Articles Posted in News of the Weird & Strange

NBC Washington reports:

Manassas resident Gene McKinney, 59, was arrested last week and charged with attempted malicious wounding for an incident that happened in Pentagon City on October 25.

McKinney allegedly picked up commuters from a slug line that Monday morning. He was driving north toward Washington when his passengers demanded to be let out of the car because he was driving erratically, according to arlnow.com.

McKinney let them out on the 1100 block of South Eads Street, according to the site. One man took out a camera and tried to snap a photo of McKinney’s license plate. That’s when the former top soldier hit the gas and struck the man with his car, police said.

[Update]  Military.com via Stars & Stripes is now reporting:

Arlington, Va., police have charged Gene McKinney, the Army’s former top enlisted officer, with intentionally driving his car into a fellow carpooler after that man complained about McKinney’s driving.

Air Force Times reports:

A religion watchdog group is asking the Defense Department to investigate whether the Air Force Academy has given a Christian group improper access to the campus to proselytize cadets.

This would not be the first time the AFA has had an issue with support to or enforced support of a specific religion.

In June 2005; An Air Force panel sent to investigate the religious climate at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs found evidence that officers and faculty members periodically used their positions to promote their Christian beliefs and failed to accommodate the religious needs of non-Christian cadets, its leader said Wednesday.

In May 2005; The U.S. Air Force said Tuesday it will appoint a task force to investigate allegations of religious intolerance at the Air Force Academy.  Among the items to be reviewed will be Air Force policy and guidance concerning religious respect and tolerance at the academy, said acting Secretary of the Air Force Michael Dominguez.

In December 2005;

Four Air Force officers — all graduates of the Air Force Academy class of 2004 — have recently joined a lawsuit that accuses leaders at the academy of overtly pressuring cadets to undertake evangelical religious instruction.

See here for concerns about a recent event at Fort Bragg, and here for Soldiers punished for not attending a religious event at Fort Eustis.

Here is an article from the Air Force Law Review: ARTICLE: RELIGION IN THE MILITARY: NAVIGATING THE CHANNEL BETWEEN THE RELIGION CLAUSES.

That is the headline from the Navy Times:

A judge has sentenced a former university student to join the military for a post he made on Facebook that led to a lockdown at Faulkner University here.

Zachary Lambert, 23, agreed to plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge of harassing communications for a message that made reference to a deadly campus attack at Virginia Tech in 2007. He originally was charged with making a terrorist threat, a felony, and placed in jail on $500,000 bond.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Tracy McCooey handed down a suspended three-month sentence and two years of probation, telling Lambert that he must join the military as a condition of his probation.

Query?  If the military isn’t giving moral waivers, and if the military is trying to weed out “terrorists” what’s the chances the military will accept this person?  It’s certainly been a long time since we’ve heard of these type of “conditions” related to civilian cases.

The Boston Globe reports:

The Department of Defense is investigating whether 80 wounded American service members in Iraq were improperly used as subjects in a test of a possible treatment for brain injuries, according to the Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General.

In addition to the defense investigation, the US Navy is conducting an inquiry into alleged research misconduct and potential violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, according to Jennifer Plozai, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon’s inspector general, in response to questions from the Globe. She declined to spell out the nature of the alleged misconduct.

tip Blogcritics.org

Navy Times reports:

A former Navy officer who was serving time for hiring someone to kill his wife was killed in a Kansas military prison a month before he was supposed to be released.

Officials at Fort Leavenworth say 54-year-old former Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Fricke was beaten with a baseball bat by another inmate on July 24. He died Thursday after his family authorized taking him off life support.

Fricke had served 16 years of the 30-year sentence for his involvement in the murder of his wife, Roxanne, who was shot to death the parking lot of a Kempsville supermarket in 1988.

Fricke pleaded guilty during his 1994 court-martial to avoid a possible death sentence. He said he agreed to pay a man he had been stationed with at Oceana Naval Air Station $25,000 to find someone to kill his wife.

United States v. Fricke, 53 M.J. 149 (C.A.A.F. 2000).

Here is subsequent action at NMCCA, in United States v. Fricke, NMCCA 9601293, 2004 CCA LEXIS (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. April 9, 200), rev. granted, 60 M.J. 332, 2004 CAAF LEXIS 914 (C.A.A.F., 2004), aff’d, 60 M.J. 332, 2004 CAAF LEXIS 907 (C.A.A.F., 2004).

