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A policeman noticed an old lady standing on a street corner during a sudden windstorm. She was bracing herself by holding a light post with one hand, and she was holding her hat snugly against her head with her other hand.

Unfortunately, a strong gust blew her dress upward, and it continued to flap in the wind, exposing her privates for everyone to see.

The policeman asked, "Hey Lady, everybody is taking a look at what you've got. Don't you think that pulling your dress down is more important than worrying about your hat?"

"Look, sonny,.... What these people are looking at is 85 years old...But this friggin hat is BRAND NEW!"


If you love something, set it free.

If it comes back, it was, and always will be yours.

If it never returns, it was never yours to begin with.

If it just sits in your living room, messes up your stuff, eats your food, takes your money, and never behaves as if you actually set it free in the first place, you either married it or gave birth to it.


WASHINGTON — A new report released by the Department of Veterans Affairs has revealed that some troops who have been shot in the head may suffer mild to severe brain injury in certain cases.

The comprehensive study took chief researcher Dr. Rich Meecham and his team decades to perform, and Meecham says there is a chance the results may impact the disability ratings of a small number of qualified veterans.

“We looked at the data from those troops who have suffered gunshot wounds to the head in the past, and we determined there is at least a moderate chance of those patients suffering some sort of cranial injury,” said Meecham. “This is especially true in those without proper diet and exercise.”

Meecham added that tobacco use and violation of grooming regulations greatly increased the risk of suffering an injury after receiving a bullet in the skull. He and his team pored over hundreds of files and X-ray images to determine just what the side effects of such an injury could be. Their ultimate goal is to establish a set of guidelines for diagnosing and treating gunshot wounds to the head, but they say the project could take decades.

Currently, the only VA-approved treatment is Motrin and hydration.

The study has also looked at previous research that certain at-risk populations of service members who step on IEDs may face potential trauma to their lower extremities.

“The results are inconclusive, but it does appear that stepping on IEDs may lead to foot and leg injuries, and even death,” he added. “Especially if you don’t blouse your boots.”


6:30 is the best time on a clock...

...hands down.


Things that you can trust more than a liberal or their ilk:

• Mexican tap water
• A wolverine with a 'pet me' sign
• A mixed drink made by Bill Cosby
• A straight edge shave from Jodi Arias
• An elevator ride with Ray Rice
• Pete Carroll coaching decisions
• Loch Ness monster sightings
• OJ Simpson showing me his knife collection
• A North Korea "Satellite" launch
• Hilary Clinton's investigation into Benghazi
• Prayers for peace from Al Sharpton
• Gas station Sushi
• Casey Anthony babysitting ads on craigslist
• Bill Clinton's claim he never had inappropriate relationships
• Michael Jackson's Doctor
• DNC's IT department
• A Jeffery Dahmer dinner invitation
• A factory packed parachute
• A Federal Reserve audit
• An Afghan wearing a backpack
• A North Korea trial by jury
• Democrat Congressman Hank Johnson's warning that the island of Guam will capsize.
• A Chinese newspaper
• Electronic Voting Machines
• A business proposition from the Nigerian Minister of Finance
• A week old tuna fish sandwich found on a city bus

Issue of the Times;
He Fights. by Evan Sayet

My Leftist friends (as well as many ardent #Never Trumpers) constantly ask me if I'm not bothered by Donald Trump's lack of decorum.

They ask if I don't think his tweets are "beneath the dignity of the office." Here's my answer: We Right-thinking people have tried dignity. There could not have been a man of more quiet dignity than George W. Bush as he suffered the outrageous lies and politically motivated hatreds that undermined his presidency. We tried statesmanship.

Could there be another human being on this earth who so desperately prized "collegiality" as John McCain? We tried propriety has there been a nicer human being ever than Mitt Romney? And the results were always the same.

This is because, while we were playing by the rules of dignity, collegiality and propriety, the Left has been, for the past 60 years, engaged in a knife fight where the only rules are those of Saul Alinsky and the Chicago mob.

I don't find anything "dignified," "collegial" or "proper" about Barack Obama's lying about what went down on the streets of Ferguson in order to ramp up racial hatreds because racial hatreds serve the Democratic Party.

I don't see anything "dignified" in lying about the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi and imprisoning an innocent filmmaker to cover your tracks. I don't see anything "statesman-like" in weaponizing the IRS to be used to destroy your political opponents and any dissent. Yes, Obama was "articulate" and "polished" but in no way was he in the least bit "dignified," "collegial" or "proper."

The Left has been engaged in a war against America since the rise of the Children of the '60s. To them, it has been an all-out war where nothing is held sacred and nothing is seen as beyond the pale. It has been a war they've fought with violence, the threat of violence, demagoguery and lies from day one the violent take-over of the universities till today.

The problem is that, through these years, the Left has been the only side fighting this war. While the Left has been taking a knife to anyone who stands in their way, the Right has continued to act with dignity, collegiality and propriety. With Donald Trump, this all has come to an end. Donald Trump is America 's first wartime president in the Culture War.

During wartime, things like "dignity" and "collegiality" simply aren't the most essential qualities one looks for in their warriors. Ulysses Grant was a drunk whose behavior in peacetime might well have seen him drummed out of the Army for conduct unbecoming.

Had Abraham Lincoln applied the peacetime rules of propriety and booted Grant, the Democrats might well still be holding their slaves today. Lincoln rightly recognized that, "I cannot spare this man. He fights..."

General George Patton was a vulgar-talking, son-of-a-bitch. In peacetime, this might have seen him stripped of rank. But, had Franklin Roosevelt applied the normal rules of decorum then, Hitler and the Socialists would be five decades into their thousand-year Reich.

Trump is fighting. And what's particularly delicious is that, like Patton standing over the battlefield as his tanks obliterated Rommel's, he's shouting, "You magnificent bastard, I read your book!" That is just the icing on the cake, but it's wonderful to see that not only is Trump fighting, he's defeating the Left using their own tactics.

That book is Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals a book so essential to the Liberals' war against America that it is and was the playbook for the entire Obama administration and the subject of Hillary Clinton's senior thesis. It is a book of such pure evil, that, just as the rest of us would dedicate our book to those we most love or those to whom we are most indebted, Alinsky dedicated his book to Lucifer.

Trump's tweets may seem rash and unconsidered but, in reality, he is doing exactly what Alinsky suggested his followers do. First, instead of going after "the fake media" and they are so fake that they have literally gotten every single significant story of the past 60 years not just wrong, but diametrically opposed to the truth, from the Tet Offensive to Benghazi, to what really happened on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri Trump isolated CNN. He made it personal.

Then, just as Alinsky suggests, he employs ridicule which Alinsky described as "the most powerful weapon of all." ... Most importantly, Trump's tweets have put CNN in an untenable and unwinnable position. ... They need to respond. This leaves them with only two choices. They can either "go high" (as Hillary would disingenuously declare of herself and the fake news would disingenuously report as the truth) and begin to honestly and accurately report the news or they can double-down on their usual tactics and hope to defeat Trump with twice their usual hysteria and demagoguery. The problem for CNN (et al.) with the former is that, if they were to start honestly reporting the news, that would be the end of the Democratic Party they serve.

It is nothing but the incessant use of fake news (read: propaganda) that keeps the Left alive... Imagine, for example, if CNN had honestly and accurately reported then-candidate Barack Obama's close ties to foreign terrorists (Rashid Khalidi), domestic terrorists (William Ayers), the mafia (Tony Rezko) or the true evils of his spiritual mentor, Jeremiah Wright's church. Imagine if they had honestly and accurately conveyed the evils of the Obama administration's weaponizing of the IRS to be used against their political opponents or his running of guns to the Mexican cartels or the truth about the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the Obama administration's cover-up.

So, to my friends on the Left and the #Never Trumpers as well do I wish we lived in a time when our president could be "collegial" and "dignified" and "proper"? Of course I do. These aren't those times. This is war. And it's a war that the Left has been fighting without opposition for the past 50 years.

So, say anything you want about this president - I get it - he can be vulgar, he can be crude, he can be undignified at times. I don't care. I can't spare this man. He fights for America!

Quote of the Times;
"There is no left and right. There is only tyranny and freedom." – Trump

Link of the Times;
In times of medical crisis you learn to make lifestyle adjustments.

For example, when my hernia prevented me from doing heavy lifting, I switched from cat burglaring to stealing intellectual property.


Ocasio-Cortez Praises Venezuela For Making Everyone A Millionaire Through Hyperinflation

NEW YORK, NY—In an interview on Meet the Press Sunday, Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez scolded American leaders for not setting the minimum wage as high as Venezuela, whose hyper-inflated currency is forcing minimum wage increases all year long.

Ocasio-Cortez then pointed out that if we would just raise the minimum wage to somewhere in the millions like the socialist South American country did, everyone will be a millionaire.

“Venezuela’s minimum wage is, like, millions per month, and ours isn’t even close to that,” she said. “Our minimum wage is, like, seven bucks or something. We call ourselves a developed country, but we don’t even just like print nearly as much money as Venezuela and give it out for free, because of businesses and corporations and things like that.”

She also called Venezuela’s leaders “really smart” for overloading the economy with more currency, and called on America’s leadership to do the same. “It just goes to show that socialism is better because you can inflate the currency to a lot more, and more is better than less, obviously.”

“It’s just common sense, and you know, like, human rights and stuff,” she added.



A cow with no lips.


New statistics say that the U.S. divorce rate is at its lowest level since 1970, when officials first started tracking Larry King.

Paris Hilton might end up serving only half of her prison sentence, because she's a first-time offender and the over-crowded prisons. Paris has always been a fan of short sentences: "That's hot!", "Whatever!", etc.

You know Jared Fogel as "the Subway guy"... but a web site claims that back in his college days at Indiana University, Jared ran a porn video rental biz out of his bedroom. Back then, "Subway Sandwich" had an entirely different meaning.

Sting's wife, Trudie, is really upset that she was recently portrayed in a wrongful firing suit as a "monstrous tyrant." In fact, she was so mad, she stormed through the downtown area, destroying buildings and flipping over cars.

The big controversy in Milan, Italy, these days is a giant 70-foot floating statue of a naked man. The artist says the biggest challenges with the artwork is maintaining the proper balance of helium and keeping George Michael off of it.

John Lattimer, a world-renowned urologist, has pissed away. I'm sorry, that should be "passed away."

Sylvester Stallone has pled guilty to importing a banned substance into Australia, but he's still denying any involvement with "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot!"

An environmental group says that we now have only five years left to save the earth. I just financed a new car for six years, so that means I'll save a whole year in car payments.


What did the drummer call his two daughters?

Anna One, Anna two.

