Category Archives: history

Those Poor Children at the Border!

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Seems there are more than just dear little innocents in those crowded Processing Centers along the US southwestern border.  Townhall has the story.

An internal Border Patrol executive summary obtained by Townhall confirms that at least 16 unaccompanied illegal minors (those under the age of 18, according to U.S. government policy), are members of the brutal El Salvadorian street gang Mara Salvatrucha—or MS-13.  Gang members left graffiti on the walls of the Nogales Border Patrol processing center, which suggested they had ties to the organization.

These are just the ones careless or arrogant enough to reveal their gang affiliations.  How many thousands among the throngs virtually welcomed into America’s communities by our President are also affiliated with such criminal organizations, or worse ones?  What are the chances that terrorist organizations are using these open borders to bring terrorists and materials into the United States?  Hint:  Think “virtual certainty”.

The FBI describes MS-13 activity as “perpetuating violence—from assaults to homicides, using firearms, machetes, or blunt objects—to intimidate rival gangs, law enforcement, and the general public. They often target middle and high school students for recruitment. And they form tenuous alliances…and sometimes vicious rivalries…with other criminal groups, depending on their needs at the time.”

Maybe Obama can set the example, and have Sasha and Malia volunteer to work in these Processing Centers until the problem is resolved.  Oh, they can have no Secret Service or Law Enforcement protection of any kind, because (as we were told in Iraq about putting our safety in the hands of local security) they need to “establish a trust relationship” with the people they are helping.

It was reported earlier that these MS-13 gang members, some of whom have admitted to murder and torture in their home countries, are being held for placement inside the United States.

“But remember, this is a ‘humanitarian crisis.’ They are just kids,” a source working in the Nogales processing center said in frustrated and sarcastic tone. “They are MS-13 gang members. They’ve done everything from torture to murder. They act as teenage ‘enforcers.’”

That will be great, then.  Perhaps Michelle Obama can join them.  After all, she loves working with kids.

Gee, I wonder if the systematic attempts to disarm the law-abiding and defeat voter ID efforts are in any way connected to Obama’s immigration non-policy?   Naaaahh.

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Wings Over Glenview

I’ve discussed NAS Glenview at these pages before. Here’s a 30 minute documentary on the history of Glenview featuring some of the pilots that flew from there. Enjoy:

H/t to Jennifer over at Generations Blog for passing this along to me.

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A Camera Lost for 70 Years Gives a Glimpse Into the Battle of the Bulge.

Cameras are ubiquitous today.  We’ve all grown somewhat accustomed to seeing combat footage from Iraq and Afghanistan, often taken by the soldiers themselves. 70 years ago, that wasn’t quite the case. There were some cameras, but not many, and film was hard to come by.

U.S. Navy Captain Mark Anderson and his historian friend Jean Muller were out with metal detectors, scavenging around Luxembourg, where the most heated firefights of The Battle of the Bulge took place.

While traveling through the hilly forest that once served as a brutal battleground, the pair came across an empty foxhole, and inside of that foxhole they found the personal possessions of an American soldier, left untouched for almost three-quarters of a century.

Among those possessions was a camera with a partially-exposed roll of film still inside.

The Battle of the Bulge was the largest battle in the history of the US Army, and much of it was fought with an intensity that would rival any other. The Army would suffer 19,000 Killed in Action, over 47,000 wounded, and 23,000 captured or missing. One soldier, first listed as Missing in Action, was later listed as Killed in Action when his remains were recovered.

And it was Louis J. Archambeau’s camera that CAPT Anderson found.

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The handful of images may be in poor condition, but they clearly show the discomfort and tension of that awful battlefield.

H/T to Jennifer Holik for sharing this on facebook.

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Democratic Voter Fraud (yet again) in Mississippi

Operation ACORN II is under way, and not surprisingly, with the intent of illegally influencing a Republican Primary.  Here’s the story.

At the direction of the Cochran campaign, Reverend Fielder went “door to door, different places, mostly impoverished neighborhoods, to the housing authorities and stuff like that,” telling fellow blacks that McDaniel was a racist and promising them $15 per vote. “They sold me on the fact that he was a racist and that the right thing to do was to keep him out of office,” Fielder says.

Text messages released to Got News and a recorded interview with Reverend Fielder confirmed that Saleem Baird, a staffer with the Cochran campaign and current legislative aide to U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, and Cochran campaign manager, Kirk Sims, were involved in a $15-per-vote cash bribery scheme to target members of the black community.

“They said they needed black votes,” said the Reverend Fielder on the phone. He says Baird told him to “give the fifteen dollars in each envelope to people as they go in and vote. You know, not right outside of the polling place but he would actually recruit people with the $15 dollars and they would go in and vote.” Fielder said he received thousands of dollars in envelopes from Baird and distributed them accordingly. Fielder also says he went to the campaign office on another occasion to pick up $300 in cash and was among a room full of people who were doing the same thing he was.

Yet, according to the “black community”, being required to show a simple ID is racist because you are suppressing the “black vote” with your white hoods and Jim Crow laws.

When you hear those that argue “no proof” of widespread voter fraud by the Democrats, what you are hearing is hogwash.  If you don’t think so, watch the footage of a Democratic election commissioner counting “hanging chads” in Florida in 2000.   These are many of the same people who talk about “no proof” of Saddam’s chemical arsenal, and “no proof” of Obamacare causing health insurance coverage to be canceled.

Early morning H/T to DB

 

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‘Some damn fool thing in the Balkans”

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Today marks the centennial of one of Western society’s most improbably momentous events.  It was on June 28th, 1914 that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, the Countess Sophie of Hohenberg, were assassinated in the street of the Bosnian city of Sarajevo.  The events of that day, the failed bombing at the bridge, the missed attempt on the road, the wrong turn by the Archduke’s driver, the opportunity for another attempt on the Archduke’s life, are well-known.  The motives of the assassin, 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip, and his Mlada Bosna (Young Bosnia), a group supported by the infamous Black Hand, are well-documented and, to the serious student of Balkan history, quite familiar.

What is nearly impossible to understand, despite the volumes upon volumes of historical analysis and the (now) generally agreed-upon portrayal of events, is HOW the assassination of an Archduke, the heir to a throne whose sitting monarch despised him, and whom he in turn despised, could be the triggering event that led to the greatest blood-letting cataclysm in Western history.   There are superb pieces of research and analysis, among them Christopher Clark’s 2012 masterpiece The Sleepwalkers, and DJ Goodspeed’s The German Wars (1965), that provide detailed explanations of the diplomatic and military decisions that took Europe from a century of relative peace into a devastating conflict more profoundly destructive than the Thirty Years’ War.   Even with that,  a historian can often do little more than shake one’s head incredulously at the sequence of decisions and miscalculations that would pit the great nations against one another for four bloody years.

I offer, in no particular order, some of the factors which led to what can be described as the least necessary of wars.

