Category Archives: Phonies and Assclowns

Assclown of the Ides: Slick Dick Blumenthal

blumenthal_adThe news has been full of the camera-happy face of Slick Dick Blumenthal, the junior senator from Connecticut. For over 20 years, from 1980 to 2010, Blumenthal falsely claimed to be a Vietnam veteran, and as his ego swelled up larger and larger, a Vietnam hero. Exposed during a Senate campaign, Blumenthal was protected by a friendly media and went on to win over a non-veteran who didn’t make phony veteran claims.

Since his election he has renewed phony veteran claims, although he is careful not to do them where any citizen reporters or rolling cell-phone cameras are present.

The New York Times, which supports Blumenthal and considers his phony veteran status no big deal (no one in a decision-making post there ever served in the military, nonetheless reported on his false claims in 2010.

Former Representative Christopher Shays of Connecticut found it puzzling: over time, his friend Attorney General Richard Blumenthal kept revising how he talked about his military service during the Vietnam War. At first, in the 1980s, he was humble. He played it down, Mr. Shays recalled, characterizing it as humdrum desk work.

Over the last few years, however, more sweeping claims crept into Mr. Blumenthal’s descriptions, he said: that Mr. Blumenthal had served in Vietnam and had felt the sting of an ungrateful nation as he returned.

“He just kept adding to the story, the more he told it,” Mr. Shays said.

Mr. Shays said he became alarmed enough by the discrepancies that he at times considered mentioning the issue to Mr. Blumenthal, who on Tuesday said he took “full responsibility” for the occasions when he “misspoke” about his military history.

via Blumenthal’s Vietnam Claims Grew in Time, Colleague Says – NYTimes.com.

Shays, who reported Blumenthal’s ever-growing hero story, himself was no hero: he is a coward who dodged the Vietnam draft, like most of his generation in Congress.  But he never denied that, unlike his friend Slick Dick.

A few weeks ago, Mr. Shays attended a ceremony with Mr. Blumenthal in Bridgeport, to honor workers killed during an accident. When it was his turn to speak, Mr. Blumenthal at one point brought up the subject of his military service and lamented that when “we returned from Vietnam” Americans had spit on soldiers, Mr. Shays recalled.

“He is the kind of person I cared enough about that I wish I had nipped this in the bud when it was fomenting,” Mr. Shays said.

Fortunately for Shays, and Blumenthal, the voters of Connecticut don’t care if their war heroes are real, or fake. Like Slick Dick.

Like Shays, Blumenthal’s reason for not going was pure, base cowardice. The initial Times report on his deception noted, after quoting Blumenthal saying in plain words, “I served in Vietnam,” that the facts were rather different:

There was one problem: Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.

The Times report quoted several of Blumenthal’s lies about his Vietnam service, and even included video of the yellow-bellied phony stealing actual vets’ Vietnam valor.
Blumenthal’s response to the Times report was to call it “outrageous distortion.” But every word was factual and backed up by Blumenthal’s own records, that showed him dodging the draft until there was no danger of ground combat, and then performing minimal reserve service (six month’s active duty for training) stateside.

 

Veterans are not automatically nuts, damaged, or suicidal

Crazy Veteran image (from a Hollywood movie, of course) from quickmeme.com.

Which really doesn’t deserve to be a headline, but media scum — almost all of whom are not veterans — enjoy portraying us as “damaged goods”. One such recently attempted to wring a quote out of us for MSNBC, whose typical take on veterans’ issues is here. Short version: they’re all ruined, maimed PTSD nutbags, and the answer, of course, is to give the bureaucrats at the VA more money, because giving away someone else’s money to unhelpful third parties is the way to assuage yourself that you’re concerned about somebody’s problems. “The trauma of war has become too unbearable,” Ari Melber mews. He’s twaumatized.

Can someone tell us who appointed Ari Melber, Alex Wagner, Michael Scotto or David Wood (MSNBC’s talking heads and reporters, none of whom spent a day in uniform; Wood, a 1970s “advocacy journalist” who slants every report in this direction, and sells himself as a military expert, is a Vietnam draft dodger) spokesmen for veterans? Or is it just coward’s guilt, a phenomenon frequently observed by veterans who study media issues, but seemingly unexplored by organized psychology?

There’s this December 9 editorial in the New York Times, calling for the overturning of tens of thousands of bad discharges of Vietnam-era vets who got into legal trouble for “going AWOL, taking drugs and disobeying orders” because they are now trying to cash in on the VA money cornucopia, and their bad paper is keeping them out. You’re breakin’ our hearts. The criminal vets have champions in their corner: the Vietnam Veterans of America, offshoot of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (Marxist-Leninist); a Yale Law School left-wing legal clinic (Yale admits extremely few veterans and drove out ROTC in the 1960s, only readmitting it grudgingly this year); and, of course, the Times.

