I am glad SGT Bergdahl is free.  I am far less than happy at HOW he was freed.  That we do not leave anyone behind is an article of faith and devotion for the rank and file, though I do wonder how seriously higher takes it…

Now, comes the hard part and what we must all demand of higher:  a fair, complete, and impartial investigation of all the circumstances that placed SGT Bergdahl into enemy hands.  Given the number of troops who died trying to find and recover him, the questions must be answered and justice done to the fullest possible extent.  Being freed is not a free pass, for a very high price has been paid and a long-standing tenet of diplomacy forfeited in the process.  I fear a very bad precedent has been set, and to whitewash to even the slightest degree will only make it worse.

Sadly, I have no faith and confidence that any of this will happen.  I would be unsurprised to see SGT Bergdahl hailed as a hero and given a ticker-tape parade.  I hope to be proven wrong, but will not bet on that happening.

UPDATE:  Another reason this smells.  Everyone is focusing on the first sentence, look at the second.  Hard.  That is the key, and the target on our troops just got larger IMO.

Memorial Day

Foster Powers USN, KIA 1945

Foster Powers USN, KIA 1945

To the God in Man displayed — Where’er we see that Birth, Be love and understanding paid As never yet on earth!

To the Spirit that moves in Man,
On Whom all worlds depend,
Be Glory since our world began
And service to the end!

Final stanzas, The Choice, Rudyard Kipling

Let me start with the end, instead of the beginning.  I am not asking that we make Memorial Day somber and solemn, a thing without levity or fun.  I know none who have served who would want that, particularly those who did not come home.  We should enjoy the day and the weekend in their honor, so that they and the reason for this day are not forgotten.

Continue reading

My Thoughts

Shared for no reason this Saturday morning…

Incentives For Donations

Over at Mission: VALOR, we are working on two major efforts.  We need to raise at least $1,500.00 ASAP to cover a variety of expenses and help us seize some opportunities.  To that end, we have some incentives for your donations.  Or, if you don’t want them, feel free to donate directly here.

When looking that over, if you have suggestions for donations, please do let us know.  As always, do your due diligence on Mission: VALOR and any other charity or group you are considering donating to.  While we have filed for 501(c)(3) status, you should check with a tax professional about potential tax or other benefits.

Gala1We are also seeking a donor to purchase a table on our behalf for the upcoming Army Birthday Gala being put on by Army Week Association.  Our plan is to donate most of the spaces at the table to troops, veterans, and Gold Star Families that would not otherwise be able to attend the event.  Cost of the table is $10k.

In Defense of Timmy and Calling Out Fascists and Cowards at Archon

Those who truly know me know that I am a geek.  I am a geek who writes and as such found Science Fiction many many years ago.  In that discovery, I came to know Science Fiction Fandom, and have been involved with everything from local conventions to running media relations and more for a World Science Fiction Convention.  I’ve gotten to meet, and even become friends with, other writers, artists, editors, and more. Years back, there was a term used called SMOF, or Secret Masters of Fandom.  Fact is, I knew and worked for a gentleman who was no SMOF, but an out there and very public master of fandom.  His name is Tim Bolgeo, and I also knew him in his professional capacity as one of the top back-up power system engineers in the world (hint, he worked for TVA’s nuclear division). In short, he was accomplished professionally as well as being an avid reader and promoter of science fiction and fantasy. Having gotten to know Timmy, I found myself sucked into two things:  Killer Cutthroat Spades, and to helping him launch LibertyCon.  LibertyCon is a “small” convention in terms of attendance, which is deliberately limited.  Despite that, it is arguably one of the top literary science fiction conventions not just in the U.S., but the world.  Timmy got major writers, classic and new, to come.  It was through this that I met the DeCamps and a host of  other well-known and respected writers. Yesterday, I was greeted online with the news that the “Glittery Hoo Haa” brigade, as Sarah Hoyt calls them, had gone after Uncle Timmy as he is known in the science fiction and fantasy world.  He was guilty of double-plus-ungood-think, and the usual manufactured evidence was presented and pushed by an anonymous source seeking to have Timmy removed as Fan Guest of Honor at archon.  Sadly, by the time I finished my defense of Timmy and attack on the fascists, the cowardly intellectual and moral cripples running archon had caved to the mob and “disinvited” Tim.  May they reap what they have sown, in spades.  They are without honor or integrity, and unworthy of the company of Men (male or female). Meantime, I thought I would share my post from Facebook, and I will link to a few others at the end.  I am editing one thing:  I forgot a pejorative when describing Timmy.  He’s a card-counting egotistical fat Dago, not just an egotistical fat Dago.  NOTE:  I’ve also edited the name of the convention to remove the capital letter as they don’t deserve it, archon it is!  Continue reading

To Call It Sad Does Not Do It Justice

There is a person who I used to respect very much.  They were a senior NCO, hold a very high decoration for heroic actions in combat, lived the NCO creed, were a decent writer and one of the earlier milbloggers.  The way they stood up for their troops, tried to do right by and for them, and to educate them on a variety of topics was such that I told them flat out that I would like to use them as a resource and guide for my own growth in that area.

