"...do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

"For the good of the Air Force, for the good of the armed services and for the good of our country, I urge you to reject convention and careerism..."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Maxwell AFB, April 21, 2008

"You will need to challenge conventional wisdom and call things like you see them to subordinates and superiors alike."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, United States Air Force Academy, March 4, 2011

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Brandon Bryant By Day - "Malleable Man" by Night

I made the video above after many hours of watching eye-gouging videos of Brandon Bryant running his mouth.  Using his own words, "Brandon Bryant - Say Anything" shows that the Senior Airman who left the drone program is willing to say anything for a bit of daddy love and some praise.  He reads his lines like a champ, but his director is obviously an idiot since his claims are a case study in contradiction.

I have had an interest in Brandon's role in the very important drone discussion, for quite some time now since I met him online.  I'm sure I saw him at work back in the day, but I had no reason to interact with him so we do not know each other personally, although we know many mutual people.  I have blogged about his media appearances several times over the years and, until today, we were Facebook friends.  I had to cut him off.  After many online conversations over the years and after reading his public professions, I have come to the conclusion that several others offered me about him years ago.  He's dishonest and not to be trusted.  He's a con man and a fraud.

The video above doesn't get into the most embarrassing chunks that flow from Brandon's sewer.  I didn't post clips that show that Brandon is more than willing to pretend that he's an economist, a political philosopher, a psychologist, and of course, an expert on warfare despite leaving the drone program after only five years and despite his public profession that drones can't be shot down (except by China).  Oops.  It is truly amazing what this guy will say.

But to be fair, he did a great deal in the drone program other than simply violate his oath to defend the Constitution.  He flew more than 6000 hours in less than five years.  That is a STAGGERING amount of time and I feel bad for him going through that.  Nobody should have to live like that.  When he says he spent time watching others live their lives, while he had no life of his own, he was telling the truth.  He was used and abused and it's unfortunate.

But I have a feeling he's being used and abused right now by those who are able to spot a guy with flexible morals and a willingness to say anything.  I'm talking about foreign activists and film makers like Tonje Hessen Schei, the creator of the new documentary, Drone, which stars Brandon Bryant.  I am sure a person in her position is grateful to have an actor who gladly takes lines and spits them out to improve the script.  It's too bad, though, that after working with Brandon for more than a year, and creating the Drone documentary, she still refers to Brandon as a pilot.  She has to know he was not a pilot, so continuously labeling him one must be a conscious decision.  Better for selling tickets I suppose, but it undercuts the credibility of her film.  As does, of course, Brandon's participation in it.

Homeless despite having a generous GI Bill and a state school in your hometown where your mother lives?  Sure why not.  Suffering from PTSD from the moral injury sustained by violating your oath?  Yes, please.  Did nothing out of the ordinary whatsoever and only started an ever evolving need to speak "truth" once out of the military?  CUT!  That's not going to sell, let's take that one from the top.  AND ACTION!

As to "my case" -- my so-called case is simply one of doing my job professionally, as I swore to do and as Brandon admits he did not.  That's hardly the stuff for headlines or movies.

But one of the many unfortunate things about over-classification and the shadows that come from secret dealings, is that journalists and media and "whistle blower" lawyers in the accountability field don't have a lot to work with.  It's supply and demand.  That's unfortunate for credibility, as Ms. Jessica Radack is no doubt figuring out with her motley group (consisting of a charlatan that no lawyer would ever want to take the stand, and an admitted bath-salt-consuming coke head, along with a fuckin' computer guy who apparently pisses himself because somebody handed him a headset while deployed, in a military that he voluntarily joined, and who now claims PTSD and nightmares from hitting Ctrl-Alt-Del one too many times).  That's the gaggle being trotted out to the public in this discussion?  It's too bad Ms. Radack hasn't at least pointed out to Brandon that the part of the Constitution he claims that he was told he was violating while he was doing it, was Article Three, Section Three.  Not Section Two as he has been rehearsing for his performances.

It saddens me to see Jessica Radack falling for this nonsense and undercutting her track record by doing so.  As political scientist, C. Fred Alford, said of whistleblowers in an article written about her courageous service:

The great relief is that whistleblowers aren't like the vast majority of us, says Alford, the political scientist. For him, Radack's story is less about a world turned upside down by 9/11 than about what strange creatures whistleblowers necessarily are.

"STRANGE DOESN'T have to mean wearing funny shoes," Alford says. "It can just mean being a true believer. A real cynic isn't going to blow the whistle. A real conformist isn't going to blow the whistle. And a real radical probably won't be in a position to do it. It takes someone who believes in the system far more than the system ever believes in itself."

It should be obvious.  But apparently any disgruntled employee with an axe to grind can seek the spotlight and be dubbed a whistle blower these days.  I suppose that's why Ms. Radack now finds herself offering up fraud-and-pony shows when she used to represent public servants serving the American people (and still does, so long as she represents Edward Snowden).  But to represent Brandon Bryant and his megalomaniacal crusade to falsely present himself in the same light?  It's really sad.

What an embarrassment.  Frauds, charlatans, and bath-salt-bathers pass as whistle blowers these days and greatly damage the credibility of those like Ms. Radack in the process. 

Brandon Bryant is not in this discussion for truth or for principle.  He is a wannabe celebrity and aspiring super hero.  He loves comic books.  He loves acting.  As the video above shows, he thirsts for it.  But if Brandon were to be a super hero, he would be Malleable Man.  A person with a super power allowing him to bend and shift and distort and be shaped by any person, with the exception of his super villain and arch-nemesis that goes by the name of Truth.  Truth, apparently, can't touch Malleable Man.

It's all fun and games until Malleable Man, twisted and shaped by foreign interests, starts releasing secrets to other countries to give them critical information about an American military technology that Malleable Man himself says is not good or bad but depends on how it is used (when he's not calling that same technology cowardly and bad like all distance warfare).  When it comes to degrading the security of America, it ceases to be a comic book and becomes something quite different.  His narrative has shifted and it's not hard to figure out why.  In the beginning he positioned himself as "speaking out" because leadership abused his community of drone operators and he wanted people to understand they were human beings.  When he didn't get the response he had hoped for, his message shifted to win a different audience.  Enter all the many contradictions he spouts interspersed with Sun Tzu and other quotes he doesn't understand.

It's funny to see a mostly foreign collection praise and dote on a guy that claims he knowingly violated the law, and it was interesting to see Tonje back up her little star with the dubious excuse of "just following orders."  What is the point of her documentary again?  Too bad she wasn't around in the 1940s to make a documentary about the German SS.  So let this documentary be a lesson to all you drone operators out there!  Do your job poorly, violate whatever laws you want, violate your oath of office that you swore to uphold before God, and then when your commitment is conveniently over, simply say you did so and be welcomed with open arms by those from foreign countries!  Well, of course, if you agree to help them with a narrative.  Yeah, that should help with accountability.  Nice going, Tonje.

There is a discussion that should be had on the topic.  But the dishonest, unprincipled, and opportunistic do not further that discussion.

