Memorial Day Open Thread

Today we justly honor the many men and women who died while serving in our Armed Forces.

This year, more than most, I'm struck by the fact that war is not a distant memory, or an occasional event, but an ever-present condition.

In war news, Iraqi forces stormed Fallujah early this morning, backed by U.S. aircraft, to retake the city from ISIS. In Baghdad yesterday, ISIS suicide bombings claimed the lives of more than 20 people.

Meanwhile more than 700 migrants, including children, may have died in sea crossings this week.

Hopefully, some of you have something cheerful to write about, even if it's just how you spent your weekend. This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

< Friday Open Thread
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    By a good friend and former (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by oculus on Mon May 30, 2016 at 11:30:13 AM EST
    While being the (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by BTAL on Mon May 30, 2016 at 03:58:26 PM EST
    hard-hearted, cold-blooded, every man for himself, selfish conservative bastard Republican voter that those on the left stereotype my type.

    I shed actual tears on this day when remembering my fellow service mates and especially those whose sacrifices were 1000% more than the years I spend in the military.

    A firm but kind rebuff is given to friends and family who make a point of thanking me for my service with the reminder of those who we memorialize with this day.

    God bless them all.

    P.S. An thank each of you here, regardless of political bent for your thoughts and remembrances today.

    I was (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon May 30, 2016 at 04:07:59 PM EST
    told by someone who works with PSTD veterans to not say "thank you for your service" but to say I appreciate your sacrifices.

    Hello Uncle Benjen (none / 0) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 30, 2016 at 07:28:20 AM EST
    Probably best not to think to much about what Drogo has been eating to get so big.

    I'm beginning to miss Joffrey.

    And (none / 0) (#24)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 30, 2016 at 06:49:49 PM EST
    I can't wait to see Arya use Needle on  that b!tch that's been smacking her in the head with a club for 2 seasons.

    Hello, I'm Arya.  SAY HELLO TO MY LEETLE FRIN!


    Enjoyed (none / 0) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon May 30, 2016 at 08:06:57 AM EST
    the discussion on the other thread about Welcome to the Dollhouse but apparently more people know about the X rated movie with a similar name. LOL.

    Worth rememtioning (none / 0) (#3)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 30, 2016 at 08:11:47 AM EST
    That the new movie "Weiner Dog" is sort of a sequel.  Tho the grown up WTTD character is only one of several (and not the original actor) encounter by the adventurous Weiner dog.

    I do love the idea of Danny DeVito in a Todd Solondz movie.  He was born to do it.


    We are doing (none / 0) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon May 30, 2016 at 08:32:03 AM EST
    a "block" party sort of. My neighbors across the street are from NJ and NY. One of my best friends grew up in NJ and talked about block parties. However I am not too hopeful that this kind of thing is going to work here because my neighbors are strange and unfriendly except strangely the ones who supposedly come from the unfriendly states of NJ and NY. This is the worst neighborhood I have ever lived in and unfortunately it's the one I've lived in the longest.

    I have lived many places (none / 0) (#5)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 30, 2016 at 08:45:44 AM EST
    Personally I found NY and NJ to be very friendly places.   But I understand why a southerner used to the smarmy bullsh!t "I'm so nice while I shiv you in the kidney" southern attitude  might find the brutaly direct NewYorker, who if they dislike you are happy to say so to your face, off putting.

    That's pretty (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon May 30, 2016 at 09:30:19 AM EST
    much been my observation. It's okay to slice someone up as long as you do it behind their back in the south. Tiresome!

    Why bless your heart! (none / 0) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon May 30, 2016 at 11:13:39 AM EST

    It's been my experience that ... (none / 0) (#20)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon May 30, 2016 at 05:23:03 PM EST
    ... regardless of whatever region or locale from which they might hail, people are perfectly capable of saying and doing all sorts of things behind someone else's back. I think that's just human nature.

    We see it play out on a daily basis in personal behavior in online forums. Posters apparently have no problem being horrid, vile and cruel to others when they're commenting anonymously under a pseudonym, offering up the sort of wretched stuff that they'd otherwise never say if they actually had to sign off under their own name.