Then there’s this tear-jerking report by New York megamillionaire politician Robert Morgenthau, who launched it into the Wall Street Journal. Unusually for someone from the Manhattan Jewish elite, Morgenthau is a veteran, which is explained by the fact that he is 92 years old (he served with great distinction in the Pacific as a naval officer. It is worth noting in that context that the Navy maintains even now the most paternalistic and isolated officer corps, which is often very thinly removed from contempt for the enlisted swine). He had seven kids in two marriages, and all those young Morgenthaus and all the young Morgenthaus after them were raised to think of military service as something beneath them, to be avoided if at all possible. Yet we’re supposed to consider his views on soldiers’ combat stress not only worthwhile (we’ll give him that), but dispositive.

The peg Morgenthau hung his story on was the suicide of one Peter Wielusnki:

Peter Wielunski was one of those veterans. His story is tragically typical of what is happening at VA facilities across the country. In May, the 63-year-old Vietnam veteran hanged himself with a cord from a window shade in front of the doors of the psychology department of the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System’s St. Albans Community Living Center in Queens, N.Y.

Now, we didn’t know Wielunski. Neither did Morgenthau. But we question the reasonableness of blaming a 2012 suicide on service in a war that saw the redeployment of almost all US troops over 40 years ago. What led to his death? Was it his one year in Vietnam sometime between LBJ’s reelection and Tricky Dick’s resignation, as Morgenthau seems to think? Was it something in the forty-whatever years since then?  Or was it something intrinsic in poor Wielunski? We don’t know, and neither does Morgenthau.

But Morgenthau, with his born-to-the-purple conviction that he is infallible, knows it was Wielumski’s status as a veteran. Maybe it was, but accepting arguendo that it is, his prescription is completely counterlogical: to give more money to the shambolic bureaucracy that supposedly failed the tragic Wielunski. Yet there’s no evidence that growing outlays have turned the VA from a typical government operation like any state’s Registry of Motor Vehicles into some Platonic ideal of a philosopher-king’s administrative machinery. Paying the same bozos more money has never cured them of bozosity before, and it won’t do it here, either.

Morgenthau’s report met with widespread approbation, however. An example is this post to Time magazine online by Rep. Jeff Miller, a conservative Republican from the veteran-rich Florida panhandle. (Miller’s official bio is innocent of any taint of military service, himself. Instead, he trained as a journalist. A fine alternative to working for a living, that). A man more at variance with Morgenthau politically probably could not be found in public life, but he accepts Morgenthau’s diagnosis. Miller’s prognosis, however, is probably worse: as well as shoveling more money into Rick Shinseki’s cesspool at VA, he would open the military Tricare health network to VA patients. This would double (Miller’s emphasis) the amount of veterans’ mental health care available. (It would, of course, crater (our emphasis) the amount of mental health care available to the active element.

Tricare is what the military and their families have had fobbed off on them instead of keeping the health-care promises under which they were recruited. It is operated by a few of the lousiest health-care administrators in the industry — the worst of these regional administrators, HealthNet, systematically paid bonuses to its staff to deny, lose, or simply not pay legitimate claims. From the service member’s or family-menber’s point of view, being covered by HealthNet is tantamount to being uninsured. The rest of them are little better than HealthNet. They gravitated to this government program because the payments were high, the standards low, and the oversight nonexistent.

Kind of the same way the VA system works.

While the suicide of active duty servicemen and -women (although it seems to be predominantly men) is certainly an issue for well-meaning politicians like Morgenthau and Miller to take up, suicidal vets are not the mainstream. Most vets come home, use up their field uniform pants and jackets painting the house, raise a few kids who are disproportionately likely to serve themselves, something we can be pretty sure any service-age relatives of Morgenthau or Miller are not doing.

The problem with suicide and mental health is not a veterans’ or a military problem. It is a national problem, but it is a difficult, intractable problem. Talk to professionals who deal with mental health issues (at the VA, a public hospital, a mental-health clinic, a substance-abuse program) and you’ll understand much more. You’ll understand that well-meaning Masters of the Universe like Morgenthau, who will throw your money at the problem, or Miller, who will redeploy resources already inadequate to meet the pledges he and his mates in Congress have made to our serving families, don’t really have a handle on the problem.

Mental health outcomes have not kept pace with progress elsewhere in medicine. Despite a blip of progress from SSRI and other psychoactive drugs, the problems are poorly understood and the solutions simply not at hand. Ask about results from mental health interventions and you’ll see recovery rates that resemble early 20th Century cancer outcomes, or 18th Century infectious-disease outcomes. Ask about the relapse rate at a substance-abuse shop and you’ll learn that the counselors and workers who stick it out there, are truly remarkable people because they’re doing it knowing that most of their clients will not recover — at least not this time around.

We don’t have the penicillin-equivalent for mental health. Penicillin and the antibiotics that followed turned bacterial diseases from mass murderers to minor irritants. We don’t have the equivalent of vaccination that turned viral diseases from killers to curiosities — even, in the case of smallpox, making a human pathogenic organism extinct in the wild. We don’t know why people kill themselves, really. We don’t know why perfectly normal twenty-somethings suddenly come down with schizophrenia, either. We’re not even certain that things we see as single diseases are actually the same thing.

We can’t save Peter Wielunski, and we can’t save the next one either. Not by pouring money into an indifferent VA bureaucracy, especially, but probably, not at all. Nothing that has been revealed of Wielunski’s clinical history suggests that a richer VA could have preserved his life, let alone restored his mind to normal functioning. If we want to help future Peter Wielunski’s we ought to dump the money into pure medical research. Find the causes, and Big Pharma will fund the applied research needed to find the cures.

