Burned Bridges……


Cruz booed

Burned Bridges….

Not since Screamin’ Howie Dean has a presidential aspirant’s career ended more abruptly than that of Sen. Ted Cruz; even very strong supporters like Sara Palin and Laura Ingraham and virtually all Tea Party members, ended their association with the junior Texas senator last night as he addressed the GOP Convention.

He walked into a perfectly executed  ambush by doing exactly what the Trump campaign believed he would….  he refused to play along and “endorse” Trump for the greater good by denying Hillary Clinton the presidency.

In one heavy-handed and pointless paragraph he urged his supporters to “vote their conscience” come November by not supporting Trump’s election bid.

Game. Set. Match.Ted-Cruz-booed

With this act of utter stupidity Cruz makes it easy for Trump to mind meld with the GOP elites by isolating the conservative right wing of the Republican Party and assuring all “moderates” that the conservatives will have no seat at the Trump table.

Trump is essentially saying… “we don’t need the conservatives” despite the fact that we put him where he is today.

Furthermore, I believe that Cruz has burned all his personal bridges… including those in Texas; last night makes his re-election in 2018 doubtful and we will be lucky to have a GOP “moderate” like McConnell or Cornyn….. or worse, a democrat.

Our grim task lies ahead…. to maintain the unrelenting pressure on Congress and a new President to return America to the Real America we know and love.

And a Trump loss in November….?

I find that far too overwhelming to contemplate at this point

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

He who pays the piper calls the tune


Last night during the Super Bowl I found myself in a pitched Face Book battle in which I was one again cast as Leonidas in the narrow pass of Thermopylae with scant few fellow Spartans.

At the mouth of the pass was the warbling Lady Ga-Ga and her legions of followers. I’ve heard better renditions of our National Anthem, and I’ve heard and seen far worse; Rosie O’Donnell’s intended disrespect to America a couple of decades ago doesn’t count as singing of any kind, it was just what one would expect from a far left gluttonous blob.

The history of those making poor attempts or worse, Obama-like (“It’s All About Me”) efforts to sing the Star-Spangled Banner is littered with vocal fakery, screeching and scores of renditions best forgotten.

I do not need, want or appreciate the zydeco, hip hop or bubble-gum pop versions of my Nation’s Anthem.

It’s the song, not the singer

These singers wouldn’t be behind the mic at the Worlds Series or other such national venues had they no ego… that’s not the point, it’s can they rein in that massive ego for two minutes to honor America, our flag and those who have died under its colors?

Two minutes… just sing it as its written; what gives you the right to re-write our National Anthem? It belongs to the all Americans, not to pampered, millionaire vocalists.

Whitney Houston I think fulfilled those simple requirements and made an obvious effort, given her vocal range, to keep the number of extraneous notes at a minimum. She did not yodel the Anthem as I’ve heard many lesser talents like Mariah Carey does; she is the epitome of what I detest about those who use the Star spangled banner for their own self aggrandizement.

I believe Actor Kelsey Grammer’s rich baritone version is an example of  how the Anthem should be sung….  thoughtful, somber and triumphant. It fits like a glove.

TTheStar-SpangledBanner2he Anthem
The Anthem is a call to arms, not urgent, yet far from up tempo.

The US Flag Code instructs: “The Flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously”; the music should match exactly how the National Colors are raised.

It was written in “the dawn’s early light” by a temporary American POW of the British during the night of September 13–14, 1814, as the bombardment of Fort McHenry continued the Battle of Baltimore.

It was and remains a patriotic poem inspiring sacrifice and optimism for a young republic now in its fourth century.

Having read 40 or 50 of the Face Book comments from people who disagreed with me, it was clear that they treated it as a song with little additional thought, like God Bless America or White Christmas. Ms. Ga or Ga-Ga was said to have “rocked” the National Anthem, so it goes for such people who haven’t a deep reverence for the subject at hand.

They are the people who keeps their hands in their pockets, cap on and/or wave at the TV cameras or start shouting and clapping when the singer hits ” o’re the lannnnnd of the freeeeeaaeaeae, and the hooooommm of thaaaaaaa….”

The correct way to “honor the flag” as the colors are presented and the National Anthem played is the following:


You assume the position of attention as best you can.

BI coecause I am a Marine I do what I’ve always done; me to attention, bring my boot heels together and spread my feet at 45-degree angles.

My fingers are curled, my thumbs touching the side of my index fingers and aligned with the outboard seams of my trousers. I look straight ahead or in the direction of the nearest US flag

If I am wearing a cap I render a hand salute if appropriate, otherwise I’ll remove my cap and place it over my heart.

I try to ignore those who do none of this and are talking and texting and eating and drinking and who will probably nonetheless vote.

flagAs the anthem plays I remember all the places and circumstance I have heard the National Anthem played…. boot camp graduation, the morning colors on every base I’ve been aboard, Okinawa, Vietnam, US Naval Hospitals in DaNang, Japan and around the United States, memorial services and funerals of my many veteran friends.

I think of the din of battle and the quiet of a monsoon night and the long, long hours before morning.

