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The ultra-rich Hobby Lobby Green family not only wants to save women from the sinful use of birth control, but they also want to reform public schools by requiring all students to take Bible-based religion courses. (No doubt the students will only study The One Right, True, and Holy Hobby Lobby Religion, not some Secular Humanist comparative religion stuff.) The Hobby Lobby family wants to save the souls of all the public school kids by forcing their beliefs on anyone who wants to graduate from high school.

The Hobby Lobby curricular reform crowd has not published details of their new Bible study program, but it would not be surprising if it included units on Biblically-based 'biology'. If this is permitted, the Greens and their religious cronies will have a precedent for also 'reforming' public school biology classes. This would doubtless include teaching their version of The Truth about Cavefolk Life with Dinosaurs and many other scientific oddities. If the legal challenges bankrupt the public schools then the schools could be pressured to privatize, allowing the open teaching of the Hobby Lobby dogmas.

Young-earth creationists believe that God made the Earth in six 24-hour days (in 4004 B.C.) Other creationists allow God to take his time, but disagree about how much time.  Young-earth creationists have the most remarkable beliefs.  Your tax dollars are already being used to teach children about the creation "science" of astronomy, climatology, dinosaurs,  and  Noah's ark. Right now parents are given tax-dollar funded vouchers to send their children to private religious schools that teach Creation "science".

The Hobby Lobby Greens are already arranging to introduce a 4-year Bible course into an Oklahoma public school system and 'creep' it into other public schools from there. http://www.dailykos.com/... If they get away with this, it opens the door for teaching public school students the Creation 'biology' that is already being taught in private religious schools.

It all starts with Adam and grows out from there:

How would Leonardo da Vinci look next to Adam? One of the most gifted men of the last millennium, this artist, inventor, and engineer would seem a retarded imbecile compared to Adam. After six sin-ravaged millennia of degeneration, it is impossible to imagine how superlative Adam was before the cumulative damages of sin and genetic defects. Who was the smartest man who ever lived? Probably the mud-man, Farmer Adam.
https://biblescienceguy.files.wordpress.com/...  

A website with instruction materials for Christian schools teaches us all about the goings on in the Garden of Eden. Before Eve forced that piece of fruit on poor, helpless Adam the two of them lived in an innocent paradise complete with dinosaurs.

These wonderful creatures did not evolve from reptiles or amphibians. God created them perfectly finished. Today we can only guess what dinosaurs were really like in that sinless paradise of long ago.
http://www.christiananswers.net/...

This website has many essays that provide more remarkable 'science' instruction. We learn that it is wrong to judge others by their appearance, especially if they were huge, ferocious-looking dinosaurs with teeth like six-inch daggers. Just because they were big enough to eat people does not mean they actually did. It seems that they chose to renounce a carnivorous orientation.

T-rex and friends   The sharp teeth and claws of some dinosaurs have made people think that they were mean, vicious animals. The Tyrannosaurus Rex is often pictured as a horrible killer, attacking every dinosaur in sight. But this may not be true at all. . .

Could it be that tyrannosaurs were mostly plant-eaters, not meat-eaters? The shape of their teeth alone can’t tell us what they ate. Perhaps they used their sharp teeth and claws to tear up tough plants and fruits, not dinosaurs. Obviously sharp teeth can serve other purposes than simply cutting meat, just as kitchen knives can be used for cutting carrots as well as steaks.

Many sharp-toothed animals living today are plant-eaters and rarely (or never) eat flesh. A few of many examples include the Giant Panda, the large Australian fruit bat, and some apes and bears.

http://www.christiananswers.net/...

Unfortunately, Farmer Adam was not bright enough to Just say No.  There was a problem involving eating Fruit. People were kicked out of the garden of Eden along with the vegetarian dinosaurs.  Things got bad but could have been worse. Even after the Fall it never rained in Southern California (or anywhere else). Maybe that is why the neighbors didn't believe Noah about the water raining from the sky thing. Creationists assure us that people were still living to be hundreds of years old in those days despite their sins.  This was because of the denser atmosphere.

Further discussion about Creationist climatology and elimination of evolutionary heresy follows under the ancestral orange nematode

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The Hobby Lobby decision by the Supreme Court is a political issue that resonates with women. It is not only an issue for single women, but also for married couples. Most Protestant denominations do not have deep theological objections to the use of birth control. Many Protestant denominations regard the use of birth contol by married couples as a responsible and loving way to provide the best possible lives for children. The Hobby Lobby decision favors Roman catholic theology, not some sort of generic Protestant fundamentalist belief. This should be clearly understood if this court decision is used as a political issue.

