I sat down with former Congressman and US Army Bn. Cdr Allen West on Monday to talk about how we should confront our Islamist enemies. His ideas will not surprise you.
I sat down with former Congressman and US Army Bn. Cdr Allen West on Monday to talk about how we should confront our Islamist enemies. His ideas will not surprise you.
What is it about media people, especially the Sports Media, who have suddenly decided that the social issues of the day matter among those that listen to sports talk radio?
I know that when I tune in to Sports Talk Radio, I am there to hear about sports, and things that have to do with sports (which may cross over into the social) but I don't want to hear the host's opinions on the state of poverty, what you think about the latest Supreme Court case involving voting rights, or if you think ISIS is dangerous or not.
I have regular talk radio for that. Sports is my diversion from all that. Which brings me to another douchebag of note; Colin Cowherd of ESPN. You can go here for all of his douchetastic-ness if you want.
“We know most people that go into the military in this country — they need the military often to pay bills. That is is almost a federal safety net financially, and by the way you’ll take shots. You’ll be sent two or three times to a raging inferno in the Middle East. That stuff scares me. That stuff I’m worried about. There’s loss of life there.”
I would like to posit a theory in order to test that Colin may be right, I want to know the answer to one question about which you may have an answer.
The day started with a screening of Dinesh D'Souza's powerful movie America- Imagine the World Without Her. I spoke with Dinesh before the screening about how America is equipped to deal with an existential threat like Islamism, both abroad and also in a clash of cultures her at home. He believes that although we have been weakened by the depradations of progressive politics and multiculturalism we can still rise to the challenge.
So now, we don't have "boots on the ground" fighting in Iraq. Instead, we have "advisors" being deployed to Iraq in order to be "embedded" with Iraqi units.
So, when Steve Kroft from CBS actually finds a hardball in the bucket of questions he is lobbing at Barack the Teleprompter Reader, it is interesting to see how he qualifies and hedges his statement regarding exactly what their mission is.
Steve Kroft: You know, you’ve said no American boots on the ground. No combat troops on the ground. We’ve got 1,600 troops there.
President Obama: We do.
Steve Kroft: Some of them are going to be out, embedded with Iraqi units.
President Obama: Well, they’re in harm’s way in the sense that any time they’re in war, it’s dangerous. So I don’t want to downplay the fact that they’re in a war environment and there are hostile forces on the other side. But…
Steve Kroft: And they participated in combat operations.
President Obama: Well, there’s a difference between them advising and assisting Iraqis who are fighting versus a situation in which we got our Marines and our soldiers out there taking shots and shooting back.
As someone who has done this job, let me clear up any misconceptions that the President, or any of his camp followers have regarding what my role as an embedded trainer was; there is just as much or more combat as there is advising.
Maybe you're getting the hang of this, Mr. President.
President Barack Obama wants everyone to know "how we roll": The US always takes the lead in international crises.
...Obama was asked why the US is contributing such a significant portion of the military coalition against the jihadist group known as the Islamic State or ISIS. Obama responded by arguing that other countries were not stepping up.
"When trouble comes up anywhere in the world, they don't call Beijing, they don't call Moscow. They call us. That's the deal," he quipped....
"That's always the case. That's always the case. America leads. We are the indispensable nation," he said. "We have capacity no one else has. Our military is the best in the history of the world."
Your people should reach out to us. We can help you with this one. After all, a lot of us are the ones who did it last time. We're the ones who know the right people by name, and have sat on their couches and eaten oranges or drunk boiled coffee.
Apparently he wanted to do this at the D-Day Memorial but was unable to gain entry. Instead, with his dad, he went to Omaha Beach. The story can be found here. Project Vigil
Bumping. This is Saturday with what looks to be a good lineup of music and more, and the proceeds go to benefit a good cause. Stop by and say hi if you make it!
Spreading the word on this, as Mission: VALOR will be there in support of this cause. Note that Madison Rising is also going to be there, along with a number of other good groups and interesting speakers. Come on by, sit a spell at our table, and enjoy what promises to be an amazing time.
The White House actually posted a video of the President, with coffee type cup in his right hand, saluting the Marines as he departs Marine One...because no one in the White House believes that anything is wrong with that.
I have no words for this.
(someone needs to get a teleprompter with the words "coffee in left hand, proper salute with right" in place next time)
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right side bar.
Deborah Crombie celebrates a “sweet sixteen” with her latest book To Dwell In Darkness that has strong characters and an intense plot. Her style is evident as she engages readers in the crime solving storyline while allowing them to get to know the characters with scenes of their home lives that include children, dogs, and a litter of stray kittens.
There are two simultaneous plots that have married detectives Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid immersed in trying to solve. Gemma attempts to build a case against electronics shop clerk Dillon Underwood for kidnapping, raping and murdering 12-year-old Mercy Johnson. This secondary case takes a back seat to the case of Superintendent Duncan Kincaid, recently demoted and transferred to the London borough of Camden from Scotland Yard headquarters. Duncan’ new murder investigation team is called to a deadly bombing at historic St. Pancras Station by Detective Sergeant Melody Talbot, who witnesses the explosion. In this seeming act of domestic terrorism, a young man dies while setting off a bomb in the St. Pancras underground, leaving Duncan and his team attempting to discover his identity and motive. The victim was taking part in an organized protest, yet the other group members swear the young man only meant to set off a smoke bomb. Throughout the story, Crombie has the reader gathering the facts alongside Kincaid as he attempts to find every piece of the puzzle in this unexpected pattern. This includes the disappearance of a mysterious bystander who appears to be Ryan Marsh, an ex-cop gone underground.
