Tuesday, February 21, 2017

McMaster, huh?

I see that H.R. McMaster has been pegged as President Trump's new National Security Adviser.  I thought I remembered that name out of the Cavalry School.  So, I did a little digging.  Sure enough, it's the same guy.  McMaster first came to national attention when he was but a young Cavalry captain, leading a troop of armored cavarly during Desert Storn.  From Wikipedia:
The Regiment moved from the 60 Easting with eight of its nine cavalry troops generally abreast of each other. (Lt. Colonel Kobbe had pulled his Troop F out of the Second Squadron's leading echelon when his zone narrowed.) The operation escalated into a full-out battle as E Troop (call sign "Eagle") maneuvered to the 70 Easting around 3:45 p.m. Heavy combat then spread to the south as I Troop of the Third Squadron closed the gap between the two squadrons and joined the fight. G Troop's attack to the north of Captain H. R. McMaster's E Troop made contact with defending units farther east and combat there became intense around 4:45 p.m. Fighting continued into darkness as the Iraqi division commander reinforced the 18th Brigade with his 9th Armored Brigade in the G Troop zone.
At 4:10 p.m. Eagle Troop received fire from an Iraqi infantry position in a cluster of buildings at UTM PU 6801.[9]:443[14] Eagle troop Abrams and Bradleys returned fire, silenced the Iraqi guns, took prisoners, and continued east with the two tank platoons leading. The 12 M1A1 tanks of Eagle Troop destroyed 28 Iraqi tanks, 16 personnel carriers and 30 trucks in 23 minutes with no American losses.[15]
 At about 4:20 Eagle crested a low rise and surprised an Iraqi tank company set up in a reverse slope defence on the 70 Easting. Captain McMaster, leading the attack, immediately engaged that position, destroying the first of the eight enemy tanks to his front. His two tank platoons finished the rest.
There is much more at the link above.  McMaster went on, later in his career to take a regiment of cavalry back to Iraq and was very successful in the counter-insurgency that we encountered later in the war.

By all accounts, H.R. McMaster is one of the best combat leaders to come out of the Gulf Wars.  He's also a student of international relations, a leading thinker in military circles, and just a hell of a warrior.    H.R. McMaster may be one of Trump's best picks.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Letists Fail Civics

Sally Kohn is an idiot.  She posted this last week on Twitter, and is being roundly reviled for her lack of knowledge of the Constitution.  (You know, that Constitution that sets the criteria for succession of the presidency.

1.  Impeach Trump and Pence on what grounds?  Neither one has committed a high crime or misdemeanor
2.  No constitutional crisis.  Paul Ryan would be president.
3. I just looked at my handy pocket Constitution.  No authority for a special election.
4.  Ryan v. Clinton?  Yeah, maybe after you've impeached Trump and Pence and Ryan is president, but that would be in 2020.
5.  President Clinton?  We've already had one.

I've got a better idea, Sally.  Why don't you stick to what you know.  Music, maybe?  Or just being an idiot.  Or, you could go back to school and study basic civics.  Or, get a pocket Constitution and see what is actually in it.  It might surprise you.

Never Let the Bureaucrat Win

Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin reports that the worthless, toothless, bureaucrats at the EPA were working the phones, lobbying to stop the nomination of Scott Pruitt as the agency head.
Employees at the EPA have reportedly been working the phones in order to convince the Senate to stop the nomination of Scott Pruitt:
If that's not a violation of Civil Service regs, it should be.  Bureaucrats in the public service should serve the whole public, regardless of political persuasion and should not be allowed to actively lobby during business hours.  Luckily, the Senate saw through their pissy little ploy.
The Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, an agency Republicans desperately want to rein in after what they charge was eight years of dangerous activism under the Obama administration that hurt businesses, jobs and the economy. 
Bureaucrats should be reined in regularly They serve the public, not their own peculiar interests.  If I were Scott Pruitt, I believe I'd show up for work carrying a hard snaffle bit, and wearing spurs.  If those worthless bastards wanted to buck, we'd have a rodeo.  Before the end of the day, they'd know who was running the show.  They'd bend to my will, or be run up the road.