I don’t think much about musicians, singers and whether or not they “rocked” anything, and how patriotic they are for singing or playing… funny, I thought to be patriotic, it had to cost your something… sweat, blood, tears?  VA Hospital/retirement home visits? “Care packages” for the troops?

Roll bandages?


……. something more than clapping or a yelling a dreadful “woo-hoo” because someone needed to sing her version of Mr. Key’s verses?

And God bless you Mr. Key for giving us America’s National Anthem.









Posted in Liberty Constitution, Marine Corps, Military, Music, Patriotism, Veterans, War | 10 Comments

In war there are the “lucky” and then there is Steve Young

“The reason my responses are limited is because I am at work. Some of us weren’t lucky enough to be war heroes, so we still have to work for a living instead of being able to rely on a monthly check from the government.”

GA marine mug DSC_4560This year’s Veterans Day post is long, and quite frankly self-indulgent but I believe, for good reason. The reason is that I am sickened as well as sick and tired of the left getting away with disrespecting our military, our veterans and even our seriously disabled soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who bear the physical and mental scars for the rest of their lives.

I am but one, but I believe that I speak for all of us as I write this from the heart but more so from the gut.

Late last month I crossed swords with a garden variety, California liberal–a high school classmate of mine who is typical of the breed; unable to make a cogent point or capable of employing even a modicum of critical thinking, he called me a “fascist” and of course the old standby… a “racist”.

This is boring and tiresome, but it’s a hobby and I never grow tired of making them give up and run away from combat, never having scored a telling blow.
So it is and so it was with… let’s call him Steve Young…. because that’s his name, we graduated from Taft High School in 1966, even played on a championship football team that year.

At some point in this verbal duel Steve didn’t respond for some time, so I observed:

“I’ll put this in bullet points Steve so that it doesn’t take so long…. it took you over two hours to come up with the above. “

Steve Responds:

“The reason my responses are limited is because I am at work. Some of us weren’t lucky enough to be war heroes, so we still have to work for a living instead of being able to rely on a monthly check from the government.”

In the interest of full disclosure I freely admit to receiving a check from the Department of Veterans Affairs which has rated my disability at 100%… it arrives like clockwork on the last day of the month in the amount of $2,858.24.

The percentages of my various injuries are such that it is confusing to explain them, so let’s say that this princely sum is compensation for injuries to: right leg, ankle and thumb, my back, left knee, scar tissue, hearing loss and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (more on that later). I was in Navy Hospitals in Japan and in Long Beach for eight and a half months before being retired from the Marine Corps on disability.

Okay, that’s out of the way.

GA Yokosuka DSC_1240Back to Steve’s opinion of someone being “lucky” to get a disability check and not have to work like honest people such as Steve who slaves away there in the California coastal town of San Anselmo… doing something or other.

“Some of us weren’t lucky enough to be war heroes, so we still have to work for a living instead of being able to rely on aLeg Yokosuka '69 II monthly check from the government.”

First… I am most assuredly not a “war hero”; I understand that a person has to do something very brave to be a war hero.

After I ridicule this slander he responds:

Let’s get clear here. We have had two 5 minute conversations over the last 47 years. I never knew you were wounded, I never knew you were in a hospital for months.

Okay, if he didn’t know I was wounded or in the hospital… why did he think I was getting a VA check or that I was a hero (sic)? I believe that he wanted to do what liberals do when it comes to the military and veterans. His kind believes that anyone one in the military was stupid, joined because he was homeless and wasn’t smart enough to find a job. In other words, Steve thought that in the ’60s and still thinks that today…… those who serve their country are idiots, without IQ enough to avoid the draft.

Yes, I didn’t know it but I was lucky back in March 1969 when I landed in DaNang South Vietnam and headed by truck for Mike Co. Third Battn., First Marines which was operating off on Hill 10. I didn’t know it then but within a short seven months, unlike Steve, I would cash in on a disability check that would put me on Easy Street.

IGA blooper remember some of the high points of my tour in ‘Nam… I once helped remove six or seven dead Marines from an Amtrac in the 3/1 battalion rear. They were dusky-dark colored and their arms and legs were stiff… hard to force them into the body bags; I remember one guy’s class ring was wedged on his swollen finger, I thought it would be hell getting it off. But I didn’t know if they took rings off at Graves Registration.

I see these guys sometimes in my dreams, in the night, but at least I am lucky enough to have a check from the VA.

I hadn’t been in-country very long when we received orders we were switching our battalion HQ with the First Marine Regiment…. no more than 20-30 miles away.

I was an FNG — f*****g new guy, but it stood to reason if we were swapping areas we’d be confused and disorganized for awhile. If I was the VC/NVA, I’d hit one of our battalions or both.

They hit us… about 7 o’clock the first mortar rounds came in while I was getting out of the shower…. With the “crump” sound of the 81 millimeter rounds, I grabbed rifle, bandoleer of magazines, flak jacket and thrust my feet into my boots. We were assigned to the east perimeter when on 100% alert.

Automatic weapons fire erupted and long with RPGs…. B40s — rocket-propelled grenades and soon, CS gas from our own ammo dump.