A predecessor panel of this court affirmed the findings and sentence in the appellant’s general court-martial. United States v. Fricke, 48 M.J. 547 (N.M.Ct.Crim.App. 1998). Afterwards, our superior court affirmed our decision as to the findings, but set it aside as to the sentence. United States v. Fricke, 53 M.J. 149, 155-56 (C.A.A.F. 2000). The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) also directed that the case be remanded to the Judge Advocate General for further proceedings in accordance with its decision and United States v. DuBay, 17 C.M.A. 147, 37 C.M.R. 411 (1967) [*2]  on the remaining issue of unlawful pretrial punishment, after which the record was to be returned to this court for review under Article 66(c), Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. § 866(c).
The proceedings directed by CAAF have been conducted, and the record is now before us for completion of review. Since the findings in this case have already been affirmed by our superior court, our review on remand is limited to the issue of unlawful pretrial punishment, specifically "the conditions actually imposed on appellant during his pretrial confinement and the intent of detention officials in imposing those conditions." Fricke, 53 M.J. at 155; see United States v. Quiroz, 57 M.J. 583, 586 (N.M.Ct.Crim.App. 2002)(citing United States v. Riley, 55 M.J. 185, 188 (C.A.A.F. 2001)).

We have carefully reviewed the entire record of trial, including the DuBay proceedings held pursuant to the mandate of our superior court. We have also considered the pleadings and supplemental briefs of both parties. Finding that the record does not support the appellant’s assertions of unlawful pretrial punishment, we conclude that the approved sentence is correct in law and fact, and that no error materially prejudicial to the substantial rights of the appellant occurred. Art. 66(c), UCMJ.

Not sure where to place this but:

No. 10A56

Title:

Orly Taitz, Applicant

v.

Thomas D. MacDonald, Colonel Garrison Commander, Fort Benning, et al.

Docketed:

Lower Ct:
United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

  Case Nos.:
(09-15418)

~~~Date~~~ 
~~~~~~~Proceedings  and  Orders~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jul 8 2010
Application (10A56) for a stay, submitted to Justice Thomas.

WorldNetDaily reports that LTC Lakin will be confessing on G. Gordon Liddy’s TV show tomorrow.

The officer refusing Army orders until Barack Obama documents his eligibility to be president and commander in chief is hitting the airwaves tomorrow to answer questions about his challenge to the president.

Lt. Col. Terry Lakin is scheduled to be on the G. Gordon Liddy show tomorrow from 10-11 a.m. EDT.

As a conspiracy theorist I think this is a plot all intended to create a Wuterich issue thereby delaying any action while litigation is ongoing about out-takes.  I did check, and there is no definition in the DSM IV for guano loco (but a change in the soon to be released DSM V may be expected perhaps).  [n.1]

"Rather than contesting the suit," Day wrote, "the Army took the highly peculiar step of revoking the major’s deployment order, suggesting that the Pentagon generals are not entirely confident that they can demonstrate the legitimacy of their purported commander in chief.

"The Pentagon’s decision to back down rather than risk exposing Obama’s birth records to the public means that every single American soldier, sailor, pilot and Marine now holds a ‘get out of war free’ card."

The major – referring to the abortive case of Major Cook — was on voluntary orders.  He could have just as voluntarily asked to revoke them at any time up until the day before going.  He chose to express his request to revoke the voluntary orders through litigation.  So why not just revoke the orders.  That’s not backing down.

A spokeswoman for the case, Margaret Calhoun Hemenway, told WND that whatever the "assignment" amounts to, Lakin’s access privileges were revoked, his computer was confiscated and he "is not permitted to support his Hippocratic oath … and take care of the troops as a doctor and a surgeon."

This is standard procedure for anyone who is placed in a disciplinary status and won’t be working in the Pentagon anymore.  Then of course, if it was a government computer the government is entitled to take it back.  It’s organizational property, has to be accounted for, and LTC Lakin doesn’t need it anymore.  There’s nothing sinister about that.  He had the opportunity to practice his Hyppocratic oath, and along with his oath as a commissioned officer.  He’s given both up.

n.1.  The Urban Dictionary defines guano loco variously:

Crazy, in fact probably totally insane.
Acting in the manner of Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s sofa or Joaquin Phoenix on the Letterman show.
Hearing voices and imagining things that haven’t happened or people saying things that they haven’t.
Possibly caused by some recent trauma, however more than likely always present just brought to the surface in times of high emotion.

Oooops, even his own family appears to be dissing’ him according to this report from The Greeley Tribune.

His Greeley relatives are putting distance between themselves and his birther campaign.

Lakin’s father Frank told the Greeley Tribune Friday that his son’s video wasn’t representative of the family. “This does not reflect the opinions or the attitude of the family by any means,” he said. “We’re Obama supporters.”

A posting at Buzzflash.com asserts that LTC Lakin is also a member of the Tea Party.

A comment from LtCol Christopher Matthews, USAF (Ret.) on CAAFLog

[M]ilitary appellate courts adopted the de facto officer doctrine long ago — see, e.g., United States v. Jette, 25 M.J. 16 (C.M.A. 1987); United States v. Watson, 37 M.J. 166, 168 (C.M.A. 1993); and United States v. Brown, 39 M.J. 114 (C.M.A. 1994). CAAF not long ago denied petitions on a pair of Air Force cases where we upheld convictions by courts-martial convened by an officer ineligible to assume command as the GCMCA, so I believe the law on this point to be unchanged.

An article at Huffington Post posits that the ultra conservatives are “taking advantage” of military people such as LTC Lakin, as part of an all out assault on the military – a strange position for the far right who once accused those who didn’t support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as being traitors.

Why put this man’s career in jeopardy over a lie?

For the same reason Glenn Beck is taking advantage of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation to pay for a hate filled rally or Sean Hannity is scamming wounded warriors and their kids

(There have been a number of reports about the extravagant expenditures of Sean Hannity that are charged off to the charity.  I believe the Salvation Army has an overhead of about 4%, the rest of their donations going to the charity work.)

The Colorado Independent reports that:

Terry Lakin, the Army Doctor who has refused orders to deploy to Afghanistan, hasposted online the letter he wrote to Pres. Obama last week explaining his decision.

If he is correct, then all orders are illegal since President Obama was sworn in?  Thus an additional charge at his court-martial (in addition to Article 88, UCMJ, Article 92, UCMJ, for unlawful political activity) should include theft perhaps or wrongful receipt of government funds or some other wrongful taking – like his pay checks?  Military personnel are routinely prosecuted for taking and keeping BAH they are knowingly not entitled to and failing to report the matter?

Query.  If President Obama is not lawfully president, who is?  Well is it not Vice-President Biden?  There has been no issue raised that VP Biden is not lawfully elected.  Either way, military orders, assuming they come from the president qua president, must come from VP Biden then.  So LTC Lakin is getting lawful orders.  See, we can all make silly arguments about this.

Here’s an interesting piece from the Guardian in the UK (a liberal paper):

Lakin’s outburst of birtherism should not be seen in isolation. Instead, it’s further evidence that rightwing hate, aided and abetted by leading Republicans, has gone mainstream.  Remember when people, especially conservatives jumped on DHS for issuing a warning about extremism.

The first warning came a year ago, when the department of homeland security predicted a rise in rightwing extremism fuelled by economic calamity and the election of our first black president. News of the report, and especially about a warning contained therein that military veterans might be pulled into the movement, set off criticism among conservative bloggers. Yet it proved prescient.

You may remember the serious of stories about lawyer Orly Taitz, and you may remember that she was sanctioned for her actions in the case of an Army captain seeking to stop her deployment.  Well . . .

The Orange County Register reports that: 

Orly Taitz has been dealt another legal loss in her battle to prove President Barack Obama is not qualified to be president, as a federal appeals court in Atlanta has upheld a judge’s $20,000 sanction of Taitz.

In fining Taitz in October, U.S. District Court Judge Clay D. Land wrote that one particular Taitz response to the court “is breathtaking in its arrogance and borders on delusional. She expresses no contrition or regret regarding her misconduct. To the contrary, she continues her baseless attacks on the Court….”

The March 15 ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals says, “We have fully considered Taitz’s arguments. We find them unpersuasive and therefore affirm the district court’s sanctions judgment.”

A lot of our court-martial cases have alcohol as a factor.  So, while a little off topic, I thought this curiosity might be of interest.

A woman had a blood-alcohol level of .708 percent, possibly a state record, when she was found earlier this month behind the wheel of a stolen vehicle parked on Interstate 90.

A state chemist recalled a sample that tested .53, but nothing higher, in his more than 30 years on the job.

Dr. Robert Looyenga, who recently retired from the Rapid City Police Department’s forensic laboratory, told Sondreal that the highest blood-alcohol sample he tested measured .56 percent.

Sondreal’s research indicates that a blood-alcohol level of .40 is considered a lethal dose for about 50 percent of the population.

reports the Rapid City Journal.