Or just dump the money into VA, and watch it disappear on million-dollar conferences and bloated administration costs. If so, we’ll be having the same discussion in 10 years, and the usual suspects will be suggesting that all we need to do is throw more money after the already-sunk bad.

Brought a toy gun to a real gun fight

Rule #1 of gunfights: bring a gun. Toy gun = terminal FAIL.

A career violent and drug criminal — a 39-time loser — interrupted a drug arrest in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens, New York City, by barging in, waving a gun at the two plainclothes officers. Six rounds later, they were fine and he was… not so fine. As in, dead. Seems his gun was a realistic fake (photo), but the cops’ guns were real.

The man, 42, threatened the officers pulling what appeared to be a Glock 19 semi-automatic handgun from his waistband and aiming it at them.

The police responded by firing six rounds, three of which struck him in the leg and torso.

It was the first police-involved shooting for both officers, and witnesses later said that each officer – ages 42 and 48 – had their badges displayed.

The British reporter whose report we’re quoting doesn’t get guns, apparently. He later writes: “The man was actually carrying one real weapon. A Walther CP99B compressed air pellet gun was later found on his body.”  Except, a pellet gun is not a “real weapon,” unless maybe you’re a squirrel.

(The two-fake-guns thing seems to be a Daily Mail Fail. A New York neighborhood news site explained it differently: the “replica Glock” was actually an altered pellet gun, and there was only one fake gun. The local tabloid does agree that its knucklehead operator now wears the toe-tag of shame, for bringing a fake gun to a real gunfight.)

The engagement dynamics of this doesn’t really require analysis, does it? This guy voluntarily entered a situation with armed men knowing that his armament was 100% deficient as far as actual firepower is concerned. This may be nothing more than the most creative suicide-by-cop, ever. Or it may just be the last way station on a life driven down by low intelligence and impulsivity.

We love the way the Daily Mail put this next line:

He had a long history of dealing with police officers.

You certainly might say that. For “dealing with,” try “being rounded up and thrown in crowbar motel by,” maybe.

The NYPD found he had 39 prior arrests including four by the Miami-Dade police department, with most being drug-related.

He also had strikes for robbery, weapons possessions, and assault.

Well, he didn’t get rehabilitated the first three-dozen and three times, but hey, he’s cured of his chronic recidivism now.

The police officers fired six shots and scored three hits, which is better than average for New York cops (the last time they were in these pages, a pair of them fired dozens of shots, killing a murderer — and wounding nine bystanders. Where the other three rounds went, God alone knowns, but no one else turned up in hospital or morgue, making it a remarkably clean shoot for the NYPD. More at the two links in the story.

Not to pile on fabled phony John Giduck or anything

Urban Dictionary: Giduck.

There are a number of definitions, all of which will seem familiar to longtime students of Round John.

We liked this one:

1. A terrorologist certified by his own certifying agency

The example they used is pretty good, too.

Dude did you hear about that Idema guy?

Yeah- he’s a real Giduck.

It’s technically wrong, because Idema was a real Giduck. Now, he’s dead (Idema, not Giduck. Giduck is still alive and young enough to repent and reform). But we get the point.

Personally, we wonder what Tom Lehrer or Gilbert & Sullivan might have done with “terrorologist.”

Phony John Giduck’s Lawsuit tossed

The outrageous claims of the phony SF/Ranger/officer were reportedly dismissed yesterday in Colorado. Giduck, the only two-time winner of the uncoveted WeaponsMan Assclown of the Ides (Instance I) (Instance II, with the unintentionally hilarious shovel combat video), sued an active duty Special Forces NCO and a variety of commenters on the SOCnet.com website for calling him out as a phony. (He’s also been covered here, here and here on WeaponsMan.com).

Meanwhile, the SOCnet guys got his actual military record, as did the POW Network, and he was added to FakeWarriors.com. Because while his speaker bios have for ages listed him as a former SF or Ranger officer, his actual record shows him as a Basic Training bolo, with a total of 58 days’ service from sign-in to boot-out.

What do you say to a guy like that? “Thanks for your attempted service?”

Giduck’s entire, carefully manufacturerd persona and credentials dissolved like a sand castle in a sandstorm when the commentariat at SOCnet began to explore his claims and his credibility. He turned out to be nothing much, just a fat guy with fantasies of combat shovel throwing. We’ll try to get some quotes from the legal opinion in soon, because it’s a doozy.

(Update: the .pdf of the dismissal is here, hosted by Guardian of Valor, one of the sites with whom vets and their supporters joined in honoring heroes and, incidental thereto, persecuting phonies like Giduck. Guardian of Valor’s exegesis on the case is here, with updates towards the end. This Ain’t Hell’s analysis is here. with extra snark against a poseur-group website. The always judicious Ken White at Popehat has a lawyer’s view. We’ve come to depend on this site, the name of which is a play on a Giduck-controlled or -fan site to which we will not link,  for Giduck insights., and so far their analysis of the court judgment and how and why Giduck got spanked is spot on — with bonus Sun Tzu!  The SOCNET gloat thread should be in here… ah, yes. Just the facts here in this thread by the admins, the gloating by the hoi polloi in place here).