The Roman catholic church has decided that birth control is a sin and has been promoting this idea aggressively for many years.

In 1963, Pope John XXIII established a commission of six European nontheologians to study questions of birth control and population. John died the same year and was succeeded by Pope Paul VI, who released the encyclical Humanae Vitae, or “Of Human Life,” in 1968.
If for any reason Catholic couples want to space out their children, Paul said “it is then licit to take into account the natural rhythms immanent in the generative functions, for the use of marriage in the infecund periods only, and in this way to regulate birth without offending the moral principles which have been recalled earlier.”
http://abpnews.com/...

The Hobby Lobby decision was made by five male Roman catholics who claim that large, for-profit corporations can deny health care coverage providing birth control for female employees. Justice Ginsburg pointed out in her dissent that this decision could logically be extended to allow employers to deny affordable health care access to their employees on the basis of the religion of the corporation. She listed several types of medical care that could be denied to employees on the basis of the company religion even if the employees are not members of that faith.

Would the exemption the Court holds RFRA demands for employers with religiously grounded objections to the use of certain contraceptives extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations (Christian Scientists, among others)?31 According to counsel for Hobby Lobby, “each one of these cases . . . would have to be evaluated on its own . . . apply[ing] the compelling interest-least restrictive alternative test.”
http://www.supremecourt.gov/...

The decision by the five male Roman catholic justices was only intended to be in favor of limitation on health care when it forces conformation to their own religious preferences. They specifically ruled that people of faiths other than their own do not necessarily have a right to impose religious beliefs on employees. Their decision said:

This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage man­dates, e.g., for vaccinations or blood transfusions, must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs. Nor does it provide a shield for employers who might cloak illegal discrimination as a religious practice.
http://www.supremecourt.gov/...

Religious reasoning was used to reach this decision.

in footnote 34 Justice Alito cites Fr. Henry Davis's book Moral and Pastoral Theology (1935) as the source of certain supposedly legal reasoning in the text of the majority's ruling. The Roman Catholic Church has a long tradition of carefully worked out moral reasoning about formal and material cooperation with supposed evil.
So let us pause now and savor this. The five Roman Catholic Justices on the Supreme Court of the United States have drawn on their familiarity with Roman Catholic moral reasoning to write the majority ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.
http://www.opednews.com/...

This was essentially a decision of the catholics, by the catholics, for the catholics. The Supreme court has required reconsideration of cases where Roman catholic companies were told they could not deny birth control services to employees. Clearly five men on the Supreme Court feel that it is reasonable to force their religious beliefs about birth control on other people even if those people do not choose to be members of their church.

Cases ordered reconsidered in appeals courts:
Autocam Corp. v. Burwell. The Catholic owners of a Michigan company that manufactures products for the auto and medical supply industries objected to all forms of services covered by the mandate.
Gilardi v. Department of Health & Human Services. Two Catholic brothers who operate two Ohio companies that distribute fresh foods objected to all forms of preventive services.
Eden Foods v. Burwell. The Catholic owners of an organic food company in Michigan objected to all forms of preventive services.
http://www.dailykos.com/...

Cases where the Roman catholic company won the right to force their beliefs on employees have now been allowed to stand.

Burwell v. Korte. Government appeal. This case involved two Catholic families — one owning a construction company in Illinois, the other a vehicle safety manufacturing company in Indiana, who objected to all preventive services mandated. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the challenges of both groups of owners and their companies. Review denied.
Burwell v. Newland. Another government appeal. This case involved the Catholic owners of a Colorado heating and air conditioning company, who objected to all services under the mandate. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, applying its decision when the Hobby Lobby case was before it, upheld the challenges of the owners and their company. Review denied.
http://www.dailykos.com/...

Roman catholic individuals have every right to decide whether or not to make personal use of birth control. Many of them use birth control themselves and even get abortions. The rest of us should also be allowed to make our own decisions based on our own beliefs. The rest of us should not be forced to conform to the religious beliefs of the controlling majority on the Supreme Court. This issue not only affects single women, but interferes with access to birth control by married couples.

The Hobby Lobby decision allows a for-profit company to force the Hobby Lobby religion on employees of other faiths or no faith.  The Green family control the closely-held Hobby Lobby corporation. The Green family come from the Church of God and a Southern Baptist background. These churches do not have any unified objections to the use of birth control by married couples.

The United Church of God is a relatively conservative Christian church. The published view of the United Church of God encourages family planning as part of a loving relationship between a husband and a wife.

