UPDATE:I will keep this post at the top of my page until this project is fully funded.New posts will be below. Once my jewelry store online and at Etsy get operational, 25% of my profits will go to Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. I have a few charities I support each year, the others are The Seashell Trust in the U.K., and Irish Setter rescue organizations across America.
The Semper Fi Fund Community Athlete Campaign is 81% funded, how about helping out and giving a little so they can reach their goal? This money goes to help those who have risked everything for us, that’s you and me, and they came home with life altering injuries.
That’s what Marines do – we fight to win, survive and take care of each other. This year I will compete in two ultra events here in England. One is a rugged terrain, carry all your own kit 61 mile Fellsman hike; the second is to run Hadrian’s Wall from west to east 68 miles. As I have been training for these, everytime my feet hurt or my shoulders and lower back start screaming, I remind myself that I have all my limbs, my eyesight and a bounty of blessings, and that enables me to Keep Moving Forward. Take a moment to do a web search for those two events and you will get an idea of the challenge – but it is a great way to remember that we have fellow Marines struggling far harder everyday, in combat and at home, to deal with wounds both visible and invisble. They need your thoughts, prayers and support – and they need fiscal sustenance as well. A 25 year old with three combat tours will live, on average, another six decades – so we need to marshal all of our energies and resources to band together.
In late 2005 I was diagnosed with end stage renal failure, told to go on dialysis and get on the kidney transplant list. I said NO and my doctor told me I’d be dead in 6 months. In April 2006 I sold my house in Keller, TX, moved in with my cousin in Oklahoma City and began eating a very healthy diet. In October 2006 I moved back to the DFW area and I was perfectly healthy.
What do I eat?
This morning I had my shake, like always. The rest of the day I’ll nosh on my homemade chili. It’s an easy recipe: 1 pound of Bear Mountain pasture fed ground bison I bought at Sprouts; 2 cans of organic diced tomatoes from Costco; 1/2 organic onion diced up; a few shakes of organic cumin powder, chipotle powder, and garlic powder; a few grinds of sea salt. I’m in the office so the dried spices are all I have.
My shake today had: 1/2 cup frozen unsweetened blueberries, 2 T flaxseed, 2 scoops of Whey Factors, 1T Rapunzel cocoa and 1t of Ceylon cinnamon in 2 cups of filtered water. I blended for 2 minutes in my Vitamix and yum! (You can get the dry ingredients on Amazon.) If you absolutely have to have this sweetened, use stevia.
. . . and if you’re eating eggs from chickens that don’t roam around in the sun and eat bugs, you might as well be eating the carton they came in, uhhh, and that would be most grocery store eggs, even the $6 ones.
Anyone remember the San Antonio class ship named after the odious John Murtha? Well, the DOD announced yesterday that SECNAV Mabus named several new ships and in reading the article I was surprised he didn’t name one the “USS bin Laden” or something equally offensive.
Congratulations Secretary Mabus, for following protocol and not disrespecting our Marines and sailors. Now then, do something about renaming the Murtha. My Marines will suck it up and serve honorably on that ship no matter the name, but I’m not a Marine and I won’t suck it up. I’ll raise as much hell as I can every chance I get over that obvious unscrupulous deal.
I have been experimenting with my iPhone camera to photograph my jewelry. I found this sweet little app called 645 Pro that controls the camera like an SLR. Here’s a couple of photos I took with it using some really simple lighting (photos of that setup at the end of the post.) These photos are just the way they came off the iPhone, no re-touch.
Peacock freshwater pearls, pink jade, Swarovski crystal bracelet in 925 sterling silver. This was a commissioned piece.
These are my favorite fall & winter earrings made of carnelian, black jade, crystal and 14kt gold filled wire. I made many of these and gave them to my deployed Marines to give to their wives, girlfriends and mothers. If anyone else wants a pair the price is $29 plus shipping.
I may or may not continue to use my simple and cheap light setup. The results were pretty good and here’s what I used. Two cheap 8″ reflectors I bought at Home Depot sometime in the last decade. Two OttLite natural daylight bulbs with an output equal to 100 watts, they were $14.99 each at JoAnn’s in Grapevine, cheap printer paper and some binder clips. When I took the photos of my jewelry I turned off the overhead lights.
130311-N-WJ362-040 An Afghan woman speaks during a ceremony for International Women’s Day at the Shahrara Garden in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 11, 2013. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kleynia R. McKnight, U.S. Navy/Released)
Nice article at Foreign Policy. Leaning Out by Amie Ferris-Rotman. Learn some history of the Afghani women, it’s unlike our Western experiences and should tug at our sensibilities, and our conscience.
