Saturday, September 20, 2014

Washington Insanity

Now...let me get this straight. Congress has voted to have the prez select 5,000 “moderate” insurrectionists in Syria, transport them to Saudi Arabia and require U.S. troops on the ground to train them for a year, give them lots of hardware, and transport them back to Syria (or what's left of it) to take down ISIS. These “moderate rebels” (quintessential oxymorons) will promise not to use their new mean machine against Syrian President Bashir Assad, whom they've been battling since the Arab Spring blood-lettings of 2011 in order to take over the country.

BUT, the ISIS meat-cutters (Sunni by persuasion) in Iraq are an immediate threat...or so the propaganda says. One supposes the Iraqi army, trained for years by U.S. troops into a vaunted “formidable fighting force” before Obama's grand pullout of 2011, could easily have taken care of the be-headers, who take especial delight in also bodily dismembering Muslims of the wrong persuasion (Shi'tes) or—even more fun—Christians, Jews, and homosexuals with or without religion. Unfortunately/predictably, the Iraqi troops have taken a pass and even handed over their weapons (American issue) to their “brothers” in ISIS. Since virtually all international leaders are shocked and appalled at this outrageous conduct, gathering a large force should be easy.

Naturally—and because he claims George Bush started the whole mess back in 2003 anyway—Obama, as commander-in-chief (never lets anyone forget it, either), would be expected to already have troops on the way while State Secretary Kerry signs up the rest of the world. Fuggedaboutit! Both Prexy and Kerry have stated constantly and unequivocally that U.S. boots will not tread Iraqi soil, though U.S. planes and drones have been ordered to bomb ISIS back to its historical time-frame, the Stone Age.

Both Joint Chiefs Chairman Dempsey and VPOTUS Biden haven't caught that nuance, Dempsey claiming before a Senate committee that he would recommend sending American GIs in the event ISIS can't be annihilated. Biden agreed, saying in Des Moines recently that the decision would be based on how things go. Whether or not he meant that depends on his potential 2016 presidential aspirations, especially if he says the Benghazi massacre, refuting Queen Hillary, DOES make a difference and promises not to lie and be ready for a 3:00 a.m. international 911-call.

Since Assad is fighting both the “moderate rebels” and ISIS in Syria, this puts Obama on the spot. Obama told Assad in 2011 to “get outta Dodge” and turn Syria over to whichever “moderate rebels” could grab it and set up a government. Ergo, POTUS may be pulling a fast one. Since Assad told Obama to take a hike in 2011, the newly U.S.-trained-moderate-revolutionaries may have an understanding that its fight a year or so from now will not be against ISIS until it has upended Assad, though if it's trained like the Iraqi army, it will turn its weapons over to Assad or ISIS at the first scent of blood and run for the desert, leaving POTUS reconsidering red-lines.

Saddam was Sunni and kicked the Shi'ites whenever and wherever. The Shi'ites own the government (such as it is) now and have kicked out the Sunnis while totally degrading the Iraqi army. The largest Shi'ite population in the world is in Iran. Sunnis and Shi'ites have been killing each other for 14 or so centuries, so Iran would likely be Iraq's only ally, with its active troop-strength of 523,000, the largest military in the Middle East.

Syria has borders with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan and Iran, which have troops numbering respectively, 233,500; 510,600; 100,500; and 523,000...for a total of 1,367,600 boots that can be put on the ground immediately to stop evil ISIS. But ISIS is Sunni, so the first three are not about to kill their Sharia buddies and Iran might incur the wrath of the first three if it got in the fight and risk being whacked by them. So...what to do? Just as the Saudi king said recently—make the Americans do the dirty work.