Vietnam stareWe didn’t know that our ammo dump had been hit and our ordinance was “cooking off”.

We lost six or seven dead and several wounded, 10-12 were wounded; I had no complaints… only the mosquitoes attacked us on the back side of the base.
I was luckier still when one of our positions got hit and Dolan and McStoots were killed in an area we called Eagles Nest… McStoots had only been with us for a few weeks… he laughed all the time. He was shot in the head… through and through….I surveyed his gear to send home. I tried my best to clean the blood from his watch and his wallet.

This is how I earned my hefty check Steve… scrubbing a watch band with Ajax and a toothbrush.

I’m lucky.

We used to run what was called “Med Caps”; surround a village at night. Check all the military age males in the mornings, see to the sick and injured, especially the children, vaccinate, show them a propaganda film, look for rice, munitions, weapons and arrest those who seemed “hinkey”… hey, it was probable cause.

vietnam hillsCleft palates were common in Vietnam… I earned my luck paycheck by having young mothers approach me with their infant held out to me… saying “Boxci (doctor)… you fix”.

“No can fix, no can fix”

I given them C-rations and cigarettes instead…. I’m a lucky guy.
I still see the little kids…. and their faces.

Go Noi Island

I was lucky enough to be trudging along in July on “Go Noi Island” as we swept for enemy positions and unexploded ordinance.

One of our senior guys, Romo, from Arizona, caught my attention as he investigated a metal pail with what appeared to be a towel stuffed in it… it was so obviously a booby-trap, yet I saw Romo walk up to it … nudge it with his rifle barrel and before I could yell, he kicked the pail.

The pail, the hillock and Romo boiled up in a yellow brown cloud and he landed in a smoking heap.

He died on the outbound chopper headed for Charlie Med.

vietnam deadRomo wasn’t lucky enough to get a check, but his parents got one… a nifty $10,000… think how lucky they were Steve…. $10K for a new car, new furniture, pay bills…. all it cost was a son…. exactly your age.

But Romo wasn’t as lucky as Sgt. Mike Hill of 1st Tanks. His tank platoon was attached to our company on Go Noi Island when we got hit by a determined squad of sappers armed with automatic weapons and RPGs.

My listening post was 100 meters away from the company perimeter when the first assault began….. Our mortars were firing “lum” rounds up so we could see and small arms rattled. Sergeant Hill scrambled up on his tank to give us cover fire with a .50 cal machine gun as we bolted for the perimeter. As I ran an RPG roared through our position, missing everything. The second rocket hit Sgt. Hill full in the chest; one of our platoon commanders wrote him up for a Silver Star.

VIETNAM-superJumboIn the morning I felt it was my duty to pick up the pieces of Sgt. Hill from his tank before his crewmen saw them; I buried them in front of his tank. He saved my life… and I’m lucky I get a monthly check. His wife got $10,000 and yet 47 years later I still get a $2,800 check… how the fuck is that right?

Bobby Bittner and I got hit at the same time and he died because it was my fault.

First let me say that Bittner had no business in ‘Nam…. it was the government’s fault because the need for troops in 1968 was critical and the government didn’t give a shit about Bobby Bittner.

We were on a sweep and I fucked up and tripped a booby trap… a vicious little “Chi-Com” hand grenade in a hole that blew me up and back about 10 yards. I couldn’t hear, couldn’t speak and couldn’t move, I figured I was dead and soon the little bastards would finished we with an Ak-47 or a bayonet.

But a second explosion rang out and soon the guys dragged Bittner beside me…. clothes smoking, bleeding screaming. He was that way all the way to DaNang’s Charlie Med Hospital.

For three days I was in and out… I was comfortable with the pain and asked about Bittner a lot –I don’t recall what they told me.

Three days later they sent us to a hospital in Japan. I went to an orthopedic ward and Bittner was taken to Critical Care.

The nurses updated me on his condition each morning… Both his legs had been amputated and he never regained consciousness, but his parents were flown to Yokosuka to see him. He died Sept. 28… two weeks after I triggered the explosions.

And that’s why his parents are lucky they got 10,000 and I’m lucky because I get almost $3,000 a month because I’ve carried Bobby Bittner around on my back for 45 years and will for the rest of my life.

Poor Steven Young… having to make do with a job where he has to work hard while my friends and I get away with scamming the system as hahahahaha “war heroes”.

So here’s to you Bobby Bittner, you fucking dead guy, and all the rest of you dead guys–my comrades, classmates and friends who weren’t as smart as Steve Young to refuse or avoid serving in Vietnam.

But take heart boy…. your families got the big money…. they were “lucky” according to Steve.


JOHN HILL KIA 08/22/69 — Silver Star
JOHN ROMO KIA 08/23/69


LARRY PIERCE KIA 09/20/65 — Medal of Honor
DON PERRY KIA 10/26/68


CPL JOHN MACDONALD, USMC Ret. — died of wounds

Posted in Family, friends, Heroes, Left-wing radicals, Marine Corps, Medal of Honor, Media, Military, Obama, Patriotism, Race, Uncategorized, Veterans, War | 19 Comments

‘Fury’ heightens the bar of war cinema

Fury 1What “Saving Private Ryan” did for the frontal assault and combat realism, and “Das Boot” did for the suffocating horror of dying in small, enclosed spaces and what “Platoon” posited about struggling to retain ones humanity and soul while taking other men’s lives….. are all met or surpassed by “Fury”.

