Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The birth of a War Hawk






"We would LOVE to get out of there forever. But until we take care of business, we can't. Unless however, you want to get hit again. Trust me - the terrorists would love to do it. And now this President, understands that."



Last November, when the voting population decided to elect Donald Trump as our 45th President, many had expectations. Like what he said on the campaign trail. Then a funny thing happened to the forum. Reality set in. Trump surrounded himself with very smart, former four star generals. That is when the Wall Street idealism became tempered with the Helmand Province realism. 


One of the most honest things that Donald Trump has said since taking office, was simply this - (if I may paraphrase a bit), "You don't really understand things until you are sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office." Bravo, Mr. President! You are starting to "get it". This is a crazy mixed up world with a whole lot of moving parts. As a candidate, you understood spit. None of us would. However, with a high level clearance and top level briefings, you now realize how much you really did not know. 

Here is what I am seeing. President Trump, surrounded by his generals will not dither. We tried that for eight years - did not work well. We are now going to war once again in Afghanistan. Not like the past eight to ten years - like the first year or so. General Kelly has some skin in this game. His son was killed in Afghanistan. General Kelly would like us to rid that country of the bad guys. Or as the President said, "We are not going to nation build - we are going to kill terrorists."

For the first time in forever, President Trump is giving our war fighters the "game on" signal. We will attack. We will find you. And we will kill you. My feelings on this? I think this will be Bora Bora all over again. Yes, maybe some more MOAB shock and awe. I do believe that neither Mattis nor Trump want one scratch of wounding on any of our troops. But they do want the enemy to get punched so hard they will come to the negotiation table. We do however - need to punch them to get them there.

Listen up doves. Listen up Anitfa. This is reality. We initially went into Afghanistan only because the terrorists trained there for the 9/11 attack. We would LOVE to get out of there forever. But until we take care of business, we can't. Unless however, you want to get hit again. Trust me - the terrorists would love to do it. And now this President, understands that.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Our rendezvous with a "Happening"







"It is one thing to see a picture on the Science Channel, and quite something else to see the event in person. I have no words. It is something that if you can experience - it defies description."   


A few months ago, my wife and I were sitting in our sun room, having some fun discussions. Discussions like vacations plans for this year. The first thing out of my mouth was to go see the total eclipse in August. She looked at me like I had just taken a magic mushroom or two. "What eclipse? The one south of us?" she asked. I said yes. The totality zone is not that far south from us (I lied), and we could invite your cousin from Kansas to join us.

So it was hatched. The plan. Reservations were made. A "blip trip" was made to down to Nebraska to be in the 70 mile wide cone of "totality". This has not happened for 99 years. However, my wife then had to remind this very "hard headed" Bird one important fact  - "By the way Bird- your first granddaughter is also being born that week. And we have to take care of our grandson while all this happens!" Whoops!

Then I another thought. "The Great Minnesota Get Together"! That will be also be starting this week. If I missed the fair this year, I don't know if Dave or Rob would ever talk to me again!

A few days before we left for our eclipse trip, my wife had a serious discussion with me. "Tell me again, why we are going all the way through Iowa (which she hates) and then through the cornfields of Nebraska, just to see this eclipse? Remember, this is the week our first granddaughter is being born." 
   
Then it dawned on me - what the right answer was. I told her this was a "Happening". An old term from the 70's. Why a "Happening"? Because people from all over the country were going to converge in this very narrow 70 mile swath of land where for a whopping 2 minutes (and some seconds), will see day will become night - in the middle of the day.

My wife had reserved a "parking spot" at a hunting club a bit west of Grand Island, Nebraska. We left on on Sunday, traveled south, and spent the night just outside of Omaha (rooms were very hard to come by). The next morning (today), we got up in in the middle of heck of a thunderstorm. And the Marriott we are staying at is full of eclipse viewers. Everyone wanted to get out and on I-80 to start their journey out west. The problem was the thunderstorm. It was vicious, and everyone was trying to load up at the worst possible time.

Even though the traffic predictions for the event were horrible, and it was raining cats and dogs, we left anyhow. This after all, was a "Happening". We headed west through Omaha, then through Lincoln, and finally into Grand Island. The further we got west, the traffic mellowed at bit, and the sun came out. This is a good sign!  

Many viewing places is Grand Island had historic lines of cars waiting to get in. I told my wife I hoped the shooting range just outside of town (where were reservations made) was a whole lot better. Thankfully, it was. It was a gorgeous facility, friendly folks running it, and plenty of space. Score one for my wife in doing her research! 