Issue of the Times;
The Great Betrayal of Rhodesia by Kiron Solari

To modern generations, Rhodesia is just a name. Few know what it was, even fewer can find it on the map. Those who caught the Cold War might recall bits and pieces of information, little of it true or trustworthy. And yet, history of this country’s birth, struggle and demise contains a lesson that is, now more than ever, extremely valuable – especially to those still enamored with modern political games.

Humble beginnings

In 1890, a column of 380 rugged men crossed the Limpopo River and marched northwards. Their leader, a British mining tycoon Cecil Rhodes, had just received a Queen’s charter for his British South African Company to explore and govern these wild lands. Eventually, the Union Jack was planted into the ground, marking the foundation of Fort Salisbury. It took some time and plenty of fighting, negotiations and quelled uprisings, but ultimately the two local tribes – Matabele and Shona – were forced to cease their endless wars and coexist in grudging peace, while whites acquired land for farming and raising cattle.

Unlike other territories governed by the British Crown, this one was not a colony but rather private property of Cecil Rhodes and his company. Likewise, unlike British colonies, this one attracted serious, determined and hardy people rather than lowlifes, criminals and fortune-seekers. After Rhodes’ death, the territory was named in his honor. Northern and northeastern parts of it were at one point handed over to the Crown as protectorates, while Southern Rhodesia, as it became known, remained nominally independent.

Despite considering themselves to be “The Great White Tribe” and a separate people, Rhodesians, being mostly of Anglo-Saxon stock, retained fierce loyalty to Britain. When WWI broke out, 5000 men – approximately 25% of their population – volunteered to fight under the British flag.

After the war, Southern Rhodesia flourished. Its economy was well-developed and racial troubles, despite past conflicts, were nearly nonexistent. London, heartened by Rhodesians’ wartime contributions, gave them a choice: join the South African Union as its fifth province or become a self-governing territory with a “responsible government” (full privileges except for foreign policy). The referendum held in 1922 revealed that Rhodesians would rather live separately.

Dark clouds on the horizon

After World War II, when nationalist movements began to gain strength in Africa, London attempted to create a new public entity – the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. This experiment disintegrated miserably in 1963, and Southern Rhodesia got its status of a special dominion back. The federation’s former constituents were hastily given independence – all except one. Rhodesians were instead admonished for failing to sustain the stillborn state. Such was Britain’s gratitude for over 25,000 capable Rhodies volunteering to fight on its side in WWII.

In the 1950s, the process of decolonization was launched. The West’s combination of fatigue from two world wars, general lack of political will and reluctance to deal with external issues led to declarations of independence getting distributed to African colonies like hot cakes. Transition from colony to state sometimes happened in less than a month. The world welcomed the “liberation” while timidly avoiding the resulting chaos, mass murder and civil wars.

Simply put, African countries could not handle the gift of independence. In addition, the very notion of races being different was deemed unacceptable in the West. A man labeled a racist could not count on a good public career, etc. Of course, this applied only to whites – tribal warfare and genocides in nascent African countries were politely ignored.

While the West was busy prostrating itself before cannibalistic tyrants and warlords, USSR and China wasted no time in making them dance to their tune. Communist agents and ideologues actively formented uprisings and wars in Africa, exchanging arms for access to natural resources. Most African “leaders” never realized their countries’ transformation back into colonies, albeit under a different owner.

Rhodesians, who lived in a peaceful, quiet and largely problem-free country, could only look upon the unfolding events in horror. Since the end of the 19th century and until 1962, Rhodesian policemen were unarmed. Self-government was carried out with the help of tribal leaders and local administrations. Unemployment was minimal, skilled immigration high, and in terms of living standards Southern Rhodesia outpaced nearly all of Africa. Rhodesian agricultural products were highly valued worldwide – marbled beef was considered a delicacy, wines competed with South Africa’s own, and neighboring countries were supplied in abundance with maize, tea and tobacco.

Apartheid, the world’s boogeyman, never existed in Southern Rhodesia, and neither did acute racial tensions – the vast majority of blacks simply did not care that they were ruled by Whites, as long as the latter kept building schools, hospitals and providing them with work and housing. However, the so-called civilized world was not happy with this, and Britain especially so.

The fracture

Hatred that British diplomats David Owen and Harold Wilson had for the small African state bordered on pathological. To an average Rhodesian, these two were no better than Mugabe and Nkomo.

Under pressure from the Organization of African Unity (a club of cannibals if there ever was one), Britain took back its promise of independence to Rhodesia, on the grounds that it should be ruled by the black majority rather than the white minority. Rhodesia’s 40-year experience of sensible self-government, regular free elections and peaceful coexistence between races was callously ignored.

To pacify the “polite society” and the OAU, Britain was prepared to surrender Rhodesia to African dictators’ tender mercies. What it was not prepared for was the tiny country itself deciding to take the bull by the horns. In 1964, the Rhodesian Front party, led by a WWII hero Ian Smith, was elected into power. On November 11, 1965, after lengthy and unsuccessful negotiations aimed at finding a solution that suited everyone, Ian Smith unilaterally declared Rhodesia’s independence.

This move caught the West completely off-guard, and was immediately branded a “racist revolt”. British political opossums did all in their power to impose an international economic embargo on Rhodesia and fight its recognition. However, South Africa (itself a pariah state) and Portugal expressed their support for the new country and resumed their already well-established trade relations with it.

Britain’s tantrums and whining gave the communist bloc a perfect excuse to start openly funding and arming black terrorist organizations aimed at overthrowing the Rhodesian government. Robert Mugabe’s ZANU received help from China and North Korea, while Joshua Nkomo’s ZAPU was assisted and advised by USSR. The two movements, being comprised respectively of Shona and Matabele peoples, were bitter enemies, with a common goal the only thing uniting them.

The West itself had cold feet about direct military intervention against the upstart state, for two good reasons. Firstly, the Rhodesians were well-known for their fighting prowess and relentlessness – during WWII, they formed the backbone of British commandos in North Africa. Secondly, there was a threat of rebellion in Britain’s own armed forces, as family ties between Brits and Rhodesians were extremely close. Therefore, the West confined itself to denouncements, resolutions, political trickery and supplying terrorists with food and gear.

Against overwhelming odds

At first the conflict was limited to sporadic attacks, armed robberies and murders, but due to generous support from both East and West, it quickly evolved into full-scale war. Mozambique, Botswana, and Zambia eagerly provided terrorists with staging grounds for their raids on Rhodesian farms and border villages. With the help of sympathizing mass media, terrorists tried to inform everyone that a new Chimurenga was on – a war of liberation similar to the one their ancestors waged at the end of the 19th century against the “white invaders”.

Naturally, nobody cared that these same invaders had turned a barren territory into a developed land, that it was thanks to them the vast majority of local blacks had jobs, and that the main victims of this “liberation” were primarily blacks themselves – ordinary farmers, herdboys, priests and doctors.

To combat the terrorist threat, the Rhodesian Security Forces had to develop a unique fighting method, eventually becoming the most efficient military force of all that ever appeared south of the Sahara Desert. For all intents and purposes, they set an impossible standard – sometimes Rhodesian Light Infantry paratroopers flew three combat sorties a day, while the Selous Scouts managed to exterminate 70% of all who ever took up arms against Rhodesia over the 7 years of the unit’s existence.

But despite the wonders worked by its soldiers, fighting against what amounted to the entire world was extremely difficult for an unrecognized country with very limited resources. Contrary to media portrayals of him, Ian Smith was no rogue autocrat; he was open both to negotiation and the idea of reconciliation, but only on terms favorable to Rhodesia. In the endless talks that served as a backdrop to the 15-year war, his opponents never failed to take advantage of his honesty.

British diplomats’ favorite trick was to sign an agreement with Smith, ensure he kept his side of the bargain and then conveniently forget about theirs. American President Jimmy Carter was no better, refusing to acknowledge Smith at all but eagerly providing political platforms and assistance to both Mugabe and Nkomo.

Western media spared no expense in demonizing Rhodesia, either: journalists would photograph blacks sleeping in Salisbury parks during siesta and then claim they had been shot by Rhodesian soldiers. A particularly despicable bunch of presstitutes once tossed a few coins into a garbage bin in front of some black kids, who, upon attempting to retrieve them, made the world’s headlines as “children starved by the Smith regime”.

As for layers of filth heaped upon Rhodesia by humanitarian and religious organizations, they are too numerous to even begin to describe. The UN and the World Council of Churches united the entire West’s charity workers and do-gooders in an effort to feed and clothe the terrorists, who returned the favor by massacring as many Rhodesian priests, charity workers and do-gooders as they could.

Last drops of blood

Embittered by constant betrayals from those they once viewed as friends and allies, Rhodesians grimly fought on until they no longer could. With the country’s oil reserves depleted, Ian Smith had no choice but to cave to international pressure and negotiate formation of a new government. The 1979 election resulted in Abel Muzorewa, a black bishop, becoming the new prime minister, and the country renamed to Zimbabwe-Rhodesia. Theoretically, black majority rule – the condition for lifting the economic embargo – was achieved.

The Organization of African Unity, however, was not so easily pleased, as neither Mugabe nor Nkomo were allowed to participate in the election, for the obvious reason of being terrorists. All it took was a promise to sway black American voters in Jimmy Carter’s favor and a threat of halting Nigerian oil shipments to Britain for the two superpowers to immediately come to heel. The embargo remained in place. With the “assistance” of the British government, new negotiations began, as a result of which Muzorewa’s government resigned, and at the beginning of 1980 a new election was scheduled.

The election campaign’s motto was simple – vote Mugabe or die along with your family. Terrorists ran rampant across the country, spreading the message at gunpoint. Voter intimidation was ubiquitous, but London declared the elections to be the most transparent and honest of all conducted on the African continent.

In the meantime, “international observers” from the British Commonwealth were making sure the Rhodesian army was disarmed, while politely ignoring Mugabe’s gun-toting goons. Immediately after a landslide victory, Mugabe rallied his forces and began exterminating the rival Matabele tribe, killing over 25,000 and turning many more into refugees. London let it slide.

Terminus est

The rest is history: it took the creature hailed by the entire world as a freedom fighter less than a decade to turn the Breadbasket of Africa into a basket case. White Rhodesians fled “Zimbabwe” in their entirety; of course, not a single British or American politician deigned to as much as apologize to them for what had been done to their country. The West simply carries on, fiercely proud of its policies and laws being democratic, impartial and fair… until they’re not.

Quote of the Times;
A tribe's greatness is figured on how mighty its enemies are.

Link of the Times;
On a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon, Amanpreet stood on the first tee at his country club.

He's just pulled out his driver when Judi, wearing a wedding dress, came running up to him, crying.

"You BASTARD!" she screamed in his face. "You lousy, no-good God damned BASTARD!"

Amanpreet calmly replied. "Judi, hon, what's the problem? I distinctly told you *only* if it rained . . . "


“My dad is a union painter, he always used to tell a joke that goes “Do you know why women love painters?