April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant with the nom de guerre “Wardaddy” commands a Sherman tank (“Fury”) and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Out-numbered, out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, “Wardaddy” and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

This David Ayer-directed film relies on the gritty realism that he used to good advantage in both  End of Watch (2012), Training Day (2001) — two well above average cop dramas set on the bad streets of the LAPD’s Ramparts Division. But in “Fury” Ayer also relies on his experience as a sonar technician on a nuclear submarine, the USS Haddo. He arrived on the sub as a “NUB” – a Non-Useful Body; he didn’t know the ropes and found it was hard to fit in. He was a cog outside of the machine. 

Brad-Pitt-Fury-Movie-Review 222This experience served him well in the tank’s claustrophobic confines and especially with the character of “Norman” (“normal”?) who is assigned to the tank crew as a replacement assistant driver. His first order is to clean the inside of the tank … of the remains of his predecessor.

It is Brad Pitt’s job as “Wardaddy” to make Norman a member of the crew immediately… he knows what the rookie does not know… everything you were before must be set aside in favor of killing and surviving which are now one and the same. The questions of ones soul, morals, ethics and words like “mercy”, “justice” must simply be sidelined until the Germans quit.

Pitt’s character overwhelms the impossibly young-looking Norman, played by Logan Lerman until he is broken down flat and  then immediately rebuilt in the image of the Fury crew… a killer and survivor with no time or need of platitudes of right and wrong; those are the intellectual distractions best left to college professors far, far away from the din of battle.

logan-lerman furyNone of this is to say The Fury’s crew is morally bereft of spiritually and lost….. the aptly nick-named “Christian” (well-played by Shia LaBeouf) again and again cites scripture and Biblical parables and good-naturally tolerates and counter-punches the jabs of his close-quartered comrades who do not lack humanity, they just cannot seem to recall where they placed it so long, so many battles ago.

After Norman has acquitted himself admirably in battle one of the crew — the worst of Norman’s tormentors — turns to the former clerk-typist and says “Norman, you’re a good man… the rest of us aren’t, but you are a good man.”

In his way, Pitt’s Wardaddy is the repository of all the crew’s breaking point psychological shell shock  as he wearily struggles to make good on his promise to see that “everyone gets home”; he is deeply tormented himself but refuses to show it to his crew.

fury tank rticle-2443958-188548F900000578-982_634x423Some of Fury’s best acting is seen, not heard it’s just great, non-verbal, physical acting ….. Director Ayer takes good advantage, framing extreme close up shots to portray the pain and suffering, the reactions to deaths and dying within arms’ length which are etched on every scarred and filthy face; their shoulders slump under the impact of too much, too ugly.

The five crewmen strain and fight their weapons from inside Fury whose steel hulk can become their collective coffin in an instant or at any wrong turn. But tactics eventually demand they dismount, leaving behind her maternal embrace to face the enemy individually and unprotected.

Fury is great film making …. a simple story told well and it has done its part in raising the bar of Hollywood’s idea of war and combat; perhaps at long last those so quick to point fingers and spew clichés about the military might pause a moment and see themselves, or if not, their fathers and grandfathers in Fury’s crew as they fight to “come home” and struggle to reclaim their humanity in the process.


Posted in Faith, Film, Heroes, Military, Patriotism, Psychology, Religion, Uncategorized, Veterans, War | 2 Comments

Our Flag …. “a living thing.”

FLAG casket a01_50263067

In this digital, disconnected age of “me… me… me”, I mourn the loss of true patriotism in my country.

We have a president who initially refused to wear a flag lapel pin, didn’t bring hand to heart during the National Anthem and has “saluted” his Marine Honor Guard with a Styrofoam cup in his hand.

He’s not the worst, he’s just the most obvious in his disrespect for America his cynical ignorance of our national symbols is palpable…

Our flag… Old Glory, the National Colors, The Grand Old Flag has covered the caskets of scores of my Marine comrades in Vietnam, my friends and fellow veterans… it is one last honor we may receive for serving our beloved country.

The flag is a vital symbol and should be respected by all; there are rules government the how and so of caring for, flying, displaying and retiring, they are found in the United States Code.

The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing.” — Section 8

“No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America.” — Section 8j



The following was printed in my local paper this morning:

Gainesville Daily Register

To the Editor:

The United States flag at the Cooke County Courthouse has languished at half staff for over a week at the time of this writing for no valid reason.

Presumably this was at the direction of the county commissioners, though I do not recall a resolution or official announcement for a period of mourning.

It is my understanding that the half-staffing was in recognition of the recent, tragic deaths of four North Central Texas College students killed in a semi-bus accident. Nonetheless, the solemn gesture is misplaced and not authorized under the United States Code.

flag kids DSC_7208Title 4 of the U.S. Code sets forth the rules for displaying the flag and Section 7/M authorizes only the President of the United States, governors and the mayor of the District of Columbia to order the flag flown at half-staff, and then only for certain reasons and periods of time.