You are an embarrassment to your nation, Brandon Bryant, and don't think your new friends are stupid.  Once they are done with you, which should be just about any day now, they will lose interest.  And where will you be then?  Not only did you violate the Constitution while you were in, you have degraded an important conversation on the outside for a bit of praise.

At any rate, just remember your comic book alter ego is called Malleable Man, not "SrA America."  You have a hat in your hand, not a shield.  You don't have an "A" on your chest, you have a "T" and that stands for treason.  Not treason for speaking out, no not at all.  Treason because you violated your oath and flew a mission to make war on America, and now you seek to lie on the outside to capitalize on it.  But I know, I know.  I'm not being compassionate.  I should realize that it's tough when you're a "homeless" "disabled veteran" with a GI Bill who can travel the world on a speaking tour and do back flips on command.

Fraud and fiction...

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Media Taken for a Drone Ride - Cenk Interviews Brandon Bryant

Brandon Bryant back in the media, now promoting his foreign film.  He's being called a whistle blower and even went so far as to lie about a whistle he blew, when asked the question directly, after a cute semantic maneuver.  And when asked if he has PTSD he said, "I've been diagnosed with it, yes" which is all but an admission that he knows he doesn't truly have PTSD.  These embellishments and falsities are sure to help bolster the hype of the flick.  But what I found the most fascinating about this interview was:

1.  Brandon Bryant admits that he flew a mission with the unconstitutional goal of assassinating an American citizen, and did so for ten months before his contract was up and he left the drone program six months before the American target and his son were killed.  He admitted, as was discussed previously on the Young Turks, to flying a mission with the intent of breaking the law.

2.  Brandon, despite knowing better, says, "We have no men with nobility or honor in our system anymore" after admitting he had no issue with flying that mission with the goal of violating the rights of another person.  For ten months.  Somehow he still feels entitled to some kind of moral high horse now that his term of enlistment has been completed and he finds himself on the outside.

3.  Tonje, the documentary producer, says that we need accountability in the drone program.  Yet the star of her documentary, sitting to her left, is a guy who just admitted doing the things she said were bad and required accountability.  And he did them until his contract was up and he was honorably discharged.

4.  Cenk thanks Brandon for his "courage" on behalf of Americans who are concerned about this issue (while Brandon basks in the praise) and says he shouldn't feel bad about what he's done, because he does in fact feel bad (so that means Brandon is a decent person).  Cenk fails to expound on this claimed courage having apparently bought Brandon's claim of PTSD and "moral injury."

I couldn't help but imagine Cenk interviewing Goebbels after his military contract came to an end, with Goebbels on the Young Turks explaining all the bad things he did and how he has PTSD from "moral injury"while basking in Cenk's praise and claims of his courage for speaking about things already known to the world.  Would Cenk give Goebbels the same absolution in exchange for being on his show?

Is it really good for accountability when the "ooops" excuse (which Brandon hypocritically blasts the President for) works for those who actually carry out unlawful orders?

Is the media going to call him out when he makes false claims like, for example, that he blew the whistle on the unconstitutional mission to assassinate Awlaki?  I mean, prior to Brandon ever mentioning that mission in the media, there was a federal court case challenging the legality of Awlaki being hunted for assassination, and the Secretary of Defense himself admitted to the assassination on 60 Minutes.  So how did Brandon blow a whistle again?  Oh well.  If you can't trust the word of a guy who admits to flying missions to break the law, not objecting, and later claiming PTSD and "moral injury" who can you trust?

The only whistle being blown here is the "promote this film" whistle.  The media is being taken for a ride by a charlatan.  And they should know better.

Credit Where Credit is Due - Democracy Can Work

When it comes to America and public service, it's important to acknowledge strengths along with weaknesses, and successes along with failures.  Sometimes that is difficult to do when reality doesn't always or ever seem to be concerned with such balance.

But there is a great success to be reported, concerning an injustice that has been overturned, thanks to several individuals from several positions in our democracy.  First is Tony Carr, who did a fantastic job leveraging the fourth estate to highlight the issue and who used advocacy to engage the legislative branch of government.  Carr utilized congressional levers of power and fortunately several congressional representatives faithfully exercised their oversight responsibilities to share the will of the people with at least one member of our executive branch.  And these efforts did not fall on deaf ears as our Chief of Staff, General Mark Welsh, did not hesitate to find out the facts and ensure the issue was remedied.

What a success story.  There is a lot of win here for America.  This is the stuff of democracy and it's a pleasure to see the system ultimately work and recover and correct other failures.  Well done gentlemen.

For those interested in the details of this proud moment, take a look at JQP's coverage of it on his blog where the whole process began.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Contract Breaking Fighter Pilot, Justin Pavoni, Still Trying to Preach Morality

Former Air Force Captain Justin Pavoni is back in the media.  Last year he and his wife, Jessica Pavoni, launched a website and now have a podcast.  Sadly, Dr. Ron Paul is continuing to buy into Pavoni's immoral nonsense as the video above shows.

Now that Dr. Ron Paul is out of office, I can express my respect for him -- and I have criticized those who were unethical in showing their support for him while he was a politician.  I'm a huge fan of Dr. Ron Paul.  He's not right all the time, he's just right the vast majority of the time.  Dr. Paul, in my view, is one of the best Americans to ever serve in government.  But he's not always right, and he's off by lending his support to Pavoni, just as he's been consistently wrong about a declaration of war being constitutionally required for combat operations, which is a view adopted by his two contract-breaking star-struck acolytes.  So now back to Justin and Jessica Pavoni...

I criticized Justin Pavoni years ago when he was becoming an amateur media darling and began propping up his immorality as a mantle of ethics.  One fighter pilot blogger also briefly discussed Justin and his wife Jessica, also a former Air Force pilot who flew the U-28, both breaking their contracts with the American people.  I had some personal discussions with Justin at that time, but he wasn't convinced by my argument that what he was doing, backing out on a voluntary contact with the American people to their great financial detriment, was immoral.  Or he simply didn't care, choosing himself over his obligations.  I invited him to debate me on this blog and he declined.

Justin Pavoni, a guy who enjoyed a taxpayer funded college education (what Pavoni calls "free" education) at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) and who then took millions more in taxpayer money in order to train to become an F-15E fighter pilot, simply decided that he personally didn't think war was moral anymore.  Well, that's what he claimed at the time in order to get out of his contract.  He pretended that he was a "conscientious objector" to use, as Pavoni called it in the video above, a "loophole" to break his contract with the American people.  In reality, he had refused to deploy while his so-called "conscientious objector" application was going through the wickets.  Something he made clear on a prior Ron Paul interview that seems to no longer be available.

I knew years ago that Justin wasn't an actual conscientious objector and the video above supports that as it shows Justin talking of a non-existent "selective objector" status.  Likewise, this video shows that his wife Jessica, another Air Force pilot who went to USAFA and who also broke her contract with the American people after milking them for a great amount of money, was also only interested in objections to "foreign policy" rather than some moral objection to war itself.  They were not conscientious objectors and they knew that.  They simply wanted to not only deliver politics by other means, but they also wanted to play the part of politician themselves directing their own action according to their own desires rather than the desire of their nation in their roles as public servants.  Justin and Jessica wanted to become a nation unto themselves with money taken from others...

