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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "military"

How true stories of military heroes became a graphic novel series

Westlake Legal Group real-heroes-feature-image How true stories of military heroes became a graphic novel series Profiles patriots military graphic novels Culture Features Culture cultural features comic strips artists Army America
Photo courtesy of AUSA

There’s a reason the mountainous region of eastern Afghanistan is nicknamed “Valley of Death.” Under cover of night in October 2007, more than a dozen hidden Taliban fighters surrounded and opened fire on a U.S. military platoon.

Specialist Sal Giunta, only recently enlisted after his job making sandwiches at Subway, charged through bullets to attack two terrorists carrying his friend Joshua Brennan away. Killing one and wounding the other, he dragged Brennan back to safety. Returning back stateside, Giunta became the first living Medal of Honor recipient in 29 years.
Almost all Americans can instantly recognize Black Panther, Wonder Woman, Thor, Aquaman and Captain Marvel. But what about Sal Giunta, whose heroics actually happened?

Joseph Craig invented an idea to remedy this imbalance. Director of the book program at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington, Craig’s vision would piggyback on the past decade’s superhero craze—at the cinema, on television and in the resurgent comic book medium. The difference is these comic books would spotlight actual military heroes from four different wars. He was not aiming to create an amateur product, but rather to bring the best writers and artists from powerhouses Marvel and DC Comics on board.

The end result was a graphic novel series—the first edition was released last fall—that showcases how America’s military heroes are even more impressive than the fictional superheroes filling up movie screens of late.

“I’ve written superheroes for 30 years, but these are real superheroes,” says scriptwriter Chuck Dixon, who has written DC’s Batman and Marvel’s Punisher, of the characters in the Medal of Honor series. “I love ’em!” he quickly adds of the fictional characters, “but they are just children’s stories at the end of the day.”

Westlake Legal Group comic-one How true stories of military heroes became a graphic novel series Profiles patriots military graphic novels Culture Features Culture cultural features comic strips artists Army America
Photo courtesy of AUSA

The Stories

These, however, are definitely not children’s stories. A panel on page eight of Giunta’s installment clearly shows him in graphic combat against Taliban insurgents. “These things actually happened,” says colorist Peter Pantazis, “So they’re portrayed as accurately as possible without escapism, sensationalism or being fantastical. It’s graphic in nature, but not exploitative.”

Take the tale of World War I’s Alvin York. He’s perhaps best remembered in popular consciousness today for the 1941 biopic Sergeant York, the highest grossing film of that year that won Gary Cooper the Academy Award for best actor, but a relatively sanitized version of the story. “We purposely didn’t watch the movie” when crafting the comic book version, explains Craig, “because we wanted to base everything on official Army records.”

During a single October 1918 battle, York recorded confirmed kills of 25 Germans, while leading a vastly outnumbered force that nonetheless resulted in the surrender of 132 enemies. Pages six and seven of his comic installment plainly illustrates York shooting a German soldier through the head, with dark blood spurting.

Equally graphic yet realistic are the other featured stories, such as Vietnam veteran Roy Benavidez. After suffering injuries from a land mine explosion and being told by doctors he would never walk again, only three years later the Special Forces staff sergeant ran and charged through open ground to rescue a 12-man Special Forces team trapped at a Lộc Ninh airstrip. Throwing grenades at the North Vietnamese Army, he rescued eight men—removing a man from a flaming helicopter wreck along the way. A panel on page nine depicts Benavidez stabbing a NVA fighter in the chest with a knife.

Only 5’5” and 110 pounds, Audie Murphy was actually rejected by the Marines but accepted into the Army. Good decision on the Army’s part, because during a January 1945 battle in France, Murphy ran across open field and enemy fire to board a flaming disabled tank and man its machine gun. He killed more than 50 enemy soldiers, retiring as the most decorated soldier of World War II, winning the Medal of Honor, two Silver Stars and two Bronze Stars.

Westlake Legal Group comic-two How true stories of military heroes became a graphic novel series Profiles patriots military graphic novels Culture Features Culture cultural features comic strips artists Army America
AUSA’s comic series tells real life stories of American heroes. Opposite page: Audie Murphy shoots from a disabled and burning tank during World War II, January 1945, France; This page: Alvin York pressures German troops into surrender during World War I, October 1918, near the Argonne Forest in France. (Photo courtesy of AUSA)

The Creation

“I’d always worked with narrative nonfiction,” explains Craig, who previously served as an editor-in-chief of the national book-club-by-mail company Bookspan. “But I’d seen graphic novel history, and wanted to do something like that at AUSA.”

Relatively unfamiliar with the industry, Craig introduced himself to Jim McLauchlin, president of Hero Initiative. The nonprofit helps and promotes graphic artists and creators, an industry largely based on freelance projects and commissions. It’ll promote comic artists and writers on its website, helping connect them to upcoming projects.
Unlike with relatively simpler newspaper comic strips, rarely, if ever, are professional comics completed by a single person. Rather, it’s a multistep process with a number of contributors. The writer pens the script as though it was a movie or television screenplay, passes that to the penciler and inker who draws all the outlines, then to the colorist, and finally to the letterer who writes the text, captions and speech bubbles.