Our Marriage and Family: The Missing Dimension booklet points out: “The idea that sex was dirty and evil was an idea that crept into Christianity from early Catholic teachers. Their compromise with the obvious reality that sexual activity was necessary to have children resulted in their teaching that sex should only be engaged in by married couples when they wanted to have children. Yet there is no such instruction in the Bible.
“Genesis:2:24 says, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh [have sex].’ Proverbs:5:15-19 encourages couples to enjoy sexual pleasure together within marriage. Paul says that husbands and wives should render the sexual affection due each other—refraining only during times set aside for prayer and fasting (1 Corinthians:7:3-5).
“No passage in the Bible forbids husbands and wives from having sex for pleasure when not trying to conceive children. There is nothing wrong with couples using contraceptive methods, provided they are not physically harmful, to postpone having children until the time of their choosing.”
http://www.ucg.org/...

There is some disagreement in Pentecostal churches about the use of birth control, but people who do not like the views of one pastor can find a more sympathetic church where they feel more at home. A letter asking advice from a Pentecostal pastor with a newspaper column gives a reasonable idea of the range of attitudes that Pentecostals may hold:

I am a Jamaican living in New York and I believe in God to the fullest. I grew up in the Pentecostal church. I have a niece back home in Jamaica who is also a Pentecostal Christian. She just recently got married and has a child. She is a registered nurse. The thing is that she has decided not to have any more children for now and is on birth control. Her pastor is preaching against Christians taking birth control.
When I heard about it I was saying there is nowhere in the Bible that says taking birth control is a sin. And, what hurts me the most is the pastor told her that she cannot worship at the church anymore.
The Pentacostal pastor answered:
Pastors who preach that their members should not take contraceptives cannot prove from the Scripture that what they are saying is doctrinally sound. I feel that such preachers are wasting their time and trying to fool the people. So tell your niece that she has the right to limit the number of children that she would like to have. And if contraceptive is the method she chooses to use, she should continue to do so.
http://jamaica-star.com/...

In the past Southern Baptists had very progressive views about birth control and even about abortion.

In 1971, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted a resolution supporting legislation to “allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental and physical health of the mother.”
A resolution in 1974 affirmed that stance as “a middle ground between the extreme of abortion on demand and the opposite extreme of all abortion as murder.”
http://abpnews.com/...

There has been a steady movement by the Southern Baptists toward the theology of the Roman catholic church ever since. The effort to harness political power by using Protestant fundamentalists makes this remake of Protestant views politically convenient.

Opposition to birth control is growing in conservative Evangelical groups who rely more heavily on Catholic teachings, so birth control still remains controversial. Some oppose all forms of contraception short of abstinence while others allow natural family planning but oppose other methods. Some sects even support any form of birth control that prevents conception but are against any method that keeps a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. In 1954, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America stated that “to enable them to more thankfully receive God’s blessing and reward, a married couple should plan and govern their sexual relations so that any child born to their union will be desired both for itself and in relation to the time of its birth.”
The nation’s largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptists, uphold the use of some methods of family planning by married couples. The denomination’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission helps ensure that the church can find ways to apply biblical truth to moral, public policy, and religious liberty issues. This creates a biblical model as a framework through which Christians can evaluate the moral and religious liberty issues confronting families in modern culture. The church believes that the use of birth control, as a means to regulating the number of children a couple has and as a means to space out the ages of the children, is a moral decision that is left up to each couple. However, Southern Baptists stipulate that a couple uses a form of contraception that prevents conception.
http://contraception.about.com/...

The Vatican has been involved in the effort to reduce availability of birth control and to decrease the use of birth control by Protestant fundamentalists.

Pope Francis met Monday (March 31) with members of the Green family, the Oklahoma billionaires whose company, Hobby Lobby, took their challenge to Obama’s contraception mandate to the Supreme Court last week.
The Greens are in Rome for the launch of one of their traveling exhibits, “Verbum Domini II” (Latin for “The Word of the Lord”).
“The purpose of the meeting was to thank the pope for the loan of items to the exhibit from the Vatican museum and library,” said Jennifer Sheran of DeMoss, the Atlanta public relations firm that represents the Greens. “The pope did ask how the (Hobby Lobby) case was progressing.”
Eighteen members of the Green family met with the pope, Sheran said, as well as 10 members from the American Bible Society. The meeting lasted 30 minutes.
http://www.religionnews.com/...