Kim's Back

Kim's back.  Just damn!  Several years ago, he went silent for reasons purely of his own, but we kept track of him via mutual internet contacts.  Several months ago I learned that his beloved Connie had taken ill, and recently learned that she had passed.

But, via Instapundit, I learned that he's come back to the intertubes.  Kim was one of the first bloggers I ever read. Back in the days when the internet was just catching speed, and I had a dial-ip modem, Kim duToit was one of my daily reads.

So, first, my condolences for your loss, Kim, and second, welcome back.

He calls this edition of his blog Splendid Isolation.  It should show up on the blogroll soon.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Best President?

It seems that historians are already talking about President Obama.  Politico ranks him at #12, overall.
"That Obama came in at number 12 his first time out is quite impressive," Douglas Brinkley, a Rice University professor and C-SPAN adviser, said in a press release.
Don Surber is a little more critical of the Obama years.
 Obama leaves the White House having achieved nothing positive on the economic front, nothing positive on the international front, and nothing positive on the domestic front.
He’s the best black president, though, and given the way he poisoned the racial well, he’s likely to hold that status for quite a while.

Obama was our affirmative action president.   He was the liberal dream-boat, but I can't see anything positive out of his tenure.  His lasting legacy will be nailed down over the next 20 years, but I think that 12th is overly optimistic.  I'm no expert on the presidency, and I'm certainly not an historian, but I'd rank him near the bottom of the presidents during my lifetime.

Pulled Pork

I was digging around in archives and I can't find my Pulled Pork recipe.  That's a shame, because it's easy-peasy simple and a crowd pleaser.  My sister Margaret first gave me the recipe, and I've done very little with it.

All you need is a five or six pound pork butt, some seasoning, a beer, and a slow cooker.  A pork butt might be called different things in different locations.  The cut is actually a shoulder, with the bone-in.  It might be called a Boston Butt, it might be called a pork shoulder.  Whatever.

I start the night before, by putting the pork butt in the slow cooker.  I use a liner in my cooker to make clean-up easier,   When the butt is in the cooker, add the beer, then season it liberally with whatever you like.  I use Tony's seasoning.  Put the slow-cooker on LOW, put the id on it and enjoy your genning.  When you get up the next morning, it will look like this:

Oh, yeah, that's about right.   Get a second bowl, and start takinng the poork out.  It will fall apart, but what you're looking for is that bone.

When the bone comes out clean, the pork is completely cooked.  Then it's just a matter of taking the pork out of the cooker, transferring it to another bowl and shredding it.  I use two standard dinner forks.  Pull it apart and add a little barbecue sauce.  I use Sweet Baby Ray's, but other sauces work just as well.

Then, I clean up the slow cooker, put in another liner, and transfer the meat back to the slow cooker.

Add a little more barbeque sauce, clean up your mess, and let the pork stay warm till the guests arrive.  Total cooking time is about 10 hours.  Total "cook in the kitchen time" is about 15 minutes.  It really is a simple recipe.  We serve it on a bun, with chips and a cold drink.

The kids will be over in another couple of hours, and lunch is prepared.  Pulled Pork, easy-peasy.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Role of the Cavalry - II

In yesterday's post, we looked at the opening moments of the engagement at Gettysburg.

Harry Heth had  problem.  He was an infantry commander under Robert E. Lee, and was leading the march toward Gettysburg.  Some say he inteneded to find shoes in that town.  But, he was tactically blind.  Lee's cavalry under General Stuart was off riding, God-knows-where.  Heth had sent pickets into Gettysburg the day before and had encountered militia..  On what we now call the first day of the battle, he thought that his infantry could move into the town virtually unopposed.  What he didn't consider was John Buford, who had moved into the town the late afternoon of the day before.

