Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Misconduct In Office & Ethics Violations

I sent the following letter in an e-mail to ALL of my State and local legislators. I hope you, too, will take the time to write something similar. It is far past time for these elected officials to be held accountable for their actions, not just at the polling stations, but each and every day. Misconduct in office and ethics violations are the least of it. Will no one hold Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) and other elected "officials" accountable for violating their oath to the Constitution, spreading lies, and other propaganda? Mr. McGovern made the statement, in congress today, that we need background checks to keep people from buying firearms online without them. You cannot buy a firearm online without having it shipped to a licensed FFL dealer who does a background check before delivering it. Mr. McGovern said we need to keep people on the No Fly List from buying firearms. That would be a violation of the Second Amendment and Due Process as one does not need to be charged with or convicted of any crime to be put on the No Fly List. Does Mr. McGovern have no respect for our judicial system? If these officials break their oath to support and defend the United States Constitution one time, they should be impeached and charged with treason. Yes, it is that simple. If they don't know or abide by the Constitution, they have no business holding any government office or representing any American citizen. Police officers and members of our military die defending that oath every day. Sincerely, Dave Cowles (representing We The People who serve and have served, who vote, who pay taxes, and who see being an American as a privilege and a duty) #gunrights #NRA #guncontrol #Oathkeepers #veterans #III #Threepers

Saturday, September 17, 2016

They Leaned In

They leaned in. (Shared)

With six seconds to live, they didn't run, they didn't hide. They stood their ground, and leaned in.

Almost 8 years ago, two Marines from two different walks of life who had literally just met were told to stand guard in front of their outpost's entry control point in Ramadi, Iraq.

Minutes later, they were staring down a big blue truck packed with explosives. In spite of this particular shred of hell bearing down on them, they stood their ground.
They leaned in.

Corporal Jonathan Yale, and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter. These two brave men lost their lives valiantly defending their post in Iraq, on 22APR2008.

I have read the story many times, and I understand it was powerfully retold by Marine Lt. Gen. John Kelly's to a packed house in 2010. 

Just four days following the death of his own son in combat, Kelly eulogized two other sons, in an unforgettable manner.

From Kelly's speech:
Two years ago when I was the Commander of all U.S. and Iraqi forces, in fact, the 22nd of April 2008, two Marine infantry battalions, 1/9 “The Walking Dead,” and 2/8 were switching out in Ramadi. One battalion in the closing days of their deployment going home very soon, the other just starting its seven-month combat tour.

Two Marines, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, 22 and 20 years old respectively, one from each battalion, were assuming the watch together at the entrance gate of an outpost that contained a makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines.

The same broken down ramshackle building was also home to 100 Iraqi police, also my men and our allies in the fight against the terrorists in Ramadi, a city until recently the most dangerous city on earth and owned by Al Qaeda. Yale was a dirt poor mixed-race kid from Virginia with a wife and daughter, and a mother and sister who lived with him and he supported as well. He did this on a yearly salary of less than $23,000. Haerter, on the other hand, was a middle class white kid from Long Island.

They were from two completely different worlds. Had they not joined the Marines they would never have met each other, or understood that multiple America’s exist simultaneously depending on one’s race, education level, economic status, and where you might have been born. But they were Marines, combat Marines, forged in the same crucible of Marine training, and because of this bond they were brothers as close, or closer, than if they were born of the same woman.

The mission orders they received from the sergeant squad leader I am sure went something like: “Okay you two clowns, stand this post and let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.” “You clear?” I am also sure Yale and Haerter then rolled their eyes and said in unison something like: “Yes Sergeant,” with just enough attitude that made the point without saying the words, “No kidding sweetheart, we know what we’re doing.” They then relieved two other Marines on watch and took up their post at the entry control point of Joint Security Station Nasser, in the Sophia section of Ramadi, al Anbar, Iraq.

A few minutes later a large blue truck turned down the alley way—perhaps 60-70 yards in length—and sped its way through the serpentine of concrete jersey walls. The truck stopped just short of where the two were posted and detonated, killing them both catastrophically. Twenty-four brick masonry houses were damaged or destroyed. A mosque 100 yards away collapsed. The truck’s engine came to rest two hundred yards away knocking most of a house down before it stopped.

Our explosive experts reckoned the blast was made of 2,000 pounds of explosives. Two died, and because these two young infantrymen didn’t have it in their DNA to run from danger, they saved 150 of their Iraqi and American brothers-in-arms.