Clearly there has been high level Vatican involvement in the effort to keep women in the US from having financially reasonable access to birth control. Roman catholics have the right to make their own personal decisions about birth control, but they do NOT have the right to impose their religious beliefs on others. Moral hazard of financing faith did not seem to be a problem for this Supreme Court when government tax money was given to private religious schools.

The Roman catholic church has opposed the use of birth control for much of my lifetime. This is not the case for most Protestant churches. Sex within the confines of Protestant marriage does not tend to be regarded as sinful and family planning is commonly regarded as responsible concern for the welfare of children. Different Protestant churches have widely different views, since many denominations allow the congregations of each church choose the minister. The Vatican gets to decide the policy for the entire Roman church.

The Vatican requires all members to believe certain speech by their leader (the Pope). It is the official, formal teaching by this organization that most birth control methods are immoral and should not be permitted. Unlike many Protestant churches that are run democratically, the Roman church has official positions. People who are not members of the Roman church have every right to object when this church claims it is universal and has a right to force its beliefs on everyone else.

Denial of birth control to married Protestant couples is an invasion of the sanctity of their marriage. The imposition of the Hobby Lobby religion is not just an issue for single women. Negative comments about Protestant fundamentalists when this issue is discussed are not likely to win any of their votes, especially in the South.

Discuss

This recipe was contributed by jgilhousen to a troll diary, but I have honestly been meaning to try making a steak and kidney pie.  Although I rarely eat meat, I do enjoy ethnic food at restaurants. Steak and Kidney Pie was quite tasty. Preparing kidneys is alleged to be difficult, but the results are quite nice.  This recipe would be an interesting change from Clean Out the Crisper quiche.

Traditional Steak & Kidney Pie.
Not to be confused with Steak & Kidney Pudding.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Yield: Serves 4
Ingredients:
FOR THE PASTRY
7 oz/200g all purpose/plain flour
pinch of salt
4 oz/ 110g butter, cubed or an equal mix of butter and lard
2-3 tbsp cold water
1 beaten egg for glaze
FOR THE FILLING
1oz/25g all purpose/plain flour
1 ½lb/700g braising or stewing steak cut into 1"2.5cm cubes
½ lb/250g kidney, cleaned and chopped into ½'/1.3cm cubes
¾ oz 20g butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 carrots chopped in to 1"/2.5cm cubes
3 ½ cups/850 ml hot beef stock
Salt and ground pepper
Preparation:
Make the pastry following these instructions
Place the flour in a large bowl and season with salt and ground black pepper, add the cubes of steak and kidney and toss well in the flour until evenly coated.
Heat the butter and oil in a large, flameproof, casserole dish until the butter has melted. Add the meat to the fat in small batches and stir quickly for about a minute, or until the meat is browned. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Add the onions and carrots to the pan and fry gently for about 5 minutes then return the meat to the pan, stir then add the stock. Season with plenty of black pepper and a little salt. Bring to a gentle boil, cover with a lid and reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook slowly for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender and the sauce thickened. Remove from the heat, place into a 2½ pint/1.5 litre deep pie dish and leave to cool completely.
Heat the oven to 400°F/200°C/Gas 6.
Roll out the pastry to 1/8"/3mm and large enough to cover the pie dish, cut a tiny whole in the centre to slip over the funnel. Brush the rim of the pie dish with water and sit a pie funnel in the centre of the filling. Place the pastry over the dish and the funnel pressing it down, trim to fit the rim of the dish. Crimp the edges using your thumb and first finger
Brush the top with beaten egg. Bake for 40 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden. Serve immediately with seasonal vegetables.
http://www.dailykos.com/...

There have already been several useful suggestion about how to clean kidneys, but other suggestions would be welcome. What are the relative merits of raw kidneys vs. simmering with onions?
http://www.dailykos.com/...
The Worcestershire sauce sounded like a great idea.

There is nothing quite like a good lard crust. My Great Aunt R used to make lard crusts for her fruit pies, although I usually use oil. jgilhousen notes:

By the way, I don't use Lard in cooking any more. If it didn't give me a stroke, it might well give my cardiologist one. However, it you're gonna serve this to a Brit, omitting the Lard changes the taste and texture sufficiently that he or she will contest the authenticity of the recipe.
Note To Vegetarians: Yes we know that meat is unethical, bad for our arteries, pollutes rivers, causes global warming, destroys the world economy and Prevents World Peace. If you have a vegetarian version of Steak and Kidney pie please feel free to share. Some of the Brits may question the authenticity of your recipe, though. Please avoid pie fights.

P.S. Is it wrong to add parsnips? Parsnips are the Food of the Gods.