In this first clip, Buford is trying to save the defensible terrain for the main army, who is behind him several miles.  Buford is deceiving Heth, showing only a portion of his force.  We call this "economy of force", by only using the force necessary to obtain the objective, which for Buford is to slow Heth down until the main body can arrive.  During this phase, Buford drives off the first attack, then strengthens his line for what he knows is the seond attack.  Buford will put two brigades on line, with a screen to his north, because he knows that the Confederates are massing on Gettysburg.

With two brigades on line, Buford is committed to this location.  He's awaiting Reynolds, who commands a corps of infantry.  As the day progresses, Reynold's infantry arrives, and again strengthens the line, allowing the battle to proceed.

Now, let's go surprise Harry Heth.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Role of the Cavalry

Many folks see the Cavarly on TV or the movies,   You've all seen the soldiers that ride horses, but Cavarly is a mission,  or more particularly a set of missions that defines a particular job on the battlefield.  Basically, the role of Cavalry is simple: to protect the main force, provide screening, reconnaissance, raids, deception and defense.  The Cavalry can be used in the attack, but that's not their main role.

You can click over to the Cavalry School and read all about the missions,  The great Cavarly commander simply considered the horse a mode of transportation.  Cavarly is mobility, and once you get off the horse, you become infantry.  Nowadays the Cavalry rides armored vehicles, or helicopters, but the mission remains the same.

Two great clips from YouTube.  The first, LTC Hal Moore introduces his officers to the helicopter.

LTG Moore died recently, but as far as I know, while he served in the Cavalry, he indentified more as an Infantry officer.  He knew the role of the Cavalry, and fought one of the more famous Cavalry battles of the modern era.

One of the great Cavalry officers of the Civil War was John Buford.  General Buford, probably more than any other man in that conflict, understood the role of Cavalry.  Buford is credited with providing a screen for the main force, providing reconnaisance, and denying Harry Heth the high ground in the opening engagements of the battle at Gettysburg.  The clip below best explains the role of Cavalry during an opening engagement.

UPDATE**  I originally embedded the wrong video.  Here's the one I intended to embed.  After editing, I realize that in both of these clips, Sam Elliot plays leading roles in both these movies.  Still, the clip below is longer and gives a better indication of the role Cavalry plays in the lead-up to battle.  John Buford is credited as sying that the horse is only a mans to move to battle.  Once you get off your fine, fat horse, you're infantry.

I never get tired of watching it.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Congress Undoes Late Obama Gun Reg

Late last year, President Obama pushed through a regulation that would strip recipients of Social Security disability of their gun rights.  Today, Congress used their authority under the Congressional review Act to rescind that regulation.  As Hot Air points out, that particular regulation is dead.  And, it may have other implications.
Using the Congressional Review Act, the Senate followed the House yesterday in sending Donald Trump a bill canceling the new regulation. And Democrats may not yet fully realizing it, but once this regulation is dead, it’s really dead:
Hopefully, the Congress will continue rolling back Obama regulations that affect basic rights.

Let Freedom Ring.

Car Keys

The new minivan came with one fob, to unlock and start the vehicle.  That's not acceptable, as I always like a spare in almost anything I do, especially in a car. I made sure, before I left the dealership, that I was due another key fob.  They agreed to order one and call me when it came in.

Used to be, if you wanted a car key, you walked into any hardware store, gave the guy a buck, and he cut you a new key.  It ain't that way today.  Today they called me and told me the fob had arrived.  I went in on my break to pick it up.  It took an hour to get the vehicle into the service area so that the new fob could be programmed to the vehicle.

I asked what it would have cost if I had to purchase it.

"About $240.00."

Just damn.