For this project, that started with Dixon of Marvel and DC Comics. “I’d worked on Civil War comics, and there are experts on Gettysburg’s third day between 2 and 3 p.m.,” Dixon says. “So the smallest changes were not annoyances, because you don’t want to hear from experts after the fact!”

Dixon gives an example of the commitment to accuracy on this project, where he wanted to take artistic license in the storytelling that got nixed. “Originally, I wrote a scene where York stole a Colt 1911 automatic off an officer,” Dixon tells. “Joe [Craig] corrected me.”

Then it went to penciler and inker Rick Magyar, previously of Marvel’s Avengers, Iron Man and Captain America. “The splash panel [the first panel of the first page] often takes the most effort,” Magyar explains. “It’s the establishment shot that hopefully grabs the reader and moves them to read on and turn the page to the next.” The four splash panels are the largest in each installment and visually compelling.

York’s splash panel shows him leading his troops through a misty fog alongside the caption, “From the humblest of beginnings, a Tennessee farm boy became one of the most decorated soldiers of the First World War.”

Murphy’s splash panel features him blasting a machine gun atop an inflamed tank, with the line, “His courage had been recognized in Sicily and Italy, and thanks to his actions in France, the nation’s highest honor would soon be bestowed upon Audie Murphy.”
Benavidez’s splash panel depicts an aerial view of three helicopters descending toward a Vietnam airstrip, one of them hit and spiraling out of control. “May 2, 1968. An airstrip at Lộc Ninh,” the caption reads. “Hueys return after three attempts to extract a special forces team, machines crippled and crewmen wounded by intense ground fire at the landing zone.”

Giunta’s splash panel shows him shooting his weapon over his shoulders as bullets rain down toward him, as he drags an unconscious soldier toward safety. “It was a moonlit night in the Korengal Valley near the Afghanistan/Pakistan border, a place renamed by U.S. soldiers ‘the Valley of Death.’”

Then the comic book went to colorist Peter Pantazis, previously of DC’s Superman, Justice League and Marvel’s Wolverine. “On page 15 of the Murphy installment, I changed it from wooden structures holding up the trenches to just dirt,” Pantazis says. Sometimes such changes prove annoying, but with this project’s commitment to historical accuracy, “I wanted to change it,” Pantazis clarifies. “For example, if the muzzle of a Tommy gun had a certain type of attachment.”

Finally, it went to letterer Troy Peteri. “I draw the word balloons, sound effects and rearrange it on the page so the readers’ eyes move accordingly,” Peteri explains. Asked about the biggest challenge or obstacle on this project, “It sounds facetious, but none!” Peteri laughs. “It was extremely organized—like the military, basically.”

Westlake Legal Group comic-three How true stories of military heroes became a graphic novel series Profiles patriots military graphic novels Culture Features Culture cultural features comic strips artists Army America
The comic series also explores the Vietnam War. Above: Roy Benavidez is hit by North Vietnamese weapons in Vietnam, May 1968, at an airstrip at Lôc Ninh; Right: Benavidez saves U.S. troops’ lives after a helicopter explosion in Vietnam, May 1968, at an airstrip at Lôc Ninh. (Photo courtesy of AUSA)

The Future

2020 is shaping up as possibly the most polarized year in memory, yet the series takes no sides politically. The final panel of Benavidez’s installment depicts him receiving the Medal of Honor from Republican President Ronald Reagan, while Giunta’s depicts the same bestowment by Democratic President Barack Obama.

Four more issues are planned for 2020, again about various wars and eras in American history. One will be about Daniel Inouye, who lost his right arm by a grenade explosion in World War II but survived to serve eight years in Congress representing Hawaii.

At this point, the first four installments spotlight men who have won the Medal of Honor. Civil War surgeon Mary Walker is the only woman to have received the award.
True, the series has refrained from depicting just about anything too negative related to the military. York, for example, changed his mind about the moral necessity of World War I later in his life, saying, “I can’t see that we did any good. There’s as much trouble now as there was when we were over there.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, that’s left out of the comic book. Any debate over the Vietnam War is similarly omitted from the Benavidez installment.

Whatever direction the series takes in 2020, one thing will remain the same: the quality. “Marvel and DC are the big guns, but then there’s a million independent companies. At some of them, the production value isn’t as high,” Peteri admits. “But the finished product of these really looks like a big comic from a big publisher, with big talent behind it.”

All four installments can be read for free online at ausa.org/moh.

This post originally appeared in our June/July 2020 print issue. For more stories from Northern Virginia Magazine, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

National Museum of the United States Army delays June opening

Westlake Legal Group army National Museum of the United States Army delays June opening Things to Do News & Updates News national museum of the united states army Museums military fort belvoir Education COVID-19 coronavirus Army
© Bumble Dee / stock.adobe.com

Northern Virginia history buffs and military aficionados were looking forward to June 4, the original scheduled open date for the National Museum of the United States Army.