More rescued culinary hints below the curly garnish

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according to a military document written at the time. Bowe Bergdahl asked his team leader about leaving the base on the night he was captured, instead of sneaking off as any practical deserter would do. According to an article in Rolling Stone:

In the early-morning hours of June 30th, according to soldiers in the unit, Bowe approached his team leader not long after he got off guard duty and asked his superior a simple question: If I were to leave the base, would it cause problems if I took my sensitive equipment?
Yes, his team leader responded – if you took your rifle and night-vision goggles, that would cause problems.
Bowe returned to his barracks, a roughly built bunker of plywood and sandbags. He gathered up water, a knife, his digital camera and his diary. Then he slipped off the outpost.
http://www.rollingstone.com/...

As songsparrow said:

If Bergdahl planned to desert or join the Taliban, why would he care about getting in trouble for taking some of his equipment with him? If caught, he'd already be in trouble for much larger issues.
http://www.dailykos.com/...

Bowe Bergdahl had taken the official instructions about winning the hearts and minds of the local citizens seriously.  He had been trying to learn the local languages and would have needed to find native speakers to practice his new language skills.

How he slipped off the base is another matter of debate. The observation post was rectangular, shaped like a horseshoe, perhaps 150 yards long by 100 yards wide. One end backed up to a hill near where a contingent of Afghan National Police was staying and was not fully encircled with concertina razor wire; Sergeant Bergdahl had been increasingly spending time with the Afghan policemen, who helped provide security for the back of the outpost.
http://www.nytimes.com/...?

Laura Clawson shared:

For one thing, in a unit plagued with discipline problems, Bergdahl had walked away more than once before—and had returned of his own accord, according to accounts of a classified report on his disappearance. That throws doubt on Bergdahl's intentions the night he left his unit.
http://www.dailykos.com/...

This is discussed in a NY Times article commenting on a classified report written by military investigators.  There have been claims in the media that Bergdahl left a note saying he was deserting.

But the report is said to contain no mention of Sergeant Bergdahl’s having left behind a letter in his tent that explicitly said he was deserting and explained his disillusionment, as a retired senior military official briefed on the investigation at the time told The New York Times this week.
Asked about what appeared to be a disconnect, the retired officer insisted that he remembered reading a field report discussing the existence of such a letter in the early days of the search and was unable to explain why it was not mentioned in the final investigative report.
http://www.nytimes.com/...

The 'letter' might have been a reference to the e-mail Bowe Bergdahl sent to his father on June 27.  Two days earlier a friend of Bergdahl's, Lt. Brian Bradshaw, had been killed by a roadside bomb. Bowe Bergdahl was completely disallusioned with the war effort in Afghanistan.  Three sergeants he had respected had been transferred to another company.  His commanders were not able to provide effective leadership to his troubled unit.  Bowe Bergdahl wrote to his father:

"In the US army you are cut down for being honest... but if you are a conceited brown nosing shit bag you will be allowed to do what ever you want, and you will be handed your higher rank... The system is wrong. I am ashamed to be an american. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools." The soldiers he actually admired were planning on leaving: "The US army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at. It is the army of liars, backstabbers, fools, and bullies. The few good SGTs are getting out as soon as they can, and they are telling us privates to do the same."
In the second-to-last paragraph of the e-mail, Bowe wrote about his broader disgust with America's approach to the war – an effort, on the ground, that seemed to represent the exact opposite of the kind of concerted campaign to win the "hearts and minds" of average Afghans envisioned by counterinsurgency strategists. "I am sorry for everything here," Bowe told his parents. "These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live." He then referred to what his parents believe may have been a formative, possibly traumatic event: seeing an Afghan child run over by an MRAP. "We don't even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks... We make fun of them in front of their faces, and laugh at them for not understanding we are insulting them."
http://www.rollingstone.com/...

Private Bergdahl left the base with his camera, some water and a compass, but left his rifle and night goggles behind as his team leader had instructed him. The next morning he did not show up for morning roll call.  He was reported missing at 04:30 and a search was started at 05:35.  The following information from a military report describing the Bergdahl capture as a (CRIMINAL EVENT) KIDNAPPING has been reformatted to make it easier to read:

At 0430Z, TF 1 Geronimo reported a B Co missing soldier after he did not show up for the
0900L morning roll call at Mest OP, grid 42SVB 59236 47877 Yahya Khail District, Paktika. A full search was ordered.
At 0535Z, TF 1 Geronimo initiated DUSTWUN procedures for the missing soldier.
At 0645Z, all remaining units had reported in 100% accountability. Geronimo TOC ordered blocking positions set in and around Mest OP. . . .
At 0940Z, a Pathfinder and tracking dog team arrived at Mest OP in support. . . .
At 1012Z, LLVI receives traffic that an American Soldier with a camera is looking for someone who speaks English. At 1303Z, Graphic 33(2x F-18) arrived on station in support.
At 1309Z, FF receive intelligence that a U.S. soldier has been captured.

http://wikileaks.org/...