We got set up, met some very nice folks from all over the country, and got ready to see some of God's finest handy work. The sky was still mostly clear, and the sun was now in almost full view. We were ready!

Let me say this about the "Happening" - better known as the total eclipse. If it is not on your bucket list to see one, put it on. We will have one more in 2024 which will hit a bit further south. Why is it important to see one? In the middle of a day, the day will turn into dusk (no - not dark - dusk), the temperature will drop, and the birds will silence. Trust me on this one, it is beyond eerie. Something man cannot duplicate.

More to report later on the fascinating stories we heard from people we met. Was it a long drive? Yes. Was the weather sketchy? Oh, yes - at first. Was the big event worth the drive, the expense, the waiting, when it happened? One hundred times, yes.

It is one thing to see a picture or a video on the Science Channel, and quite something else to see the event in person. I have no words. It is something that if you can experience - do it. It defies description which can be put into words.   

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The great American experience...






"But if you can make it down to the somewhat strange swath this eclipse is going to take, do it. The next one will never happen again in your lifetime - that is if you die in the next 8 years. After that, there will be another one, this time a bit further south in the states."


Okay. Enough of the Alt-Right, Alt-Left, you wombats or whomever else. I am going to write about something that will bring us all together as a nation in less than 48 hours. What is it Bird? The Norks? A UFO invasion? What could it be? The sky. It will be the sky. Whenever we get all puffed up about how important we are, the Lord lets the sky remind us we are here, living on this wonderful rock He was created for us.

At around 1 pm (CDT) this coming Monday, we are going to see a nationwide celestial show. And this is rare. How rare? For many, it is a once in a lifetime event. This coming Monday, our Moon will blot the part or most of the sun for a couple hours. For some however, in this country, the Moon will be totally block out the sun for a bit over 2 minutes. 

Two minutes? Who cares about that? That is such a short period of time. Why is that such a big deal? Because for the first time in 99 years, the entire country is going to see it. From Oregon all the way to South Carolina. And the swath of totality will only by 70 to 90 miles wide. Day will turn to night, the nighttime birds will sing their goodnight songs, and stars will start to appear.  In that "very narrow" swath of totality, somewhere close to a zillion people will be there to witness this awesome sight.

However, that is the area of the country which will see the totality. Even where I live, the eclipse will be over 80%. That is huge! When I was stationed in northern Maine for the 1992 Nova Scotia eclipse, we only saw a partial. Even with a partial eclipse on a semi-cloudy day, the effect was mind bending.

I was doing some research on the internet about the expected crowds for this event. One state to the south of us, said the traffic would be no worse than having 20 Woodstock events state wide, staring at the same time. In other words, mid-state interstates which have never seen a traffic jam, are about to witness the horrors of Twin Cities rush hour traffic.

If you can make it down to the somewhat strange swath this eclipse is going to make, do it. The next one will never happen again in your lifetime - that is if you die in the next 8 years. After that, there will be another one, this time a bit further south in the states - this time going from SW to NE.




Bye, bye, Benghazi...







"However, if Heather had been pro-life and run over while protesting an abortion clinic, I doubt if her death would have even warranted a footnote to history."



A hundred years or so ago (it seems like that long ago), we had a national tragedy. For the first time in just about forever, we lost an American Ambassador. Killed in action. Along with three other American heroes. The national outrage was - well, spotty at best. After all, the MSM and the elites did not want to get any smudge on the sitting President (who was historic after all), or our Secretary of State (who wanted to become historic). So with the help of the MSM, we did something we have become very good at. We showed our selective outrage by showing no outrage.

HOWEVER - for Heather Heyer's death, the MSM is totally outraged! Unlike Ambassador Sevens and the other three American heroes who died in the line of duty, Heather died while protesting. Do I think it was horrible that she was run over by a nut ball? Absolutely. Should she be lionize? According to the Left she should be. In fact, the Left is calling for a nationwide, "Stand for Heather" event at 10 pm this Sunday night. Everyone is to stand outside and hold a lit candle for Heather. Whereas the Benghazi victims were just in the wrong place and the wrong time. I guess it just sucked being them.

In any event, someone will probably want to erect a statue for Heather where once a historical statue stood. By the way, did you know that one of the fourteen people killed by ISIS in Barcelona this week was from California? He was innocent and minding his own business. And then run over by a murderer in a premeditated fashion. Outrage? By anyone? Where is the MSM on this one? Still focusing on Heather, that is where they are at.

Back to the past Administration. Benghazi is slowly entering the trash heap of history, just like Fast and Furious did. Did I mention that Brian Terry was killed in the line of duty due by one of the illegal Fast and Furious guns? Where was the outrage for Brian Terry? Why was there no outrage? No candle light vigil at 10 pm on a Sunday night?  Once again, the MSM and the elites did not want to get a smudge on the sitting President (who was historic after all), or our Attorney General (who was also historic).

Are the four heroes from Benghazi every going to receive justice? Not likely. Will the sitting Secretary of State at that time ever be brought up on charges, like dereliction of duty? Dream on. Anyone who saw the movie 13 Hours knows what a cluster Benghazi was. Many should have hung. And the President (the buck stops there) should have been impeached. 

There are a raft of sins which will never need to be accounted for from the past Administration. Heather however, because she was a Bernie supporter and protesting for the Left, will leave her mark on history. If Heather had been a conservative, pro-life and run over while protesting an abortion clinic, I doubt if her death would have even warranted a footnote to history. That is my story and I am sticking with it.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Tipping their hand...





"Yes, I am talking about softening the Fourth Amendment. I hate to say that, I really do. But to find the hidden terrorists, we might have to."



Another terror attack yesterday. I could just about cut and paste my last article which addressed Euro terror attacks, but I will not. Why? I have a different angle on this one. I would like to say it is due to my unique thinking, but that would be a lie. I am going to hitchhike on something a terror expert said this morning on one of the news shows.

First - the attack. Once again, the good guys got lucky. Why? The Islamic Terrorists we were dealing with yesterday were not the cream of the crop. First off, there was a house explosion earlier in the week in Spain. The authorities first thought it was a natural gas explosion. It turns out it was a bomb making facility getting ready for yesterday's attacks. The bomb maker was not quite ready for prime time, and blew himself up along with the house.

In spite of the house mishap, the attacks proceeded in Barcelona and a smaller town about 100 miles to the south of Barcelona. Once again, weapon used were vehicles. By a miracle, only 15 died. This could have been much, much worse. There were also four college basketball teams from the states staying close to the street in Barcelona where the attack took place. Fortunately, all involved with those teams are safe and accounted for.

Back to the terror expert this morning. The Islamic State has become very brazen before any attack these days. They tell us what they are going to do. As much as they would like to go after an airliner again, the myriad of soft targets are just too tempting for them. Plus, they can get a "weapon of mass destruction" very cheap and very easy. Just rent a truck. On their web site, the instructions how to do this is very clear. What kind of knives or guns to use when you exit the vehicle. How to kill. 

Is this going to stop? Probably not - in fact, it is going to get worse. Very tempting targets for the Islamic State are the high speed trains on our East Coast. How do I know that? That too, is on their web site. Even more carnage derailing one of those things than running over people in a crowd with a truck. Can we protect every mile of track 24 hours a day? Of course not. Then what are we going to do to protect our innocent people riding trains? That is the $64,000 question.

Another terror expert from the UK had a much more blunt warning for us all. Terrorists of opportunity will continue to kill so long as we allow them easy access to our sovereign nations by giving them access through open borders. Also, by not playing "who is who" for those who are inside the borders. We need to find these sleeper cells, and root them out. With whatever means necessary. Our PC has only resulted in DOA for many innocent people.

Both the President and the Vice President have vowed to put an end to ISIS. To end this needless terror. Easy words to say. Much harder to do. I have said this since 9/11. The only way to make this country as safe as possible is to surrender some of our freedoms. Yes, I am talking about softening our Fourth Amendment rights. I hate to say that, I really do. But to find the hidden terrorists, we might have to.

  

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The mystery of the X-37B






"So heads up Earthlings! The future is now. Pay attention. Exciting times are ahead. If we can keep from blowing ourselves up, the ride tomorrow will be a heck of a lot different (and better) than the ride yesterday."  


Oh my - Americans do enjoy a mystery. And especially one which can be woven into a conspiracy theory. One of the best ones I have seen as late, revolves around the X-37B unmanned space plane. The one which is launched, stays in orbit just short of forever, and then comes back to Earth. Once back, it keeps its mouth shut about what it was doing up there. And now, it is going up again in September for...???

Poking around on the internet to find some theories on this plane, I found quite a bit which were just short of fighting aliens. Some of them actually made some sense. One of them was to jam pack this space plane with the most state of the art listening and viewing technology to date. It would be better than any of our Keyhole satellites. Plus, it is very maneuverable. Whereas even our best satellites in a geosynchronous orbit have some limitations. This plane has fewer of them. It has the mobility to "get in very snugly", without being noticed or held to a satellite schedule.

There were some others theories, but they were way "out there" (no pun intended). However, the one which I think is the most plausible, is the hunter/killer plan. It is true we have had ASAT (anti-satellite technology) for years in some of our rockets. But this type of hunter/killer technology based on a space plane would be far more lethal. No running and no hiding from this guy. Can you imagine taking our the comm sats and/or the GPS sats of an adversary during a conflict? Quite an advantage, I would say.

I will mention this however. Get used to it. Space is about to change for us. For everyone. How so? Many, many more unmanned missions are planned. You think driver-less cars are going to be a splash? Wait until you see the progression of pilot-less space craft (hello, Elan Musk!). 

Where are the jobs of the future going to be? Pay attention to the details, and you will see them all around us. Not to change the subject, but just today I saw on the internet a pocket sized projector you could use with your cell phone, tablet, PC, or whatever. It will play your favorite movie or streaming show, and project it in HD on any surface which can pass for a screen. And you can also blue tooth your sound for movie theater type effects. That is just the start of the next revolution in media and entertainment. Hang on.

One final thing on the next mission of the X-37B. It is rumored it will be testing out a new ion-drive engine. If that is successful, and if we can perfect the ion-drive, it will not take us anywhere close to light speed, but it will get us places a heck of lot faster with less fuel than we do now. Get ready Mars!

So heads up Earthlings. The future is now. Pay attention. Exciting times are ahead. If we can keep from blowing ourselves up, the ride tomorrow will be a heck of a lot different (and better) than the ride yesterday.  


Unforgivable





"At the end of the day, none of us will really pass the purity test. Even the ones ripping down and destroying statues. God help us."   


A man whom is a frequent speaker in the Twin Cities area has an interesting story and history. He make a big mistake when he was younger. So big, he spent many years in prison. But now he is out, he has turned his life around, paid his debt to society, and hell bent on doing good for the rest of his days. But - is he truly forgiven? He can't vote. He has this blot on his record. As good as this man in right now, and he is very good, is he truly forgiven?

We are in the middle right now of a very important national debate. And it all started with a demonstration in Virginia over a Civil War statue. Then all of a sudden, everyone with a history in this country is suspect. All history is being scrutinized. Everyone is getting the acid test, the purity test. And many of the people in our history are not passing the test. Get ready folks - this is far from over. 

We already know some black minister in Chicago asked the Mayor to remove a statue of George Washington. Why? Big time slave owner. Was that a sin back then? Probably would have been, but it was common. What about all the good things Washington did for this young country? Tough toenails. As the saying going, one "oh crap!" wipes out a whole bunch of good things done. The verdict on Washington? Unforgivable.

Next up? The signers of the Declaration of Independence. It is a bit unclear how many who signed this founding document were slave owners. One area I looked at thought it is was only 1/3 of them. Another thought it was 41. In any event, if slave owners had been exempt from signing the Declaration, we would have been in big trouble - and probably also still living under a king.

What we have learned from seeing how our President has been pummeled is instructive. One can have nothing to do with owning slaves, not belong to a hate group, not be a racist, and still be guilty as sin. Just ask President Trump. Our national purity test continues. Forgiveness for the unforgivable? Not here. Not now. 

Two of the darlings of the Democrats are also in the on-deck circle. The architect of the New Deal and the builder of the Great Society. FDR may have helped us win WW II, but he unlawfully imprisoned thousands of innocent Japanese Americans while doing it. Unforgivable. LBJ may have signed the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 as well as crafting the Great Society, but how he treated and talked about people of color behind the scenes was cruel beyond description. Unforgivable. 

Just like many of the people we learned about in the Bible were flawed, many of the people in our history were also flawed. My thought is once we get done re-writing our national history, and getting rid of everyone who does not cut the mustard, we will then go after the Bible. Lots of work to do there.

Speaking of the Bible, besides being full of flawed people, the Bible also has a very important lesson for all of us. We are not to live in the land of the unforgivable - rather we are to practice total and absolute forgiveness. Why? Because we all need it.

At the end of the day, none of us will really pass the purity test. Even the ones ripping down and destroying statues. God help us all.