Barbara Boxer

Sens. Paul, Cruz Join Efforts to Reform Military Sexual Assault Management

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More Wacko Birds vs. Angry Birds?

Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has been fighting the Pentagon and many military hawks on both the left and the right to make changes in the way sex crime cases are handled within the troops. Currently the decision whether to pursue sexual assault claims rests in the hands of the victim's commanding officer. Gillibrand wants to change the system and have independent military prosecutors investigate these crimes.

Today Tea Party Republican Senators Rand Paul (Kentucky) and Ted Cruz (Texas) announced their support for Gillibrand's cause, broadening her base of allies.

Politico reported earlier today:

Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have joined an upstart effort to remove the chain of command from military sexual assault cases, POLITICO has learned.

The tea party favorites give the bill's lead sponsor, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, critical conservative cover as she battles the Pentagon and hawks in both parties on her proposal to create a new prosecution system for major military crimes.

Paul is scheduled to attend a press conference Tuesday in the Capitol with Gillibrand and other bill backers, including Sens. Chuck Grassley and Barbara Boxer, to discuss his new position, which inches the New York Democrat closer to the 51 votes she hopes is all she'll need when her proposal comes up for debate as early as next week.

Politico subsequently posted the press conference videos, which you can watch here.

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  1. But who is going to advocate for dogs.

  2. I don’t know. Lt. Cmdr. Harmon Jag was always able to work these things out within the system as it stands now.

    1. Yes, but he had Catherine Bell to assist him. That makes all the difference.

      1. Scientologists make everything better.

        1. THIS IS WHAT ZAKALWE ACTUALLY BELIEVES

          1. I believe I’ll have another Heineken.

            /old, used up hipster

            1. Thought you OUUH’s switched to PBR?

              1. ‘PBR was good until everyone started drinking it’ – OUUH.

          2. Scientologists with big tits make everything better.

            1. Travolta and and Cruise will get started on those manboobs right away.

            2. Scientologists with big tits make everything better.

              You sure about that?

              1. If you’re making a case against big tits, and using Kirstie Alley as an argument… I dunno man, she has a great body. Dumb, she may be, but that body is prime grade A stuff.

                Unless you are in the H&R training bra anorexia fan club.

                1. Admit it, you haven’t seen anything she was in since Wrath of Khan.

                  1. Admit it, you haven’t seen anything she was in since Wrath of Khan.

                    I saw a few things that she was in, a red dress, few other things, and I fantasized about getting her out of all of them.

            3. Speaking of big tits making everything better, just watched Mulholland Falls for the first time the other night and Jennifer Connelly’s scenes were spectacular.

              1. Very under-appreciated film.

  3. Does this make it safer to hit on a commanding general’s daughter? Asking for a friend.

    1. I am not sure what military they’re talking about. In the Navy, NCIS (not the Gibbs one, the real one – they’re a lot more dickish) investigates this stuff.

      1. When did the name change? I remember just NIS (74-83) I remember them being hard core, but didn’t bother anyone not doing dope or stealing stuff. The only time I know that they even busted some gay guys was when the discovered them while investigating drugs stolen from the ship’s pharmacy. The only one of the four guys that was treated bad for being gay was a guy that worked for me, but that was because he was PRP. And the only thing they did to him was give him a honourable with a bad reenlistment code. The dental technician that stile the dope was hung at a court marshal, but he was caught stealing dope. The Jarhead had a bit more than a year on his enlistment and they let him stay aboad till that was up. He was pulled from the guard force and made a compartment cleaner, but nothing else.

        1. They changed (and became a civilian agency) in 1992, according to the Wiki:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N…..ve_Service

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N…..ve_Service

          1. Sorry, they both go to the same place. I didn’t realize the NIS page just redirected to the NCIS page.

        2. NIS is a *military* investigative serves – ie its staffed by active duty military police. NCIS is a federal police agency with civilian agents.

          NIS still exists (at least as an ancronym) within the Marine Corps but NCIS is the major investigative arm of the DON.

          1. The NIS no longer exists, it was turned into the NCIS agency:

            The Pentagon said Thursday that among the changes it plans to make in the NIS is to broaden civilian authority by replacing the one-star admiral who heads the organization with a civilian who has extensive legal experience.

            It also plans to change the agency’s name to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and strip the organization of its responsibility for investigating government procurement fraud and possibly its counterintelligence work.

            http://articles.latimes.com/19…..ve-service

  4. Yeah but – what does this have to do with STAND YOUR GROUND? Huh? Cause THAT’s the topic that needs to be woven into EVERY article!