The following intercepted conversation reported the Bergdahl kidnapping from the Taliban point of view:

1- W ARE READY FOR THEM.
2- ALL THE NUMBERS ARE MESS IT. WE ARE WWAITING FOR THEM.
1- LOL THEY KNOW WHERE HE IS BUT THEY KEEP GOING TO WRONG AREA.
 2- OK SET UP THE WORK FOR THEM.
1- YES WE HAVE A LOT OF IED ON THE ROAD.
2- GOD WILLING WE WILL DO IT.
1- WE WERE ATTACKING THE POST HE WAS SITTING TAKING EXPLETIVE HE HAD NO GUN WITH HIM. HE WAS TAKING EXPLETIVE, HE HAS NOT CLEANED HIS BUTT YET.
2- WHAT SHEAM FOR THEM.
1- I DONT THINK HE W
2-YES LOOK THEY HAVE ALL AMERICANS, ANA HELICOPTERS THE PLANES ARE LOOKING FOR HIM.
1- I THINK HE IS BIG SHOT THAT WHY THEY ARE LOOKING FOR HIM.
3-CAN YOU GUYS MAKE A VIDEO OF HIM AND ANNOUNCE IT ALL OVER AFGHANISTAN THAT WE HAVE ONE OF THE AMERICANS.
1- WE ALREADY HAVE A VIDEO OF HIM.

http://wikileaks.org/...
Another Taliban interaction on the same report:
1- I SWEAR THAT I HAVE NOT HEARD ANYTHING YET. WHAT HAPPENED. IS THAT TRUE THAT THEY CAPTURED AN AMERICAN GUY?
2- YES THEY DID. HE IS ALIVE. THERE IS NO WHERE HE CAN GO (LOL)
1- IS HE STILL ALIVE?
2- YES HE IS ALIVE. BUT I DONT HAVE THE WHOLE STORY. DONT KNOW IF THEY WERE FIGHTING. ALL I KNOW IF THEY WERE FIGHTIING. ALL I KNOW THAT THEY CAPTURE HIM ALIVE AND THEY ARE WITH HIM RIGHT NOW.

This was followed by the chilling:
UIM SAYS "CUT THE HEAD OFF"
http://wikileaks.org/...

Clearly there had not be any desertion arranged with the Taliban.  Perhaps Bowe Bergdahl could have told us why he left the base that night, or maybe he just felt a need to spend a few hours away from the kind of military outpost that made him think of his friend who died two days before. A young man who grew up outdoors may have wanted to walk in fresh air away from his stifling grief and anger.

Accusations of desertion point to the package with his books, computer and journal Bowe Bergdahl sent to his parents shortly before he was captured. It is not clear if he mailed the package before the death of his friend or afterwards.  It is clear the Bowe Bergdahl did not really fit in with the other guys.  If there had been hazing about his philosopy books, and jokes about language studies on his computer he might well have sent them to his father.  Bowe's father would have understood him and listened.    

[The classified military report is] said to confirm certain other details relayed in recent accounts, including that Sergeant Bergdahl shipped his computer and a journal home before he disappeared. It also confirms that he left behind his body armor and weapon — an unwieldy SAW machine gun — taking with him water, knives and a compass.
http://www.nytimes.com/...  

Bowe's last e-mail to his father ended:
"I am sorry for everything, The horror that is america is disgusting. There are a few more boxes coming to you guys, Feel free to open them, and use them."
http://www.rollingstone.com/...

Bowe Bergdahl's friend had just been blown to pieces by a bomb.  Bowe Bergdahl had seen a child flee down a dusty street,  unable to escape a crushing armored vehicle.  He had listened to other soldiers joking about the death of a child.  He knew he could also die at any moment.  Bowe Bergdahl read books on philosophy and ethics. He liked dancing in the ballet.  Bowe Bergdahl might have been tired of jokes involving his books and computer and journal.