The Congressional insanity is pathetic. ISIS, contrary to the “line,” is no immediate threat to this country and not one American should be put in harm's way by either training the non-trainable Muslim cowards or actually fighting in somebody else's civil/religious war. U.S. citizens are being jerked around. Let the Muslims settle each other's hash, and stay clear.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Monday, September 15, 2014

Jobs & National Defense

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in August 2008 the non-farming civilian labor force (workers age 16 and older) numbered 154,641,000. In August 2014, it numbered 155,959,000, for an increase in six years of less than one percent while the population grew about four percent. If it had grown at the rate of population growth, the work force would number about 163,000,000, or about 7 million more taxpayers than contribute now, especially important since nearly half of all households pay no taxes.

In August 2008, the unemployed workers numbered 9,438,000. In August 2014, that number was 9,591,000, or an increase in the unemployed of 1.6%. The officially announced unemployment rate in August of both 2008 and 2014 was the same, 6.1%. Obviously, the facts give the lie to the current unemployment rate claimed by the administration unless, of course, either the books have been cooked or there are mitigating circumstances.

There are circumstances alright, but aggravating rather than mitigating. According to the BLS, in August there were 2,141,000 workers marginally attached to the work force, i.e., they want to work, are available and classified as looking for work for at least a year, but not for the last four weeks. There are 775,000 who are absolutely discouraged. So, the unemployment figure actually is not 9,591,000 but 11,732,000 (not counting the discouraged), or 25% greater than the unemployment number in August 2008. The official unemployment rate of 6.1% is fiction. It's at least 8%, probably much higher.

The constant drumbeat by the administration about all the jobs that have been “created” in any period since 2008 is ill advised in light of the figures. The practical concern has to do with job-loss as well as job-creation. The impact of job-loss since 2008 far outweighs that of job-creation. The bottom line has to do with with the net job-outcome. According to Bloomberg of 02 May 2014, only 62.8% of the eligible work-force is at work, with that rate matching the lowest since March 1978.

According to PBS of 21 February 2014, the BLS has determined that only 27% of jobs in the U.S. economy currently require a college degree (associate degree or higher). By comparison, the Current Population Survey, a monthly survey of 60,000 households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, showed that 47 percent of workers have an associate degree or higher. This amounts to huge personal education-debt for no financial reason.

According to Pew Research (Dec. 2010), 10,000 people turn age 65 every day and this phenomenon will obtain through 2029 (baby-boomers). According to Pew, the typical boomer considers old age to be 72, thus a reluctance by many to retire. There are roughly 3.1 million high-school graduates per year. The National Center for Education Statistics projected 1.6 million college graduates in 2014. According to ACURA, just under 66% of high-school grads enrolled in college in 2013, leaving 2 million to enter the work force. This means a total of abut 3.6 million young people chasing jobs currently.

In 2014, there's been an average increase of 215,000 jobs per month. If this is maintained, about 2.6 million new jobs could be expected this year, with at least 3.6 million young people people chasing them in addition to the 11.7 million unemployed. Even if the boomers all quit at age 65, that would present only 3.7 million additional job openings.

These discouraging statistics come at a time when the administration is actively, as promised, regulating many enterprises into downsizing, bankruptcy or otherwise going out of business, thus enhancing stagnation/regression at a time when a vibrant economy is urgently required and the nation plods (but for how long?) on borrowed/printed money.

The U.S. must have the financial resources to support both a civil and a military establishment—the latter now being dangerously depleted—that can protect the nation, especially in light of the Islamic jihad-threat. This means it must maintain a huge work-force turning out goods and services and thus earning wages to be taxed sufficiently to maintain national defense but not to the extent of killing incentive. The so-called middle class (if there is one anymore) will bear the brunt.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Friday, September 12, 2014

L'affaire de Rice

Has anyone besides me grown sick and tired of the Ray/Janay Rice brouhaha, which is sensationalized in the media—print and broadcast—on practically a 24/7 basis? Apparently not, at least not with the National Organization of Women, which has just called for National Football League head honcho Roger Goodell to resign immediately or—if possible—retroactively.

