28 September 2015


            I am so tired of being embarrassed by my President.  I really am.  I try to give him the respect that any person who occupies that office deserves.  We only get one President at a time, and this is his time—and for some reason, he invariably uses it to embarrass us.  The latest case in point is his appearance at the United Nations this morning.   

He had an opportunity to be a statesman.  He had an opportunity to show himself to be worthy of his Nobel Peace prize.  He had an opportunity to be a visionary.  All three legitimate uniforms were in his wall-locker back in the clubhouse, and what did he do?  He pushed them aside and showed up in the clown costume of a two bit Chicago ward heeler, a party hack.

To use the baseball analogy that Edward-Isaac Dovere used in his Politico article referenced above, he threw a couple of inside puff balls to Putin and then, in the grand Washington tradition of Jonathan Papelbon, he threw blazers at the head of his own Country and kicked us in the groin in the dugout!  According to Dovere, the President then “invoked the invasion of Iraq as an example of how the United States itself stumbled by going against international law.”  That’s a great way to establish moral authority—calling your own country an international outlaw. 

He had an international stage, and he wasted it for the sake of the political hacks who make up his base.  Dick Cheney left office seven years ago.  He was only Vice President.  But, having done nothing of real substance in seven years, the President reverts to the only real consistent policy of his presidency:  blame the guys who came before him.  And then as an afterthought, he takes a few puny swipes at the Blowhard of the Month—who is self-destructing on his own, thank you very much. 

That, of course, is the real fear of the Democrats:  Trump slithers back into the subways and sewers of New York City and people take an even harder look at Hillary Clinton and her ever-changing stories:  I gave all the e-mails, er, well, not all of them, but certainly all that I wanted to ever see the light of day, and besides it was Ms Abedin's fault, the one I set up to be paid by the State department and a Party loyalist and maybe the Bill and Chelsea Foundation (about which I know nothing, Colonel Hogan, absooooluuuutely nothing!) and its all a plot against me.

And then, to complete the baseball analogy, he decides on his own to come back out of the dugout to tip his hat at…..himself.  He should have learned from Jayson Werth of the Washington Bugs…Mosquitos…. Gnats, that’s it, the Washington Gnats.  Here is Werth only 7 weeks ago:  :  “We are only a game back right now, but as we get healthy, we’ll be rolling again. It’s our division to lose.”  As of tonight, the Insects are nine-and-a-half back and failing fast. 

According to Dovere, 

Obama held himself up as an example of how to make international diplomacy work. The U.N. is a body famous for spending a lot of time and money sitting around in rooms like this one, he said, bemoaning what’s gone wrong in the world and urging international action, but rarely delivering much more than resolutions.
That’s a huge contrast to the Iran agreement he spearheaded, Obama said. If the deal is “fully implemented," he said, "the prohibition on nuclear weapons is strengthened, a potential war is averted, our world is safer. That is the strength of the international system when it works the way it should.”  
Unless it doesn’t.  To quote the World War II RAF pilots who were fed up with qualified assurances,  “And if my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a bloody motor-bus.”

Nope, it was a bad day for the home team in that snake pit on the East River.  Our own manager shot us in our collective foot.  And he did it intentionally.

We need another Stephen Decatur.  “My Country.  In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right.  But right or wrong, my Country.”  Do we have some dirty laundry in our closet?  Some, but nowhere near as much as the “Hate America First” bunch would have you believe.  Should we air it in public?  Just remember what our mothers taught us.

No, you blew it, Mr. President.  And when the team is doing as badly as you suggest we are, baseball has a tried and (sometimes) true solution:  Fire the manager. 

Sorry kid, we’re gonna option you to the Mexican League.


With the departure of Speaker Boehner, the “livid left” has once again trumpeted its disdain for what its denizens call the do-nothing Congress.  What they are really doing is expressing their continued disdain for the United States Constitution.

Why do I rant?  Well, anyone who reads the Constitution and studies the Constitutional Convention will quickly realize that the Framers intended for the Congress to do very damned little.  First, they intentionally strictly limited the powers of the central government.  It was to do those things, and only those things, that needed to be uniform in order for the Nation to survive:  provide for the National defense, institute a single foreign policy, provide a postal system and a system of roads to connect the States, introduce a single currency, and set up a uniform system of tariffs to control the importation of foreign goods.