From the dismissal, here are the statements that Giduck said were false. They are attributed to Tracy-Paul Warrimgton, an SF, Ranger and special mission unit warrant officer of considerable distinction; Joe Niblett, a battalion Ranger; and Phil Martin, whose particular military service escapes our memory at present, but you may rest assured it is greater than Giduck’s. (It could scarcely be less, after all):

The Amended Complaint stated specific allegations of the following allegedlydefamatory statements posted on the internet by Defendant Niblett:

  1. “Giduck is a fraud.”
  2. “Poser civilian,” (which they claim means that “Giduck is posing as a special forces member.”)
  3. Giduck has spent years fabricating his for­-profit legend.
  4. “Giduck is a fool . . . What is worse are those that have forgotten what honorable means and support that fool. The associations should impeach the officers that allowed this fool to sully their honorable service.”
  5. “Giduck is a piece of shit.”
  6. “Giduck and his supporters are ‘clowns’ that use ‘bullshit’ to overstate their credentials.”
  7. “Giduck is an imposter.”
  8. “Giduck lies and embellishes his credentials. He is the enemy and his methodologies, advice, tactics, techniques and procedures will hurt, seriously injure or kill bystanders.”
  9. “Anywhere you see an association that has honorary memberships, it is pay for play 98% of the time. Usually folks that donate money or services frequently are friends with the orgs officers . . . . Case in point with Giduck with the SOA and SF associations. Especially Giduck who flaunts memberships as if he actually met the criteria to actually be a full member, yet he fully lacks any qualifications or experience to be a member. In his fantasy he fully lacks any qualifications or experience to be a member. In his fantasy land, Giduck actually believes he meets the quals and is equal to those that actually served. He is the worst type of poser, and the officers of the association that allows him to perpetuate this fraud should be stripped of memberships as well.”
  10. “Giduck lacks experience in anti­terrorism.”

The Amended Complaint stated specific allegations of the following allegedly defamatory statements posted on the internet by Defendant Warrington:

  1. “Giduck claims he was a former Special Forces and Army Ranger and a retired Green Beret.”
  2. “Mr. John Giduck listed former SF Solder, trainer of SF Soldiers or words to that effect.”
  3. “Giduck claims United States Special Forces units have adopted his techniques.”
  4. “Giduck presents himself as a survivor of eight wars/conflicts.”
  5. Giduck is a fraud.
  6. Giduck “scam money and fame from law enforcement organizations and the public at large.”
  7. “Giduck is an imposter.”
  8. “Giduck lies and embellishes his credentials. He is the enemy and his methodologies, advice, tactics, techniques and procedures will hurt, seriously injure or kill bystanders.”
  9. “Giduck lied about and faked his credentials, qualifications and experience, including claiming to have experiences with U.S. Special Forces.”
  10. “Giduck use his lies about his qualifications, credentials and experience to defraud others including law enforcement agencies and government agencies into hiring him so he could make money.”
  11. “Giduck’s picture of himself with the Afghanistan mountain range behind him is false and photo­shopped. ”
  12. “Giduck’s certificate from a Russian Special Forces unit is fake and was cut and pasted from a website. ”
  13. “Giduck is not qualified to teach tactical SCUBA or tactical parachuting, as he claims he is.”
  14. “Giduck has been in continuous contact with members of a Foreign Intelligence Service for almost 20 years.”

The Amended Complaint stated specific allegations of the following allegedly defamatory statements posted on the internet by Defendant Martin:

  1. “Giduck is a charlatan.”
  2. “[Giduck] clearly found his ‘calling’ in Russia, whether that was due to Russian intervention or too many Chancy [sic  Phil meant "Clancy" -- Weaponsman] novels . . . I don’t know but that seems to be the place and time that he started exaggerating his resume.”

Unfortunately, while all these statements are at least arguably true, the court didn’t get to that point and put the imprimatur of the Judicial Branch on the truth of these statements — it threw the case out because the statements are all protected speech, and therefore, there’s no tort to sue over. In August, the court warned Giduck that his complaint was going to fail on these grounds. This was his attorney’s and his (and he’s an attorney himself, although he appears not to be practicing) second and best shot at persuading the judge. They went down in the legal equivalent of a first-day drop from SFAS, RASP or BUD/S. Or to put it even more cruelly, in the legal equivalent of Giduck’s couldn’t-hack-(co-ed!)-Army-basic real military “career.”