The real solution is to make women more capable of enforcing their boundaries.
Last week I watched Senator McCaskill go off on General Mattis about a legal matter concerning rape in the military that my Fave has no jurisdiction over, she did this as he testified before the Senate Committee Armed Services. There are several problems with her behavior that serve only to alienate the sexes and divide them further. I’m going to talk about it.
First off let me say something about my background. When I was little my mom cut my waist length hair to about an inch all over because Vidal Sassoon’s boy-cut was all the rage. When my father saw me, this is what he said,” If I’d wanted a boy I would have sent her back at birth!” My dad wanted me, not a boy.
I was raised by men who valued and respected me. The one time I encountered a sexual predator he came away with physical damage to his private parts because my daddy taught me how to defend myself. Women need to be empowered to do just that – protect herself, and not depend on laws that allow her to remain weak. Weakness gets you nowhere except to the bottom of the pile.
I cringed as Senator McCaskill began her irrational and uncontrolled rant. She had no point other than to scold any male in the military, making it appear that she broadcast blame to all, rather than seeking a resolution based on true justice. As well, the venue was not appropriate for her subject. How embarrassing to have a woman behave this way – just the kind of ammo some men, and I mean only some, need to advance the idea that women don’t belong in powerful positions. McCaskill has a unique position from where she could mentor millions of women world wide, yet she wastes it.
The Senator’s resume says she’s an educated attorney, but as I have said before, education is not an indicator of intelligence or the ability to put what has been learned to use in a productive manner. I don’t care that she has a law degree, it doesn’t seem to have given her a professional demeanor . . . you know, the kind that gets things done with the most benefit to all and least damage to anyone. Some educated people are simply hammers who think everything they come up against is a nail, and damn the collateral damage.
With regard to rape in the military, our news and many politicians seem more interested in generating outrage rather than seeking solutions to the causes of the problem. Both men and women are at fault. To imply otherwise is irresponsible. For example, does anyone know how many of these cases involve alcohol? Is that ever discussed? No, the news neatly leaves that information out of most reporting.
The damage from not looking at the whole problem for complete solutions is, that women taught to be weak and irrational by their upbringing, never become educated to believe it’s okay to protect their boundaries – through force if the man pushes it that far. Special laws only make women weaker as they retreat behind them, rather than learning to stand up to their aggressors. It’s already against the law to rape someone, apply the law, and if that 3 star misused the power given to him by the UCMJ, then go after him and not the code that has proven to work well.
One other thing Ms McCaskill, women do need to be better than men, and that will be the case much longer if we are inundated by irrational women in powerful positions. We’re behind the power curve due to our inability to overcome thousands of years of biologically imposed differences. Humanity has finally risen to a level of awareness where women are recognized as worthy of respect by males. That could could only have happened because some of our Western males, like my father, valued females as more than sex objects or servants. Other wise we’d all be beaten into submission and servitude.
You need to recognize that our Western men have come a long way. Stop beating them up and leverage the ones who respect us to help make women stronger and better. The others will come along over time, but you must be patient and not waste opportunities to prove our abilities and worthiness to the public at large. If you’re angry that that’s the way it has to be, then move over for a woman who can handle the job. They are out there.
Geeze, I nearly froze my hind side off last week hiking around the dam and shady side of (Beaver) Burford Lake in the Wichita Mountains. The highlight of the day was the longhorn burger at the Meers Store with my cousin and her hubby. I’m thinking maybe Crosstimbers at Lake Texhoma this weekend. It’s rated moderate on some sites and challenging on others, we’ll see.
The copperheads, moccasins, and rattlers will probably be out and about, not as cuddly as bison and longhorns, but maybe they’ll stay on their side of the trail and I can just hike and write. On the bright side, they’ll keep the talkative city women and their yappy FiFi dogs off the trail. Last week I was wondering where the coyotes were when you needed them. FiFi makes a good Scooby snack. I finally headed off into uncharted territory where no city folk roam and where a bison bull sauntered past me heading to nibble a patch of green among the brown native grasses. Now that made me smile!
Is it just me or isn’t the wilderness where you go to hear the birds and wildlife, and not someone who feels the need to fill every second with meaningless jabber?
When I say “peace man”, I mean “be quiet.”