Located in Fort Belvoir, the museum announced it will delay its public opening in response to the coronavirus crisis, and the project has been impacted by the suspension of some of the museum exhibit’s finishing work. 

A new opening date has not yet been set, but the National Museum of the United States Army will “open when conditions can ensure the health and safety of museum visitors and staff, and the museum is ready to begin daily operations,” per a recent press release sent by the museum.

Once completed, the 185,000-square-foot museum will include free admission to the public, though tickets will have to be requested through an online reservation system. More details will be released once the Army declares the museum is ready to open.

Stay up to date at armyhistory.org/opening-day

For more coronavirus news, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Woofbowl launches in Northern Virginia, becoming the region’s first-ever dog food truck

Westlake Legal Group woofbowl-food-truck-feature Woofbowl launches in Northern Virginia, becoming the region’s first-ever dog food truck Veteran pets Pet-friendly pet food News & Updates military dogs dog friendly dog food Culture
Woofbowl, Northern Virginia’s first dog food truck, made its local debut in August. (Photo courtesy of Ron and Solo Holloway)

It’s no secret that Northern Virginians know how to spoil their pets. Home-cooked meals, personalized outfits and bedazzled collars are just the beginning. 

But the luxury of being a four-legged friend in the DC metro area just went up another notch. Local pups now have their own dog food-focused food truck thanks to two NoVA residents. 

Woofbowl, owned by Ron and Solo Holloway, made its debut in August and has been making its way around the region to local birthday parties (yes, some of which are solely for local pups), holiday pop-ups and breweries. The menu? Dog-friendly “burgers and fries,” ice cream and even beer—don’t worry, it’s alcohol-free and carbonation-free. 

Want more pet-friendly content sent straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our monthly Pets e-newsletter. 

“We want to create a super-cool industry of dog-friendly entertainment and events, some independently and others through local collaboration,” says Ron. “Dogs of all types play with each other and we want to see that same unity of people.” 

It wasn’t merely the community aspect that brought the Holloways to this idea though. It all started when they adopted their first French bulldog, Lotto, around eight years ago. 

“Long story short, I am a military veteran, and I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” says Ron. He had served eight years in the U.S. Navy, participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. “I had heard from counselors that dogs were doing great things for service members with PTSD, so my wife and I adopted our first bulldog.” 

Their second French bulldog, Dino, came along not too long after to make sure Lotto didn’t get lonely. The Holloways insist that the dogs aren’t just like family, but that they are family. And for Ron, having them was lifesaving. 

Westlake Legal Group woofbowl-dogs-lotto-and-dino-french-bulldogs-on-hardwood-floor Woofbowl launches in Northern Virginia, becoming the region’s first-ever dog food truck Veteran pets Pet-friendly pet food News & Updates military dogs dog friendly dog food Culture
Lotto (left) and Dino (right), the Holloways two French bulldogs, and certified Woofbowl taste-testers. (Photo courtesy of Ron and Solo Holloway)

“There was a real change in my outlook on life,” says Ron. “When I wasn’t playing with my dog, I felt like there was a foot on my chest. When I play with them now, when I’m on the floor with them, it’s like everything else goes away. Loving them has helped me immensely. I can say as a fact that if it weren’t for my wife and our dogs, I wouldn’t be here right now.” 

Fast forward eight years, and Ron had what he described as a comedic epiphany. 

“I just looked at my wife and said, ‘How about we do a food truck for dogs?’ and she kind of looked at me,” says Ron. “We’ve been together for 15 years, so I know the ‘that’s not half-stupid’ look, and it turned into this crazy improvisation back and forth.” 

Solo had been making Lotto and Dino’s food for awhile, focusing on a raw food diet, and had delved deeper into canine nutrition over the years. 

“Bulldogs are known for gas,” Solo said with a laugh. “So I was like, there’s got to be something to help with that. I happened to come across the raw food diet, and once we switched them over, I noticed an immediate change in their health. Afterward, we kept seeing unhealthy treats for dogs wherever we went, and I wanted to change that somehow.” 

Thus, Woofbowl was born. But … not quite. The Holloways still needed a food truck equipped for serving up the dog-friendly bites and pints, so they raised money through a Kickstarter and ended up getting “played dirty” by a contractor. 

“Let’s just say we’ve been resilient in the face of adversity,” says Ron about the experience.

Westlake Legal Group ron-and-solo-holloway-wofbowl-food-truck Woofbowl launches in Northern Virginia, becoming the region’s first-ever dog food truck Veteran pets Pet-friendly pet food News & Updates military dogs dog friendly dog food Culture
Ron (left) and Solo (right) Holloway at a recent dog birthday party. (Photo courtesy of Ron and Solo Holloway)

But come August 2019, the couple-turned-business-team was ready to roll out the truck’s first menu. All of the items had been pre-approved by their in-house taste-testers. 

“It’s been a lot of trial and error,” says Solo. “But our dogs do taste just about everything. The only time they didn’t was a salad I had tried. Lotto kind of gave me a look and I knew.” 