Crombie commented to blackfive.net, “I got the idea from what happened at the end of the book No Mark Upon Her, when a couple of cops went off the rail. This is the first time I have written a continuing crime arc. I really wanted to tell the story of that corruption. It is shocking all the stuff that is going on there. The genesis for Ryan Marsh’s character came from something I read a couple of years ago about a true story of an underground British cop named Mark Kennedy. He infiltrated protest groups for three to five years. Afterwards he was disavowed by the Met and they outted him as well. He ended up losing his family and became suicidal. He is now living with his brother in the US. I want to show what happens to these officers. How the corrupt officers have so much to cover up and what lengths they will go to. In the next book Duncan will have to deal with this while Gemma will have her own crime to solve.”
A welcome tangent to the dark plots is the dilemma the Kincaid-James household is having over what to do with a cat and four newborn kittens they’ve found starving and freezing in a locked shed. The scenes involving the dogs and children’s reaction towards the kittens are a welcome relief to the intense and serious plot.
Crombie told blackfive.net that she writes animal segments because of her love for dogs and cats, noting: “Each of the dogs in my stories has a realistic basis. We have three German Shepherds at home, a ten year old, one that was two on 9/11, and an adopted puppy, Jasmine, which is why over the years I have different German Shepherds in my books. My husband always wanted German Shepherds ever since he was a little boy. Because Jasmine came to us from an abusive home where she was neglected, we have absolutely spoiled her rotten. As you can tell, we absolutely adore her. She is a pill and so sweet. Gemma’s dog is based on a Cocker Spaniel I had, who died of cancer about fifteen years ago. I wrote in Geordie as Gemma’s dog as a blue roan cocker spaniel, the dog of my heart, and my fantasy dog.”
She went on to say, “In this current book the dogs got short shrift. They usually get more face time. The scenes with the kittens are based on a realistic event that happened to my family. It was my happy based fantasy. We had a female cat that turned up on our doorstep and looked like the cat in the book, although she was not pregnant. She was the sweetest thing, but had not eaten for about a week and was all skin and bones. After taking her to our vet to get checked out we found out she was micro chipped. So they were able to contact the owner. After the lady took the cat back, a couple of weeks later, the cat was run over and killed in the street. What the children in the book said about the owner was me writing out my grudge toward the real owner.”
Whether discussing the interaction between the dogs and kittens or between the characters themselves a strong thread throughout the book is the relationship amongst them. Readers are able to identify and relate with the characters either in their personal lives, while solving the crime, or understanding the grief the families must go through when a loved one is killed.
Crombie believes, “The reader should know everything the detectives know. When I read a mystery I feel cheated if someone comes out of the woodwork. I also want them to be able to identify with the characters. These are really books about relationships with a crime thrown in. The crimes emphasize the crucial decisions made, including between the good and bad characters. Even if the books do not have happy endings justice has to be served. The bad guys should get their comeuppance. A lot of my books deal with grief. If you are writing crime novels that are any way realistic you have to. I am always very interested in how people handle grief. Do they get angry, suffer quietly, and what are their coping mechanisms. How do they face that unexpected tragedy?”
To Dwell In Darkness has very riveting storylines that deal with resolving the tragedy of murder. The plots and characters are authentic and believable. Crombie leaves the reader yearning for the next book hoping to get answers including the mystery behind Marsh and the backstory on Duncan’s demotion as well as his new partner.
My buddies down in CENTCOM have their hands full this week. As the missions kicked off late Monday against the swine ISIL and ISIS housed in Syria, teams all over the command have amped things up a bit.
In a posting from last week, I mentioned what it will take to mount an airstrike campaign against targets in Syria. Given that we're going to do this using every available air asset possible, we are looking at a combined force of about 15,000 strong. Navy, Marine, USAF, Army will all be posted to supporting this effort, at least initially.
Wait, Marines? Yep- look at some of their assets based on Navy ships; we'll use a few of them during the campaign. I'm not sure we've established the Erbil base yet, so most of these will be flying from Qatar, Kuwait, and ships throughout CENTCOM and EUCOM areas (the Med being a EUCOM responsibility).
With assets coming in from other countries, the total amount of people involved could easily exceed 20k. But wait, we couldn't afford to put 15k worth of people into AFG or Iraq, could we? That wasn't feasible, we were told. We couldn't afford it.
Well, now we have little choice. 10k then turns into 15k now, and 50k or more if the refugee problem overwhelms Jordan. Should that happen, brother this gets real...
Love him, hate him, but most had considerable respect for Mike Harari. A legend in the intel community, and probably the best known member of Mossad, has passed away at age 87. He was instrumental in Operation Wrath of God and the Raid on Entebbe. It was the former that saw him indicted by Norway, after bad intel led to the killing of a waiter in that country mistaken for one of the architects of the Munich Massacre. Mike submitted his resignation over the incident, but Golda declined to accept it. Godspeed.
Trying out a new format for videos. It is supposed to look like the Daily Show and will be serious and mockerational depending on the purpose. This one is mostly serious with some solid and well-deserved shots at our President. Some of these from me, but many from the Generals whose advice he refuses to take.
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.
Blind Spot, a Robert B. Parker novel, currently written by Reed Farrel Coleman is a spell binding mystery. Coleman, who has been commissioned for the next three novels, after Parker’s death in 2010, is now authoring the Jesse Stone series. Having never read Parker it is impossible to comment on how much Blind Spot followed Parker’s works. However, this latest novel is very fast-paced, exciting, interesting, and can stand on its own merits.
With many of the top-notch mystery/thriller authors having passed away, the recent trend is to hire replacement authors. For fans of Flynn, Clancy, and Parker these new installments allow for the characters to continue to live on in the fictional world. Having set the bar high with great character development writers like Coleman successfully faced the challenge. He skillfully keeps to what Parker was known for, his format of short chapters, character’s personality, and snappy banter among the characters.
Coleman commented to blackfive.net , “When I was first offered this gig it was for a one-book deal. That happened after I did a fifty-page audition for the estate. I then had to sit down and discuss the plot with the editor. By the time I finished writing Blind Spot I had a four-book contract. I guessed I pleased who I had to please. I tried really hard to be true to the nature of the characters as set forth by Bob Parker. Fortunately, I had previously read several of the novels in the Jesse Stone series. After being chosen I re-read many of these novels to get a sense of the tone. With any series there is discovery, editing, figuring stuff out, putting new stuff in, while all the time creating a world. The pressure comes from knowing that there are millions of fans out there with expectations of what should be in a Jesse Stone novel. I hope I wrote the best book I could while following Parker’s form although not necessarily his style. Parker had laid out the groundwork for me since he masterfully built Jesse Stone in three dimensions. Having written several of my own series characters I understood the mechanics and the pitfalls of a long story arc. I came to the challenge with a great deal of respect for Mr. Parker and a love for the character Jesse Stone.”
Jesse Stone, the Police Chief of a small town in Massachusetts, is considered a very complicated figure with the over riding theme of regret affecting his life. This includes being one step away from becoming the starting shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers to being estranged from the love of his life. Coleman also powerfully delves into Stone’s drinking problem and his struggles to not let it overtake his life.
Baseball plays into the story through the fact that Jesse had his dream shattered.
Coleman believes, “It is having something you really want, come close, and then something happens to shatter that dream. I also wanted to make baseball allegorical for something. I hope the readers see the simile with the quote, ‘Baseball was a game of subtleties and opposites. At bat, the greatest players failed seventy percent of the time. In the field, if you were anything short of near perfection, you were considered a failure. Homicide investigation could be like that too, like fielding.’ A great homicide investigator must be like a fielder, not a hitter. If you want to stick around as a detective you better be more successful than one-third of the time.”
Besides utilizing the characters created by Parker, Coleman introduced some of his own. Dee, the FBI agent, who matches Stone step for step is written as independent, sexy, tough, smart, and loyal. Kayla, is Jesse’s former girl friend who was also once in love with him, and is now going through a mid-life crisis as she questions past decisions in her life.
With the backstory on Jesse and these new characters, Coleman writes a potent crime story that has Stone personally connected to the murders. After being invited to a baseball reunion by a former minor league teammate, Vic Prado, who happens to be married to Kayla, Jesse is informed about a young girl’s murder in his small town of Paradise. Through the investigative process it becomes clear that Prado is connected to the murder. It is up to Jesse and his squadron to find the killer and bring justice to those killed.
The author gave a heads up about his next books. “I am writing a new series that should be out next summer. The main character is a retired Suffolk County Long Island cop, Gus, who is very satisfied with his life. But when a family tragedy strikes, his world explodes and his life is thrown into disarray. The first novel, Where It Hurts, tells the story of his re-emergence and how he helps an ex-con find the people who murdered his son. It is through solving the case that Gus finds some unexpected answers about himself, the nature of tragedy, and gaining control.
The next Jesse Stone book will be out next fall and is called The Devil Wins. The plot involves an old crime that happened in Paradise before Jesse was police chief. It is a story of a crime that happens when Molly was a teenager. The book will focus on Molly who is a tough Irish Catholic mom and a very good cop, no matter what locale she works in. She has good cop instincts and sees the world for what it is as she tells it like it is. Her relationship with Jesse is complex since it can considered either one of friendship, just employee and boss, or will it turn into something beyond friendship.”
Coleman hopes to keep the themes of all the Parker books as payback, redemption, and regrets. Although Coleman embraced the Stone character he did not imitate Parker’s writing style. Instead, through his detailed characters and settings he brought life back into this series and into the Jesse Stone character. Fans and new comers alike will get hooked on Blind Spot, and should look forward to the next Jesse Stone book by Reed Coleman.