Service members, consider yourselves warned

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This company and others like it target young, inexperienced service members and then victimize them, no matter where they may be. USA Discounters – unfortunately headquartered here in Virginia – along with Freedom Furniture and Electronics and Military Credit Services offer high-priced credit to military clientele. Together with USA Discounters, the three companies have filed more than 35,000 suits since 2006.

They offer automatic approval, easy credit for young military members who may not have had time to establish credit on their own. And that’s when it gets disgusting.

Should customers fall behind, the company transforms into an efficient collection operation. And this part of its business takes place not where customers bought their appliances, but in two local courthouses just a short drive from the company’s Virginia Beach headquarters.

From there, USA Discounters files lawsuits against service members based anywhere in the world, no matter how much inconvenience or expense they would incur to attend a Virginia court date. Since 2006, the company has filed more than 13,470 suits and almost always wins, records show.

[...]

The federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, or SCRA, was designed to give active-duty members of the armed forces every opportunity to defend themselves against lawsuits. But the law has a loophole; it doesn’t address where plaintiffs can sue. That’s allowed USA Discounters to sue out-of-state borrowers in Virginia, where companies can file suit as long as some aspect of the business was transacted in the state.

The company routinely argues that it meets that requirement through contract clauses that state any lawsuit will take place in Virginia. Judges have agreed.

[...]

Once a judge awards USA Discounters a judgment, the company can begin the process of garnishing the service member’s pay. USA Discounters seizes the pay of more active-duty military than any company in the country, according to Department of Defense payroll data obtained by ProPublica.

Look, I’m the first one to say that you are responsible for making payments on time, and that if you borrow from someone, you are responsible for paying them back. I don’t like deadbeats, and I abhor excuses. If you can’t pay for what you borrow – be it a house, a car or appliances – you shouldn’t borrow that money in the first place.

But at the same time, I also know that young Soldiers, who likely have a job for the first time where they’re getting regular pay, tend to be ignorant of budgeting facts and irresponsible with their money. It’s a fact. Yes, it’s a leadership failure to leave those youngsters out there to make bad decisions without giving them the information they need to help ensure they don’t make stupid decisions, don’t deal with predatory lenders and don’t understand how to budget properly. But this company specifically targets young soldiers, tempts them with easy credit and quick lending, and then swoops down to destroy their financial lives.

This company is a predator. Period.

Do not deal with them.

You have been warned.

 

That’s quite the recovery!

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CNN reports this morning that Army Staff Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is all ready for a return to duty. That’s right. After five years as an “enemy captive,” it took Bergdahl all of a month and a half to recover and get back to work.

Um. Yeah.

That’s quite the recovery! Five years in enemy hands. Five years, with his life supposedly in danger. Five years of… grief and misery?

bergdahl

Yeah, he’s looking awfully miserable, isn’t he?

And now, after five years of captivity, Bergdahl has been deemed fit for duty!

He’s free to wander the base. He’s free to do whatever. Good to go.

Now, to be fair, if they want to take any UCMJ action against him, he has to be back on active duty. That said, given the fact that the Army apparently hasn’t even interviewed the guys who were in his unit on the day he decided to take his little stroll into Taliban’s open arms, I have little hope that Taliban Bowe will be seeing the inside of a military courtroom anytime soon.

But we shall see.

In the meantime, that’s a pretty remarkable and quick recovery and repatriation after claims that his health and life were in danger, and that we just HAD to exchange him for five Taliban scumbags at once, or he would die.

The jokes write themselves

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U.S. Naval War College professor pulls Weiner.

A text message conversation with a photo of a penis from May and with the Newport, Rhode Island, college’s professor John Schindler’s name atop it was circulated on Twitter early Monday. It’s unclear who posted it.

A blogger sent a complaint to the War College’s administration. The college’s president has ordered an investigation.

The guy was also a former NSA analyst.

Seriously. Anthony Weiner, a/k/a Carlos Danger, would be proud.

One has to wonder if there’s some freaky compulsion that forces these guys to whip out their puds and wave them around on Twitter for all to see.