Now...let me get this straight. Ray and Janay, his significant other at the time, got drunk, got into a fight, made a terrible scene, with poor Janay out like a light from probably hitting her head on an elevator rail after Ray backhanded her after she spit in his face. This means that Goodell should resign? What could he have done to stop that from happening short of chaperoning the 20-somethings when they party?

I watched the tape. On their way walking (staggering) to the elevator, Janay seemed to hit Ray in the head (or tried, in her shape). In the elevator, she came at him but couldn't have harmed a hair of his head. If sober, he probably would have laughed it off. Instead, he introduced her to unconsciousness for a short time and handled her like a sack of feed. In doing this, he was dead wrong and there is no excuse for his striking her. Most fathers teach their sons that it's always wrong to strike a female.

So...there are civil laws to deal with assault and battery and Ray should probably have been arrested. As it was, he had to weasel out of some kind of legal problem. Rice copped a plea bargain, with the condition that he participate in some kind of anger-management thingy. He and Janay decided to get married (they already had a child, presumably his), so why not?

Goodell, soon after the mess happened, suspended Rice for two games, which meant the forfeiture of some $500,000, leaving him with only $3,500,000 of a $4 million contract to live on this season. The marriage was a big deal for Janay since if the marriage breaks up and she hires one of those tough female divorce lawyers she stands to collect more than “her part.” However, all the income is gone now account Rice's indefinite suspension.

Shepard Smith of Fox News wondered the other afternoon if the spat wasn't a reflection of some sort of cultural change...I'm not kidding but still laughing. This stuff goes on every day and has for centuries, the culture notwithstanding. And...since when does a third party like the NFL have to do what law enforcement is mandated to do, i.e., handle assault and domestic-violence cases? Goodell is no more responsible for Rice's behavior than the man in the moon.

It's not disputed that Janay was beating up on poor Ray (or trying, in her shape) but somehow the NOW nags consider that to be her right. Anyway, the president and the Pentagon directed last year that women are to be placed in combat now, another way of saying that they are fair game for violence from any quarter and should be able to protect themselves, notwithstanding that this directive represents stupidity of the nth degree. Poor Janay furnished the proof.

The NFL as well as other sports conglomerates like the NBA and major-league baseball are known for their extensive corruption. Expecting them to ride herd on their athletes is the same as expecting the Mafia to discipline its “soldiers” in the area of domestic problems or crime. Assault, rape and everything in between are fairly common in professional sports. The leagues are interested in handling high-profile abuses just like the Catholic hierarchy tries. First, sweep them under the rug. If that fails, make a big deal of punishment, real or imagined.

NY Jets backup quarterback Michael Vick spent nearly two years in the Big House account conviction on federal charges of conducting dog-fighting. He's back in the game.'s wrong for a man to strike a woman. But if he should strike a dog...

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, September 06, 2014

DNC Memorandum #16

From the office of the chairWOMAN, 05 September 2014

***Listen up! There are no apologies offered for the absence of memos since last fall. This has been a terribly busy time for the chairWOMAN account having to further deal with the IRS scandals, the Benghazi slaughter, Fast-and-Furious, Syria, ISIS, executive orders and Hillary Clinton since she’s connected to all of them and has told me she’s mad as hell, had nothing to do with them, and won’t take it anymore, especially in her run for Air Force One, speaking of which Hillary will be pushing 70 in 2017 while the chairWOMAN will only be late-fortyish. Both Biden and Kerry will be mid-seventyish, and Biden overdid it when he said he would chase ISIS to hell the other day. He's lucky to get out of bed. The wag who posted on the Bush dart-board that Obama will issue an executive order nullifying elections in 2016 will be shunted off to the Durbin Re-indoctrination Center & Gulag, with its particular emphasis on how to lie believably.