    So answer me that, “Reason”. For a magaizine called “Reason”….sheesh.

    1. Dammit! I just polished off my last beer!

      … Hobbit

  5. I nominate Warty to head up the Armed Forces Sexual Assault Division.

    1. Warty has the SAD?

    2. He is the Brute Squad Sexual Assault Division.

    3. One Wart is worth a hundred normal sexual assaulters – I mean, Imperial Guard.

  6. So now these evul rethuglicans are adding military rape to their War on Women? Have they no shame?

    1. I guarantee you that this will be the immediate thought of some TEAM BLUE commenters/bloggers.

  7. Reform is desperately needed. The notion that a CO needs complete control over legal affairs because he has responsibility over the life and death matters of his units is obsolete. We live in a world where a soldier accused of mass murder halfway around the world was pulled out of his unit and flown back to his base on the west coast to stand trial. There is absolutely no reason for any commander out of harm’s way to have sole discretion over whether to prosecute – or even investigate – a felony complaint.

    If even half of the anecdotes in the papers are true we have a serious problem.

    1. You clearly have no idea how the military justice system works, at all. Commanders do not have sole discretion over whether to prosecute or investigate felony level crimes.

      1. He’s confused (and so am I) by the article – which states that commanders *do*. Which is contrary to my experience.

        1. As a 2x former commander (4 total years), here’s how it works: for felony offenses the services’ criminal investigative divisions (CID/NCIS/OSI) do the digging, the JAGs get involved and are “advising” the commander on the process which includes, if the investigation supports it, preferring court martial charges, but for all practical purposes this is outside the unit commanders control; both the JAG and investigators are not in the unit’s chain of command! The unit commander becomes a figurehead. If they defy all logic/common sense and chose not to press charges, their boss, the next commander above them will simply take the case and proceed. Once at court martial, its entirely in the hands of the JAG and defense council. The commander has no real impact on the outcome other than possibly a witness.
          Sexual assault cases are no different. As long as they are ‘unrestricted’ (not confidential) the vast, vast majority of commanders will send to court martial if the evidence supports it. This is why I don’t get the point of pulling it from the chain of command to some separate prosecutorial branch. It already essentially gets handed over to the JAG if it goes to court martial.

          1. As for the overturned verdict anecdote in Italy, for one thing it is very, very rare, but in reality no different than an overturned conviction on appeal in the civilian world. Also, in hindsight it was a bad call, but if you actually read the General’s rationale it makes sense, he weighed the credibility of one witness (victim) vs another (accused) and made the type of tough decisions he’s paid to make.

          2. Anecdote after anecdote in the news has reported how a woman reports an assault to her CO only to have the report quashed. Are some of those women lying? Perhaps. But I don’t believe enough of them are lying for it to be anything other than a systemic problem.

            1. I’ve been paying attention to the news recently and must have missed them, care to share some just out of curiosity?

              1. It wasn’t quite recent – for a couple weeks a few months ago the Early Bird kept running articles full of these stories. Can’t link, sorry. Stories like “I told my CO that a guy in my unit raped me and he had someone drive me to a civilian hospital and told me not to tell anyone about what happened.” In a combat theater, I could sort of see a case for not wanting to disrupt the unit. Most of these were places like DC. I wish I could easily find them.

            2. Well I was in for 21 years and have never seen even a sexual harassment claim taken lightly.

              I imagine (and am talking out my arse here) that most of the “ignored” claims were investigated and no reliable evidence was found to support the claim. Doesn’t mean it didn’t happen or she’s lying but simply that the investigator’s didn’t find enough evidence to think they had a chance at getting a conviction.

              1. Again, I could believe that some or even many were lying (though I wouldn’t comment on an individual case). The impression I got from the sheer number of different stories out there was that something is broken. I have never seen a harassment claim taken lightly either. In fact, I have seen harassment claims taken entirely too seriously. But I’ve only experienced my particular corners of my particular service.

                1. So, you’re experience sounds like pretty much the same as mine, Aga’s, and pretty much everyone I work with in the office (several former commanders), and yet you’re swayed by the anecdotes the media is feeding… that should tell you something.

          3. And Chapter III very strongly implies to me that the suspect’s commanding officer does in fact have the authority to disposition the complaint. IANAL, but I am an 8-year line officer. It seems to me that absent specific orders from above a CO could easily dispose of a charge at his own level.