I have a new batch of Marines in Afghanistan so this week’s letters need to be extra special. It’s a wonderful challenge to write a sitcom for my Marines every week. One of my cynical friends told me that my Marines don’t care about my letters.I told him the point of my letters is to distract them, and if possible make them smile. He said they probably took them to the latrine to wipe their rears with. I said that’s okay because if they do that I still win. They were entertained by my letter, the manner in which they achieve that entertainment is irrelevant. If they end up looking forward to my letters each week so they can wipe their rears with it, then wow, have I ever accomplished my goal of distracting and entertaining them! My friend is a former soldier and he gets that look on his face when I say “Marine.”
You have to love Marines for just what they are, and not try to romanticize them. Like a scene from an episode of Nero Wolf regarding Irish Wolfhounds (a very tall breed), “you have to love it when they knock a thousand dollar vase off the table with their tails.” The point: you have to love them (Marines) without wanting to change them, they are the way they are supposed to be. If you don’t love them without wanting to change them, then you don’t really love them.
I believe General Dunford is having to deal with the fallout from a weak White House.
Humans are not very different from the other species of animals, turn your back and they take that as a signal of weakness – they will attack you. Professionals know this, but often, we do not elect professionals, we elect a dream, or a handsome face, or whatever Hollywood shoves down our throat. Hence the (unraveling) state of our Union. (See the link at the bottom of this post to get an in depth view of how unprofessional government appointees operate.)
. . . and let’s face it, as long as politicians (our president specifically) have our strong and professional military leaders to dump on, why should they take a responsible stand? They will continue to pander, like the courtesans they usually are, to the ill-informed public at large. Most have no character of their own and bask in the approval ratings driven by BS.
Note: “Courtesans” replaced a more descriptive work that is generally too coarse for a lady to speak.
Totally unprofessional: Gina McCarthy. Dang woman, you get to a place of power and then you shame womanhood by behaving in this unprofessional manner. It’s called negotiate, but since you are unwilling to work cooperatively to wind down “fossil” fuel while ramping other energy sources so you don’t screw up the economy, you will never negotiate. It’s your way or throw everyone else under the bus. (How stupid does one have to be to believe oil could be a fossil fuel – simply not enough vegetative matter ever produced on earth since it coalesced to account for all the oil we had extracted by 1960 – but hey, Hollywood doesn’t like that truth.)
The link to the video is in the post below this one.
Naturally I’m going to talk about General Mattis.
My little bots came trotting home yesterday with a headline and article by Jason Ditz over at antiwar.com that was an irresponsible misrepresentation of Mattis’ testimony. If you want to read it you can copy this and paste it in your search bar, I’m not going to link to it. ( Centcom Chief Rejects Diplomacy, Says Iran Must Be ‘Brought to Its Knees’ )
Ditz’s characterization of General Mattis as “marketing” Iran’s threat is wrong. Mattis answered each question with authority and rational dispassion. Just as a professional should!
Here’s the last paragraph of Ditz’s article:
Mattis went on to hype the “threat” posed by Iran’s “nuclear industry,” insisting that the nation could be the spark that sets off a disastrous region-wide conflict. Given the general’s own comments, it seems a safe bet that the US would be the ones firing the first shots in any such conflict.
The danger with someone like Ditz is part of the public will think he’s an authority and believe the men in charge of protecting this nation are juggernauts, and not well educated on the areas they are responsible for. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Everyone who reads me knows James N. Mattis is one of the world’s authorities on the Middle East, in every subject: history, economics, religion, anthropology, military, you name it and he’s studied it. If he doesn’t know something he consults all manner of experts from all walks of life. He employs his knowledge to find solutions to prevent war in the region. Let me say it again, TO PREVENT WAR in the region.
What did General Mattis really say about diplomacy with Iran? At one point he said he fully supported the full funding of our State Department otherwise we’d be buying more ammunition. He also made the following comments at 1 hour, 3 minutes and 37 seconds into the video. He NEVER rejected diplomacy, and he never does. He only employs war as a last resort.
“I fully support the economic sanctions. I fully support the diplomatic isolation and accruing the international community’s support to try to stop this (Iran getting a nuclear weapon.) I believe they are trying to buy time with the negotiations, but that should not be, in any way, construed that we should not try to negotiate. I still support the direction we’re taking.” Then he finishes that comment with “I’m paid to take a dim view of the Iranians, frankly.”
More importantly he goes on to speak about Iran’s legitimate security concerns. Ditz would like for everyone to think our military never considers the well being of our adversaries. But that would be shortsighted, because even if we go to war, we will eventually have to employ diplomacy in the aftermath of that war. Ditz wants you to think our military are all knuckledraggers – he’s wrong. Now let’s read Mattis’ testimony about Iran’s legitimate security concerns.
“I believe that in some ways we have to recognize Iran’s legitimate security interests so they are not put in a position to use illegitimate means, such as we are observing, to address their legitimate security interests, and I think we continue everything we’re doing right now. But as the President has said, he’s taken no option off the table and my roll is to provide him with military options.”
One of the most important points made by General Mattis is that a holistic approach must be taken. That is pragmatic, not bellicose. At every moment Mattis is wanting a diplomatic solution, but it’s his job be prepared for military action if the time comes when the President decides diplomacy has failed.
…and Ditz, it’s the President who makes the decision on war, not the generals.
. . .
A side note to my Favorite Four Star:
So really, ya think you get to retire? You better do that fishing fast because as one senator eluded, you’ll be in demand post retirement. They’re not going to let that brain of yours rest.(~giggle!) The Shoup Principle will go into effect, and as it states (thank you Col Alexander): “If you are qualified, fate has a way of getting you to the right place at the right time.”
So, did you watch General Mattis testify before the Senate Committee Armed Services today? He talked frankly about Iran, endorsing our current sanctions but also saying they would not stop Iran’s nuclear advancement. That is not “hawkish”, that is pragmatic.
I stayed in town this weekend because a Marine I supported a long, long time ago called Friday and asked if we could have dinner. We had never met in person and even though I have given my private cell number to many Marines, I didn’t know he had it. I hadn’t even heard from him since he came back from Afghanistan in the earlier days of this war.
You know what he wanted to say to me in person? Thank you for being so loyal and supporting Marines for so long. Of course I started crying like a big baby. He said that during each of his deployments one of my letters or a box I had sent crossed his path and it always made him smile. (The Marine Corps is such a small world!)
The deal is, I considered his time very precious because there are many Marines in the DFW area who deserved a visit from him much more than I did. They’re the Marines whose lives have been seriously altered because of injuries while in service to our country. Yes, several were on his schedule to visit. They deserve all the thanks.
After all, I wake up every day with endless opportunities for success and happiness thanks to my Marines and every American service member since before our independence.
My freedom to pursue the life of my choosing is the most valuable thing I have.
His letter was written on December 23, 2012 and I just received it today. He’s way out in the boonies of Afghanistan and only has mail service every six weeks or so. The first paragraph is what I want to hear from my deployed babies – yep, Marines are my babies. Yes they’re rough, tough and fierce, but they’re still my babies. Each one of them, male, female, enlisted, commissioned, black, red, white, tan or yellow, American citizens and some that are not yet citizens. My favorite, oops, I have many favorites, well my irascible (except to me) retired gunny in South Carolina didn’t become an American citizen until he retired. But I digress . . .
The second paragraph is what breaks my heart. People are writing to my Marines and telling them they are evil. How utterly irrational and ungrateful to try and damage those who offer their lives to protect us. It doesn’t matter if the war they are deployed to fight is something you believe in or not. Your issue is a with the politicians who decide which wars we fight, not the men and women who protect us.
Suppose a war came along that you DID support, and what if the military that protected you decided not to fight because you didn’t appreciate them the last time they fought for you? Fortunately that probably wouldn’t happen because of the intrinsic character of those who become our warriors.
Take your war issues up with the politicians, not with our military.
If I find out who is writing this nonsense to my Marines they will come to understand why I have red hair.
Lt. Gen. Robert Milstead told Marine Corps Times that retired Adm. Gary Roughhead, who retired as chief of naval operations in late 2011, is entitled to his opinion, but the service has done significant analysis to understand the U.S.’s national security needs and determined its end strength should be 182,100 active-duty personnel.
My original post on 02/27/2013:
Why is a Navy Admiral making recommendation for the Marine Corps? Adm Roughead is NOT a Marine, and in my opinion has no place making recommendations regarding the Marine Corps. He might want to make suggestions to Marine leaders about the size of the Corps, but he has no intellectual authority to make such a recommendation even through a paper published by an organization that purports to value informed and critical thinking.
Why wasn’t a Marine consulted to co-author the paper? Perhaps because then the outcome would not have been slanted in the desired way.
If you’re not a Marine then you have NO concept of what it takes to lead and manage Marine operations. At best, Roughead has been on the periphery of Marine ops, and that does not qualify him to know what it takes to run the Marine Corps.
It’s my nature to question everything. I am particularly attuned to the irrational fear of Marines, especially by the other services. If you’re our enemy you should fear our Marines, otherwise you should thank God we have them. Short of SEALs, and the specialized few who earn the FMF designation, sailors have no capacity to do what the Marines do. To believe you can know, and predict, if and when, we will need the capabilities our Marines provide is just plain irresponsible.
What’s Roughead’s ulterior motive with his unwarranted opinion?
Just thinking out loud . . . maybe the unprecedented period of five Marine Four Stars worried Roughead a little. . .wouldn’t want my Marines to get all cocky or anything ~giggle! ~giggle! ~giggle!
Tried out my new tent last night at Camp Doris in the Wichita Mountains Widlife Refuge. It was so cold I thought I’d never get warm. However, my REI AirRail 1.5 Self-Inflating Pad did just what it said as well as insulating me from the cold ground. I had a cozy snooze after the guy in the campsite next to me finally stopped jabbering.
When I woke up this morning guess what? Motor mouth was up and already telling his buddies more tall tales, so after breakfast and watching a bunch of Cedar Waxwings eat my apple core I packed up and headed for the coffee shop over at Beaver Lake. It’s BYOC but the views and peace are fabulous.
I took a rustic table near the lake and set to brewing java in my new Jetboil below. It makes great coffee and you can take the container off and convert it into a small stove. Cool!
My rustic table at the Beaver Lake coffee shop!
Now it’s 61 degrees out and I’ve changed into a tank top and I’m sunning like a lizard on the plateau near Mt Scott, I call it the Internet Cafe because its just about the only place you get good cell reception up here. There are also bison or cattle near to watch while I write and sunbathe. Gotta love it!
Here’s a couple more photos of the Jetboil. Everything fits inside the container for handy backpacking.
I don’t know the name of the lake where I found refuge after hiking rocky terrain today, but it was beautiful and since there were scads of trees that had been downed by beavers I dubbed it “Beaver Lake.” I think this is my new writing place. It’s a good thing today’s “campaign furniture” is made out of ripstop and composites so I can carry a table and chair in with me.
Serious beaver action.
I hiked over my level today by staying in the rocky fields for hours. Lordy, I didn’t know muscles could ache in the places mine do! Round two tomorrow!
Bing West wrote a good piece for NRO this morning called Defensive Drift. In it he talks about the clear and dangerous message of weakness President Obama has sent the world regarding our military and ability to fight.
He talks a bit about the early dismissal of General Mattis. I’ll be more blunt than West was about Donilon. Tom Donilon is an arrogant attorney who believes an experienced and well educated Marine General is just a dumb jarhead and couldn’t possibly know anything.
Donilon’s career has been spent hovering behind expensive desks while pandering to politicians for more money. He has no real world experience outside of his protected offices in Washington DC. He shouldn’t be kicking out a Four Star who projects public respect for the president. (Okay, no comments about my capitalization, it’s a reflection of where my respect resides.)
I have to admit, I think the moniker “jarhead” is beautiful. It means the holder of the title has stripped away all the BS and what you have is someone who sees the real facts, the basics, and clearly understands what is required to actually solve the problem. Someone like Donilon is a career con artist who sells a pretty picture that is of no true value. He gets his money and leaves you worse off than before. He has no interest in the well being of our nation, his actions are clear evidence of that.
Moving on . . . West also points out the reasons women should not be in combat with men. It’s not that we cannot be effective in combat, it’s just that nature and biology can’t be undone by legislation. But who cares . . . right? As long as Screaming Suzie Hollywood/Academia and her emasculated men friends get to remake our military so our grunts won’t hurt their tender sensibilities. Appearances, that’s all that matters. Right? Defending our country is only tertiary to appearances and other BS.
Hmmmm, the appearance I like is of a tough, dangerous grunt, with a bearing that casts a shadow of certain death on our enemies. He can’t do that while he’s worried about offending some woman flashing her naked fanny while she sits on the deck of a ship and shaves her legs and then cries sexual harassment – that already happened long before our new inclusion of women in combat. Oh, but it certainly can’t be her fault for parading around half naked on a military ship, after all shouldn’t every ship be a carnival?
Look, I’m as lethal as they come if necessary, but I’m certainly not foolish enough to think that trumps biology. Bing makes the point more eloquently than I do, it’s 6:30 am and I’m a bit rushed to get this posted and dash to my office. Read Bing!
That individual right comes at a collective cost. If you’re a grunt, you go forth to kill. That is your mission. You are an animal on the hunt. Once you insert women into male hunting packs, you introduce the complex dynamics between the sexes. In close, primitive quarters with no privacy, there will be instances of friction, copulation, over-protectiveness, jealousies, miscommunications, and resentments. There is a tradeoff between increasing the career opportunities of the individual female soldier and decreasing the net performance of the pack.