I can see Weiner… he’s a politician. Skinny, big nosed, awkward, and narcissistic – an incongruent combination of ego and insecurity that compels him to self destruction. After all, this douchebag was a Congressman. He had this power… this fame… but at the end of the day, he had to stare at his gawky, awkward frame in the mirror every night, probably wondering how a woman as hot as his wife could possibly want him.

But this guy?

John Schindler was ostensibly intelligent, educated, erudite, and most of all… he had to be discreet! He had to know how to keep a low profile! You don’t work at the Fort as an analyst without knowing how to keep secrets and how to use discretion.

And yet…

You have this guy’s wiggleworm wagging all over social media.

What. The. Hell.

Dude! Get help!

 

Brandon Garabrant one of three U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan Friday

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Those of you who read this blog regularly may remember I blogged about a young man, who was barred from wearing  his Marine Corps uniform at his high school graduation last year. At the time, Brandon Garabrant had not graduated high school yet, but was leaving for basic training, and would return for his high school graduation. He wanted to wear his dress blues to graduation, instead of his cap and gown.

I have some sad news today.

The Daily Mail reports that Brandon Garabrant was one of three who was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan yesterday.

This is heartbreaking. He loved his country. He loved the Corps. He loved military service. He was 19 years old.

Several shops around the school showed their support for his request to wear the uniform, and put signs up calling for the school to change its rules.

His mother, Jesse Garabrant, said at the time: ‘I’m overwhelmed with the support of the community. It’s just wonderful.’

As well as being a dedicated Marine, Garabrant also worked as a volunteer firefighter in Temple..

‘Whenever he came home on leave, the first thing he did, contacting me, “Chief, I need a pager so I can help you out”,’ volunteer fire chief George Clark said.

‘He absolutely loved what he was doing. He knew the sacrifice and he was still willing to do it,’ Clark told WMRU9.

RIP, Marine.

Catching up

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I know I’ve been away from here for a few days. Rob and I always seem to be busy, doing something, planning something, running somewhere… and when we’re not, I’m too tired to write, and generally can be found in bed napping. A lot.

I’ve been thinking lately that I need to find another blogger for this site. Someone who knows how to throw around invective – appropriately. Someone whose grammar and spelling I don’t have to double check (because if you can’t tell the difference between “they’re,” “their,” and “there,” you don’t need to be spouting your views anygoddamnwhere until you learn how to write, sparky!) Someone who knows how to fact check, and when they’re wrong, can post an appropriate, invective-filled apology for being a dipshit. Someone who is fun, and who loves to write. Someone who holds similar views to mine.

Now, it doesn’t have to be all politics, all the time. As a matter of fact, it can be pretty much any commentary on any issue, written with panache.

So basically, I need another me. (OK, so my ego got off its chain again a bit, but you know what I mean)

Any ideas?

Meanwhile, here’s what’s been going on in the world while I’ve been busy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided that he hasn’t wreaked enough havoc in Ukraine, so he’s sending Russian tanks to Ukrainian separatists along with some MLRs. Now, these are T-64s that the Russian military forces no longer use, but given the fact that the Ukrainian separatists are basically some inbred hillbillies who light their farts on fire when they’re not destabilizing their region in hopes of getting closer to the Russians, who they believe will be giving them free shit, T-64s are a pretty good deal.

Meanwhile jihadist assholes have pretty much reversed a decade of progress in Iraq, and are currently using decapitated heads as soccer balls to celebrate the World Cup. We can haz drones?

Closer to home, Michael Bloomberg and his panty-shitting Mommies Demanding Action Attention, along with the astroturfy Everytown have put out a map, claiming that 74 school massacres have occurred here in the United States since Sandy Hook. The only problem is that this latest attempt to force the government to infringe on your rights is a big, fat lie. Even PolitiFact has kicked these shitbags in their shriveled raisins! Journalist Charles Johnson deserves all the kudos in the world for exposing these lies!

