Something you might not know.

I remember, years ago, in search of a holiday column, I contacted a local Vietnam vets group to see if there were any families of POW/MIAs in the area. They directed me to a couple in Decatur, south of Fort Wayne. Just a few minutes into the interview, I knew this was a bad idea. I asked them to describe the circumstances of their son’s disappearance, and the mother said he’d been crossing a rain-swollen river with his platoon, stepped in a deep hole, floundered, went under and wasn’t seen again.

“And they’re carrying him as missing in action?” I asked, incredulous.

“His body was never found,” she explained. So they kept holding out hope that someday, somehow, he’d be coming home.

We talked a little more, I excused myself and left. Those poor people, I thought, driving home. But surely they know he’s dead. Surely. Where else would he be?

I didn’t know then, and only recently learned, of the governmental flim-flam known as the MIA. Rick Perlstein:

When downed American pilots were first taken prisoner in North Vietnam in 1964, US policy became pretty much to ignore them ― part and parcel of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s determination to keep the costs of his increasingly futile military escalation in Southeast Asia from the public. Then, one day in the first spring of Richard Nixon’s presidency, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird announced the existence of from 500 to 1,300 of what he termed “POW/MIA’s.” Those three letters — “MIA” — are familiar to us now. The term, however, was a new, Nixonian invention. It had used to be that downed fliers not confirmed as actual prisoners used to be classified not as “Missing in Action” but “Killed in Action/Body Unrecovered.” The new designation was a propaganda scam. It let the Pentagon and State Department and White House refer to these 1,300 (later “1,400”) as if they were, every one of them, actual prisoners, even though every one of them was almost certainly dead. “Hundreds of American wives, children, and parents continue to live in a tragic state of uncertainty caused by the lack of information concerning the fate of their loved ones,” Secretary Laird said. That was part of an attempt to manipulate international opinion to frame the North Vietnamese Communists (against whom, of course, America was prosecuting an illegal and undeclared air war against civilians) as uniquely cruel, even though fewer men were taken prisoner or went missing in Vietnam than in any previous American war. (From 1965 through 1969, they were tortured, at least if you believe American prisoners at Guantánamo Bay were tortured; the techniques were essentially the same.)

Isn’t that appalling? I keep thinking of that poor couple sitting in their little house in Indiana, holding out hope that their baby, gone 15 years by that point, might still be alive, somewhere halfway around the world.

Dunno why I’m leading with that today. It just popped up in one of my feeds and it reminded me of Mr. and Mrs. Sad Hoosier. It’s not a day for me to be sad — I am making a Christmas miracle happen for a pregnant friend who is off in lonely Arizona, craving a particular brand of artisanal jalapeño/cherry salsa available only around here. I saw it on the shelf at the market Saturday and picked up two jars. Her only instruction will be to pay it forward, somehow. I suppose, if the salsa disagrees with her fetus, she may pay it forward literally. If you’re in the desert southwest and a beautiful brunette with a slight baby bump presses a jar of it in your hand, be not afraid! It’s just your own Christmas miracle.

And I also renewed my passport. For the next two or three weeks, I will be unable to leave the United States. Be advised, just in case you were going to surprise me with a trip to Paris or something.

Meanwhile, we have some bloggage:

There was a great “Fresh Air” on the so-called personhood movement a few days back, and today, the great Dahlia Lithwick weighs in:

So pause for a moment with me to ponder what it means that some of the greatest civil rights battles of our era are being fought to extend personhood into the weeks prior to viability and the years after incorporation? What does it mean for actual human “personhood”—as well as for reproductive rights and corporate control—that, if the far right succeeds in stretching these two legal fictions to their illogical extremes, American “personhood” will begin at conception, diminish somewhat at birth, and regain its force upon incorporation?

Good questions.

As you may know, a federal judge ruled today that Detroit’s bankruptcy can go forward, which means — well, it means a lot of things, but the biggest is that pensions for public workers are not, as previously believed (and the state constitution says), untouchable. Lots of states have similar constitutions. We’ll see how that goes.