Everything else was left to the States as the best source of government for the people.  Want to introduce an expensive and far-reaching system of public welfare?  Do it, but don’t insist that your neighboring states adopt your plan.  Want to fund and organize a system of public education?  Great.  Do it.  Pay for it with taxes you raise locally.  Manage it by a system of local school boards that will decide what needs to be taught.  They are right there and know best what the children of their locality need to be taught.  Want to allow workers to organize in unions.  It is your State.  Have at it.  Once again, don’t insist that the other states follow your lead.  The voters of those states can decide for themselves.  And for Heaven’s sake, keep Washington, DC out of your State, except to the extent that it has been delegated powers in the Constitution.

To ensure limited federal government, the Framers loaded the Constitution with protections for the people from the government.  First and foremost was the system of checks and balances, the system that President Obama and the Democratic Party find so loathsome today.  In order to enact a law, majorities in both Houses of Congress and the President must agree.  If a proposed law cannot garner that support, the Constitution says, in effect, it is probably a bad idea and should not be imposed on the people and the States.  Give the President the authority to veto a bill that has made it out of Congress.  If the super-majorities needed to over-ride a veto cannot be reached, it was probably a bad bill and should not have been enacted into law.  And give the Congress, especially the House, the power of the purse. 

“The power of the purse.”  The great check on tyrannical power that my generation had to understand.  If, somehow, a bill was enacted into law, and the voters changed the makeup of the Congress, the Legislative Branch could limit or prevent the Executive from carrying out a particular law by with-holding funding for that purpose.  Today, we incorrectly call that “shutting down the Government.”

Why do I say “Incorrectly?”  It is because the professional politicians in Washington, with their three-day work weeks and lengthy recesses no longer frame, debate, and enact individual spending bills for the various departments of the Executive Branch.  They could, but that means that the first business of the federal government will be to stay in Washington and work out those spending bills.  Instead, it is considered better from a political point of view to lump all spending authorizations into a single omnibus bill that “must be signed.”  Recently, the Republican Party has balked at that blatant attempt by the Democrats to perpetuate the bread and circuses system it has imposed on America.  Constitutionally appropriate that might be, but people like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and Presidents Clinton and Obama, have placed party above Country and have, instead, resorted to a beautiful—if corrupt—public relations campaign to mislead and outright lie to the American people about the Constitutional duties of the Legislative and Executive branches.

Because we spend so much time in high schools teaching about truly unnecessary subjects, what my generation knew as “Civics” has pretty much disappeared from the curriculum.  When I graduated from high school back in the ancient days of the early 60’s, there were only two tests that students in Illinois were required to have passed in order to graduate:  one on the United States Constitution and one on the Illinois Constitution.  Today, Pennsylvania has a whole series of tests administered all through elementary and middle school to measure reading comprehension and math proficiency.  High School students take three “Keystone Tests” in Algebra I, Literature and Biology.   Observe, if you will, gentle reader, that our students will probably have read all sorts of obscure literature but not the Constitution. Now, I am all in favor of a solid classical education which exposes our students to the great prose and poetry of the English language, and even some of the garbled 20th Century junk that is passed off as great literature, but the sweetest use of the English language that I have ever read is still the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence.  Our students can tell you all about the Harlem Renaissance and their rights under the Constitution, but don’t have a clue about how the Constitution is supposed to work, that rights come from our "Creator", not the Constitution, and that their ignorance is harmful to the future of our Nation.

So, I implore the great American people to insist that we replace Langston Hughes with James Madison as required reading.  Only if Americans really understand the Constitution  and the system that protects us our freedoms to read and write and sing and pray and speak without fear of policing by the Government in Washington will we truly be free.

03 September 2015


Listening to NPR this morning, the topic was the flood of Syrian economic “refugees”  (people who won’t fight for their own freedom and, instead, move to some other country to sponge off of that nation) attempting to enter western Europe, in general, and England and Germany in particular.  Lest my definition seem unduly harsh, NPR has been full of interviews where the “plight” of the refugees has been reported.  Repeatedly, I hear the complaint that “We are stuck here when we had expected to be in Germany (or Britain) by now where my wife could have had her baby without us paying for it, and we would have housing and an ‘allowance.’”

At this juncture, most are being stopped at the Hungarian border as Hungary attempts to protect its sovereignty.  (My guess is that Hungary has a legitimate fear that if it lets them in, they will be stuck with these people when the rest of Europe says “Enough is enough.”  In a blurb for later programming, I caught a remark by some European commentator complaining that the US is not taking its “share” of these people.

