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Twenty life truths

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

This morning as I was shaving, I began thinking about things I’ve learned to be true over my 58-plus years on this earth so far. They are truths that I know to be, not based on any particular degrees or specific levels of training, but on pure experience.

Here are 20 of these truths –

  1. A three-blade razor will always give you a closer shave than a two-blade or a one-blade. And a cheap razor will cut you.
  2. It is essential to the life of your car to regularly change the oil in it.
  3. The perfect elementary school (1960s-era) cinnamon roll no longer exists.
  4. At the primal level (I’m not talking about post-conditioning), men and women will react differently to immediate dangerous stimuli. Sorry, but it’s true.
  5. There are things in this world which can only be explained by the existence of evil and dark forces.
  6. All Marines with 0300-infantry MOS’s love to fight. I don’t, but I’m the exception.
  7. A broken bone will heal in time as will a broken heart.
  8. There is something inherently good about a person who sacrifices his or her time and money to go on a Christian mission trip (and no, I’ve never been on one.)
  9. A drop-dead-gorgeous woman will make a smart man lose his mind for a split second (and nobody will ever know). But she will make a stupid man lose his mind indefinitely.
  10. Everybody, at a minimum, needs a smile and a kind word.
  11. Nobody cooks as good as my mom. They may exist, but I’ve never met them.
  12. If a person talks bad about his friends to you, he’s probably talking bad about you to his friends.
  13. When alone and in the middle of nowhere, a .45 is always more reassuring than a 9mm.
  14. People will leave you in this life. Some will die. Some will walk away. Some will also betray you or otherwise let you down. God will never do any of those things.
  15. Holding a newborn baby heals and comforts the one holding it in ways impossible to describe.
  16. Elderly people are treasures.
  17. Christmas truly is “the most wonderful time of the year.”
  18. There is something spiritually uplifting about mowing the lawn. Preteens and teenage boys don’t understand this. We have to get some age on us before we begin to appreciate the spirituality in grass cutting.
  19. Miracles from God still happen.
  20. God’s Word is true.

Alright, back to work.

– Please visit W. Thomas Smith Jr. at http://uswriter.com

Posted on September 29, 2017 at 11:04 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Articles

In Light of Protests and Politics, Let Us Remember the NFL Veterans of World War II

[Originally published at OpsLens.com]

On December 7, 1941, 27,000 Americans watched the Washington Redskins cruise to a 20-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at Griffith Stadium. During the game, the loudspeakers announced that various government and military officials in attendance needed to report to work. Players and fans were blissfully unaware, for the moment, that Pearl Harbor had been attacked and the nation was now at war.

Nearly 1,000 athletes in the National Football League joined the ranks of 16 million Americans serving in the Armed Forces during World War II. The NFL was so depleted by the war that in order for the league to survive, teams merged or were scrapped altogether. But professional football continued. 21 players lost their lives, and many lost valuable playing time to the service. Below are some of their stories.

The crew of Waddy’s Wagon

After being named a consensus All-American as a right end for the University of Oklahoma, leading the Sooners to their first-ever bowl game in 1939, Walter R. “Waddy” Young is drafted by the NFL’s Brooklyn Dodgers. When war breaks out, Young leaves behind his professional career and enlisted in the Army Air Forces, ultimately becoming a bomber pilot. Young racked up 9,000 combat hours flying his B-24 “Liberator” in Europe.

Once the Nazis surrendered, Young transferred to the Pacific Theater and began flying the new B-29 “Superfortress” heavy bomber. After a raid on mainland Japan, a bomber in Waddy’s group was struck by a kamikaze fighter. Rather than leave the stricken crew to their fate, Waddy’s Wagon left formation and accompanied the damaged B-29 so they could relay the location to search and rescue crews where the bomber went down.

Waddy and his crew were never heard from again.

Mooney

Before enlisting in the Army, James L. Mooney, Jr. was an All-American end and punter for Georgetown, playing five seasons in the NFL. Cpl. Mooney was killed by a German sniper in Sourdeval, France, just days before his fellow soldiers in the 28th “Keystone” Infantry Division triumphantly marched through the streets of Paris after liberating the French capital.