When I read the situation report about the incident a few hours after it happened I called the regimental commander for details as something about this struck me as different. Marines dying or being seriously wounded is commonplace in combat. We expect Marines regardless of rank or MOS to stand their ground and do their duty, and even die in the process, if that is what the mission takes. But this just seemed different.

The regimental commander had just returned from the site and he agreed, but reported that there were no American witnesses to the event—just Iraqi police. I figured if there was any chance of finding out what actually happened and then to decorate the two Marines to acknowledge their bravery, I’d have to do it as a combat award that requires two eye-witnesses and we figured the bureaucrats back in Washington would never buy Iraqi statements. If it had any chance at all, it had to come under the signature of a general officer.

I traveled to Ramadi the next day and spoke individually to a half-dozen Iraqi police all of whom told the same story. The blue truck turned down into the alley and immediately sped up as it made its way through the serpentine. They all said, “We knew immediately what was going on as soon as the two Marines began firing.” The Iraqi police then related that some of them also fired, and then to a man, ran for safety just prior to the explosion.
All survived. Many were injured … some seriously. One of the Iraqis elaborated and with tears welling up said, “They’d run like any normal man would to save his life.”

What he didn’t know until then, he said, and what he learned that very instant, was that Marines are not normal. Choking past the emotion he said, “Sir, in the name of God no sane man would have stood there and done what they did.”

“No sane man.”

“They saved us all.”

What we didn’t know at the time, and only learned a couple of days later after I wrote a summary and submitted both Yale and Haerter for posthumous Navy Crosses, was that one of our security cameras, damaged initially in the blast, recorded some of the suicide attack. It happened exactly as the Iraqis had described it. It took exactly six seconds from when the truck entered the alley until it detonated.

You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives. Putting myself in their heads I supposed it took about a second for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley. Exactly no time to talk it over, or call the sergeant to ask what they should do. Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what the sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before: “ … let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.”

The two Marines had about five seconds left to live. It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up. By this time the truck was half-way through the barriers and gaining speed the whole time. Here, the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were—some running right past the Marines. They had three seconds left to live.
For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines’ weapons firing non-stop…the truck’s windshield exploding into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tore in to the body of the son-of-a-bitch who is trying to get past them to kill their brothers—American and Iraqi—bedded down in the barracks totally unaware of the fact that their lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground. If they had been aware, they would have know they were safe … because two Marines stood between them and a crazed suicide bomber.

The recording shows the truck careening to a stop immediately in front of the two Marines. In all of the instantaneous violence Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even started to step aside. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread shoulder width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. They had only one second left to live.

The truck explodes. The camera goes blank. Two young men go to their God.

Six seconds.

Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty … into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight—for you.


This is the caliber of men and women that serve our great country, out of dedication and commitment to something greater than themselves. These are the people The Battle Buddy Foundation works to serve after they return home from combat. Forged from the same commitment to our brothers and sisters in arms, TBBF was founded by veterans to serve veterans.

With an average of 22 veteran suicides daily, we cannot afford to stand idly by while we lose such valuable individuals in our communities and families.
Stand with us, and 'Lean In' alongside us at The Battle Buddy Foundation as we work to serve our nation's heroes.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Ignosticism - Eyes Wide Open

"Lighthouses are more useful than Churches." - Benjamin Franklin

Religion is a safe haven that promises us that our suffering and good behavior are not for naught; that it will be better than we ever could have believed if we just believe and don't rock the boat. The Scientific Method doesn't change, it allows and embraces progress and truth.The rules are steadfast and eternal. One of the appeals of Ignosticism is the freedom from labeling and categorizing everything. Go with the flow for a while, quit trying to control the uncontrollable, and experience the freedom it brings you.

This might help.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Death by Social Media

Repeat something enough and people will swear it is truth. Continue to repeat it and they will believe it happened to them.

Good old Joe Stalin said, "It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything." Today we are played by the Main Stream Media, Political advocates, advertising agencies, race baiters, religious zealots, and special interest groups of every stripe, shape, size, and color. We are subjected to so false knowledge and statistics at an alarming rate and constantly battered with unvalidated information and opinions masquerading as facts.