There is no such provision for local officials, commissioners, mayors, police or fire chiefs to bring the National Colors at half staff.

Lowering the flag to half-staff is one of the greatest honors the country can bestow on an individual and for that honor to have any meaning, it should be rare and restricted to only those mentioned in the Flag Code.

How does this gesture pay respect to the memory of our four student athletes when it violates the very standards for lowering the flag to half staff and leaving it there day after day after day? It doesn’t… and is therefore inappropriate.

In contrast, on Memorial Day, the official mourning period for all our war dead, the flag is lowered only until noon, then returned to full staff.

flag-half-staffTwo years ago there was a similar debate and disagreement locally about the flags being lowered for victims of a school shooting in Connecticut. At that time the commissioners insisted that the courthouse flag should be lowered as directed by the president. But despite the absence of any such presidential directive, the county flags were lowered for the NCTC students.

The U.S. Flag Code is not a law and there are no penalties for violations; however it provides a simple guideline for how our nation’s symbol should be displayed and respected. And such treatment should be uniform from state to state and town to town… it is the United States Code.

Gainesville is nationally known for its Medal of Honor Host City Program and was named The Most Patriotic Small town in America for 2013; how does it look for visitors see the post office flag at half staff and the schools’ flags are not… or the courthouse flags are down and the city’s flag is at full staff?

This lack of continuity creates confusion and makes the community look badly.

So to head off a growing trivialization of this memorial salute, and to preserve the dignity and significance of flying the U.S. flag at half-staff, it is paramount to follow the U.S. Code guidelines governing the National Colors.

And while we grieve our local and personal losses deeply, proper respect for our flag must be maintained – no matter the circumstances.

Gary Alexander


Flag clouds DSC_9497

Posted in Heroes, Liberty Constitution, Marine Corps, Military, Obama, Patriotism, Uncategorized, Veterans, War | 1 Comment

As far as I’m concerned… it’s a man’s world



A couple of days ago I willingly engaged in a back-and-forth with a long ago public school friend of mine when he popped up on Facebook as he does every few months.

Steve (his real name) is a classic, knee-jerk liberal of the California variety not well-versed in his intellectual foundation and so must rely on being smug, holier than thou, and full of ridicule and hubris.

So Steve stopped by my Facebook page to ridicule a post concerning a new variant of the venerable 1911 pistol… a somewhat technical article about a military firearm; I linked it to a number of friends with similar interests.

Marine Fowler-PresBushPurpleHeartSteve: “It’s expensive… but I am going to run out and by one for my son’s 16th birthday……Who cares about the money if it can save him from the black boots who will inevitably be coming for him.”

Like all libs Steve cannot debate an issue–any issue–in the straightforward; because he knows, like the Viet Cong, he cannot effectively mount a sustained firefight…. hit and run is best he can do.

I dusted him in short order as I always do but this carried some weight even with him:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Steve: the gentlemen listed above, whom I’m privileged to have as friends, include fellow combat Marines, retired military officers and senior enlisted, Medal of Honor Recipients, distinguished marksmen, retired law enforcement officers, a card-carrying member of Mensa and a widely respected military author and journalist.”
The takeaway for me in this lopsided little skirmish was how proud and satisfied I am to live in the world of men such as those whom I’d introduced to Steve.

This doesn’t mean that I live in a world of high-octane, risk-taking, minimal thought and all action… on the contrary. I’m talking about a world in which my friends live the most important parts of being a man…. leader, protector, healer of wounds, first to answer the call, instructor; most are voracious readers and possess a multitude of varied interests.

300In this group debating whether or not Nietzsche was full of crap is as likely as why in hell did Hitler stop the almost assured destruction of Britain and open the Eastern Front against the Soviets?

Men in my world are scholars and can ably discuss most every current event on a day-to-day basis…. why? Because we believe being forewarned is being forearmed.

These are men who have ridden to the sound of guns, who ran into fires while most such as Steve, ran out. The main differences between these men and Steve is that he would have but one thought in mind: “Get out, get out, get out, get out.”

In my world the only thought is “Who is still alive in there?”

One man's patriot is another man's terrorist.... in AmericaIn my world men wear head gear… they wear caps (veterans, NRA, John Deere) and Western hats (straw in the summer and felt in the winter), helmets, construction hard hats. They have calloused hands and despite advanced degrees, usually know their way around horses and aggressive dogs.

We (not all) drink whiskey, some chew and most are reformed smokers and and we condemn to the deepest levels of hell the enemies of our country and those who turn against us.

We believe that in the event America is invaded, a significant fifth-column of our fellow citizens would immediately rise and inform on the patriots for 30 pieces of silver… or a loaf of bread.

firemanMost of us still cannot set aside the nagging possibility that the enemy may hit the wire any time, despite age and infirmity…. ours, not theirs.

We deeply fear as did the Founding Fathers, an all-powerful federal government. Over our many years and life experiences we learned to recognize danger from afar because recognizing it “danger close” does you no good.

All this is lost on the Steves of the world.