 

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Posted on September 28, 2017 at 09:59 by Chris Carter · Permalink · One Comment
In: Articles, Military History · Tagged with: ,

National debt by the numbers: Just how big is $20 trillion?

[Originally published at OpsLens.com]

With our national debt passing the $20 trillion threshold this week, let’s look at some figures that will help us wrap our mind around this unfathomable amount of money.

To make 20 trillion one dollar bills, it would require commandeering every cotton field in the United States for 19 years (the dollar is actually 75 percent cotton) and 30 years for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to stamp out the notes. The price tag for printing this vast quantity of bills would cost taxpayers another $2 trillion.

Our mountain of 20 trillion George Washingtons would weigh in at a whopping 22 million tons, which just might actually be enough – with a hat tip to Congressman Hank Johnson – to tip over the island of Guam. Chicago’s 108-story Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, weighs about 222,500 tons, so it would take 99 such skyscrapers to equal the weight of our national debt. Guam would have an incredible skyline, which we could easily afford to build when you consider that, adjusting for inflation, $20 trillion would buy 21,000 Willis Towers.

To ship all that money across the Pacific, it would require 758,000 semi trucks and 75 trips with the world’s largest cargo ship. But where would we store it? The world’s largest building – by volume – is the 97-acre Boeing Factory in Everett, Wash., where the aircraft manufacturer assembles airliners like the 747 “Jumbo Jet.” If you were to neatly stack one-dollar bills – without pallets – in every available square inch of the monstrous facility, Boeing would still have to build a second factory to store the rest.

A stack of 20 trillion one dollar bills, if you could somehow keep Congress from snatching it, would reach an incredible 1,357,300 miles into space. Considering that the moon is only 238,855 miles away, you could place five stacks of one dollar bills between Earth and the moon and still have enough bills left to reach over halfway on a sixth stack.

A line of 20 trillion one dollar bills placed end to end would extend 2.3 trillion miles, which would go around the world 93 million times. If astronauts could place the bills in a line into space, it would take light nearly five months to travel that distance.

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Posted on September 17, 2017 at 18:45 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Articles, Economics · Tagged with: 

Trump Should Follow Up Afghan Address with ‘Evil Empire’ Speech

Sir Napier’s statue in Trafalgar Square

[Originally published at OpsLens.com]

After When British General Sir Charles Napier observed Hindus preparing their traditional religious practice of suttee – the burning of a still-living widow on her deceased husband’s funeral pyre – he told the Indian priests, “You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”

Fast forward two centuries – the United States is engaged in a war with jihadists that follow a religious tradition of terrorism and global conquest.

In an address to the American people this week, President Donald Trump announced a sharp departure from the Bush and Obama administrations’ handling of America’s longest war. The speech signaled what hopefully will mark the beginning of a campaign to restore American military resolve and strength after years of declining prestige. In just 20 minutes, Trump used the words “win” and “victory” more than Barack Obama uttered in eight years, a welcome replacement for politically correct terms like “degrade” and “courageous restraint.”

Undoubtedly, a willingness to use the formerly abandoned term “victory” and stronger military presence with an infusion of mettle is essential to combating our jihadist enemies, and our president signaled that he will not allow the Taliban to retake political control of the vacuums left behind for the Taliban and the Islamic State to fill in Afghanistan and Iraq.

While the president said that he will not announce troop deployments, operation schedules, and withdrawal timetables to our enemies, which he rightly refers to as “counterproductive,” we have since learned that Trump intends to commit more troops to Afghanistan. But whether we send four thousand, or forty thousand, or four hundred thousand American fighting men and women to Southwest Asia, recent history shows that military force alone will have no effect on the ideology that spawns Islamic terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Barcelona, or Orlando. No matter how deep Al Qaeda has dipped into the depth chart over the past several years to replace its fallen leaders, military counter-terrorism efforts by themselves have had little measurable effect on the operational capacity of terrorist groups.

