Thursday, August 22, 2013
Manning, was sentenced on Wednesday, August 21, 2013, for leaking a vast trove of military and diplomatic secrets to Wikileaks. Had Manning been a civilian employee of the government rather than a lowly Private First Class in the United states Army, would he have been treated differently?
My answer; most likely! As a civilian employee or contractor, his acts might have been more readily considered the act of a whistle-blower, rather be treated as a traitor to his country. Initially, Private Manning was treated badly in a Marine Corps brig in Quantico. Va. What was an army pfc. doing in a Marine Corps brig? Perhaps because Quantico is very close to the FBI operations center, not to mention the CIA headquarters. Coincidence? Not likely!
Whistle-blower status is not available to a member of the military establishment. When you enlist in any of the military services, regardless of the branch, your life is there’s until you are discharged. During your contracted term of service, you are there’s and are no longer guaranteed the rights of a civilian. Once you enlist you are under Military Justice for the duration of your term of enlistment. That is not to say that Military Justice is all bad; it's just totally different than justice in the Courts that are governed by the U. S. Constitution.
I am not suggesting that the sentence handed down to Manning wasn't a fair or just verdict. In the view of many, under the circumstances, the verdict could and has been considered linient. The judge in this matter, Army Colonel Denise Lind, did not explain or amplify on the reason for her ruling. With Good Behavior and time served, Manning could apply for parole in less than seven years. According to an article in the Morning Call (Thursday, August 22, 2013, by Richard A. Serrano of the Tribune Washington Bureau, Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs indicated that Manning appeared hopeful and actually ended up comforting his attorneys, who were in tears. He was quoted as saying; "Don't worry about it,'" "It's going to be OK; I'm going to be OK. I'm going to get through this.'"
Wow! How many of us could show such composure after having just been sentenced to 35 years behind bars?
Whether you believe that Manning should have been dealt with more harshly or whether you feel he has been unjustly accused and sentenced, we must understand that we are dealing with an idealistic young man. A, perhaps naive, young man who obviously felt strongly that the secrets that he divulged displayed actions by our government that, in his opinion, went against the grain of everything that he had been taught.
I picture a young idealistic man who grew up being taught right from wrong. A proud patriot and a man that believes that the red white and blue stand for God, justice, honesty and equality under the law. That is the way I was brought up in the deep South (born in central Mississippi, raised in Memphis, Tennessee), in the 1940's 50's.
I would not presume to put myself in Bradley Manning’s' position or circumstances but I enlisted in the Air Force at the ripe old age of 17 in November 1953. The Korean Armistice had been signed in July of that same year and the Cold War was the topic and the concern of the day. People were building bomb shelters as hysteria spread through-out the Nation.
After a period in Boot Camp at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas I was transferred to Shepherd Field in Denver, Colorado where I was trained to be an 'Intelligence Specialist'. Then after a period of "Leave" I was sent to Elmendorf AF Base in Anchorage, Alaska. This was in the fall of 1954; Alaska was not yet a State but was still a Territory of the United States. After some additional training in intelligence activities, including hiking, camping and surviving in the wilderness, I was given a 'Secret' clearance by the U.S. Government. FBI agents visited my schools, talked to my parents neighbors, etc. to ascertain if I was dependable, trustworthy, and free of any subversive behaviors.
At one point in my Air Force career in Alaska I was granted a "Top Secret" clearance but only with respect to a single incident that occurred during my 21 month tour in Alaska. The "Top Secret" clearance was limited to this particular occasion and was further limited "On A Need To Know Basis". If I was ever exposed to any "Top Secret" data or information I did not recognize it as such.
Once I was awarded a "Secret" classification I was assigned to the remote Eskimo Village of Unalakleet on the western edge of Alaska on the coast of the Bering Sea. For those that were not paying attention in school geography lessons, the Bering sea separates Alaska from the Soviet Continent. Now mind you, I did not go to this remote village as Airman Second Class Everette Carr. No, I went in civilian clothes appropriate for the climate carrying U. S. Government identification that simply identified me as a representative of the United states Government.
In other words, I was an undercover agent of The U.S. Government that drew his pay from the U.S. Air Force and reported on a daily basis by radio to my superiors in Nome. Of course none of the villagers were fooled as to the reason for my presence in their village, but they played along and it worked for all of us. For me, it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
It was now late winter of 1955, and I was living in a one room shack in a village of about 600 hundred Eskimos. Counting the elementary school teachers and the Missionaries, I was one of perhaps six wife people in the village. At that time, as a Territory, Alaska's natives were living a subsistence existence. They hunted and fished for their food along with vegetable gardens that grew wondrous vegetables during the short summers filled with sun and daylight.