Austin Bay is reporting that the US Navy may be thinnking about building some light carriers (CVL).
The U.S. Navy may be on the verge of a light aircraft carrier renaissance. New technology spurs the revival, both new smart weapons in the arsenals of potential military adversaries and new American weapons systems, the USMC F-35B strike fighter being the most pertinent example.
The issue is complex, so the back-story here is particularly relevant. In World War II, the U.S. Navy made extensive use of small aircraft carriers, ranging from very small carriers escorting convoys (CVEs) to light aircraft carriers (CVLs) that were essentially downsized models of the iconic big carriers (CVs).
I'm certainly no expert, but it seems to me that several small carriers might be better than fewer big carriers.  We need big carriers, of course, but several light carriers might give the Navy more mission-responsiveness.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


My old Mercury Grand Marquis was starting to show its age and decrepitude. As much as I loved that old sedan, it was getting long in the tooth, and my trusted mechanic said it was time to send it down the road.   And, Belle's Ford Edge, while a great vehicle, was a bit tight when we traveled to Cowboy Fast Draw competitions.  With the gun bags, the wardrobe bags and assorted paraphernalia for three of us, the Edge served, but it was a little tight.

So, I called my good buddy in the used car business to see what he had on the lot.  And, I looked other places and talked to other people.  Googled around to see what the internet could tell me.  The biggest sources of advise were family. Elder son had owned a Kia, and loved it.  Second son's wife had owned two Kias and loved them.  My brother had owned two (I think) Kia's and recommended them highly.

My good used-car buddy was able to get his hands on a 2016 Kia Sedona LX minivan, and we made the deal.  I brought it home Monday night.

This Kai, the LX, is the second-from-the-bottom of five option levels.  My old Mercury was a top-of-the-line model.It had all the bells and whistles for a 2001 sedan.

This Sedona LX is toward the bottom of the lineup, but it has way more bells and whistles than my old Mercury.  And, of course, with the 3rd-row seats folded down, the cargo space is cavernous.  It has tons more room than Belle's Ford Edge, and it's a year newer.

I think we're going to really like this vehicle.

There's Your Problem

It takes a state senator from California to tell the world what the problem is with the current state of the immigration crisis.
For California Sen. Kevin de León (D), the battle against President Trump’s immigration order isn’t business – it is personal.
 “I can tell you, half of my family would be eligible for deportation under the executive order, because they got a false Social Security card, they got a false identification, they got a false driver’s license prior to us passing AB 60, they got a false green card,” De León said.
These people are not the mythical "law-abiding migrants" that we hear so much about.  They are criminal aliens.  They are defrauding the United States (fake green cards), committing identity theft (fake Social Security cards), and defrauding California (fake IDs and Drivers License).   They are criminals, plain and simple.  They should be deported.

The most worrying fact is that the President pro-tempore of the California Senate is apparently okay with half his family being criminals.

More On The Deep State

What do we know about the Mike Flynn scandal?  He said some things in a phone call that were troubling.  He misled Mike Pence about the content of that conversation.  Mike Pence, (our elected Vice President) found out about being misled through a Washington Post article.  Flynn resigned.

But, how did the Washington Post find out that Flynn had misled the Vice President?  It's simple.  Career intelligence officers leaked the contents of that intercepted conversation to the Post.  Damon Linker talks about it at The Week.
But no matter what Flynn did, it is simply not the role of the deep state to target a man working in one of the political branches of the government by dishing to reporters about information it has gathered clandestinely. It is the role of elected members of Congress to conduct public investigations of alleged wrongdoing by public officials.
I'm not going to try to defend Flynn.  If what they say he did is true, then he should have resigned.  But, when intelligence operatives work to bring down the National Security Adviser, and do so by leaking stories to the press, our democracy is in deep trouble.

If I were the President of the US, I'd tell the head of the CIA that I wanted one of two things by the end of the day.  
1) The leaker identified and charged for leaking sensitive information to the press, or
2) His resignation.

The intellignece community is trusted with too much serious secret information to be leaking it to the press.  Somebody's head needs to roll over this.