Aside from the nixed salad, the menu includes all pup-friendly meals and treats, such as chicken nuggets (bite-sized piece of all-breast-meat chicken, breaded with ground flax seed and served with ‘honey it-ain’t’ mustard), a meatloaf and mash burger plate (featuring grass-fed beef “burgers” on a whole wheat cookie buns, topped with sweet potato mash and kale leaves) and a Thanksgiving-themed turkey and cranberry doughnut. 

Westlake Legal Group woofbowl-food-burgers-with-sweet-potato-mash Woofbowl launches in Northern Virginia, becoming the region’s first-ever dog food truck Veteran pets Pet-friendly pet food News & Updates military dogs dog friendly dog food Culture
A meatloaf and mash burger plate, featuring grass-fed beef “burger” on a whole wheat cookie bun, topped with sweet potato mash and kale leaves. (Photo courtesy of Ron and Solo Holloway)

“We just really want to make this stuff for people, and bring whole food to dogs, while on wheels,” says Solo.

Some passerby may glance at the colorful food truck and wonder why serving up fast food for dogs is worth the venture for the Holloways, but there’s quite a bit in the works for the local brand. The couple is hoping to franchise, especially in other dog-friendly areas such as Los Angeles, New York and more.

For now, the food truck will be making stops at Caboose Commons, Enchant’s holiday event in Washington, DC and the URBN holiday pop-up market at the Mosaic District. It is also offering a “pupsgiving package,” a full-spread of holiday-inspired food for your pooch that can be delivered to your door.

After the holidays, the Holloways are looking forward to the warmer months for more curated, dog dinner parties and dog-park brunches. Expect to find them serving up more crepes, sausages and slices of birthday cake, and giving an all-new meaning to the term doggie bag.

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Trump: “We’re Thinking About” Releasing Video of Raid On Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Over the Weekend

Westlake Legal Group DonaldTrumpAPphotoJune2019-620x317 Trump: “We’re Thinking About” Releasing Video of Raid On Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Over the Weekend Video U.S. Military Terrorism raid Politics military ISIS Front Page Stories Featured Story donald trump Allow Media Exception Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn as he arrives at the White House, Sunday, June 30, 2019, in Washington. Trump returns from a visit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea as well as the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Donald Trump has some good news for people who love watching terrorists get what they deserve.

According to The Hill, Trump said that you may be able to view the video of the raid that claimed the life of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder and leader of ISIS, this weekend:

“We’re thinking about it. We may,” Trump told reporters Monday when asked about the prospect of releasing the footage at Andrews Air Force Base. “We may take certain parts of it and release it, yes.”

Trump described the raid in northwest Syria in great detail when announcing al-Baghdadi’s death in an address on Sunday morning. Trump said he watched much of the raid in the Situation Room, likening it to “watching a movie.”

“We had a great weekend for our country. We captured a man that should have been caught a long time ago,” Trump told reporters Monday before departing for a speech in Chicago.

“It was an amazing display of intelligence and military power and coordination, getting along with people,” Trump continued.

According to Trump, the terrorist leader died screaming and whimpering, detonating an explosive vest killing himself and his children. Later tests confirmed that the body was, in fact, al Baghdadi.

As my colleague, Nick Arama, reported, not only did the U.S. troops get the ISIS leader, they also got his spokesman, Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir. Needless to say, it’s been a day of ISIS scalp gathering, with now its head and its mouth taken out in the course of a day.

According to the Washington Examiner, ISIS issues a defiant statement after the death of their leader:

“Even if it is true, this is the main reason all of the jihad fighters set out for — martyrdom. The Messenger of Allah, may the blessing of Allah be upon him — died,” said a prominent media operative in the pro-ISIS online community. “The jihad will not stop when a certain person dies, even if he was the caliph himself.”

“Al-Baghdadi although influential is but one person, the term Caliphate that ISIS promotes is not a temporary idea whereby if one person dies the whole term or ideology ends,” said another posting on a pro-ISIS Telegram channel. “Al-Baghdadi is not the first Jihadi leader to be killed if the news is verified, before him influential figures such as Bin Laden, Al-Zarqawi, Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi, Al-Muhajir, Al-Adnani, Al-Shishani were all killed, it didn’t stop anything neither it changed the situation in the ground.”

 

The post Trump: “We’re Thinking About” Releasing Video of Raid On Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Over the Weekend appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group DonaldTrumpAPphotoJune2019-300x153 Trump: “We’re Thinking About” Releasing Video of Raid On Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Over the Weekend Video U.S. Military Terrorism raid Politics military ISIS Front Page Stories Featured Story donald trump Allow Media Exception Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Somethings Up: Tusli Gabbard Will Not Run For Congress Next Year

Westlake Legal Group TulsiGabbardDemDebate4APimage-300x153 Somethings Up: Tusli Gabbard Will Not Run For Congress Next Year white house washington D.C. warren republicans Rep Tulsi Gabbard progressives President Trump MSN military International Affairs Front Page Stories Featured Story donald trump democrats Constitution Conservatives Congress communism Climate Campaigns biden Bernie Sanders Allow Media Exception 2019

 (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

I don’t like to put on the tin foil hat often but this is a strange move to me. Presidential hopeful and non-favorite of Hillary Clinton, Tulsi Gabbard has just announced she will NOT seek reelection in her home district next year so she can focus on her Presidential campaign.

