Archive for Carl Levin

They've Got Our Sixes

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military spending

First it was spending $400 for a hammer that you could pick up at Home Depot for ten dollars.

Then it was $600 toilet seats which you could grab at any do-it-yourself outlet for 50 bucks.

We started questioning if the military wasn't being wasteful. Their practices of procuring what they needed was costing us a huge amount of excessive money. Dollars that could be spent on other areas, or even reducing taxes. There were murmurs of complaints.

Then we settled down after we heard from outraged congressional leaders that they would be looking into this and those practices would cease. They didn't, but we bought into it. After all, the military knows best, right? We trust them with our security so we better believe in them. And Congress had our backs, or as the military would say, they had our 6's.

Now, with the latest revelations, it seems those toilet seats and hammers were child's play. Enter the newest boondoggle. The cost of sexual assault in the military. What are you guessing, $20 Million?  $100 million? Oh, if only...

Invisible war

The failure to address sexual assault in the military is costing the U.S. billions of dollars per year, a new study finds. This, according to the business section of the Huffington Post yesterday.

The fallout from military sexual assaults cost the U.S. $3.6 billion last year, according to a recent report from the RAND Corporation, an international research organization. The estimate is based on a calculation of the cost of medical and mental health services victims are likely to seek after an incident, as well as other "intangible costs."

The report also takes into account the number of unpaid work days military sexual assault victims are likely to take off as a result of their ordeal. Those missed earnings amount to a $104.5 million loss annually for the economy, the researchers found.

The findings add to an already growing sense of urgency surrounding military sexual assaults. President Obama said earlier this year that he has "no tolerance" for such assaults after a Pentagon report found that incidents had spiked 35 percent since 2010.

The same report estimated that as many as 26,000 members of the military were sexually assaulted last year. In response, the House of Representatives recently passed a provision that would provide whistleblower protection to victims.

Once again, Congress assures us that they have our backs. So what do these outraged elected officials do? Basically nothing. They vote to keep the "chain of command" rules in order. What's the chain of command rules? A process that can result in retaliation from co-workers toward the victims and may discourage victims from coming forward. That's the way to solve the problem -- the military way. Punish the victim so they are too afraid to report the crime.  A victimized soldier reports the crime to his/her Sergeant.  Sergeant reports this to the Lieutenant who perpetrated the crime or is friends with the assaulting soldier and it ends right there. Or worse, the victim gets victimized even further.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced the amendment in the hopes that it would encourage victims of rape in the military to come forward and report the crimes without fear of retaliation.

But Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) announced an alternative proposal. He force through his own amendment  to keep sexual assault cases inside the chain of command and require a senior military officer to review decisions by commanders who refuse to prosecute rape cases. Simply put -- the status quo.

The committee passed the substitute amendment by a vote of 17 to 9.

In other words, report the offense to your immediate superior who in many cases is the accused attacker. That's it. It's over before it even starts.

Boy, am I yearning for the days of worrying over a $600 toilet seat and a $400 hammer.  $3.6 Billion dollars? Thanks to Carl Levin  (and yes, he's a Democrat)and his cronies, who knows how high that cost will be next year?

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Sources: Democrats now have top candidate to run for retiring Carl Levin's U.S. Senate seat in Michigan

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what's the matter with michigan

Michigan, Michigan, Michigan, what are we going to do with you? For example, a Michigan high school chose to protect a star basketball player instead of his rape victims.

And MI GOP official Dave Agema wouldn’t resign over a Facebook post about “filthy homosexuals” who “account for half the murders in large cities.”

And of course, there's that pesky Michigan Emergency Management system (aka financial martial law).

Not the best track record, and we have the GOP to thank. But turn that frown upside down, it's not all bad news. There are Democrats who live and work and do good things in that state, and one is about to announce a run for retiring Senator Carl Levin's seat.

Roll Call:

Rep. Gary Peters will announce his campaign for Senate on Wednesday, giving Democrats a top candidate to run for the open seat in Michigan. [...]

CQ Roll Call Contributing Writer Stuart Rothenberg rates this race as Safe Democrat.

A Peters spokesperson says he's still "weighing his decision," but
it looks like he is running.

Republicans have yet to field a recruit for this seat. But former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land and Reps. Justin Amash and Mike Rogers continue to consider campaigns.