***There has been unjustified (and unforgivable) backlash to the chairWOMAN's public remark the other day that Wisconsin Governor Walker has given the back-of-his-hand to women and that he's been pulling them around by their hair. The chairWOMAN has applied for a restraining order disallowing him any entry to Florida and has suggested to the Congressional women's caucus that all members do the same for their states. It's high-time that the tea-party recognizes that balancing a state's budget and non-unionizing decent state employees to save money and make them actually work is not enough to give the governor the right to abuse women. The insensitive staffer who posted that note on the Obama golf-swing picture that the chairWOMAN's hair proves her point will be assigned to an Everglades precinct.

***POTUS is still considering instituting a Department of Gender and has requested another yellow/black/white/red paper on how to do this while still awaiting word from the LBGTQ group as to how many genders there are. This hasn’t been settled yet mainly because the American Conference of Transitioning and Ultimate Personhood (known for short as ACT-UP) still threatens to sue something or somebody if not included in the gender-count, but certainly not in the Q group. Also, a complaint from something called the Platonic Education Department Of Pleasing Habituations in Loving Eroticism (PEDOPHILE, for short) has been lodged with AG Holder, claiming gender-status and threatening action from some Catholic priests account violation of First Amendment rights. The DNC is preparing a summary of Plato's Symposium for all staffers in readiness for any sign that POTUS has evolved on this matter as he did regarding same-sex marriage.

***There is reason to celebrate the fact that women are gradually taking over both the reporting responsibilities and anchor chairs in TV-world. This means that evil misogynists (mostly republican peeping-toms) are losing their grip on the levers of power. The nasty rumor that women have resorted to flagrant exhibitionism in their effort to take over TV is unfounded although the girls on FoxNews are up for an award from the Harvard Glee Club on the amount of cleavage and thigh exposed. Everything off-the-shoulder is tour de force and everything off-most everything is seen as a possibility by MSNBC, taking into account the person involved. While men are still required to be covered from Adam's-Apple-to-toe, CNN is studying the possibility that Wolf Blitzer might appear soon in only boxer-briefs and beard. Fox may require O'Reilly, for obvious reasons, to interview his girls while using eye-patches in order to help him stay focused. Stay tuned.

***The DNC personnel committee is structuring a new program called the Society for Obviating Bonehead Erratic Rants (SOBER, for short) designed to help agency spokespersons refrain from misspeaking (euphemism for ignorance and/or lying), such as when the State Department spokesperson said recently that the FBI would chase down the ISIS be-headers or when POTUS spoke of red-lines and later compared ISIS to a terrorism junior-varsity. VPOTUS was accused of inebriation recently when he said he would leave the be-headers in hell (obviously Satan's purview) so an important part of SOBER will handle the drug situation. All staffers, as well as teleprompter-guys, will be required to attend a consequent seminar conducted by the Harvard English and Psychology departments. Rehab may be required for some.

***A DNC red/yellow/black/white paper is being prepared to debunk the new book 13 HOURS: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi, as well as the program based on the book that aired on Fox-TV on 05 September, featuring the contractors employed to protect the CIA annex at Benghazi and allegedly (insisted by them) told to stand down in protecting the consulate when they almost certainly could have prevented the massacre of four Americans. A preview of the paper indicates an insistence that the men are all suffering from PTSD, amnesia, dementia, Freudian-slips, hallucinations, drug-use, STDs and greed. POTUS-friend Bill Ayers of Weather Underground fame and now a distinguished professor in Chicago (otherwise known as the Illinois killing-field – little joke there) will edit the paper.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Monday, September 01, 2014

King Abdullah, the Hypocrite

The height of hypocrisy was reached the other day when Saudi Arabia King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz lectured the U.S. and European nations on the (gasp) ghastly impending threat to them of ISIS, the terroristic jihad mongers now ravaging much if not most of Iraq and Syria. The major thrust of the threat involves homegrown U.S. and European Muslims or converted Muslims joining ISIS and after bloodletting enough to establish the grand Islamic caliphate “over there” returning home to terrorize civilized Caucasians into submission.

