortions, which will go into effect as soon as they perceive a court majority supporting this.  Passing such legislation ensures appeals to the Supreme Court and the opportunity to overturn.

·         Affirmative action – gone

·         Gay Rights – public acceptance of marriage might prevent its overturn, but the Bakery case and Hobby Lobby are models to expand the assertion of the religious rights of service providers or employers, exempting them from requirements now seen as civil rights

·         Expansion of gun rights beyond the Heller case

·         A permissive view toward campaign financing following Citizens United

·         Narrowing the bounds of regulatory agencies.  Justice Kavanaugh appears to support  limiting regulatory agencies to only areas directly covered by legislation.

The reporter concludes:

Despite these predictions, [Mr. Toobin ] remains optimistic that our institutions will hold and the country will get through whatever changes come without great social upheaval.  Despite the wide political divide, we are not on the verge of fascism or collapse.  Change will come through the electoral system.  The Resistance is focused on demonstrations, awareness and a great increase in women seeking office — a responsible effort within the political system.  We have not seen significant political violence beyond the Charlottesville events. He mentioned journalism, universities and churches as important institutions holding to the center.

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