What is going on here?

According to MSN

While lagging behind in a crowded Democratic presidential field, Gabbard has gotten renewed attention lately after a heated argument with former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

The squabble seemed to give Gabbard renewed energy on the campaign trail.

Gabbard noted in her early morning announcement that the threats of war, international tensions and the threats of a new cold war convinced her she should focus on the presidential race

“I believe I can best serve the people of Hawaii and our country as your President and Commander-in-Chief,” she said in her statement.

The whole brush up with Clinton was a gift for Gabbard being it did give her renewed attention. She capitalized on it with her smack back of Clinton about her being a Russian operative while Clinton still holds the reset button she presented with the Ruskies as Obama’s Secretary of State.

Why give up a safe seat in Congress though? She is not going to be the nominee of the party.

Gabbard could be a rising star in the Democratic party as she comes across as not crazy while holding most of the same views as those who look and act crazy. Make no mistake about that. Tulsi might be more moderate on the timetable to achieve some of the horrible ideas that Bernie and Elizabeth are hashing out, but she is lockstep with the same overall goal.

If she is calculating that her announcing over a year early she is not running again for her seat will make her look more viable for the Presidential run, I personally don’t see how.

Maybe she has started off the 4th quarter raising more money than her campaign anticipated after the Hillary dust-up. Possibly she just doesn’t like being a congress critter anymore after traveling to Iowa and New Hamshire. Could it be that MSNBC wants to hire her after she drops out as a commentator on the network that currently is offering every excuse in the book for Hillary?

This is one of the stranger moves I have ever seen for someone who does not have a viable path to the nomination of her party. I have to admit I’m stumped and wondering how it unfolds.

I’m going to have the tinfoil hat on standby though just in case I need it.

Check out my other posts here on Red State and my podcast Bourbon On The Rocks plus like Bourbon On The Rocks on Facebook and follow me on the twitters at IRISHDUKE2 

The post Somethings Up: Tusli Gabbard Will Not Run For Congress Next Year appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group TulsiGabbardDemDebate4APimage-300x153 Somethings Up: Tusli Gabbard Will Not Run For Congress Next Year white house washington D.C. warren republicans Rep Tulsi Gabbard progressives President Trump MSN military International Affairs Front Page Stories Featured Story donald trump democrats Constitution Conservatives Congress communism Climate Campaigns biden Bernie Sanders Allow Media Exception 2019  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Once Again, the Left Promotes Violence Toward the Right, This Time Against Rand Paul

Westlake Legal Group BetteMidlerAPphoto-620x317 Once Again, the Left Promotes Violence Toward the Right, This Time Against Rand Paul Violence Turkey Syria republicans Rand Paul Politics military Kurds Hollywood Front Page Stories democrats Bette Midler Allow Media Exception

Bette Midler presents the award for best performance by an actress in a leading role in a play at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)

It wasn’t but a handful of days ago that the left and the media were losing their collective minds over a year old video of Trump’s head being superimposed over a character during a scene from a violent movie. We were told that this kind of promotion of violence was inexcusable and would only promote real-life violence.

Since then, we’ve had instances of leftists promoting violence against the right, including Antifa telling a church that they’d bring out a guillotine if they played a movie about Jordan Peterson and a woman being assaulted for being pro-Trump.

If you include all the other instances of violence being overly celebrated by the left against the right, you’ll find that the pattern is that it’s okay for the left to visit harm on the right, but the right better not even joke about doing it to the left.

We can now add Bette Midler to those who hold that position.

On Wednesday, Midler became angry over Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul calling the Kurds “ingrates” for throwing refuse at American troops despite fighting to help free them from the clutches of ISIS. Midler didn’t take that well and, instead of putting up a well thought out and reasonable argument, told everyone to be thankful for Rand Paul’s violent neighbor who assaulted him.

“I DO NOT promote violence,” began Midler before she continued by promoting violence, “but… Rand Paul says the Kurds are being “ingrates” for taking their frustrations out on US troops. Which is a good reminder for us all to be more grateful for the neighbor who beat the sh*t out of Rand Paul.”

Midler is, of course, referring to the attack on Paul by his neighbor. Paul suffered six broken ribs, damage to his lungs, and two bouts of pneumonia as a result of the attack on him. Paul described the recovery as a “living hell.”

This attack and the celebration of it is just one more example of why the left shouldn’t be taken seriously when it begins hyperventilating about “violence” from the right. Between the promotion of attacks, actual attacks, and groups like Antifa that actually promote further violence, the left has no room to talk.

This is actually the second time Midler has celebrated the violence against Rand Paul. The first was in February of last year when she asked where Paul’s neighbor was after he filibustered the Senate to stop Republicans from raising spending caps.