Over the years, myself and others had gone to bat for this person on some issues.  The first time, it seemed to be a fairly cut-and-dried issue; but, then the issues kept coming and it seemed the bar for what was a life-or-death issue that had, had, had to be fought for kept getting lower and lower.  Things are to the point now that I believe that many things are being done to prompt a response to generate controversy and attention.

It is sad to watch.  My respect for this person is gone, and I see no sign of the NCO creed at work in the things they do.  I wish they would get help, and while I know they were getting help for PTS issues, I think much more is needed.  Sadly, I do not see this ending well, and the fame and national/international coverage and attention that is likely to come will not be a good thing.  I wish I thought these words could make a difference, but know they will not other than to let me get them out for me.  Please keep their family in your thoughts and prayers.

Operation Pin!

Over at Mission: VALOR, a push to raise funds and in the process get us some pins and perhaps a bit more.

A Pleasure To Announce

Once you recover from the shock of two posts in less than a month, please go over to Mission: VALOR and read about the new and wonderful partnership with Hope for the Warriors.  Take a few moments while there to read through some of the other stories, and consider taking us up on some of the incentives for donations…

A Special Rejection of Persuasibility

I’ve written before about Rational Discourse and the Doctrine of Persuasibility.  It is more than an intellectual exercise, and is not — no matter how much some might wish it so — a pseudo-intellectual bit of blather.  What it is, is the cornerstone of the Marketplace of Ideas that in turn is a cornerstone of our current Republic.

The idea is simple:  people are capable of rational thought, of making good choices to benefit the whole/greater good even at the cost of short-term gain for themselves.  Or, simply put, to govern themselves per the ideals of the Enlightenment.

However, this is dependent upon people choosing to be rational, to consider the facts, and agree to be persuaded based on new information.   Good discussions on the topic accept that for every person there are topics for which this will not apply, and religion is one of those topics for many.  Hence, a position held as a matter of religious faith is one that is not subject to facts or debate, and will be held as a matter of faith.  This led to defining all such beliefs as being a “religious” matter for the holder of that belief.  John Barnes has done a very good job of discussing this and related issues, and I commend his works to you.

One of the cornerstones of any totalitarian effort is to shut down the Marketplace of Ideas, and to prevent rational discourse.  Any political/philosophical effort that does so is totalitarian no matter how it bills itself, and as such I would note that this makes a good litmus test.

Efforts to limit debate, or to change terms of debate, as seen in the ever-expanding ideal of political correctness/racial (other) sensitivity, are contrary to the ideals of the Republic and the Marketplace of Ideas.  It is not about making speech hate-free, but using the pretext to prevent a full and honest discussion.

I’ve been encountering a tactic that deserves a good and honest name, even if it is likely to evoke a strong reaction.  This may be a corollary to a religious belief, but I’m not sure that it is as it appears not to be an honestly held belief.

This tactic is to make a comment about a topic in a way so as to appear to be a “religious” matter for the commenter; but, the real purpose is to demean and denigrate both a differing position and the person holding that position.  In the process, it effectively shuts down any possibility of discourse with both the person committing the tactic and with the larger audience that is following the conversation in person or in the media.

I’ve seen this done with topics ranging from diet and nutrition to individual rights/power of the Federal government.  The methodology is always the same, and the comment is snarky, devoid of substance, and done as a “drive by” to help prevent any effective engagement or response.  In fact, the person so doing usually runs from any attempt at engagement (a position of intellectual and moral cowardice, IMO).  I posit that such is rarely a truly held position, religious or otherwise, but nothing more or less than an attempt to “slam” both a person and the philosophical/political/religious/other concept held by them.

While I would normally avoid a label that is going to serve as a “hot button” that can limit debate, I’ve come to call this tactic an “asshole.”  Unlike a real rectum, which serves a valuable and useful purpose in eliminating waste from an organism, this tactic is designed to prevent the discharge of waste from the body politic and to increase the level of vitriol even as it shuts down discourse.  The fact that I also find it an accurate descriptor of the user makes it all the more appropriate.

There is more that I could say, but the basics for generating some discourse is here.  To that end, what say you?

PTS and the Myth of the Ticking Vet

Over at Mission: VALOR, a plea to go read some good and wise words from two men who can speak from experience about PTS.  Also, so further words about the Myth of the Ticking Vet, and the incredible harm it does to our veterans and veteran employment.  I need to do a longer piece, but this will do for now.