Because we know it’s 90% prep, 10% finishing with long smooth strokes.”.


My girlfriend borrowed $100 from me. After three years, when we broke up, she returned exactly $100. I lost interest in that relationship.

I asked my wife if I was the only one she’s been with. She said, “Yes, the others were at least sevens or eights.”

Nobody ever asks how Coca-Cola is doing. It’s always, “Is Pepsi okay?”

A man was arrested and taken to an interrogation room. He said to the police officer, “I’m not saying a word without my lawyer present.” The policeman said, “You are the lawyer. ” The man replied: “Exactly. So where’s my present?”

The word “nothing” is a palindrome. “Nothing” reversed is “Gnihton,” which also means nothing.

How many “friend-zoned” guys does it take to change a light bulb? None. They’ll just compliment the bulb and get pissed when it won’t screw.

I called in sick this morning on account of diarrhea. My boss told me to get my shit together.

How do you say “‘Sup, dawg?” in Japanese? “Konichihuahua.”

My wife hates it when our hot next-door neighbor sunbathes topless in her yard. Personally, I’m on the fence.

All of my friends told me that “icy” is the easiest word to spell. And after looking at it, I see why.

What do you call a spider with 20 eyes? Spiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiider.


SAN FRANCISCO — Silicon Valley technology giants Apple, Facebook and Google, in a rare joint statement, condemned the National Security Agency and other government organizations for mining internet users’ private data on Thursday.
The media titans called the agency “un-American” and vowed not to cooperate with federal agencies and authorities unless directed by a lawful court order or warrant.
“We are appalled that the federal government would spy on its own citizens, who have not been accused of any crime or infraction,” said Alexandra Forrest, a Google spokeswoman.
“We are shocked that the NSA and other government bodies, such as the FBI and ATF, use their processing power to ‘crack’ phones of people who aren’t there to defend themselves — a complete violation of our citizens’ confidence,” she added, before pausing to read notifications on her Android phone informing her of lawyers in her area and an interesting movie that just came on Netflix called “Confidence.”

Apple also sharply criticized the signals intelligence agency.
“We at Apple are also shocked that the National Security Agency would use its unassailable might to conceivably pressure private citizens and organizations to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do,” a spokesman told reporters in a statement written on an iPhone, which was assembled in Senegal by an orphan child dying of nickel poisoning making an entire two farthings a day.
“At Facebook, we’ve taken steps to ensure that none of our employees are working on projects for the Department of Defense, which could theoretically be used to kill innocent people in foreign lands,” said Facebook spokeswoman Irani Rael. “We’re also happy to announce that we’ve added a ‘fake’ descriptor sticker to the Facebook feeds of anybody who’s ever voted for a Republican or Libertarian candidate, which we are able to determine by looking at your bank accounts.”
“How are you enjoying those anal beads and the Daniel Craig pillowslip you purchased at 11:35 PM on the night of May 6th?” Rael then asked a reporter in attendance.
At press time, journalists and stock analysts were hailing the tech companies’ stance, calling it a big step forward for privacy, especially after they were all anonymously emailed an Excel spreadsheet of everything they’ve ever posted online, even in Incognito mode.

One time I applied for a job, the form clearly asked, "Age of Father, if living," and the same question for my mom.

I wrote down "117" and "115" respectively.

The interviewer asked me if my parents were truly that old.

"No," I said, "but they would be if they were still living."

Issue of the Times;
Why the Best Things in Life are all Backwards by Mark Manson

There’s a part of Navy SEAL training called “drown-proofing” where they bind your hands behind your back, tie your feet together, and dump you into a 9-foot-deep pool.

Your job is to survive for five minutes.

Like most of SEAL training, the vast majority of cadets who attempt drown-proofing fail. Upon being tossed into the water, many of them panic and scream to be lifted back out. Some struggle until they slip underwater where they proceed to lose consciousness and have to be fished out and resuscitated. Over the years, a number of trainees have even died during the exercise.

But some people make it. And they do so because they understand two counterintuitive lessons.

The first lesson of drown-proofing is paradoxical: the more you struggle to keep your head above water, the more likely you are to sink.

With your arms and legs bound, it’s impossible to maintain yourself at the surface for the full five minutes. Even worse, your limited attempts to keep your body afloat will only cause you to sink faster. The trick to drown-proofing is to actually let yourself sink to the bottom of the pool. From there, you lightly push yourself off the pool floor and let your momentum carry you back to the surface. Once there, you can grab a quick breath of air and start the whole process over again.

Strangely, surviving drown-proofing requires no superhuman strength or endurance. It doesn’t even require that you know how to swim. On the contrary, it requires the ability to not swim. Instead of resisting the physics that would normally kill you, you must surrender to them and use them to save your own life.

The second lesson of drown-proofing is a bit more obvious, but also paradoxical: the more you panic, the more oxygen you will burn and the more likely you are to fall unconscious and drown. In a sick and twisted way, the exercise turns your survival instinct against you: the more intense your desire to breathe, the less you will able to breathe. The more intense your will to live, the greater the chance you will die.

More than a test of physical will, drown-proofing is a test of each cadet’s emotional self-control in situations of extreme danger. Can he control his own impulses? Can he relax in the face of potential death? Can he willingly risk his life in the service of some higher value or goal?

These skills are far more important than any cadet’s ability to swim. They’re more important than his resilience, his physical toughness, or his ambition. They’re more important than how smart he is, what school he went to, or how damn good he looks in a crisp Italian suit.

This skill — the ability to let go of control when one wants it most — is one of the most important skills anyone can develop. And not just for SEAL training. For life.
Most people assume the relationship between effort and reward is one-to-one. We think that working twice as long will produce twice the results. That caring about a relationship twice as much will make everyone feel twice as loved. That yelling your point twice as loud will make you twice as right.

The assumption here is that most of life exists on a linear curve, that there’s a one-to-one ratio between effort and reward with everything:

A linear relationship

But allow me to inform you — as someone who just tried drinking twice the normal amount of Red Bull so he could finish editing this damn thing — this is almost never true. Most of the world does not exist on a linear curve. Linear relationships only exist for mindless, rote, repetitive tasks — driving a car, filling out reams of paperwork, cleaning the bathroom, etc. In all of these cases, doing something for two hours will double the output of doing it for one hour. But that’s simply because they require no thought or ingenuity.

Most activities in life do not operate along the linear effort/reward curve because most activities in life are not basic nor mindless. Most activities are complex, mentally and/or emotionally taxing, and require adaptation.

Therefore, most activities produce a diminishing returns curve:

A diminishing returns curve

Diminishing returns means that the more you experience something, the less rewarding it becomes. The classic example is money. The difference between earning $20,000 and $40,000 is huge and life-changing. The difference between earning $120,000 and $140,000 means your car has slightly nicer seat heaters. The difference between earning $127,020,000 and $127,040,000 is basically a rounding error on your tax return.

The concept of diminishing returns applies to most experiences that are complex and novel. The number of showers you take in a day; the number of chicken wings you inhale during happy hour; the number of trips home to visit your mother in a year — these are all experiences that start out highly valuable at first but then diminish in value the more frequently you do them (sorry, Mom).

Another example: studies on work productivity show that we’re really only productive for the first four to five hours of each day. Everything after that suffers severe diminished returns, to the point where the difference between working for 12 hours and 16 hours is basically nothing (not counting sleep deprivation).

Friendships operate on a diminishing returns curve. Having one friend is vital. Having two is clearly better than one. But having 10 instead of 9 changes little in your life. And having 21 instead of 20 just makes remembering people’s names that much more difficult.

Sex has diminishing returns, as does eating, sleeping, drinking alcohol, working out at the gym, reading books, taking vacations, hiring employees, consuming caffeine, saving for retirement, scheduling business meetings, studying for an exam, masturbating, staying up late to play video games — the examples are endless. All give back less the more you do them, the more you try, or the more you have. All operate on a diminishing returns curve.

But there’s another curve, one that you’ve probably never seen or heard of before — and that’s largely because I make a lot of this shit up. That’s the inverted curve:

Inverted curve

The inverted curve is the bizarro “Twilight Zone” curve, where effort and reward have a negative correlation — that is, the more effort you put into doing something, the more you will fail to do it.

Drown-proofing exists on an inverted curve. The more effort you put into rising to the surface, the more likely you will be to fail at it. Similarly, the more you want to breathe, the more likely you are to choke on a bunch of chlorinated piss water.

But I know you’re thinking, “So what, Mark? I’ve usually had too many piña coladas to even find the deep end of the pool, much less bind my arms and legs and try to survive in it. Who gives a shit about inverted curves?”

It’s true, few things in life function on an inverted curve. But the few things that do are extremely important. In fact, I will argue that the most important experiences and goals in life all exist on an inverted curve.

Effort and reward have a linear relationship when the action is mindless and simple. Effort and reward have a diminishing returns relationship when the action is complex and multivariate.

But when the action becomes purely psychological—an experience that exists solely within our own consciousness—the relationship between effort and reward becomes inverted.

Pursuing happiness takes you further away from it. Attempts at greater emotional control only remove us from it. The desire for greater freedom is often what causes us to feel trapped. The need to be loved and accepted prevents us from loving and accepting ourselves.

Aldous Huxley once wrote, “The harder we try with the conscious will to do something, the less we shall succeed. Proficiency and results come only to those who have learned the paradoxical art of doing and not doing, or combining relaxation with activity.”

The most fundamental components of our psychology are paradoxical. This is because when we consciously try to create a state of mind, the desire for that state of mind creates a different and often opposite state of mind from the one we’re trying to create.

This is “The Backwards Law”, desiring a positive experience is itself a negative experience; accepting a negative experience is a positive experience.

But this extends to most — if not all — aspects of our mental health and relationships:

Control – The more we strive to control our own feelings and impulses, the more powerless we will feel. Our emotional life is unruly and often uncontrollable, and it’s the desire to control it that makes it worse. Conversely, the more we accept our feelings and impulses, the more we’re able to direct them and process them.

Freedom – The constant desire for more freedom ironically limits us in a number of ways. Similarly, it’s only by limiting ourselves — by choosing and committing to certain things in life — that we truly exercise our freedom.

Happiness – Trying to be happy makes us less happy. Accepting unhappiness makes us happy.

Security – Trying to make ourselves feel as secure as possible generates more insecurity. Being comfortable with uncertainty is what allows us to feel secure.

Love – The more we try to make others love and accept us, the less they will, and more importantly, the less we will love and accept ourselves.

Respect – The more we demand respect from others, the less they will respect us. The more we respect others ourselves, the more they will come to respect us.

Trust – The more we try to make people trust us, the less inclined they will be to do so. The more we trust others, the more they will trust us in return.