Bowe was equally active [as his father] but often did his own thing – making 30-mile treks and taking up karate, paragliding, fencing and ballet. There are multiple testimonies to his desire to help others: shovelling snow, doing errands, teaching.
“He was a very good dancer, muscular and flexible. The girls trusted him when he was doing lifts,” said Sherry Horton, his ballet teacher, who shared a house with him at one point.
Bowe had friends and a girlfriend but could be socially awkward, Horton said. “Girls liked him but he'd miss the cues. He was observant, quiet, but would come out with the best one-liner of the night.”
. . . . Former platoon comrades said he was a loner who lost faith in the mission and the US.
http://www.theguardian.com/...

Bowe Bergdahl has been blamed for the deaths of other soldiers who searched for him after he was captured.

During his time in Tampa as commander of U.S. Central Command, Marine Gen. James Mattis said he saw no evidence to confirm that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, released in a prisoner swap last week, collaborated with his captors.
“I have never seen one bit of verified or confirmed evidence of that,” Mattis said in a phone interview with The Tampa Tribune. “Not one bit. You hear things and it was second- and third-hand.”
http://tbo.com/...  

Susan Rice, through not fault of her own, may not be the best person to defend Bowe Bergdahl:

Ms. Rice got into trouble on ABC’s “This Week” last Sunday when the host, George Stephanopoulos, asked her about reports that Sergeant Bergdahl had deserted his post. “He served the United States with honor and distinction,” she replied. “And we’ll have the opportunity eventually to learn what has transpired in the past years.”
On Tuesday, the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, defended Ms. Rice’s characterization, but offered a more nuanced variation of it. “Sergeant Bergdahl put on the uniform of the United States voluntarily and went to war,” he said. “For the United States, voluntarily. That takes honor, and it is a mark of distinction.”
http://www.nytimes.com/...
WASHINGTON — Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has told medical officials that his captors locked him in a metal cage in total darkness for weeks at a time as punishment for trying to escape, and while military doctors say he now is physically able to travel he is not yet emotionally ready for the pressures of reuniting with his family, according to American officials who have been briefed on his condition.
http://www.nytimes.com/...?

The New York Times has a description of the search efforts after the capture of Bergdahl and of the fatalities among soldiers in region where Bergdahl disappeared:

Two soldiers died during the most intense period of the search after Sergeant Bergdahl’s June 30 disappearance. Both were inside an outpost that came under attack, not out patrolling and running checkpoints looking for him. The other six soldiers died in late August and early September
of the six men killed in August and September, two died in a roadside bombing while on a reconnaissance mission, a third was shot during a search for a Taliban political leader and three others were killed while conducting patrols — two in an ambush and one who stepped on a mine.
Still, those villages and insurgents were in the overall area of responsibility for the soldiers, and the logs make clear that the region was an insurgent hotbed. A log on May 21, 2009, for example, said it had historically been a “safe haven” for the Taliban.A retired senior American military officer, who was briefed at the time on the search for Sergeant Bergdahl, said that even though soldiers were instructed to watch for signs of the missing American, they would have been conducting patrols and performing risky operations anyway.
http://www.nytimes.com/...
Asked on Wednesday whether men had died in the efforts to rescue Bergdahl, Hagel replied: “I don't know of any circumstances or details of US soldiers dying as a result of efforts to get Bergdahl.”
http://www.theguardian.com/...

Until we know more about what happened the night he was captured, we should all just celebrate the recovery of our POW. This should not be a country that leaves people behind.

If you have links to other information about this situation please share them in the comments.  This includes any diaries you may have written.

Discuss

According to a military document Bergdahl was a "CAPTURED SOLDIER".  There was no indication in the report that Bergdahl had deserted and no indication that he had not intended to return to his duties at the assigned time.  The organized attacks on Private Bergdahl need to stop until there has been an investigation by the military into his statements about the events.  He is innocent until proven guilty.

A report at the time of the Bergdahl kidnapping by the Taliban reported following intercepted conversation:

TRAFFIC FROM REDRIDGE: freq 162.1
1- W ARE READY FOR THEM.
2- ALL THE NUMBERS ARE MESS IT. WE ARE WWAITING FOR THEM.
1- LOL THEY KNOW WHERE HE IS BUT THEY KEEP GOING TO WRONG AREA.
 2- OK SET UP THE WORK FOR THEM.
1- YES WE HAVE A LOT OF IED ON THE ROAD.
2- GOD WILLING WE WILL DO IT.
1- WE WERE ATTACKING THE POST HE WAS SITTING TAKING EXPLETIVE HE HAD NO GUN WITH HIM. HE WAS TAKING EXPLETIVE, HE HAS NOT CLEANED HIS BUTT YET.
2- WHAT SHEAM FOR THEM.
1- I DONT THINK HE W
2-YES LOOK THEY HAVE ALL AMERICANS, ANA HELICOPTERS THE PLANES ARE LOOKING FOR HIM.
1- I THINK HE IS BIG SHOT THAT WHY THEY ARE LOOKING FOR HIM.
3-CAN YOU GUYS MAKE A VIDEO OF HIM AND ANNOUNCE IT ALL OVER AFGHANISTAN THAT WE HAVE ONE OF THE AMERICANS.
1- WE ALREADY HAVE A VIDEO OF HIM.
http://wikileaks.org/...