As it turns out, the Air Force found that neither Justin nor his wife, who commissioned as military officers after the U.S. invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, were conscientious objectors and they were dismissed on other grounds during a time when the Air Force was drawing down.

Justin and Jessica Pavoni defrauded the American people.  An education at the U.S. Air Force Academy costs the American taxpayer around $416,000.  It costs the American people roughly 2.6 million to train a brand new fighter pilot (another estimate says six million) and one million to train a non-fighter pilot like Jessica Pavoni.  As a result, the American people require a contract and term of service to ensure their investment is not squandered.  Jessica and Justin, however, misrepresented themselves as conscientious objectors and broke their contracts, thieving roughly four to seven million dollars from the American people who invested in them, and who provided them a world class education in which to ponder and prepare for war and their profession at a military academy, and who required them to take an oath to show their fidelity.  Instead, the two Air Force Academy graduates refused to do as they promised the American people because they decided they simply did not agree with the lawful commands of those same people who paid them.

That is a decidedly immoral action.  And yet they have decided to voice their immorality as though they enjoy some moral high ground, and are working with others including yet another USAFA graduate F-15E pilot from Justin Pavoni's squadron who also applied for separation as a conscientious objector (pro tip: one sure way to tell if somebody is not a conscientious objector....see if they voluntarily chose to go to a military academy -- works every time).  Justin and Jessica now offer their support to others in the military who might also want to break their contracts, encouraging them to "quit" despite any, in Justin's words, "so called 'commitment.'"

Or as Jessica Pavoni, who uses the handle AnarchoMama, stated recently on Reddit, there are "anarchists" who want to help others who no longer want to serve in the military.  Just don't want to serve anymore despite their contracts with the American people, meh.

The Pavonis' cavalier attitude might be summed up with the statement, "Whatever, just never thought about war at my premiere military college.  Whatdya gonna do?  Thanks for the millions!"

As a relevant aside, how in the holy hell is our United States Air Force Academy recruiting and commissioning such people?  Is the training and education there completely and utterly worthless?  There really should be an investigation on this topic.  If this USAFA lack of quality control trend continues, our ability to project air power will be dismantled from within and at great taxpayer expense.  Our Air Force Academy is failing in the character department and just the story of these three former pilots alone demonstrates that tens of millions of dollars in training is being squandered and justified with "meh, changed my mind."

The Pavonis are immoral people.  And they should have been dishonorably discharged and spent time in prison for their conduct.  Whether it's a banker, a corrupt politician, or a self serving military officer who fraudulently steals millions of dollars from the American people, fraud and theft should be punished.

I would no doubt agree with the Pavonis on a great many of their statements but the reality is they have no credibility on the subject matter.  Foreign policy is not the issue.  The issue is contracts, voluntary obligations, and keeping your word.  In short, it's an issue of integrity.  The Pavonis are the last people who should be talking about morality or government action.  Government, at its core, is a relationship between people and it requires that individuals keep their word in voluntary arrangements.

Imagine a plumber who voluntarily agrees to take millions of dollars of another person's money in order to learn how to effectively fix a very complicated toilet system, in an agreement to fix that system, who then after that training just decides he thinks the shit business is immoral (immoral, boiled down, equals something that a person simply does not like).  And so imagine this plumber quit his job without refunding the millions spent to train him after years of a world class education in plumbing that his employer funded, after signing a contract and raising his hand and swearing to complete the job without mental reservation or purpose of evasion.  Now imagine that same plumber, when it came time to grab the plunger, just decided to up and quit.

Justin and Jessica, you two volunteered to enter the shit business and you both signed up to flush it on demand by those who paid and invested in you.  There is absolutely no excuse for you not knowing that as adults, after four years at a military academy, prior to you both voluntarily contracting with others and taking their money.

You couldn't possibly have graduated the Air Force Academy thinking the war business would be roses.

You two lack credibility.  And Jessica's view of a "logical consistent definition of philosophy" is something to be challenged as her idiotic appeal to Rothbard and his quack-intellectual concept of contracts, where contracts can be broken and a person's voluntary agreement becomes not enforceable, falls flat.  The attempt to dress up simple immorality and lack of integrity with the thin veneer of intellectual justification is the stuff of mental reservation and purpose of evasion.  It's not convincing.

Let's not kid ourselves about what really happened here.  You two were living apart because you both took taxpayer money to go to USAFA and you both volunteered to become pilots, and you both volunteered to go to war when called, and you both lived apart because you chose different airframes.  Got it.  Public service is tough.  But those were your decisions and your fabricated "philosophy" to rectify your regretted life choices at the great financial expense of the American taxpayer does not change that.

Faithful public service is hard.  Doing what others tell you to do, especially when you disagree with those you work for and who pay your bills, can be a real challenge.  I understand not agreeing with the American people when they send you off to certain wars.  I was vehemently against the idiotic invasion of Iraq from the very beginning and yet I was there on night one and many times thereafter.  I went because it was lawfully authorized and so I faithfully used my millions of dollars of training to defend eighteen year olds with rifles who did not have the benefit of four entire years of study to think about their future actions and warfare at a military academy nestled in the mountains.  Those kids simply went to a lawful war when called to do so, and my training was used to protect them, disastrous as that war predictably has been.  Had Iraq been unlawful, I would have refused.  But it was not, and I had an obligation to the American people as a public servant.  Despite disagreeing with my employers.

You two did not act from a moral position.  And for the love of God please stop using terms like "first principle."  Neither of you have any idea of the terms you throw around.  You pretend to not even have a grasp of what voluntary means in order to rationalize your breach of contract.  You are frauds who took from others, made a voluntary contract with them, and then misrepresented yourselves and broke that contract while considering your misrepresentation some kind of clever "loophole" like a corrupt politician might do; wasting taxpayer money and the time of others in the service with your lame application as conscientious objectors when you yourselves admit that you are not.  And yet you two are comfortable sounding off like you're somehow champions of morality while you try to dress up your mental reservations and purposes of evasion with pseudo-scholastic mumbo jumbo.  You two have no shame.

Two military academy college graduates who, between the both of them, could not figure out the most basic function of the military and what they were being paid to do.  And unbelievably, one being the son of a fighter pilot.  But somehow that whole military thing just blindsided them.

Justin and Jessica, your little scheme worked.  Your fraud was a success.  Now please quietly go away and stop pretending you have a moral position.  And Justin, if you do decide to go back to school as your wife says you're considering, do enjoy those generous GI Bill taxpayer benefits.  But also try to pay attention in class this time.  Depending on your area of study, you may be presented concepts that are even more challenging than the basic one that you failed to grasp as an undergraduate.  You know, the concept that the military exists to take life and destroy property as an extension of politics decided by civilian politicians who you may personally disagree with.  That was a basic concept your four years at the United States Air Force Academy should have taught you.  It was really simple, but somehow you weren't able to wrap your "conscience" around it.  So please, please, do try to pay attention the next time you find yourself in a classroom.

Jessica and Justin have been invited to debate me on this matter and Jessica said they will "think about it."  I let them know that what I would like to debate with them is not their actions, but rather their position that military officers should follow their own personal morality and consciences while in public service.  That is a topic that would be useful to explore.  Here's my position.  If you are of the opinion that public servants should follow their own personal morality, rather than the law, then you welcome the assassination of American citizens, torture of Muslims, and every other unlawful action that a military member may personally feel is right or justified.  The standard is not, and cannot be, "total freedom to act on one’s conscience" while in public service.  The law, which is public morality distilled into black and white, must be the one and only standard.  Sadly, Justin Pavoni said they will not debate me unless I delete my blog posts, despite the fact they have been repeatedly invited to correct or debate me here on this blog and regardless of the fact that they could correct those "issues" during a live debate.

The fact that they wish to make claims and not actually debate or discuss them, only crystallizes the obvious conclusion that they are two immoral and dishonest people who lack integrity and credibility and are not interested in the truth.  If they truly thought I was unfair or wrong in my assessments or facts, as they have asserted without evidence, they would show up to correct those facts.  It is what it is.

At any rate, for a better discussion on the role of the military and the difference between personal and public morality and the obligations of those in the military to obey the law while refusing unlawful orders, please checkout this discussion below that I had with a couple of Ron Paul supporters and one anarchist on alternative media.  I've asked these two if they would be interested in moderating a debate between the Pavonis and myself, in the extremely unlikely chance the Pavonis grow a backbone and want to come out of the deceptive shadows and debate me.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Morale Ain't Dead Yet & George Knew That Would Be the Case

My last performance report ever.  Very well played!  It's a positive sign that some morale and humor was able to be squeaked out of a time consuming and seemingly pointless exercise in drudgery.  This is an indication of a healthy work environment, and I'm sure Robin Olds would agree.  I just wish that I would have seen the hidden Easter Egg without having to be told about it.  But I will admit that I'm not a smart man and have never been good with word puzzles.  Or even finding the hidden coins in Super Mario Brothers.

This now ranks as my second favorite Officer Performance Report (OPR) in all of my twenty years.  My favorite was a referral performance report for not obeying an unlawful order to violate our Constitution.  So while this one is admittedly a distant second, it's still awesome and I appreciate it on the way out the Big Blue door.  Thanks for the laugh.  It has increased my resiliency!

When humor and risk are dead in our service, pack it up and wave the white flag.  Morale is vitally important in our business, and while some might be tempted to think that fact can be masked, it becomes undeniable when it comes time to break the glass and deliver the product.

Friday, December 18, 2015

PhantomPilots.Com - Standard Propaganda Website

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

- Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

There is an interesting discussion being had over yet another federal government overreach through a recent unconstitutional FAA rule.  Besides being a really stupid and expensive idea with no value added, the new register-or-be-fined-$27,000-without-due-process move is also illegal.

It would be great if this issue were to pique the interest of the wonderful Tenth Amendment Center and the Center for Constitutional Rights, as their litigation would be based on our rights and not based on money that might potentially be put into their pockets.  Which is a concern should a power hungry "advocate" group be the first to challenge this nonsense in court.

It doesn't take a law degree to understand how this latest executive agency scheme is illegal.  Our Constitution does not give the federal government power to regulate Timmy's quad-copter flying in his backyard or at the local park, and it doesn't deny that power to the States, so therefore regulation (which may certainly be a good idea if tailored to locals by elected State representative law makers) is a power reserved to the States.  It makes sense that the people in Alaska would be better served by regulation from their representatives in Alaska, than they would by the scribblings of a non-elected federal bureaucrat from DC or NYC.  And a small plastic device that weighs as much as some birds, but which doesn't fly in a flock, is not a big deal to civil aviation despite the fear mongering.  There have been no aircraft taken down by Timmy's toy flying at 400 feet or lower.

Interested in the reaction of those most affected by this new overreach, I headed over to a website of drone owners.  Here was my experience.  Note that I had more than 50 posts and I actually had the highest like-to-post rate of any single poster on that website.  Put another way, my contributions were the most liked on that entire forum.  I had two commenters call me "rare" due to my rational non-emotional contributions and my lack of insults, and I was told that it was obvious that I "did my homework."

I was on my best behavior.  It was an experiment.

I learned about a group of model aircraft flyers, called the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), which has apparently been working hand in glove with the FAA on this new scheme and trying to make membership in their organization a way to count as registration.  AMA appears to think that this new regulation is an opportunity to bolster their organization and no doubt their bank account.  One of the forum moderators is an AMA member and was very hostile to any viewpoint that suggested registering and regularly paying a fee to own your personal property might be a bad idea or not lawful.  I politely provided a differing perspective to this moderator.  Then a member suggested that people remember who was a moderator and refrain from challenging their opinions.  I didn't check DMOZ to see if this so-called discussion forum was registered in North Korea, but I was hardly surprised to learn this particular moderator hailed from New York City.  When I read his location I nearly spit out my illegal Big Gulp before setting it down on the counter next to my illegal handgun.  I quickly picked it back up again before my illegal ferret could get to it.  She loves Big Gulps.  I'm kidding, none of those things I own are illegal because I don't live in New York City.

As somebody who regularly challenges these online propagandist-moderators, those who demand their customers respect-their-authoritah (Modzilla!) to make them only express certain views, I knew that my best behavior and respectful tone would not change the end result.  Whether it's Tony Carr or the Digital PlayPen, the only behavior you can exhibit to keep from being banned on a propaganda website, is to either be a quiet or submissive person who does not provide an effective viewpoint counter to their agenda, or to be an idiot ineffectively arguing a message they want to demonize.  If you're an idiot you can try to dissent from their views because you do your message no good and bolster their agenda.  But if you're effective, well that just can't be tolerated when truth is decidedly not on the "discussion forum" menu.

So it was hardly a surprise when I got banned after five days of posting, by the moderator with a German accent from New York.  Still, I enjoyed the experiment; being very civil while knowing the end result that always occurs on a forum that endeavors to control a message, propagandize users, and make money.

When one moderator sent me a private message, I knew they were perturbed with my effective viewpoint which went against their corporate/political propaganda agenda to get as many people to submit to an unconstitutional non-law from a non-representative branch of government that fines people without due process or a jury of peers...  They were out to do some digging and the honeymoon was nearing an end.  It was like clockwork.

Here was the post that was deleted by a moderator, when they decided they just couldn't take my polite and value added contributions anymore.  They settled on assuming I didn't own a quadcopter, with no evidence one way or another, and then used the standard accusation of "trolling."  Trolling, for those who don't know, means saying something that a person in power does not like.  It's kind of like micro-aggression.  Goebbels hated trolls.

With proof that civility was not desired or required, here was my response to the moderator from New York City who deleted my contribution above.

And here was the expected response, not one minute later.

And just like that, not only was I banned, but the New York City moderator took the additional step of deleting every single one of my posts (not just the "offending" post) which goes to show that he simply wanted to delete my entire viewpoint across the board.  Can't have your audience seeing that stuff when you have an agenda.  I'm going to guess they will now change their forum guidelines which allowed one link to a personal blog in member signature blocks.