Confidence – The more we try to feel confident, the more insecurity and anxiety we will create. The more we accept our faults, the more comfortable we will feel in our own skin.

Change – The more we desperately want to change ourselves, the more we will always feel as though we are not enough. Whereas, the more we accept ourselves, the more we will grow and evolve because we’ll be too busy actually doing cool shit to notice.

Meaning – The more we pursue a deeper meaning or purpose to our lives, the more self-obsessed and shallow we will become. The more we try to add meaning to others’ lives, the more profound impact we will feel.

These internal, psychological experiences exist on an inverted curve because they are both the cause and the effect of the same thing: our minds. When you desire happiness, your mind is simultaneously the thing that is desiring and the target of its own desires.

When it comes to these lofty, abstract, existential goals, our minds are like a dog who, after a lifetime of successfully chasing and catching various small creatures, has turned and decided to exact that same strategy on its own tail. To the dog, this seems logical. After all, chasing has led her to catch everything else in her doggy life. Why not her tail, too?

But a dog can never catch her own tail. The more she chases, the more her tail seems to run away. That’s because the dog lacks the perspective to realize that she and the tail are the exact same thing.

The goal is to take your mind — a wonderful thing that has spent its life learning to chase various creatures — and teach it to stop chasing its own tail. To stop chasing meaning and freedom and happiness because those only serve to move it further away from itself. To teach it to achieve what it desires by giving up what it desires. To show it how the only way to reach the surface is by letting itself sink.

And how do we do this? By letting go. By giving up. By surrendering. Not out of weakness. But out of a respect that the world is beyond our grasp. By recognizing that we are fragile and limited and but temporary specks in the infinite reaches of time. You do it by relinquishing control, not because you feel powerless, but because you are powerful. Because you decide to let go of things that are beyond your control. You decide to accept that sometimes, people won’t like you, that often you will fail, that usually you have no fucking clue what you’re doing.

You lean into the fear and uncertainty, and just when you think you’re going to drown, just as you reach the bottom, it will launch you back to your salvation.

Quote of the Times;
There is nothing that stands still in nature: everything is either expanding or contracting.

Link of the Times;
Prosecutor: Did you kill the victim?

Defendant : No, I did not.

Prosecutor: Do you know what the penalty is for perjury?

Defendant : Yeah, and it's a hell of a lot better than the penalty for murder."


Switzerland attacked its neighboring country, Liechtenstein, three times and by mistake every time.

Switzerland holds a strange record in attacking its neighbor, Liechtenstein. Apparently, Switzerland has attacked Liechtenstein three times in 30 years, surprisingly by mistake each time!

Liechtenstein is a small country only 62 square miles in area. The country has a population of 37,000 people. But in spite of its small size, Liechtenstein is one of the richest countries in the world with one of the lowest unemployment rates. Another thing about Liechtenstein is that it does not have an army of its own. It disbanded its army in 1868 and is one of the 22 countries today without an armed force.

The first time Switzerland attacked Liechtenstein was on December 5, 1985. The Swiss Army was organizing a training exercise that involved launching missiles. Unknowingly, the Swiss Army launched the missiles into the heavily forested Liechtenstein causing a massive forest fire. The Liechtenstein government was very angry and Switzerland had to pay a heavy sum for the environmental damage.

The second attack took place on October 13, 1992. The Swiss Army received orders to set up an observation post in Treisenberg. They followed the orders and marched to Treisenberg. What they didn’t realize was that Treisenberg lies within the territory of Liechtenstein. They marched into Treisenberg with rifles and only later realized that they were in Liechtenstein.

The last attack was on March 1, 2007. A group of Swiss Army infantry soldiers was in training when the weather took a bad turn. There was heavy rainfall and the soldiers were not carrying any GPS or compass. Eventually, they ended up in Liechtenstein! Switzerland apologized to the Liechtenstein government for the intrusion, yet again.


GOP's Secret Weapon

1) Liberals: Conservatives are so paranoid! No one wants to take your guns.

Also liberals: Repeal the 2nd Amendment! No one needs AR-15s! Gun owners are murderers and terrorists!

2) Liberals: College kids need to be protected from hurtful words with safe spaces because they’re so fragile and the poor dears need to be able to stay on their parents’ insurance until 26!

Also liberals: 16 year-olds should be able to vote!

3) Liberals: You can’t criticize Islam! We must be respectful to all religions!

Also liberals: Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using your tax dollars to build a life-size nativity scene made out of pig sh*t!

4) Liberals: We absolutely should not put armed guards in schools to stop shooters! It won’t work! Terrible idea!

Also liberals: There’s a school shooter! Quick, call someone with a gun to save the kids!

5) Liberals: Love trumps hate! When they go low, we go high! Hate has no home here!

Also liberals: You don’t agree with me? BIGOT! RACIST! FASCIST! WHY ARE YOU SO HATEFUL?

6) Liberals: Romney is such an idiot for thinking Russia is our biggest geopolitical threat. Get back in your time machine so you can get back to the Cold War, Grandpa! Ha, hah, ha!

Also liberals: Can we talk about how big a threat Russia is to us? Where are the sanctions? Maybe we should bomb Russia! Why are more people not talking about the danger of Russia?

7) Liberals: We need to do whatever it takes to curb global warming!

Also liberals: Let's all fly overseas in private jets and ride in SUVS to an opulent conference so we can discuss global warming.

8) Liberals: My baby can decide his own gender!

Also liberals: Spanking your child? That’s child abuse!

9) Liberals: We’re a rape culture! Women are under a constant threat of sexual assault from men!

Also liberals: Women should be able to carry guns for protection? That’s insane!

10) Liberals: Diversity is a strength!

Also liberals: No conservatives should be allowed to work for liberal publications, act in Hollywood or teach in schools!

11) Liberals: Donald Trump is another Hitler and the police are racists who are murdering young black men for no reason.

Also liberals: Only the government and police should have guns!

12) Liberals: It’s my body, my choice!

Also liberals: You should be fined by the government if you don’t want to buy health insurance!

13) Liberals: We’re the party of science!

Also liberals: Unborn children aren’t people and you can pick your own gender!

14) Liberals: The death penalty is morally wrong! You can’t do that to another human being, even if he’s a serial killer!

Also liberals: Not even the father of the child has the right to keep a woman from aborting her baby.

15) Liberals: School choice? Vouchers! Those are bad for children! Children should have to go to public schools!

Also (rich) liberals: Of course my kids are going to private school! It’s only the best for my children!

16) Liberals: You don’t want to give more of what you earned to the government? You’re SELFISH!

Also liberals: You want welfare, school lunches and housing you didn’t earn? Don’t be ashamed! There’s nothing wrong with taking it!

17) Liberals: The law is your fist when you're dealing with Nazis! They deserve it!

Also liberals: Everyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi!

18) Liberals: Conservatives are sexists who don’t respect women!

Also liberals: Give me a second; I just called Dana Loesch the c-word on Twitter and I have to like it with all 8 of my fake accounts.

19) Liberals: There is no reason to oppose tearing down Confederate statues other than racism!

Also liberals: The Jefferson Memorial? He was a slave owner; so it should go. William McKinley wasn’t nice enough to the Indians. He has to go! Oh, and let’s destroy Mount Rushmore while we’re at it!

20) Liberals: We need more women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics!

Also liberal women in college: I’m majoring in women’s studies!


U.S.—Sources across the nation confirmed Wednesday that nearly everybody in the country would be willing to give up any and all privacy rights to websites they’ve visited and online services they’ve used as long as all companies they’ve done business with online agree to stop spamming their email inboxes with privacy policy updates.

The nation confirmed it would be totally OK with websites they visited one time seven years ago to purchase something for a Christmas gift handing out their data willy-nilly, on the condition that they stop blowing up their email notifying them about how they’re exploiting user data.

“I no longer care what you know about me or what you do with that data. Just please, I’m begging you, make the emails stop,” one man reportedly replied to the 129th privacy policy update email he’s received in the past day alone. “Sell it to the Russians for all I care. Just don’t email me again. Please. I’m desperate.”

“You’re going to sell my data to research firms, private interest groups, and giant advertising corporations? Great. Knock yourselves out. Just don’t tell me about it,” the man added.

At publishing time, several giant tech companies had gladly agreed to the nation’s demands.


My son is 4 years old, and these weeks and months when he's still innocent are so precious.

Mostly because he doesn't know yet that the crackling cellophane sound means I'm opening a new box of cookies.

Issue of the Times;
John McCain and the POW Cover-Up by Sydney Schanberg

The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.

John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn’t return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents. Thus the war hero who people would logically imagine as a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books.
Almost as striking is the manner in which the mainstream press has shied from reporting the POW story and McCain’s role in it, even as the Republican Party has made McCain’s military service the focus of his presidential campaign. Reporters who had covered the Vietnam War turned their heads and walked in other directions. McCain doesn’t talk about the missing men, and the press never asks him about them.
The sum of the secrets McCain has sought to hide is not small. There exists a telling mass of official documents, radio intercepts, witness depositions, satellite photos of rescue symbols that pilots were trained to use, electronic messages from the ground containing the individual code numbers given to airmen, a rescue mission by a special forces unit that was aborted twice by Washington—and even sworn testimony by two Defense secretaries that “men were left behind.” This imposing body of evidence suggests that a large number—the documents indicate probably hundreds—of the U.S. prisoners held by Vietnam were not returned when the peace treaty was signed in January 1973 and Hanoi released 591 men, among them Navy combat pilot John S. McCain.