My job? Get to know the Native Americans; which meant hunting, fishing, trapping and going wherever they went. It was like having my own hunting and fishing camp with the government supplying the guns, the ammo, the fishing gear, etc. And all I had to do was go along to get along. That and file my daily radio reports and an occasional written report or guide.
Salmon fishing after mid-night on the Unalakleet River was something to experience. Some of the salmon were so large and feisty that once I got them in the shallows I had to shoot them with my sidearm to allow me to drag them onto dry land. These salmon that were returning from the ocean and going upstream to spawn weight upwards to 45 - 65 pounds each. The worst part, having to cover every exposed part of the body including wearing hats and mosquito nets to cover the face and neck. The mosquitoes were so big and nasty that if enough of them had tried they could have carried me off and devoured me.
All good things must end! Yes, after 7 months in heaven it came to an abrupt end. Congress decided not to continue to fund a program that had 14 Air Force Intelligent agents up and down the coast of Alaska including agents on St. Lawrence Island and on Little Diamede Island a scant half mile from Big Diamede which is across the International Date Line and in Russian territory.
Do not fear; I am not going to be the next Bradley Manning. I am not divulging any real secrets. The mission that I was a part of was declassified years and years ago. In fact, the hold thing is described in a post to my personal web site that can be found here:
http://www.blackguard-bewilder.net/intro.html/ As part of Everette’s experiences in Alaska, you can also find a link to the Mission and Reports of Operation—5004th Air Intel Service Squadron.
I spent the remaining months of my tour in Alaska in Fairbanks with the 5004th Air Intel Service Squadron training for the day when we would be called upon to rescue downed U.S. pilots that were disabled returning from a bombing mission over Russia. Additionally, we were trained to capture and interrogate downed Russian pilots and take photos of any new, previously unknown armament that their aircraft might have onboard.
Now comes the interesting part. The last 18 months of my 4 year commitment to the Air Force was spent in Wichita, Texas ( the A-Hole of the United States). Boring! It was a "Training Command Base"; the worst kind of assignment for a veteran enlisted man. The Air Force Intelligence School had been moved from Denver to Wichita! Damn!
The Air Force decided that it needed operational experienced field intelligence specialist as their instructors as opposed to recruiting recent graduated Intl students as instructors. A good sound, logical move; except none of the seasoned intel guys wanted any part of it. I tried being an instructor but teaching a 2 or 3 month course out of a book was just not for me. I opted instead for the Intelligence Library. Now talk about having access to classified documents. Every "Confidential" and "Secret" classified document ever created by the Air Force was stored in room after room filled with metal file cabinets. I had access to all of it. I could have been a guy like Manning; someone who divulged every single item stored within my reach. But this was 1957. Everything was in paper format; literally tons of it. Frankly, I was bored by it all.
An opportunity can along a little less than a year before my discharge from the Air Force. I was still stuck on a Training Command Base but I was offered a position in a department made up of all civilian personnel. I did not hesitate! My boss was a G-9 grade (sorta equivalent to a full bird Colonel) and the nicest guy you would ever want to meet. Most of the office was made up of young, local single women. Halleluiah! I made sure I did my job and did it well. Within a few months I was promoted to Staff Sergeant (four beautiful stripes). You can count on one hand the number of 4 year enlisted men that get four stripes with still 7 months to go on their first 4 year tour. From that point on my military career was a breeze! Man did those Texas women like to party!
I should have stayed in the service for a 20 year career. Hey, Staff Sergeant at age 21; I could have been a contender for Sergeant Major before retirement. But I had had enough of the military. I returned to Memphis, went to Memphis State U. got married, had two wonderful kids that grew up to be wonderful and outstanding people. They gave me four wonderful grand kids that are now all adults and not near as much fun as they used to be.
The point, I was once young, naive and had access to the nations secrets. But I didn’t have the technology available today. I did not have the means of transferring infinite numbers of highly sensitive data at the touch of a few key pad strokes. Who is to say what they would do if placed in pfc. Bradley Manning’s' position. Perhaps in his shoes I would have been compelled to do the same thing he did. Not! Not Ever! But I understand the temptation!