From coast to coast and around the world hatred is being fueled by lies and propaganda under that guise of statistics. Claim an official source and people's brains shut down. Most of these are blatantly false, but very few of us bother to do fact checks before reacting to them and sharing them, especially under the false anonymity of social media. It is an epidemic that is tearing America apart at the racial, religious, and political seams. Call out anyone who arrogantly spouts out questionable statistics. Ask for the source and then verify it yourself through multiple venues. Go beyond the Main Stream Media and your favorite blog or podcast. Think for yourself while you are still allowed too! Edward Bulwer-Lytton knew what he was talking about when he said that the pen was mightier than the sword. Get people riled up with propaganda and they will raise arms. The true believers kill police officers and civilians in America, France, are firm convinced that they are acting out of righteousness rather than hatred because they drank the Kool-aid (Google it if you must). Refrain from commenting on or sharing unwatched videos, articles, or posts because you like the title or it might support your beliefs. Plato said that the unexamined life is not worth living. Look inward and challenge and investigate you believe. Break free of cognitive dissonance and your biased upbringing and find out what really matters to you before offering any opinion to others. Just because you have an opinion doesn't mean it's a good one. We must recreate ourselves as individuals before we can fix cultures, societies, nations, or the world. No more Kool-Aid. Gordon A. Eadie said that if you don't stand for something then you will fall for anything. The tough part is being clear on that something. Conviction alone doesn't equal justice. Probity is defined as "integrity and uprighteousness". Embrace it. Be right before being heard. Let the healing begin with me.

#stopthehate #stopthelies #stopthebias #defyMSM

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Bothered by BLM

I'm bothered greatly by Black Lives Matter. Once you isolate a group or class from everyone else it can no longer be about equality, it's about exception. White Pride, Black Pride, Gay Pride. What's to be proud of? None of us did anything to be born White, Black, Gay, intelligent, athletic, artistic, etc.
It's too often about having one's way all of the time and not having any repercussions. With rare exceptions, BLM's martyrs were all men with violent criminal histories who were faced with the choice of following the law and cooperating with police or not. Choosing to believe they were the exception, not their race, lead to their demise.
Life exposes all of us to the differences between right and wrong. It's very simple; Don't hurt people and don't take their stuff. Yes, there is inequality between some Blacks and some Whites, but the same can be said among Whites and other Whites and Blacks and other Blacks. That is Life, not which lives matter.
As a rebellious young man I chose nonconformity and noncompliance as a way to express myself and to stand out as being unique (like all of the other nonconformists). These were choices like tattoos, piercings, partying, and clothing statements. I paid for them and still pay for some. My choices, my doing.
Heinlein said, “I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.” It actually goes much deeper than that, I am responsible in every way for every choice I make even within a world in flux.

The Human Race

Mankind wants more than companionship or friendship, It wants fellowship; to belong to something greater than itself. Sometimes this manifests itself as a cause, but usually, it is seen as membership. Economic class, gender, age, race, religion, lack of religion, profession, politics, education, sexuality, height, weight, favorite sports franchise, IQ, school, neighborhood, special interests, hobbies, etc. In the process, we forget that first and foremost we were all members of The Human Race. We then tend to seek out differences rather than similarities and isolate ourselves to the extent that we often don't feel like we don't belong anywhere. We all have more in common than we do that separates us.

What would happen if instead of looking for what sets us apart, we sought out what we have in common?

Tell me, what would life be like if we all just tried to be the best thing that ever happened to each other?

#StopTheHate #WalkInLove #EndRacism #StopTheViolence

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Obama, Dallas, Guns, and The War On Drugs

I just watched President Obama's speech at the Interfaith (?) Memorial Service in Dallas. He is an exceptional speaker. Very slick. I thought he did a great job and for the most part said all of the right things. He did say that "we" are flooding poor communities with thousands of guns and making it easier for children to get their hands on Glocks than computers or books. I took issue with that.

The guns going into those communities are there because of crime. Because people are afraid and because people steal them. The War on Drugs is a HUGE part of that. It turns communities, especially poor ones, into war zones. We spend more money fighting it than we do on education! If we repealed drug prohibition and used the money to focus on treatment and education then those communities would have a great chance of bettering themselves.

Want to make a difference and leave a lasting positive legacy, President Obama? Quit harping about gun control that doesn't work and can't work, and repeal drug prohibition. One doesn't work, the other one does.

I wonder how much trouble the two police officers who were sitting behind BHO during his speech and falling asleep are going to be in.

Twisted Faces - Caricature Art from Rock Cowles

Twisted Faces - Caricature Art from Rock Cowles
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Caricatures by Rock Kowulz