She’s not the only celebrity that celebrated Paul’s attack. Tom Arnold has also tweeted his approval of the violence Paul suffered, and his tweet was retweeted by Rep. Ilhan Omar.

(READ: Ilhan Omar Reaches New Lows, Retweets Tweet Celebrating The Attack On Rand Paul)

The post Once Again, the Left Promotes Violence Toward the Right, This Time Against Rand Paul appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group BetteMidlerAPphoto-300x153 Once Again, the Left Promotes Violence Toward the Right, This Time Against Rand Paul Violence Turkey Syria republicans Rand Paul Politics military Kurds Hollywood Front Page Stories democrats Bette Midler Allow Media Exception  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Missile Defense Now – Beats Missile Defense in a Decade…Maybe

Westlake Legal Group ap-korean-missile-620x378 Missile Defense Now – Beats Missile Defense in a Decade…Maybe War Terrorism Technology Science Russia republicans Politics Policy Nuclear Weapons north korea nuclear deal North Korea News missiles missile defense military Islamist terrorism islamist ISIS iran nuclear deal Government Front Page Stories Front Page Foreign Policy donald trump democrats Congress China Barack Obama

Let’s Play Some Defense, Shall We?

 

The planet has a bit of a nuclear weapon proliferation problem.

Many of the Good Guys have them.

The US Nuclear Arsenal

The Story of How Britain Got Nuclear Weapons

France Has Lots of Nuclear Weapons

India’s Nuclear Weapons Arsenal Keeps Getting Bigger and Bigger

Included herein is a Good Guy – who may or may not have them.

Does Israel Really Have Nuclear Weapons?

And more and more of the Bad Guys have them.

The Big China Nuclear Threat No One Is Talking About

Russia’s Putin Unveils ‘Invincible’ Nuclear Weapons

Pakistan Has Lots of Nuclear Weapons

How Did North Korea Get Nuclear Weapons?

Excellent question.  Often, because the alleged Good Guys – are very, VERY stupid.

You Can Thank Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton for North Korea’s Nukes

If a Bad Guy wants to get there – they can often count on an alleged Good Guy being very, VERY stupid.

Fact-Check: Yes, the (Barack Obama) Nuclear Deal Hands ‘$150 Billion’ Over to Iran

The planet has a bit of a nuclear weapon proliferation problem….

Since They All Have Nukes And Missiles – We Absolutely Should Have Missile Defense

Right now, the only missile defense system we have doing any missile defensing – is the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD):

“The Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System provides Combatant Commanders the capability to engage and destroy limited intermediate- and long-range ballistic missile threats in space to protect the United States….

“Ground-Based Interceptors are emplaced at Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. A total of 44 interceptors are currently emplaced.”

A key component of the GMD – is the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV):

“The RKV is meant as an upgrade and supplement to the current Exo-Atmospheric Kill Vehicle, or EKV.

“Both systems are ground-based interceptors for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency designed to defend the U.S. mainland against long-range ballistic missile attacks.

“The RKV offers improved maneuverability and targeting performance compared to the EKV, which has a poor test record.”

Except – the Defense Department (DoD) just killed the RKV.

Pentagon Terminates Program for Redesigned Kill Vehicle, Preps for New Competition

Have there been tech issues?  There have:

“The EKV, designed to destroy targets in high-speed collisions after separating from a booster rocket, has struggled in testing….”

There were problems.  As there always are at some point with almost all things – especially things this high-tech and uber-sophisticated.

But we can take solace:

In the history of each and every thing that has worked – there was a time when each and every one of them didn’t work.

And the problems we were having – were being fixed:

“(It) has performed reliably in major test events in recent years including a complex salvo test earlier this year.”

Instead of the current, intact, in-place, improving system – what does the DoD have planned?:

“Now that the RKV is dead in the water, the Pentagon plans to move forward with a new, next-generation interceptor competition, the statement said.”

Except – are we anywhere near a “new, next-generation interceptor?”  We’re not even close:

“The defense official said the Pentagon is still working through the details of a new, next-generation interceptor competition, including when it will be initiated and the pace at which the technology will be developed and fielded.”

The Defense Department hasn’t even yet decided what “new, next-generation interceptor” means.  Because the DoD doesn’t even yet know what a “new, next-generation interceptor” is.

This is like killing the automobile – and then beginning the process of identifying the next mode of transportation.  Which hasn’t even yet been conceived.

Well, in the meantime – we need to get around.  So don’t preemptively kill the car.

And in the meantime – we need a missile defense system.  So don’t preemptively kill the RKV.

Since the current missile defense system is the only missile defense system even conceived – let’s keep it around.

At the very least – until you can actually define what “new, next-generation interceptor” means.

Our national security is far too important – to go fishing all over again…without any safety net whatsoever.