Monday, August 19, 2013
First, I must preference this blog post with a confesion. I am an ardenent fan of Bill White. I enjoy his many diverse columns and his bog post on many different but interesting subjects.
on Sunday, August 18, 2013, Bill White did a follow-up on a previous blog post that appeared on his blog on August 16, 2013. In this blog Bill quotes a small town Mayor of a community in Kentucky:
"If GOD is against it, Why does he make em' born that way?" Bill thens gors on to to quote the Mayor; "I don't understand that. I've tried and tried and tried to understand that, but I cain't"
Bill White went on to indicate that, not surprisingly, he got mixed reaction to his column. Some even questioned how he could claim to be a Christian if he supported same-sex marriage.
Bill White responded; "The bottom line for me is that Jesus told us through word and deed, that the most important commandments are to love our God and to love ourneighbor. He specicitically urged us to reach out to the stranger, as he did with some of his society's most downtrodden and reviled."
Bill Whilte went on to stipulate that excluding homosexuality doesn't square with the idea of excluding so many of God's children from God's embrace because of a trait they were born with.
Bill White goes on to state; "Homosexuality is not a choice. The scientific evidence tells us that it emerges in early adolescence through the interaction of biological, physchological and social factors. The only choice invloved is the choice to hide your true self, forever."
Bill White in the article goers on to state: "Why would anyone choose to be gay if he or she really had a choice? The mockery, the discrimination, even in some cases the violence all make it far more difficult than being straight."
Later in the article Bill Whiten states: "It is easy to be smug about this if you're part of the overwhelming majority of people who are heterosexual. But try to imagine what life would be like if you had been born "that way," "If you were the one being treated asd a second-class citizen whose committed relationship is considered less legitimate, less worthy of sacred vows and legal protection."
Bill White went on to declare; "I don't care if you consider me to be a true Christian or not. That's between me and my God. What's important is that our religious views or personal prejudices, whatever they are, should hold no weight when it comes to determining which Americans have 'equal right under the law.'"
I wholeharily agree with Bill White's sentiments and I endorse the idea that Gay's deserve equal protection "under the law."
And so it goes...
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Budweiser Clydesdales Highlight Pre-Game Festivities at Gildan National Championship Game
July 11, 2013 - International League (IL) Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Allentown, Pa. - The world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales strut into the Lehigh Valley for a special appearance during The Ultimate Tailgate Party presented by 99.9 The Hawk prior to the 2013 Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game on September 17 at Coca-Cola Park. All fans arriving for the Ultimate Tailgate Party prior to 4 p.m. can enjoy free parking. The tailgate festivities - which include discounted food and beverages along with family-oriented games and activities - will last from 2-6 p.m. with a first-pitch time marked for 7:08 p.m.
The Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game is a one-game, winner-take-all contest featuring the champions of the International League and Pacific Coast League and will be televised live to a national audience on the NBC Sports Network.
Tickets for the Triple-A National Championship Game start at just $11 and can be purchased by calling (610) 841-PIGS (7447), by visiting ironpigsbaseball.com or by stopping by the Coca-Cola Park ticket office during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).
The Ultimate Tailgate Party presented by 99.9 The Hawk features a wide array of activities and promotions, including:
- Free parking until 4 p.m.
- $1 hot dogs, $3 hamburgers and $3 domestic drafts.
- An appearance by the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales.
- Appearances by IronPigs mascots, including FeRROUS, FeFe, Chris P. Bacon, Barbie Q., Diggity and Hambone.
- Free tailgate-style games and activities for fans young and old.
- An opportunity to win signed IronPigs and National Championship Game related memorabilia.
A covered tent encompasses the Ultimate Tailgate Party which will take place in the Cherry Coke preferred parking lot located near the AT&T Plaza and Coca-Cola Park's main entrance. The tailgate is a rain or shine event.
The Budweiser Clydesdales have been the symbol of Anheuser-Busch for more than 75 years. Horses chosen for the Budweiser Clydesdale hitch must be at least three years of age, stand approximately 18 hands - or six feet - at the shoulder, weigh an average of 2,000 pounds, must be bay in color, have four white legs, and a blaze of white on the face and black mane and tail. A gentle temperament is very important as hitch horses meet millions of people each year.
A single Clydesdale hitch horse will consume as much as 20-25 quarts of feed, 40-50 pounds of hay and 30 gallons of water per day.