Under past administrations, our troops were hamstrung by highly restrictive rules of engagement. Our enemies were able to exploit these politically motivated restrictions and used them to great advantage. We must unleash our military’s full capacity to bring destruction to the enemy, and Trump declared that not only has he done exactly that – we have already made significant progress on the battlefield as a result.

Rather than crafting a political narrative out of talking points that do not reflect reality, the president has already displayed a willingness to listen to the advice of his military commanders, granting the Pentagon more power when it comes to both strategy and decisions on the battlefield. This is another welcome change from the Obama era.

Trump also signaled that he intends to put diplomatic pressure on Pakistan for its support of jihadists that use the nation’s border areas with Afghanistan as a safe haven. We will apparently no longer continue financing a nation that is playing both sides.

To ultimately be successful in America’s longest war, (more…)

Posted on August 25, 2017 at 06:55 by Chris Carter · Permalink · 2 Comments
In: Articles, National Security · Tagged with: , , , ,

VICE News Tonight attends Richland County (S.C.) Sheriff’s Dept. training for HBO segment

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Vice News Tonight, billed as covering “underreported stories,” was in town this week, touring the Richland County Sheriff’s Dept. (RCSD) headquarters, talking with deputies and other officers, filming, interviewing Sheriff Leon Lott, and attending a portion of the RCSD’s Critical Incident and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) Awareness training.

“It’s not only important that we provide this pre-PTSD conditioning for our deputies,” says Sheriff Lott [pictured here with VICE News reporters, Thurs. afternoon]. “We need to be able to share with other agencies, nationwide, the value of this training; and hopefully get those agencies to appreciate the importance of developing and conducting similar training for their own officers.”

Lott adds, “Thanks to programs like Vice News Tonight on HBO – even LIVE PD on A&E – we’re better able to tell our story to the benefit of other agencies and departments around the country.”

First broadcast in Oct. 2016, Vice News Tonight is a nightly news program airing weeknights on HBO. A spin-off of VICE, a weekly documentary TV series, Vice News Tonight is HBO’s first-ever daily/nightly television series.

VICE News Tonight airs Mon.-Thurs. evenings at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern) on HBO, whereas VICE on HBO airs Fri. evenings, 7:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. The segments filmed this week at RCSD headquarters in Columbia will air within the next few weeks, time and date to be determined.

For more information about the Richland County Sheriff’s Dept., visit http://rcsd.net/.

Posted on August 12, 2017 at 13:58 by Chris Carter · Permalink · One Comment
In: Articles, Society

A Path to War

By Col. Steven B. Vitali, USMC (Ret.)

The United States is positioned on a trajectory toward a “hot war” with North Korea to end that country’s nuclear intercontinental threat.

To avoid a conflict, only two options are available:

First, the U.S. must strongly demonstrate to China and North Korea by various military, monetary, and strategic actions that America will end North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, even at the cost of a preemptive strike. The objective is to effectively persuade China to act against North Korea’s nuclear intentions.

The second alternative is to abandon the U.S.’s stated-policy of not allowing North Korea (or Iran) the ability to threaten the U.S. with nuclear weapons. This appeasement strategy is now the platform of Democrat politicians who enabled North Korea to sustain and fund their nuclear ambition over the last two decades.

Discredited former National Security Advisor, Susan Rice stated, “The U.S. can tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea.” Her shocking appeasement appraisal stands in stark and foreboding recognition of the division that divides Americans today. The inability to acknowledge that evil exists in the world and the resilience to confront it and stop it is a departure from American historical precedence.

Rice advocates tolerance of nuclear blackmail as if a policy of mutual deterrence exists.

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Posted on August 12, 2017 at 10:35 by Chris Carter · Permalink · One Comment
In: Articles, National Security · Tagged with: ,

Nigeria’s complex environmental damage needs real solutions, not more litigation

Energy and environmental expert proposes path beyond business as usual

By Chris Carter

“We are information rich, but knowledge poor,” so-says energy and environmental expert Tom Mullikin. “Worse; we are starving for informed leadership.”