Mass of Evidence
The Pentagon had been withholding significant information from POW families for years. What’s more, the Pentagon’s POW/MIA operation had been publicly shamed by internal whistleblowers and POW families for holding back documents as part of a policy of “debunking” POW intelligence even when the information was obviously credible.
The pressure from the families and Vietnam veterans finally forced the creation, in late 1991, of a Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. The chairman was John Kerry. McCain, as a former POW, was its most pivotal member. In the end, the committee became part of the debunking machine.
One of the sharpest critics of the Pentagon’s performance was an insider, Air Force Lt. Gen. Eugene Tighe, who headed the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) during the 1970s. He openly challenged the Pentagon’s position that no live prisoners existed, saying that the evidence proved otherwise. McCain was a bitter opponent of Tighe, who was eventually pushed into retirement.
Included in the evidence that McCain and his government allies suppressed or sought to discredit is a transcript of a senior North Vietnamese general’s briefing of the Hanoi politburo, discovered in Soviet archives by an American scholar in 1993. The briefing took place only four months before the 1973 peace accords. The general, Tran Van Quang, told the politburo members that Hanoi was holding 1,205 American prisoners but would keep many of them at war’s end as leverage to ensure getting war reparations from Washington.
Throughout the Paris negotiations, the North Vietnamese tied the prisoner issue tightly to the issue of reparations. They were adamant in refusing to deal with them separately. Finally, in a Feb. 2, 1973 formal letter to Hanoi’s premier, Pham Van Dong, Nixon pledged $3.25 billion in “postwar reconstruction” aid “without any political conditions.” But he also attached to the letter a codicil that said the aid would be implemented by each party “in accordance with its own constitutional provisions.” That meant Congress would have to approve the appropriation, and Nixon and Kissinger knew well that Congress was in no mood to do so. The North Vietnamese, whether or not they immediately understood the double-talk in the letter, remained skeptical about the reparations promise being honored—and it never was. Hanoi thus appears to have held back prisoners—just as it had done when the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and withdrew their forces from Vietnam. In that case, France paid ransoms for prisoners and brought them home.
In a private briefing in 1992, high-level CIA officials told me that as the years passed and the ransom never came, it became more and more difficult for either government to admit that it knew from the start about the unacknowledged prisoners. Those prisoners had not only become useless as bargaining chips but also posed a risk to Hanoi’s desire to be accepted into the international community. The CIA officials said their intelligence indicated strongly that the remaining men—those who had not died from illness or hard labor or torture—were eventually executed.
My own research, detailed below, has convinced me that it is not likely that more than a few—if any—are alive in captivity today. (That CIA briefing at the Agency’s Langley, Virginia, headquarters was conducted “off the record,” but because the evidence from my own reporting since then has brought me to the same conclusion, I felt there was no longer any point in not writing about the meeting.)
For many reasons, including the absence of a political constituency for the missing men other than their families and some veterans’ groups, very few Americans are aware of the POW story and of McCain’s role in keeping it out of public view and denying the existence of abandoned POWs. That is because McCain has hardly been alone in his campaign to hide the scandal.
The Arizona senator, now the Republican candidate for president, has actually been following the lead of every White House since Richard Nixon’s, and thus of every CIA director, Pentagon chief, and national security adviser, not to mention Dick Cheney, who was George H.W. Bush’s Defense secretary. Their biggest accomplice has been an indolent press, particularly in Washington.

McCain’s Role
An early and critical McCain secrecy move involved 1990 legislation that started in the House of Representatives. A brief and simple document, it was called “the Truth Bill” and would have compelled complete transparency about prisoners and missing men. Its core sentence reads: “[The] head of each department or agency which holds or receives any records and information, including live-sighting reports, which have been correlated or possibly correlated to United States personnel listed as prisoner of war or missing in action from World War II, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam conflict, shall make available to the public all such records held or received by that department or agency.”
Bitterly opposed by the Pentagon (and thus McCain), the bill went nowhere. Reintroduced the following year, it again disappeared. But a few months later, a new measure, known as “the McCain Bill,” suddenly appeared. By creating a bureaucratic maze from which only a fraction of the documents could emerge—only records that revealed no POW secrets—it turned the Truth Bill on its head. The McCain bill became law in 1991 and remains so today. So crushing to transparency are its provisions that it actually spells out for the Pentagon and other agencies several rationales, scenarios, and justifications for not releasing any information at all—even about prisoners discovered alive in captivity. Later that year, the Senate Select Committee was created, where Kerry and McCain ultimately worked together to bury evidence.
McCain was also instrumental in amending the Missing Service Personnel Act, which had been strengthened in 1995 by POW advocates to include criminal penalties, saying, “Any government official who knowingly and willfully withholds from the file of a missing person any information relating to the disappearance or whereabouts and status of a missing person shall be fined as provided in Title 18 or imprisoned not more than one year or both.” A year later, in a closed House-Senate conference on an unrelated military bill, McCain, at the behest of the Pentagon, attached a crippling amendment to the act, stripping out its only enforcement teeth, the criminal penalties, and reducing the obligations of commanders in the field to speedily search for missing men and to report the incidents to the Pentagon.
About the relaxation of POW/MIA obligations on commanders in the field, a public McCain memo said, “This transfers the bureaucracy involved out of the [battle] field to Washington.” He wrote that the original legislation, if left intact, “would accomplish nothing but create new jobs for lawyers and turn military commanders into clerks.”
McCain argued that keeping the criminal penalties would have made it impossible for the Pentagon to find staffers willing to work on POW/MIA matters. That’s an odd argument to make. Were staffers only “willing to work” if they were allowed to conceal POW records? By eviscerating the law, McCain gave his stamp of approval to the government policy of debunking the existence of live POWs.
McCain has insisted again and again that all the evidence—documents, witnesses, satellite photos, two Pentagon chiefs’ sworn testimony, aborted rescue missions, ransom offers apparently scorned—has been woven together by unscrupulous deceivers to create an insidious and unpatriotic myth. He calls it the “bizarre rantings of the MIA hobbyists.” He has regularly vilified those who keep trying to pry out classified documents as “hoaxers,” “charlatans,” “conspiracy theorists,” and “dime-store Rambos.”
Some of McCain’s fellow captives at Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi didn’t share his views about prisoners left behind. Before he died of leukemia in 1999, retired Col. Ted Guy, a highly admired POW and one of the most dogged resisters in the camps, wrote an angry open letter to the senator in an MIA newsletter—a response to McCain’s stream of insults hurled at MIA activists. Guy wrote, “John, does this [the insults] include Senator Bob Smith [a New Hampshire Republican and activist on POW issues] and other concerned elected officials? Does this include the families of the missing where there is overwhelming evidence that their loved ones were ‘last known alive’? Does this include some of your fellow POWs?”
It’s not clear whether the taped confession McCain gave to his captors to avoid further torture has played a role in his postwar behavior in the Senate. That confession was played endlessly over the prison loudspeaker system at Hoa Lo—to try to break down other prisoners—and was broadcast over Hanoi’s state radio. Reportedly, he confessed to being a war criminal who had bombed civilian targets. The Pentagon has a copy of the confession but will not release it. Also, no outsider I know of has ever seen a non-redacted copy of the debriefing of McCain when he returned from captivity, which is classified but could be made public by McCain.
All humans have breaking points. Many men undergoing torture give confessions, often telling huge lies so their fakery will be understood by their comrades and their country. Few will fault them. But it was McCain who apparently felt he had disgraced himself and his military family. His father, John S. McCain II, was a highly regarded rear admiral then serving as commander of all U.S. forces in the Pacific. His grandfather was also a rear admiral.
In his bestselling 1999 autobiography, Faith of My Fathers, McCain says he felt bad throughout his captivity because he knew he was being treated more leniently than his fellow POWs, owing to his high-ranking father and thus his propaganda value. Other prisoners at Hoa Lo say his captors considered him a prize catch and called him the “Crown Prince,” something McCain acknowledges in the book.
Also in this memoir, McCain expresses guilt at having broken under torture and given the confession. “I felt faithless and couldn’t control my despair,” he writes, revealing that he made two “feeble” attempts at suicide. (In later years, he said he tried to hang himself with his shirt and guards intervened.) Tellingly, he says he lived in “dread” that his father would find out about the confession. “I still wince,” he writes, “when I recall wondering if my father had heard of my disgrace.”
He says that when he returned home, he told his father about the confession, but “never discussed it at length”—and the admiral, who died in 1981, didn’t indicate he had heard anything about it before. But he had. In the 1999 memoir, the senator writes, “I only recently learned that the tape … had been broadcast outside the prison and had come to the attention of my father.”
Is McCain haunted by these memories? Does he suppress POW information because its surfacing would rekindle his feelings of shame? On this subject, all I have are questions.
Many stories have been written about McCain’s explosive temper, so volcanic that colleagues are loath to speak openly about it. One veteran congressman who has observed him over the years asked for confidentiality and made this brief comment: “This is a man not at peace with himself.”
He was certainly far from calm on the Senate POW committee. He browbeat expert witnesses who came with information about unreturned POWs. Family members who have personally faced McCain and pressed him to end the secrecy also have been treated to his legendary temper. He has screamed at them, insulted them, brought women to tears. Mostly his responses to them have been versions of: How dare you question my patriotism? In 1996, he roughly pushed aside a group of POW family members who had waited outside a hearing room to appeal to him, including a mother in a wheelchair.
But even without answers to what may be hidden in the recesses of McCain’s mind, one thing about the POW story is clear: if American prisoners were dishonored by being written off and left to die, that’s something the American public ought to know about.