The case law cited in the opinion appears to be a very useful tour d’horizon of current Colorado First Amendment jurisprudence. And then the decision itself:

The statements attributed to these Defendants regarding Giduck were blunt, uncomplimentary, and probably “rhetorical hyperbole.” But they were also privileged statements of opinion protected by the First Amendment as applied in a litany of Supreme Court and Colorado appellate cases. The application of those cases is a question of law that must be addressed by this Court before the case goes any further. Dismissal of the defamation claims contained in the Amended Complaint is required for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

That accounts for the libel claims, what about the other claims? Well, there, it seems that Giduck and his lawyer blew off the judge’s August 15 order to elevate their complaint from mere nonspecific whinging to state some specific claim. Judges, as a rule, do not issue orders for the enjoyment that comes from hearing their voices echo in the courtroom. Not this one either:

The Court’s Order of August 15, 2012 directs the Plaintiffs to file an amended complaint of “sufficient definiteness and particularity to enable the defendants to respond and defend against each alleged wrongdoing.” As to the third through twelfth claims for relief the Plaintiffshave ignored this direction. Instead they have simply repeated verbatim the allegations from the Original Complaint with no attempt whatsoever to tie the alleged wrongdoing to any particular defendant. There is absolutely no allegation in any of these nine claims for relief that these Defendants did anything wrong, did anything injurious to Plaintiffs, or, for that matter, that these particular Defendants did anything at all.

So the bottom line, and the end of the road for John Giduck’s feeble attempt to win at Lawsuit Lotto which began by trying to extort $200,000 from a serving SF NCO and wound up in court when his cartooney (“cartoon attorney”) bluff was called by the SOCNET gang.

For all the reasons set forth above, the Defendants motions to dismiss the claims against them … are GRANTED

Sweet, eh? It gets better. The judge, not content with merely smacking Giduck down, made the smackdown sting by awarding attorney’s fees to Giduck’s lawfare victims.

Per C.R.S. 13­17­201, Defendants are awarded their reasonable attorney fees. /s/ Judge Groome, Stephen

It’s worth noting that the .pdf above only covers certain defendants. This .pdf covers the other named defendants, who said slightly different things about Giduck’s self-bestowed, inflated, or nonexistent credentials. There were a total of 51 defendants, but dozens of them are John Does that Giduck and his mouthpiece neither identified nor stated any particular actionable claim against. (It may be they were planning to use discovery rules for a fishing expedition).

About the only thing that could improve on that would be news of media layoffs — HEY!

Bradley Manning whines UPDATE: partial deal

Update:

As God is our witness, we’re going to stop wrting about trials. Every time we start there’s a new twist and turn. The latest? The defense has changed pleas, admitting what we’ve known all along, that Bradley is a leaky traitor. The defense has pled out on about half the charges (the less serious half). As we understand it (remember, we’re weapons guys here, not law guys), there are no guarantees on this. It’s a plea, not a plea deal.

The prosecution can choose to dismiss the remaining charges, or they can pursue them. The remaining charges, including Aiding the Enemy, are the ones that can net the Military Intelligence poster child life in Leavenworth. The ones he has pled to already guarantee him several years in there, but max out at 16 years.

If the prosecution pursues the other charges, the judge may at her option dismiss them. There is a strong incentive for judges to do this, for if they dismiss all the contested charges and sentence only on the admitted charges, the defendant can’t contest the findings of guilt on appeal, eliminating or at least greatly reducing the possibility of reversal. The partial plea was a bold tactical move and likely reflects the defense’s conclusion that their case is an absolute loser, especially after Manning’s sniveling performance on the stand today. That the prosecution gave up nothing for these 16 or so admissions of guilt suggests that the prosecution also thinks the defense case is an absolute loser.

In other words, Manning is guilty of all charges, everyone knows it, and what’s left is a canned procedural and dispositive minuet, done only to run the lawyers’ meters. It will arrive at a compromise position that even now probably is understood completely and thoroughly by the attorneys on both sides. But the meter needs to be fed.

End of Update

Original Story:

Bradley Manning has taken the stand in his court case, in pre-trial motions, essentially whinging about how his jailers have been so bad to him, and that prison is unpleasant. That this last fact was apparently a shock to his disequilibriated system may give you some idea how out of touch he is. He is a Unique And Special Snowflake, and don’t you forget it.

He said that he was initially given little or no information about the charges against him.”My nights were my days and my days were my nights,” Manning said. “It all blended together after a couple of days.”

Manning said he was confined to a structure he called a “cage” just eight feet square located inside a tent. He suffered a breakdown about a month after his May 2010 arrest, and guards later found a noose in the cage. Manning had made the noose but failed to recall he had done so because he was so disoriented, he said.

“I remember thinking Im going to die stuck here in this cage,” Manning said. “I thought I was going to die in that cage. Thats what I saw – an animal cage.”

via U.S. soldier in WikiLeaks case says he was held in a cage | Reuters.

Well, he hasn’t died yet. Pity.

The mystery of J.C. Pollock

Correction:

See the updates at the end of this post. If you don’t think you’ll make it that far, at least see the August, 2013 Update and Correction to this post! It explains how the “Pollock in SOG” story got started, and what the real facts are– Pollock himself never made such a claim. -Eds.

In the 1980s, if there was one fiction writer the guys in 10th Special Forces Group were reading, it was J.C. Pollock. After all, he was one of our own: jacket copy indicated he was former SF and a SOG veteran of Vietnam, and a member of the Special Operations Association. He surged on to the scene in 1981 with Mission: MIA, a book that addressed the then-common belief that the US had abandoned prisoners to the inhumane North Vietnamese. This belief supported dozens of movies — ranging from well-acted to dreadful — and hundreds of books, both nonfiction and fiction.

In the end, DNA technology, which replaced the haphazard “morphological estimation” (translated to Anglo-Saxon, “shape guessing”) used by the inept 1980s’ crew at the Central Identification Laboratory — Hawaii, has resolved and continues to resolve problematical MIA cases from Vietnam (and from earlier wars). The discrepancy cases are fewer and fewer. Meanwhile, declassified cable traffic seems to indicate that if Kissinger didn’t abandon POWs, it’s not because it would have bothered him to do so. The cynical acceptance of a “decent interval” promise doomed the free men of Vietnam.

Perhaps they were doomed anyway.

Anyway, Mission: MIA, which some say was the underpinning for the similarly-themed Gene Hackman/Robert Stack film Uncommon Valor (IMDB disagrees, crediting the screenplay to Joe Gayton and story to Wings Hauser, who was not credited in the film), rocketed to bestseller status and led to Pollock’s white-hot run of bestselling novels, most of which featured SF or former-SF characters. One author’s appreciation of Mission:MIA is interesting, because he clearly has little sympathy with the author or characters, but he liked the book and notes that, as fantastical as it appears now, was arguably the most realistic of the “MIA Rescue” subgenre. We agree.

Pollock’s Crossfire was uncannily close to the actual experience of a 10th Group team that was dropped inadvertently in the wrong country due to a navigational error (disclaimer: this author wrote a novel on a similar theme at the same time) in the 1980s. The names of the SF men who fight, and mostly die, in the climactic battle, were an in-joke: most of them were the recycled names of fellow SOA members and recon legends of the Vietnam War. If you weren’t in the in-group, that went over your head. But we noticed it: some of those guys were our senior sergeants at the time. His other books Payback and Centrifuge were also highly successful.

Then the bottom fell out. Our memory is shaky, but as we recall it from those pre-Internet days, the veterans community discovered that Pollock was not a SOG veteran at all. He was a legitimate Marine combat vet of Vietnam, but not a SOGgie. (The members of SOG recon teams were exclusively Army members as far as we’ve been able to document, although there were a few who were second-tour LRRPs who had not gone to SF school… as we understand it, they and some similar Vietnam guys who were at A-camps or on other projects are the only SF men to have earned the qualification in combat). Pollock’s reputation took a napalm strike.

Pollock’s excuse was that he hadn’t added those claims, a publisher’s employee, publicist, or some similar flunky, had done so. (That’s a very common blowfish’s dodge on exposure; John Giduck says the same thing about his decades of SF/Ranger/Officer speaker bios). And he faded back into the shadows. Again, this is from memory: we thought about getting a Nexis subscription just to track down the 1990s news stories on him, but the price deterred us (over $1500 a year).

It doesn’t change the fact that he was a great writer, and some years later, a curious blogger tracked him down and determined that he was now working in Hollywood (where everyone’s backstory is hogwash anyway). His credits there include the direct-t0-DVD 2006 Cuba Gooding film, End Game. The blogger followed up later with news of other books Pollock has written under the name James Elliott.

We don’t wish Pollock ill. He is a great writer, and even though he was not a member of the Regiment, he wrote about us with care and credibility. We have no idea why men with honorable, good records choose to exaggerate them (or, if his word is to be believed, allow others to exaggerate them, which is the same crime in the same degree in our book). It’s a mystery, if a tragic one.

Mission: MIA like all its genre has not stood the test of time very well, but as a period piece it is a good read, and it is the best single entertainment on the “MIA Rescue” theme. All of his books are worthwhile adventures. Pollock’s suspenseful situations and (usually) doomed heroes make for good reading.

Updates

1. There is erroneous information in this post. There’s an extensive Update and Correction that was posted 2 August 2013, but wasn’t initially linked at this post. So people have been linking and thinking that that this is not just the right story but the whole story. So click that link to see the solution to the Mystery of JC Pollock!

2. See also our review, sort of, of Centrifuge, which review is mostly a war story about what we were doing while Jim was researching the book Crossfire.

3. We regret having created an impression that Jim Pollock is in any way comparable to the award-winning phony John Giduck. Read the update for the facts about Jim’s military career, and a little more about his publishing career (which is still ongoing).

4. We hear a rumor that the out-of-print Pollock books are soon going to be back in print, which is great news for adventure readers.

Lindsey Stone, Miss Massachusetts 2012

Not just any fat, stupid broad, this is Lindsey Stone!

This fat, stupid broad is showing off her class at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Her name is Lindsey Stone. If that does not look like class to you, you may not be from Massachusetts, a state that still elects hippies who run against the Vietnam War — in 2012.

Stone’s picture was snapped by another fat, stupid broad, her friend Jamie Schuh.

Stone and Schuh were on some kind of trip from the place where they work, one of those “non-profit” rackets that takes large sums of public coin to warehouse old or mentally ill people. (If she treats the Unknown Soldier this way, wonder how badly she and her co-workers treat the inmates at the office? Apparently a lot of people are wondering, because the firm has gone through the motions of firing them).

Good jobs at good wages, for bad people.

Is it just us, or do you too expect something other than a well-spoken achiever when you hear the first name “Lindsey”?

Jamie Schuh, the other no-class double-chinned “douchebag” (their term, not ours).

She has spoken in her defense, saying no offense was meant, she and Schuh “just being douchebags as usual.” You don’t say. That’s what she said to defend herself. We think we may be looking at the most thoroughgoing waste of sperm and egg since the first humans took their tentative steps down out of the trees onto the Olduvai basin.

This story was picked up by Jonn Lilyea at This Ain’t Hell, and from there many media sources picked it up — the larger, mainstream ones not crediting him, which is par for the course. Jonn’s had a follow-up since then. We could never cover as many dirtbags as thoroughly as Jonn does– it’s like spending your whole life on shit-burning detail, but the shit keeps gaining on you.

Stone and Schuh, the soi-disant douchebags, have been canned from their welfare gig but they’ll always have Internet notoriety. Fortunately, they live in Massachusetts (Stone, in Plymouth of pilgrim fame) and there is no shortage of companies that welcome workers with a hand out for some helpless person’s welfare benefits, and a finger upraised towards our veterans. The empty faux-rebellious pose of the immature, spoiled child: flipping off a dead guy who has to just lie there and take it.

Mug shot: Lindsey Stone getting stoned with a mug instead of a stein. She says she was “questioning authority.” Now she’s questioning the clerks at the unemployment office.

The guy in that Tomb is there so that the parents of Lindsey and Jamie could spoliate them in comfort and idleness, leaving them t free to take jobs on what adds up to the public dole, and to have the freedom of speech that they can certainly use to insult and malign him, and by extension, all of us veterans, mortal and immortal alike.

Everyone has the right to do that. Most everyone has the sense not to. Meet Lindsey Stone and Jamie Schuh, the exceptions, and the standard-bearers for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Who knew when evil reared its ugly head it would be slobbering drunk, and probably tramp-stamped?

We generally take a dim view of suicide here, as a permanent solution to a transient problem, but if Stone or Schuh were to indulge in it, it’s not like there’d be any loss of intelligent life.

‘Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.’

One thing that motivated us to start this blog was the sheer quantity of bullshit — pardon the barnyard scatology, but we’re about to point out a pungent example — being peddled as weapons instruction. There has been an explosion of news about an self-promoting eee-leeet firearms instructor who, in a display of negligence unimaginable to professional weapons users and trainers, not only blew a negligent discharge into his own assistant instructor on a range he was running, but did it three times. This took place just this past weekend at the Texas Defensive Shooting Academy range (it was not a TDSA event, per se. An instructor had reserved the range for a class of 41 students).

The instructor / shooter was Saulius “Sonny” Puzikas, and the AI / victim was Gene Smithson. Smithson took three 9mm rounds (it may have been two rounds with a through-and-through of the hand being caused by the same bullet that caused one of his abdominal wounds)  but will recover, reportedlyA paying student was also in the darkened (!? – Ed.) shoot house with Smithson, when Puzikas, who never checked that the range was clear, broke nine (9) rounds from a 9mm Glock, in three triple-taps in the directions he assumed held targets. The student was unscathed, thanks to luck, or perhaps celestial intervention, but certainly not through any credit of Puzikas’s. He didn’t even know he’d shot anybody — the poor wounded wretch had to tell him.

  • Now, we don’t know whether the claims Puzikas makes about his training and skills have any basis in fact. He claims to be ex-Spetsnaz, and we have no visibility into them or their veterans’ organizations, if any. It’s an opaque claim, and one often made by phonies and poseurs, in the same way that claims of Israeli special-opsness are used. (We do know he trains things that do not seem to have been part of Spetsnaz training during the period this guy claims to have been a member).
  • We don’t know if he’s really Spetsnaz… but we do know that if he is, they’re no damn good. Even in the Soviet Union they made every effort to avoid shooting each other in training.
  • We do know he’s a big deal in Hollywood, and has been on some high-speed-low-drag he-ro TV show, which is in our experience a red flag. (There are authentic vets working in the field, but they are a minority compared to the posers and phonies).
  • We do know he’s a big deal to video gamers and airsoft kids. Two more red flags.
  • And we do know he has no concept of safety, and we knew that before he shot his AI and kindly confirmed it for all his legions of critics.

There are a lot of discussions of this around the net. Here are links to a few of them.

This post and this post at ENDO are good. Best line: “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes,” an old Army saying that we promoted to title of this post. The second ENDO post has a photo of Sonny showing off his supposedly Spetsnaz skills, firing in two directions while only looking in one and sending the other rounds off into random ether. Or assistant instructors, perhaps.

Best line in this ARFCOM thread: “Ray Charles could have seen this coming.” (Runner-up: ‘Spetsnaz: 42 terrorists, 129 hostages, 171 body bags… problem solved!” and second runner-up: “Idiots playing games. Will happen again”).

This thread at Ohioans for Concealed Carry includes a reprint of a post from the owner of the Texas range where the accident took place, Len Baxley. The key passage is the statement Baxley says that Puzikas gave to him:

“I was standing out front of the shoot house talking with students. I was taking some money and shaking hands and saying bye to students. I had heard the last shooter’s number called out, #41. (It seems that 41 was the last student that day) So I knew the last shooter was going inside to shoot. I heard the shooting stop. I did not hear shooting for a while.

I finished saying good-bye so I decided to make a run in the house before I left. I made the statement, “I am going to do a run” and then I heard a person standing behind me respond to me saying, “OK” I did not turn around so I don’t know who said OK to me. I, wrongfully, assumed it was clear to go.

I pulled my pistol out and set up and started coming around the corner like this. (Sonny then demonstrated to me how he did that, which was pieing the corner) I shot three quick shots at the far left target, then three quick shots at the far right target and then three quick shots at the close right target just inside the room. I then heard someone say, “You shot me” so I cleared my pistol and ran over and ask him where are you shot, he said, “the stomach” so I ran back out of the house and yelled for the trauma bags and to dial 911 and to ask for a helicopter. I then went back in to attend to Gene.

Gene was standing near the first target I shot at and was hit with all three rounds. He was hit once in the right hand, once in the right bicep, and twice in the lower abdomen. The student was also in the same room and bent down to check on Gene. Sonny said, I never saw them in the room.

Gene Smithson, the wounded AI, was treated by two experienced combat trauma medics (one a former 18D) while they waited for life flight. Neither of them was a medic arranged by the soi-disant instructor or the range, apparently: both were students in the course.

Smithson was very seriously wounded. This took place very late in twilight, possibly after dark, and Puzikas was shooting at targets he could not see in a range that was not cleared, with instructors and students who were neither maintaining accountability nor wearing personal protective equipment (true, back in the old days of Blue Light / SOT we didn’t wear armor in the tire houses. But we would, now). And rather than crawl/walk/run, their training was crawl/run going direct from dry fire to live fire with no blank, nonlethal weapon (at SOT we used Crosman or Daisy CO2 BB pistols), MILES or Simunition stage.

Still, the most amazing thing is entering a shoot house in an unknown state of occupancy and firing in the dark based on your recollection of where the targets were. 

This is gross negligence, and even in Texas it ought to be criminal negligence.

Assclown of the Ides: Warren K. Parker

Warren Parker. Photo: KSHB-TV 41 Action News.

Meet Warren K. Parker of Blue Springs, Missouri (near KC in western MO). Parker is an honorably discharged veteran —  of the National Guard. But that’s not quite the story he told. From the indictment press release:

In documents submitted to the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs in support of Silver Star Construction, LLC in connection with contracts under the Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Program, he falsely claimed to have reached the rank of major in the U.S. Army, completed three tours in Vietnam, to have been awarded three Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, four Bronze Stars with Valor, eleven Air Medals with Valor (claiming 300 hours of combat air time), three Purple Heart Medals, a Presidential Citation, a U.S. Army Citation, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Vietnam Service Medal with (79) Battle Stars and to have been Awarded over (32) Citations for Heroism.

The indictment shows (pages 23-24) that he was also claiming… well, just read it: “U.S. Army MAC V SOG, Air America, and CIA-three tours in Vietnam (Cambodia, Laos and North Vietnam).”

Would you believe that approximately none of that is true? Apart from having worn US Army uniform, his real attainments have nothing in common with the BS he sold to the gullible fish at the VA. You can get a sense of the monstrosity of his fraud by reading the whole indictment [pdf]. Even though his guilty plea was to just one of its many charges, it seems like a tacit admission they’re all true.

His actual records were a bit leaner than his claims:

State and federal records show that Parker served in the Missouri National Guard from 1963 to 1968, he spent six months on active duty. In 1968 he was honorably discharged as a Senior Engineer Equipment Mechanic with the rank of Specialist E-5. His only decoration was an expert rifle badge. He never left the state of Missouri while on active duty or while assigned to the Missouri National Guard.

So why did he lie? All of these guys do it for a reason. Parker’s reason was money — with a phony Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, he scammed $7 million from the DOD and Veterans Administration. His phony company, which the indictment noted was a non-functioning “pass-through” for a construction company he also owned, was named — sit down now — Silver Star Construction, LLC.

The VA under the inept Rick Shinseki never checked him out. Read that list of awards from the indictment again. They missed the obvious phoniness here? It makes you wonder, how many other phonies like this are soaking up Uncle’s loose change.

Parker went to great lengths to support his phony legend:

He also agreed the immediate forfeiture of personal property, including a notebook Parker labeled “Book of Death” which contained a list of Vietnam war “sniper kills.”

You don’t say. Bob “the Nailer” Swagger is also a fictional character, but Bob hasn’t applied for VA welfare. Remember, SP/5 “Book of Death” here got no closer to Vietnam than maybe the Kansas line.

Parker was charged last year, pled guilty to a single charge in April, but managed to delay sentencing until this month by pledging to cooperate against his co-conspirators, including his wife and son. Apparently his cooperation was foun as deficient as his integrity, as he just caught a seven-year sentence in Club Fed. Meanwhile, the VA will presumably be garnishing his Social Security till the $7 mil is paid back.

Parker’s 70, and may not be able to do all 7 years. So we’d just like to encourage him: “Do as much as you can!” Assclown.