Mullikin, an experienced international energy and environmental attorney and problem solver is speaking of what he refers to as “the inordinately complex environmental issues the world is facing; Issues that no one wants to touch, because the issues are either too politically charged or too complicated and expensive to deal with,” he says.

That or they are seemingly impossible for any one person or one company to get their heads around. “Perhaps it’s also the old out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality,” Mullikin says. “Most people view an environmental mess on another continent as if it were happening in another world.”

Mullikin points to the ongoing struggles to address oil-related contamination in places like Ecuador and Nigeria (the West African nation dubbed “one of the world’s greatest avoidable ecological disasters”) as examples of existing environmental problems with no hint of a solution.

“It’s just endless litigation and untold millions of dollars spent,” Mullikin says. “Meanwhile people’s lives are at stake.”

According to reports, an army of attorneys (on both sides) have attempted various legal strategies to address the problems resulting from within the Niger-Delta areas of Nigeria. Claimants have demanded that energy producers clean-up contamination resulting from their operations, physically restore the impacted environs of Nigeria, and pay huge damages for the lands “left devastated by pollution caused by repeated oil leaks.”

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Posted on August 11, 2017 at 11:23 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Articles, Geopolitics

SEALs in Space: NASA and the Next Generation of Astronauts

[Originally published at OpsLens.com]

Former SEAL Jonny Kim (NASA photo)

This month, NASA’s group of 12 candidates begin their two-year training program to become the nation’s next generation of astronauts. Among them is Jonny Kim, a physician and former special operator with the Navy SEALs.

Kim enlisted in the Navy in 2002 and entered Naval Special Warfare Training Center in Coronado, Calif. After graduation, he was assigned to SEAL Team Three in San Diego, where he served as a combat medic, sniper, navigator, and point man on 100 combat missions during his two tours in the Middle East. Kim was awarded both the Silver Star and the Bronze Star with the Combat “V” device for valor as well as the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with the Combat “V.”

Kim’s astronaut training focuses on “International Space Station systems, robotics, Russian language, flying T-38 training jets, and spacewalk training,” Brandi Dean of NASA’s public affairs office informs OpsLens.

“In addition, they’ll have activities that build what we call expeditionary skills – things like leadership, followership, team care, and communication,” Dean adds.

All traits Kim undoubtedly excelled at as a member of Naval Special Warfare.

Once he completes his two-year training program, Kim will be considered a “full astronaut” and is eligible for mission assignment, with the possibly of a trip to Mars not yet out of the question.

However, Kim will not be the first, or even the second SEAL that NASA found to have “the right stuff.”

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Posted on August 11, 2017 at 09:11 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Articles, Military · Tagged with: , ,

Paris Agreement – like Kyoto Protocol – flawed from the beginning

By Tom Mullikin

An AP article on Sunday led with French President Emmanuel Macron saying “his glamorous Paris charm offensive on Donald Trump was carefully calculated — and may have changed the U.S. president’s mind about climate change.”

According to Macron, “We spoke in detail about what could allow him to return to the Paris deal.” And there is talk in some circles that Pres. Trump – though “non-committal about the U.S. eventually rejoining the climate agreement” – may indeed consider revisiting the treaty.

The world and our global health and environment needs informed leadership – not political correctness – and we have 20 years of data to review and determine the value of the flawed Paris Agreement’s equally-imperfect progenitor, the Kyoto Protocol, to the environment. What’s common among both Paris and Kyoto are that they have divided the world into developed and developing nations, and both agreements have failed to acknowledge and embrace one simple fact: there is only one atmosphere.

While the public might assume that developing nations which have largely been given a pass in these international agreements would be the likes of impoverished countries – perhaps Haiti or Ethiopia – many of these so-called developing nations are among the world’s largest economies. In fact, three major polluting nations of the top ten are given a pass including the far-and-away largest polluter, China.

On the day the Kyoto Protocol was finalized in 1997 more than 48 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions from these “developing” nations were given a pass.