Each hitch travels with a Dalmatian. In the early days of brewing, Dalmatians were bred and trained to protect the horses and guard the wagon when the driver went inside to make deliveries.
Coca-Cola Park will serve as a perfect backdrop for the 2013 Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game as the IronPigs currently lead Minor League Baseball in average attendance for a fourth consecutive season and are on pace to surpass the elusive 600,000 fan barrier for a sixth consecutive campaign. The IronPigs are the only Minor League club to eclipse 600,000 fans during every season since 2008.
Coca-Cola Park and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs have received numerous honors and distinctions since 2008, including Ballpark Digest's "Ballpark of the Year" award and "Best Game Operations and Presentation" award as chosen by gameops.com.
Local support for the 2013 Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game is provided by Air Products, Allentown Beverage, BSI Corporate Benefits, Discover Lehigh Valley, Lehigh County, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Sanofi Pasteur, Service Electric Cable TV & Communication, ServiceMaster Cleaning and 99.9 The Hawk. Additionally, Service Electric's Emmy-award winning television crew will handle the production of NBC Sports Network's national broadcast.
Single-game tickets, mini-plan packages and group tickets for all IronPigs home games presented by Capital BlueCross, are on sale now and can be purchased at the Coca-Cola Park Ticket Office, online at www.ironpigsbaseball.com or by calling (610) 841-PIGS (7447).
Sounds like a fun event!
And so it goes...
Thursday, August 15, 2013
The greatest aviator of his time was lost. Wiley Post was the first pilot to fly around the world twice, and the first to fly solo. He helped create the pressure suit (because the cabin of his Lockheed plane, Winnie Mae, could not be pressurized) and discovered the jet stream. But not long after departing Fairbanks, Alaska, on this day in 1935, Post, due to bad weather, could not find his way to Point Barrow, so he landed in a river near a village to ask a group of Eskimo seal hunters for directions.
With him was good friend Will Rogers, a humorist, syndicated columnist and veteran of over 70 films who in 1934 had been voted the most popular actor in Hollywood. Both Oklahomans, the two men were at the beginning of a casual sightseeing trip over the Pacific through Asia. They were flying a hybrid aircraft Post built using parts from two Lockheeds—an Orion and an Explorer—fitted with floats to be able to land on water. While Post flew, Rogers, seated behind him, wrote his columns on a typewriter.
Some have speculated that the floats may have been too heavy for the craft. Others say the two men may have been distracted and forgot to switch fuel tanks to a fresh one. Whatever happened, the plane, flying low but climbing, suddenly stalled, careened to the right and crashed inverted into the river. Both men died instantly.
Their deaths are commemorated with two monuments at the crash sight, both of which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
And so it goes...
Friday, August 9, 2013
The kids filed into class Monday morning. They were all very excited.
Their weekend assignment was to sell something, then give a talk on salesmanship.
Little Sally led off. "I sold Girl Scout cookies and I made $30" she said proudly, "My sales approach was to appeal to the customer's civil spirit and I credit that approach for my obvious success."
"Very good", said the teacher.
Little Debbie was next. "I sold magazines" she said, "I made $45 and I explained to everyone that magazines would keep them up on current events."
"Very good, Debbie", said the teacher.
Eventually, it was Little Johnny's turn. The teacher held her breath. Little Johnny walked to the front of the classroom and dumped a box full of cash on the teacher's desk. $2,467, he said.
$2,467! cried the teacher, "What in the world were you selling?"
"Toothbrushes", said Little Johnny.
"Toothbrushes", echoed the teacher, "How could you possibly sell enough tooth brushes to make that much money?"
"I found the busiest corner in town", said Little Johnny, "I set up a Dip & Chip stand and I gave everybody who walked by a free sample."
They all said the same thing, "Hey, this tastes like dog poop!"
Then I would say, "It is dog poop. Wanna buy a toothbrush?
I used the President Obama method of giving you some crap, dressing it up so it looks good, telling you it's free and then making you pay to get the bad taste out of your mouth."
Little Johnny got five stars for his assignment. Bless his heart.
Saturday, August 3, 2013
Bobby Lea Two time Olympian, Fifteen time Elite National Champion, Professional cyclist with Team Smart Stop.
"Beauty that isn't just skin deep. Friction coatings and bearing and chain treatments by @AtomicHighPerf. @WilierUSA." (This is Tweet-Speak)
Yes Bobby, you are obviously passionate about your bike, but do you sleep with it at night?
Bobby, I Love You Man!