            Rule 306. Initial disposition
            (a) Who may dispose of offenses. Each commander
            has discretion to dispose of offenses by members of
            that command. Ordinarily the immediate commander
            of a person accused or suspected of committing an
            offense triable by court-martial initially determines
            how to dispose of that offense. A superior commander may withhold the authority to dispose of offenses in individual cases, types of cases, or gen?erally. A superior commander may not limit the dis?cretion of a subordinate commander to act on cases over which authority has not been withheld.

            1. A felony level offense that automatically involves externals like OSI/NCIS, JAG, ADC? Not a chance in hell that any commander w/ a pulse would up and ‘quash’ it without good reason. I hear what you’re saying about letter of the law, but again, that’s not how it plays out in application. You and the media are giving the commander too much credit, again, for felony level stuff. Art 15 and below, now that’s a different discussion…
              As much as anecdotes make for strong arguments, I’d recommend reviewing the service chiefs testimony on the hill as well as the annual sapr report recently released.

              1. I wouldn’t believe that an O-5 in charge of overseeing a sexual assault prevention program would grope someone in a parking lot, but I guess we’ll see how it turns out. Our training abounded with the stupid decisions of COs in their areas of professional expertise; I absolutely believe COs are capable of making bad decisions with respect to the law, whether they have some “greater good” in mind or are just trying to maintain their image for the next evaluation.

                1. Other than being hilariously ill-timed and ironic, the Krusinski case has nothing to do with the subject of pulling sexual assault cases out of the chain of command. All it proves is people do stupid things at all levels (ie petraus) and there’s no great predictor for it. He wasn’t put in that position since he was some sort of expert in sexual assault prevention–he was a personnel officer who needed to be placed somewhere in the pentagon and HAD clean records. He was not some sort of canary in the coal mine despite Gillibrand’s best efforts.
                  Finally, if a commander is concerned about his evaluation, he doesn’t blow off crimes that happen under his command. I know of no officers personally who feel as though a crime committed by someone in their unit is a strike against them personally. If anything, some would take it as an opportunity to grandstand and get some free face time w/ the higher-ups.

    2. Has Maj. Hassan’s trial begun yet?

      1. A while ago.

  8. OT, but this is pretty neat: Retired New Jersey man has snagged the signatures of 4,413 sports stars on 2,913 covers of SI. But an unnamed model from 1960 eludes him.

    Over the last 31 years, Scott Smith has snagged the signatures of 4,413 sports stars featured on 2,913 covers of Sports Illustrated magazine, tracking some down in phone books (in the pre-Google era) and slipping through a gantlet of Argentine troops guarding soccer star Diego Maradona.

    He’s managed to collect Michael Jordan’s autograph on 35 of his 51 covers. He has Muhammad Ali’s on 48 of them. Mickey Mantle signed 11 of his covers.

    But for all of his prize catches, one has eluded him: the signature of the woman on the cover of the Oct. 17, 1960, edition of SI, holding what appears to be a kite.

    The unnamed model is illustrating what the cover calls the “new look in sports clothes” ? in the woman’s case, a sleeveless blue bodysuit.

    She’s probably dead by now, but still, one wonders what his collection is worth.

    1. He should invent a time machine, go get her autograph (and Bobby Fischer’s), and then kill Hitler. Because everyone kills Hitler their first time.

      1. Roosevelt would be the better choice.

        1. I half believe that a time traveler killed Kennedy (the grassy knoll shooter)

          1. I remember back in school when I had to read about the travesty that was the Kennedy administration I wanted to go back in history and kill him.

            1. Yes, we actually read about history instead of singing songs about Obama.

          2. Probably some poor fuck from a nuclear-blasted wasteland future.

        2. God, what a shit bag of a President. No one understands why I hate him, even when I don’t even argue the dumb shit like the NRA but rather clearly egregious shit like Japanese internment and court-packing.

      2. and then I gotta go fix it.

        1. You are a Time Monk?

          1. I used to be in charge of new recruits, but now I just freelance.

          2. Yeah, but he’s not as good as Sweeper, Lu-Tze.

        2. You bastard. Actually you guys can be the world changers. I would be too busy putting in motion my threesome with Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren.

          1. it’s not as fun as you’d think

  9. “”Our carefully crafted common sense proposal written in direct response to the experiences of those who have gone through a system rife with bias and conflict of interest is not a Democratic or Republican idea ? it is just the right idea,” Gillibrand will say, according to her remarks.”

    So Gillibrand has already said what she plans to say in the future…huh?

    You know after reading that entire story I still don’t know much about Gillibrand’s proposal to have much of an opinion on it.

    1. Yeah, I’ve actually heard that Chuck E Cheese is a top destination for police calls concerning fighting.

  10. Gah, another great example of how Rand Paul is raging a war on women.

    When will he give up this crusade of misogyny?

  11. Anyone here using a pc monitor that supports Nvidia 3D?

    I’m just a click away from buying 2 Nvidia GTX 660 2G SLI cards and a 27″ ASUS LED 120hz 3D monitor, which comes with a free pair of the Nvidia 3D Vision 2 glasses.

    I keepz having this boner for Skyrim and Borderlands 2 in 3D at 120hz.

    1. Skyrim is killing me. I’ve got 600+ hours in that game and have never finished (or come close to) finishing it.

      Everytime I get everything set, get the mods I want installed, de-bug ’em and the load order and get the game stable SOME NEW AWESOME MOD COMES OUT! So I install it, screw something up and kill my savegame and end up starting the process over.

      It doesn’t help that the main quest is the least interesting thing about the game.

      Not counting the DLC, I’m up to 233 plug-ins.

      1. From what I am hearing, the game is spectacular in 3D. Which doesn’t surprise me, since with my 8G+ of texture mods, even my wife, who pays no attention to video games, is pretty much in awe of the graphics.

        1. Be careful with the textures – Skyrim is all DX9 which means that the textures are mirrored on RAM and Skyrim chokes (as in CTD’s) at 3.1 gb of RAM used.

          Doesn’t matter how much memory *you* have, it seems to be an game engine limit.

          I’d recommend running a texture optimizer like DDSOPT or Optimizer Textures if you’re having a lot of CTD’s in the open area, assuming you haven’t already done that.

          1. And have you used SkyUI, Amazing Follower Tweaks, and/or Convenient Horses?

  12. The AFL-CIO has sponsored a Jezebel post

    As “traditional” families continue to descend into obscurity, women are acting as heads of the household more often ? and as a result, they’re having to choose between staying healthy and paying the bills. Ready to call bullshit?

    So is the AFL-CIO (or The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations for long). They note that retail, food service, and (ironically) health care aren’t always the first industries lining up to give low-wage workers paid sick days ? which means the lady coughing all over the subway has to show up to work to make ends meet, come hell or high whooping cough.

    In fact, more than 80% of low-wage workers don’t receive a single paid sick day all year. This contributes to the creation of a sickness loop: contagious kids go to school because mom can’t stay home with them; expensive emergency room trips are made that could’ve been prevented; employees show up to work and spread viruses to their customers and coworkers.

    When young women can’t stay home to get their sleep and soup on, they venture out into the world where they touch handrails with contaminated hands, and sneeze on things. This is the sick, sad world Daria warned us about.

    Cont…

    1. That’s why the AFL-CIO is doing something about it – fighting for paid sick days on behalf of over 12 million Americans by supporting legislation and national issues that focus on workers and families. But they need help proving that this is an issue people of all genders and incomes care about.

      So! If you’ve sent your sick daughter to school because you couldn’t take off, or left your 80-year-old mom to fend for herself while you worked overtime, or been that sneezing, coughing lady on the train, the AFL-CIO wants to hear from you. Sign the petition and spread the word like the communicable disease you won’t be catching when paid sick days become the norm. Your immune system will thank you for it. And so will thousands of working moms.

      1. So, if we’re taking them at their noble intentions, we could compromise by limiting such paid sick days to communicable diseases, and only in jobs with a significant amount of interpersonal contact like retail or large offices.

      2. Wait, if this is such a public good then why doesn’t the government cover the bill through tax and vouchers instead of forcing a particular segment of the population (service industry employers) to do so?

        1. You make some very interesting points. Now shut up or Vinny will break your kneecaps.

          1. Yay! Mondo sick days!

  13. “A more reliable indicator, the number of soldiers who in fact report sexual assaults, has risen, albeit less dramatically, up 13 percent since 2010. In 2012, there were 880 sex-crime suspects in the U.S. military, which has 1.4 million active-duty personnel. Of those 880 cases, 509 were dismissed because of insufficient evidence, and 81 were dismissed because commanders had determined the charges were false. Of the 594 suspects who faced a court-martial, only 302 went to trial, the other cases either ending in discharge, resignation, or dismissal or still pending resolution. Of the 302 tried, 238 were convicted, and 64 were acquitted. That is a conviction rate that compares favorably with the results achieved by civilian prosecutors in felony cases.”
    http://www.nationalreview.com/…..or-editors

    Why does Gillibrand (as well Paul and Cruz) think the current system is broken that it needs this as a fix?

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