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June 2011

Why Do I Love Blogging?

Because you get to do some interesting things, and you get to meet some amazing people. 

A few weeks ago in NYC for Blog World and New Media Expo, I met a blogger and got to talking with them.  Turns out, they had their own personal experience with TBI, and because of it had dug a bit into the situation facing troops with TBI.  This lady had fought back from her injuries, and done so in some interesting ways.  One way was doing a PT bootcamp done by a former SEAL, and she had decided to do it again to see if she could push herself even further.  We talked some more, and she made an interesting offer:  she didn't want to do it just for her, but wanted to do it in such a way as to help the troops, and so wondered if there would be a problem if she used it to raise money for Cooking with the Troops

There being no such problem, I am pleased to introduce you to Thrifty Vintage Chic, the bootcamp she is doing, her first post, and her second post.  Another should be up shortly.  I know that there can be some jokes, and even some derision on occasion, about people who sign up for these type activities.  I found it interesting, and even impressive, that she had decided to do it because she wanted to push herself and her recovery on as many levels as possible as hard as possible (noting that this is just one part of that).  That she also wanted to try to find a way to make it help the troops as well, so that it is not just all about her, well, that says a lot too, now doesn't it. I hope you will join me in encouraging her, and maybe even spread the word about what she is doing.

And just so you know, she's set a very ambitious goal:  she wants to raise $16,500, so that both a European event and a DC-area barbecue are funded. 


Like Watching a Car Wreck....

I want to turn away, but I can't... 

This morning I am rolling up the flank of the Attorney General while Uncle Jimbo assaults by fire because evidently, the Attorney General of these here United States believes that the best weapon to use against terrorists isn't an M-4 with a SOPMOD package and a rucksack full of ammo in the hands of a skilled operator, it is a Miranda Warning Blaster Cannon, a Search Warrant Launcher and a Legal Discovery Bomb.

I know, not a news flash Deebow, and predictably, there has been a barrage of return fire...

Centrist and right-of-center national security experts reacted with contempt to Attorney General Eric Holder’s claim at a legal convention that the courts are the nation’s “most effective terror-fighting weapon.”

“That’s utter nonsense. . . it is simply lunatic,” said Ralph Peters, military analyst, author and former soldier. In the war against the jihadis, he said, the courts “have been totally ineffective when they’re not outright destructive.”

“He’s unconsciously shilling for his own profession,” said Michael Rubin, a Middle East expert at the American Enterprise Institute. “Holder, like many ambitious bureaucrats, wants to build a bureaucratic empire. . . [and] by doing so, he will get Americans killed.”

On Sunday, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell added his voice to the criticism. “The attorney general said the other night our biggest weapon in the war on terror was the U.S. civilian court system,” he said on CBS’ Face The Nation. “I don’t know what planet he’s living on.”

I guess we will have to remember all those brave barristers that kicked in the doors at the Bin Laden compound and aggressively read Osama his Miranda rights and moved immediately to a speedy trial.  This is not one of the most laughable things the Attorney General has ever said, nor is it the most clueless thing either, but it is consistent. If I was this guy's boss, things like this during the campaign season would generate an expedited pink slip, or if I liked the guy, a stern warning to STFU and keep your pie-hole closed about this stuff in public.   

For the record, if I had a choice on who to fight terrorists with, and my choices were 120 lawyers or the 120 soldiers in any random rifle company, I think everyone here would agree that they know which way I would lean.  We don't need the lawyers mucking it up for everybody...

I second what Uncle Jimbo said...  Fire Attorney General Holder now....

Sheepdog Reminder

    "...if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed." - Colonel Dave Grossman on Sheepdogs"

We've talked about Sheepdogs a lot around here over the last few years...the poem below is by Russ Vaughn (paratrooper, 101st Airborne Division)...

Dogs of war

Drug War or Gun War?

One of the biggest grotesqueries perpetrated by our Federal government is the use of the word War to focus attention on a bureaucratic effort. The misappropriation of government's most deadly function is supposed to make us take these efforts seriously. So we get a War on Poverty and a War on Drugs and our minders in Washington then use the full force and power of of the leviathan to prosecute them, usually to little effect. Near as I can tell there are still poor people, athough many of the folks who make up those numbers in America live a life that few truly poor folks elsewhere would recognize. I fought in the War on Drugs and can state categorically that the drugs and the junkies won.