10 Key Pieces of Evidence That Men Were Left Behind
1. In Paris, where the Vietnam peace treaty was negotiated, the United States asked Hanoi for the list of American prisoners to be returned, fearing that Hanoi would hold some prisoners back. The North Vietnamese refused, saying they would produce the list only after the treaty was signed. Nixon agreed with Kissinger that they had no leverage left, and Kissinger signed the accord on Jan. 27, 1973 without the prisoner list. When Hanoi produced its list of 591 prisoners the next day, U.S. intelligence agencies expressed shock at the low number. Their number was hundreds higher. The New York Times published a long, page-one story on Feb. 2, 1973 about the discrepancy, especially raising questions about the number of prisoners held in Laos, only nine of whom were being returned. The headline read, in part, “Laos POW List Shows 9 from U.S.—Document Disappointing to Washington as 311 Were Believed Missing.” And the story, by John Finney, said that other Washington officials “believe the number of prisoners [in Laos] is probably substantially higher.” The paper never followed up with any serious investigative reporting—nor did any other mainstream news organization.
2. Two Defense secretaries who served during the Vietnam War testified to the Senate POW committee in September 1992 that prisoners were not returned. James Schlesinger and Melvin Laird, both speaking at a public session and under oath, said they based their conclusions on strong intelligence data—letters, eyewitness reports, even direct radio contacts. Under questioning, Schlesinger chose his words carefully, understanding clearly the volatility of the issue: “I think that as of now that I can come to no other conclusion … some were left behind.” This ran counter to what President Nixon told the public in a nationally televised speech on March 29, 1973, when the repatriation of the 591 was in motion: “Tonight,” Nixon said, “the day we have all worked and prayed for has finally come. For the first time in 12 years, no American military forces are in Vietnam. All our American POWs are on their way home.” Documents unearthed since then show that aides had already briefed Nixon about the contrary evidence.
Schlesinger was asked by the Senate committee for his explanation of why President Nixon would have made such a statement when he knew Hanoi was still holding prisoners. He replied, “One must assume that we had concluded that the bargaining position of the United States … was quite weak. We were anxious to get our troops out and we were not going to roil the waters…” This testimony struck me as a bombshell. The New York Times appropriately reported it on page one but again there was no sustained follow-up by the Times or any other major paper or national news outlet.
3. Over the years, the DIA received more than 1,600 first-hand sightings of live American prisoners and nearly 14,000 second-hand reports. Many witnesses interrogated by CIA or Pentagon intelligence agents were deemed “credible” in the agents’ reports. Some of the witnesses were given lie-detector tests and passed. Sources provided me with copies of these witness reports, which are impressive in their detail. A lot of the sightings described a secondary tier of prison camps many miles from Hanoi. Yet the DIA, after reviewing all these reports, concluded that they “do not constitute evidence” that men were alive.
4. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, listening stations picked up messages in which Laotian military personnel spoke about moving American prisoners from one labor camp to another. These listening posts were manned by Thai communications officers trained by the National Security Agency (NSA), which monitors signals worldwide. The NSA teams had moved out after the fall of Saigon in 1975 and passed the job to the Thai allies. But when the Thais turned these messages over to Washington, the intelligence community ruled that since the intercepts were made by a “third party”—namely Thailand—they could not be regarded as authentic. That’s some Catch-22: the U.S. trained a third party to take over its role in monitoring signals about POWs, but because that third party did the monitoring, the messages weren’t valid.
Here, from CIA files, is an example that clearly exposes the farce. On Dec. 27, 1980, a Thai military signal team picked up a message saying that prisoners were being moved out of Attopeu (in southern Laos) by aircraft “at 1230 hours.” Three days later a message was sent from the CIA station in Bangkok to the CIA director’s office in Langley. It read, in part: “The prisoners … are now in the valley in permanent location (a prison camp at Nhommarath in Central Laos). They were transferred from Attopeu to work in various places … POWs were formerly kept in caves and are very thin, dark and starving.” Apparently the prisoners were real. But the transmission was declared “invalid” by Washington because the information came from a “third party” and thus could not be deemed credible.
5. A series of what appeared to be distress signals from Vietnam and Laos were captured by the government’s satellite system in the late 1980s and early ’90s. (Before that period, no search for such signals had been put in place.) Not a single one of these markings was ever deemed credible. To the layman’s eye, the satellite photos, some of which I’ve seen, show markings on the ground that are identical to the signals that American pilots had been specifically trained to use in their survival courses—such as certain letters, like X or K, drawn in a special way. Other markings were the secret four-digit authenticator numbers given to individual pilots. But time and again, the Pentagon, backed by the CIA, insisted that humans had not made these markings. What were they, then? “Shadows and vegetation,” the government said, insisting that the markings were merely normal topographical contours like saw-grass or rice-paddy divider walls. It was the automatic response—shadows and vegetation. On one occasion, a Pentagon photo expert refused to go along. It was a missing man’s name gouged into a field, he said, not trampled grass or paddy berms. His bosses responded by bringing in an outside contractor who found instead, yes, shadows and vegetation. This refrain led Bob Taylor, a highly regarded investigator on the Senate committee staff who had examined the photographic evidence, to comment to me: “If grass can spell out people’s names and secret digit codes, then I have a newfound respect for grass.”
6. On Nov. 11, 1992, Dolores Alfond, the sister of missing airman Capt. Victor Apodaca and chair of the National Alliance of Families, an organization of relatives of POW/MIAs, testified at one of the Senate committee’s public hearings. She asked for information about data the government had gathered from electronic devices used in a classified program known as PAVE SPIKE.
The devices were motion sensors, dropped by air, designed to pick up enemy troop movements. Shaped on one end like a spike with an electronic pod and antenna on top, they were designed to stick in the ground as they fell. Air Force planes would drop them along the Ho Chi Minh trail and other supply routes. The devices, though primarily sensors, also had rescue capabilities. Someone on the ground—a downed airman or a prisoner on a labor gang —could manually enter data into the sensor. All data were regularly collected electronically by U.S. planes flying overhead. Alfond stated, without any challenge or contradiction by the committee, that in 1974, a year after the supposedly complete return of prisoners, the gathered data showed that a person or people had manually entered into the sensors—as U.S. pilots had been trained to do—no less than 20 authenticator numbers that corresponded exactly to the classified authenticator numbers of 20 U.S. POWs who were lost in Laos. Alfond added, according to the transcript, “This PAVE SPIKE intelligence is seamless, but the committee has not discussed it or released what it knows about PAVE SPIKE.”
McCain attended that committee hearing specifically to confront Alfond because of her criticism of the panel’s work. He bellowed and berated her for quite a while. His face turning anger-pink, he accused her of “denigrating” his “patriotism.” The bullying had its effect—she began to cry.
After a pause Alfond recovered and tried to respond to his scorching tirade, but McCain simply turned away and stormed out of the room. The PAVE SPIKE file has never been declassified. We still don’t know anything about those 20 POWs.
7. As previously mentioned, in April 1993 in a Moscow archive, a researcher from Harvard, Stephen Morris, unearthed and made public the transcript of a briefing that General Tran Van Quang gave to the Hanoi politburo four months before the signing of the Paris peace accords in 1973.
In the transcript, General Quang told the Hanoi politburo that 1,205 U.S. prisoners were being held. Quang said that many of the prisoners would be held back from Washington after the accords as bargaining chips for war reparations. General Quang’s report added: “This is a big number. Officially, until now, we published a list of only 368 prisoners of war. The rest we have not revealed. The government of the USA knows this well, but it does not know the exact number … and can only make guesses based on its losses. That is why we are keeping the number of prisoners of war secret, in accordance with the politburo’s instructions.” The report then went on to explain in clear and specific language that a large number would be kept back to ensure reparations.
The reaction to the document was immediate. After two decades of denying it had kept any prisoners, Hanoi responded to the revelation by calling the transcript a fabrication.
Similarly, Washington—which had over the same two decades refused to recant Nixon’s declaration that all the prisoners had been returned—also shifted into denial mode. The Pentagon issued a statement saying the document “is replete with errors, omissions and propaganda that seriously damage its credibility,” and that the numbers were “inconsistent with our own accounting.”
Neither American nor Vietnamese officials offered any rationale for who would plant a forged document in the Soviet archives and why they would do so. Certainly neither Washington nor Moscow—closely allied with Hanoi—would have any motive, since the contents were embarrassing to all parties, and since both the United States and Vietnam had consistently denied the existence of unreturned prisoners. The Russian archivists simply said the document was “authentic.”
8. In his 2002 book, Inside Delta Force, retired Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Haney described how in 1981 his special forces unit, after rigorous training for a POW rescue mission, had the mission suddenly aborted, revived a year later, and again abruptly aborted. Haney writes that this abandonment of captured soldiers ate at him for years and left him disillusioned about his government’s vows to leave no men behind. “Years later, I spoke at length with a former highly placed member of the North Vietnamese diplomatic corps, and this person asked me point-blank: ‘Why did the Americans never attempt to recover their remaining POWs after the conclusion of the war?’” Haney writes. He continued, saying that he came to believe senior government officials had called off those missions in 1981 and 1982. (His account is on pages 314 to 321 of my paperback copy of the book.)
9. There is also evidence that in the first months of Ronald Reagan’s presidency in 1981, the White House received a ransom proposal for a number of POWs being held by Hanoi in Indochina. The offer, which was passed to Washington from an official of a third country, was apparently discussed at a meeting in the Roosevelt Room attended by Reagan, Vice President Bush, CIA director William Casey, and National Security Adviser Richard Allen. Allen confirmed the offer in sworn testimony to the Senate POW committee on June 23, 1992.
Allen was allowed to testify behind closed doors and no information was released. But a San Diego Union-Tribune reporter, Robert Caldwell, obtained the portion relating to the ransom offer and reported on it. The ransom request was for $4 billion, Allen testified. He said he told Reagan that “it would be worth the president’s going along and let’s have the negotiation.” When his testimony appeared in the Union-Tribune, Allen quickly wrote a letter to the panel, this time not under oath, recanting the ransom story and claiming his memory had played tricks on him. His new version was that some POW activists had asked him about such an offer in a meeting that took place in 1986, when he was no longer in government. “It appears,” he said in the letter, “that there never was a 1981 meeting about the return of POW/MIAs for $4 billion.”
But the episode didn’t end there. A Treasury agent on Secret Service duty in the White House, John Syphrit, came forward to say he had overheard part of the ransom conversation in the Roosevelt Room in 1981, when the offer was discussed by Reagan, Bush, Casey, Allen, and other cabinet officials.
Syphrit, a veteran of the Vietnam War, told the committee he was willing to testify, but they would have to subpoena him. Treasury opposed his appearance, arguing that voluntary testimony would violate the trust between the Secret Service and those it protects. It was clear that coming in on his own could cost Syphrit his career. The committee voted 7 to 4 not to subpoena him.
In the committee’s final report, dated Jan. 13, 1993 (on page 284), the panel not only chastised Syphrit for his failure to testify without a subpoena (“The committee regrets that the Secret Service agent was unwilling …”), but noted that since Allen had recanted his testimony about the Roosevelt Room briefing, Syphrit’s testimony would have been “at best, uncorroborated by the testimony of any other witness.” The committee omitted any mention that it had made a decision not to ask the other two surviving witnesses, Bush and Reagan, to give testimony under oath. (Casey had died.)
10. In 1990, Col. Millard Peck, a decorated infantry veteran of Vietnam then working at the DIA as chief of the Asia Division for Current Intelligence, asked for the job of chief of the DIA’s Special Office for Prisoners of War and Missing in Action. His reason for seeking the transfer, which was not a promotion, was that he had heard from officials throughout the Pentagon that the POW/MIA office had been turned into a waste-disposal unit for getting rid of unwanted evidence about live prisoners—a “black hole,” these officials called it.
Peck explained all this in his telling resignation letter of Feb. 12, 1991, eight months after he had taken the job. He said he viewed it as “sort of a holy crusade” to restore the integrity of the office but was defeated by the Pentagon machine. The four-page, single-spaced letter was scathing, describing the putative search for missing men as “a cover-up.”
Peck charged that, at its top echelons, the Pentagon had embraced a “mind-set to debunk” all evidence of prisoners left behind. “That national leaders continue to address the prisoner of war and missing in action issue as the ‘highest national priority,’ is a travesty,” he wrote. “The entire charade does not appear to be an honest effort, and may never have been. … Practically all analysis is directed to finding fault with the source. Rarely has there been any effective, active follow through on any of the sightings, nor is there a responsive ‘action arm’ to routinely and aggressively pursue leads.”
“I became painfully aware,” his letter continued, “that I was not really in charge of my own office, but was merely a figurehead or whipping boy for a larger and totally Machiavellian group of players outside of DIA … I feel strongly that this issue is being manipulated and controlled at a higher level, not with the goal of resolving it, but more to obfuscate the question of live prisoners and give the illusion of progress through hyperactivity.” He named no names but said these players are “unscrupulous people in the Government or associated with the Government” who “have maintained their distance and remained hidden in the shadows, while using the [POW] Office as a ‘toxic waste dump’ to bury the whole ‘mess’ out of sight.” Peck added that “military officers … who in some manner have ‘rocked the boat’ [have] quickly come to grief.”
Peck concluded, “From what I have witnessed, it appears that any soldier left in Vietnam, even inadvertently, was, in fact, abandoned years ago, and that the farce that is being played is no more than political legerdemain done with ‘smoke and mirrors’ to stall the issue until it dies a natural death.”
The disillusioned colonel not only resigned but asked to be retired immediately from active military service. The press never followed up.

My Pursuit of the Story
I covered the war in Cambodia and Vietnam, but came to the POW information only slowly afterward, when military officers I knew from that conflict began coming to me with maps and POW sightings and depositions by Vietnamese witnesses.
I was then city editor of the New York Times, no longer involved in foreign or national stories, so I took the data to the appropriate desks and suggested it was material worth pursuing. There were no takers. Some years later, in 1991, when I was an op-ed columnist atNewsday, the aforementioned special Senate committee was formed to probe the POW issue. I saw this as an opening and immersed myself in the reporting.
At Newsday, I wrote 36 columns over a two-year period, as well as a four-part series on a trip I took to North Vietnam to report on what happened to one missing pilot who was shot down over the Ho Chi Minh trail and captured when he parachuted down. After Newsday, I wrote thousands more words on the subject for other outlets. Some of the pieces were about McCain’s key role.
Though I wrote on many subjects for Life, Vanity Fair, and Washington Monthly, my POW articles appeared in Penthouse, the Village Voice, and publications just weren’t interested. Their disinterest was part of what motivated me, and I became one of a very short list of journalists who considered the story important.
Serving in the Army in Germany during the Cold War and witnessing combat firsthand as a reporter in India and Indochina led me to have great respect for those who fight for their country. To my mind, we dishonored U.S. troops when our government failed to bring them home from Vietnam after the 591 others were released—and then claimed they didn’t exist. And politicians dishonor themselves when they pay lip service to the bravery and sacrifice of soldiers only to leave untold numbers behind, rationalizing to themselves that it’s merely one of the unfortunate costs of war.
John McCain—now campaigning for the White House as a war hero, maverick, and straight shooter—owes the voters some explanations. The press were long ago wooed and won by McCain’s seeming openness, Lone Ranger pose, and self-deprecating humor, which may partly explain their ignoring his record on POWs. In the numerous, lengthy McCain profiles that have appeared of late in papers like the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, I may have missed a clause or a sentence along the way, but I have not found a single mention of his role in burying information about POWs. Television and radio news programs have been similarly silent.
Reporters simply never ask him about it. They didn’t when he ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination in 2000. They haven’t now, despite the fact that we’re in the midst of another war—a war he supports and one that has echoes of Vietnam. The only explanation McCain has ever offered for his leadership on legislation that seals POW files is that he believes the release of such information would only stir up fresh grief for the families of those who were never accounted for in Vietnam. Of the scores of POW families I’ve met over the years, only a few have said they want the books closed without knowing what happened to their men. All the rest say that not knowing is exactly what grieves them.
Isn’t it possible that what really worries those intent on keeping the POW documents buried is the public disgust that the contents of those files would generate?

How the Senate Committee Perpetuated the Debunking
In its early months, the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs gave the appearance of being committed to finding out the truth about the MIAs. As time went on, however, it became clear that they were cooperating in every way with the Pentagon and CIA, who often seemed to be calling the shots, even setting the agendas for certain key hearings. Both agencies held back the most important POW files. Dick Cheney was the Pentagon chief then; Robert Gates, now the Pentagon chief, was the CIA director.
Further, the committee failed to question any living president. Reagan declined to answer questions; the committee didn’t contest his refusal. Nixon was given a pass. George H.W. Bush, the sitting president, whose prints were all over this issue from his days as CIA chief in the 1970s, was never even approached. Troubled by these signs, several committee staffers began asking why the agencies they should be probing had been turned into committee partners and decision makers. Memos to that effect were circulated. The staff made the following finding, using intelligence reports marked “credible” that covered POW sightings through 1989: “There can be no doubt that POWs were alive … as late as 1989.” That finding was never released. Eventually, much of the staff was in rebellion.
This internecine struggle continued right up to the committee’s last official act—the issuance of its final report. The Executive Summary, which comprised the first 43 pages, was essentially a whitewash, saying that only “a small number” of POWs could have been left behind in 1973 and that there was little likelihood that any prisoners could still be alive. The Washington press corps, judging from its coverage, seems to have read only this air-brushed summary, which had been closely controlled.
But the rest of the 1,221-page Report on POW/MIAs was quite different. Sprinkled throughout are pieces of hard evidence that directly contradict the summary’s conclusions. This documentation established that a significant number of prisoners were left behind—and that top government officials knew this from the start. These candid findings were inserted by committee staffers who had unearthed the evidence and were determined not to allow the truth to be sugar-coated.
If the Washington press corps did actually read the body of the report and then failed to report its contents, that would be a scandal of its own. The press would then have knowingly ignored the steady stream of findings in the body of the report that refuted the summary and indicated that the number of abandoned men was not small but considerable. The report gave no figures but estimates from various branches of the intelligence community ranged up to 600. The lowest estimate was 150.
Highlights of the report that undermine the benign conclusions of the Executive Summary:
• Pages 207-209: These three pages contain revelations of what appear to be either massive intelligence failures or bad intentions—or both. The report says that until the committee brought up the subject in 1992, no branch of the intelligence community that dealt with analysis of satellite and lower-altitude photos had ever been informed of the specific distress signals U.S. personnel were trained to use in the Vietnam War, nor had they ever been tasked to look for any such signals at all from possible prisoners on the ground.
The committee decided, however, not to seek a review of old photography, saying it “would cause the expenditure of large amounts of manpower and money with no expectation of success.” It might also have turned up lots of distress-signal numbers that nobody in the government was looking for from 1973 to 1991, when the committee opened shop. That would have made it impossible for the committee to write the Executive Summary it seemed determined to write.
The failure gets worse. The committee also discovered that the DIA, which kept the lists of authenticator numbers for pilots and other personnel, could not “locate” the lists of these codes for Army, Navy, or Marine pilots. They had lost or destroyed the records. The Air Force list was the only one intact, as it had been preserved by a different intelligence branch.
The report concluded, “In theory, therefore, if a POW still living in captivity [today], were to attempt to communicate by ground signal, smuggling out a note or by whatever means possible, and he used his personal authenticator number to confirm his identity, the U.S. government would be unable to provide such confirmation, if his number happened to be among those numbers DIA cannot locate.”
It’s worth remembering that throughout the period when this intelligence disaster occurred—from the moment the treaty was signed in 1973 until 1991—the White House told the public that it had given the search for POWs and POW information the “highest national priority.”
• Page 13: Even in the Executive Summary, the report acknowledges the existence of clear intelligence, made known to government officials early on, that important numbers of captured U.S. POWs were not on Hanoi’s repatriation list. After Hanoi released its list (showing only ten names from Laos—nine military men and one civilian), President Nixon sent a message on Feb. 2, 1973 to Hanoi’s Prime Minister Pham Van Dong saying, “U.S. records show there are 317 American military men unaccounted for in Laos and it is inconceivable that only ten of these men would be held prisoner in Laos.”
Nixon was right. It was inconceivable. Then why did the president, less than two months later, on March 29, 1973, announce on national television that “all of our American POWs are on their way home”?
On April 13, 1973, just after all 591 men on Hanoi’s official list had returned to American soil, the Pentagon got into step with the president and announced that there was no evidence of any further live prisoners in Indochina (this is on page 248).
• Page 91: A lengthy footnote provides more confirmation of the White House’s knowledge of abandoned POWs. The footnote reads, “In a telephone conversation with Select Committee Vice-Chairman Bob Smith on December 29, 1992, Dr. Kissinger said that he had informed President Nixon during the 60-day period after the peace agreement was signed that U.S. intelligence officials believed that the list of prisoners captured in Laos was incomplete. According to Dr. Kissinger, the President responded by directing that the exchange of prisoners on the lists go forward, but added that a failure to account for the additional prisoners after Operation Homecoming would lead to a resumption of bombing. Dr. Kissinger said that the President was later unwilling to carry through on this threat.”
When Kissinger learned of the footnote while the final editing of the committee report was in progress,he and his lawyers lobbied fiercely through two Republican allies on the panel—one of them was John McCain—to get the footnote expunged. The effort failed. The footnote stayed intact.
• Pages 85-86: The committee report quotes Kissinger from his memoirs, writing solely in reference to prisoners in Laos: “We knew of at least 80 instances in which an American serviceman had been captured alive and subsequently disappeared. The evidence consisted either of voice communications from the ground in advance of capture or photographs and names published by the Communists. Yet none of these men was on the list of POWs handed over after the Agreement.”
Then why did he swear under oath to the committee in 1992 that he never had any information that specific, named soldiers were captured alive and hadn’t been returned by Vietnam?
• Page 89: In the middle of the prisoner repatriation and U.S. troop-withdrawal process agreed to in the treaty, when it became clear that Hanoi was not releasing everyone it held, a furious chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Thomas Moorer, issued an order halting the troop withdrawal until Hanoi complied with the agreement. He cited in particular the known prisoners in Laos. The order was retracted by President Nixon the next day. In 1992, Moorer, by then retired, testified under oath to the committee that his order had received the approval of the president, the national security adviser, and the secretary of Defense. Nixon, however, in a letter to the committee, wrote, “I do not recall directing Admiral Moorer to send this cable.”
The report did not include the following information: behind closed doors, a senior intelligence officer had testified to the POW committee that when Moorer’s order was rescinded, the angry admiral sent a “back-channel” message to other key military commanders telling them that Washington was abandoning known live prisoners. “Nixon and Kissinger are at it again,” he wrote. “SecDef and SecState have been cut out of the loop.” In 1973, the witness was working in the office that processed this message. His name and his testimony are still classified. A source present for the testimony provided me with this information and also reported that in that same time period, Moorer had stormed into Defense Secretary Schlesinger’s office and, pounding on his desk, yelled: “The bastards have still got our men.” Schlesinger, in his own testimony to the committee a few months later, was asked about—and corroborated—this account.
• Pages 95-96: In early April 1973, Deputy Defense Secretary William Clements “summoned” Dr. Roger Shields, then head of the Pentagon’s POW/MIA Task Force, to his office to work out “a new public formulation” of the POW issue; now that the White House had declared all prisoners to have been returned, a new spin was needed. Shields, under oath, described the meeting to the committee. He said Clements told him, “All the American POWs are dead.” Shields said he replied: “You can’t say that.” Clements shot back: “You didn’t hear me. They are all dead.” Shields testified that at that moment he thought he was going to be fired, but he escaped from his boss’s office still holding his job.
• Pages 97-98: A couple of days later, on April 11, 1973, a day before Shields was to hold a Pentagon press conference on POWs, he and Gen. Brent Scowcroft, then the deputy national security adviser, went to the Oval Office to discuss the “new public formulation” and its presentation with President Nixon.
The next day, reporters right off asked Shields about missing POWs. Shields fudged his answers. He said, “We have no indications at this time that there are any Americans alive in Indochina.” But he went on to say that there had not been “a complete accounting” of those lost in Laos and that the Pentagon would press on to account for the missing—a seeming acknowledgement that some Americans were still alive and unaccounted for.
The press, however, seized on Shields’s denials. One headline read, “POW Unit Boss: No Living GIs Left in Indochina.”
• Page 97: The POW committee, knowing that Nixon taped all his meetings in the Oval Office, sought the tape of that April 11, 1973 Nixon-Shields-Scowcroft meeting to find out what Nixon had been told and what he had said about the evidence of POWs still in Indochina. The committee also knew there had been other White House meetings that centered on intelligence about live POWs. A footnote on page 97 states that Nixon’s lawyers said they would provide access to the April 11 tape “only if the Committee agreed not to seek any other White House recordings from this time period.” The footnote says that the committee rejected these terms and got nothing. The committee never made public this request for Nixon tapes until the brief footnote in its 1993 report.