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No, Mike Pompeo didn’t say we’re prepared to take military action against Turkey if need be

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As I write this at 5 p.m. ET, political Twitter is in the process of being scandalized by the latest jolt to U.S. foreign policy, this time supposedly delivered by Mike Pompeo. CNBC is normally a reputable news source so you can understand why this tweet made jaws drop:

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Uh, how’s that? Turkey’s a NATO ally, buddy. And although Trump is known for changing his mind, standing aside so that Turkey can bomb our friends the Kurds and then turning around and threatening to bomb Turkey would be fickle and reckless even by Trump standards.

This is how CNBC is framing Pompeo’s comments on its website too, though:

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Thinkpieces have already been written in the past hour about the insane, NATO-shattering folly of America going to war with the Turks, all because of what Pompeo supposedly told CNBC this afternoon.

But what did he say, exactly?

“We prefer peace to war,” Pompeo told CNBC’s Wilfred Frost in a taped interview that aired on “Closing Bell” on Monday. “But in the event that kinetic action or military action is needed, you should know that President Trump is fully prepared to undertake that action.”

That’s accurate but misleading. The only way to appreciate how CNBC distorted his comments is to watch the exchange yourself, starting at 4:00 of the clip below.

It’s true that the anchor begins a long question by asking about Turkey and the sanctions the U.S. imposed after Erdogan ordered his invasion of Kurdish-held parts of northern Syria, an ally-vs-ally incursion. But he ends by referencing Iran’s attack on the Saudi oil fields, an enemy-vs-ally conflict . I think he meant to ask, very simply, what America intended to do if Erdogan resumed his offensive against the Kurds after the ceasefire notwithstanding the sanctions in place. What would be the next step taken by the White House to deter the Turks? What Pompeo heard, though, I think, was the reference to Iran and Saudi Arabia and took it as a general question about what America would be willing to do in that particular case and in the region generally to deter enemy powers. So he gave the standard diplomatic answer: We prefer peace, we choose nonviolent deterrents like sanctions first, but we never take the military option off the table.

Since the question began as a question about Turkey, though, and since it’s not crystal clear that Pompeo misunderstood it, CNBC is selling it as the Secretary of State dangling a threat of military strikes on a NATO partner. Er, he is not. In fact, if you watch the last minute or so of the clip, Pompeo reiterates that we disagree with NATO allies all the time on foreign policy (e.g., the Iran nuclear deal) but we nonetheless put aside our differences to work on matters of shared interest. Does that sound like a guy who’s ready to bomb a NATO country because they won’t call off an invasion which the president has spent the better part of a week defending, claiming that all Erdogan wants is to “clean out” Kurdish terrorists from the border area?

It’s silly to chastise the White House for things they haven’t said or done when there’s so much that they have said or done that deserves chastisement. For instance, the Pentagon is reportedly now so worried about Trump blindsiding them with orders for instant withdrawals for which the military is unprepared that they’ve begun drawing up contingency plans for a full evacuation of Afghanistan within weeks just in case the word comes down. Why not an orderly withdrawal with plenty of lead time for the Defense department to do things the right way? Because you never know what mood might strike the president on a given day. We can safely rule out a “bomb Turkey” mood striking him, though. At least anytime soon.

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After Trump Calls His Former Defense Secretary ‘The World’s Most Overrated General,’ Mattis Smacks Back at Al Smith Dinner

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, right, smiles as President Donald Trump meets with members of his Cabinet in the Cabinet Room at the White House, Monday, March 13, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

 

During President Trump’s contentious meeting with Congressional leaders on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) read aloud a comment General James “Mad Dog” Mattis had made in a weekend appearance on “Meet the Press.” Mattis, Trump’s former Secretary of Defense, had remarked that if the U.S. does not keep a troop presence in northern Syria, ISIS would resurge.

Trump allegedly responded that Mattis was the “world’s most overrated general.” He added, “He wasn’t tough enough. I captured ISIS. Mattis said it would take two years. I captured them in one month.”

Last night, during his keynote speech at the 74th annual Al Smith Memorial Foundation dinner in Manhattan, Mattis shot back at Trump. Here are a few of the General’s barbs.

I’m not just an overrated general. I’m the greatest, the world’s most overrated.

I’m honored to be considered that by Donald Trump because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress. So I guess I’m the Meryl Streep of generals, and frankly that sounds pretty good to me.

And you do have to admit that between me and Meryl, at least we’ve had some victories.

(Note: After actress Meryl Streep attacked Trump prior to his inauguration, he tweeted that she was one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood.)

Mattis continued, “I think the only person in the military that Mr. Trump doesn’t think is overrated is Colonel Sanders.”

In reference to the bone spurs Trump claimed to have had in both feet which prevented him from serving in the Vietnam War, Mattis joked, “I earned my spurs on the battlefield; Donald Trump earned his spurs from the doctor.”

Still, we can’t be too hard on the General; he’s been fairly reluctant to criticize Trump publicly since his resignation last December over major policy differences. In fact, Mattis has been surprisingly critical of several of Obama’s foreign policy decisions.

Surprisingly, two anti-Trumpers took issue with Mattis’ remarks.