That is an interesting comment, coming as it does in the year that we remember the 70th anniversary of VE day.  For the last 70 years, we have spent blood and treasure to keep Europe free and to allow it to develop. We funded the Marshall Plan. We have spent huge percentages of our GDP to maintain troops in Europe, while the Europeans invested in developing their economies.

Recently, we have been inundated by economic “refugees”  from Central and South America who are illegally entering our country.  I have not heard a single offer from Europe to take these deadbeats off our hands.  It is time for Europe to man up and solve its own problems without foisting them off on us.

13 July 2015


Is anyone else as fed up as am I with the whining that is emanating from that fetid peninsula between the Adriatic and Ægean Seas?  Perhaps it is because I have been driving all day and, as the choice of “the lesser of two weevils,” had to listen to NPR for 600 miles. 

Here’s my complaint.  The Greeks elected a government that borrowed other peoples’ money to finance a corrupt bureaucracy and a failed welfare State.  Then, when it came time to pay the piper, the Greek people were stunned to find out that they were expected to pay their debts, even if it meant that they now had to live within their means.  Which they promptly did, right?

Nah!  They whined that Europe was “oppressing” the Greek people by demanding repayment and refusing to lend any more money until the Greek government cleaned up its act by raising taxes and cutting “pensions.”  They whined that Europe was disrespecting them by ignoring the results of a democratic election.  One woman, a psychologist, actually lamented that the EU did not understand that the Greek people had held an election and overwhelmingly decided that they wouldn’t pay.  That being settled, didn’t the EU understand that they now owed the Greek people more loans so they could get on with their lives? Insanity!

You people.  You whine in the outfield.  You whine in the infield.  You whine on the base paths.  What's that make them, Larry?


Can we now get on to something important, such as what are the Kardashians doing this week?

28 June 2015


In the majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 US ___ (2015), Justice Kennedy took great pains to try to differentiate the import of the decision.  He wrote

Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons. In turn, those who believe allowing same sex marriage is proper or indeed essential, whether as a matter of religious conviction or secular belief, may engage those who disagree with their view in an open and searching debate. The Constitution, however, does not permit the State to bar same-sex couples from marriage on the same terms as accorded to couples of the opposite sex.

Unfortunately, language such as this in an opinion is known as dicta.  Dicta, from the Latin dictum (“remark”), is the part of a judicial opinion which is merely a judge's editorializing and does not directly address the specifics of the case at bar.  It is extraneous material which is merely informative or explanatory and which is not required to reach the decision. While it may be cited in later legal argument, it does not constitute precedent (previous court decisions or interpretations) since the comment was not part of the legal basis for judgment. Opposing counsel’s appropriate argument is: "Your Honor, that is merely dicta and is not binding on the Court or the case at bar."

In other words, it is worth less than the paper on which it is written.

And the attempts to use Obergefell as weapon have begun.  Mark Oppenheimer, an admitted supporter of same-sex marriage, has written an interesting and alarming article for Time.  Titled Now’s the Time To End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions, he uses a well-known propagandists’s technique to advocate for government control of churches and religious matters.  He does so by writing

Two weeks ago, with a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges on the way, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah introduced the First Amendment Defense Act, which ensures that religious institutions won’t lose their tax exemptions if they don’t support same-sex marriage. Liberals tend to think Sen. Lee’s fears are unwarranted, and they can even point to Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion in Friday’s case, which promises “that religious organizations and persons [will be] given proper protection.”  But I don’t think Sen. Lee is crazy. In the 1983 Bob Jones University case, the court ruled that a school could lose tax-exempt status if its policies violated “fundamental national public policy.” So far, the Bob Jones reasoning hasn’t been extended to other kinds of discrimination, but someday it could be. I’m a gay-rights supporter who was elated by Friday’s Supreme Court decision — but I honor Sen. Lee’s fears.
The old “somebody-might-think-about-tossing-that-match-through-that-window-but-I sure-won’t” ploy. 

For the uninitiated, Bob Jones University is a private non-denominational university. Originally founded in 1927 as a part of the modernist-fundamentalist debate that swept through the northern Presbyterian church in the 1920s, it is now located in Greenville, SC.  (That debate in which the “modernists” rejected the divinity of Christ and His virgin birth, the authenticity of His miracles, the atoning nature of the Cross, the inerrancy of Scripture, and the bodily resurrection of Christ, divided, among others, the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, a predecessor of the current PC(USA).  In fact, that continuing debate has led to the recent continuing massive loss of members by the PC(USA).)