Today's Wall Street Journal has a piece headlined "A Drug War Plan Goes Awry". This references the outrageous operation by the ATF to allow purchases of guns in the US to migrate across the border to Mexico. Their cunning plan, Operation Fast and Furious, was to allow criminals to purchase thousands of weapons and then instead of arresting them, to wait until the guns were used in a crime and then swoop in. If that strikes you as mind-numbingly, blisteringly stupid, then your cognitive functions are intact. The purported plan was to trace these guns to the drug cartels and then use the evidence to prosecute them. The problem is the brainiacs who run ATF and the Justice Department failed to consider that when drug criminals use guns, people tend to get dead. This program killed two US federal agents and who knows how many civilians while leading to zero takedowns of the drug lords. Bravo you mindless clowns!

The proper reference for this should be "War on Guns Plan goes as  expected". This was an attempt to attack the sale and use of guns disguised, not too cleverly, as a Drug War tactic. If they could prove that straw man purchases led to civilain deaths, they would have grounds to do some jackboot-stomping on the resurgent 2nd Amendment. But instead they proved that when federal agents, with the full permission of the US Justice Department, flagrantly violate our own laws for political purposes bad things happen. I'm sure the families of the dead agents are comforted by the fact they slaughtered to further the radical leftist, anti-gun agenda.

So who do we metaphorically send to the firing squad for this disgrace? I have a prime candidate in the incompetent, political tool currently called our Attorney General. He has had many idiotic endeavors since he took office including the moronic attempt to try KSM in NYC and to close Gitmo. Not to mention his complete inability to state the bleedingly freaking obvious fact that people like MAJ Hasan and others are "Islamist" terrorists. Holder in the Crosshairs.

So it is far beyond time for this loser to pack his bags and join the multitude of other embarrassments Obama has foisted on us under the almighty bus. Hit the bricks buddy!

Fallen Royal Marine Throws One Last Party

Royal Marine Killed in Afghanistan Leaves Friends $160G for Las Vegas Party
Published June 20, 2011 |FoxNews.com

A British soldier killed by a Taliban bomb in Afghanistan left $161,500 in his will -- so his friends could go on vacation to Las Vegas, The Sun reported Monday.

Royal Marine David Hart, who had taken out a $403,800 life insurance policy before he was deployed to Afghanistan, stipulated in a letter that in the event of his death, his friends and their partners should travel to Sin City for a massive party in his memory.

"In his letter David said he had had a great life and had no regrets about anything. He always said he would do something like this if something bad happened," friend Andy Hare said. "He said, 'Go and have a good time and spend all this money.'"

Now, one year after 23-year-old Hart's death, 32 friends will fly to Nevada to honor his final wishes.

Hart, a combat medic, also set aside money for his family as well as $80,700 for a charity for wounded Marines.

"He was the best brother I could have wished for," Sarah Hart, 27, told the newspaper. "He was caring, funny and had an infamous grin. He would always be there for you. I'm proud to have been his sister and of his career as a commando."

Lt. Col. Paul James characterized Hart as the "perfect Marine -- magnificent and in personality and profession."

Click here for more on this report from The Sun.

NBC cuts "under God"from Pledge of Allegiance

This is just some sorry liberal BS.

NBC apologized for cutting the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance in its leadup to coverage to the U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club.

This is their lying, pathetic attempt at an apology

“We began our coverage of this final round just about three hours ago and when we did it was our intent to begin the coverage of this U.S. Open Championship with a feature that captured the patriotism of our national championship being held in our nation’s capital for the third time. Regrettably, a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance that was in that feature was edited out. It was not done to upset anyone and we’d like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it.”

Anyone believe that garbage? Didn't think so. Ya know NBC, if you want to use our iconic, patriotic items to pimp your TV shows, then understand that they aren't there to be edited to fit your ideology. Make up your own, run them up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes. They won't, well I mean besides the rest of your hater friends.

Failing the "Global Test"...

Before he was CINC....

The terrorist threat is real. And precisely because it’s real--and we’ve got finite resources. We don’t have the capacity to just send our troops in anywhere we decide, without good intelligence, without a clear rationale. That’s the kind of leadership that we need from the next president of the US. That’s what I intend to provide.--Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic debate in Los Angeles before Super Tuesday Jan 31, 2008

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action. As for the specific question about bombing suspected nuclear sites, I recently introduced S.J.Res.23, which states in part that “any offensive military action taken by the United States against Iran must be explicitly authorized by Congress.”--Barack Obama, Boston Globe questionnaire on Executive Power Dec 20, 2007

And Now???..

President Obama decided he had the legal authority to continue the U.S. military campaign in Libya without congressional approval over the objections of Justice Department and Pentagon lawyers, according to The New York Times.

Instead, the president sided with other senior administration lawyers who said that continuing U.S. participation in the air operations against the regime of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi did not constitute "hostilities," triggering the need for Congressional permission under the War Powers Resolution, the New York Times reported in its online edition Friday night.

This is now approaching the level of an Abbott and Costello bit...  Things mean something but not nothing, but if it was hostilities, it wouldn't be combat, just "kinetic action" which means that things are happening kinetically, and not potentially, and it is hostile, but not aggressive....

Anyone else have a head-ache?  

So, since no one else in the Old Dinosaur, Lame-stream Media will metaphorically put the screws to this President over his actions, I will, because as a taxpaying citizen, I want some answers...  And since this particular CINC is an academician, you may complete this assignment in essay format; blue books are available if you need them..

1)  Mr. President; based upon your previous statements, explain the rationale for attacking Libya and what intelligence led you to believe that Libya, after admitting to having a WMD program and pledging to help America under the previous administration, constituted an "imminent threat" to America?

2) Mr. President, so if bombing Iran must be authorized by Congress, and the previous administration sought Congressional approval for moving against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and against Saddam Hussein in Iraq, shouldn't you do the same for Libya?  If not, why not?

3)  Mr. President, when can we expect you to meet definitively with Congressional leaders and make your case using the intelligence that led you to this decision and your rationale behind your actions and then seek a resolution authorizing "hostile action" against Libya?

4)  Mr. President, what is the exit strategy and the end game for Libya? 

There, that ought to be a good start to getting some answers, but a better start is going to be during this Presidential campaign, culminating in a finishing move of seeing whether or not the American People believe that this President has shown "the kind of leadership" on matters that are important to them.

Please submit your answers Mr. President at your leisure, as I am aware that you are uncomfortable with absolutes and deadlines.

Bill Keller skewers Sarah Palin himself

Interesting piece by Bill Keller, Editor at the New York Times, in which he strives mightily to skewer Sarah Palin for insulting the august profession of journalism.  Money shot:

 I was struck by the gratuitous quality of one remark she tossed off during that Rolling Thunder rally in Washington the Sunday before Memorial Day. When an NPR reporter asked what had brought her to the event, she replied, “It is our vets who we owe our freedom — not the politician, not the reporter — it is our vets, so that’s why we’re here.

There is, I suppose, a gracious way to translate her comments. She might have meant to convey something along the lines of: “I’m sincerely humbled by the sacrifice our veterans have made to defend the freedoms I enjoy in my capacity as a politician and Fox News media pundit.” But I think we all know she meant nothing of the kind.

What Bill Keller doesn't know, because he is ignorant of the military and the purpose of the Rolling Thunder rally -- to bring awareness to the sacrifices of our veterans and POW's -- is that Mrs. Palin was referencing a powerful and often-quoted poem by Father Dennis O'Brien, USMC: 

It is the Soldier, not the reporter 
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet, 
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer, 
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer, 
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, who salutes the flag, 
Who serves beneath the flag, 
And whose coffin is draped by the flag, 
Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.

What Bill Keller also doesn't know is that former Democrat Zell Miller quoted the poem in his speech during the 2004 Republican National Convention:

Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more of the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier. And our soldiers don’t just see freedom abroad, they preserve it for us here at home. It has been said truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. [cheers] It is the soldier, not the poet who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom he abuses to burn that flag.

What Bill Keller doesn't know, apparently, could fill up an entire op-ed piece.  Or a newsroom.  

Father's Day for a Gold Star Dad

Words are inadequate to describe how amazing this Gold Star family is...

Below is a message from our friend, Robert Stokely:

1745 hours May 14, 2005 our family got a last hug and said a final goodbye as we had to leave Ft. Stewart (GA) by 1800 after Mike's departure ceremony.   The last fifteen minutes needed to be for him and his high school sweetheart now 20 year old bride of ten days to say their final goodbyes.  As I got to the car, my family already in, I paused, turned and took one more look.  Mike and Niki were embraced oblivious to anyone else, for many like them were doing the same.  A small still inner voice, one I believe is God's way of talking to me, said "take a good long look, for it is your last."  I wanted to take him with me, hide him away.  But he was a man and even though my son, he now belonged to a country.  He was an American Soldier.  

1745 hours May 15, 2005 Mike said I only have a few minutes dad, for I am about to go on the plane and we have to shut our phones down and my battery is about to die.  I love you he said, and so said I to him.  The line went dead, not sure whether he had to hang-up or the battery played out.  I still have his cell number in my phone under "Bubba" the nickname his brother Wes, then too young to say brother, gave him.  Sister Abbey wanted to have her unique bond with his name, so she shortened it to Bubs...  When I hear someone say they hate cell phones and how terrible for our society they are, I quietly wonder if they had someone far away and a cell phone would be vital to keeping connected if they might think differently?   I still call Bubba every so often even though I know it goes to the service provider's standard message.   "This number is no longer in service...."

2300 hours May 16, 2005 after a long flight and several stops, Mike called me from Kuwait.  They were on the ground and in a few days would move north into Iraq.  He sounded good albeit tired.  I was relieved he was their safely if that makes sense, for planes fly high over deep water in the Atlantic and sink fast if they go down....  And you don't know where or how they are doing in that long flight, at least back in 2005 you didn't.

1000 hours June 18, 2005, a missed call from a son now in Baghdad and even in the Green Zone, danger of attack did not avoid his brigade as several hurt when rocket propelled grenades were lobbed in.  Disappointed I kicked myself for having missed the call into my cell from Mike, but warmed at the sound of his voice, knowing he was trying to call me for Father's Day.    Then as I got home later that Saturday, a card postmarked APO Baghdad in my mailbox.  Amazed as I opened and read it, treasuring the hand written note and signature "love Mike".  How much love could a father ask of a son in war for that son to find time to send a card to arrive perfectly timed for Father's Day. IAnd even more and equally as good - Mike called again and I got to talk to him for Father's Day.  Our last....  I still listen to his voice on the first missed call.  I will read his card again this Sunday.

0700 hours August 16, 2005, the phone rings and a voice said "Is this Mr. Stokely?"  Yes.  "I am Major Hulsey and I am here with Chaplin Diccoppo and we need to speak with you urgently but your dog will not let us to the door.  Mike's dog Patches the Pit Bull was barking protectively with fury standing watch at the front door.  My heart sank as I knew the drill - if you you get a Commissioned Officer and Chaplin at your door, your son (or daughter, husband, mother, father) is dead.  But I hoped I was wrong as I said "I'll be right out" and ran without touching the ground to meet them in the drive, and as I approached, asking "is my boy dead..."  Their faces and pause, very likely caught off guard by my question, but more likely not wanting to answer it with the truth, Major Hulsey, as kindly as he could, professionally said "I regret to inform you that SPC Mike Stokely was killed in action earlier this morning."  A moment of being unable to speak, breathe, even cry as I seemingly had a giant vacuum sucking all air, even life itself, out of me.  A flash, brief as it was, of bitterness, wanting to blame someone or something as though that makes it better.  Yet, in that flash, I heard a different inner voice, a voice that spoke from a memory of a son loved and lost.  As though I could hear him, that inner voice said "breathe, breathe, now stand-up and think and act honorably.  Look after my guys.  Look after my family."  And as though jolted by a new energy of commitment, I stood up and started asking how, when, where;  how was with him and who else got killed?  Two wounded, take care of them I said, bring them home alive to their families, get me their names.....  And from that moment when I stood up, a broken hearted father, I determined that I would conduct myself in only one way regarding Mike and his death in Iraq:  Rather than blame in bitterness, Remember with Honor.

6:30 p.m. local June 16, 2005 she said it was time to go.  Goodbye.  I love you and will miss you Dad.  I tried to remain stoic because I didn't want to dampen her adventure, hugging her and wishing her a great trip.  I love you.   It had been a long few months, then few weeks, and the last few days and even hours hectic and hard work.  The Mike Stokely Foundation had been able to get some special donors to contribute and buy medical and school supplies to send with her and her team of fellow University of Georgia students to use in their medical/nutrition service work.  $8,000 in medical and $2000 in school supplies and small toys, with the latter shipped in suitcases with them (heavy suitcases) for free thanks to arrangements with Delta weeks before.  My wife Retta and I were nervous and anxious to send her off for six weeks to such a far away place where we would not even have that good of contact in this day and age of technology.