We find most people tiresome but do not say so; essentially we are taking count, silently rating them:  can they be counted on? And to do what?

It’s automatic.southland04

I have numerous pairs of latex gloves in my truck (yeah, a big, burly 5.7 liter)… if you don’t know why I have them then we probably don’t hang out.

I cannot estimate the number of accidents at which I’ve rendered aid… I know my first aid, I know my artificial resuscitation, my Heimlich… I’ll never (nor will my friends) be the ones running around yelling “someone help!!!!”

Does this mean were something special and crave attention. No, it means that in my world, men act, we stand on the wall and the others… the Steves… can mock and disdain all they want.

It is so because most people lead a safe and protective life thanks to my friends in the military, law enforcement, as first responders, medical personnel, firefighters while most males have never had to defend their Country, families or themselves and ironically are the first to ridicule those who have made their low-risk, no-risk lives possible.

FLAG casket a01_50263067

So in honor of Robbie Burns Day…….

Here’s tae us
Wha’s like us
Damn few,
And they’re a’ deid
Mair’s the pity!

May those who live truly be always believed,
And those who deceive us be always deceived.
Here’s to the men of all classes,
Who through lasses and glasses
Will make themselves asses!

I drink to the health of another,
And the other I drink to is he
In the hope that he drinks to another,
And the other he drinks to is me.

Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand
Andy may his great prosperity
Ne’er fail in old Scotland!

Posted in Heroes, Liberty Constitution, Marine Corps, Medal of Honor, Military, Politics, Second Amendment, Uncategorized, Veterans, War | 4 Comments

“Nothing on TV”?? You haven’t been looking.

As a movie maven and serious television drama critic, I offer the following for my friends, some of whom claim–despite cable, satellite, Netflix, universal remotes, DVRs, newspapers, Google, and rabbit-ear antennas and tin foil–they don’t know when the following shows I recommend are on or which channel. 

Caution: If you spend a lot of viewing time with bearded duck hunters, fat southern redneck families, junk dealers and pawn shop owners…. you may not be interested in the following.


True Detective — HBO  — reruns of the eight episodes available here.

If you did not see this deeply dark psychological cop drama starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey (True Detective is some of the best work either veterans actor has done) which ended last week, you missed the best show of the season which will sweep next year’s broadcasting awards.

“In 2012, Louisiana State Police Detectives Rust Cohle and Martin Hart are brought in to revisit a homicide case they worked in 1995. As the inquiry unfolds in present day through separate interrogations, the two former detectives narrate the story of their investigation, reopening unhealed wounds, and drawing into question their supposed solving of a bizarre ritualistic murder in 1995. The timelines braid and converge in 2012 as each man is pulled back into a world they believed they’d left behind. In learning about each other and their killer, it becomes clear that darkness lives on both sides of the law.”

mattWritten and created by Nic Pizzolatto whose credits also include another very good dark cop series ‘The Killing’, ‘True Detective’ gives near equal time to the relationship between the two detectives and their personal demons, and their search for a prolific, psychopathic serial killer.

Simply, there is nothing wrong with this best-of-the-best HBO offering… well-written, shot and edited, you find yourself on the edge of your seat, completely engaged as the fast-paced dialog, plots and sub-plots adds to the tension. The viewer must take on the role of the rookie, either keep up with these two dedicated (obsessed?) veteran cops or go back to a patrol unit.

Even the sound track music–selected by none other than T Bone Burnett, the Oscar-winning producer and musician– is amazing.

Judge for yourself… this is just the opening theme song:  The Handsome Family’s “Far From Any Road”

The good news: The show was always intended as an anthology with a new story each season so more seasons of True Detective, but Oscar winner McConaughey has already said he will not return.

My guess is that the hit series will continue with the same theme but with different cops/investigators/P.I.s, locale, tortured souls anew and the study of those who do a job no one else wants to do…. at the risk of their lives for peanuts, bad coffee, worse hours, child support and a drinking problem.

House of Cards — Netflix: both seasons available for a streaming charge of $8 a month.


If you’re the least bit political and especially if you’re a student of the federal government and blood politics … you’ll consider this inside-the-beltway drama more truth than fiction.

‘Cards’ fits comfortably between “Advise and Consent” and “Seven Days in May”.

‘Cards’ confirms all your worst suspicions… and it’s even worst than that; welcome to the world of (now Vice-President) and former House Minority Whip, Southern Democrat Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey).  Underwood and his wife played by the well-cast Robin Wright, has a plan but no ambivalence or constraints.

He is the most dangerous man in Washington D.C.

The entire first season and second seasons (13 episodes each) are now available via streaming; Netflix announced the show’s renewal for a third season.

Others to consider:

The Killing — AMC: all episodes (three seasons) available; fourth season on Netflix.


AMC canceled The Killing after the second season but it was picked for a third season. Now Netflix has renewed the show for a six-episode fourth and final season. Like House of Cards, it will air exclusively on Netflix.

One of the main actors in this dark crime series is the dark and dank, constantly raining environs of Seattle… faithful viewers eventually develop Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Starring Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos (two cops never looked so world-weary or in need of bed rest and therapy than these two talented actors) the rich, serialized storytelling in The Killing thrives on Netflix, and “it is only fitting to give Sarah Linden (Enos) and Stephen Holder (Kinnaman) a proper send off,” said Cindy Holland, vice president of original content for Netflix.

“We are looking forward to offering fans — both existing and new — a series that we know is perfectly suited for on-demand viewing.”

Southland — Available on Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime


One of the all time best cops dramas of all time, Southland stands as one of the finest cop shows ever produced, as well as a series that captured the LAPD and Los Angeles as a backdrop, in all its rich diversity, as few programs (or for that matter, films) ever have.

Southland was a mix of gallows humor and drama that characterized “NYPD Blue,” which at the time was perceived as the last word on groundbreaking police dramas when it premiered 20 years ago. (Seriously, where did the time go?)

It originally aired on NBC for one season from April 9, 2009, to May 21, 2009, and then on TNT for four additional seasons through 2013.  

Southland began airing on TNT on January 12, 2010.  On April 26, 2010, TNT announced it had picked up Southland for a ten-episode third season to begin airing on January 4, 2011. 

 Southland was renewed for a ten-episode fourth season on March 22, 2011; it was cancelled in May, 2013.

Roger 10-42, Southland… thanks.

Posted in Crime, Media, Politics, TV | 2 Comments

‘Lone Survivor’: A Rorschach Test for the left

Red wing team

(The SEAL team, led by LT Michael P. Murphy and consisting of petty officers Danny DietzMatthew Axelson, and Marcus Luttrell, were on a mission to kill or capture Ahmad Shah, a Taliban leader who commanded a group of insurgents known as the “Mountain Tigers,” west of Asadabad.)

The following is less a review of the film, “Lone Survivor”, the true story of “Operation Red Wings”— one of the worst days in US Special Forces history than it is an indictment of Americans who hate the military, it is simply about 18 troops who were killed in action in the remote mountains of Afghanistan eight years ago.

The four-man  kill/capture SEAL Team lost its communications for air support and was trapped, overrun and three were killed in action; the fourth, Marcus Luttrell, the lone survivor, who against all odds and wounds, lived to tell the story of his brothers in a book and now the film.

The film is face-paced, relentless, brutal and does not tolerate the ignorance of things military by civilians in the audience; they have to keep up as best they can; this is not to say it is hard to follow, it very much embraces my formula for a successful motion picture…. “A simple story told well.”

luttrell4 NC

(Photo: Marcus Luttrell awarded the Navy Cross by a real Commander in Chief, George W. Bush.)

This movie could have been made about Americans in any war as it is based on the truth that soldiers don’t die for grand ideas or governments, they die for the man on their right and on their left. After all, truthful movies were made in (or about) WWII –see: “Saving Private Ryan”–but they were never done about Korea or Vietnam or until now because of the steady rise of anti-military/anti-America forces from then until now.

Especially in Hollywood.

For the left, “Survivor” is a Rorschach Test.  All the negative reviews I’ve read are uninformed, simplistic, and dunder-headed and with one theme…. the movie failed because it isn’t a left wing movie.

Exactly… and it’s killing at the box office… a movie for Real America; screw the rest of ’em.

I have been fighting this military v everyone else battle since the ’60s– but “everyone else” is now largely populated, not so much by the doctrinaire leftists, but even worse:  by idiots–those who admit they get their “news” from the Comedy Channel. There’s a joke there, but sadly it is on us… on America.

us_navy_seal_trident_Never in history has the gap between veterans and civilians in America been wider; today the average person in America could not tell the difference between an admiral and a master sergeant. Yet in the late 30s and early 40s, grade school children learned to identify the silhouettes of US, German and Japanese aircraft.

Why? Because they were taught… with flash cards in the classroom; because they were Americans and we were all in a fight for our lives.

Hell, now they don’t even say the Pledge of Allegiance.

Rather than giving me hope for America’s future, “Lone Survivor” simply exposes the gulf between those who would sacrifice and die for America a and those who simply do not give a damn.

And that includes Marcus Luttrell and SEAL Team 10.

I have been writing about Operation Reed Wings since it happened:

2007 — Murphy up for Medal of Honor  

Murphy’s is third MOH of the Afghanistan War

Operation Red Wings planning map

Mapped photo of actual battleground  — Even the movie does not do justice to the impossible terrain faced by the SEALs or Operation Red Wings.

Posted in Crime, Heroes, Humor, Left-wing radicals, Media, Science, Travel, TV | 10 Comments

Respect… a two-way street

obama salute

Dear Joyce,

I read your post (below) this morning and I am compelled to address your observations therein:

“I’ve always been under the impression that members of the military were bound to respect their leaders. Open disrespect for the current commander in chief by members of the military, regardless  of personal convictions towards him, seem to me to be quite inappropriate and downright rude.”

First I would ask your to send me the sourced examples of “… Open disrespect for the current commander in chief by members of the military…..” that you mention. So until you do, we must set that issue aside.

Members of the armed forces are obligated by military law and their sworn oaths to follow all the lawful orders of their superiors through the military, the Department of Defense and ultimately the President in his Constitutional capacity as Commander-in-Chief.

In addition, service members are to show proper respect at all times for their commanders and those lower in rank as well…. the “respect” you are apparently concerned about is expected and shown for the rank, the uniform, the commanding position… not for the individual. In other words, you don’t pick and choose which officer you like or admire to show respect… the old adage is that “you salute the rank, not the man”; it is the essence of the military “chain of command”.

That includes the Commander-in-Chief as well.

fallujah-battle-reutersAt this juncture I must say that I never heard your concerns about “disrespect” during the Bush administration…. I assume there is a reason, because more disrespect was heaped on President Bush than most  presidents in the last 50 years.

Service members have been disciplined, “fired”, fined, demoted and even discharged for violating the regulations by making political speeches or statements in uniform or in publicly criticizing the decision or action of his or her superiors.

Having addressed the above we are must consider “respect” a two way street… and respect, as we all know… must be earned. In other words, I’ll follow your orders because I swore an oath… but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think that you are the most incompetent, cowardly jackass in the entire military—I just cannot show it.

Again, the rank, not the person.

As for Obama, who has already secured his place is history as the worst president in American history, is universally despised by the military and veteran community because we see examples everyday in every way that he  detests  the military, does not care about the dead, wounded or disabled  and is actively attacking our benefits as retirees and veterans.

We believe he has gravely damaged our Nation.

Having been medically retired from the military, as a citizen I do not have to respect this narcissistic, affirmative action temp worker who was forced on the military by Americans voters who are completely ignorant of the military…. as indicated by one of your Facebook friends who commented on this topic — “What happened?”

VA delaysYes… what indeed.

The next time you are deeply concerned about “rudeness” and the proper respect… why not ask a veteran?  Drop by a military or VA hospital… they’ll give you an earful about respect and the CnC, trust me.

Most presidents, especially this frat boy, have zero military experience, understanding or interest , yet by virtue of winning an election due to the color of his skin… Obama has the power to send us to fight and die in God-forsaken, Third-World s**t holes because he thinks it’s a good idea.

Over 75% of the dead in Afghanistan have killed under Obama’s command.

Remember… you vote with a pencil or a computer; we vote with our lives.

So, I’d like to see some “respect” coming back our way.

So, please send the examples of “disrespect” for POTUS “by the military” you’ve found as soon as possible, because such actions are punishable under military law and that is against military regulations.

FLAG casket a01_50263067

Posted in Liberty Constitution, Military, Obama, Patriotism, Veterans, War | 8 Comments

‘Missing’ Chamberlain Medal returned to his home

chamberlain MOH

Stories about the Medal of Honor… the actual medal itself… are varied, fascinating and often test the boundaries of the odds and belief.

  • One Recipient requested that the name of his mother, who died just shortly before he was to be awarded the medal, be engraved on the obverse of the medal instead of his own name… Col. Jay Vargas… MOH-Vietnam.
  • The vehicle of a harmonica-playing Recipient was broken into while he was at a speaking engagement when all his instruments and the precious Medal he was awarded by President Lyndon Johnson, in it’s case, was stolen; how he got the Medal back is a remarkable story.
  • A thief who befriended a WWII Recipient and offered to “mount and frame all his medals” did so, and it was a beautiful job.  Except he switched a stolen medal and placed it in the framed for the real one. But the FBI solved the case and returned the cherished medal with the blue, star-spangled ribbon.

And now we must add the remarkable story of “The Chamberlain Medal”… earned by one of the Civil War’s greatest heroes in the decisive battle of Gettysburg.

“One of the most prestigious medals earned by one of Maine’s most decorated sons was recently discovered at a church sale and turned over to an organization for safe keeping, the group has announced.

“The individual who owned the medal found it in the back of a book he had purchased “several years ago” at a sale held by First Parish Church in Duxbury, Mass.”


Joshua Chamberlain — who would go on to become president of Bowdoin College and governor of Maine — received the Medal belatedly in 1893 for “distinguished gallantry” 30 years earlier. 

The historically significant Medal was thought to have been lost for decades. Chamberlain received it in 1893 for his heroism at Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg. 

The Pejepscot Historical Society, which owns the Joshua However, historians verified that the medal was real. The Pejepscot Historical Society, which owns the Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum where the Maine native lived for more than 50 years is now a museum.L. Chamberlain 


Museum received the medal earlier this summer in an anonymous package in July but its authenticity was questioned.

(Photo — The 2oth Maine Infantry’s position on the far left flank of Little Round Top… the critical position that Chamberlain and his men held to the end of the bitter, pitched battle that would turn the tide at Gettysburg and doom the Confederacy.)

Upon his death, February 24, 1914 (aged 85), the medal was given to his granddaughter, whose estate was donated to the First Parish Church of Duxbury, Mass., following her death in 2000.


After purchasing some items from the church “garage sale”, the anonymous donor remarkably found the medal between the pages of a book and later sent it to the museum.

The Medal had been “missing” for almost a century.  For a photo gallery of my 3-day tour of Gettysburg click here.

Gettys sign

Posted in Heroes, Medal of Honor, Military, Patriotism, Veterans, War | 1 Comment