The University, which was at one time the largest liberal arts university in Tennessee before it moved to South Carolina, held to a particularly narrow Biblical interpretation regarding interracial dating, and completely excluded black applicants until 1971.  Beginning in 1971, the University admitted black students, but only if they were married. After 1975, the University began to admit unmarried black applicants, but continued to deny admission to applicants who were married to a spouse of another race.  As far as I can recall, no one ever asserted that this Biblical interpretation was a sham, i.e., that it was not honestly held. 

Nonetheless, the IRS revoked the University’s tax exempt status because of those beliefs and policies.  In Bob Jones University v. US, 461 U.S. 574 (1983), the Supreme Court held that the first amendment's free exercise provisions did not prohibit the  IRS from revoking the tax-exempt status of a religious university for no other reason than that those practices are contrary to a compelling government interest, such as eradicating racial discrimination.

Same-sex marriage is now a fundamental right under the Constitution.  What Mr. Oppenheimer is not (wink, wink) suggesting is that someone use the Bob Jones precedent to revoke the tax exempt status of any church or congregation that preaches against same-sex marriage or refuses to accept and ratify such “marriages” as religiously conforming.

In McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 159, 4 Wheat. 159 (1819), the Court held that a State could not tax a federal entity, in that case the Bank of the United States.  Writing for the Court, Chief Justice John Marshall said that "[T]he power to tax involves the power to destroy…"  

And that, dear friends, is what the hard-liners in the so-called “gay rights” movement want.  They do not seek the long-cherished American “right to be left alone.”  They got that from Obergefell.  They want to force any Christian who believes that homosexual conduct is a sin tosay “Oh, I was wrong.  The Bible is wrong.  You are right.”  

If they don’t get that, then along with Mr. Oppenheimer, “ a gay-rights supporter who was elated by Friday’s Supreme Court decision,” they will continue to look for any way to destroy Bible-believing Christian churches.  And I do believe that the attack will be aimed solely at Christian churches.  Bible-believing churches think homosexual conduct is a sin.  They, and I include myself here, also believe that there are plenty of additional sins to go around and we are all sinners and will be until Judgement Day.  But Islam thinks homosexual conduct is a capital offense.  However, I’ve heard no one suggest that an effort be made to silence the teachers in that faith.  

And, I have to say, they have a logical argument.  If same-sex marriage is a fundamental federal right, then to combat the evil of conscience, the federal government ought to be allowed to use its taxing power to destroy any church that does not accept same-sex marriage as legitimate.  Remember, Bob Jones University was punished because it carried its beliefs into action.  Why not, then, destroy a congregation when its session and pastor refuse to permit a same-sex wedding in its sanctuary?

And, for liberals, there is another benefit to this ploy.  Money!!!!  That is what Mr. Oppenheimer really wants.  Like Henry VIII, he wants the “fortunes” that are currently tax-free in the accounts of churches and other religious and non-profit entities.  Everybody wins—except American citizens who can no longer rely on the protections afforded by the Constitution!

15 May 2015


We boarded trucks at Camp Schwab at about 0300 on on 14 May and were taken to Kadena AFB, (located in the middle of Okinawa).  There we boarded C-130s and took off for Utapao Royal Thai AFB at about 0500.  We were crammed in and nobody got any rest on the trip.  Our flight landed about Noon local time.  I reported to the Battalion XO and the S-4 pointed out an empty hangar where we could billet the troops out of the sun.  The USAF had grudgingly agreed that Marines needed the shade more than a couple of beat up old U-2 spy planes! (It was the first time I ever saw one up close.  Of course, I was old enough to remember when the Soviets shot one down in 1959 and captured the pilot, Francis Gary Powers.)

The CO was already out on a flight to recon Koh Tang.  When he returned later that afternoon, he sent for me and asked “How many first class swimmers do you have in Fox Company?”

Pulling out my notebook, I replied “43, Sir, counting all the officers.”  

He nodded.  It turns out that there was a question about how we were going to retake the ship which was anchored just off the end of the island.  Someone realized that the flight decks of the destroyers we had in the area were too small for the UH-53 helicopters the Air Force was using.  One proposal was for me and my ”foxy sharks” to load our weapons, flak jackets, helmets, gas masks, and other gear into cargo nets and to then board the choppers.  The nets would be dropped on the destroyer and then the bird would hover alongside while the Navy put whaleboats in the water.  We would then jump from the choppers into the sea, be picked up by the whaleboats, and hoisted back aboard the ship.  The next morning, we would pull alongside Mayaguez, board her and recapture her. (Fortunately, a platoon from 1/4 was able to get to a ship that could then rendezvous with a destroyer and be transferred feet dry.  But it would have been a helluva good story!)

At about 2100, we had a briefing for the next day’s operation.  I could tell it was going to be one of those!

First, we had no maps.  Koh Tang was so insignificant that no one had ever mapped it.  We did have some pictures that Captain Jim Davis (CO, Golf Company) had taken with his personal camera out of the side window of some sort of Beechcraft airplane that the USAF flew past the island with Jim, the Colonel, and the S-3 on board.  Jim’s pictures were developed, a grid system was superimposed over them, and they were then classified and issued to us as “maps.”  

Intelligence, such as it was, indicated that there was an enemy force of 20-40 guerillas on the island.  We were also told that Koh Tang had no permanent residents, but fishermen from the mainland of Cambodia often sailed out a couple of hundred miles to the island for several weeks at a time.  They would set up temporary camps and then fish on out into the ocean.  They would return to Koh Tang to salt and dry their daily catches and would not return to the mainland until the end of the fishing season.

The plan was for Company G, reinforced with the Battalion CP group (S-3, Air Officer, and communicators) to fly out in 11 Air Force H-53 aircraft.  They would land on narrow beaches on each side of a narrow neck that ran between a jungled hill and a mangrove swamp and capture the island so the enemy forces could not fire on the ship during the boarding and recovery.  Because the trip from Utapao to the island took two hours one-way, the most basic precept of amphibious warfare—the rapid build-up of combat power ashore—was being knowingly set aside. I'll have more to say about that later.

The helicopters would return to Utapao, refuel, and take Echo Company in on the second wave.  Fox Company would go in on the third wave in the afternoon, followed by Hotel Company under the command of Captain John Gutter.

When it came time for Lieutenant Colonel Randall W. Austin, the Battalion Commander, to give us his commander’s guidance, it was typical of that most excellent and precise officer.  Randy Austin was another of those men who other men will happily follow into the Valley of the Shadow of Death for the simple pleasure of being there in the company of such a warrior, intellectual, leader, and what we in the Mid-West have always referred to as “a good man.”  We trusted "the Old Man," and he trusted us.  He was a Marine’s Marine.

“Look,” he said.  “I know this looks tricky.  Get your people ready, but remember this.  We do not know who is on that island.  Keep control of your people. Be aggressive, but use your heads.   We will get the crew and the ship back, but I do not want to go in there and shoot up a bunch of itinerant fishermen.  I will not have a My Lai in my battalion.” 

We left to make sure that our troops were cared for, bedded down, and ready for the morrow.  It was late Wednesday night and I had not slept since early Tuesday morning.  The First Sergeant, the Gunny, the XO and I sat down to begin our planning for the operation.

13 May 2015


“Hey, Skipper.  Happy Birthday.  The fuckin’ gooks stole one of our ships!”

That was my First Sergeant’s birthday greeting to me forty years ago today.  He had come out to the field with the mail and a birthday cake for my 29th Birthday.

I was Commanding Officer, Fox Company, Ninth Marines in the field for training in Okinawa.  It was a big day for me and for the Battalion.  We had just gotten back about 180 Marines from 1st Battalion, 4th Marines and it was the first time in months that the whole battalion was in the field together.

One- Four had been the amphibious ready group off the coast of South Vietnam for several months.  Its tour kept getting extended even as it was forced to send Marines home to the States at the completion of their 13 month tours.  The solution was to raid 2/9 for people to maintain 1/4’s strength.  Saigon fell on 30 April and our troops had come back the week before.  I got about 90 back and Golf Company got the other 90.  Naturally, Jim Davis and I were delighted to finally be close to full strength.

And now, this!  The Khmer Rouge had seized SS Mayaguez, a US flagged container ship in the Gulf of Siam.  At 2100, the whole battalion was called back to Camp Schwab and by 0300, we were en route to Utapao Royal Thai Air Force Base. 

My single clearest memory is what happened as we prepared to leave the field.  Because we expected to be out for the entire week, I had a couple of pallets of C-Rations and another couple of pallets of rifle, machinegun and anti-tank rocket ammo staged with my command post.  I knew if we just left it, it would be gone in hours.

My Company Gunny, Gunnery Sergeant David Ankrom, USMC, had the solution.  As he called the Company to fall in to get on the trucks to go back to Schwab, he ordered, “All 17 year olds fall out and report to the Skipper.”  Seven Marines did just that.

They were all new joins who had been with us for about a week.  Marines under the age of 18 were not deployable to a combat area.

The Gunny had the platoon sergeants getting their Marines on the trucks.  “Here you go, Skipper.”

“All right, three of you are PFC’s,”  I said.  “Who is senior?  What are your dates of rank?”  Now this is a question that a PFC  is rarely asked, but we quickly determined that one was a week “senior” to his shipmates. “Fine.  You are in command.  Take charge of this ammo and chow until they send a truck out to take it back to Schwab.”

“Aye, aye, Sir."  He formed three reliefs of his guard, and as I got in my jeep with the Gunny, I could hear him telling his Marines just what he expected.  “Aw right.  You two start flanking your posts.  The rest of you, hit the rack.  YOU (pointing to one of the sentries) wake me up at 2300 so I can check posts!”

One of them came over to me.  “Sir, I turn 18 day after tomorrow.  Can’t I come to the war with the rest of the Company?”  The Gunny pulled him aside and had a quiet conversation with him, patted him on the ass, and sent him back to “his unit.” 

He was smiling and shaking his head as he climbed in the back seat of the jeep.  “Got us some good ones, we did, eh, Skipper?”

Oh Jesus, supreme squad leader whose fire team leaders were The Rock and the Sons of Thunder, how you have blessed us with men such as these.

That’s a birthday, you just don’t forget.

Semper Fidelis.

11 May 2015


I have been a Republican since I was 18.  I heard Barry Goldwater’s acceptance speech and decided that here was a man and a philosophy that meant something more than the evil lies and empty promises of Lyndon Baines Johnson, may he still be enjoying a seat close to the fire.  My Mom, a “yellow-dog” Democrat warned me.  “Oh, Michael,” she said.  “If you vote for that man, you’ll end up in Vietnam.”  (Of course, it was 1964, so I could not yet vote.  The 26th Amendment was not adopted and ratified until 1971.  Still, she was right.  I would have voted for Barry Goldwater—and I did end up in Vietnam.)

On 27 October 1964, I saw and heard “The Speech.”  From that point on, I was a Goldwater-Reagan Republican.  I voted for Richard Nixon both times.  He got us out of the quagmire that Lyndon Johnson had gotten us into by pandering to the left wing of his party.  He thought he could impose his so-called Great Society on our Nation by fighting a war against communism on the cheap.  Only Nixon could get us out by insisting that we do so honorably.  Undercut by the Democratic Party and a communist-influenced “peace movement,” it took him four years to do so—and then the Congress, under the overwhelming control of the Democratic Party—reneged on the very conditions the United States had set and promises the United States had made in the Paris Peace Treaty.  

As a young Captain in the Spring of 1973, as the Watergate investigation began, my 200 Amphibious warfare School classmates and I—Captains and Majors of Marines—heard an impromptu lecture by our Commanding Officer about the meaning of our commissions.  We had sworn to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”  We were not bound by some “Fuehrer oath” to blindly obey a particular President.  (Calm down.  I’m getting there.”)  A year later, in late July 1974, there was a message on the morning message board addressed from the Secretary of Defense to all General Officers and all commanding officers of the Armed Forces, reminding us that orders come down a chain of command.  If orders were received outside the chain of command, they were to be clarified back up the chain.  Sub silentio, we were being cautioned that an order—hypothetically speaking—from the President to the 82d Airborne Division or the Second Marine Division to trot on up I-95 and arrest the Congress should not be taken at face value.  As if we needed to be reminded!

For 50 years, man and boy, I have lived by my oath, as have my brother officers.  Under Carter—who delayed the attempt to rescue the hostages in Iran until he could extract a written promise from the Joint Chiefs that no Iranians would be hurt or killed in the attempt—and from the retired list, watching the President with the least respect or concern for the Constitution in my lifetime, Barrack Obama, I have been proud to be a Republican. 

(Carter finally relented and sent in an under strength rescue attempt, without the promise, when he realized he was losing hope of a second term.  Obama represents the worst part of a younger Democratic Party that thinks it is always entitled to get its own way and refuses to let the Constitution—with its messy checks and balances—stop them from changing a constitutional republic into an elitist oligarchy.)

So, I have been proud to be a Republican—until this weekend.

Why now, you may ask?

It is the Governor of Texas.  He did it all on his own.  He impugned the honor of every officer who has ever taken the oath of office by suggesting that they would simply roll over and play dead if the President attempted a coup d’etat

Understand, I think that the President, and Harry Reid and Elizabeth Warren and Nancy Pelosi would entertain such a pipe dream.  They are so certain that they, alone, know what is best for the Nation, they could actually say to the People, “We’ll have to enact the bill [before we even read it] to know what it will do.”  

You see, the Armed Forces are now beginning an annual exercise, Exercise Jade Helm 15.  This year, it is set in the Southwest and will be conducted in parts of 10 States or so.  They happen to be dry, dusty and mountainous States—which makes sense if you look at where in the world the greatest threat now faces us.  40 plus years ago, I participated in a couple of major exercises along the southeastern Atlantic Coast, from Virginia down through the Carolinas into Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.  The St. Helena Sound of South Carolina is a lovely place of salt marsh, elephant grass, and mosquito swarms in the daytime that necessitated face masks to protect us from drowning on inhaled insects.  It was a whole lot like the places we thought we might have to fight in again.  That is the whole idea of training!

Now, some wackos from the rabid right—the tin foil and colander hat brigade—have decided that Jade Helm is a plot to institute martial law in the Southwest, to seize lawfully possessed firearms from American citizens, and to lock up those who oppose the President’s unconstitutional immigration decrees.  And they have convinced Governor Abbott that only he and the Texas Guard can save our Republic.   Pah!

Mind you, I think he and the lunatic left of his Party would love to do it because “They know what is best.”  But the looney left has one thing going for it, so far.  They still know that any such attempt at a coup would be crushed by their own Secretary of Defense, an honorable man.  And they know that such an attempt followed by a quick impeachment, trial for treason, and the resultant expenditure of 40 rounds of ammunition, ensures that it just remains in their personal fantasy lands.

The best defense against such actions is the oath of office taken by commissioned officers.  And that is why I am ashamed by my Party.  You see, on 28 April 2015, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas ordered the Texas State National Guard to monitor Exercise Jade Helm because a few morons of the ultra far right have taken to the internet  to stir up the suspicion that their Fathers and Mothers, Sons and Daughters, Sisters and Brothers who have sworn to support and defend the Constitution can no longer be trusted to do so.

I hereby place my Party on notice: trust the President and the lunatic, Warren-Sanders wing of their Party only as far as you could toss them.

But, for the sake of God and Country, do not let a few idiots coerce you into besmirching the honor of the Officers of our Armed Forces.  If you do, then a pox on both your houses!

30 April 2015


Over the past two days, listening to NPR has reminded me why my main reason for listening is to try to understand the liberal mind.

Yesterday, there was a report on the efforts made by FaceBook, Google, Amazon, PayPal, and others to facilitate donations to Nepalese Earthquake Disaster relief.  (I actually used FaceBook today—it was simple, efficient, and done in about 45 seconds.)  Essentially, these big outfits are using their trusted systems to collect donations and to then forward them to appropriate agencies.  Since many of us have already recorded accounts with one or more of them, it simplifies the donation process and speeds the delivery of the donations to the people who are doing the work. I got my receipt from the relief agency about 2 minutes after I made the donation through FaceBook.

So, of course, the first thing that occurred to the NPR host was this:  “Putting on my cynic's hat, I have to ask, what are these companies getting out of this?”  Really?  REALLY?  That’s the first thought?

Not, wow, that’s really thinking outside the box.  Not, welcome to the efficiencies of the digital age.  Not, “Good for them!”   Bah!

The other was a report on the growing demand from parents to send their children to charter schools.  Think about it.  Parents are asking, even demanding, that their children be allowed to go to charter schools.  This is especially so in Philadelphia which is in the midst of a 10 plus candidate brawl for the Democratic Party nomination for Mayor.  NPR has been hosting all of the Democrat candidates (the Republican candidate is running unopposed), an hour at a time, to give their views and to answer some call in questions.  The host of Radio Times, Marty Moss-Coane, is a decent journalist who asks great questions and will make an effort to GET GUESTS TO ACTUALLY ANSWER THE QUESTION THAT WAS ASKED!