Our baby, our girl - now a 19 year old young lady, had just finished her first year at UGA .  A great first year as a pre-med student in the wake of five of the worst years a 13 year old headed to adulthood could imagine.  A brother killed in war, attending his funeral - her first ever - two months after her 13th birthday and the public spotlight that came with it, some not always so welcome or good.  A car wreck five months later that nearly killed her, leaving her seriously injured and recovering for the next 18 months.  Then a tick bite that led to two years battling LYME Disease tat at times seemed to be heading toward causing permanent neurological damage and being so sick she missed over half of her classes in her sophomore and junior year of high school.  Never mind the desocialization that comes with not being in the mix with your friends day to day at that age.  A grandmother dying at age 81 (the most normal thing that happened).  And then, just as it seemed to be coming back her way, her best friend and first boyfriend died three weeks later - they were classmates and rising seniors with dreams and goals they shared and supported.  thomas Broadwater, a young man who knew what being a gentleman was all about and how to treat someone with love greater than his own self, died June 8, 2009 at the age of 17, and the day after her 17th birthday.  Immense stress and grief can not even come close to describing what she went through.  Yet she remained determined to not only finish school but graduate with her class.  And she did - top of her class at that. 

My wife and I were relieved, excited and thrilled her first year went so very well - academically and socially making new friends in a new environment living away from home. While at times it seemed from her viewpoint it was not going well, she barely missed making a 4.0 the first semester bouncing back with a 4.0 the second one.  Then she came home excited and asked to go off for six weeks on this trip - so far away, and going to a place where you are still required to have a yellow fever shot and malaria medication is a daily requirement and don't even think about drinking the water.  Watch out for Typhoid and working with children who have also probably been exposed to Aids, and very likely hepatitis and other diseases.  And for free while paying tuition as a study abroad without even really needing the course credit to graduate in three more years...

It was a natural concern to not want to let her go, especially given what happened "last time" one of our children left the safety of America and traveled so far away.  But we couldn't let what happened to Mike be a reason to say No and she had a right to live her life fully even if doing so means danger and being far away.    Thursday night - June 16;  seventy months to the day from when Mike was killed, we said goodbye to her.  When we got home I turned on the computer and began using internet web sites to track her flight - air speed, altitude, rate of climb, sometimes descent (that kind of puzzled me while over the mid Atlantic), course changes, time elapsed and time remaining on the eleven hour flight over deep waters.  First heading eastward out of Atlanta, then turning south to be nearly at the equator.  One flight tracking site even gave an indication of the water depth she was crossing.  That probably didn't help my nerves.  I stayed up late, like early in the morning late tracking her flight.  All seemed well and I finally went to sleep. 

7:30 a.m. June 17 - I was up and checked again and saw words I wanted to see and that relieved me, kind of like when Mike called me from Kuwait.  FLIGHT ARRIVED.  She was on the ground an hour early.  Later on a one minute phone call to her mother to let us know she was there, they had good hosts, and everything fine...  She had to rush it as other students waiting to use the same land line phone.  Kind of reminds me of Mike's calls from Iraq. 

She will get a week of "sight seeing" to settle in, have some fun, and then it is time to go to work for five weeks - long hot days helping sick and malnourished children.    And I go to bed late in the early morning hours of June 18 having come in from being on my front porch.  As I did with Mike, I like to watch the Moon over Yusufiyah come up, which tonight it had to come out from behind the clouds that brought us much needed rain. I look sharp to the south east and think of my girl as I did Mike.    I am so very proud of her.  She is living life in spite of it all.  She is living it with vigor, determination and purpose.  She is serving the needs of others when she could have a very relaxed summer at the pool, lake, beach, and other places college students dream of having carefree fun.   Instead of shopping trips to the mall or downloading music on-line, she is spending her money from her savings to buy food and pay for other expenses in a far away place where she is the stranger and one seeking to understand a culture she does not know.  She simply loves children and after what she has gone through, she is not waiting to become a pediatrician to help them have better health, or at least show a kind gentle touch of love to soothe their pain.  How could I be such a blessed father?

Tonight as I write this, the Moon over Yusufiyah has risen over the Stokely family home in Sharpsburg GA.  Just as Mike saw and shared it with me in Iraq before he died, so it is with Abbey.  Tonight the Moon over Yusufiyah has risen over Ghana Africa.  And for the next six weeks, I will spend a lot of time on my front porch gazing at the Moon over.....  How could I be such a blessed father?  Nothing I could have ever done or will do can justify such blessing.  Truly there is a God who loves me unconditionally.  

I continue to be reminded to focus on what I have been given... rather than the tragedy of what I have lost.

Robert Stokely
proud dad of Abbey Stokely living life by serving others in Ghana Africa

proudly Remembering with Honor SGT Mike Stokely
KIA 16 AUG near Yusufiyah Iraq

proud dad of Wes Stokely, a boy who stepped up to be a man
looking out for his family with love and protection