As regulated industry has moved from developed nations to undeveloped countries, Earth has seen massive increase in greenhouse gases. The world has also seen the increase in emissions of other regulated pollutants like mercury. In 1997 the world’s human emissions of greenhouse gas was 36.63-billion metric tons and by 2013 (latest global data by country) that amount had increased to 48.26-billion metric tons. During this same period, China (the largest polluter of virtually every known hazardous substance) had increased its greenhouse gas emissions from 3.93-billion metric tons in 1997 to a whopping 11.42-billion metric tons in 2013. On the other hand, the U.S. had remained virtually static going from 6.16-billion metric tons in 1997 to 6.21-billion metric tons in 2013. Also, the U.S. reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by nine percent from 2005 to 2014 according to the EPA.

The U.S. greenhouse gas footprint has remained steady while bringing its economy back largely through technological advances such as the use of cleaner energy like natural gas. As industry moved to “developing nations,” America lost investments and jobs; but worse the world gained huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions and listed pollutants. Further, the carbon intensity in China is approximately twice that of the U.S. so that when our industry moves to China for example it turns a five-million metric ton footprint for an energy intensive industry into a ten-million metric ton footprint. Thus, the significant increase in global emissions.

As these flawed international agreements have promoted the move of emissions from regulated environments to unregulated (i.e. the U.S. to China) our nation has begun to choke on the pollution of their success. For example, The American Lung Association’s 2017 “State of the Air” report found a continued increase in dangerous spikes in particulate pollution is putting Americans’ health at risk, but few have discussed that China’s emissions have accounted for up to 24 percent of the sulfate, up to 11 percent of the black carbon particulate over the West Coast of the U.S.

An even greater concern is that China is the largest emitter of ambient mercury in the world with a substantial amount of this material being deposited in the western U.S.

Yes, there are some uncontroverted facts including that the climate is changing (and has throughout all of time). But there are issues to consider, such as the fact that the human contribution to global greenhouse gases (anthropogenic interference) is less than six percent – with the rest being naturally occurring gases.

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Posted on July 19, 2017 at 12:06 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Articles · Tagged with: 

Mullikin urges Americans to reclaim Congress and American greatness

CAMDEN, S.C. – Tom Mullikin’s unconventional military service, his unparalleled success as a business leader, his unwavering love of country, and his unselfish regard for his fellow man, have been the defining features of his life. These altruistic characteristics have also defined Mullikin’s campaign to replace U.S. Congressman Mick Mulvaney in the 5th Congressional District of South Carolina.

In his final push to get out the vote TOMORROW, Tuesday, May 2, Mullikin – a decorated veteran of both the U.S. Army and the historic all-volunteer S.C. State Guard (SCSG), who today serves as major general and commander of the SCSG – is asking all South Carolinians who call he 5th Congressional District home to reclaim their legacy of American greatness.

Here in this uplifting video [please see https://youtu.be/g8A2Cv2Rigg] leaders representing each of the 11 counties within in the district join together in the singing of “God Bless America.”

Mullikin urges all Americans within the district to send a signal to the nation that we will meet the challenges of our generation and provide a brighter, safer, more prosperous ‘today’ and ‘tomorrow’ for our families and for generations to come.

“South Carolina needs Tom Mullikin working for us in Washington,” says Maj. Gen. James Livingston, recipient of the MEDAL OF HONOR, the nation’s highest award for combat valor. “Mullikin is the right man at the right time to change this backseat attitude toward strengthening and sustaining our national defense capabilities. He is the best candidate in terms of helping and supporting the Palmetto State’s 379,000 military veterans. … Mullikin is the candidate with the greatest military experience both in-and-out of uniform.”

Fellow MEDAL OF HONOR recipient Mike Thornton agrees.

“No one among the existing slate of candidates is more qualified than Mullikin when it comes to a grasp of domestic and international terrorism on the one hand, and strengthening our economic base on the other,” says Thornton.

Please see video at https://youtu.be/g8A2Cv2Rigg, and VOTE MULLIKIN, this Tuesday, May 2.

– Chris Carter is U.S. Air Force veteran.

[Neither the military information nor photographs imply endorsement by
the Department of Defense or the U.S. Air Force.]

Posted on May 1, 2017 at 10:11 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Articles · Tagged with: