"...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

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Six Weeks Until PYB is De-Commissioned

Amazing to think my time in the Air Force is the same as the time I spent at field training more than twenty years ago.  I chose to go to a six week camp because I thought I would have a better chance of getting Distinguished Graduate (DG).  Yeah, not so much.

The wife had this engraving made for my retirement shadow box.  The quote is taken from an AFCAF ruling after I refused a blatantly unlawful order and resigned my commission with just over fifteen years of service.

Had it not been for the nameless person who issued that ruling and wrote that quote, I would not be retiring in six weeks.

I hope those in public service will remember those who gave all in their fulfillment of their oaths of office.  I hope we who serve realize that not being willing to give our careers to defend America here at home is a horrible disservice to the memory of the fallen.

Faithful public service ain't no chump game.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

For Fascists Like John Tringali, Respect for the Constitution is Mental Illness

Interesting exchange with a relatively recently retired O-5 over on my Facebook page.  With just a few posts, he managed to explain that he doesn't support a) the First Amendment when it comes to shirts advocating for Constitutional rights in public school, b) the Fourth Amendment right not to be searched without a warrant, c) the Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate yourself, and d) the Sixth Amendment right to a jury.

And in his view, my defense of the Constitution is apparently a sign of mental illness so glaring that he claims to have contacted the Veterans Administration on my behalf and claims he was told by somebody there that my "tirade" in support of constitutional rights raised many flags of serious mental health issues.  He then provided her email address and invited me to contact her.  So, I've reproduced my "tirade" here.

This theme that those who support the Constitution, and who criticize those in public service who do not, are mentally ill is one I am familiar with.  It's interesting to me how so many fascist unprofessional public servants equate valuing constitutional rights with indication of mental illness.

So, John Tringali, makes his first post here...

And then moments later continues his brilliance in this thread:


Then he defriends me, and turns around and sends me this message:

Then he blocks me.  Thanks for the lesson on mental illness, John Tringali.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

God, Death and Kids: Cian Westmoreland and Brandon Bryant Drone On

This sequel video goes beyond the inconsistent and unbelievable stories of Brandon Bryant and Cian Westmoreland and jumps down the rabbit hole exploring the themes of their public professions relating to religion and a Messiah Complex, suicide and death, and their fascination with children.  This fascination includes Brandon "running away from home" for a month post military, leaving his mother's house, and choosing to spend his nights at a children's playground.  The film compares presented themes with the words and actions of Jim Jones and the People's Temple from the 1970s.

It's an open letter to Jesselyn Radack who trots these two out as supposed whistle blowers, and helps create the fictional narrative surrounding them.  Cian is a guy who grew up in a military family, talked with his father when he came back from deploying post 911, went to high school during a time of perpetual war and then chose to join the military.  After four years and one deployment as a network technician in a non-combat role, Cian completed his contract and then developed guilt and claims of PTSD along with a desire for a public platform.  He contacted Brandon and the two of them have hit the media and are attempting to create an organization they call Project Red Hand.

One of the downsides of secrecy not frequently discussed, is that it gives frauds an easy opportunity to make claims about their service that civilians gobble down without question.

Here are some random people I don't know expressing views after watching this movie in a thread where a Brandon Bryant quote was included along with a link to Jeremy Scahill's new book, "The Assassination Complex."  Note: I haven't read the book but Scahill usually does great work, although as this video shows he did get suckered into publicly supporting these charlatans.  Can't be right all the time, I guess.  Anyway, these folks seem to find the movie quite interesting and it's good to see truth being spread about these frauds who are hurting an important discussion.

At any rate, just watch the first three minutes of the video and you'll have a good idea whether this hour long film is worth your time.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Army Captain Nathan Smith Sues for Court to Declare Legality of War on ISIS

Fascinating story in the New York Times today.  I'm glad to see a military officer concerned about the Constitution and willing to make waves.  That demonstrates a tiny amount of moral courage and professionalism that, in my experience, makes this junior military officer likely the best officer I have seen.

Sadly his performance falls well short of what is required.  He got bad advice from the New York Times columnist and Yale Law professor, Bruce Ackerman.  Perhaps well intentioned, but still incredibly bad advice.  If public servants like Captain Smith follow Mr. Ackerman's recipe then the whole of our checks and balances is reduced to one branch.  The judiciary.

I wish Captain Smith luck in getting some "guidance" (as another person's opinion might guide a personal decision) from the courts while he continues to participate in what he believes is a violation of our Constitution (and I agree with him completely insomuch as he realizes actions against ISIS and Syria are unlawful).  But the reality is that not obeying our supreme law and his oath, and instead passing the buck to yet another branch of government, does not resolve his issue or his burden regardless if or how a court rules.

Captain Smith's move may certainly be useful for a broader public discussion, but it is also a "mental reservation or purpose of evasion" which he also took an oath to refrain from in his defense of our Constitution.

Sorry, Captain, but public service ain't no chump game.  There is no easy path in this job.  You either do the right thing as you promised, or you don't.  Waiting for some other public servant to make your professional decision for you is the wrong thing to do.  The burden of our oaths is real.

The comment I posted on the New York Times page:

Ackerman is wrong in the advice he gives Captain Smith and his careerist/jurist rationale is even worse. While my opinion here is my own and doesn't represent the Air Force, the DOD, or the United States government, I say this as a military officer who once refused an order that violated the Constitution in the most egregious manner possible. With just over 15 years of service, I resigned my commission. It wasn't accepted and after more than a year of being removed from combat duties, I was vindicated, my security clearances were returned and I continue to fly aircraft and retire in weeks.

Mr. Ackerman's advice to Captain Smith is not only wrong, it's dangerous to our nation. Article Six of our Constitution requires military officers such as Captain Smith to take an oath to support the Constitution. What is key about Article Six is not just that it requires that oath of executive officers, but that it uses the exact same line to require the oath of judicial officers, as well. It states, "...all executive and judicial officers...shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution..." It does NOT require judges to support the Constitution and military officers to support the verdicts of judges.

The Constitution is what we swear to support, not government telling us what it means often like pigs with paint cans pointing to the side of a barn.

As military officers we must uphold our oaths, regardless of courts or careers, and simply cannot get it wrong.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Ten Weeks to Go - A Life On Layaway

Only ten weeks of public service remaining.  Then I return, after nearly three decades, to the place I call home.  A land of mountains, rivers, gorgeous forests, Indian Reservations, and God's soft moist blanket protecting and nurturing the most beautiful Nature in our nation.

I look forward to laying down the sword and the soapbox for as long as I am physically able before that same beautiful Nature ends me.  To silently stare in wonder, to seek and to question, to bask in the beauty.  To learn rather than attempt to teach.  I look forward to my silence.

But I still have ten weeks before I can return to the trailer park near the reservation and the river I grew up on.  I still have work to do before I can be the old guy in the back of the church always smiling, assured that I did my duty and guiltless and content to simply exist and focus on the good in God's creation.

Ten weeks left to battle the innumerable domestic enemies of our nation as best I can.

Then happily lay down the sword and the soapbox.