Susan Hennessey, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and executive editor of the Lawfare blog, tweeted “I know he’s speaking at a dinner meant for jokes, but this is just an absurd and undignified way for Mattis to make his first public critiques of the president. After indefensible silence, this will surely undercut the gravity of any future words he might have on the subject.”

Thomas M. Nichols, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College in Rhode Island, said he “did not think the speech was an occasion for laughter. I don’t think anyone should be chuckling at Mattis’s brush off of Trump’s insult. It’s his facile way of dodging the reality that he knows a lot about what happened in this White House, including what are now obviously impeachable acts directly related to his time as SECDEF.”

According to the Washington Post:

Since leaving Trump’s Cabinet, the former defense secretary has remained mostly mum on U.S. foreign and military policy. Even in his recently released memoir, “Call Sign Chaos,” the military leader refrains from discussing much of his time within the Trump administration. Mattis has hinted that one day he may speak out against Trump’s policy decisions more directly, saying he does not owe the president his silence “forever.”

Watch the video.

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Lindsey Graham Talks Turkey (Interview With Kilmeade)

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Lindsey Graham by Gage Skidmore, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original

This morning, Brian Kilmeade aired an interview he did with Lindsey Graham while he was in South Carolina yesterday. They covered both the recent developments regarding Syria and Turkey and the ongoing impeachment imbroglio.

Graham reiterated points he made earlier in the week, as covered by my colleague, Brandon Morse, including his threat/promise to sanction Turkey heavily if it continues to invade Syria:

GRAHAM: I’m more concerned than ever. The Kurds were talking to Assad because they’ve got no other place to go. Turkey said today, we’re not going to take over the ISIS prisoner camps except in the areas that we occupy. Our Kurdish allies are being killed by Turkey as I speak.

….

What we’re doing to the Kurds is dishonorable and it’s dangerous for us because if Turkey keeps coming into Syria and going after the Kurdish fighters who fought with us to defeat ISIS, then ISIS will break out in Iran and Assad will be the biggest winner.

I talked with the president. I hope he’ll change course. I’ve got sanctions against Turkey that I will introduce next Tuesday. These are sanctions from hell. I’m going to break Erdogan’s economy and cut off all aid to the military. And it really pisses me off, Brian, that F-16s designed in — by the Americans are being used to bomb the Kurds by Turkey. (emphasis added)

These comments are more in line with the comments he’s been making publicly since the President announced Sunday his intention to pull out troops. As noted by fellow RedStater Bonchie last evening, Graham’s comments to Russian pranksters posing as the Turkish Defense Minister held a slightly different tone. Still, they’re not wholly inconsistent. I’d characterize them as…carefully nuanced. In fact, in the interview with Kilmeade, Graham acknowledged the thorny situation involving the YPG Kurds and Turkey:

GRAHAM: OK, so what I said three years ago, the YPG Kurds are the cousins of the PKK. They’re a terrorist group inside of Turkey. The PKK is seen as a terrorist group by the United States. The YPG is a Syrian offshoot of that group. They were the only ones that would fight with us — a few Arabs — to destroy ISIS, so we had to make an alliance with the Kurds because nobody else would help us.

We owe it to them to not abandon them, but we owe to them to not abandon them, but we owe it to Turkey to keep this group they consider to be terrorists away from the Turkish border. That’s what the safe zone was about. It was working until President Trump gave in to a threat by Erdogan.

Graham elaborated on the “fix” he would recommend:

KILMEADE: — is there a fix?

GRAHAM: Yes, yes. Here’s the fix. Join my effort to sanction Turkey for their incursion into Syria. We’re hitting their energy sector. We’re going to cut off all military aid. We’re going to hit their economy and really cripple Erdogan. If you join in with the congressional effort to sanction Turkey, he will get out because we’ll break his economy. And the sanctions stay in place as long as Turkey is in Syria.

Number two, you should send some soldiers in to make sure that these ISIS prison camps, that they don’t break out.

KILMEADE: Right now. Right now.

GRAHAM: Right now. Mr. President, while you have a chance, there are about 12,000 ISIS fighters who are going to break out if you don’t do something. So what I would do is tell Erdogan we’re going to send in, you know, whatever number you need — talk to General Keane — to secure these prison camps. And if you come anywhere near us, we will blow you out of the sky and blow you up.

Now, if he did that, we could reset. And how does this end? Have a safe zone between Turkey, because they feel threatened by the Kurds. We can tell Turkey we’ll keep the YPG Kurds away from the Turkish border, we’ll have American, Turkish, and international forces patrolling this safe zone, we can watch ISIS together, and we can put Syria back together again, get a peace deal in Geneva.

Graham notes that he’s spoken to President Trump directly on the issue. Clearly, he’s hoping to nudge the President via his public comments, as well. Will it work?

I’ve seen sound arguments on both sides of the issue. Mike Ford, for instance, has written a compelling series of articles on the topic right here this week. I know that Graham generally is considered a hawk (and rightly so) and has interventionist instincts that diverge from Trump’s. His proposed “fix” makes a lot of sense to me, however. What do you think?

Watch the video of the full interview here:

Watch the latest video at foxnews.com


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