As President Obama would say, please proceed, because Peters has out-raised Amash and Rogers combined.

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VIDEO: "Suspicious" letters sent to Senators Wicker, Shelby, Levin, and President Obama-- Update: Arrest made!

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enough is enoughUPDATE:

tweet arrest ricin mailings

What journalists are saying about Kenneth Curtis

Original post:

 

MSNBC is now reporting that Carl Levin's regional office has also received a suspicious letter.

MSNBC is also reporting that they believe the letters are being sent from Mississippi and that federal officials believe they know who sent them, but there have been no arrests. The FBI does not think they are connected to the Boston explosions.

Via the Los Angeles Times:

An envelope addressed to President Obama and intercepted at a mail processing facility has tested positive for the poison ricin, a law enforcement official said Wednesday.

Officials are conducting additional tests to confirm the result, said the official, who was not authorized to speak to the press because the tests are part of an ongoing investigation. Investigators believe the letter to the White House may have been sent by the same person who mailed a suspicious envelope to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). [...]

All White House mail is processed at a remote facility not located at the White House complex. It is common for letters to be flagged and tested for suspicious substances, officials said.

And via WAAYTV:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WAAY) - Spokesperson Johnathan Graffeo confirms a suspicious package has been located at the Washington, D.C. office of Senator Richard Shelby. 

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Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) will not seek reelection in 2014

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carl levin

Via a Politico news alert:

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) announced Thursday he will not seek reelection in 2014. The six-term, 78-year-old senator wrote in a statement that he and his wife "struggled" with whether to retire but decided he could better focus on issues such as reforming the Tax Code and boosting manufacturing over the the next two years "without the distraction of campaigning for reelection."

For more information... http://www.politico.com

Wow.

Levin is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

UPDATE: Here is is statement, in part. More at CNN:

I have decided not to run for re-election in 2014.

This decision was extremely difficult because I love representing the people of Michigan in the U.S. Senate and fighting for the things that I believe are important to them.

As Barbara and I struggled with the question of whether I should run again, we focused on our belief that our country is at a crossroads that will determine our economic health and security for decades to come. We decided that I can best serve my state and nation by concentrating in the next two years on the challenging issues before us that I am in a position to help address; in other words, by doing my job without the distraction of campaigning for re-election. [...]

A third item I want to tackle is a growing blight on our political system that I believe I can help address: the use of secret money to fund political campaigns.

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Veteran: "Not once did I hear anyone voice a concern about sexual orientation."

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Today's report about the status of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell is nauseating:

Looking forward to changes to the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell policy?” Don’t hold your breath.

The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Meckler reports today that the drive in Congress to repeal the policy appears all but lost for the foreseeable future. [...]

Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and John McCain of Arizona, the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, are in talks on stripping the proposed repeal and other controversial provisions from a broader defense bill, leaving the repeal with no legislative vehicle to carry it.

What are these big, brave supporters of our troops so afraid of?  Absolutely nothing, if you listen to those who, you know, have actually been there.

Via the L.A. Times letters to the editor:

Get over it

Re " 'Don't ask' — just do it," Editorial, Nov. 3

As a veteran, I believe the question needs to be asked: Are our troops so "sensitive" that we need to do a study as to how the integration of gays and lesbians will affect them?

Please. We had gays in our units back in 1961. Not once did I hear anyone voice a concern about sexual orientation.

All this discussion and examination of the appropriateness of getting rid of "don't ask, don't tell" makes me wonder if we're talking about the concerns of military personnel or of those whose sensitivities are so fragile that we need to protect them from a reality that was very ordinary in the military of 50 years ago.

In fact, John McCain has been there, but I guess he's one of the fragile ones.

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Carl Levin hit in face with pie

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Children, children, do I have to turn this blog around?

Sen. Carl Levin was hit in the face with a pie this morning at a question-and-answer session on what should've been friendly ground in Big Rapids.

The Democrat from Detroit was speaking to members of the Mecosta County Democratic Party when a young man -- who described himself as a student -- began chastising Levin for his work on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which helps direct military and war policy.

Then a woman went all Soupy Sales on Levin. She got arrested on assault and battery charges.


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Video- Grampy McCain has meltdown over DADT & Hate Crimes Bill

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No matter how frustrated we get with President Obama, just remember this guy could have been in charge right now. Via Heather.

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