But in the promos in other morning shows, the NPR position is clear—why should mere parents be allowed to demand something the teachers’ unions oppose?  I mean, that money flows outside the control of the union bosses and the politicians and if government and unions aren’t in charge of grassroots education, think of the dire consequences.  Voters may decide that other important services ought to be put back in their hands—health care, for instance.

I listen to NPR because 40 years ago, a senior officer who had lots of experience in intelligence, one who I trusted so much that I would have followed him to hell and looked forward to the trip, told me I should.  “Always listen to what the enemy is saying, Lad.  Eventually you’ll be able to figure out what he is really saying!”

23 March 2015


This morning, I listened to NPR’s Radio Times, hosted by Marty Moss-Coane.  I like her show.  Her guest was former Congressman Barney Frank who is out flogging his new book.  (He was similarly hosted by Terry Gross on Fresh Air! last week.) These are the only NPR programs I listen to with any hope of professional journalism.  Sadly, Ms. Moss-Coane dropped the ball this morning, not badly, but a very evident fumble.

Congressman Frank was just what one would expect of a New England liberal.  The President is one of the finest chief executives that the Republic has ever elected, the liberal agenda is just what America needs, everything would be great if we got rid of our armed forces, and, if the American people would just listen to the liberal elite, they would realize that we do not have enough government in this country!  In fact, he takes the liberals in his party to task for failing to educate the people about why they need more government.  Congressman Frank repeatedly came back to this theme:  “Whenever someone says to me, the government is too large, too intrusive, I ask for particulars.  What do you want to get rid of?  Policemen and firemen?  Social Security and Medi-care?  Veterans’ benefits? Roads and bridges?”

It reminded me of the President’s talking points every time the issue of the unfathomable national debt and his desire for more taxes and more spending comes up.  He always says that without the new taxes and spending, seniors won’t get their social security checks and Medi-care will be broke, veterans will lose their pensions and/or VA benefits, and the Armed Forces will have to be cut.
And that is the basis of my question.

Why is it that the only programs that liberals want to cut those that that the recipients have already bought and paid for?  On the night of 10-11 June 1969, every man in my platoon overpaid for whatever benefits we may get from the VA.  I have paid social security taxes since I was 16 and medi-care taxes since the program was adopted.  If you read the Constitution, the United States government has a delegated responsibility to build roads and bridges and harbors and to raise and maintain an army and a navy.  Local governments have had a responsibility to police their jurisdictions and since Ben Franklin started the first fire department in the colonies, fire protection has come to be recognized as a responsibility of local government.

Those are the only programs the liberals threaten to cut.

And here is where Ms. Moss-Coane dropped the ball.  Radio Times is a call-in program.  I was on the phone, having posited my question to her producer, but it was never asked.  Only three people got to ask “questions.”  One woman kept asking some computer-related question with respect to elections.  To his credit, the Congressman kept telling her that he does not speak “computer”, did not understand her question, and was not qualified to attempt to do so.  The next “questioner” spent 2 minutes telling the Congressman what a great man he was and how the Republic will surely fail now that he has retired.  (OK, I jest, but there was no question, just puffery.)  The third question got him off on the topic of marijuana, and that was it.

So, dear friends and family, I pose my question to you.

Why is it that the only programs that liberals want to cut “roads and bridges and harbors and armed forces and social security, medi-caid and veterans’ benefits?

Why is it that they never think of abolishing the Department of Education, a bureaucracy that does not educate a single child?  Why do they never propose to get rid of the Department of Energy, whose greatest claim to recent fame is that it bet over half a billion dollars on Solyndra just weeks before it took the money and promptly filed for bankruptcy.  Why do they want to cut benefits that citizens have paid for, but have no problem with massive income redistribution in the form of “entitlements” to people who have never worked a day in their lives?

I’m all for charity to those who would, but can’t.  I just don’t understand why cut the flow of trillions that, for over a half-century, have not ended poverty, stopped crime in the crowded cities, and suggest that those recipients have a responsibility to work for themselves, the folks who can, but won't.

I anxiously await for an answer.  Have mercy on me:  I’m holding my breath.