As usual, follow the money and the control agenda.  People get paid by stupid regulations, including this one that is forecast to cost Americans somewhere around 60 million dollars.  To make Timmy register his little plastic toy.  Because that will prevent...  Well, it will prevent nothing and it violates the constitutional rights of all Americans while creating a new pointless rule to be enforced by even more government men with guns itching to introduce themselves into our lives.

And the federal government is a beloved tool by New Yorkers who wish to impose their fascist nuttery and control-lust on Americans with the good sense to live in a different city and State.

Under the shoddy justifications given for this federal overreach, which will result in a searchable public database online where registrant address and personal property information will be made available, one can wonder if we won't one day have to register and pay a regular fee to the federal government to own toasters and refrigerators.  After all, those personal property items have caused more fatalities than Timmy's toy has and just think of the money to be made....

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Proceed to Home of Selection - Tell Me About Your Home

Today I just realized that I have had retirement orders for a couple months now.  I didn't get any notification, so I didn't know they were there in the portal.  I read them today for the first time and it evoked emotion.  The orders included these words:

You are relieved from active duty, organization and station of assignment, retired... Proceed to home of selection.

The phrase "proceed to home of selection" really hit me.  This will be the first time in my entire life that I get to truly experience home.

I didn't have that growing up.  As an Air Force dependent, I was dragged around the nation and the world and I changed friends and circumstances like others might change the oil in their cars.  I am very happy that I lived that way.  It was perhaps the greatest gift and burden I have received, being able to see groups of people and how they act and then move and change the way I interacted with them and therefore learn about people.  As a military brat, I could re-invent myself every few years growing up.  It was a very valuable laboratory on how people operate and the art of politics, presenting others an image to gain favor or manipulate them even if it's just to have them like you.  At the time I didn't realize that I was conducting experiments.

Like everybody else, I was just trying to fit in and assuage the standard insecurities.  But my failures and successes to fit in taught me valuable lessons.  The ultimate lesson was that fitting in, moving with the cool crowd, was unremarkable.  I learned about people and their values during this serial laboratory, and that trying to be at the cool kid table was for the insecure and the easily manipulated and that the cool kids were actually not very impressive.  As I would later read from Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, "Some men are like rhinoceroses.  They don't respond properly to social conditioning."  I lost any interest in playing those games, and then I learned a bonus fact.  People love/hate, admire and are jealous of those who truly don't care what the herd thinks.  I have long lost all interest in politics and deceptions and the genuine confidence of somebody able to stand alone is unmistakable and very attractive, even if confounding, to other people.  That fact was especially useful later in high school and in college and my younger years.  I seriously doubt that I would have been able to learn all that from growing up in one place.

But like I said, it was a gift and a burden.  Most organizations, and especially those of the government variety, along with toxic and unprincipled leadership are not a huge fan of independent and confident people who don't need their affirmation (ie, manipulation).  They prefer social conditioning and control.  Often such people are seen as threats for their independence, as Huxley's brilliant and incredibly relevant novel made crystal clear.

Another downside is that I had no real sense of home.  I could be yanked from anywhere I was living and moved thousands of miles away at any time.  There was one place that grew on me more than any other place and I formed a real attachment to this State.  I was pulled out of it at a formative time in my life.  Quite literally I was in class in high school and the teacher had us memorizing the capitals of the countries of the world.  I actually made the remark that there was no reason for me to learn about Reykjavik (side note, I didn't need to use spell check typing that word) because there was no way I would ever live in Iceland.  Not two months later, I was living in Iceland and it was without question the most formative and valuable experience of my entire life.  It's a special place without a doubt, and ironically the same island where independent thinkers were sent in Huxley's masterpiece, in an attempt to limit their control-disrupting interaction with others.  But Iceland wasn't home and while I lived on that island of fire and ice, I used to have actual and recurring dreams about being back in my real home from where I was plucked.  Those dreams of being home have yet to be realized.

I haven't lived there in nearly three decades.  I've visited.  I remember on the first visit, after I had graduated from college, how I was overcome by emotion by simply being there.  I mean absolutely overcome with emotion.  I have been away a long time.

As a military brat and a child I had no control over where I lived.  When I applied to college, I sent in my application to a public school in "my" State but my parents were not residents of that State and so neither was I, despite the fact that I have lived the plurality of my life there, longer than any other placed that I have lived.  As an out of State applicant, the standards were twice what they were for residents and I just missed the cut.  Had I been a resident, my mediocre 3.0 GPA and my resume that included National Honor Society and student council president and being on the wrestling and soccer teams, along with my AP college credit in history and english classes would have no doubt gotten me accepted.

But I wasn't.  So I went to school just about as far away from "my" home as I could, since my parents were residents of Florida and the tuition was much cheaper.  I'm very glad that I went to Florida State.  I had a phenomenal time and received a great education, and really was able to take my life lessons and harness them into a much greater understanding of the world around me.  And I was able to get this education at an affordable price with an ROTC scholarship, a grant from the Air Force Aid Society, and a few loans and a couple of jobs from time to time.  I am so very thankful that I didn't get accepted to where my heart wanted to go.  I think perhaps my mind would have missed out.  Delayed gratification.

I then went into the military and I have not been stationed anywhere near my home.  I have defended my home, and my country, but I haven't lived there.  In total, I have only spent one fifth of my entire life living in my home, an American land of fire and ice, Washington State.  But I have spent a great deal of time thinking about home, though the anxious and sad dreams have ceased, and I may be personally responsible for making millionaires out of several YouTubers who have posted videos of my State not realizing all the hits they would get from one single person watching their videos of mountains and volcanoes, glaciers, and forests and rivers.

My wife and I now own two properties in what is now our shared home, but we have yet to live there.  And in thirteen years of long distance marriage, we have never lived together for more than several months at a time.  My profession has not placed me in the kind of locations where successful lawyers typically thrive.  I have had limited control of where I reside, and it has been a challenge.

"Proceed to home of selection."

Never would I have guessed that a set of Air Force orders could make me cry tears of joy.  I am so close to raising bees and growing tomatoes and raising rabbits, of getting to live with my wife and hike through gorgeous forests together.  Of not being engaged in the profession of conflict, both here and abroad, and finally being able to set down the sword and pick up the plowshare.  So close to finally being able to focus on being happy, of being friendly and neighborly and trying to enjoy life and to find the beauty first and always in everything, rather than concentrating on uncomfortable threats and feeling a professional obligation to try to rally a defense against them.  I look forward to being relieved of active duty and the burden of my oath of office so that I can concentrate on enjoying my home on this earth for the bit of time I have left to do so.


But if Crowe's character in the video above teaches me anything, it's that longing for home and being close to finally returning, doesn't necessarily mean you will make it.

But regardless of what the few months ahead bring, I can still continue to whisper and speak fondly of home.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Muddled Anti-Drone Program Criticism

One of these guys looks familiar to me, although I can't say that I know any of these three.  I am glad to see that Brandon Bryant was not spreading his nonsense in this video.  That's an improvement.  Still, what use is this video?

First, let's please stop with the tired claims of people thinking RPA is a video game.  I seriously doubt anybody thinks it's a video game, so let's stop saying that.  It's a distraction and it's not useful even if it does make video game players perk up and want to listen to you.

