An open reply to Mr. John Crisp, on the subject of Sgt Bergdahl – William Lehman

An open reply to Mr. John Crisp, on the subject of Sgt Bergdahl – William Lehman

In this season of Christmas, Chanukah, Yule, and so on, when most major religions recognize a time of love, faith and forgiving, I would like to echo those sentiments. But sadly, this isn’t that sort of post.

John Crisp is an op-ed columnist for Tribune news service (it’s interesting to note that my spell check wanted to make that communist, I think the machine knows more than I do) and teaches in the English department at Del Mar College, says the little bio that accompanies his column. This explains a lot, when you start to read his various opinions. (I’m semi surprised he holds the opinions he has while living in Texas, but well he is in the ivory towers, oh excuse me ivied halls of academia) Yes, this is pertinent, as I’ll get to in a moment.

Mr. Crisp felt the need today to speak out on the issue of Sergeant Bergdahl (yes, that’s right you clown, he is, at least until the court-martial a sergeant, not a private.) Crisp goes out of his way to paint a piteous picture of a poor, troubled, emotionally disturbed individual who should never have been allowed to enlist, and was mentally destroyed by the horrors of combat in an illegal and immoral war. He goes on to claim that Bergdahl’s most outspoken critics have never served in the military, much less in combat, and therefore are not qualified to judge him, but instead are using him as a political tool to attack the President. Further, he implies that actual soldiers will sympathize with this dirtbag, and in the end, it’s all Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld who should be going to prison, not this poor misunderstood soul, who should be let out of the military without bad paper, much less a sentence.

Well Professor, I am a combat vet (Navy, not Army, but on this it doesn’t matter) and I’ve also been part of the staff (as the work programs director and Brig Duty officer) of a Naval Brig (you call it a military prison). So let me help you understand a few things:

I’m going to explain this to you in detail because I’m fairly sure that 1) you never served a day in uniform, 2) you probably don’t know anyone who has ever served a day in uniform, and 3) based on your editorials over the years you hold the military in general and those that serve in uniform in contempt, in spite of having absolutely zero first hand information to base that opinion on.

Now it is certainly possible, as you point out, that the Army screwed up in allowing this dirt bag to enlist. Be that as it may, he enlisted. One of the prime principles of the Military, a basic truth if you will, is that “we take care of our own” (now that isn’t always the way it works out sadly, sometimes because of politics, sometimes because we all fail and fall short of perfection, and sometimes because of idiots like you). How that maters in this case, is that for better or worse, Bergdahl was ours, he was a sergeant for Pete’s sake. (that is a Non Commissioned Officer, a guy in charge of other guys) So he had to have had something on the ball. He wasn’t the hopeless psycho you paint him to be, or he would never have made Sgt. As one of ours we are honor (a concept you have only an academic understanding of) bound to take care of him for good or ill. He abandoned his post. He violated the first general order of a sentry. In time of war, in a combat zone. We owe it to all of the men that did their job to hold him to the same standard.

I had a prisoner detainee (he hadn’t been convicted yet) who was absolutely insane. He was less than 24 hours from a “recruiter discharge”, for being absolutely bugfuck crazy (multiple personality disorder, hallucinations, you name it, he had it) when he lost it and racked up 18 charges in 30 minutes, including assault with intent to kill on a police officer, and assault with intent on a commissioned officer in the performance of his duties. We had him for 9 months while the defense fought to keep him from being given a Court. During that time, he spent most of his time on suicide watch, because of his issues. The Navy failed him, and the rest of us, and gave him his discharge. (we literally took him to the gate and tossed him out) We didn’t hold him and treat him, we just tossed him out on to an unsuspecting populace. He racked up several charges and hurt some folks badly. He’s spending the rest of his life in western state. It wasn’t his fault, it was our fault for releasing him.

Now let’s look at Bergdahl. He wasn’t insane, at least in comparison. (I’m sure you think we’re all a little loony to put on the uniform) he made Sgt, and made a conscious decision to walk off his post. Here to for, no one has tried the insanity defense for him that I have seen, but I’m sure that his defense council will try that, and every other trick in the book to save him from the results of his actions. Maybe they will succeed, and like that prisoner I had, he will be released with a medical discharge. That’s why we have court-martials, is to make that sort of call. But John, you are right about one thing, no combat vet that I know, and in fact, no vet at all that I know, thinks Bergdahl deserves prison. We think he deserves to be hung by the neck until dead, in accordance with the Uniform Code of military justice as pertains to Article 85 c. desertion in the face of the enemy.


216 thoughts on “An open reply to Mr. John Crisp, on the subject of Sgt Bergdahl – William Lehman

  1. While I agree strongly with the thrust of your post, it’s worth pointing out that Bergdahl was a PFC at the time he disappeared (I -want- to say the time he deserted based on the available evidence, but I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt prior to the Court Martial). He made E-4 and E-5 in absentia. That said, while I understand the TIS/TIG promotion to E-4 assuming he was in the zone (I haven’t gone back and checked his enlistment dates and dates of rank because it’s going to be a moot point), I am more than a little confused at the promotion to E-5 in 2011.

    It doesn’t change the thrust of your argument, because Bergdahl functioned just fine in the military for nearly two years prior to deployment, and there is evidence of his intent to desert prior to deployment. That tells me that whatever psychological issues he may have, 1) they were not crippling or severe enough to compromise his ability to function as a reasoning adult, and 2) It was not a matter of psychological frailty + trauma = bad decisions, because the he was contemplating a criminal and potentially treasonous course of action “if this deployment sucks” BEFORE his boots ever left US soil.

    1. It has been a few years since I played in the Military Justice arena, but I still know a bit about it – and it has not changed a bit.

      The U.S. (and NATO) use a standard method of dealing for promotions for POWs: if you get captured, you get automatically get promoted at the same time as your contemporaries. Bergdahl was technically a POW, and he could not be charged for any crime until he was released from captivity. So, he is legitimately a Sergeant (E-5) and remains such until a Court Martial says otherwise.

      BTW, if the Army wanted to sweep this under the rug, they could have simply offered him Non-Judicial punishment under Article 15. This would have busted him down 2 grades to Private First Class and gotten him an administrative discharge (called a “chapter” back in my day). By sending him up for Court Martial the brass is signalling that they want this handled in the open – and they want some jail time.

      The case against him looks pretty solid because an Article 32 investigation by a disinterested officer (the next guy on the duty roster) verified that there was evidence that meets the Elements of Proof required by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

      Unlike civilian life, lawyers do not decide to take matters to a Court Martial, regular Army officers (including a senior officer, usually a Colonel or Brigadier General) do.

      In any case, this is going to be interesting.

      1. An element of this which has largely been under-reported (and will assuredly continue so) is that the purpose of such a trial is wholly different from a civilian criminal proceeding.

        I recognize this is gratuitous information to the Horde of Hoyt, but it is something to keep in mind when consuming the media coverage of the court martial — and particularly when reading the “hasn’t he suffered enough” opinions of such as Mr. Crisp, eager to hurl epithets of “chickenhawk” to distract from their own chickenshi- nature.

      2. I’ll certainly give way to your expertise since I was enlisted and the sum total of my involvement in UCMJ matters was bearing witness during an Article 15 proceeding. The part that confuses me there is that after E-4, promotion to E-5 is not simply based on Time In Service, but is contingent upon a Promotion Board and successful completion of PLDC (Or I guess it’s WLC now), etc. Do they simply waive the schooling and promotion board requirements and just automatically keep adding a pay grade once the POW hits TIS/TIG? If he was held an extra 15-20 years, would we be talking about SGM Bergdahl?

        I get the basic rationale, but there has to be some limit.

        As far as sweeping things under the rug, even IF senior brass wanted to (and I don’t think most of them do), I’m not so sure they could simply NJP him and call it day. The level of scrutiny from both the public and current active duty service members is pretty damn intense, and for good reason.

  2. I am probably among the many who military vets that were surprised that Bergdahl is facing a General Court Martial at all. Like most, I was cynically convinced that Obama had scared the brass into shelving that idea, that Bergdahl would get a quick plea-bargained Special, a BCD, and be immediately forgotten by everyone in government and media.

    The very fact that the Army brass decided to go against the Obama regime and give him a serious court martial is heartening. It just might be possible that the Army is more concerned about the damage letting him walk would do to the morale and combat effectiveness of the service as a whole than they are about safeguarding their perks and pensions as they ooze toward retirement and defense industry consulting jobs. We can hope anyhow.

    1. Barry is only going to be able to influence things for another year. Once he’s an ex-President do you really think that anyone, especially those who have anything to do with the military, is going to care what that SCOAMF “thinks”?

      1. You remember the joke about the old vet walking up to the Marine guard at the White House and asking for President Clinton after President Bush was in office? (I couldn’t find it at so here it is.) Old man–Is President Clinton in? Marine: President Clinton isn’t president anymore. The next day the man asked the guard again, “Is President Clinton in?” Again the reply, “President Clinton isn’t president anymore.” A third day, the man walks up to the guard and asks if President Clinton is home. The guard replies, with some concern, “You know that’s three days in a row you’ve asked me, and no, President Clinton isn’t president anymore.” The old vet replied, “I know. I just like hearing you say that.” The Marine snapped to attention and saluted, “See you tomorrow, sir.”

        KInda like that.

                1. Based on the recent omnibus bill why do any of us believe who we elect in 2016 will matter?

                  I’m still waiting for some GOP eminence gries with “impeccable conservative credentials” to run, “with great sadness”, as “the real Republican in this race” if Trump gets the nomination to throw it to Hillary (William Kristol has already said as much).

                  My money is it’ll be Lindsey Graham using his role as an impeachment prosecutor for the “impeccable conservative credentials”.

                  This has too much momentum to change course before the iceberg at this point.

                    1. I’m not so sure. Even though I’m not a Trump supporter I have to admit he’s tapped into something.

                      Hillary isn’t in the news and there is a strong negative correlation between her being in the news and being popular.

                      Trump is very in the news so anything similar is hurting him but not her.

                      The broader point will be after the loyalty oath stunt and the constant “okay, our guys won the primary so you have to back him” from those generally considered the GOP establishment is their open threat to bolt if Trump is the nominee. Going back to your post over a year ago about sticking with the GOP another decade and trying to change it I find it interesting those running it now don’t want to even endure one cycle where they don’t get their way.

                    2. I don’t thing there is any coming back from a Trump “cycle.” First, they’ll get blamed for his policies, even though he’s a socialist/crony capitalist in the Obama/Clinton vein. So it would effectively give us to exactly the same parties, and therefore REALLY destroy the GOP. Second I realized it was bad when I realized I was afraid to write a post about him. Think about it. Hillary will be vindictive and crazy, but she won’t go after every little blogger that dissed her. Now think of Trump. Can you swear he won’t? His followers already do, with fervor and insanity.
                      Trust me, between Trump and Hillary, Hillary — as much as I despise the bitch — would be the better choice. It would still leave us an organization that could oppose her or at least bring someone new after she was done.

                    3. There was a post on madgeniusclub by Dave Freer Monday which explained why people are going for Trump (and Cruz), and why the GOPe doesn’t understand what’s happening:

                      With this, of course come the inevitable breakdowns in trust, and the fact that, somehow, some people think someone besides Charlie Brown will always play Lucy-ball. You can go on playing Lucy-ball for a long time… but not with the same person. Trust is a rare coin which the same person is unlikely to get twice. The trust between readers and writers is no different. Sometimes that breakdown is by accident – the reader thought this was X and got Y. That may destroy you for that reader. Sometimes it was Lucy-ball – and that reader is not coming back. Re-building trust is hard and slow, and not always possible.

                      Look, all relationships need some trust, especially by the weaker part of that relationship. As the weaker part you know you are open to exploitation and abuse. If that happens: Common sense says ‘get out’ but often the abuser (or reality) paints a situation where that’s not possible, or at least not easy, and maybe worse.

                      Well, the GOPe has been playing Lucy ball with those of us who trusted and supported it for at least a decade. They’ve done it and laughed, and always with the threat that if we didn’t keep playing something worse (like cankles) would happen. The simple attraction of Trump is that while he MAY be playing Lucy ball with us, we KNOW that the backers of Jeb! and Vichy Mitchy, and CryBoehner, and now Ryan, are DEFINITELY playing it with us. This business of insisting we had to support the nominee if it was their guy, and now they’re not going to follow that rule themselves, just confirms it. Screw them. Ain’t playing Lucy ball no more.

                    4. I think you’re right. I have some anecdotal evidence to support me in this, but do note that’s it limited to comments about 20 conservatives, in the states of OH, NJ, NY, and CT, over the past 2-3 weeks. Most stated a willingness to vote for any Republican over Hillary… except Trump. There was about an even three-way split between those who stated they’d vote for Trump, skip voting, or vote for Hillary. None wanted Hillary, but Trump scared a few of them more than Hillary, and the rest simply said they saw no significant difference. Nobody actually wanted Trump, though a few did agree with him on a few points and/or credit him with publicly discussing some topics that no politician had had the guts to talk about.

                      Honestly, the 15 or so lefties I heard from during the same period scared me even more. Most of them find anybody less statist than Jeb! or Christie to be horrifying. Some of them preferred Bernie (one had a spouse working on his campaign), but wanted him out of the race so there was no chance at dinging Hillary and making it difficult to defeat the Republican challenger in the general election.

                      Again, as mentioned above, these were comments only from friends and family (and their friends and family, in some cases) during the few holiday weeks, in one midwestern and three northeastern states. The rest of the country may be thinking differently, so may not have been telling the truth, etc.

                    5. I strongly recommend caution before getting too wrought up over Trump. Keep in mind that at this time in 2004 Howard Dean was the Democrats’ leading candidate. In 2008 Rudy Giuliani was the GOP leader at this stage, and in December 2011 Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich were running neck and neck.

                      I am not even sure Trump would be the disaster Sarah fears (which is not to say he wouldn’t be a disaster.) I expect he would have to appoint his cabinet from the GOP and even a RINO EPA administrator is not as bad as what we would expect from Hillary. We can rely on the MSM to not cover up and excuse justify executive over-reach and abuses, and we can be confident that we’d see no worse than another John Roberts at SCOTUS, which, bad as he might be, is a far sight better than the best Hillary would nominate.

                      Sure, he might destroy the GOP, but if so then it is only because the GOP has so thoroughly rotted out it can’t bear the strain of restraining Trump and thus it is just as well it goes — but to toss it over before a single vote is cast in the 2016 races, much less before a nominee is determined?

                      The MSM is not our friend and its reports on these races are not to be trusted. Trump may be our Evita but he has yet to win a single vote, so lets hold our fire and not get confused by the moment. There will be plenty of time to evaluate the dinner’s entree; there’s no need to storm out over the appetizers.

                    6. He’s not really tapped into anything but showmanship.

                      I’m surprised to see that analysis from you.

                      Trump may be all showmanship but the show has to be a specific kind that has an audience. Deny that and claim the audience is just idiots and not only will you not convince them not to support Trump but you surrender you chance to do so by blindness.

                      Trump is doing what all good salesmen do: he is identifying a pain point and pitching his product as a solution. Saying the people are only falling for a pitch denies the existance of the pain point. Denying it when it exists means at best they will just tune you out and at worse indicate you have no solution.

                      They’re the same in how they’d rule, and Hilary would at least leave the GOP viable for a comeback. Trump wouldn’t.

                      I think you have it backwards: Trump getting the nomination would demonstrate that the GOP ceased to be viable at some earlier point*.

                      Why would that be? You almost tripped on it:

                      Trump is a fascist. As in crony capitalism + extreme statism.

                      A lot of people are saying that and my response is, “You will not stop Trump by arguing he’s not a Republican because he’s a Republican”. A lot of people, including both Trump supporters and non-Trump supporters, have a hard time not concluding the GOP is, on the whole, invested in crony capitalism and statism. The former seem, in some cases, to have concluded “if we have to have that we might as well have our kind of guy running it.” Note: arguing Trump isn’t our kind of guy isn’t going to work either. It’s missing the point. “Our kind of dictator” never is but has sold himself (see pain point idea above) as one.

                      *I’d put it at the fiscal 2015 Omnibus less HS passed less than a month after the 2014 election instead of waiting until the new Senate was in. Another choice is the February fight over HS excluded from that Omnibus that was promised and never delivered on.

                    7. The audience aren’t idiots, but the media is reporting VERY selectively, so as to tap into something. For instance, how many conservative supporters want single payer healthcare, which Trump has promised?
                      It’s a collaboration…

                    8. @RES: you’re closer to me on Trump than most. In the end he’d be another crony-capitalist Republican although one with the temper of the current President. I think the RINOs are more mad at him for not greasing the right palms on the way end (Rove, etc) and are concerned he wouldn’t grease the right palms while in.

                      we can be confident that we’d see no worse than another John Roberts at SCOTUS, which, bad as he might be, is a far sight better than the best Hillary would nominate.

                      This is the only part of your analysis I disagree with. Not that he would do any worse than the GOP has on nominees but that Roberts is the worse. I’ve lived to see Kennedy, Souter, and O’Conner come out of the GOP (two of those out of Reagan) so I’m less than sanguine about the results of Trump or most other GOP court appointments. This is another “why are the Democrats so much better” than we are. With twice the appointments in my adult life time (8 by the GOP to 4 by Democrats) we’ve gotten almost as many members of liberal wing from the GOP (3) as well have from the Dems (4).

                    9. I’m less than sanguine about the results of Trump or most other GOP court appointments.

                      It depends on who holds the Senate and who chairs the hearings. Remember, Kennedy was what we got after the Senator from Chappaquiddick trashed Robert Bork’s nomination. O’Conner (and even Souter) were products of the Senate being held in Liberal hands. I expect we’d have different hearings with Senator Chuck Grassley (current chair) running the process than we had when Joe Biden pounded the gavel.

                      It isn’t enough to nominate a conservative, it is necessary to fight for the appointment against both wings of the Liberal Party, the Democrats and the MSM. Imagine the way Clarence Thomas’ hearing would have gone if he’d been a Liberal nominated by a Liberal.

                      Even a Cruz presidency would be limited in its reach, because he would not (should not, could not) so egregiously stretch Constitutional limitations on his office, nor would the MSM let him.

                      Y’all need to do your battlespace analysis better when you knock the GOP — they’ve admittedly done less than they could have, but what they could have done is nowhere near so much as critics imagine.

                      And now, your unhappy thought for the day: Obama is now more unimpeachable than ever, short of hard evidence of High Treason, probably selling out the Democrat Party as well as America. There is no way short of that for impeachment proceedings to progress through the House & Senate and remove him before 1-20-17.

                    10. BTW, on the question of impeachment — using the NSA to spy on a friendly ally (after publicly swearing off such intrusions), members of Congress and American citizens exceeds any of the “High Crimes & Misdemeanors” charged against President Nixon.

                      Not that it will amount to anything.

                    11. For instance, how many conservative supporters want single payer healthcare, which Trump has promised?

                      How many want Obamacare? Yet the rest of the GOP candidates are basically promising reformed Obamacare with their “repeal and replace” which mainly replaces the exchanges subsidies with refundable tax credits. Walker’s plan (which is why I lost interest in him), for example, was actually designed such that government dependency for health care would occur faster under it than under Obamacare.

                      I was predicting as early as 2013 that the Dems would run on single payer while the GOP ran on fixing Obamacare by 2016 and I’m looking to be at worst half right. Given history that means we’ll get single payer and within a year the GOP will be arguing about how to fix it.

                      In light of a lot of people that cynical about the GOP why should that disqualify Trump unless you think a GOP Congress would pass it?

                      This is a prime example of what I mean when I say telling people “Trump isn’t a conservative” misses the point. Who in the GOP that won’t cause the elite to throw the election is?

                      They are openly talking about Third Partying Trump. I remain convinced Anderson in 1980 was an establishment attempt to tank Reagan that was outflanked when Reagan picked Bush as his running mate convincing them to let Anderson twist in the wind. I believe they’d do the same to Cruz as well as Trump.

                    12. Actually, what Vichy Mitchy and Ryan will do to Trump or Cruz is rediscover all those powers of the purse and other powers they refused to use on Obama.

                      If that isn’t enough, they’ll work with the Democrats to ram through an impeachment.

                    13. Re LucyBall: The cure for LucyBall, which Charlie never figured out, is to run full blast and kick Lucy.

                      The question is, is Lucy the MSM or the GOP?

                    14. Full disclosure, I no longer have a dog in this fight. My dream team: Jindal / Fiorina (I’d have started volunteering for the local Republican party if that had happened) is out of the running, so right now I’m in hmmm…. dunno yet… mode.

                      Mrs. Hoyt, folks like my husband argue that if Trump get the nomination and wins the election it won’t break the country any worse than Hilary would (I agree) and pace Mr. Nelson (below) there’s a chance a few things might improve. But it will, definitely, as you point out, break the GOP.

                      And that’s a good thing. Go back and take a look at U.S. political history from, oh, the 1830s or so through the Civil War. The Whigs are long-gone, and the country was better off (at that time) with the newly minted Republican Party. The Democrats, alas, we will always have with us (and the fact that the pro-Slavery party survived the Civil War and the 14th amendment just fine REALLY ought to give folks pause.)

                      Revolution for countries usually leaves them better off. Revolution for a political party is a horse of a different color.

                      I’m coming round to this one.

                      I’m still going to vote for any non-establishment GOP before I vote for Trump though. For all the reasons you’ve given here, + he’s a F.O.B. weasel on gun rights.

                    15. Um… the fall of the Whigs was different. And the Democrats were not outright the enemy within. If the GOP goes down for the count, the US is not long for this world. Again, though I wrote this into my world building, it’s not something I WANT.

                    16. to an extent. Except that the GOP isn’t showing as it should/could because of the media.

                      “It’s the media’s fault” is just another GOP excuse. How did the media force through Medicare Part D, NCLB, and record spending and debt during the Bush years?

                      the fall of the Whigs was different. And the Democrats were not outright the enemy within.

                      Yes to the first…it was a coordinated move to create a new party by anti-slavery Whig office holders and voters when it became clear a significant portion of Whig office holders position on slavery was “It shouldn’t affect the perks of being a politician”. If only someone would suggest that for the GOP (nah, they’d probably just be a Democrat false flag operation).

                      On the second I’d argue at least half the party was given within six years of the GOP’s formation we had the Civil War. Even if you say, “well, okay just the South then” you have to explain why Northern Democrats both considered making peace with the South (running to end the war in 1864) and had the Copperhead movement.

                      It’s really just the same as they do with the budget lately just writ large: we get all we want and you get nothing or we set it on fire.

                    17. Someone over on another board raised an interesting question: What if Trump teams with Cruz?

                      Hell, I might be able to hold my nose and vote for that one…

                    18. “I don’t thing there is any coming back from a Trump “cycle.” ”

                      I don’t disagree that if Trump wins the GOP is unlikely to ever recover. However, I disagree that Trump would be the cause. Trump is a symptom that the GOP is already circling the drain. Would-be Republican voters have been walking away in droves for years because, instead of listening, the GOP’s pat answer has been “oh yea? Look at the alternative. You ain’t goin nowhere”. That worked for them for a while, but it’s getting too hard to tell the difference between the Dems and the Repubs, and crapping on your base just isn’t sustainable.

                    19. Posts from my iPad haven’t been going through. I hope posts from my computer don’t have the same issue.

                      Peggy Noonan’s columns this year made it clear that she “gets it” with regards to the popularity of Trump. She’s not a fan herself. But she understands why people are. Unfortunately, the political leadership of the Republican party seems incapable of understanding the content of her columns on the subject of Trump. Part of the problem is that pointing at Trump’s followers and saying unkind things about them (which many of Trump’s critics are doing) just causes his fans to dig in. They’re not going to be convinced that way.

                    20. “You cannot reason people out of a position that they did not reason themselves into.”

                      Trump’s support did not accrete by reason but rather for reasons.

                    21. From the Trump supporters that I actually know, they don’t support Trump either– they know he’s a bill of goods. They will tell pollsters that they do, though, because they LIKE that bill of goods and want to “send a message” that yes, they’ll support a candidate who says this stuff, even when he’s being slaughtered by the media.

                    22. O’Conner (and even Souter) were products of the Senate being held in Liberal hands.

                      Uhm, no…Souter, yes, but O’Conner was appointed in 1981 and the GOP had the Senate for the first six years of the Reagan administration.

                      I also left off Roberts who is very suspect given to save Obamacare a second time he reversed his philosophical justification from the first time (from it isn’t the Court’s job to save the country from a stupid law by Congress to the Court has to believe Congress didn’t mean to be this stupid) but it’s still early. He is also the product of a GOP Senate.

                      Y’all need to do your battlespace analysis better when you knock the GOP — they’ve admittedly done less than they could have, but what they could have done is nowhere near so much as critics imagine.

                      It is as much what they’ve done as haven’t done. They weren’t forced into Medicare Part D by a Democrat majority…in fact they had to ram it through over their own members in the House. They weren’t forced into NCLB.

                      The ImEx Bank expired twice in as many years and the GOP establishment made common cause with the Democrats to reinstate it. That was a freebie for the establishment to get more small government voters to think we might get to kick the football this time. They just had to not act. That was too hard. It was easier for them to make common cause with Democrats than just let something expire, twice, in order to throw a crumb to the base.

                      If they cannot successfully not act to shrink government and not act to not expand it I have a hard time accepting “but we need to compromise”. At some point the compromises turn into a fight about the speed of getting to socialism instead of choosing a different destination.

                      That’s before we even get into a “just how much of a diaster was the last government shutdown for the GOP” in terms of the next election discussion. It seems their fear of the press in a government shutdown saying mean things is greater than their concern on how many seats they have. Unless you’d like to convince me they’d have even bigger majorities without the 2013 shutdown which, given we’re at 1928 levels, is a pretty hard sell.

                      Based on the Congress numbers 2016 is the last chance. They can claim getting to their 1928 numbers under Obama’s second term is like the Dem gains in 1930 but then they’d need to delivery a small government 2017 answer to the 1933 New Deal if they win the White House.

                      How much you want to bet on a 100 Days even 1/10th as creative.

                    23. In 1981 the GOP had control of the Senate for the first time in thirteen congresses — and that control was a mere three seats, including Al D’Amato, Richard Lugar, Chuck Percy, Warren Rudman, Arlen Specter, and Lowell Weicker. Not a single Republican senator had ever been in the Senate majority; they were still getting routinely rolled by the Dems.

                      Moreover, O’Conner was not an “ignore the Constitution” Justice. Given that Reagan had made a campaign pledge to nominate a woman to the Court. Given that she was appointed by a vote of 99-0 I think we can make a few allowances for the Gipper on this one.

                      In nine of her first sixteen years on the Court, O’Connor voted with Rehnquist more than with any other justice, (per Wiki) concurring with him in more than 90% of decisions for several of those years. in contentious 5–4 decisions: from 1994 to 2004, she joined the traditional conservative bloc of Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and Thomas 82 times; she joined the liberal bloc of John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer only 28 times.

                      Analysis finds her a strong defender of Fourth Amendment restrictions on government search power, and in racial cases generally voted “against the Minority” litigant.

                      Conservative critics said of her:
                      The Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, for instance, described her as lacking a judicial philosophy and instead displaying “political positioning embedded in a social agenda”. Another conservative commentator, Ramesh Ponnuru, wrote that, although O’Connor “has voted reasonably well”, her tendency to issue very case-specific rulings “undermines the predictability of the law and aggrandizes the judicial role”.

                      Given what we have seen from Breyer, Kagan, Sotomayor and Ruth Buzzard Ginsburg, if the worst we see from a Republican president is another Sandra Day O’Connor the nation’s foundations will not tremble.

                    24. If Trump is the nominee, 2016 will be the last year that the GOP is a major party. The conservatives will move to the Constitution Party or maybe the Libertarian Party.

                    25. If Trump is the nominee, the GOP deserves to end as a major party. If Hillary wins it will be the last year that the GOP is a major party.

                    26. So which is worse, sending a piddling amount of money, or pulling a Vichy / Ryan special by passing the latest omnibus with everything Obama /. Chuckie / Pelosi wanted? Which lasts longer?

                  1. Yeah, Rev. Franklin Graham gave me something to chew over the other day in regards to the omnibus spending bill in particular.

                    1. The omnibus is the first thing to give me pause on my “vote GOP to run out the clock” theory of voting. They seem to want to speed up in the race to the cliff instead of maintaining a constant speed at this point. Their delta-v may not be as high as the Dems but it might break the run out the clock idea.

                    2. While I concur in condemnation of the omnibuster bill I feel called to remind that the reason this passed as it did was the demands for conservative purity — demands which cost them all negotiating leverage and threw the fiscal ball to Nancy Pelosi. While it may be true that the RINOs prefer to dance Pelosi’s polka, the abandonment of negotiations by the conservatives left them unburdened by any need to even pretend to demur. The conservative refusal to settle for three-quarters of a loaf left them without even crumbs.

                    3. @Res: Horsesh*t

                      The reason it passed is the GOP telegraphed two years ago that it wouldn’t shutdown the government over a single thing so all the Dems had to do was threaten to filibuster (in the Senate) or veto (at the White House) any bill containing a single thing they didn’t want.

                      The GOP fears another disaster like 2014 was after Cruz filibustered long enough to shutdown the government for, what, a week?

                      Demands for conservative purity? Like what: not reinstating the ExIm bank? Not granting money specifically to PP instead of block granting to the states? Specifically not funding executive granting of work permits to those it admits entered the US illegally but declined to prosecute?

                      If that’s conservative purity that is just plain unacceptable why do we have a GOP?

                    4. You confuse losing a battle for losing a war. Boehner was unable to form a Republican majority behind a bill which would be able to get through the Senate because conservatives demanded more than could be gotten. Had they demanded less they might have gotten more — negotiations are funny that way.

                      But it remains but one bill, one year’s financing, passed through in the face of a Democrat party eager to once again shut down the government and (with aid from the party’s propaganda wing, aka the MSM) blame conservatives for it. The trendline is still moving to the Right, with significant conservative gains throughout the states. As a long-time baseball fan I have learned that it takes time as well as smarts to rebuild a losing team … and a bit of luck, as well. Trying to move too quickly, to rush the process, can bring defeat even greater than moving too cautiously. A few more cycles of effective primary challenges from candidates accustomed to being on the winning side in state legislatures and we should see a turnaround of the Congressional Republicans.

                      To paraphrase Rumsfeld, you go to caucus with the party you have, not the party you might want or wish to have at a later time. Abandoning the GOP will leave you without any party.

                    5. But it remains but one bill, one year’s financing, passed through in the face of a Democrat party eager to once again shut down the government and (with aid from the party’s propaganda wing, aka the MSM) blame conservatives for it.

                      How many battles do you have to lose to win a war?

                      What Democrat filibuster forced Medicare Part D or NCLB? How did the election of the 40th vote against Obamacare in Senator Brown (whose campaign I gave money and the only reason I didn’t work it was I lived in Texas) turn out to be meaningless but the Democrat filibuster is unavoidable? For that matter how did the GOP filibuster of packing the 1st Circuit turn out to be meaningless while the budget filibuster, which has a filibuster avoidance process, was unavoidable?

                      In isolation your argument has merit, I don’t live in isolation. I live in 27 years of voting GOP while hearing a constant set of excuses: “we don’t have Congress”, “we don’t have the White House”, “we don’t have the Senate”, “we don’t have a veto proof majority”, etc, etc, etc. Yet the Democrats never seem to lack a damn thing in terms of continually expanding government, increasing dependence, excusing law breaking, and micromanaging more and more of our lives.

                      The GOP doesn’t pass conservative bills because, in the end, they don’t want to do so. People in favor of small government need to accept that the GOP is not a vehicle for small government and probably will not be in my lifetime.

                      I still vote GOP because I’m betting the “it’s just a little mint” Big Government party won’t force a crisis before my death while the openly Big Government part will. However, I do it with my eyes open. I know I’m not changing the coming crisis just punting it.

                      A few more cycles of effective primary challenges from candidates accustomed to being on the winning side in state legislatures and we should see a turnaround of the Congressional Republicans.

                      You have more faith than I do. The GOP has held the House all but four of the past 21 years and only in the first two years did they seriously push reform. For all his flaws Gingrich drove conservative reforms through and the party could not wait to get rid of him (which was reiterated when Romney attacked him in 2012 to a degree he and McCain combined didn’t attack Obama). When the GOP held all the cards they governed as early-60s Democrats (expanding Medicare, federalizing a state responsibility) more than anything else.

                      To paraphrase Rumsfeld, you go to caucus with the party you have, not the party you might want or wish to have at a later time. Abandoning the GOP will leave you without any party.

                      I don’t have one now…I have people who have gotten time and money under false pretences. Now they just get my vote that way.

                      Also, explain to me why I should be loyal when the party’s elite, through William Kristol, is already outlining their independent Presidential run if Trump (who I do not support, btw) gets the nomination.

                      That shows me what they really value, the status quo, as much if not more than the Omnibus vote and how little that Omnibus vote was “forced” on them by conservatives.

                    6. How many battles do you have to lose to win a war?

                      Wrong formulation — but as George Washington and the North Vietnamese proved, you can lose damn near all of them and still prevail.

                    7. Interesting pair of comparisons:

                      1. Who are the analogues of France and Spain who will turn it into the wider polical war which will force the GOP Progressives to surrender and flee to Nova Scotia (for a Washington analog)


                      2. Who are the GOP money men who will cut off funding allowing the small government types to overwhelm the remaining GOP Progressives (the NVA conquiering South Vietnam analog…remember, with US backing a similar offensive to 1975 failed in 1972).

                      I find it easier to think a better “losing all the battles” analog for small government in the GOP is Mexico during the war with the US. A will trained and equipped group of privates let by self-serving imcompotent officers more interested in their own power and money than in successfully fighting the war (I’m hard pressed to think of a group of soldiers who deserved better offices than the Mexican Army in the 1840s). The troops fought well but in the end the officers didn’t really care about winning.

            1. I repurposed a Y2K (this could be a little before your time) countdown clock with a new home-printed background sticker. The clock was reprogrammable to any date consistent with its chock chip, so I merely entered “January 20th, 2017”.

          1. I would bet you a pound of Parker’s barbeque against a pound of lobster tails that the answer would remain in the negative, but kobolds *are* giant class creatures–that was the last thing I bet on, and I think I had read the Manual at that point (class being the operative would moreso than giant therein)–and I lost.

    2. I am probably among the many who military vets that were surprised that Bergdahl is facing a General Court Martial at all.


      It’s rather…reassuring.

  3. I was shocked to hell when I found out that Bergdahl was to face a general court martial. But being a cynic, I also understand that the optics of a slap on the wrist at a time when the country is in… a mood… would not have played well. Now, General Abrams of Forces Command made the decision to refer to a general court martial, so it’s not up to the administration. That said, I would have expected some pressure from up above. It didn’t happen. Know why? Because that traitorous sack of swine entrails is guilty. He’s guilty of desertion. He’s guilty of misbehavior before the enemy. He made pals with the Taliban and showed them how best to murder his fellow Americans. He’s scum.

    I wrote about it a few days ago (, but I didn’t realize the lefty snivelers were already shrieking. Glad this post addressed at least one of them.

      1. … “like” button not available…

        If you’re signed in to WordPress, you should have a black bar across the top of the page. In the upper-left corner, you should see “Reader”. Click on that to go into Reader mode, in which all of your “followed sites” will display headlines of their most recent posts. Click on the title of this post, and you should get a URL like — and if you scroll down, “Like” buttons will become available for each comment.

        Hope this helps!

        1. Unfortunately, I can’t use the reader from this system. 😦 I have to go to each page independently. The only time I can “like” a comment is when someone responds to me. Such is life. -shrug-

          1. Nor does it make public your having liked a comment. It remains a secret between you and the one you liked.

            1. It remains a secret between you and the one you liked.

              Sounds like my junior high school years. Though in retrospect I doubt it was all that secret.

        2. Doesn’t work. I get a screen with all my “followed sites” on it, but that screen has no title, and no links to URLs that look like the one you posted. Firefox 43.0.3 on Windows 10, if that makes any difference.

          1. Dunno what’s wrong. What happens if you click on the “Manage” link next to “Followed Sites”? And/or click on the name of one of those sites? I’d expect when you click on the According to Hoyt link in your followed-sites list, it would show you a bunch of posts. But what happens when you do it?

  4. “We think he deserves to be hung by the neck until dead, in accordance with the Uniform Code of military justice as pertains to Article 85 c. desertion in the face of the enemy.”

    I may be a civie, but Dad was USAF Major, so I grasp some of the base (no pun intended) concepts. So I agree, except I’d opt for a firing squad.

    1. You might want to opt for firing squad, but hanging is the historical punishment. It’s why Nathan Hale was refused a firing squad by the British and hung. The offense deserves hanging.

  5. I believe he should get a choice – hemp or lead. I’m generous that way.

    As for the promotions in absentia – I believe that had been a standard practice for quite some time for our long-term prisoners of war. Not that I approve of it, especially for the promotion to Sergeant without a board.

    1. As a Navy vet I’m all in favor of bringing back keel hauling including the “if you survive it that’s the end of it” rule.

      Of course, nothing smaller than a Nimitz class and nothing out of dry dock less than six months should be used.

      1. Not a Navy guy, shouldn’t get a Navy punishment. Y’all have your own problem children to deal with.

        Personally, I like the idea of bringing back a fine tradition of the old, old days: The native American version of the gauntlet. Not the civilized one where the garrison lined up and used willow switches on the subject, as he was walked out of the garrison, but the one where the tribe lined up with clubs and beat the SOB to death instead. I’d simply put Mr. Bergdahl in the middle of the parade ground on whatever installation he’s held in, after setting a date and inviting any of the men who were there in Afghanistan and who had to try to find his sorry ass after he went over to the enemy, and let them deal with him as they see fit. I’d probably also open it up to the next of kin for any who died while on missions seeking him. Let the troops decide, in other words. Commemorative baseball bats to be on sale at the PX…

        Assuming Bergdahl lives to make it to the front gate, that’s the end of his punishment. Also, the end of his military benefits. He can pay for the hospital stay himself, if he needs one.

        1. William Lehman here, Not the Navy’s punishment, the method of death required IAW the UCMJ and manual Courts-Martial. (my Brig was “purple” we had prisoners from all branches, my XO was army.

          See, I’m not a vindictive sort, I don’t believe in torture (unless you have vital information ala “24”) as a form of punishment, and causing excessive pain on the way to death is torture. Now caning as punishment, with the intent of causing pain but not permanent injury, is a different thing, but I don’t torture a mad dog, I just shoot it.

          If he is found guilty of desertion in the face, and given the death penalty, IAW the above references, he will be sent to USDB Ft. Levenworth, where he will go through mandatory appeals, to include an appeal to the SCoUS who has final say on military death penalties. If they don’t act, he will be hung at the permanent gallows that is installed, and hasn’t been used since (I think) Vietnam. They will have to find a hangman, as the one guy they used retired in the early 90s.

          That’s good enough for me.

          1. They moved to a new facility a few years ago. The elevator shaft used for hangings is no longer available. Not sure what they would do now – they’re supposed to have gone to lethal injection, but seeing as the FDA has back door outlawed that by outlawing every drug used for that purpose, that’s up in the air, so to speak.
            (Yes, that’s over simplified.)

        2. If we were to do it that way, we shouldn’t just include the next-of-kin of the deceased; all of the deceased’s once-removed relatives – spouses, parents, children, and siblings – should be eligible.

      2. Just a bit of information I’m sure many here know, but some might not. Most people I know think keelhauling goes from side to side. It didn’t. It’s fore to aft. Likely to drown along the way while being cut to pieces.

    2. I’m going to go out on a limb here and speculate that promotion to sergeant is provisional, subject to board confirmation (a confirmation likely routine for most such qualificants.) That way time in service, time in grade (and back pay) get enhanced as a de minimis compensation for POWs.

      I am also going to speculate that few held as POWs for any length of time are allowed to continue in service beyond the time of their enlistment. (I leave my reasoning as an exercise for the reader.)

      1. Nope. I knew some AF pilots that made their 20. They never made it very high and never got command positions. My impression was that it was due to their missing out on the schooling and experience while being held prisoner. Functionally, they operated a grade or two below their peers.

  6. It was – and it always has, among the military bloggers that I read and follow, common knowledge that Bergdahl was a flaky soldier, who vanished from his post under suspicious circumstances which suggested deserting and going over to the enemy. Good soldiers were killed in the search for him, too — which adds insult to the injury of him being treated like an honorable POW by this Administration.
    I’m glad the Army higher-ups recovered their guts and brought charges,

  7. From the background facts of the case that I’ve heard, I’m convinced that Bergdahl was trying to pull off a Dan Choi, which is where you enlist/get commissioned with the sole purpose of making waves and discrediting the service.

    Frankly, he should have been left in the hands of the Taliban. Exchanging him for notorious leaders of that organization? Not only a bad bargain, but positively insulting to the men who died to put those men in custody in the first place. With the rate of recidivism, and the number of former detainees now running things in both ISIS/ISIL, we should have simply held a tribunal, brought up the violations of the Law of War that the detainees manifestly broke, and then hung them. Instead, we traded them away, and got Bergdahl back. Every one of the people those creatures kill in the future should be charged as murders against the men and women who made that happen, from Valerie Jarrett on down. I’d leave the sainted Obama out, because he’s obviously not running his own administration. He’s complete figurehead, simply out there in front for everyone to look at. The vacant space he’s been occupying for the last seven years only goes to prove that point.

    The biggest thing to look at with a president isn’t who they are, or what they propose to do. It is, instead, who they intend to do it with, and who they’re going to be bringing into government with them. My biggest objection to the current system we have going is that you never really know who the hell these people are, until the chosen figurehead is elected–And, then you find out. I want to see the names and backgrounds of the people they propose to put in charge of things like Defense, and the DOEs. Hell, if Trump were to come out and name his staff, as well as what his goals for the agencies are, I might even vote for him. Otherwise, this time around? I think it’s gonna be Mickey Mouse. God knows a cartoon character would be better than what I’m seeing so far in either party…

    1. and lets not forget all the fucking “czars” which don’t even get advise and consent…

  8. Bergdahl was never anything more than a pawn, an excuse for der Leader to negotiate with terrorists in violation of set national policy all in aid of his goal to reduce the number of prisoners held at Gitmo and ultimately to close the base. What little I can tell, Mr. Obama doesn’t just want to close the prison there, what he really wants is to turn the base over to the Cubans.
    His actions over the seven years so far of his reign have most consistently been to diminish American exceptionalism both at home and in the world, to bring the US down more on par with all those other countries that he considers our equals if not our betters.
    That Bergdahl will be seeing a court is a triumph of the UCMJ over even this rouge executive branch we find ourselves inflicted with.

            1. But Pravda is well read, as well, and can afterwards be used as packing material (or toilet paper) in a crunch. Obama lacks that additional utility.

  9. As a currently serving staff NCO, and as a Bronze Star-decorated combat veteran, I endorse this article.

  10. As an Army veteran, though only a cold warrior, I find nothing but truth in the article, nor in the comments by the veterans who have weighed in on the subject.

  11. As a extreme partisan Republican who was never in the military and never saw combat, I have no need to use the Bergdahl matter as a political tool against the president.

    1. I have a wealth of material to use against the President. If I cannot persuade someone with a tenth of it, I am never going to persuade them.
    2. I have a greater need for material to use against Hillary. Bergdahl might be entirely worthless for that. Certainly the matter’s utility is dwarfed by Benghazi, her personality, and her endorsement of rape.
    3. The remaining fights against Obama are at most a) a mere year of policy battles b) Obama attempting mass murder or a coup c) the historical record. Bergdahl’s utility in these are a) little b) nil c) one of fifty things that speaks to a pattern of behavior.

    Policy wise, our best bet is solid candidates in 2016, and then being able to show improvement in jobs and the economy. Possibly we need to primary Paul Ryan.

    History wise, either we will be able to show clear improvement, or the historical record will not be the most pressing issue. If I had to write an attack on Obama for the historical record using just one matter, I’d happily use Thermodynamics.

    As for Bergdahl, I also have the impression that the exchange was more about attempting to shut down Gitmo for good than anything else. I’d also wonder if Bergdahl’s promotions while captive had anything to do with undue command influence for the sake of a more impressive token to exchange.

  12. I have no opinion on what Sgt Bergdahl may or may not be guilty of, having not followed the story, but the entire purpose of a trial is to find out. If he’s innocent, he deserves a fast trial. If he’s guilty, the same. How does a journalist in this country not understand that? That should be known by all Americans by age seven.
    We need to shut down the entire public education system. All of it. And start over with something else.

    1. Bergdahl was in the military overseas. He ended up in enemy custody. His last known position while he was obeying orders was apparently such that it is implausible his actions played no role in his ending up in enemy custody. Soldiers were killed trying to retrieve Bergdahl.

      Obama used his authority to have five mass murderers released from Gitmo in exchange for Bergdahl. He also claimed Bergdahl was praiseworthy. Rumor holds that the Bergdahl exchange preempted a deal in the works to release one mass murderer in exchange for Bergdahl and several others.

      The general suspicion, with some evidence, is that Bergdahl was deliberately trying to give himself to the enemy as a hostage. Like those two European women. In military eyes this is an especially heinous act, akin to how you see child molestation.

      I’d note that civilian law and justice differ from military law and justice. The default is to opt out of a trial, and accept administrative or summary judgement. If you are guilty, trying to get a trial is often a mistake. If Bergdahl is tried by a panel of officers, he is going to be punished more heavily than he would administratively. He can opt for a panel of NCOs. They would punish him even more heavily than the officers.

  13. What grade of sergeant was Bergdahl? I ask because, not to denigrate sergeants, E-5, ‘buck sergeant’, is the last rank you can achieve (or was when I was in) without having to take the Basic NCO qualification course. So Bergdahl’s sergeant rank _may_ not have been (I knew too many competent E-5’s) an indication of any particular quality.

  14. [Crisp] goes on to claim that Bergdahl’s most outspoken critics have never served in the military, much less in combat, and therefore are not qualified to judge him

    By this argument Crisp denounces the vast majority of Vietnam-era anti-war protesters who called our troops “baby-killers” and similarly trite calumnies. Crisp also disqualifies himself from comment, as one presumes his C.V. would list military service had he any to claim. Further, he implicitly attacks the principle of civilian control over the military — all in an attempt to sneak through his effort to use Bergdahl as a political tool to defend the President.

    As others here have observed, Bergdahl’s guilt or innocence is not relevant to criticism of the president’s conduct in this matter. Clearly the administration used Bergdahl as a tool to free five dangerous inmates from Gitmo. Clearly the administration attempted to suppress and override all judicial procedures required to determine whether Bergdahl is guilty or innocent. Clearly the administration (and Crisp) seek to avoid holding Bergdahl responsible (or exonerating him as lacking capacity for such responsibility) for his actions, a determination to be made by precisely those persons Crisp says have that right — military combat veterans.

    Crisp would leave Bergdahl only the legacy of victim, of incompetent, of unanswered questions. Perhaps because Crisp suspects quite readily what would be those answers.

      1. That’s not mine, either.

        The Three-Decker

        “The three-volume novel is extinct.”

        Full thirty foot she towered from waterline to rail.
        It cost a watch to steer her, and a week to shorten sail;
        But, spite all modern notions, I found her first and best—
        The only certain packet for the Islands of the Blest.

        Fair held the breeze behind us—’twas warm with lovers’ prayers.
        We’d stolen wills for ballast and a crew of missing heirs.
        They shipped as Able Bastards till the Wicked Nurse confessed,
        And they worked the old three-decker to the Islands of the Blest.

        By ways no gaze could follow, a course unspoiled of Cook,
        Per Fancy, fleetest in man, our titled berths we took
        With maids of matchless beauty and parentage unguessed,
        And a Church of England parson for the Islands of the Blest.

        We asked no social questions—we pumped no hidden shame—
        We never talked obstetrics when the Little Stranger came:
        We left the Lord in Heaven, we left the fiends in Hell.
        We weren’t exactly Yussufs, but—Zuleika didn’t tell.

        No moral doubt assailed us, so when the port we neared,
        The villain had his flogging at the gangway, and we cheered.
        ’Twas fiddle in the forc’s’le—’twas garlands on the mast,
        For every one got married, and I went ashore at last.

        I left ’em all in couples a-kissing on the decks.
        I left the lovers loving and the parents signing cheques.
        In endless English comfort by county-folk caressed,
        I left the old three-decker at the Islands of the Blest!

        That route is barred to steamers: you’ll never lift again
        Our purple-painted headlands or the lordly keeps of Spain.
        They’re just beyond your skyline, howe’er so far you cruise
        In a ram-you-damn-you liner with a brace of bucking screws.

        Swing round your aching search-light—’twill show no haven’s peace.
        Ay, blow your shrieking sirens to the deaf, gray-bearded seas!
        Boom out the dripping oil-bags to skin the deep’s unrest—
        And you aren’t one knot the nearer to the Islands of the Blest!

        But when you’re threshing, crippled, with broken bridge and rail,
        At a drogue of dead convictions to hold you head to gale,
        Calm as the Flying Dutchman, from truck to taffrail dressed,
        You’ll see the old three-decker for the Islands of the Blest.

        You’ll see her tiering canvas in sheeted silver spread;
        You’ll hear the long-drawn thunder ’neath her leaping figure-head;
        While far, so far above you, her tall poop-lanterns shine
        Unvexed by wind or weather like the candles round a shrine!

        Hull down—hull down and under—she dwindles to a speck,
        With noise of pleasant music and dancing on her deck.
        All’s well—all’s well aboard her—she’s left you far behind,
        With a scent of old-world roses through the fog that ties you blind.

        Her crew are babes or madmen? Her port is all to make?
        You’re manned by Truth and Science, and you steam for steaming’s sake?
        Well, tinker up your engines—you know your business best—
        She’s taking tired people to the Islands of the Blest!

        ― Rudyard Kipling

      2. Just one? “The Recessional,” or “Tomlinson,” or “Bridge Guard at the Karoo,” or “The Cat who Walked by Himself” (OK, so it’s a short story), or “Puck’s Song,” or “The Way through the Woods” or . . .

        1. cold iron, the little people, the Brinkinhead drill, several on submarines, and destroyers, etc etal

    1. And his General Summary holds up remarkably well.

      Thus, the artless songs I sing
      Do not deal with anything
      New or never said before.
      As it was in the beginning
      Is to-day official sinning,
      And shall be for evermore!

      1. The Betrothed is excellent advice to any young man.

        A million surplus Maggies are willing to bear the yoke;
        And a woman is only a woman, but a good Cigar is a Smoke.

        Light me another Cuba – I hold to my first-sworn vows.
        If Maggie will have no rival, I’ll have no Maggie for Spouse!

    2. Near half a lifetime ago, Sons of Martha, Hymn of Breaking Strain, and Sappers were an enormous influence.

      These days I am reminded of Danegeld and The Dykes.

      Just remembering The Secret of the Machines makes me notice how dusty it is in here.

    3. I read “The White Man’s Burden’ to my troops to explain to them the overall situation when we were in Iraq. It worked better than anything else I found.

            1. Humbert Wolfe said: “You cannot hope to bribe or twist (thank God!) the British journalist. But, seeing what the man will do unbribed, there’s no occasion to.”

              Applies double to the American version.

          1. The MSM was and is the enemy, but the GOPe has betrayed us. The broken ballot box leers at us and snickers “revowel me”. And that is definitely going to sting.

    1. We (our nation, not us here personally) elected Obama. We then re-elected him. But I would have thought 8 years of Obama as President would have been punishment enough!

              Tuesday 1 March 2016: Precinct Caucuses meet in each precinct at 7p MST to choose delegates to the County Assemblies and District Conventions. Caucuses last about 1.5 hours. There are 2,917 precincts.

              There is no formal system applied in the Precinct Caucus to relate the presidential preference of the participants to the choice of the precinct’s delegates to the Colorado County Assemblies and District Conventions; (NOTE: It is the District Conventions and the State Convention that will actually elect Republican National Convention delegates to presidential contenders).

        1. From your mouth to God’s ear…

          I felt similarly about Obama, back in 2008. I didn’t like McCain, one damn bit, but was willing to hold my nose to vote for him.

          What I want to know is why so many of us are willing to let these political machines that aren’t even in the Constitution go about running these clown shows for the Presidency. I used to be a Republican, simply out of opposition to the Democrats and what they stand for–I hold no particular brief for the Republicans, or what they’ve done, I’ve simply seen them as the lesser of two evils. After the Omnibus? Yeah, right–They’re part of the problem. A major part of it. Ryan has been a huge disappointment–I wonder just how much his former positions and legislation were meant to simply be window-dressing for the rubes.

          I don’t like any of the products currently on offer. Cruz is the least bad, but I’m not certain he’s going to be able to get the nomination, let alone win against Hillary. I’d still like someone else, period.

          This election is going to be a huge cluster-fark, I think. It would not surprise me a bit for the Republicans to get down to the wire and go “Oh, f**k… We can’t run him… OK, who can we pull out of our ass that might stand a chance…?”, and then have the convention nominate someone out of the blue as a compromise. No idea who that might be–We’re suffering a serious dearth of Reagans waiting on the sidelines.

          I don’t know about Trump, at all. I can’t make my mind up whether or not he’s the stalking horse H. Ross Perot for the 2016 election, a white knight, or the next Huey Long. Closet fascist? Outright fascist? No idea, at all–But, I think that if he does win, the man’s going to be standing there with a stupefied look on his face, going “Now what…?”. I can’t take him as a serious candidate, and I half-way suspect that he’s only in the race because Bill Clinton suggested he run…

          1. This hope is why Bush is still in the race. And Rubio. And even Huckabee. None of whom I like any better than Trump.

            I’d prefer Paul, but even he compromises too much.

      1. I figure Cruz will make a good President. As evidence, I offer the fact that I’ve heard leftists express fear of him being able to get elected and then accomplish something in office. 🙂

    2. We have held neither party to account for their actions for so long that their leaderships have become openly cynical and the base of one so angry that they are willing to use fire to purify themselves.

      Something I had considered posting to the collapse post but given I read it a day late on my vacation applies somewhat here.

      You can make a reasonable argument that the short term (say 1-3 years) after the October Revolution was an improvement for many in at least the European parts of Russia or at least, was a non-event in terms of quality of day to day life. The same is true of the French Revolution. Yes, both utopian dreams ended in mass murder, grinding poverty (although in both nations grinding poverty was a common condition prior), and dictatorship.

      However, once things get bad enough people are willing to roll the dice on those first few years lasting. The fire can’t be any worse than the status quo and might just be better is the feeling.

      Trump is an early warning that a significant number of voters in one party are starting to have that feeling. That the GOP passed the Omnibus bill they did, when they did, is only adding to it.

      Trump is the symptom and I rarely see people opposing him even bothering to diagnosis the disease much less treat it. That will not end well.

    3. Trump’s popularity is very simple. He is an American first and foremost, and he is willing to speak his mind and speak the truth. These simple things have been so lacking for so long, that they feel like a drink of cool water in the desert.

      Trump is running on a populism platform. For good or ill, it seems to be working, and will be an improvement. Our Nation and our Constitution have survived presidents good, bad, and indifferent, smart and stupid, active and passive, sane and otherwise. We have truly foundered under the current office holder, the first actively hostile to the Nation and the Constitution.

      1. It will not be an improvement. If you think Obama is a megalomaniac, you won’t believe your eyes with Trump. Constitution? What’s that? He’s already said he wants single payer healthcare.

        1. If Trump is elected as a Republican, though, the media will actually do it’s job, meaning members of Congress will be pressured to do THEIR jobs and (hopefully) restore checks and balances.

          That won’t happen under a Democrat.

          1. Which is PRECISELY what will finish off the GOPe in this country and probably start the civil war. We’ve been told since 2010 by the GOPe (and some of their apologists on this blog) that they didn’t have the power or couldn’t use it to rein in Obama because divided government or some other nonsense. So when Trump or Cruz takes office and uses any of Obama’s methods to undo the damage he’s done, suddenly the Congress regains its’ ability to act? That will reveal the scam for what it is, in a way impossible to deny; that the GOPe is going to ignore the will of the people as long as their trough remains filled, and that there is no point in relying on legal or peaceable means to change it.

      2. I’d put it another way: Trump is not afraid of the media, All the other candidates* constantly speak and act in a mode of abject terror of the media covering their campaigns. Trump does not. I’d say a major part of Trumps’ draw is his “I am not afraid of you rat bastards” demeanor. The fact that’s he’s a spoiled platinum-spoon rich kid who never really had to do anything but spend yuuuuge amounts of the family money non-insanely is the rest of his qualifications, so no. Putin would wear Trump like a cheap suit.

        * Except Cruz to some extent – you don’t see anyone else, even Trump, challenging the media on their BS at the debates like Cruz did, and even though he striked me as overly salesmanly, Cruz is the one that’s “not as crazy as Trump, but not afraid of the MSM-pack either.” I personally like Carly Fiorina, but I don’t think she’s really in the running for the top slot anymore. And in spite of the immigration stuff in his past, Rubio would be fine if conventional. The rest of them are media-frightened PC rabbit nothings.

        1. If you can’t trust Trump because of past positions versus current ones how can you trust Rubio.

          He ran on “no amnesty” and not only changed but made getting amnesty through his only legislative priority as a Senator. It’s not just “I was against X before I was for X” it’s “I was against X but now getting X is all I care about doing”.

          I’d say a major part of Trumps’ draw is his “I am not afraid of you rat bastards” demeanor.

          Yep…that and the fact he used it to talk about immigration…if he’d choosen another issue I doubt it would have as much traction.

          1. I don’t trust Rubio (he’s a politician and his mouth is moving). I just think he would not be as bad as either Trump or The Dowager Empress of Chappaqua.

            1. I’m on record as saying I’ll vote GOP whoever the nominee from Bush to Trump. That said, if we get Rubio when we get Amnesty 2: The Wraith of Montazuma, no pretense of border control ,and then around 2022 Amnesty 3: The Search for Votes I’ll just shrug my shoulders and say, “well, we voted for it”.

            2. very much this. Rubio would be much like a redo of GWB in a lot of ways, and while there be much ‘not good’, there be tons better than what we have, could have (Hill or Trump) or what we likely won’t get (Jeb, Bernie the Commie, Santorum, Whathisname the other Dem who isn’t Grahmnesty … oh, wait Grahm is supposedly a Repub)

        2. This is wrong. Cruz took the media on in the debates and showed it for a clown car, where Trump was willing to let it destroy anyone else. This is when I became a Cruz girl.

          1. I think we agree – Trump is an ass who is tapping into the distrust and dislike of teh MSM by not being afraid, but would be a disaster in office. Cruz is the only one who stood up to the debate clowns and illuminated their car, and would be the best of the lot in office if he can get there. I far prefer Cruz to Trump, but I think a couple of the others on the GOP offering would also be better than Trump or The Dowager Empress Robot.

            Not Jeb, though – nor will I ever vote for Chelsea when she inevitably runs. Too many political dynasties and hereditary seats already in Governor’s houses (Jerry Brown I’m looking at you) and in the Senate – we don’t need them in the WH as well.

      1. I’m to the point of learning how to register myself as a write-in candidate and then announce on Facebook.

        No, no /sarc tag because it isn’t.

        1. I heard Cthulhu was going to drop out and be replaced by Beelzebub. Still, a SMoD/Beelzebub ticket has a lot going for it in this race as it currently stands.

            1. Before I vote Cthulhu I need to see his long-form birth certificate. Americans shouldn’t make the same mistake twice.

              1. Proof of residence before the cut-off date might work too — to be sure, there are few who can claim it, but the Constitution did say that if you moved here before we were a country, you’re native born.

    4. I am so grateful for this blog during the upcoming election. My nearest and dearest hate discussing politics with the exception of my leftwing brother, who is a Sanders supporter. I can’t discuss politics with him because the yelling upsets my mother.

    5. I too know and love so much of Kipling’s poetry that it’s impossible to pick a favorite, but here’s one that’s less familiar:

      Eyes aloft, over dangerous places,
      The children follow the butterflies,
      And, in the sweat of their upturned faces,
      Slash with a net at the empty skies.

      So it goes they fall amid brambles,
      And sting their toes on the nettle-tops,
      Till, after a thousand scratches and scrambles,
      They wipe their brows and the hunting stops.

      Then to quiet them comes their father
      And stills the riot of pain and grief,
      Saying, “Little ones, go and gather
      Out of my garden a cabbage-leaf.

      “You will find on it whorls and clots of
      Dull grey eggs that, properly fed,
      Turn, by way of the worm, to lots of
      Glorious butterflies raised from the dead.” . . .

      “Heaven is beautiful, Earth is ugly,”
      The three-dimensioned preacher saith;
      So we must not look where the snail and the slug lie
      For Psyche’s birth. . . . And that is our death!

  15. Agreed– I got a chance to escort prisoners to the brig near Pensacola, Florida. It was an experience and a half– never want to do it again. Most of the men on that bus were scary. And these weren’t the hardened ones–

      1. I had an aquaintance who was a female prison guard. She said her required rotation at the state’s women’s prison was the worst (CT only has one) in no small part because of how nasty the women were for in processing. I made the mistake of asking what she meant…ugh doesn’t start to cover it.

    1. I almost had to fly a federal civilian prisoner, one of the Cuban nuts, from Missouri to South Dakota. The captain who took the flight had the marshals leave the cabin door latched but unlocked, in case the guy’s meds wore off in mid-air.

  16. “…he was a sergeant for Pete’s sake. (that is a Non Commissioned Officer, a guy in charge of other guys) So he had to have had something on the ball. He wasn’t the hopeless psycho you paint him to be, or he would never have made Sgt…”

    Umm, no. Bowe Bergdahl was a Private First Class when he left his post on June 30, 2009. He was promoted in absentia to Specialist on June 19, 2010, and to Sergeant on June 17, 2011.

    1. Seriously? Keith, for Gods’ sake read the comments, at least the first one, before you churn up ground that’s already been more than thoroughly covered. In fact that ground is as churned up as no man’s land in Flanders for pete’s sake. Yes, he was promoted in absentia. And still, he had a fairly stellar record for the two years prior to that, good evals etc, and evidence seems to indicate he had planned to defect, this wasn’t a spur of the moment thing… the post stands, and once again miea Copa for not digging further than the court-martial documents to see when he got his rank. Good enough?

  17. And, of course, in a completely different vein, there’s the Kipling poem that first taught me the value of prevarication. It’s a little too long to quote in full; if you want the full version, look for “The Shut-Eye Sentry”:

    SEZ the Junior Orderly Sergeant
    To the Senior Orderly Man:
    “Our Orderly Orf’cer’s hokee-mut,
    “You ’elp ’im all you can.
    “For the wine was old and the night is cold,
    “An’ the best we may go wrong,
    “So, ’fore ’e gits to the sentry-box,
    “You pass the word along.”

    So it was “Rounds! What Rounds?” at two of a frosty night,
    ’E’s ’oldin’ on by the sergeant’s sash, but, sentry, shut your eye.
    An’ it was “Pass! All’s well! Oh, ain’t ’e drippin’ tight!
    ’E’ll need an affidavit pretty badly by-an’-by.”

    The moon was white on the barricks,
    The road was white an’ wide,
    An’ the Orderly Orf’cer took it all,
    An’ the ten-foot ditch beside.
    An’ the corporal pulled an’ the sergeant pushed,
    An’ the three they danced along,
    But I’d shut my eyes in the sentry-box,
    So I didn’t see nothin’ wrong….

    There was two-an’-thirty sergeants,
    There was corp’rals forty-one, 50
    There was just nine ’undred rank an’ file
    To swear to a touch o’ sun.
    There was me ’e ’d kissed in the sentry-box,
    As I ’ave not told in my song,
    But I took my oath, which were Bible-truth, 55
    I ’adn’t *seen* nothin’ wrong.

  18. Because this is a (sorta) general comment and the Trump thread has hit the wall so hard its nose is broken, I’m putting this as a start over comment.

    It seems to me there are a couple factors propelling Trump’s candidacy, most notably that — like Grant and unlike his predecessors — Trump fights. When Hillary and her media enablers complain Trump is sexist, he doesn’t back off, he doesn’t shy away; he doubles down and hits harder. Trump opened for debate the question of what is truly sexist — and took the fight to places the Clintons cannot defend.

    This is not the sort of thing Republicans are accustomed to seeing their representatives do. It is refreshing. Perhaps a few other wanna-be leaders might be encouraged.

    Further, thanks to his media presence prior to this race, the single most memorable phrase associated with The Donald is one that government bureaucrats hear far too rarely: “You’re Fired.”

    That is what should have been said to Lois Lerner and her supervisor, to damned near every supervisor at the VA, to any TSA agent found to have sticky fingers and to the NSA staffers who spied on Israel’s conversations with Congressional Republicans — and relayed the info to the White House.

    There are other factors driving his campaign, of course, and there are ample and good reasons to not want him getting the nomination. But whoever does get the nomination will be far stronger for Trump’s campaign and operating in a battlespace much more favorable than it would have been without Trump.

    1. But whoever does get the nomination will be far stronger for Trump’s campaign and operating in a battlespace much more favorable than it would have been without Trump.


      The best possible result of Trump’s campaign will not be his nomination (although those thinking he can’t win better the nomination or the general best be careful they rely on that too much…same thing was said about Obama among others).

      The best possible result is two things.

      The movement of the Overton window on many many issues which is largely in progress.

      The movement of the GOP away from being whipped by the media into being afraid of actually following through on the GOP’s supposed platform.

      There is a huge danger in the second though. At this point I suspect a very large faction of the GOP, especially the leadership/establishment/elite/whatever don’t actually believe in the GOP platform as anything more than what you say to get the rubes to vote for you. They like being in power and it is an open question as to which ones will vote that way (to keep some power even though diminished) and which ones will try to burn the place down on the way out. Bill Kristol is already threatening to support a “real Republican” if Trump gets the nomination. I suspect a backdoor version of that sabotage awaits Cruz. For all the complaining of the GOP conservatives not even Buchannon did that.

      So, in moving the party in the direction some of its strongest base elements want we risk some of the people more interested in power sabotaging anyone moving it in that direction. They will then try to blame the conservative shift and restore the status quo.

      1. They like being in power…

        Actually the folks you are talking about really really like being in office, but prefer being in the minority – they can fundraise better with no responsibilities for governance, and their job of complaining about the majority is much easier than being the majority.

  19. Can’t do it!

    I hope Trump is not the Republican candidate. If he is and is running against Hillary. I can’t vote for her. I will vote for Trump and hope for the best.

    It is a terrible choice, but I have made my pick.

    I still have some small hope the Cruz might beat him. I know Cruz is just as bad for the nuts in charge of the RNC, but he appears to be a more rational man and might turn some of this stuff around.

    Its hard! I can no longer find anyone to vote for and must settle on someone to vote against!

    1. Exactly.

      Despite all the issues I have with Trump, I can see at least a few positive things about him (ie: He hits back. And he’s not afraid to call PC bullsh*t just that.) I think his Supreme Court nominations would be far better then Clinton’s. And I think he’d do his best to try to force the federal apparatchiks to follow his policies, rather than circumvent them.

      Do I like him? No. But I could hold my nose and vote for him. Which I can’t bring myself to do for Clinton. Putting aside her history and positions, we don’t need dynasties – and I’d support an amendment that prevents any close relative – spouse, child, sibling, or in-law (current or former) from running for office for at least 5 election cycles following the end of their relative’s last term.

      Of the current slate of hopefuls, I’d far prefer Cruz. I was very sad when Scott Walker proved unable to make headway. Despite a real problem with his immigration stance I could accpet Rubio. But for both policy and dynastic reasons I’m *very* glad that Bush III has imploded.

  20. I’m coming in way late on this, but I just wanted to comment on this bit:

    “Further, he implies that actual soldiers will sympathize with this dirtbag”

    I know one soldier personally and am casually acquainted with another who served with Bergdahl in Afghanistan and who had to go out looking for his ass after he disappeared, and the above statement is…not the case.

    Oh, boy, is it not the case. Yeah, they aren’t going to be starting a Bowe Bergdahl fan club any time soon.

    1. The soldiers (mostly retired) that I know, well, I have not asked them about Bergdahl. They don’t like to use that kind of language around me and I don’t like watching them turning purple and setting off blood-pressure alarms.

      1. From the currently serving and veterans of my acquaintance, same. Morale was already in the -redacted,- and I think hope of the short drop is all that’s keeping its nose up right now. If he walks with a slap on the wrist, all the water carriers can hope for is that enough folks will have forgotten about his sorry arse by then.

        I don’t see that happening though. Let him have his appeals, sure. But that s.o.b. needs to face the music. With finality.

  21. I sat on one court martial in the service. If that limited experience is any indicator, Bergdahl is truly, madly, deeply screwed.

  22. Whatever happened to shot to death by musketry as a sentence?

    Fascism is a deviation from Marxism; Mussolini was a Socialist all his life. Huey Long was a socialist. Trump, whatever else he may be, is not a socialist.

    1. I think the concern is that Trump may be the kind of Capitalist willing to sell rope to Socialists.

      Of course, at the present moment he is nothing more than the leader in a number of meaningless polls, having yet to have received one single vote for one single delegate. He may eventually be the nominee, but I do not regard the MSM narrative as dispositive. As Power Line notes, a close analysis indicates his support comes largely from outside the GOP.

    2. I’d like to agree with you good sir, but he wants socialism in healthcare.
      Canadian Style Single Payer is nothing but socialism, and even makes capitalism illegal in healthcare. I feel the Kelo style Eminent Domain he loves is rather socialistic too (gov’t takes from you and gives to him so he can do with it as he pleases). waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck …

    1. yeah that assumes a capability for the local fish wrapper that isn’t available, sorry.

      1. No worries.

        I just wanted to compare what he said with what was implied that he said.

        Not much to add that will inspire incandescence rather than incalescence.


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