A notable mediocrity amongst the foreign ministers of the belligerents, to include England’s Edward Grey, who failed to understand that England’s real interests were in a balance of European power, and not in France’s desire to avenge the humiliation of 1871.  There was Count Berthold of Austria-Hungary, whose distinct lack of subtlety in his demands to Serbia inflamed Russia (who held dreams of being the protector of “pan-Serbism” in the Balkans).   Russia’s Sazonov, a duplicitous and dishonest schemer who collaborated with France’s Poincaré to virtually guarantee war with Germany.  France’s revolving door of Foreign Ministers, none effective, that included René Viviani during what became known as the July Crisis.  Wilhelmine Germany’s Gottlieb von Jagow, whose terrible miscalculation of the Austria-Serbia crisis proved so tragic.

Detached and often delusional monarchs, whose laissez-faire approaches to their respective nation’s diplomatic postures during the critical weeks following the assassination allowed the respective foreign ministers mentioned above, along with military chiefs of those countries, to dictate rather than execute their nation’s foreign policies.  Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary only briefly interrupted his vacation after the assassination, and was largely absent from the seat of power in Vienna during most of the July Crisis.  When he did return, he was somewhat shocked at the harsh terms of the ultimatum to Serbia, crafted by his own Foreign Minister and Chief of Staff.  Tsar Nicholas in Russia was absent for crucial meetings between French President Poincaré and his own “war party” of Sazonov and War Minister Sukhomlinov, during which it is presumed Russia agreed to war with Germany should she intervene in the Austria-Serbia crisis.  Even the mercurial and impetuous Kaiser Wilhelm, whose envy of the Royal Navy (and subsequent Naval Race with Britain) and imperial desires were perceived by the British as threats to the Empire, was strangely passive during the playing out of the events of July 1914, limiting himself to making marginal notes in the diplomatic messages until the specter of a wider continental war elicited desperation.   The one exception as head of state is the aforementioned Raymond Poincaré, the French President, whose actively malignant role included agitating for the long-desired war of revanche with Germany, and enlisting the Russians to assist France in that effort.

The international order built so carefully by Bismarck in the later decades of the 19th Century was rendered topsy-turvy, with illogical alliances and unlikely enmities that cooler analysis and more competent diplomacy might have gone great lengths to remedy.   Britain had far more in common with Germany than with her traditional antagonist, France.  Germany had been to war with Austria in 1866, when it wrested away the German states from Vienna (and from the very same Franz Josef) to, eventually, in 1871, Berlin.  Kaiser Wilhelm and Tzar Nicholas, cousins (along with George V) and grandsons of Victoria, had warm personal relations, and many more reasons to cooperate over the breakup of European Turkey than to be in conflict.  England, for her part, had been the traditional guardian of the European balance of power before inexplicably abandoning that role in an informal (but in the end, very binding) alliance with France.

To the events of July 1914, technological development and industrialization would be a determinant of not just tactics and doctrine, but also would be a major factor in the shaping and executing of Grand Strategy for the countries embroiled in the crisis.   The mobilization of an army in the industrial age entailed a great deal of preparation, and once executed, left little to no room for equivocation.  To do so would be to throw the proverbial spanner in the works, causing upheaval, delays, and the real spectre of being unprepared and in the midst of deploying when war came.  Thus, when the decisions in the respective governments for mobilization came, war was all but inevitable.  Interestingly, the last continental power to order mobilization was Imperial Germany.  Wilhelm, with the prospect of war looming, had tried desperately to apply the brakes to the rapidly accelerating events.   That German war plans calling for the rapid defeat of France to avoid a two-front war were what impelled the German Army to violate Belgian neutrality is one of the tragic ironies of all history.  It was the invasion of Belgium which, in the end, made inevitable British intervention against Germany, preventing the very victory over France sought by the Germans, and all but ensuring their slow strangulation at the hands of the Royal Navy which they had so antagonized with the Naval Race in the previous two decades.

Of the battlefields themselves, much has been said.  The warning signs of what modern war would be had been plentiful for anyone who cared to see.  Dating to the American Civil War, the increasingly deadly weapons of the Industrial Age had made their presence felt.  Britain, certainly, had experience against an enemy armed with modern metallic cartridge rifles in South Africa, and had employed modern machine guns against its empire’s foes at places like Omdurman and Cape Colony.   Envisioning what being on the other side of the Maxim Gun would entail should not have been beyond imagination for the British Army’s Officer corps.  Modern breech-loading rapid-fire artillery, with recoil systems which eliminated the need to re-position guns after firing, had been in military inventories for more than two decades.  The battlefield tactics of 1914, a full generation behind those technological developments, were an invitation to the subsequent slaughter that ensued, resulting in the profligate wastage of much of the youth of Europe.   The names of the Somme, Verdun, Gallipoli, Jutland, Ypres, Loos, Caporetto, Tannenberg, Passchendaele, and the Isonzo all evoke images of privation and death without purpose, and rightly or wrongly, of incompetent and criminally obtuse military leadership.

The effect of the unprecedented butchery on the psyche of Western civilization is still being felt.  The old order in much of Europe, political as well as social, collapsed utterly.  The confidence in the enlightened nature of Man, of his scientific mastery, and his cultural education, was shattered forever.  Monarchies in Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Germany fell, replaced mostly by the anarchy of revolution.  In the wake of that revolution, spurred in great measure by the War to End All Wars, came the Bolsheviks and National Socialists who would ensure that the horrors of 1914-18 would be just a precursor to the bloodiest of centuries.

However implausible it may seem (and all the more implausible with closer analysis), the impetus for the Great War and all that followed occurred one hundred years ago today, when bullets from a sickly and tubercular young assassin’s pistol ended the lives of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife on a Sarajevo street.  The warnings of Bismarck in the 1878 Congress of Berlin to not allow Europe to devolve into general war over “some damned fool thing in the Balkans” went, in the end, unheeded.

 

 

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Cutaway Thursday: McDonnell Douglas F-4X-VG

The McDonnell Douglas F-4X-VG was a design proposal to improve the carrier landing characteristics of the venerable F-4 Phamtom 2 in US Navy service. This eventually lost out to Grumman’s F-14 Tomcat but like the Tomcat the F-4X-VG has a variable geometry wing. The Navy passed on this proposal due to the VG-X’s apparent inablility to carry the AWG-9/AIM-54 Phoenix weapons system suite.

F-4X-VG

 

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DHS is Our Standing Army? John W. Whitehead Goes All XBRAD at Rutherford Institute

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“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty.”—James Madison

Constitutional lawyer John W. Whitehead pens a very chilling summation of the growth of the American Police State.

In the 12 years since it was established to “prevent terrorist attacks within the United States,” the DHS has grown from a post-9/11 knee-jerk reaction to a leviathan with tentacles in every aspect of American life. With good reason, a bipartisan bill to provide greater oversight and accountability into the DHS’ purchasing process has been making its way through Congress.

With that premise, Whitehead summarizes the most disturbing of the erosion of privacy and liberty as DHS becomes the “national police force” and proceeds to shred the Constitution.  It is worth the read.

I am going to be ordering Whitehead’s book, too.

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VOA At Sea

A few years ago, Craig wrote about the Air Force’s Commando Solo mission using EC-121s and later EC-130Es to broadcast television and radio programs as an ongoing PSYOPS program in various conflict theaters.

Similarly, during the Cold War, the United States used Voice of America to broadcast news and entertainment to people behind the Iron Curtain to counter Soviet propaganda. Most of the transmissions were along the Iron Curtain itself, but as this Stars and Stripes article shows, parts of the southern rim of the Soviet empire were best reached by a shipborne transmitter in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Coast Guard cutter Courier arrived at the island of Rhodes in Greece in 1952 and stayed until 1964, setting a record for longest deployment overseas. Under an initiative code-named Operation Vagabond, the ship served as a floating and mobile radio relay station, using its powerful transmitter to broadcast Voice of America programs into parts of the Soviet Union, communist bloc countries and the Middle East.

http://www.stripes.com/polopoly_fs/1.289238.1402930213!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_804/image.jpg

First, it’s interesting that the ship was a Coast Guard vessel. Certainly, a Coast Guard vessel would be seen as less provocative than a naval vessel. I’m just surprised it wasn’t a civilian manned ship of the Military Sealift Command.

For 12 years, USCGC Courier shared America’s vision of hope to the peoples trapped in the Communist beast’s belly.

Well done, Coasties.

H/T: This Ain’t Hell.

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President Takes Decisive Action in Iraq

In a stunning reversal of his previous equivocation regarding US involvement in the worsening security situation in Iraq, President Obama stated that the US is prepared to act with strength and decisiveness to help defeat the ISIS radical jihadist forces that have engulfed several major cities and killed many thousands of Iraqis.

MIchelle hashtag iraq

There.  That’ll show ‘em.  Worked like a charm with Boko Haram in Nigeria, too.   They certainly have mended their ways.    Administration officials speculate that the Islamic Extremist fighters that have invaded Iraq have little chance of resisting the pressure of tweets and re-tweets that show support for the Iraqi people, and will be forced to withdraw.  On the outside chance that somehow ISIS can withstand such an onslaught of social media, the President is prepared to conjure his best “I’m not kidding” expression and talk about “consequences”, possibly even “dire consequences”.   No word yet on whether or not Secretary of State Kerry will scold ISIS for “behaving in a 7th Century fashion”.   New White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was quoted as saying, “The President is making the best of a situation left him by the previous Administration, which is responsible for declaring the war over and abandoning Iraq to its fate.  Wait, ….what?  That was us?  You sure?  No more questions!”

Gawd, we are so screwed.

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“Fighting Joe” Dunford is the Next Commandant of the Marine Corps

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Congratulations to General Joseph Dunford, nominated by Secretary of Defense Hagel to be the 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps.  Marine Corps Times has the story. 

I have known General Dunford a long time, since he was the MOI at Holy Cross in the late 80s.  I had the distinct honor to serve with then-Colonel Dunford in Al Anbar in 2004, when he was MajGen Mattis’ Chief of Staff.  BGen John Kelly was the ADC, and LtGen James Conway had the MEF (and the MEF SgtMaj was the incomparable Carlton Kent).  What a team!    Joe Dunford also skipped a pay grade.  He was nominated for his second star, and before he pinned on his new rank, picked up his third star!  Nearly unheard of in today’s day and age.

Lord knows, the Marine Corps needs a warrior, and an INFANTRY OFFICER at its helm.   The infantryman is the very soul of the Marine Corps, and the Commandant should be someone who knows him and his comrades intimately.   Besides, the Amos years have not been good.

Congratulations, General Joe Dunford.   Our Marine Corps is in your capable hands.  Right where it should be.   Godspeed.

(I am willing to overlook that he went to BC High.)

H/T to LTCOL P

 

 

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The Las Vegas Shootings

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Yesterday’s tragic shooting of two police officers and an innocent woman in Las Vegas is headline news this morning.    Reports are that a man and a woman opened fire on two police officers while they were eating lunch.  What was also reported was that one of them said “This is the start of a revolution!” before killing the officers.   The news this morning is that they covered the bodies of the slain officers with the Gadsden “Don’t tread on Me” flags now commonly associated with the Tea Party movement.  CNN headlines scream that the couple had “extremist views”, but cite only “law enforcement sources”.

The couple apparently had a “suicide pact”, and the woman reportedly killed the man before turning her weapon on herself.

There are, however, some things to note about the tragedy.  The first is that the news has swept the Bowe Bergdahl fiasco from the headlines, including yet another instance of Susan Rice knowingly lying in front of the TV cameras for America’s consumption.   The second thing to note is that the incident fits so very neatly into the propaganda efforts of this Administration for gun confiscation, for increasing the authority of law enforcement against private citizens, and for the idea that political opposition should be criminalized and demonized so that they may be treated as America’s enemies, to be subsequently crushed using the overwhelming power of government forces.

So, in a way that I would not have been, even during the Clinton Administration, I am deeply uneasy and suspicious of yesterday’s events in Las Vegas.   The Obama Administration has been very close to an outlaw regime, and has condoned or perpetrated criminal activity since Inauguration Day.   The list is long, very long, and I only offer some of the examples here:

  • The patently illegal payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to unbonded shareholders (largely held by union interests) ahead of bonded shareholders in the auto bailouts was a violation of the law.
  • The Fast and Furious debacle, Holder’s gun-running scheme to make the case for gun confiscation, was certainly criminal, and led directly to the death of a USBP agent, and hundreds of Mexican civilians.  Holder’s claims of ignorance of the details of the operation are laughable.
  • The IRS scandal, in which the powers of the Federal Government were employed in the persecution of law-abiding political opposition, has Lois Lerner asking for 5th Amendment protection.
  • The subpoena of phone records by Justice, without warrant or cause, represents additional criminal misconduct on the part of Holder.
  • The deceit and cover-up regarding the Benghazi fiasco, including witness intimidation and contempt for a Congressional hearing, is yet another violation of law for which this Administration is responsible.
  • Even what Obama hoped would be a propaganda coup with the release of Bergdahl was done in knowing violation of the law, a law Obama vows he would break again if convenient.

In each of the above incidents, the Obama Administration has not only withheld the truth and obstructed justice, but has put forth carefully concocted lies to cover its malfeasance and real motives.   Which is why the shooting in Las Vegas yesterday, which contain every last element that the Obama Propaganda Ministry (with the willing complicity of the vast majority of the press) will maximize to push the Obama big-government, anti-gun, statist, thought-crime agenda, seems so incredibly convenient.

What you will see as a result of the Las Vegas tragedy will be accusations from Democrats and Socialist Progressives that the Tea Party is violent after all, representing a danger to the government and to American citizens.  You will see increased calls for gun control, and gun confiscation, and more “national conversations” about eliminating the Second Amendment.  You will also see this incident leveraged to increasingly identify political opposition to the President and the far-left as being dangerous and requiring increased surveillance, censorship, and other restrictions on liberty.  You will also see police use the incident as a justification for even more abuse of authority, increasingly thuggish tactics, less restraint, and more use of force with questionable cause.

The shooting yesterday in Las Vegas may have been exactly as it is being described, with two extremists who split off from an assiduously law-abiding political movement to perpetrate this awful crime.  But with the Obama Administration’s unscrupulous and criminal history, and its ruthless push toward totalitarian authority against a disarmed and supplicant populace, I have reason to be both cynical and skeptical in a way that I never have before.  Pardon me if there seems to be a faint odor of smoke from the Reichstag about all of this.

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After all, it isn’t like Barack Obama is a stranger to a man and woman who cried “Revolution!” and proceeded to murder police officers.  In fact, Obama’s political career started in their living room.

 

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DaveO at Op-For has Questions

They should be everyone’s questions.  The true answers to which may cement the Obama Administration as an outlaw regime that makes Richard Nixon on his worst day look like honesty itself.

Who is America’s negotiator with the Taliban?

Are we also negotiating with AQ?

Are we negotiating with terrorist groups in the Philippines and/or Thailand? What are they getting from the White House?

Why won’t the White House negotiate with Congress? Not enough beards?

Why these particular 5 Taliban? Who read their dossiers and agreed that lesser capable detainees in Gitmo would not suffice?

“Curiosities” indeed.  Perhaps it is time for a “revolt of the Generals”.  Though those in senior positions seem to have been placed there with careful consideration to their political pliability/reliability and their distinct lack of spinal column.  The pattern of military and foreign policy of this Administration, if laid out chronologically and without the spin of the lap-dog MSM co-conspirators, can only be described as an active effort to erode America’s security and military capability.  The time for calling such “miscalculation” and “blunder” has long passed.

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More About the Reconstituted Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee

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XBRAD told us about this the other day.  He openly questioned its purpose, especially in light of the track record of this Administration to act illegally and oversee the persecution of law-abiding political opponents with the apparatus of their own government.

Well, Eric Holder tells us the purpose of this new task force:

But we also must concern ourselves with the continued danger we face from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of other causes from anti-government animus to racial prejudice.

Anyone who doesn’t pick up on the verbiage has missed the last five years of Eric Holder’s corrosive and bigoted black activism.  There was, of course, the FBI memorandum telling us that returning white Veterans who believe in God, small government, and the right to keep and bear arms are domestic terrorist suspects.  There is the military’s “education” (extracted from documents at the Southern Poverty Law Center, no less) that conservative groups and Christian organizations are akin to the KKK.   And that military members may be charged under the UCMJ for supporting and belonging to such groups.  The US military has routinely run training scenarios in which the adversary is “right-wing extremist”, which is to say, actual and otherwise law-abiding citizens who are magically attributed a violent character which requires a military response so they may be “crushed”. Then, there is the study a couple of years ago in which “domestic terrorists” were defined as those who “defended the Constitution” and have reverence for individual liberty.

One has only to quickly peruse the various “See Something, Say Something” Public Service Announcements about terrorism to see that virtually every portrayal of a terrorist is a white male.  All of them.  Despite the 1993 WTC bombing, 9/11, Khobar Towers, USS Cole, the Boston Marathon bombing, and dozens of other domestic attacks and murders perpetrated by Muslim Jihadists, the US Government’s portrayal of terrorists is invariably white and male.

So the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee?  Under an Attorney General who has vowed not to pursue cases that reflect badly on “his people”?   In an Administration that has perpetrated use of the IRS, EPA, Justice, and NSA to visit retribution on individuals and groups that differ politically with the far left?  Place your bets.   Gabriel Rottman, First Amendment lawyer for the ACLU, already has.

Given the already lenient standards for when the government can launch an investigation, the announced task force is both unnecessary and an invitation to investigate Americans because of the beliefs they hold, not because of any wrongdoing.

Which is to say, with this Administration especially, conservative heterosexual white males.  And other, law-abiding political opponents.  And one can reasonably assume that this “Executive Committee” will have all the trappings of due process that comes with a closed-door deliberation of “informed high-level government officials” instead of those pesky and inconvenient Constitutional rights under the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments.

Oh, and by the way…

I… do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

H/T to Fran

 

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Women can be Marine Infantry Officers. All You Have to do is Change the Standards.

Feminist advocate Ellen Haring, a Reserve Army Colonel, wrote a piece over at War on the Rocks about how to fix why females cannot pass the US Marine Corps Infantry Officers’ Course.   Not surprisingly, Haring’s assertions ring hollow and partisan to any Marine ground combat Officer, especially one with the Infantry MOS.

…why are the physical standards different for officers and enlisted infantry Marines?…
Officers and enlisted infantrymen perform the same physical tasks in their units and during combat operations.  The discriminator between officer and enlisted has always been education, not physical differences.

What Haring writes is utter nonsense.  The answer, which should be glaringly evident to someone with the rank of Colonel, is that Marine Officers must not just “perform the same physical tasks”, but to LEAD, and lead by physical example.  A great deal of a young Officer’s credibility with his Marines comes from the display of physical courage and personal fitness, which includes strength, stamina, and endurance.  A Marine Infantry Officer must be prepared to lead despite extreme physical fatigue, and retain the ability to make alert and sound decisions.  The lives of his platoon or company depend upon it.  That Haring ignores such a fundamental of leadership in a combat MOS is not surprising, and I don’t think for a minute it is unintentional.

Haring also cites the op-ed by 2nd Lt Santangelo, in which the Lieutenant asserts that expectations, and not physical limitations, are the reasons for failure among the female Officers.  Nowhere does Haring mention the viewpoint of Captain Kate Petronio, whose extensive experience serving beside Marine Infantry units would seem to have a bit more validity than to be ignored.

Haring’s focus is, of course, the Combat Endurance Test, a grueling physical event that has been a part of the Infantry Officers’ Course for decades.  This is where 13 of the 14 female Officers have failed, and it is administered on the first day of training.  (The 14th female was dropped with a stress fracture in the first few days of training.)  Haring calls the Combat Endurance Test an “initiation”, rather than an occupational qualification, and to an extent that is correct.  In order to lead Infantry Marines, an Officer must successfully complete that test.  So, of course, since it is a stumbling block for 93% (at least) of the female Officers, Haring takes aim at that event.  And here is the crux of her argument:

Do initiation rites have a place in our military?  There will be those who argue that they absolutely have a place in developing the esprit de corps that is vital to the Marine Corps and those arguments have merit.  Certainly the Marines have built their reputation on being tough, trained professionals whose motto Semper Fidelis (always faithful) embodies their total dedication to this country and to the Corps. But does an initiation rite that effectively filters out half the American population (all women) do the Marine Corps justice?

It is that last line which says it all.  Haring apparently has issue with how the Marine Corps trains its Infantry Officers, as such training doesn’t do the Corps “justice”.   Huh.  Here I was thinking the Corps had a rather successful training program for what it rightly considers the backbone of the service, the Marine Infantry Officer.  Haring parenthetically mentions that such training “filters out” women, as if that part of her argument is an afterthought.  In reality, her entire effort centers around that very premise.  While she goes on to say that she is not advocating elimination of the Combat Endurance Test, she does advocate advancing female Officers through IOC without passing the test, as she claims male officers have done, and allow females to repeat the test (one assumes, indefinitely), until they pass.  (I question the accuracy of her assertions that males have been given unlimited chances to pass the Combat Endurance Test, and know of several males who have washed from IOC because they could not do so.)

This will have the effect of making passing of the Combat Endurance Test a graduation requirement rather than an entry requirement.  Of course, once a female Officer has had all that time and money invested in her training, the argument will then be to waive passing of the Combat Endurance Test altogether.  Because it would be foolish and wasteful to put a female Officer through all that training and not have her graduate.  Which will be precisely the goal of feminist activists like Haring.  Female Marine Infantry Officers, no matter how unqualified or ill-equipped to be such.  Because, well, the cause is more important.

So, despite her assertions that she does not advocate changing the standards in order to have female Marine Officers become Infantry Officers, she is advocating just that, and she knows it.  Like so many in the “girl power” feminism ranks, she simply lacks the integrity to say so.

h/t to Info Dissem

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“…and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in…

The above excerpt from a statement by Colin Powell, then Secretary of State.

And it is true. The American Battlefield Monuments Commission was established in 1923.

Recognizing the need for a federal agency to be responsible for honoring American armed forces where they have served, and for controlling the construction of military monuments and markers on foreign soil by others, Congress enacted legislation in 1923 establishing ABMC.

In performing its functions, ABMC administers, operates and maintains on foreign soil 25 permanent American burial grounds, and 26 separate memorials, monuments and markers, including three memorials in the United States. Presently there are 124,908 American war dead interred in these cemeteries, of which 30,922 are from World War I, 93,236 are from World War II and 750 are from the Mexican War. Additionally, 6,237 American veterans and others are interred at the Mexico City National Cemetery and the Corozal American Cemetery in Panama. Commemorated individually by name on stone tablets are 94,135 American servicemen and women who were missing in action, or lost or buried at sea in their regions during World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

The best known cemetery is almost certainly The Normandy American Cemetery, seen by millions in the opening and  closing scenes of Saving Private Ryan.

A view of Normandy American Cemetery from the memorial area.

It is one of 25 overseas burial grounds maintained by the ABMC. There are in addition 26 permanent memorials overseas under the aegis of ABMC. One such memorial is at Cabanatuan, Philippines.

Inscription on the Cabanatuan American Memorial reads: "Site of Japanese Prisoner of War Camp 1942 to 1945. This memorial honors the American servicemen and the civilians who died here..."

I find it interesting that so many families chose to have their loved one rest eternally on the soil of a nation they fought to free. For many, it seems fitting and right. But there are no cemeteries in Korea, nor Vietnam. No Americans will rest eternally in the sands of Iraq, or in the valleys of Afghanistan. I don’t know what to think of that.

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VDH: The Obama Ethical “Vacuum”

Victor David Hansen Wednesday penned (typed?) a great piece for the Washington Times regarding the shameful lack of ethics or accountability anywhere in the Obama Administration.

Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki cannot get a handle on the recent scandalous treatment of veterans in Veterans Affairs hospitals, where more than 40 sick men were allowed to die without proper follow-up treatment. A cover-up is said to have followed. When the Walter Reed Army Medical Center scandal broke under the George W. Bush administration, heads rolled. So far, Mr. Shinseki seems immune from similar accountability.

VDH enumerates the long and growing list of major Administration officials who have violated not just standards of ethics, but the law as well.  And the stomach-turning hypocrisy of those same officials when they express their faux-outrage that some Republican dare oppose their socialist secular-progressive agenda.

Susan Rice, former U.N. ambassador and now national security adviser, flat-out deceived the public on five television appearances about the Benghazi catastrophe. She insisted that the deaths of four Americans were the result of a spontaneous riot induced by a reactionary video maker — even though she had access to intelligence fingering al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists as the culprits who planned the attack on the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.

Mrs. Rice recently blamed Obama foreign-policy failures on domestic political polarization….

In the midst of the 2007 surge, when Americans were fighting for their lives to stabilize Iraq, then-Sen. Hillary Clinton implied that the commanding general in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, was a veritable liar. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid agreed and declared that the war was already lost. Then-presidential candidate Barack Obama prematurely wrote off the politically inconvenient surge as a failure. Was Mrs. Rice then shocked that “polarization” affected foreign policy?

Hanson takes former SecState and 2016 Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton to task, and Eric Holder, the slithery race-baiting Attorney General, as well.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left office with American foreign policy in shambles. She has been unable to make the argument that a single initiative — resetting with Russia, leading from behind in Libya, drawing red lines on Syria, imposing deadlines on Iran, completing withdrawal from Iraq, pressuring the Israelis, reaching out to radical Islam and Latin American communist dictatorships — had met with success.

Mrs. Clinton infamously dismissed the lingering mysteries surrounding the Benghazi deaths with, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” She also refused, despite numerous entreaties, to place the now-infamous Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram on a State Department terrorist watch list.

Eric Holder Jr. is the first attorney general to have been held in contempt of Congress. Aside from his divisive language (he called America “a nation of cowards” and referred to blacks as “my people”), Mr. Holder always seems to find himself at the center of scandals. He permitted the federal monitoring of Associated Press journalists. He green-lighted the Fast and Furious gunrunning scam. He has failed to bring to account rogue IRS officials. Mr. Holder is the most morally compromised attorney general since Richard Nixon appointee John Mitchell.

Hanson’s piece is a great read.  Grab another cup and have a look.  Eventually, the truth will come out regarding Shinsecki and the VA scandal.  But it won’t come from the White House.  They haven’t told the truth yet.  Not once.  One has to wonder if allergy to the truth is covered under Obamacare.

 

H/T to Fran!

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Cutaway Thursday: Convair B-36J Peacemaker

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Cutaway Thursday: Tyrrell P34

It doesn’t have to be an airplane does it? Nope (Imma hired gun pen here so I’m generously provided with a LOT of rope with which to hang myself latitude).

Probably one of my favorite F1 cars aside from Senna’s legandary and 1988 season dominating McClaren MP4/4 and the technologically revolutionary Williams FW15C.

More on the Tyrrell P34 from Wikipedia:

When unveiled, the cover was peeled away from the back forward and the collective gasps from the world’s press said it all. Along with theBrabham BT46B “Fancar” developed in 1978, the six-wheeled Tyrrell was one of the two most radical entries ever to succeed in Formula One (F1) competition, and has specifically been called the most recognizable design in the history of world motorsports.[1]

It first ran in the Spanish GP in 1976, and proved to be very competitive. Both Jody Scheckter and Patrick Depailler were able to produce solid results with the car, but while Depailler praised the car continually, Scheckter realised it would only be temporarily competitive. The specialGoodyear tyres were not being developed enough by the end of the season.

The P34′s golden moment came in the Swedish Grand Prix. Scheckter and Depailler finished first and second, and to date Scheckter is the only driver ever to win a race in a six-wheeled car. He left the team at the end of the season, insisting that the six-wheeler was “a piece of junk!”[2]

For 1977, Scheckter was replaced by the Swede Ronnie Peterson, and the P34 was redesigned around cleaner aerodynamics. The P34B was wider and heavier than before, and, although Peterson was able to string some promising results from the P34B, as was Depailler, it was clear the car was not as good as before, mostly due to the tyre manufacturer’s failure to properly develop the small front tyres. The added weight of the front suspension system is also cited as a reason for ending the project. Tyrrell even tried a “wide track” P34B to improve its handling, but this put the front wheels out from behind the nose fairings and reduced the aerodynamic gains from having four small front wheels. Thus, the P34 was abandoned for 1978, and a truly remarkable chapter in F1 history was over.

More recently the P34 has been a popular sight at historic racing events, proving competitive once more. This was made possible when the Avon tyre company agreed to manufacture bespoke 10-inch tyres for Simon Bull, the owner of chassis No. 6. In 1999 and 2000 the resurrected P34 competed at a number of British and European circuits as an entrant in the FIA Thoroughbred Grand Prix series. Driven by Martin Stretton, the car won the TGP series outright in 2000, the sister car repeating that success in 2008 in the hands of Mauro Pane; this example is today part of a private collection in Italy. Stretton also achieved numerous Pole Positions and class wins at the Grand Prix Historique de Monaco. The P34 has also been seen a number of times at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

So here ya go:

TyrrellP34a

An interesting car with a uniquely chequered history but why the 4 front tyres? Let the website for the car, Project-34, tell you:

Derek set to work on designing a car to replace the successful, but rapidly ageing Tyrrell 007. He calculated that they needed the equivalent of a gain of 50hp on the competition in order to leap frog the other teams, since almost everyone was running the same engine the gain would have to be made elsewhere in the design. After a few weeks of research he presented his concept to Ken Tyrrell in August 1974. A concept that drew on the experience of those years spent working on the four wheel drive, Gas-Turbine cars, for there, on the piece of paper presented to Ken was sketched an F1 car with six wheel’s ! Two regular sized wheels at the rear and four small 10″ wheels at the front. Derek explained the reasoning behind his concept to Ken.

The theory was that exposed tyres cause lift, and the bigger they are, the greater the lift they will produce, standard four wheel F1 cars counter act this effect by the use of more wing at the front, since the six wheel concept would greatly reduce the lift effect generated by the front wheels it would not need to run large amounts of front wing thus it should have a straight line speed advantage.

An interesting car with an interesting history and there’s one for sale and if you have to ask for how much, you can’t afford it.

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Fiddy

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Well, that day has finally come.  A bit of a strange sensation to leave your forties behind.  Especially when you’re the youngest, you always picture yourself as being young.  A childhood friend who lives in the area told me once that she still sort of thought of me as a little kid, because when she was ten years old, I was eight.  Which made me laugh.  Because I think I was 46 at the time.   Yep, that is me above.  First Grade, I believe.  I was a cute little kid, and am still not sure how I managed to evolve into this present hideous visage without some sort of tragic and disfiguring event.  But, here I am.

My “youthful outlook” consists largely of the sense of humor of 4th grader, who still giggles at cartoons, the Three Stooges, and bathroom humor.  (My mother used to warn that I was “confusing crudity with sophistication”.)  Anybody know where I can find re-runs of Beavis and Butthead?

I will say I do believe my 50th will be considerably less exciting than my 40th.  I spent that one in Ramadi, with the first order of business being told we are heading into the Governor’s Compound no matter what condition Route Michigan was (and it was invariably BLACK in May and June that year).   The operations staff sang Happy Birthday to me (thanks, Doc!), and we got mortared twice.

They say that 50 is the new 40.  Perhaps it is.  I am considerably “younger” than my parents were at the same age, as their generation did not get much exercise, and both of them smoked.  I still play basketball with guys half my age, and can hold my own in the weight room.  (I am not as strong at 50 as I was at 40, but I was stronger at 40 than 30.)  And my golf game is, believe it or not, improving.  But, running is really a chore these days, and has been since breaking my back in the early 90s.   And I don’t heal nearly as quickly.  But what the hell.  Never up, never in.

homer go getter

I just have to get used to the fact that I am no longer the “young go-getter in Sector 7G”.  Then again, I haven’t been for some time.

One cool fact about the day I was born is that it is 100 years to the day after the Battle of New Market.  Various friends who are VMI Alum commemorate that battle as New Market Day, where the VMI Corps of Cadets participated in the fight against Franz Sigel’s Federals.  Today is the 150th anniversary of the fight, one for which VMI should be justifiably proud.  Just the same, LTCOL P should mention that it is not only the 150th commemoration of New Market, but URR’s 50th birthday!  I am not asking for much, perhaps a stone monument somewhere….

 

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Filed under anthropology, history, iraq, marines, Personal, Uncategorized

The Most Dangerous Job in America

Hillary-Clinton

No, not Bering Sea fisherman.  Not being a cop or fireman.  Cab driver?  Nosiree.  None of those.  Not even close, apparently.  The most dangerous job in America is being an associate of the Clintons.

During the diner scene in the comedy “Tin Men”, one of the characters refers to “Bonanza” patriarch Ben Cartwright as “the kiss of death” because he had three sons by three different mothers, all deceased.   Ol’ Ben has nothing on Bill and Hillary.  The below list does not include Ambassador Stevens and the others killed at Benghazi while serving in Hillary’s State Department, but is still quite remarkable actuarially:

1- James McDougal – Clintons convicted Whitewater partner died of an apparent heart attack, while in solitary confinement. He was a key witness in Ken Starr’s investigation.
2 – Mary Mahoney – A former White House intern was murdered July 1997 at a Starbucks Coffee Shop in Georgetown .. The murder happened just after she was to go public with her story of sexual harassment in the White House.
3 – Vince Foster – Former White House councilor, and colleague of Hillary Clinton at Little Rock’s Rose Law firm. Died of a gunshot wound to the head, ruled a suicide.
4 – Ron Brown – Secretary of Commerce and former DNC Chairman. Reported to have died by impact in a plane crash. A pathologist close to the investigation reported that there was a hole in the top of Brown’s skull resembling a gunshot wound. At the time of his death Brown was being investigated, and spoke publicly of his willingness to cut a deal with prosecutors. The rest of the people on the plane also died. A few days later the air Traffic controller committed suicide.
5 – C. Victor Raiser, II – Raiser, a major player in the Clinton fund raising organization died in a private plane crash in July 1992.
6 – Paul Tulley – Democratic National Committee Political Director found dead in a hotel room in Little Rock , September 1992. Described by Clinton as a “dear friend and trusted advisor”.
7 – Ed Willey – Clinton fundraiser, found dead November 1993 deep in the woods in VA of a gunshot wound to the head. Ruled a suicide. Ed Willey died on the same day his wife Kathleen Willey claimed Bill Clinton groped her in the oval office in the White House. Ed Willey was involved in several Clinton fund raising events.
8 – Jerry Parks – Head of Clinton’s gubernatorial security team in Little Rock .. Gunned down in his car at a deserted intersection outside Little Rock.  Park’s son said his father was building a dossier on Clinton.  He allegedly threatened to reveal this information. After he died the files were mysteriously removed from his house.
9 – James Bunch – Died from a gunshot suicide. It was reported that he had a “Black Book” of people which contained names of influential people who visited prostitutes in Texas and Arkansas
10 – James Wilson – Was found dead in May 1993 from an apparent hanging suicide. He was reported to have ties to Whitewater..
11 – Kathy Ferguson – Ex-wife of Arkansas Trooper Danny Ferguson, was found dead in May 1994, in her living room with a gunshot to her head. It was ruled a suicide even though there were several packed suitcases, as if she were going somewhere. Danny Ferguson was a co-defendant along with Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones lawsuit Kathy Ferguson was a possible corroborating witness for Paula Jones.
12 – Bill Shelton – Arkansas State Trooper and fiancee of Kathy Ferguson. Critical of the suicide ruling of his fiancee, he was found dead in June, 1994 of a gunshot wound also ruled a suicide at the grave site of his fiancee.
13 – Gandy Baugh – Attorney for Clinton’s friend Dan Lassater, died by jumping out a window of a tall building January, 1994. His client was a convicted drug distributor.
14 – Florence Martin – Accountant & sub-contractor for the CIA, was related to the Barry Seal, Mena, Arkansas, airport drug smuggling case. He died of three gunshot wounds.
15 – Suzanne Coleman – Reportedly had an affair with Clinton when he was Arkansas Attorney General. Died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head, ruled a suicide. Was pregnant at the time of her death.
16 – Paula Grober – Clinton’s speech interpreter for the deaf from 1978 until her death December 9, 1992. She died in a one car accident.
17 – Danny Casolaro - Investigative reporter. Investigating MenaAirport and Arkansas Development Finance Authority. He slit his wrists, apparently, in the middle of his investigation.
18 – Paul Wilcher - Attorney investigating corruption at MenaAirport with Casolaro and the 1980 “October Surprise” was found dead on a toilet June 22, 1993, in his WashingtonDC apartment. Had delivered a report to Janet Reno 3 weeks before his death.
19 – Jon Parnell Walker – Whitewater investigator for Resolution Trust Corp. Jumped to his death from his Arlington, Virginia apartment balcony August 15, 1993. He was investigating the Morgan Guaranty scandal.
20 – Barbara Wise – Commerce Department staffer. Worked closely with Ron Brown and John Huang. Cause of death unknown. Died November 29, 1996. Her bruised, nude body was found locked in her office at the Department of Commerce.
21 – Charles Meissner – Assistant Secretary of Commerce who gave John Huang special security clearance, died shortly thereafter in a small plane crash.
22 – Dr. Stanley Heard – Chairman of the National Chiropractic Health Care Advisory Committee died with his attorney Steve Dickson in a small plane crash. Dr. Heard, in addition to serving on Clinton ‘s advisory council personally treated Clinton’s mother, stepfather and brother.
23 – Barry Seal – Drug running TWA pilot out of Mena Arkansas, death was no accident.
24 – Johnny Lawhorn, Jr. – Mechanic, found a check made out to Bill Clinton in the trunk of a car left at his repair shop. He was found dead after his car had hit a utility pole.
25 – Stanley Huggins – Investigated Madison Guaranty. His death was a purported suicide and his report was never released.
26 – Hershell Friday – Attorney and Clinton fundraiser died March 1, 1994, when his plane exploded.
27 – Kevin Ives & Don Henry – Known as “The boys on the track” case. Reports say the boys may have stumbled upon the Mena Arkansas airport drug operation. A controversial case, the initial report of death said, due to falling asleep on railroad tracks. Later reports claim the 2 boys had been slain before being placed on the tracks. Many linked to the case died before their testimony could come before a Grand Jury.

THE FOLLOWING PERSONS HAD INFORMATION ON THE IVES/HENRY CASE:
28 – Keith Coney – Died when his motorcycle slammed into the back of a truck, 7/88.
29 – Keith McMaskle – Died, stabbed 113 times, Nov, 1988
30 – Gregory Collins – Died from a gunshot wound January 1989.
31 – Jeff Rhodes – He was shot, mutilated and found burned in a trash dump in April 1989.
32 – James Milan – Found decapitated. However, the Coroner ruled his death was due to natural causes”.
33 – Jordan Kettleson – Was found shot to death in the front seat of his pickup truck in June 1990.
34 – Richard Winters – A suspect in the Ives/Henry deaths. He was killed in a set-up robbery July 1989.

THE FOLLOWING CLINTON BODYGUARDS ARE DEAD
35 – Major William S. Barkley, Jr.
36 – Captain Scott J . Reynolds
37 – Sgt. Brian Hanley
38 – Sgt. Tim Sabel
39 – Major General William Robertson
40 – Col. William Densberger
41 – Col. Robert Kelly
42 – Spec. Gary Rhodes
43 – Steve Willis
44 – Robert Williams
45 – Conway LeBleu
46 – Todd McKeehan

Of course, I am certain there is an explanation for all of these people meeting an unfortunate and early demise.  After all, the above names have been circulating for a number of years.  In fact, calling the above anything other than a series of tragic coincidences has been labeled by some as “urban legend”.  Just the same, I would like to see the explanations for each and every one of them, and have someone in the risk business calculate the odds that such misfortune could befall 47 people in such a short time.

But I’m sure it’s nuthin’.   And anyway, at this point, what difference does it make?   I’m gonna go play golf.  I hope I can avoid any self-inflicted (or other) gunshot wounds, hangings, plane crashes, leaps from buildings, etc., that are apparently a lot more common than I would have thought….

H/T  Fran

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China Provides a Lesson About Influence Squadrons

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Sort of Sir Julian Corbett meets Woody Allen.  (“Ninety percent of life is just showing up”. )  From Forbes.com:

On Wednesday, Vietnamese officials announced that one of China’s ships intentionally rammed two of their Sea Guard vessels.  The incidents took place on Sunday, the 4th.  Six were injured, according to Hanoi.

“Chinese ships, with air support, sought to intimidate Vietnamese vessels,” said Tran Duy Hai of the Foreign Ministry at a news conference.  Other officials said six other Vietnamese craft were hit.

The incidents occurred after China National Offshore Oil Corp., better known as CNOOC , had on May 2 towed a deep-water rig, the size of several football fields, to an area that Hanoi claims is within its exclusive economic zone, near the Paracel Islands.

Beijing brought a fleet of about 80 vessels to keep the Vietnamese from stopping the oil rig, designated HD-981.  CNOOC called HD-981 a “strategic weapon”at its launch in 2012.

This is not some commercial venture, nor can any Chinese incursion of this type ever be so considered.

…it is clear that the company was using the rig at Beijing’s behest.  “This reflected the will of the central government and is also related to the U.S. strategy on Asia,”said a Chinese oil official, speaking anonymously to Reuters, about drilling in Vietnam’s waters.  “It is not commercially driven.  It is also not like CNOOC has set a big exploration blueprint for the region.”

It did not take long for Chinese leaders to test President Obama’s general commitment to maintain regional security after his eight-day, four-nation “reassurance” visit there at the end of last month.  …This is the first time China has drilled in Vietnamese waters.  Moreover, this is the first time Beijing openly used its “gray hulls”—navy ships—in close support of “white hulls”—civilian maritime craft—while enforcing a territorial claim, according to the Nelson Report, the Washington insider newsletter.  There are seven Chinese naval ships in the vicinity of the rig.

Perhaps President Obama and his Administration can begin to appreciate the value of a truly global Navy with sufficient hulls and capabilities to protect US interests and that of her allies.   An inadequate number of large, expensive capital ships cannot provide adequate forward presence in all the places in which such presence is required, irrespective of the relative combat power of the individual warship.  Wednesday’s events near the Paracels provides an object lesson of precisely that.   China’s example of the use of an “influence squadron” is a telling one.  The PLA Navy is where the PRC wishes it to be in order to further Chinese interests.  Those interests are being furthered at the direct expense of US interests.  And the US Navy, stretched past the breaking point by global commitments with a shrinking force, is notably absent in the role of forward presence.

The entire episode of China’s expansion of exploration into the Paracels, the erecting of a massive rig structure, and the protection of that rig with Navy units shows also that The People’s Republic of China is no more intimidated by the hollow platitudes of President Obama’s guarantees to our Asian allies than Vladimir Putin is by Obama’s incessant harping on non-existent “consequences” for actions along Russia’s borders.  Once again, we have rivals and potential adversaries who understand power.  The ability to influence allies and enemies to act in a way which is in consonance with one’s national interests, and the willingness to use all the elements of national power to bring that about.

The common thread along both Russia’s western border and the South China Sea is a feckless and vacillating United States, whose statecraft is in the hands of naive and talentless amateurs who are rapidly dismantling their own military capabilties.  Small wonder our allies are not reassured by the words of our President.  Because, like our rivals East and West, they know those words are without consequence, because they are without the will (nor soon, the means) to give them meaning.

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Filed under Around the web, China, Defense, guns, history, marines, navy, obama, Politics, Uncategorized, veterans, war, weapons

Michelle Obama’s Trite and Meaningless Gesture

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By now most of us have seen the above image of First Lady Michelle Obama holding a “hashtag” sign in reference to the kidnapping of nearly 300 Nigerian Christian girls by Islamic extremist terror group Boko Haram. Maddening as it is, the image is appropriately symbolic of the Obama Presidency. This silly idea that “Twitter” hashtags being circulated amongst empathetic bystanders somehow equates to actually DOING SOMETHING is right in line with the abysmally weak and ineffective foreign policy of her husband’s administration. Which is to say bold and serious talk of “red lines” and “changing calculus” is accompanied by stern warnings and finger wagging, talk of “consequences”, “sanctions”, and “pivots”, all amounting, like this hashtag nonsense, to nothing at all of any value or consequence.

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Worse, Michelle Obama’s meaningless little stunt comes after her husband’s State Department assiduously avoided labeling Boko Haram as a terrorist organization for more than four years. The burning of churches, the murder and torture of thousands of Nigerian Christians, elicited not a peep from Michelle Obama. She seems only now to care in the slightest because Boko Haram’s campaign of terror and murder can be seen as a “women’s issue”.   And Lord knows she needs to be at the front lines in the “War on Women”. Just like Hillary Clinton, who now sees Boko Haram as “abominable” and “criminal”, committing “terrorist acts”. For the four years in which the State Department dithered in labeling Boko Haram as terrorists, however, the Secretary of State was that very same Hillary Clinton.

Also, Michelle, the abducted girls are not “yours”. Even though you think some idiotic picture of you with a “hashtag” showing “support” makes them so. They are the children of parents who have lived in fear of violence and death at the hands of these Islamic extremists for half a decade. Those extremists are armed partially by the very same weapons, and trained by the very same fighters, that your husband’s administration provided when it shipped arms to in Libya to overthrow a docile Khaddafi, all the while “leading from behind”.  Those Islamic extremists have now metastasized across Africa, into Mali, and the CAR, Algeria, and northern Nigeria. Boko Haram is, in no small part, what it is because of the wildly misguided and irresponsible policies of Barack Hussein Obama.

Men such as those that comprise Boko Haram and the other malignant Islamist terrorists that are soaking Africa’s sand with blood, Christian and Muslim?  They cannot be reasoned with. They are not open to “negotiation” or “beer summits”. Your pathetic display is fodder for their humor, as it shows how intellectually and morally weak you are. Such men as Boko Haram are not men with whom one can live peacefully, ever.  No, those men need to be killed. When it comes to that, other men, good men, far better men than your husband, leave their loved ones to face the danger and the fear, to risk everything to keep the wolves at bay.   They go because their country calls them to go. And because they know that the safety of those they love depends on their willingness to put their lives on the line to kill those with whom peaceful coexistence is impossible.

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And when some of those good, brave men die keeping us safe, we honor them and remember them. Men like Ty Woods and Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, and Chris Stevens.  Part of that ceremony involves the respectful handling of the symbol of the nation they fought and died for.   That’s right, Michelle. All that for a flag. Because their sacrifice is what stands between our children and Boko Haram. And they gave their last full measure of devotion. While you tweeted. Which is why you will never understand about the flag. Much to your lasting shame. Such men have always been proud of their country, even if you aren’t.  Because you haven’t the wherewithal to understand why you should be.

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Mattis-Veterans aren’t Victims

Recently retired Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis is probably the single most respected four star general of recent years, at least among the more junior members of the services. Why? Because he is blunt and direct. That forthrightness means you always understand where you stand with him. It inspires trust and respect. His letter to his Marines on the eve of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was certainly clear moral guidance:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4b/Genmattisltr.jpg

And his plea to local Iraqi leaders in to embrace the chance at peace was an instant military classic:

So now, in retirement, GEN Mattis has a new mission- to remind veterans and the public, that “veteran” is not synonymous with “victim.”

Victimhood is somewhat en vogue in America today, with virtually every possible group claiming some sort of favored status by means of some injury or slight by the “other.”

But victimhood implies a helplessness, a lack of agency, and a lack of ability or means to improve ones situation.

And GEN Mattis isn’t having any of that.

In a speech last month, Mattis tackled a concern that is on the minds of a number of combat leaders: A public that wants to paint veterans as victims and why that is potentially damaging to the fighting spirit of America’s warriors.
“I would just say there is one misperception of our veterans and that is they are somehow damaged goods,” Mattis said. “I don’t buy it.”
“If we tell our veterans enough that this is what is wrong with them they may actually start believing it,” he said during questions after a speech at the Marines’ Memorial Club in San Francisco.

“While victimhood in America is exalted I don’t think our veterans should join those ranks,” Mattis said.

That’s not to say that we as  a nation don’t have an obligation to provide care and services to our wounded warriors. That’s not to say that those veterans struggling with PTSD or other issues should not avail themselves of services, or the support of their peers and veterans associations. But it is a reminder to veterans that they hold the key to their future. The same drive and determination that made them successful in the service can carry them through the challenges they face in the society at large. It is a notice to the public that the oft portrayed deeply flawed veteran is a trope, a caricature, of the veteran. The fact is, looking back at historical precedent, veterans tend to be better educated, better paid, and generally more successful than their non-veteran peers.

CDR Salamander has, for a decade now, warned of the attempts by some in society to paint all veterans as victims of circumstances beyond their control, as children in need of the nannying care of the progressive government and culture, with no true free will to care for themselves or to make their own future. To say he’s a fan of GEN Mattis’ latest mission would be an understatement.

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Shiver Away Those Extra Pounds!

The all-new “Sweatin’ to the Microbes!”

I know I need to lose a few, but didn’t think I would be doing it by lying in bed with the God-awful crud, shaking and sweating and coughing.

I know that John’s place (the Castle) is now a plague village, but so far I am the only victim up here.   I told Jackass Cat he was responsible, that the disease was brought in on the fleas of Cattus Cattus, but he challenges my understanding of that period of history.   Let’s hope we don’t lose two-thirds of the population.

Since I am self-employed, there is no such thing as a man-cold, because if I don’t work, I don’t get paid.  So I worked yesterday and here I am today.  Which could lead to the absolute optimal Obamacare actuarial result.  Me keeling over dead at my desk, whilst sitting there, not building that.

But, somehow, I doubt it is mortal.

PS:  Jackass Cat carries his own disease.  Yeradam Pestis.

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Filed under history, Humor, Load Heat, marines, Personal, Uncategorized