Another interaction on the same report:

1- I SWEAR THAT I HAVE NOT HEARD ANYTHING YET. WHAT HAPPENED. IS THAT TRUE THAT THEY CAPTURED AN AMERICAN GUY?
2- YES THEY DID. HE IS ALIVE. THERE IS NO WHERE HE CAN GO (LOL)
1- IS HE STILL ALIVE?
2- YES HE IS ALIVE. BUT I DONT HAVE THE WHOLE STORY. DONT KNOW IF THEY WERE FIGHTING. ALL I KNOW IF THEY WERE FIGHTIING. ALL I KNOW THAT THEY CAPTURE HIM ALIVE AND THEY ARE WITH HIM RIGHT NOW.
This definitely does not sound like a conversation about a voluntary deserter. It sounds more like a guy caught in a latrine.
Until more facts are known we need to welcome our soldier back home.  Our soldiers should not be left behind.  This was true long before Barack Obama was elected President.  

UPDATES
I wanted to share the intercept about the capture in the latrine as quickly as possible after I saw it elsewhere.  The howling lynch mob needs to be quieted with facts since they are not allowing time for a reasonable investigation.  The facts are not yet clear, but that does not seem to be inhibiting the calls for violence.

According to an article in Rolling Stone:

In the early-morning hours of June 30th, according to soldiers in the unit, Bowe approached his team leader not long after he got off guard duty and asked his superior a simple question: If I were to leave the base, would it cause problems if I took my sensitive equipment?
Yes, his team leader responded – if you took your rifle and night-vision goggles, that would cause problems.
Bowe returned to his barracks, a roughly built bunker of plywood and sandbags. He gathered up water, a knife, his digital camera and his diary. Then he slipped off the outpost.
http://www.rollingstone.com/...

As songsparrow said:

If Bergdahl planned to desert or join the Taliban, why would he care about getting in trouble for taking some of his equipment with him? If caught, he'd already be in trouble for much larger issues.
http://www.dailykos.com/...

Laura Clawson shared:

For one thing, in a unit plagued with discipline problems, Bergdahl had walked away more than once before—and had returned of his own accord, according to accounts of a classified report on his disappearance. That throws doubt on Bergdahl's intentions the night he left his unit.
http://www.dailykos.com/...

Here is a wonderful statement by US Navy Chief Warrant Officer Jim Wright, retired.

Are we now so filled with foul bilious hatred, are we now so consumed with soul-destroying fear, do we now despise our own selves so much that we would actually protest the return of one of our own?
and
I get that they are so consumed with rage and so filled with naked hate and so programmed with their diseased ideology that it poisons their minds like a computer chip submerged in acid.
http://www.dailykos.com/...

There a quite a few other good diaries on this site.  Please feel free to share links in the comments. We need to get the available facts out before this gets any uglier than it already is.

Discuss

Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 08:12 AM PDT

Ebola tragedy in Africa

by allie4fairness

On April 2 the Ministry of Health in Guinea reported 83 deaths from 127 probable cases of Ebola.  Liberia and Sierra Leone are also reporting cases of this horrific disease.  People in these countries need support in their fight against this tragedy.  Further spread of this viral infection also needs to be prevented.
WHO does not currently recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied to Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone based on the current information available for this event.
http://www.who.int/...

If I were planning a casual trip to one of these countries my personal choice would be to wait until this epidemic was under control.  Precautions for travelers can be found at the CDC website:
http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/...

The Ebola virus is probably carried by African fruit bats, but other animals can be infected by the disease.  People have gotten Ebola from infected chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope, fruit bats, and porcupines.  It can be spread between humans by contact with body fluids the same way HIV is spread, but Ebola is much more contagious than HIV.  Tears, saliva, excrement and other body fluids from a person infected with Ebola are all dangerous.   Men who recover from Ebola may have active virus in their semen for up to 7 weeks after they recover.  

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