The fat king's nation shares a 600-mile border with Iraq but has no stomach for battling the butchers. Instead, he attempts through scare tactics to goad the West into fighting a war to protect his oil, similar to the gulf-war of 1991, in which President Bush 41 managed a UN-sanctioned 100-hour war to save his bacon, throwing Saddam out of Kuwait, who actually was just testing the waters for taking over the entire Arabian peninsula, using his 400,000-man army to throw the fat princes into the Red Sea.

Save the tears! The Saudi troop-strength stands at 233,500 boots that can be on the ground in Iraq in a matter of hours. The Saudi capital, Riyadh, is only some 300 miles from the Iraqi border and ISIS strength is said to number only about 10,000 fighters, giving the king an advantage of 23 to one. The king also has 1,095 tanks; 7,202 armored fighting vehicles; multiple rocket-launch systems and 652 military aircraft, 229 of which are deadly, modern jet-fighters secured from the U.S. and Europe.

The king has a defense budget of 56.7 BILLION dollars and has just given Lebanon a cool billion to help the Lebanese with their Syria problem. In 2011, he sent Saudi troops into neighboring Bahrain to keep the minority Sunnis in power over the majority Shi'ites and maintains 1,000 troops there now to save that monarchy in a nation with a population of only 1.3 million.

So...why doesn't the king use his overwhelming military might to completely destroy ISIS, which will soon run out of military hardware as its vehicles and arms originating in the U.S. and seized from the cowardly Iraqi army degrades and disappears? ISIS is Sunni-dominated as is Saudi Arabia, so the king may not want to “offend” his brothers...much better to let the U.S. do that and be blamed anew for meddling.

ISIS would gobble up the king and the princes if allowed to win in Iraq and Syria, just as Saddam would have but for the actions of President G.H.W. Bush in 1991, so the king would be forced to either stand and fight on his own soil or make a losing deal with the devil. ISIS has no air capability, while King Abdullah could fill the air 24/7 with both missiles and planes to wreck ISIS now, and it's a better now then when ISIS butchers invade his paradise and start their animalistic stonings, amputations, beheadings and rampant rape.

Meanwhile, the warmongers in this country like Senators McCain and Graham should shut up. The king can put tens of thousands of boots on the ground in Iraq to wipe out ISIS by just ordering them to get in their tanks and armored vehicles and take an afternoon drive across the border toward Baghdad. The notion that U.S. blood and treasure should be expended in that benighted country is ludicrous.

President Obama is right in not extending the Iraq affair. This might not be the case (considering all that oil) if Saudi Arabia were weak, but the Saudis (furnished 9/11 hijackers) are strong enough to defeat any nation in the Middle East with the exception of Israel and possibly Iran.

The king's stakes are high and when the West's leaders have their imminent meeting, they should get on his case big-time. The Saudis produce 9.9 million barrels of oil a day and sell about 73% of it to the world at enormous profit. Their oil reserves amount to 268 TRILLION barrels. Obama, British PM Cameron, and the European leaders, instead of wringing their hands, should tell the king to shape up or be shipped out.

Cameron mentioned in his speech to Parliament on 01 September, that Britain has lost about 500 of its young Muslims to ISIS, with France and Germany contributing 700 and 400 more, respectively, as well as contingents from other European countries. All of these nations have tried to quell the jihad threat. Now is the time for the king to step up.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Friday, August 29, 2014

Elected Officials Glorify Stupidity

I told my children back in the day that they must never refer to anyone as stupid. I considered that an insult of the highest (or lowest) magnitude. Stupid is defined (Merriam-Webster, 11th edition) as: slow of mind; OBTUSE; given to unintelligent decisions or acts; acting in an unintelligent or careless manner; lacking intelligence or reason; BRUTISH.

