Blue Dog Breaks from the Pack

From Politico:


Democrats got a punch in the gut on Tuesday when freshman Congressman Parker Griffith (D-AL) announced he would switch parties.  Griffith is what is known as a blue dog Democrat, or a Democrat who is more fiscally conservative than the average Democrat.  He stated as his reason for switching parties:

[H]e can no longer align himself “with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is bad for our country, hurts our economy and drives us further and further into debt.”

 “Unfortunately there are those in the Democratic Leadership that continue to push an agenda focused on massive new spending, tax increases, bailouts and a health care bill that is bad for our healthcare system,” Griffith said in a statement. “I have always considered myself to be an independent voice and I have tried to be that voice in Congress – but after watching this agenda firsthand I now believe that the differences in the two parties could not be more clear and that for me to be true to my core beliefs and values I must align myself with the Republican party and speak out clearly on these issues.

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Pregnancy Becomes Punishable Offense in Iraq

 Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo III, a commander in northern Iraq,has made pregnancy among troops serving in Iraq a punishable offense and one that could lead to court martial.  The order applies not only to females but to the male who impregnated them. 

The reason for such a drastic measure is to ensure that someone else doesn’t have to cover for the pregnant woman.  Military experts have said that Major General Cucolo is perfectly within his rights to make such a order.  The order also applies to civilians reporting to the general.  Heretofore, pregnant soldiers were sent home, often leaving a duty uncovered.  The slack had to be taken up by others. 

According to AKnews

Army spokesman George Wright said the service typically sends home from the battlefield soldiers who become pregnant. But it is not an Army-wide policy to punish them under the military’s legal code, he said.  However, division commanders like Cucolo have the authority to impose these type of restrictions to personnel operating under their command, Wright said.

Cucolo oversees forces in northern Iraq, an area that includes the cities of Kirkuk, Tikrit and Mosul. His Nov. 4 order was first reported by the military newspaper Stars and Stripes.  Cucolo’s order outlines some 20 barred activities. Most of them are aimed at keeping order and preventing criminal activity, such as selling a weapon or taking drugs.

But other restrictions seemed aimed at preventing soldiers from leaving their unit short-handed, including becoming pregnant or undergoing elective surgery that would prevent their deployment.
Under Cucolo’s order, troops also are prohibited from “sexual contact of any kind” with Iraqi nationals. And, they cannot spend the night with a member of the opposite sex, unless married or expressly permitted to do so.

Stars and Stripes reports that thus far, 7 soldiers have been punished under the 6 week pregnancy ban.  None to date have been court-martialed, however.  According to ABC sources, Major General Cucolo states:

“I see absolutely no circumstance where I would punish a female soldier by court martial for a violation … none,” Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo III wrote to ABC News in an exclusive statement. ” I fully intend to handle these cases through lesser disciplinary action.”


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