    And I think we're all guilty of that to a great extent, particularly when we gossip. I don't see southerners as any more prone to that than anybody else. Maybe that sort of behavior becomes more noticeable in southerners because at least from my perspective, they otherwise tend to be better-mannered in social interactions than, say, my fellow Southern Californians. To me anyway, southerners are more likely to say "please," "thank you" and "bless you" than others.

    While that may be superficial, good manners are something I notice. It might also be the case that when I interact with southerners out here or on the west coast, they're conscious of the fact that they're visitors who are on my turf, and so they seek to put me at ease. Maybe my perspective might be different were I to actually live in the South among them.



    "Feel the Math." (none / 0) (#7)
    by KeysDan on Mon May 30, 2016 at 10:50:42 AM EST
    Paul Krugman, NYTimes, May 30,2016, offers numerate therapy: Why Hillary will be the nominee and why she is ahead of Trump.

    The strange thing about this column (none / 0) (#23)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 30, 2016 at 06:45:45 PM EST
    Is how excited people seem to be about it.   It's everywhere.  Like, OMG someone is actually talking RATIONALLY about this election.    

    And he's sure right about one thing.  Political reporting is often the worst of the worst but this year they have out done themselves.  They have literally become self parody.   Its sad and scary.


    I have always been moved... (none / 0) (#10)
    by desertswine on Mon May 30, 2016 at 11:43:59 AM EST
    Eric Holder: Snowden performed Public Service (none / 0) (#11)
    by Mr Natural on Mon May 30, 2016 at 12:10:00 PM EST
    In an interview with David Axelrod on "The Axe Files" podcast, Holder said, "We had the capacity to do a whole range of things under these listening programs, but after a while, I remember sending memos to the president and asking, `Do we really need to do this, given the way in which we are focusing on people's lives and given the return that we were getting?' Which was not, I think in any ways substantial."

    Eric Holder's statement that (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by KeysDan on Mon May 30, 2016 at 01:54:07 PM EST
    Edward Snowden performed a public service coupled with the earlier statement by President Obama "that he welcomed the debate," deserves a new look at whether Snowden committed a crime or was a patriot who performed a useful act that informed the public of wrongdoing and sparked certain needed reforms.

    For Snowden to return to face the music involves  two charges under the Espionage Act of 1917 where he would not be able to bring up at trial an effective defense that shows he would not be guilty of violating that Act, i.e., to make a public interest defense.

    A public interest defense allows a defendant who disclosed classified or protected information to avoid criminality by establishing that the public interest in disclosure of the information outweighs the public interest in non-disclosure. This gives a defense to whistleblowers of government misconduct.  

    Snowden  would have the opportunity to prove that the information revealed was valuable for informing public debate.  The prosecution would have the burden of showing that the disclosures caused significant harm.  The judge or jury would decide if the benefit outweighs the harm.

    If they decided, yes, the benefit does outweigh the harm, Snowden would have an effective defense and would be found not guilty.  Even if they decided it does not, the punishment would have to be proportionate to the harm caused, weighed against the public interest in disclosure.  

    The Espionage Act means that Snowden faces a long prison sentence, 30 years or more. And, the Act does not provide for a public interest defense. Nor does it require the prosecution to prove that the accused intended to, or actually did, cause harm to national security.

    To provide a fair trial, the government should, at least, alter the charges to theft of government documents, so as to enable  a public interest defense.  

    Of course, as I have opined earlier, Snowden's actions should be treated as that of a whistleblower. But, with high ranking officials, such as John Kerry, calling him a traitor, that does not seem feasible. And, unfortunately, not any time soon.  A trial that permits a defense beyond that provided by an antique law plucked from obscurity by the Obama Administration would be the fair thing to do.


    Are you suggesting that federal criminal law (none / 0) (#14)
    by Peter G on Mon May 30, 2016 at 03:49:46 PM EST
    recognizes any such doctrine as a "public interest defense"? Because I have served as defense counsel for people charged with crimes that they considered "civil disobedience" or as justified (which is how your suggested "public interest" defense would be classified in criminal law doctrine) in many causes over the last 35+ years, and as far as I know the courts do not recognize any such defense. The government might (and should) decline to prosecute in such a case, but if they do prosecute, the defense would have to be grounded in some recognized legal doctrine or principle, not in wishful thinking.

    The full quote (none / 0) (#15)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 30, 2016 at 03:52:55 PM EST
    Reads a bit differently

    Chicago (CNN)Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says Edward Snowden performed a "public service" by triggering a debate over surveillance techniques, but still must pay a penalty for illegally leaking a trove of classified intelligence documents.

    Captain, I know we (none / 0) (#19)
    by KeysDan on Mon May 30, 2016 at 05:07:48 PM EST
    have a difference on Snowden, but my concern is the use of the Espionage Act of 1917 and the limits of that Act for a defense.  Holder did seem to acknowledge that Snowden was not a spy, since, generally, the government does not view spying against our country as a "public service."  So how do we prosecute Snowden? Who leaked information, that included a denial under oath by Diredctor Clapper (who is still in his job) His actions seem more of whistleblowing, than civil disobedience.

    True, they are probably related, as, maybe, third cousins. But they are different. And, the defenses are, in my view, different as well. Inherent to civil disobedience is to accept the penalty as a part of the act and purpose.   Obstructing traffic for a cause does not necessarily mean a misdeed of the government for placing a stop sign in a particular location.

      Leaking information of government misdeeds for purposes of informing citizens is the act of a whistleblower.  Whistleblowers need protection. And, a defense different from that of civil disobedience.


    I have no legal opinions about Snowden (none / 0) (#22)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 30, 2016 at 06:22:19 PM EST
    Or what he did.  It's not my area.  I defer to you and others for that.  Mine is a gut reaction.  I agree with Holder.   He, in some sense, performed a public service.  
    That said I don't believe that's why he did what he did.  And he along the way broke some very serious laws I happen to mostly agree with.  
    I think Smowden is a fraud and a poseur.  And if he was in fact, as you say, just an honorable whistle blower, like Daniel Ellsberg, would have the courage of his convictions and face the music for what he did.  Not hide behind Putins filthy evil skirts.

    Just my gut opinion.


    I believe the (none / 0) (#18)
    by KeysDan on Mon May 30, 2016 at 04:25:43 PM EST
    Constitutionality of applying the Espionage Act of 1917 to leaks is overbroad and is a poor vehicle for prosecuting leaks and whistleblowers. I do not think that issue has every reached the S.S.

     As Holder says, Snowden provided a public service, but he must pay the penalty--he is guilty and all that is left is to dole out the punishment.  Snowden, if he is to face crowds and pitchforks, should be offered a defense.  Yes, the public interest defense is more of European and Canadian law, but a charge that permits Snowden a fair trial by his peers would seem to e a reasonable interpretation of American criminal justice.

    The Espionage Act of 1917 was in effect for over 35 years before "classified" entered the government's lexicon. How else do we fairly prosecute  a non-spy?  Fairly and justly?  If it were in charge (and many are sure glad I am not), I would pardon him in advance (cf. Nixon) and give him the Presidential Medal Of Honor. The Espionage Act of 1917 is misapplied and dangerously used to quell free speech.


    While it's true (none / 0) (#12)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 30, 2016 at 12:52:57 PM EST
    War is not a distant memory but a continuing condition, I think  it sometimes tends to seem  distant to most of the country because so small a percentage of the country has loved ones fighting them.

    Something cheerful: Cubs currently (none / 0) (#21)
    by caseyOR on Mon May 30, 2016 at 06:01:46 PM EST
    have the best record in all of major league baseball. And at this very moment, in the bottom of the 6th, the Cubs lead the Dodgers 2-0.

    I know, i know, it is only May, still a lot of baseball left to play. And it is the Cubs. Still, this team seems pretty tight. So far, not given to bumbling mistakes.

    So, right now, I am a very happy Cubs fan. Very happy.

    GO, CUBS!!!!!