President Obama said publicly and without knowing any facts in 2009 that a white policeman in Cambridge, Massachusetts, acted stupidly, so this definition explains what the president meant. It developed that the policeman was simply doing his duty according to law-enforcement protocols, so the president acted stupidly in letting the clutch out on his tongue before his brain put it in gear.

Since that time long ago, I've had reason to question my injunction to my children as I've watched elected officials and government bureaucrats, one conclusion being that they can act stupidly, sometimes exponentially as in the case just mentioned, especially since the president owned a law degree. Roland Burris, former Illinois attorney general, was appointed by the Illinois governor in 2009 to Obama's vacated Senate seat, according to the state constitution's requirement, but Obama, Majority Leader Reid and Illinois Senator Durbin—all of them lawyers—stupidly decided that Burris would not get the seat.

Reid even stupidly disallowed Burris on the floor of the Senate and stupidly made him conduct his press conference in the rain. With the nation still laughing at this stupidity—excellent example of unchaperoned ninnies—Burris was sworn in, with his detractors suffering a ton of egg-on-their-faces. Besides their stupidity, the “politically terroristic trio” evinced the nth degree of corruptibility.

Stupidity ran amok during the days after Michael Brown, a black, was killed by a white policeman on 09 August within minutes after he had been caught on surveillance camera in Ferguson, Missouri, assaulting a store-clerk and then robbing him. The policeman, Darren Wilson, simply asked Brown, who was high on marijuana, and his friend to stop walking in the middle of a two-lane street, so Brown allegedly assaulted the policeman inside the police-car, necessitating treatment for Wilson in the nearby hospital emergency room but not until after he had shot Brown, who probably thought Wilson knew about the robbery and may have tried to take him down outside the car.

The facts have not been made public by law-enforcement or other agency, so no one knows yet precisely what happened. The affair is being examined by a grand jury, meaning that responsible (not stupid) officials should wait until this examination is complete before saying or doing anything. The key witness, Brown's friend, lied to police in 2011 in Jefferson City (gave wrong name and age), when he was arrested for alleged theft, didn't show up in court and is now under an outstanding arrest warrant, so his already expressed account is worth zilch.

Stupidity on a grand scale! U.S. Attorney General Holder stupidly sent at least 40 FBI agents to push out the locals in a garden variety death-by-cop episode handled every day in courthouses across the nation. He had already established Wilson's guilt and stupidly meant to prove it. The Missouri governor stupidly got in on the act by calling for a thorough prosecution, certainly not of Brown. Later, President Obama directed the Department of Justice (Holder again) to whip up a separate federal civil rights investigation, all of this without any actionable information about what happened! That will come from the grand jury while all the legal eagles chill out, maybe by October.

It was obvious that a marvelous excuse for looting and burning buildings had fallen into the laps of the New Black Panther ilk—all in the form of protests, of course. Rabble-rousing outfits invaded from all over the country and cowed the the town. The governor called out the state police, then stupidly called out the National Guard, a stupid bit of overkill, and declared an ignored curfew, all while stupid pundits and officials were screaming about an overkill-military-police-presence, stupidly expecting the law-guys to be Molotov-cocktail-bombed to death without raising even a pea-shooter.

Stupidity grew incomprehensibly when Obama appointed Al Sharpton as liaison between the White House and Ferguson, reporting to White House hack Valerie Jarrett (taking the sun in New England with the prez). Sharpton, best known for the Tawana Brawley fraud, for which he was convicted, owes New York state $806,875 in back-taxes, but that's chump change to what he owes the U.S. government in unpaid personal income taxes, a cool $2.6 million.

The epitome of stupidity was reached when Obama sent a delegation from the White House to the Brown funeral, sort of like his “selfie” trip to Mandela's funeral in South Africa. During this time-frame, there was no delegation (certainly not the president or vice president) just across the river in Arlington at the funeral of Major General Green, killed in action in Afghanistan (shot four times in the back and once in the leg by a “friendly Afghan policeman”). Obama was in golfing-mode and Biden might have had trouble finding Arlington anyway.