Second, the claim in this video that using drones for the specific purpose of eliminating people is somehow "morally outrageous," is just stupid.  Drones are just tools.  And like any tool, they can be used morally or immorally.  And there are people who need them some killing.  That's just reality, and if you have a differing view then you are in no position to be discussing this topic regardless of your "veteran" status.

Having the technological option and capability to use such weapons, morally or otherwise, is a good thing for our national defense.  That's why I support the technology while I am also deeply worried about the character, integrity, and professionalism of those who leverage it.  To include the so-called "whistle blowers" making the rounds in media, especially foreign media, today.

How those tools are being used is a matter for public discussion, and if there is any good from this video above, it's in highlighting that discussion.  I think RPA and war in general is something the American people should certainly discuss and consider a thousand times more than they do currently, so I will give credit to these three insomuch as their offerings further that discussion.

But using these tools as directed, according to the video, weighs on your conscience and your soul and your heart?  Okay, guys, you joined the military knowing full well what you were getting into.  If you were asked to do something unlawful, you should have just said no.  If you didn't say no, then you lack character and as such, I can't trust anything you are trying to tell me now that your service has ended and you're getting mainstream air time and a tiny bit of fame.  Or perhaps you were asked to do something lawful that you thought was morally wrong?  Welcome to public service, where you serve a majority and not yourself.  You took the public's money, so you are expected to do the lawful bidding of that same public, whatever you might personally think, excuse me, feel...

So you drank yourself to sleep?  That's hardly limited to the drone community, or even to those who claim to have a suffering soul.  It's not even limited to the military although those in uniform likely have a higher rate of alcohol consumption.  At any rate, your choice to drink yourself to sleep is a choice you made.  Just like it was your choice to join the military and to not refuse to do things that you now claim weigh on your soul.

And really, three sensor operators make the bullshit claim (yeah, I said it) that they suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from taking a very few shots from thousands of miles away?  I realize that in our politically correct, fraud-riden, touchy-feely reality, you're not supposed to ever question somebody claiming PTSD.  Well, I am questioning it.  I know killing and I know people who kill, and far more than the kids in this video.  They may not like something, and it may make them uncomfortable, and their lives might suck, but I suspect their claimed PTSD is not actually PTSD but rather is a convenient scapegoat for the mental problems and life choices they brought with them to the job.

And the technician, working on computer networks rather than pulling a trigger or firing a laser, also claims PTSD and claims to have nightmares?  Get out of here with that bullshit.  Soon the guy making box lunches for crews is going to claim PTSD in hopes of pity and a public payout.

I also found it interesting that the technician took a shot at the President for violating the Constitution, but offered no evidence of any violation.  This video is like an alphabet soup of disconnected and rambling buzz words.  Maybe that was poor editing on NBC's part.  Who knows.

There is a real discussion that needs to occur on this topic.  So far, however, I'm not impressed with the spokesmen who have taken center stage.  And the truth is, Americans don't give a shit about hearing it.  Still, that doesn't mean it doesn't need to be had.

So, grudgingly, I acknowledge that at least these three are out there having the discussion for better or for worse.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

George Takei Invites Donald Trump to See Allegiance

Having seen the show on Broadway, I wholly recommend the Donald go see it.  It was fantastic.

But George might also want to invite former presidential candidate and Hillary Clinton supporter, General Wesley Clark (ret), to the show.  General Clark also recently said that America should bring back concentration camps in America for American citizens that the government suspects are "disloyal."  Sounds a great deal like America under the fascist Franklin D. Roosevelt who used his unprofessional oath-breaking military to violate the Constitutional rights of 70,000 American citizen men, women, and children.  One of those children being Mr. Takei.

Perhaps Donald and Wesley could go together to see Allegiance?  Their lack of character won't be changed by seeing the show, but it's still a wonderful production and Donald and Wesley would make a cute couple.

On the real stage of life, those of us in the military need to be ready to disobey any unlawful order to round up Americans and put them in concentration camps in violation of the Fifth Amendment we swore to defend.  Do not think it can't happen again just to psychologically duck the dark reality we find ourselves in.  A bi-partisan Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court of the United States have passed, signed into law, and upheld a law allowing the President to use the military to arrest Americans in America and hold them indefinitely in prison without charge or trial, or a jury of peers.  That was years ago, quietly passed over a holiday break with support from both sides of the aisle.  Now why would this power, which the ACLU blasted President Obama over as a blight to his legacy, be put into place?

There are plenty of people, to include those in the military, who would have no issue violating our Constitution again through internment camps.

As Justice Scalia, senior justice of the Supreme Court of the United States recently said, we are kidding ourselves if we think concentration camps won't happen again in America.

As military officers, we are the last check and balance when all other checks-and-balances get it wrong, as they often and increasingly do.  We do not want to be soldiers rounding up innocent Americans only to cry about it in the fits of guilt that come with being a uniformed traitor to your nation.

We have to get it right when politicians, in robes or otherwise, get it absolutely and inexcusably wrong.  We are the last defense of Americans.  Should the order come, say "no" and let the chips fall where they may.  You are in the business of courage.  Don't fail if tested.  Americans need you to make good on your oath.  If that is too much for you, find a private profession and do it quickly.

In the meantime, please consider joining the residents of Bainbridge Island (where the first Americans were rounded up by armed American soldiers executing FDR's executive order), in saying that this cannot be allowed to happen again.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The SCOTUS - The Loophole to the Amendment Provision

"The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty. So let's not have any native militia or native police."

- Adolph Hitler

I've already discussed in detail how guns are in fact being banned by the federal government in America today and there I offered my view on how this has happened in broad daylight.  Many like to believe government wouldn't do such a thing because there are so many guns in America, and because gun owners are passionate about their right to self defense, and because our Constitution makes it crystal clear that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

But that doesn't change the fact that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, one level lower than the Supreme Court of the United States, said that States banning AR-15s and semi-automatic weapons does not, in some strange Alice in Wonderland universe, violate the Second Amendment.  That decision will be raised to the Supreme Court where they will have the opportunity to correct this injustice, or nationalize it with the stroke of a pen.

But based on this recent Supreme Court decision (a decision to let an unconstitutional ruling by the Seventh Circuit stand), we are all but assured that our nation's highest court will pass on the opportunity to correct the Second Circuit.  If they had wanted to correct this issue they would have done so at the first opportunity.  Instead, they let the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals get away with violating our constitution and disarming Americans.  There is no reason to believe they won't do the same with the Second Circuit.  Their silence on the matter is deafening.  So let it be known that throughout the kingdom, the king's men can infringe on the right to keep and bear arms, particularly those arms that make a more effective militia that can better deter tyrannical government.  But you can keep your BB gun.  For now.

Our third branch of government was to be a check and balance.  It has become, however, a loophole to be used to completely subvert our law and the will of the people.

And like dominoes, federal court circuits, cities, and States will fall to this new kingly proclamation that decimates a clearly written basic constitutional right; the right to defend yourself against tyrannical government should the need arise.  And sadly, the militia-- which is the American people themselves and not a government sanctioned organization-- will disappear in a patchwork that then becomes a whole.  And all this accomplished without amending the Constitution as our system requires.

Our third branch of government at the highest judicial levels has made it clear to Americans in Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, Connecticut and Vermont that semi-automatic rifles can be banned despite the Second Amendment.  You can be sure this list of States will continue to grow.

It will grow.  Yes, even in your State.  Most definitely in this State.

An amendment is not needed when you have nine justices in robes ready to pronounce (through action or inaction) that our supreme law, which through the Bill of Rights restrains government power and recognizes our most basic rights, doesn't actually "mean" what it states.   An amendment is not actually required in a lawless nation when you have idiots ready to believe that government gets to say what the supreme law of the people means, despite and regardless of the clear text of that law itself.  So long as Americans accept the myth of the "living Constitution" that can be interpreted to mean anything a person in power at the time wants it to mean, sculpted in the moment like a child playing with Play-Doh, then the document is null and void and offers no protection.  It no longer matters that the American people created our federal government with the non-negotiable provision that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

This is no longer a slippery slope discussion.  Gun bans are here now, because the rule of law is dead in America.  Government does not restrain itself by obeying the law or recognizing its limits in the face of the rights of the people.  It simply uses the law-ish as yet another blunt instrument to rule the common folk in our new Feudalistic States of America.

It's not just government that is responsible for this sad state of affairs and this American Dark Age.  It's also our people who so often eagerly lap up and accept whatever they are told by government.  Whether so called left or right, the average American today embraces fascism while the targets of their desired government force might differ.  Whether an American wants to use government machinery to violate the Second Amendment rights of their neighbors, or whether they'd rather use that machinery to violate the First Amendment rights of certain religious neighbors, it is exceedingly rare in our country to find an American who values the principles of America and who doesn't want to use tools of violence to force others to do, or not to do, as they wish.  Americans love using force against others to make them bend to their personal desires.  Americans are as unprincipled on the whole, as they are stupid.  Take a look around.  Americans are not a smart group.  Peruse the popular shows on TV to get an idea of their values.  Take a look at their life decisions and how they spend their time.  The rot among our people is staggering and it permeates the entire culture regardless of party affiliation or educational background.  In such a rot, it's not surprising that maggots would emerge to pick the bones of the once greatest nation on earth.

The unconstitutional banning of guns isn't just coming, it's already here.  And it will continue to get worse.  Our nation is repeating history, just as German military officers folded and failed to uphold their oaths to their constitution, and as their judiciary followed not long after.  Tyranny became "legal" through the courts as influenced and made fear ridden by their executive.  Separation of powers failed.  Of the people, by the people, and for the people failed.  And state violence and oppression increased to the point where it was undeniable to even the most timid and stupid.

But you should be sure to avoid serious discussion on social media though, just as the Germans in the late 1930s didn't challenge their neighbors on serious matters out of fear or apathy.  There is no need to be offensive or controversial in your potentially-trigger-warning worthy discussions.  You don't want to be seen as tin foil do you?  Sure, your neighbors may be on your jury of "peers" one day and they may usher and cheer our once great nation's fall into a massively powerful tyranny, but is that really worth talking about?  Is now really the time to exercise your free speech rights?  You don't want people to think you don't respect their position on what constitutional rights you can personally exercise, right?  Just keep talking about NFL and safe topics and such.  Stick your head in the sand.  Do your best to fit in.  It will all work out.  Really it will.

Just not for you, your family, or your children. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Dyess AFB Leads the Way - Common Sense Firearm Policy

According to this release, Colonel David Benson, the wing commander at Dyess AFB, has authorized airmen at his base to carry firearms in their vehicles.  Now those driving to and from work can exercise the same rights as civilians in Abilene, Texas and can defend themselves and their families should they fall victim to tragedy.

Benson's policy requires airmen have a concealed carry permit to have their weapons secured in their vehicles.  While the requirement for a government permit and government permission to keep and bear arms is itself unconstitutional, this is still a step in the right direction.  This decision is good common sense that will make airmen and their families at Dyess AFB safer against violent criminals, active shooters, and foreign threats that target service members here in the United States.

I have been calling for an end to this insanity for some time now.  After service members were killed at Fort Hood.  Then after the Navy Shipyard murder.  Then again, after service members were again murdered at Fort Hood.  Then yet again after foreign radicals murdered service members in Tennessee.  It has taken far too many service member lives here at home, but finally it seems there is hope for military folks and their families who wish to exercise their right to defend themselves should the unthinkable happen to them.

While this is low hanging fruit, it took some courage from the wing commander who surely knows an accidental discharge or action from a careless airmen with a firearm will not be good for his career.  But it's not about his career, it's about his airmen and this policy is the right thing to do.  This wing commander gets it.

It's a breath of fresh air to see leadership make a good decision for service members in their charge.  I hope other installation commanders can learn from Colonel Benson's example.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Brandon Bryant Targeted?

According to this article, so-called whistle blower Brandon Bryant has had his access to his bank accounts and credit cards blocked by the federal government as part of anti-terrorism activity.  The article says its source is well known civil liberties lawyer, Jesselyn Radack, who for some reason is representing Brandon.

Having conversed with Brandon for years now, I still can't figure out what whistle he is blowing.  As this video shows, he's all over the map and basically just babbles anything and everything seemingly in the hope that he can be loved by a crowd.  He seems to delude himself into thinking he's in the same camp as Ed Snowden.  But still I don't see the comparison, other than their apparently shared lawyer.

After all, Brandon served as a sensor operator on Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) and served out his enlistment without objection.  He refused no orders, and even admits to treason while he was serving.  After his several years as a sensor operator, Brandon then tried to cross train into a new career field but did not complete the training and was released from service.  Only after his discharge, from what I can tell, did Brandon begin his so-called whistle blowing.

I find it interesting that a man who did not object to activities that he now alternates between condemning and hyping, would be a spokesperson for or against drone operations.  I don't get it.  I don't see what value he brings to this important discussion.

Regardless, what whistle is he blowing?  I still can't figure that out.  Military machines engage in warfare?  That doesn't seem particularly enlightening.  Killing has a psychological impact?  Despite his claim of developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from a handful of shots thousands of miles away, I'm not sure that Brandon is really the best source for that very old discussion.  At any rate, doesn't whistle blowing alert people to crimes they did not know about?  Like Edward Snowden courageously did with his revelations? 

I personally think Brandon lacks a whistle to blow or anything substantial or useful to say.  I think he just wants attention and is looking for some kind of payoff.  Perhaps an emotional payoff, a financial one, or both.  Whatever the truth, I still can't figure out what Brandon's message is other than self promotion.  I think he will say anything, because he is not involved in the discussion for truth.  I think he's in it solely for himself.

Regardless of his motivations and his incoherent and often contradictory "message," and despite his lack of credibility or ethical bona fides, if it is true that our federal government is blocking his finances due to his speech then that is very troubling.  If this article is accurate, then perhaps Brandon will have a legitimate claim and a legitimate discussion going forward.  Finally.

And that is a serious concern.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Man in the High Castle

The wife and I are getting ready to use this four day weekend to watch the first season of this show, which is free for Amazon Prime members.  Apparently the program delves into the question, "what if the Nazis had won during World War II?"

I am hearing good things about this flick.  Entertaining and thought provoking I am told.  I hope that means that some idiotic mouth-breather character in the show uses the term, "Godwin's Law" just before being slaughtered.  That would make me chuckle, but I don't know yet if this is a comedy.

Time to grab some popcorn and binge watch!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Legality of Syria

"The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

- Senator Barack Obama, 2007

It's like groundhog day.  Eerily reminiscent of Libya, we are now well past sixty days of combat actions in Syria with our Constitution and law thrown out the window.  Airmen are now taking part in combat actions in Syria that are in direct violation of the laws of the United States.

Let's break it down, it's not difficult.

War is one of those things that we call, in technical terms, a "really big deal."  As such, our Constitution requires Congress to declare war in Article 1.  Our founders realized that war was one of those things that should likely be debated and discussed and then authorized by the representatives of the people prior to being executed.  You know, because in those days prior to routine and regular wartime action like those in Brave New World or 1984, war was something that had a ring of importance and gravity to it.  Not because early Americans had nuclear weapons, or chemical weapons, or anything like that, but because they had this thing called "principle." 

Today, war is just another television show displayed to us over a cable news network and we have become used to it as an entertainment source.  But our Constitution, unlike our collective morality, has not changed and as far as that document is concerned, war is still a big deal, killing people and their children is still a big deal.  Most importantly sending our children to die over there, as far as our Constitution is concerned, is still a very big deal.

Why is war a big deal?  Well, it tends to be very expensive both in terms of taxpayer money and taxpayer blood, and if not well thought out it tends to create even more war and less security, which drives even more taxpayer money and even more taxpayer blood.  War can have negative consequences like, for example, losing.  But even winning can be disastrous for a nation, as the history of Rome demonstrates.  Yes, even a "kick ass" Team America nation can be conquered from within when its bombs are "smarter" than its people and when it is unable to keep from being infiltrated and owned by those who wish for that nation's demise from the inside.  Or when infiltrated by those who might not have that exact goal, but who don't mind if it happens so long as their multi-national profits increase.  Ding, ding, ding, that's a hint.

Regardless of how a nation might suffer from its foreign policy and its addiction to war, if you are in the war business, it can really add a boost to those profits.  Just ask Dick Cheney.  Or perhaps two time Medal of Honor winner, General Smedley Butler.

For example, consider Iraq which was once led by a pro-western suit-wearing strong man who could have made the cover of Puppet Regime Dictator magazine for his ability to, more or less, advance stability in the middle east region.  He ruled with an iron fist, quelled sectarian violence, and best of all he was secular and was not beloved by jihadists.  But in a stroke of pure insanity (or very intelligent corruption), we went to war with a country that posed no threat to the United States despite lies about possible mushroom clouds and later the standard "ooops, my bad" excuse.  What did we get for our money and our blood?  We got a country filled with jihadists and we created a real threat to the United States that did not exist before.

The same thing happened in Libya.  A secular, pro-western dictator was deposed and the country was replaced by religious extremists.  This not only shows a pattern that might benefit those profiting from war (or trying to bring down the United States from the inside), but it also shows the importance of debate and discussion and authorization of war in Congress.  As an aside, can you remember why we went to war in Libya?  Why we needed to?  Yeah, nobody else can, either.  Meh, war.

Despite personal opinion, I do not care why Americans send me to war as a professional military officer.  I'm a stick to be swung in service to my nation, I'm not the hand that swings me.  But that hand needs to follow our law.  Otherwise, it is not an American hand, and so any American stick should know better than to budge.

Our Constitution requires approval for war from Congress, and does not vest king-like powers to the executive.  The American people are to have a voice in where their tax money is spent, and what is done in their name.  Americans have in the past been overwhelmingly against action in Syria.

And yet combat operations in Syria are all over the news.  One might be tempted to ask how it can be that Americans have not learned their lesson from Iraq or from Libya, or how one tragedy in another nation could make them forget why they were so adamantly against action in Syria.  One might even suggest that if American stupidity was an energy source, it would be so sustainable that it would put Elon Musk out of business.  But that viewpoint assumes that Americans want military action in Syria now.  And they may now want it after media has bombarded them about the latest tragedy in Paris, and after Facebook memes about kicking ass have circulated with all the careful thought of a Toby Keith song.  Americans might actually now want combat action in Syria.  It's possible they do, but if that's the case, why have their representative in Congress not authorized these actions?

Regardless of what Americans want, after watching the video above of retired four-star general Wesley Clark (who recently advocated for concentration camps in America for Americans who are "disloyal" in their speech, oh my!) one has to wonder if what Americans want is really even a factor anymore among those in the war and government business.  I mean, does what Americans want truly even matter as far as their government is concerned?  Whatever the answer to that question, the views of the American public should matter.

The Constitution requires a declaration of war, but it also gives Congress the power to make laws necessary and proper for bringing into execution their power to declare war.  That's the last power granted to Congress in Article 1.  Congress executed that power by passing the War Powers Resolution.

The War Powers Resolution states that in addition to war being authorized if Congress declares war, it can also be authorized if Congress passes an authorization (like the AUMF that authorized actions against Al Qaeda).  The War Powers Resolution also says the President can take military action unilaterally, in certain conditions, for up to sixty days.  After sixty days the President must cease such actions unless given a Congressional declaration or authorization for war, or he or she can extend it an additional 30 days but only in the extreme case that the U.S. is under attack such that Congress is physically unable to meet.

We are way past sixty days of combat action in Syria.  There is no authorization nor declaration for war, and Congress can physically meet.  Congress, in fact, does physically meet and even funds actions in Syria despite it not authorizing those actions.

Why do they do this?

Perhaps one should ask previous Senator Hillary Clinton, as just one example, who voted for military actions in Iraq that turned out to be predictably disastrous to American interests and who, during her presidential campaign, apologized for her wrongful vote to authorize that foolish war.  She apologized for her vote, but then went on to support and help orchestrate the unconstitutional combat action in Libya after losing her presidential race.  It's amazing what gets excused with a simple "oops, my bad."  Still, I would imagine she is hardly the only politician who would prefer not to be held responsible for an incredibly damaging decision like authorizing expensive unnecessary combat actions that make America less safe and result in the deaths of America's sons and daughters, even though those actions are profitable to certain industries and their lobbyists which fund political campaigns.

Yet again, those who pickle America's airpower are put in a tough spot because of the lack of character from those above them.  Airmen are placed yet again in the position of either having to execute unlawful orders or having to refuse unlawful orders at their own peril.

Given the disease I have witnessed in our officer corps for nearly two decades, and the larger disease within our nation, I do not expect to see any officers honor their oaths by refusing to violate our laws and the will of the American people.  They will goosestep right into Syria while singing "America Fuck Yeah" until America is just a footnote in the annals of history.

Our officer corps isn't even close to professional enough to do what it promised before God and taxpayer.  And America is, and will continue until its ultimate demise, to pay the price.

It's a sad reality.