It’s Wednesday already? It is. I hope yours is good.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events |

42 responses to “Something you might not know.”

  1. Brandon said on December 4, 2013 at 12:46 am

    …the governmental flim-flam known as the MIA.

    You’re going there like Degrassi.

    (7:45 p.m. Hawaii time.)

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  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 4, 2013 at 5:56 am

    Does a tree have standing? (That was the title of one of my more interesting college texts, actually. In a philosophy class.)

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  3. ROGirl said on December 4, 2013 at 6:40 am

    If a woman is shot and killed, and there is a stand your ground defense, what would happen if she was pregnant and the foetus died?

    Just asking.

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  4. beb said on December 4, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Maybe the Detroit Bankruptcy ruling is what made you think about the family whose son was MIA. It certainly reminded me of them, endlessly waiting for a better outcome to a bitter news.

    The whole “personhood” movement is some kind of rotted growth from a debatable position. How can something that instantly dies outside the womb be considered a person? At least a person on life support can point to a time when they did live on their own, before they were damaged. But fertilized eggs, embryos and non-viable fetuses can’t point to any prior state.

    And if corporations are people than I expect them to “die” after 90 years just everyone else.

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  5. alex said on December 4, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Fetuses have their own anti-defamation league these days. It’s called the Benign Birth. Ba-dump-bump.

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  6. coozledad said on December 4, 2013 at 8:39 am

    And so the “issue” endured. Governor Ronald Reagan, in Singapore as a special presidential representative for a trade deal, said that if North Vietnam didn’t return the POWs and MIAs supposedly still being held, “bombing should be resumed.” He accused liberals in Congress seeking to ban further military action in Southeast Asia of taking away “the power to sway those monkeys over there to straighten up and follow through on the deal.”

    Ronald Reagan, and by extension, the modern Republican party, in a nutshell. This country can’t grow up until they finish rotting on their feet and stagger off to their graves.

    The post office in Oxford, NC where I worked, flew a POW/MIA flag in totenkopfblack directly underneath the US flag. All it meant was “We all dumb motherfuckers here. So if you’ve got more forebrain than a hamster, shut up!”

    The only solace I had was knowing most of them were too damn stupid to know they worked for the greater glory of the executive branch, and by extension, Bill Clinton’s gnarly dick.

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  7. Deborah said on December 4, 2013 at 8:54 am

    My daughter makes a good strawberry jalapeño salsa.

    And speaking of my daughter we found out that the disfigured man that the pope embraced has the same condition she does, neurofibromatosis type 1. He has a much, much more profound case though. Her tumors (fibromas) are fewer in number and she hardly has any on her face. It was sad to read that this guy described having a lot of problems with bleeding, not always, but the tumors can bleed and sometimes they don’t heal. Little Bird has had this with a tumor on her back, in fact it is happening again. When she had it before it required surgery, we’re hoping this time it will heal on its own. Her tumors are small, except for one on her upper left thigh, it is what is called a plexiform fibroma. I know you didn’t ask for this information but the more people know about NF the better it is for people who have it. It effects people who have it in many different ways and degrees (meaning severity) it can be quite debilitating. If you want to know more about it

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  8. Danny said on December 4, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Not sure if Detroit has the same excesses going on that we see in California cities, but yes, it will be interesting to see how the public pensions get addressed. The San Diego UT ran and article a few days back about a local retired police chief, 51-years old who was now making $16k/month in pension and then some substantial additional amount as a contractor until they could find a replacement. Here it is:

    There were also stories last year, prior to the elections, detailing some seemingly very out-of-bed pensions like a retired librarian who pulled over $230k/year.

    These are very good gigs if you can get them, but seriously…

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  9. Danny said on December 4, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Geez, I looked at the article and I guess it was a few weeks back. The days run together these days.

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  10. Basset said on December 4, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Beb, good one about corporations dying… I’ll use that.
    At the hospital with mrs. B this morning, another biopsy, results Monday.

