Military retirees to be screwed by penny pinchers?

Word about a plan to make drastic changes to the military retirement system reached me through the Coastie grapevine. The Army Times has the story:

A sweeping new plan to overhaul the Pentagon’s retirement system would give some benefits to all troops and phase out the 20-year cliff vesting system that has defined military careers for generations.
In a massive change that could affect today’s troops, the plan calls for a corporate-style benefits program that would contribute money to troops’ retirement savings account rather than the promise of a future monthly pension, according to a new proposal from an influential Pentagon advisory board.
All troops would receive the yearly retirement contributions, regardless of whether they stay for 20 years. Those contributions might amount to about 16.5 percent of a member’s annual pay and would be deposited into a mandatory version of the Thrift Savings Plan, the military’s existing 401(k)-style account that now does not include government matching contributions.

The military is a special case, folks. No other organization is constitutionally chartered with a mission that requires bloodshed, maiming, and death. The U.S. Military exists to kill people and break things. If there are any Americans who deserve a decent retirement, it’s those Americans who preserve our society’s very existence by living, working, fighting, bleeding, and dying in the nastiest crapholes of the world.
If the bean-counters in DC want to find savings in the retirement system, they can make their changes to the benefits offered to new enlistees, new warrant officers, and new commissioned officers. Changing the rules in mid-stream for career members who’ve volunteered to put their lives on the line is a textbook example of what I’d charitably call bovine excrement.
The Defense Business Board posted these slides on July 21st, summarizing their proposals to the Secretary of Defense.

Still looking for honesty from the VA

Almost a month ago I wrote a post about religious discrimination by the Department of Veterans Affairs against Christian prayer at the Houston National Cemetery. The VA’s Press Secretary, Josh Taylor, had the following to say about the controversy back on June 30th:

Invoking the name of God or Jesus is not only allowed, it is common at VA National Cemeteries across the country. However, VA’s policy is that VA-sponsored honor guards should not make recitations at committal services unless requested to do so by the deceased’s survivor(s).

Today, Taylor doubled down:

Pinocchio“The idea that invoking the name of God or Jesus is banned at VA national cemeteries is blatantly false,” said VA Press Secretary Josh Taylor in a written statement to Fox News Radio. “The truth is, VA’s policy protects veterans’ families’ rights to pray however they choose at our national cemeteries.”
 
Taylor declined to comment on the pending lawsuit or other ongoing legal proceedings, but did say, “No one should make judgments before all the facts are known.”

But Taylor said the rules set in place at the cemetery are meant to protect the grieving families.
“Put simply, VA policy puts the wishes of the veteran’s family above all else on the day it matters most – the day they pay their final respects to their loved ones,” Taylor said. “Out of respect for the families, VA’s policy exists to prevent anyone from disrespecting or interfering with a veteran’s private committal service.”

Questioning an administration is so confusing

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton questions the patriotism of Americans who object to our war “time-limited scope-limited kinetic military action” in Libya:

But the bottom line is, whose side are you on? Are you on Qadhafi’s side or are you on the side of the aspirations of the Libyan people and the international coalition that has been created to support them? For the Obama Administration, the answer to that question is very easy.

Can somebody please reconcile Secretary Clinton’s ever-so-subtle rhetorical question with Senator Clinton’s heartfelt beliefs about challenging any president who orders troops to war whatever the heck it is we’re doing in Libya? I’m trying to figure out what the guidelines are.

Remember DC3 Nathan Bruckenthal, USCG

When you find some quiet time this Memorial Day weekend, take a moment to offer a prayer of thanks for the selfless service of Nate Bruckenthal.
On April 24th, 2004, Damage Controlman Third Class Nathan B. Bruckenthal, USCG died from injuries sustained in the waters off Iraq in a suicide bombing attack by Islamic terrorists. He was the first Coast Guardsman to be killed in action since the Vietnam War. Petty Officer Bruckenthal left behind a wife, Pattie, and their only daughter, Harper (born seven months after her father’s death).

What is the Palin Doctrine for war?

From her speech this past Sunday in Colorado (emphasis mine):

I believe our criteria before we send our young men and women, America’s finest, into harm’s way, I believe that our criteria should be spelled out clearly when it comes to the use of our military force. I can tell you what I believe that criteria should be. I can tell you what it should be in five points:
First, we should only commit our forces when clear and vital American interests are at stake, period.
Second, if we have to fight, we fight to win. To do that we use overwhelming force. We only send our troops into war with the objective to defeat the enemy as quickly as possible. We do not send our military and stretch out the mission with an open-ended and ill-defined mission. Nation-building, a nice idea in theory, but it’s not the main purpose of our armed forces. We use our military to win wars.
And third, we must have clearly defined goals and objectives before sending our troops into harm’s way. If you can’t explain the mission to the American people clearly, concisely, then our sons and daughters should not be sent to battle. Period.
Fourth, American soldiers must never be put under foreign command. We will fight side by side by our allies, but American soldiers must remain under the care and command of the American officers.
And fifth, sending our armed forces should be the last resort. We don’t go looking for dragons to slay. However, we will encourage the forces of freedom around the world who are sincerely fighting for the empowerment of the individual.
When it makes sense, when it’s appropriate, we’ll provide them with support and help them win their own freedom. We’re not indifferent to the cause of human rights or the desire for freedom. We’re always on the side of both. But we can’t fight every war. We can’t undo every injustice around the world.
But with strength, and clarity in those five points, we’ll make for a safer, more prosperous, more peaceful world. Because as the U.S. leads by example, as we support freedom across the globe, we’re gonna prove that free and healthy countries, they don’t wage war on other free and healthy countries.
The stronger we are, the stronger and more peaceful the world will be under our example.

Works for me. She’s dumped her remaining McCain advisors and has returned to her Reaganite roots by hiring Peter Schweitzer.

Predictions for gays in the military

Here’s what’s coming next.
Watch for a *cough* *cough* totally unforseeable constitutional challenge to Section 2(e) of the bill, which states:

No Private Cause of Action – Nothing in this section, or the amendments made by this section, shall be construed to create a private cause of action.

Once that section’s excised with surgical precision by a sympathetic lefty judge (Vaughn Walker to the lavender courtesy phone, please!) … Katie bar the door.
The gay activists in uniform will then sue to be allowed to marry, notwithstanding Section 2(d) of this bill, which states:

Benefits – Nothing in this section, or the amendments made by this section, shall be construed to require the furnishing of benefits in violation of section 7 of title 1, United States Code (relating to the definitions of “marriage” and “spouse” and referred to as the “Defense of Marriage Act”).

Once 2(d) is gone & a few suitable test couples get hitched, retire, & file for marriage-related benefits in the civilian world, guess what’ll be next on the chopping block?
DOMA.
After that inconvenient law is out of the gay activists’ way (phone call for Judge Walker on line 3) they’ll demand more than “tolerance.” They’ll demand financial benefits & federal protection for gay “marriage,” state laws be damned. Why? They can’t cite national security, because effective national defense matters not one whit to these activists. No, they’ll simply cite the full faith and credit clause found in Article IV Section 1 of the Constitution:

Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.

Game over. It’ll be “Sit down, shut up, & hand over those wallets, you hateful bigoted Christianist breeders.”
This. Is. Their. Goal.

U.S. military weakened by gay activists

With the passage of today’s lame duck bill, it would appear the ban on open homosexuals in the U.S. military will soon be repealed. Not long from now, it will be official military policy to endorse and celebrate homosexual behavior.
I find it interesting that none of the homosexual activists pushing this agenda of social engineering and the destruction of marriage have bothered to address what happens if things go horribly wrong, as many have predicted. If open homosexuals end up being a net burden on the military’s ability to accomplish its mission (that is, to kill our enemies and break their stuff), then how do we undo this?

Urgent help needed for 2 Baghdad Pups

This just hit my inbox:

Dear Alo,

We only have 4 days to save them…

Raka and Woody were specially trained and sent to Iraq for one reason: To save lives, even if it meant losing their own. They’ve sniffed-out explosives, stopped terrorists, and faced life-threatening danger daily. They are heroes!

And now they need you to do something heroic for them. Raka and Woody need you to get them out of Iraq on November 1st.

They were retired from active duty this past year, and now these sweet yellow labs are confined to a tiny kennel space every hour of every day. It will take your generous contribution to free them.

The Operation Baghdad Pups team is in Iraq right now on a rescue mission. They are flying back to the U.S. on November 1st. But to bring Raka and Woody with them, I desperately need your help.

Will you donate to save Raka and Woody right now?

For their heroic service, they deserve to live the rest of their lives in loving homes, not in small cages with little human companionship. Please help me save them right away.

With heartfelt gratitude,

JD Winston
Executive Director
P.S. Raka and Woody have only one chance to escape their cages in Iraq and come home. It’s on November 1st. PLEASE GIVE TODAY!

RIP: ME3 Shaun Lin, USCG

Sad news from U.S. Coast Guard HQ about a Coastie serving in one of the most hazardous assignments in the service:

R 150216Z OCT 10
ALCOAST 502/10
COMDTNOTE 1000
SUBJ: LOSS OF COAST GUARDSMAN
MSST New York1. I AM DEEPLY SADDENED TO REPORT THE LOSS OF A SHIPMATE RESULTING FROM AN OPERATIONAL MISHAP.
2. ON THE NIGHT OF 13 OCTOBER, DURING A TRAINING EVOLUTION ON THE JAMES RIVER IN VIRGINIA, ME3 SHAUN LIN OF MSST NEW YORK FELL INTO THE WATER. AFTER EXTENSIVE AND EXHAUSTIVE SEARCHES BY MULTIPLE COAST GUARD UNITS AND OTHER AGENCIES, HIS REMAINS WERE RECOVERED ON 14 OCTOBER.
3. PETTY OFFICER LIN STOOD THE WATCH ON THE FRONT LINES, FROM HIS TIME ABOARD CGC MAUI SERVING IN THE NORTH ARABIAN GULF TO HIS ASSIGNMENT AT MSST NEW YORK. HE PROTECTED OUR NATION FROM CRIMINAL AND TERRORIST THREATS. PETTY OFFICER LIN’S INDIVIDUAL EFFORTS ARE PROBABLY UNKNOWN TO MOST PEOPLE, BUT HIS SELFLESS SERVICE CONTINUES TO BE HIGHLY VALUED BY ALL AMERICANS. HIS QUIET PROFESSIONALISM, LIKE THAT OF SO MANY OTHERS IN OUR SERVICE, ENSURED WE WERE ALWAYS READY.
4. I COMMEND OUR DEDICATED PROFESSIONALS THAT SEARCHED IN HOPE OF FINDING OUR SHIPMATE ALIVE. THEIR TIRELESS EFFORTS ARE THE TRUE EMBODIMENT OF THE PRINCIPLES OF “HONOR OUR PROFESSION” AND “RESPECT OUR SHIPMATES.”
5. AS WE SHIFT FOCUS TOWARDS PROVIDING CARE AND COMPASSION FOR THE FAMILY OF PETTY OFFICER LIN AND HIS CLOSEST SHIPMATES, I ASK EACH OF YOU TO KEEP SHAUN, HIS FAMILY, AND THE CREW OF MSST NEW YORK IN YOUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS.
6. OUR INVESTIGATIVE PROCESSES WILL HELP TO PINPOINT AREAS OF POSSIBLE CONCERN. PENDING THE OUTCOMES OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE INVESTIGATION AND MISHAP ANALYSIS BOARD IN THIS CASE, I ASK YOU TO AVOID SPECULATION REGARDING THE FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THIS TRAGIC MISHAP. WE WILL SHARE THE RESULTS OF THESE INVESTIGATIONS WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE.
7. OUR DUTIES WILL ALWAYS ENTAIL DANGEROUS WORK IN CHALLENGING ENVIRONMENTS. HOWEVER, WE MUST REMAIN ABSOLUTELY COMMITTED TO THE SAFETY OF OUR SHIPMATES – A RESPONSIBILITY THAT BELONGS TO EACH OF US AS MEMBERS OF THE COAST GUARD FAMILY.
8. ADM BOB PAPP, COMMANDANT, SENDS.
9. INTERNET RELEASE AUTHORIZED.

USCG 5th District released a little bit of background info on Petty Officer Lin. Please keep his family, friends, and teammates in your prayers.

Flat out evil

If this CNN report is accurate, then the military’s got at least one ideal candidate for the death penalty.

Murder merits swift punishment. Next issue: why didn’t any officers stop this?

Lucky the Dog needs your help

This e-mail from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International just hit my inbox. If Jason must leave Lucky behind, the Iraqi government will shoot or poison her.

Lucky the DogGreetings from Iraq,
I am TSgt. Jason Krivda – Lucky the dog calls me Dad.
Many of you have already donated to help rescue Lucky – and I cannot express how grateful I am for your generous support. But, we need everyone’s help to save Lucky. Lucky means so much to me and my unit here in Iraq – she is our protector, our only source of comfort, and a member of our family. Please, if you haven’t already donated – donate now to bring Lucky home.
We’ve posted three videos of Lucky on spcai.org so you can see Lucky’s silly antics. They show Lucky doing her everyday activities – playing with us, after our morning run, and in the office protecting us. I hope you enjoy them.
After watching the videos, I hope you will donate as much as you can to help us bring our lovable, deserving dog home. Could you please forward the video link to your friends and family and encourage them to help Lucky too?
I could not bear to leave Lucky behind, but I can only get her home with your help and we don’t have much time left. Please help us save her right now.
God Bless America,
Jason Krivda
U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant

Please donate whatever you can afford. Lucky and other dogs like her not only boost our troops’ morale and keep them company; sometimes they save their lives.