The traitor Bowe Bergdahl has returned home. There were no parades and no grandiose welcome home parties for this deserting piece of shit. Meanwhile, his daddy is apparently a creepy stalker guy. I guess the beard and the sympathy for jihadist scum wasn’t the only thing daddy dearest adopted while B was playing soccer and helping the Taliban. He also adopted a weird obsession with a pair of cute twins.

Ew.

The IRS has apparently, totally by accident misplaced two years’ worth of Lois Lerner emails. No, really. It was totally unintentional! They’re sorry. Ya know what? That’s not something I will ever believe, given the redundancy in the federal government when it comes to backing up your electronic communications. They’re there. Find them and throw that pernicious cunt in prison with the VA officials who have been sucking up taxpayer-funded bonuses via fraud and manslaughter by denying veterans health care!

Oh…

Happy 239th birthday, United States Army! You and I have been through good and bad together, but I love ya!

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This

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I have kept mostly quiet about Bowe Bergdahl other than to mention his homecoming. There are reasons for this that I won’t get into here.

However, given the numerous reporting about Bergdahl’s desertion and betrayal, I figured that instead of publishing a lengthy opinion piece, I would simply say my peace in a concise manner, and then defer to Anita Farries Kessler to give my feelings a voice.

So first, me.

As the mother of a United States Marine, I despise Bowe Bergdahl.

Yes, I said “DESPISE.” I do not exaggerate, and I am not emoting.

As I United States Army veteran, I want him tried and executed for treason.

As an American citizen whose family escaped tyranny – REAL tyranny, and not the type some sheltered, sniveling commie created because someone got sand in their vagina about some imagined slight – I find Bergdahl to be beyond contempt.

I am absolutely, 100 percent sure that Bowe Bergdahl is a traitor. A twisted, evil traitor.

The reason for his betrayal is irrelevant. He volunteered to serve in the Army after he was rejected by the French Foreign Legion. He tried to join the legion first. Don’t tell me he got squeamish. The legion, I’m fairly sure, would have been tougher. He walked off looking for the Taliban, and indicated he would abandon his unit if the mission wasn’t to his liking before the deployment began. He helped the enemy kill Americans, consciously and willingly. The bottom line is he’s a traitor. What he’s done is inexcusable.

Now, I cannot vouch for the authenticity of Mrs. Farries Kessler. I don’t know if she is who she says she is. I don’t know her from Adam. I do know, however, that she has voiced my thoughts, so I will leave a portion of them here. Read the rest if you so choose.

A soldier’s mom writes to Mrs. Bergdahl.

By Anita Farries Kessler:

My Open letter to Bowe Bergdahl’s mother……June 6, 2014 (Lengthy)

Dear Mrs. Bergdahl:

As the mother of an active duty soldier currently serving his second tour in Afghanistan, I felt compelled to send you my thoughts. You may have difficulty hearing this but I am compelled to say it. Please know that I have championed your son since the day the United States heard of his disappearance. Being an Army mom, my heart broke for you. It broke for you because at that time my son was serving in Ramadi, Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom at the height of the troop surge under George W. Bush. I could not begin to imagine the anguish you must have been going through knowing your son was in a foreign, hostile land and missing. The depth of that fright was nearly unfathomable and I prayed daily that this tragic incident would come to a happy ending. Now my son is on his SECOND deployment to Afghanistan for Operating Enduring Freedom. I worry every minute that he is over there. It is an all-consuming worry…the kind that only another mother would ever understand. We all know that in our eyes our soldiers are forever our babies.

I was so happy when the announcement first hit the news that your son was being brought home. I posted my joy on all my social networking sites and thought that this was just a glorious moment. Then we as Americans, along with the world watched and got to meet the parents of this soldier that was finally coming home. Mrs. Bergdahl…..from that moment you stood in the Rose Garden of our White House, I have felt heartsick, angry, and violated. I am writing you to tell you why I feel those things. You will not like much of what I have to say. Some of it may be hard to hear because as mothers we tend to have tunnel vision where our children are concerned. It needs to be said…not for you, but for ME. It needs to be said, not by a politician, not by another soldier, but by another military mother…..

Being a former Law Enforcement Officer I know something about pride. I know something about dignity. I know something about honor. Being the mother of a soldier, I know about sacrificing for something that is bigger than ourselves. I know, without hesitation, that I would give my life to protect my family, my country, and it’s citizen’s freedoms, along with our way of life in the greatest country in the world. America is the last stop for freedom. Should she cease to exist there is nowhere else to go that is free. These United States of America are the best of the best and this country is our homeland. Something this wonderful cannot be maintained without a price. Sometimes that price is hefty and burdensome. It takes strength to keep us alive and thriving. Strength requires tough decisions and follow-through if it is to stand on it’s own. We swear an oath to be a police officer. Your son swore an oath to become a United States soldier. Where I come from an oath means something. It is a VOW. It is a promise. It is not to be taken lightly and it is not to be broken. More importantly, it is and was not to be broken at the expense of those I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with while I was taking it. We vowed to follow and enforce the Constitution of the United States of America and Mrs. Bergdahl….so did your son. So did MY son.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Bergdahl, this is where we part company in the motherhood department. How sad for both of us as mothers that we view the world so differently and at such a high cost.

My son saw the same atrocities your son saw. My son is STILL seeing the ugliness of war. Yours is not. No…he trained the enemy to create the atrocities that MY son cleans up. Your son taught the enemy how to kill his American brothers and leave their bodies strewn on the streets and roads of Afghanistan. MY son stands his post and protects those there from people like YOUR son. He guards American soldiers and Afghani civilians alike. Your son disgraced his vow….his OATH. It meant NOTHING to your son.

My son lives his oath and still stands guard there TODAY (June 6th, 2014)…proudly, and with great vigilence. Your son was repulsed by the death of “innocent children”. My son nearly died because of a child. My son received a Purple Heart in Iraq when he and the Bradlee he was driving were blown up by a CHILD. A little boy set the trip wire for the IED that blew my son up. A CHILD set the trip wire that left my son ON FIRE inside a Bradlee vehicle with a jammed hatch pin. My son was only 19 years old at the time. How proud you must be that YOUR son trained the very people that make those IEDs and kill their own as quickly as they kill American soldiers. My son went on humanitarian missions to give the children soccer balls, candy, water, and toys. My son watched as one of his closest friends and brother in arms died as they were bending to help an Iraqi man who had been injured….That “innocent civilian” your son and husband praise, detonated himself as soon as they were close enough….with the type of bombs YOUR son was teaching the Taliban to make in Afghanistan at the time. MY son asks himself what could HE have done to save his buddies. He asks himself why is he here and they are not. He weeps for the brothers he has lost. Your son taught our enemy how to kill his own brothers that laid down their lives for YOUR SON. Are you beginning to see how you and I are both mothers but so very different Mrs. Bergdahl? Do you see how different you are from the mothers of the six brave brothers in arms who gave their lives looking for your son? They were American soldiers. They had mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives….FAMILY….just like Bowe does. Bowe gets to come home to his……those six soldiers never will. Walk along the Warrior Walk at Ft. Stewart, Georgia Mrs. Bergdahl. See the memorials….hundreds of them. See who your son BETRAYED….let it sink in. Hear the hush of the leaves as their souls breathe across the flags on the field there. Tell their families how bad the Army was for your son….tell the souls of those brave men and women how Bowe should be excused for what he has done. And tell me how I am supposed to understand a soldier with no honor. Sometimes we have to take a look at the hard, cold truth and it is painful. The hard, cold truth of the matter is that your son is a coward. A coward of the worst kind Mrs. Bergdahl. Please do not insult my motherhood by calling him a hero….in any sense of the word.

Try him as a traitor should be tried.

I will wait.

Bowe Bergdahl Has Returned Home

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I’m having feelings of ambivalence here. Five years ago, Bowe Bergdahl disappeared from his base in Afghanistan, and he has been held captive by the Taliban since then. Today he has been traded for five Gitmo prisoners.

The prisoners that will be exchanged for Bergdahl are Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Mohammed Nabi, Khairullah Khairkhwa, Abdul Haq Wasiq. There are now 149 detainees remaining at Guantanamo Bay.

According to NBC, Bergdahl will be at Bagram for medical care, and then will be flown to Landstuhl, Germany.

Why the ambivalence? The guy is back from five years with the Taliban. He will eventually be reunited with his family, and we have our Soldier back – the only prisoner of war since this abortion of a conflict began. We should be thrilled to have our troop home.

There’s a part of me that is. But then, there’s that other part of me that is concerned about this, from a friend’s Facebook post:

“We were at OP Mest, Paktika Province, Afghanistan. It was a small outpost where B Co 1-501st INF (Airbone) ran operations out of, just an Infantry platoon and ANA counterparts there. The place was an Afghan graveyard. Bergdahl had been acting a little strange, telling people he wanted to “walk the earth” and kept a little journal talking about how he was meant for better things. No one thought anything about it. He was a little “out there”. Next morning he’s gone. We search everywhere, and can’t find him. He left his weapon, his kit, and other sensitive items. He only took some water, a compass and a knife. We find some afghan kids shortly after who saw an american walking north asking about where the taliban are. We get hits on our voice intercepter that Taliban has him, and we were close. We come to realize that the kid deserted his post, snuck out of camp and sought out Taliban… to join them. We were in a defensive position at OP Mest, where your focus is to keep people out. He knew where the blind spots were to slip out and that’s what he did. It was supposed to be a 4-day mission but turned into several months of active searching. Everyone was spun up to find this guy. News outlets all over the country were putting out false information. It was hard to see, especially when we knew the truth about what happened and we lost good men trying to find him. PFC Matthew Michael Martinek, Staff Sgt. Kurt Robert Curtiss, SSG Clayton Bowen, PFC Morris Walker, SSG Michael Murphrey, 2LT Darryn Andrews, were all KIA from our unit who died looking for Bergdahl. Many others from various units were wounded or killed while actively looking for Bergdahl. Fighting Increased. IEDs and enemy ambushes increased. The Taliban knew that we were looking for him in high numbers and our movements were predictable. Because of Bergdahl, more men were out in danger, and more attacks on friendly camps and positions were conducted while we were out looking for him. His actions impacted the region more than anyone wants to admit. There is also no way to know what he told the Taliban: Our movements, locations, tactics, weak points on vehicles and other things for the enemy to exploit are just a few possibilities. The Government knows full well that he deserted. It looks bad and is a good propaganda piece for the Taliban. They refuse to acknowledge it. Hell they even promoted him to Sergeant which makes me sick. I feel for his family who only want their son/brother back. They don’t know the truth, or refuse to acknowledge it as well. What he did affected his family and his whole town back home, who don’t know the truth. Either way what matters is that good men died because of him. He has been lying on all those Taliban videos about everything since his “capture”. If he ever returns, he should be tried under the UCMJ for being a deserter and judged for what he did. Bergdahl is not a hero, he is not a soldier or an Infantryman. He failed his brothers. Now, sons and daughters are growing up without their fathers who died for him and he will have to face that truth someday.”

I know we should be celebrating the safe return of a U.S. Soldier right now, and there’s a part of me that is. But this is what gnaws at my very guts.

PFC Matthew Michael Martinek, Staff Sgt. Kurt Robert Curtiss, SSG Clayton Bowen, PFC Morris Walker, SSG Michael Murphrey, 2LT Darryn Andrews, were all KIA from our unit who died looking for Bergdahl. Many others from various units were wounded or killed while actively looking for Bergdahl.

He walked off, without his weapon, leaving everything and everyone behind. He went looking for the Taliban, and he was with them for five years.

And people died. People died looking for him, and we have released five scumbags from Gitmo in exchange for him

I realize that in the coming months he will be debriefed, interrogated and prodded. He’s got five years’ worth of information to give up, and I hope he does so willingly and completely. But I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t nervous. If he did, in fact, go off looking for the Taliban, it would not have been difficult to turn him, return him to his country and just wait a bit before giving him orders to murder innocents.

So yeah, my joy at getting our troop back is tempered somewhat.

What about  you?

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