McCain’s Catch-22
None of this compelling evidence in the committee’s full report dislodged McCain from his contention that the whole POW issue was a concoction by deluded purveyors of a “conspiracy theory.” But an honest review of the full report, combined with the other documentary evidence, tells the story of a frustrated and angry president, and his national security adviser, furious at being thwarted at the peace table by a small, much less powerful country that refused to bow to Washington’s terms. That president seems to have swallowed hard and accepted a treaty that left probably hundreds of American prisoners in Hanoi’s hands, to be used as bargaining chips for reparations.
Maybe Nixon and Kissinger told themselves that they could get the prisoners home after some time had passed. But perhaps it proved too hard to undo a lie as big as this one. Washington said no prisoners were left behind, and Hanoi swore it had returned all of them. How could either side later admit it had lied? Time went by and as neither side budged, telling the truth became even more difficult and remote. The public would realize that Washington knew of the abandoned men all along. The truth, after men had been languishing in foul prison cells, could get people impeached or thrown in jail.
Which brings us to today, when the Republican candidate for president is the contemporary politician most responsible for keeping the truth about this matter hidden. Yet he says he’s the right man to be the commander in chief, and his credibility in making this claim is largely based on his image as a POW hero.
On page 468 of the 1,221-page report, McCain parsed his POW position oddly, “We found no compelling evidence to prove that Americans are alive in captivity today. There is some evidence—though no proof—to suggest only the possibility that a few Americans may have been kept behind after the end of America’s military involvement in Vietnam.”
“Evidence though no proof.” Clearly, no one could meet McCain’s standard of proof as long as he is leading a government crusade to keep the truth buried.
To this reporter, this sounds like a significant story and a long overdue opportunity for the press to finally dig into the archives to set the historical record straight—and even pose some direct questions to the candidate.

Sydney Schanberg has been a journalist for nearly 50 years. The 1984 movie “The Killing Fields,” which won several Academy Awards, was based on his book The Death and Life of Dith Pran. In 1975, Schanberg was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting “at great risk.” He is also the recipient of two George Polk awards, two Overseas Press Club awards, and the Sigma Delta Chi prize for distinguished journalism. His latest book is Beyond the Killing Fields( This piece is reprinted with permission from The Nation Institute.

Quote of the Times;
Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare.

Link of the Times;
A cowboy is driving down a back road in Texas.

A sign in front of a restaurant reads, "Happy Hour Special: Lobster Tail and Beer."

"Hot damn," the cowboy says to himself.”

"My three favorite things!"


My girlfriend is temperamental.

90% temper and 10% mental.


Upon entering the little country store, the stranger noticed a sign posted on the glass door saying, "Danger! Beware of Dog!"

Inside, he noticed a harmless old hound dog asleep on the floor beside the cash register.

He asked the store manager, "Is that the dog folks are supposed to beware of?"

"Yep, that's him," he replied.

The stranger couldn't help but be amused.

"That certainly doesn't look like a dangerous dog to me. Why in the world would you post that sign?"

"Because," the owner replied, "before I posted that sign, people kept tripping over him."


What's the difference between a poorly dressed man on a unicycle and a well-dressed man on a bicycle?



What's E.T. short for?

Because he's got little legs."

Issue of the Times;
To All Young Americans by Karl Denninger

You have to wonder, really, whether we have any hope for the future in this country.

Deficit spending is often said to be a way to make generations to come pay for the things that people want today. It's actually not quite that complicated, and yet it's more complicated.

It's a way to make the young believe they're getting a free lunch - whether it be health care, a college education or similar - when in fact they're being told they have to pay twice or more for the same thing.

Consider the so-called women's equality screed. The alleged "pay gap." It doesn't exist once you do multivariate analysis. That is, while it is true that women earn less than men as a sex when you look at, for example, nurses both women and men earn almost exactly the same amount.

It's just that there are more women nurses than men, just as there are more women teachers than men.

Among the non-college degree folks there are vastly more male welders than women. Welding isn't a profession that requires an immense amount of upper-body strength, for example; indeed, it's a fairly precise thing, and women are perfectly capable of doing it. It's a job that can easily make you $100,000 or more a year, but you have to be willing to go where the work is, which is often welding things like oil pipelines. More men than women choose that job; ergo, there is a skew in earnings.

Vocation, I remind you, is a choice.

Then there is all the screaming about "family leave" and similar.

But let's face facts, shall we: Putting your kid(s) in daycare is a crock. And that in turn means that one of the parents should choose to stay home and raise them. Maybe they alternate or not, but the entire "invention" of daycare came about because we squeezed people to the point that one person couldn't earn enough for a decent living to be had by a family of four.

That is where the real problem lies, and it's all centered in a handful of areas. Health care, education and housing.

Housing is not just the price of houses it's also property taxes. A decent house in a major metro area often comes with a $5,000, $6,000, $10,000 or even higher property tax bill - every single year. Then you put a $1,500 health insurance policy premium on that for a family of four (if you're lucky it's that low) and suddenly just the operating cost of your household has reached $30,000 for invariant and "mandated" costs.

Note that you haven't actually paid for the house yet. Nor have you paid for the power, heating and water bills, or bought a single pound of ground beef or bunch of broccoli to eat.

Nor have we talked about that college yet. College that used to have a per-semester tuition and fee cost in the hundreds - to just over a thousand - dollar cost rather than five or ten times as much in inflation-adjusted money.

All of this has happened because of Washington and its money-printing, along with their allegiance to so-called "Free Trade" and "free immigration" which is nothing of the sort. No, it's not the Fed. It's Congress and the President, both of whom have run up $20 trillion on the nation's credit card. That has in turn forced prices higher and in the places where there is zero enforcement of the rule of law on monopolies and anti-trust it has gone up fastest, along with those places where you are forced to participate in some way. When it comes to so-called "free trade" go ahead and try to explain how you compete making cars for $30/hour when the Mexican guy gets paid under $5 for the same thing. The alternative to putting to a stop to that crap is that you either accept getting paid $5 (which you can't live on due to the above) or you get $0 because the job isn't here any more!

All of medical, property tax (mostly schools, if you look at your bill), and education are in this category.

Tell me why, if you're a young person, you accept this? Why do you allow Washington DC to run up the credit card like this and destroy you and your ability to have and raise a family on one income?

If you killed the medical monopolies and school property tax abuses, along with the educational game-playing with loans, forcing all three of these down by 80% (and yes, that is very achievable where the market is allowed to work) then you could have a family with one earning party, one staying at home to raise the kids, and a couple of kids. You'd be comfortable. We'd have a good economy. And you would prosper.

Instead we have 30 people grifting off every doctor or nurse in the local hospital - all of them collecting a paycheck but never providing a single second of care to a single patient. You probably know some of them. They're stealing from you, Junior!

Your local high school? It's full of non-teaching administrators, and the teacher pensions and costs that are driving up not teacher wages but operating expenses (and thus property taxes by a factor of four or more) are all stealing from you, Junior! What's worse is that they intentionally don't teach you how exponents work in math class because they know you'd broil and eat everyone in there in a day were you to learn how it is an inherent mathematical truth that deficit spending is not actually free and always is put back on SOMEONE, and the SOMEONE is YOU.

Your local university? How much has Calculus changed in the last 50 years? NOT ALL ALL! What has changed is technology (e.g. computer programming) -- it's gotten much, much cheaper. The old mainframe the college used to need to teach programming cost millions. The Raspberry Pi you can learn to program on today costs $35 and fits in your pocket. Circuit-design and layout software that used to require $50,000 computers to run on now works perfectly well on a $1,000 laptop or desktop computer! The cost of education, especially computer and technology-related education, should have fallen like a stone but instead it has gone up on an inflation-adjusted basis by 500% or more.

There are 536 people responsible for all of this and more. There are over 300 million Americans and millions of young adults who are being forced to pay for these handouts, never mind the "wink-wink-nod-nod" thefts.

Don't start with the "tax the rich" nonsense run by Bernie Sanders and others. That won't work because it can't. The rich don't have enough money, in short; if you taxed them at 100% you'd close the budget gap and get what you want for one year. How many of the rich would work the second year when they got to keep nothing? None. Then what do you do?

There is one - and only one - way to stop this. Stop the scams. Put an end to the medical monopolists - break them up and throw the executives in prison and health care costs will fall to the point that you will be able to pay cash for nearly everything. Get rid of cost-shifting and "loans" in education - all of it - and college prices will fall like a stone, to 1/5th of what they are today. Do the above two and extend it to local and county governments and your property taxes will fall by 80% as well.

Suddenly you will be able to live comfortably and raise a family on one income again!

Why should you, as a young person, tolerate the current situation? It's theft and it's all aimed at you, the young people of this nation. For what - so your next door neighbor can make $60,000 sitting in a chair in a hospital never providing a single second of care to a single person and force you to cover his or her salary?

When will you stop tolerating this and demand it all end, here and now, "or else"?

You've already had the ability to work hard, find someone you want to be with and then have and raise a family with one of you working to make some money and the other raising the kids in a decent but not extravagant home stolen from you by these 536 thieves.

Will you demand it stop - and mean it - before or after you're left starving in the streets?

Exactly how much further does it go, in short before you remove the pink pussy hats and replace them with something more-useful?

Quote of the Times;
…Peterson’s claim that identity politics is “genocidal in its ultimate expression” is no exaggeration. Hitler’s military invasions and death camps were the ultimate expression of the racialist and nationalist identity politics that spiritually drove Nazism. And Stalin’s weaponized famines and “gulag archipelago” were the ultimate expression of the class warfare identity politics that spiritually drove Soviet communism. - Sanchez

Link of the Times;
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