Naw...stupidity is too nice. The definition of idiocy is extreme mental retardation: something notably stupid or foolish. The administration is a mental hospital run by the idiots.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Ransom/Hostage Question

Especially in light of the beheading of Global Post reporter James Foley by an ISIS Muslim butcher in Syria a few days ago, the question of ransoms-for-cash (or anything else) deserves attention. Some believe the U.S. government should have made an effort, and, indeed, the ISIS gang had offered Foley up for $132.5 million, according to reports (probably untrue). The Global Post was in the process of trying to come up with $5 million, sort of the going rate for ransoms these days but ISIS is said to be loaded with cash and probably meant to kill Foley anyway.

President Obama had no problem giving up five Muslim butchers from Gitmo earlier this year for the freedom of Bowe Bergdahl, promoted to sergeant while in “captivity” (or whatever his status was) accruing to his connection with Afghan rebels for five years or so. Bergdahl, according to reports, shipped his personal stuff home, dumped his military gear in his living facility and in front of witnesses simply walked away from camp with no obvious intent to return to the U.S. Army. Either that, or he was dumb as a gourd to take a solo walk downtown, or down-village, armed or unarmed.

Concerning army regulations, Bergdahl committed desertion but was heartily welcomed home by Obama and is treated royally in Texas. Reportedly, six fellow GIs were killed in the search for Bergdahl in Afghanistan. He's been considered a prisoner-of-war by some though he was not taken prisoner in any action and, anyway, the U.S. is not in a declared war. If it were and Bergdahl judged to be a deserter, he would be subject to the death penalty.

At least two desertion protocols that apply to Bergdahl are, (1) If a member deserted, but voluntarily returned to military control: Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, reduction to the lowest enlisted grade, and confinement for two years. (2) If the member deserted with the intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service (an example of this would be a member ordered to deploy to Iraq and then deserts to avoid the deployment): Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, reduction to the lowest enlisted grade, and confinement for 5 years.

In the warm-fuzzy political-correctness atmosphere of today, Bergdahl, deserter or not, will probably escape unharmed and may even get his back pay ($200,000) plus appropriate perks such as housing allowances amounting to some $150,000 or so—total: around $350,000. According to fellow soldiers, Bergdahl deserted; however, he returned voluntarily (or was he even asked?) in taking part in the Gitmo swap. That would seem to accrue to (1) above.

If he actually deserted account dodging his duty and showed up back home due to the U.S. grabbing him (actually bartering for him), Number (2) would seem to apply, though Bergdahl is reportedly looking forward to an imminent discharge anyway and “getting on with his life.” It remains to be seen whether that happens or he winds up penniless in the stockade or some federal prison for five years.

His legal eagles (available in military, also) may take the PTSD route for him or simply try to prove he was insane when he walked out of camp. He had joined the Coast Guard previously but left after only 26 days of boot camp and was given an “uncharacterized discharge” with no specifics. He may come clean strictly on the basis of the fact that he should never have been in the army in the first place...with $350,000 in the bargain.

If he was unfit and improperly vetted (both possible), the government may owe him because it owns him. If he was just clever, the same applies and rescue was appropriate. This is not the case with Foley, for whom the Global Post, if any entity other than himself, was responsible, and not the government.

CBS reporter Lara Logan claimed she was gang-raped during the celebrations in Cairo's Tahrir Square in early 2011 but she didn't have to be there, just as Foley didn't have to be in Syria. The president authorized an unsuccessful operation to rescue Foley and some others but in doing so he merely put the safety of civilians above that of American GIs. They could all have been killed.

Civilians entering danger-zones on their own, especially after being warned away, should not be eligible for always-risky rescue-by-government. This is the difference between the Foley case and President Carter's failed attempt to rescue U.S.-embassy personnel in Teheran in 1979.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark