Decoration Day

Colonel_FeltsMemorial Day, when those who gave their “last full measure” are to be remembered.
Some history from VA.gov:
“Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.
“The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.
“The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.”
To recap, the day started as “Decoration Day,” and was about remembering and decorating the graves of those who had died in the Civil War (widely known south of the Mason-Dixon Line as “the War Between the States” or “the War of Northern Aggression”). It was to be a day of remembrance.
I met then Lieutenant Colonel Tom Felts, Sr., when he was the chief of the III Corps Analysis and Control Element (ACE) at Fort Hood, Texas. He was a very patient man, eager to make every moment as teachable as possible. He also went out of his way to make sure that subordinate units (like mine) were as completely integrated as could be, and that we knew precisely what was expected. He welcomed us to the team completely. I never met his family, and I pretty much only saw him “behind the green door” or in an expando van. Yet, he was a great mentor, and it was also clear to me that whichever room he was in…..he was the smartest guy in the room.
I moved on to a different unit, and I lost track of him.
I didn’t find out until 2007 that he was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Iraq on 14 November 2006. Colonel Felts had volunteered to deploy to Iraq as a Military Transition Team (MiTT) leader, a senior advisor to the Iraqi military, and had been in country since January 2006. When he and his driver were killed by an IED on the streets of Baghdad, he became one of the most senior leaders to be killed during the conflict. He is obviously still missed by his family, but he is also still missed by those whom he mentored.
In memory of Colonel Thomas H. Felts.

The Moscow Victory Parade

SS27 Mod 2

Dateline Moscow, 9 May 2015. Russian Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) rumble through the streets of Moscow as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) soldiers march in the parade.
Did you see that the SS-27 Mod 2 (aka RS-24 Yars) ICBMs were prominent in the World War II Victory Parade held earlier this month in Moscow? They are hard to miss. These are the second in the SS-27 series that are replacing older Soviet-era systems. Some unclassified estimates say that by the end of next year, fully half of the old systems will be retired and replaced by the SS-27 series (fully complete by 2024ish). Unlike the SS-27 Mod 1’s, the SS-27 Mod 2’s are Multiple Independently targetable Reentry Vehicle (MIRV) capable.
If one hadn’t guessed it already with the occupation of Crimea and the continual push to isolate and ultimately re-conquer the Ukraine, Russia is not content to let the United States be the only world power. The systematic modernization of the Russian long range nuclear arsenal should give one pause, of nothing else — pause to ponder about what escalation could possibly bring. Would Europe and the United States go to *that* threshold to keep Ukraine free?

Chinese troops in Moscow
The PRC’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers look quite impressive during the parade. There are Youtube videos of them online, as well as quite a few photographs. The presidents of China, India, Egypt, South Africa and a number of former Soviet Socialist Republics (including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, and Azerbaijan) were present for the occasion. American and European leadership was absent, primarily as a protest over the Ukraine.

Aleksandr_Dugin
Interestingly, this division fits in well with Russian political theorist Aleksandr Dugin’s Neo-Eurasianism and his “4th Political Theory.” While there is not really the space today for a deeper analysis, nor for presenting evidence to show the importance of Mr. Dugin (described as “Putin’s Brain” by Foreign Affairs magazine), Neo-Eurasianism hopes to unite those opposed to what they describe as “the US and its unipolar hegemony” over the world. Dugin predicts that the 21st century will be one of conflict between Eurasianists and Atlanticists (i.e. the USA and its allies around the world). The Neo-Eurasianists hold that only a strong Russia, working together with its allies, can prevail against the Atlanticists.
The World War II victory parade in Moscow may be one more data point towards proving out Mr. Dugin’s prediction.
More to follow……….

Karimov’s Daughter

Gulnara-Karimova-and-Bill-Clinton-Cannes-film-festival-2009
Well, the story has been out there for awhile, but only recently has the Uzbekistan story (or at least a good size portion of the whole story) been pieced together (thanks to Peter Schweizer in “Clinton Cash”).

http://harpers.org/blog/2009/06/clintons-latest-boner-ex-president-poses-with-dictators-daughter/
Back in 2009, Harpers posted a story questioning former President William Jefferson Clinton’s judgment in posing with Gulnara Karimova, daughter of Uzbekistan’s strongman, Islam Karimova.
There were the troubling links with Karimova to the Clinton Foundation and the Russian mafia: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/06/18/googoosha-uzbek-dictator-s-daughter-is-a-disco-queen.html
Now we know some more of the story. Karimova hosted a Clinton Foundation fundraiser in Monaco with the aim of influencing former President Clinton…..in order to gain favor with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Schweizer notes that in a State Department cable, the State Department identifies the rare openness in which access to the Clintons is thought to be a way to boost personal fortunes.  Karimova clearly thought that Hillary could be influenced through Bill and through the Foundation
Since this time, Karimova has fallen out of favor with her father and is under house arrest.
Yet, did Karimov’s daughter knew something back in 2009 that Americans are just beginning to find out?

More to follow………

Have You Ever Been to Prison?

OSR

Have you ever been to prison?
I’ve been in and out of prison so many times that I’ve lost count.
Starting about a year after I retired from the Army, I was invited to assist in prison ministry. The ministry I support is called Yeshua Moshit Yadav (Yeshua’s Hand Extended). It is a small, all volunteer organization, led by John and Martha Rogers. (You may send your tax deductible donations to Yeshua Moshit Yadav, PO Box 256, Noble, OK 73068). John and Martha’s son Shane is also a big part of the ministry. If you’d like to get involved in prison ministry, please do let me know or contact John directly. No experience required. I’m serious.
Here’s an example. There have been some recent changes in the way offenders are allowed to meet together for services, and it has really become quite restrictive. Because of a recent incident, offender-led religious services are no longer authorized. There must be either a volunteer present (such as yourself) or a member of the facility staff present in order for the service. Many groups, such as the one in which I lead services in the Oklahoma State Reformatory (OSR), have some very knowledgeable and capable offender leadership. They once were able to hold a Friday evening (erev Shabbat) service, but as it is held after the facility chaplain has departed for the day, they are no longer able to do so. At this point, they are really only looking for someone to be there on Friday evenings a couple times a month. This is not just the case at OSR, but the rules change is state wide.
I have about an 80 mile drive each way to OSR. On the “To” route, I always call my parents (using a hands free device) and we usually talk until I pull into the prison parking lot. On a typical drive, we’re disconnected about 4 times beginning at a very predictable point on the route. There is more than one route, but they all seem to take about the same amount of time in my experience. Of course, the many times when I drove my old Jeep Grand Wagoneer there I had to take the extra time to fill the gas tank once on the drive. Today, many of the road signs were sharply tilted toward the east as a result of the tornadoes and strong winds that drove through the area yesterday afternoon and evening.
On the “From” route, I usually try to listen to the Stand To Reason radio show hosted by Greg Koukl, but as only an hour of the show is carried on Yom Rishon/Sunday afternoons I often fill the gap with an Audible book (using my cell phone with a hands free device). Audible is a service that is essentially the modern version of “books on tape.” Sometimes, like today, I listen to the Audible book for the entire way home. What’s the new book? I am in Chapter 4 of “Clinton Cash” by Peter Schweizer (read by Walter Dixon).

Mmmm, I’m quite liking this……

More to follow……..

The Bearded Wayne Blog

So, there are lots of blogs out there.  Indeed, from blogs dealing with climate change fraud to medieval history, there are plenty of “web logs” to fill your time and interests.  Why add one more to the mix?  I suppose there are two reasons.

First, I think I have something to say that will be unique….from my (grey bearded) perspective.   What is my perspective and background?  Rather than post a bio, I would rather reveal my background and perspective bit by bit.  I will start by relating what a very close friend told me quite recently.  I consider it quite a compliment.  Whether what he said was true or not, you’ll have to evaluate and decide.  The gist of his remark was that my use of “equal weights and measures” is one of my strengths.  The reference is to several places in Scripture that read this way:  “You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin….” (Leviticus 19:36); “You shall have a full and just weight; you shall have a full and just measure….” (Deuteronomy 25:15) and passages in Proverbs regarding having a just balance and a just weight.  This Biblical command has a teaching that can be drawn from it, and it was in this context that my friend made his remark::  Use equal weights and measures in discussions and debates (e.g. those that become the most heated, such as political or theological).  In other words, apply the same standard to both sides of a debate.  Don’t let “your side” get away with something just because they are “your guys.”  Don’t condemn “the other side” when they err, but let “your side” get a pass for the same issue just because they are your friends.  Perhaps more details about this will follow…..but certainly this concept will be applied in The Bearded Wayne Blog as we discuss the issues of the day.

Second, a blog format will allow me to share my thoughts in a way I am not otherwise able to do.  Those who know me are aware that I am quite comfortable discussing and yes, debating, certain theological topics.  I don’t envision this blog having theological debate as a focus (although it may have a place).  However, a person’s faith does inform their opinions and you shouldn’t be surprised that this will be true with my commentary as well.

And now for a bit of fun.  Here is a list of some favorites (semi-random order).  Perhaps they are your favorites, too!

Favorite English Monarch:  King Richard III

Favorite Philosopher-Theologian (although he thought of himself primarily as an evangelist):  Dr. Francis Schaeffer

Favorite American President:  Ronald Reagan

Favorite bolt action:  Mauser

Favorite sight that I don’t own:  Meprolight RDS

Favorite book of the Bible:  Devarim/Deuteronomy

Favorite Soda Stream mix:  Cola Free

Favorite Novel read in the last year:  The Last Desperado by Rebecca Rockwell  (Subject:  Bill Doolin)

Favorite Presidential quality daily briefing:  The Buck Sexton Show

Favorite Cancelled Internet TV Show:  The BS of A with Brian Sack

Favorite Sponsor Bit on Favorite Cancelled Internet TV Show:  Stacey’s Quest by AK Steele

Favorite Army from which to be retired:  United States

Favorite Army.  Period:  United States

Favorite Rose:  White

Favorite Political Party:  Likud

Favorite Presidential Candidate:  Ted Cruz

Favorite TV Show:  Doctor Who

Close Runners Up:  Foyle’s War, Midsomer Murders, X-Files, Murdoch Mysteries, Monty Python’s Flying Circus

…………and more to follow.