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  11. brian stouder said on December 4, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Basset – as always, here’s wishing you and yours all the best.

    Cooze’s post reminded me of a C-SPAN segment I saw last week which got me laughing uproariously…we’ll post about that later

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  12. Minnie said on December 4, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Deborah, thank you for posting this information about a condition of which I knew nothing. I’m so glad your daughter’s form is less severe than it could be and wish her strength and health. Her comments here are always to the point, and I look forward to hearing from her.

    I had not seen the photograph of the Pope embracing the man in St. Peter’s Square. I’m not Catholic or even religious, but the human connection there, brief as it was, is so poignant that it’s left me in tears.

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  13. Bitter Scribe said on December 4, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Those black POW/MIA flags (“You Are Not Forgotten”) are, mercifully, diminishing in number, but every time I see one I still cringe. Thanks for that link. For years I blamed that stupid Rambo movie for that cruel trope, which was massively unfair to both the families and the Vietnamese who were just fighting for their own country. I still think everyone involved with that movie, from Sylvester Stallone to the lowliest extra in the tiger-cage scenes, should be forced to donate every dollar they made from it to a veterans’ charity.

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  14. brian stouder said on December 4, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Oy – what a morning!

    So anyway, when Cooze said:

    …they worked for the greater glory of the executive branch, and by extension, Bill Clinton’s gnarly dick.

    it reminded me of a thing on C-SPAN last week, involving the two guys who wrote the campaign book “Double Down” – Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.

    They were holding a discussion of their book before a nice crowd somewhere or the other. Heilemann concluded his remarks with an anecdote about how, in the summer of 2012, Bill Clinton reacted to the “47% video” of the tuxedoed Governor Romney speaking to the high-rollers.

    Heilemann said Clinton’s reaction was that President Obama was “luckier than a dog with two dicks”….and although this got me laughing, and the former president’s intent is clear, on second thought I cannot grasp (so to speak) specifically how that would be more a good thing than a not-good thing.

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  15. Prospero said on December 4, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Pensions are compensation for work already performed. So is Social Security, and employers set wages accordingly, including public employers like the City of Detroit. The GOP talking point on this is that city workers should sacrifice for the greater good and payments to corporate creditors should be maximized. What a crock of crap, and what moronic economic policy. Out of necessity, pension and SSI payments are pumped immediately into the economy, with an undeniable stimulating effect. That is simple ECON 101, which seems to be entirely beyond the intellectual powers of Gov. Snyder and Granny-Starvin’ Ryan, the alleged brains of the Greedy Oleaginous Plutocrats. Everything those people do seems intended to wreck the American economy.

    And did y’all see the latest from the nutcake wing, fomented by Jeb Bush about the scandal of President Obama closing the American Embassy to the Vatican? Totally fabricated in every particular:

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  16. beb said on December 4, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    This bankruptcy is going to end up costing everybody a lot of money because every part of it is going to be litigated. This case will surely head up to the4 Supreme Court since the bankruptcy judge basically overturned part of Michgan’s constitution. And when it comes time to parcel out the pain there will but suits claiming that one party or another is getting a steeper hair cut than the others. The problem is two-fold, Detroit’s expenses are greater than its revenue, and that’s not going to be easy to fix and part of the current imbalance is the huge amount of old debt that the city still has to pay off. If the state had agreed to pay off some of that old debt we wouldn’t in as bad a shape as we are. Ad people would have been content to let the EM figure out how to reduce current operating costs to income levels.

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  17. beb said on December 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Danny @8 (and Pros @15, too) I tend to agree that pensions are simply a part of our deferred pay package and therefore should be honored under all situations. But as Danny points out there are egregious instances of wildly out of bound pensions. People do game the system and the rules are often written with these backdoors that allow the system to be gamed.

    So when it comes to the pensions I think the Emergency Manager ought to audit the system, dividing pensioners into three or more classes. The first class would be people making less than $1200 a month on pension. That’s not a lot of money to live on and so that should be spared any “haircuts.” The group making Between $1200 and $2400 a month should take a moderate haircut. While people getting over $2400 a month should have their pensions froze at $2400 a month. This last group would consist of people making around $100,000 a year or more while with the city. They were already well paid for their work and are the ones most likely to be able to afford a stiff cut in their pensions.

    But then the world is made up of workers and owners and the owners make the rules and therefore always come out on top.

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  18. Bob (not Greene) said on December 4, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    I’m sorry to be late to the game, but I didn’t see yesterday’s post with the photos of Nancy’s father in law. Did a little googling and found out that Roger Derringer was in the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, the first airborne unit constituted by the Army. He had four combat jumps and participated in five campaigns, including North Africa, Italy and France. His service record doesn’t indicate whether he fought in the Battle of the Bulge. If he didn’t he was lucky. The 509 was virtually wiped out there and it’s remaining men – about 50 out of the more than 700 it went into battle with – were absorbed into other units.

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  19. Bob (not Greene) said on December 4, 2013 at 12:59 pm


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  20. Jolene said on December 4, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    The idea of cherry jalapeño salsa is appealing, but the idea of sending salsa to Arizona is a little sad. So many local possibilities.

    Just happened across this article re three “small movies” available through OnDemand or streaming from various sources. Worth checking out.

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  21. Connie said on December 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    I used to live near Medora and it was a pretty depressing place. I believe it is one of if not the smallest schools in Indiana. I am glad to find out I can see it on indemand.

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  22. Jolene said on December 4, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    In The New Yorker, John Cassidy quotes and analyzes the Pope’s recent comments challenging us to look more skeptically at capitalism. Worth a read. The passages he quotes are quite eloquent.

    Barack Obama gave a speech on this topic earlier today. Was also quite powerful and seemed to indicate that he won’t stop pushing for policies to overcome economic inequality.

    I have to give him credit for resilience. If I’d taken the beating he’s taken recently, I’d be cowering under the covers.

    Meanwhile, some good news: More people signed up for health insurance through the federal exchange Monday and Tuesday of this week than during the whole month of October.

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  23. Jolene said on December 4, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Forgot the Cassidy link. Here it is:

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  24. basset said on December 4, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    I worked on a Chessie railroad tie gang one summer, replacing ties between Medora and Ft. Ritner… it is indeed pretty rural. Fresh ties weigh 250 lb more or less and are covered in creosote… your useless facts for the day.

    Biopsy went fine as far as anyone can tell, results Monday.

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  25. brian stouder said on December 4, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Basset, we’ll take that as Good News, and keep hoping for the best on Monday

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  26. Dexter said on December 4, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    I have thought and thought over and again about the Vietnam prisoners, KIAs, MIAs, body counts, all this and more. I have seen veterans groups enter floats in parades, a disheveled scraggly skinny dude in a “Tiger Cage”, and I felt all sorts of conflicting emotions. I am not a former P.O.W.; I did know Francis Thomson of Waterloo, Indiana, almost all my life, as he was my across-the-street neighbor all through my young life. He is now famous in death, because, finally, in the last years of his life, he accepted the accolades he received for heroism and humanity he deserved, as a survivor of the infamous Bataan Death March. That man was saintly: he held no hatred for the Japanese in his heart, and he did tell my mom the story of the Japanese guard who saved his life. Francis had gone blind from malnutrition and a guard sneaked him in a little bit of extra rice and fish heads or something like that so his health could return, as well as his vision, and instead of open hatred, Francis spoke admiringly of that Japanese guard.

    So anyway, I am presently reading “Big Sur”, the little book Jack Kerouac wrote , chronicling a period of time when he left his crazy, post-published (“On the Road”) life in Florida, to get away from people for a while and stay in Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s sad cabin at Big Sur, California.
    I bring this up because it is a tale of slowly creeping madness. The ocean began driving Kerouac mad, it began talking to him; he felt the evil presence of a hell, either his own or the REAL hell, and he began wondering if the Pacific Ocean itself was Hell. And as I read this, I remember how during my time in Vietnam , in the role of soldier, the mountains and the rice paddies and the South China Sea began to make me feel like I was losing my grip on reality, a condition I remedied with self-talk , and I didn’t go over the edge. But some did. Maybe nance and brianstouder will remember this story I am linking. George Warstler of Ashley, Indiana, left home for the Army and didn’t return for decades. I worked many years with his brother in the factory. His brother wore a Vietnam “boonie hat”…I thought he was a Vietnam vet at first, but he must have worn that hat as a tribute to his long-lost brother. That hat was still worn by the brother the last time I saw him. This story is about 18 years old now…I have no idea what happened to George after he squared himself with the US Army.,,20100961,00.html

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  27. Dexter said on December 4, 2013 at 2:22 pm,,20100961,00.html

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  28. Dexter said on December 4, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Link trouble…hate to do it…here’s the copy:

    Back from the Dead

    By David Grogan, People Magazine

    Originally published 06/26/1995
    FROM THE OUTSET, IT WAS AN UNUSUAL case of theft. In August 1993 police in Wellington, New Zealand, charged parking-meter collector David Mitchell with pocketing at least $30,000 in change over a 5½-year period. Authorities were also disturbed by Mitchell’s decidedly non-Kiwi accent and his questionable documentation: he had a driver’s license but no birth certificate or passport. When they finally threatened to withhold bail, Mitchell made a startling admission: his name was George Warstler, and he was a U.S. soldier who had been AWOL since the Vietnam War, 24 years before.

    Warstler, now 48, then told police the sorry tale of a damaged life and a lost quarter-century. Shipped to Vietnam when he was 21, Warstler says, he began drinking hard during his first combat tour as an infantry staff sergeant. “Whiskey? I could drink a bottle of whiskey in the morning,” he says. “Dope later.” Rather than returning stateside at the end of his duty—where a wife and two children awaited him—Warstler made his way to Sydney. “I think I was scared to go home,” he says. “I think I had changed that much in the 18 months. I had seen so much, done so much. I had changed more than I had in my whole life.” The troubled soldier lost himself in Sydney’s bars until “I just sobered up one day, and it was about two or three months later.”

    By then the Army had classified him AWOL, and Warstler went underground, changing his name and job repeatedly. Finally, after 12 years, the Pentagon declared him legally dead in 1981.

    When U.S. Army officials learned of his arrest, they were stunned. “This is the first time someone has been declared administratively dead,” says Army spokeswoman Maj. Bonnie Herbert, “and then brought back to life.” The news was even more jolting though to Warstler’s family in Ashley, Ind. (pop. 767), 36 miles north of Fort Wayne. Warstler’s German-born wife, Gisela, 47, first told her daughter, Judy, 27. The two women then went to Warstler’s sister and two brothers and finally to his 71-year-old mother, Jo. “She had the same reaction as everyone else,” Gisela recalls. “She started crying.”

    Last to learn was Warstler’s son, Gary, 29, now a loan officer at a Toledo, Ohio, mortgage company and a married father of two. Gary, who had never believed his father was dead, phoned Warstler in New Zealand—but was so nervous that he hung up almost immediately. “I remember sweat falling off my chin,” he says. “I was watching it hit the table.” Eventually, he began speaking regularly with his father by phone, and last November he flew to New Zealand to meet him for the first time since 1967—when Gary was 2.

    It had been a long, strange journey for George Warstler since he dropped out of school in Ashley at 15 and persuaded his mother and his late father, Norman, a factory worker, to let him join the Army a year later. At first he was stationed in Augsburg, Germany, where in 1964 he fell in love with Gisela Griebsch, a 16-year-old student he had met at a dance hall. One reason she liked him: unlike many GIs, he was a teetotaler. “I couldn’t even get him to drink a beer,” she recalls.

    By the time they were married the following year, Gisela was five months pregnant. “The day Gary was born, George said it was the most important day of his life,” she says. “He was holding Gary, saying how happy he was.” Pour months after Judy’s birth in July 1967, Gisela recalls, Warstler was shipped to Vietnam. Gisela, who spoke little English, settled with the kids in Warstler’s Indiana hometown. George’s letters home were short, but in one he wrote matter-of-factly about seeing a buddy getting his head blown off. In March 1968 the couple met in Hawaii for a week together. By then, Warstler had begun drinking heavily and showing the effects of combat. At night, Gisela says, he would jump out of bed in a sweat, screaming. “He just wasn’t the same person, you could tell that right away,” she says.

    When his first one-year tour of duty ended in November 1968, Warstler volunteered for another six months. “I had everything I wanted: plenty of alcohol and dope,” he says. But when he applied for a third tour the following year, “I was told it was time for me to go home. They gathered I had had enough.”

    Warstler still had eight months left in the Army and was given 45 days to report to Fort Riley, Kans. Instead, while Gisela waited in vain, he quietly slipped off to Sydney. Later, adapting a tactic used by the title character in Frederick Forsyth’s 1971 thriller, The Day of the Jackal, he began borrowing names from newspaper obituaries as he drifted, working in factories to pay his way.

    Finally in 1978, Warstler left Australia for the one country that would admit him without a passport—New Zealand—where he worked the next eight years on the railways before settling in Wellington. Whenever anyone asked about his past, he says, “I would say my family had been killed when I was young.” Usually no one asked. “I let them talk and just listened,” he says. “It was easy.”

    But coping with Warstler’s disappearance was anything but easy for his family. Gisela got a job at a wire factory, working for $1.85 an hour, and kept hoping George would magically reappear. “Everywhere I looked, I thought I would see him somewhere,” she says. “But it was all mind tricks.” In the early 70s, she began living with truck driver Rick Hossinger, now 54. “Life was pretty doggone lonely and scary with two kids,” she says. “I needed someone around.”

    Hossinger, who still lives with Gisela, treated her children as if they were his own. “Rick was always there for me, but as I got older there was this empty spot,” says Gary, a former high school basketball star. Judy, now an administrative assistant at a factory, says she and Gary avoided asking their mother about their missing father. “It would have upset my mother too much,” she explains.

    Now that Warstler has been found, each family member has made a separate peace. “When I was 18, my biggest concern was how many points I was going to score that night,” says Gary. “I could not imagine running for my life, shooting and killing people. If you put me in his shoes, I can’t tell you I wouldn’t have done the same thing.”

    Gisela didn’t talk to Warstler until after Gary returned from New Zealand, but she was taken aback when she saw a picture of her long-lost husband. “The only thing vaguely familiar about him was the way he held his cigarette,” she says. “At that point I felt nothing but sadness for him. He looked like a man who had been totally battered.” She called just before Christmas. He told her that he didn’t come back because of his problems with the war—not with her or their family. “I let him know there were no hard feelings,” she says.

    Authorities in both New Zealand and America may be less forgiving. If convicted in New Zealand on the theft charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty, Warstler faces a possible seven-year prison term. And when and if he returns to the U.S., he will be taken to an Army base to clear up possible charges of desertion. Still, Warstler, who has been receiving medical treatment for his nerves and says he has cut back on his drinking, muses, “I’ve had a good life, considering. I haven’t done anything different from any other normal person, except not show up when I was supposed to go home.”

    BRYAN ALEXANDER in Ashley, Indiana and Toledo, Ohio and KIRSTEN WARNER in New Zealand

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  29. Prospero said on December 4, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Pope Frank is coming across as a liberation theologist, leanings that had to be kept secret for him to ever rise to the Papacy. It won’t be long before wingnut religious types are calling Catholicism a demonic cult again.

    I’m playing this glorious Christmas music every time I’m forced to hear Jingle Bell Rock or I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus in the grocery store. Gutdom I hate that crap. Oh, and Burl Ives singing Holly Jolly Christmas. Or the dogs barking Jingle Bells.

    Just in time for the new and clearly improved Obamacare website, GOPer legislators in Cali have a fake Obamacare website up and running that they spent tapayers money on:

    The Affordable Care Act requires young adults to pay higher premiums for health insurance because the law prohibits insurers from denying coverage to sicker individuals because of pre-existing conditions and limits what they can charge to older or sicker policy holders. This will mean that young adults will pay higher premiums even though they are generally healthier and do not visit the doctor as often.

    The helpful information on the GOP site includes:

    The Affordable Care Act requires young adults to pay higher premiums for health insurance because the law prohibits insurers from denying coverage to sicker individuals because of pre-existing conditions and limits what they can charge to older or sicker policy holders. This will mean that young adults will pay higher premiums even though they are generally healthier and do not visit the doctor as often.

    They also drive when they are fucked up to the gills and end up in emergency rooms more often than those older, sicker folks. PP/ACA doesn’t require young adults to pay higher premiums, you lying dickheads, greedy insurance vulture capitalists do. In the long run, Obamacare, while inferior to doing something smart and just extending Medicare for everyone, will drive health care costs down, and Americans will no longer spend twice as much for mediocre health care as any other civilized industrial nation. What anybody finds objectionable about that is entirely beyond me, except … Obama. And GOPers want to try impeachment again? Fucking delusional. For what?

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  30. Prospero said on December 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    When U.S. Army officials learned of his arrest, they were stunned. “This is the first time someone has been declared administratively dead,” says Army spokeswoman Maj. Bonnie Herbert

    Well Maj. Herbert. I guess you never heard of the illustrious Hawkeye Pierce.

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  31. brian stouder said on December 4, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Dexter, I’d never heard that amazing story before.

    Honestly, Uncle Sam oughta settle the $30k with NZ parking people, and forget about the desertion thing; and we ought to have a parade that this fellow is invited to take part in.

    All this “thank you for your service” stuff ought to translate into something tangible for this man.

    We (the USA) took his youth, and his service, until he couldn’t take it anymore.

    We should do right by him

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  32. alex said on December 4, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    I wasn’t aware of that story either. Amazing.

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  33. Prospero said on December 4, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    What’s the remote? Kiss my ass. Thanks for your service is relatively annoying. Holy shit, we are supposed to disremember Ronald Raygun and the Ayatollahs? Puhleaze. What an asshole.

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  34. brian stouder said on December 4, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Well, and apropos of nothing in particular, I’d still let Nigella Lawless toil at my stove, anytime

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  35. Deborah said on December 4, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Dexter, great story, don’t feel bad about not linking to it, it’s more important to get this stuff out there than worrying about link etiquette. That’s why I don’t mind letting people know about NF in whatever way is possible. I’m shameless about that.

    And Prospero, your Pope Frank is my hero these days, love the guy.

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  36. Deborah said on December 4, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    I have committed to the “Little Drummer Boy” challenge again this year. This is a personal challenge you take to see if you can get through the season without hearing it on muzak in a store you are visiting. Last year I didn’t hear it once, so I made it, but I was in Chicago most of the time until later in December. This year being in Santa Fe earlier it seems less likely that I will prevail.

    Prospero, why can’t they play Camille Saint-Saëns – Oratorio de Noêl that I’m listening to now. So much better.

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  37. Sherri said on December 4, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    A reminder that while the ACA is complicated, single-payer is not simple:

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  38. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 4, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    This mediator likes beb @#17’s plan to resolve pension issues. Neatly put.

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  39. Dexter said on December 4, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    For all the Detroiters who will end up getting the shaft…

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  40. alex said on December 4, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Primate Playmate of the Month. The most arresting graphic I’ve ever seen at the top of a serious article. One bashing white male primacy, no less.

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  41. Connie said on December 4, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    So Bassett, did you lay ties in the Fort Ritner railroad tunnel that is supposedly haunted? I believe by a headless brake man.

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  42. Basset said on December 5, 2013 at 9:31 am

    No, but we used to pass through it on the way to the job site of the day, keeping an eye out for the next little alcove built into the wall in case a surprise train came along. We worked out of the Mitchell yard… think it was summer of ’75.

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