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Wilds of NW Indiana
Author, Consultant, Content Creator
Interests: Military, preparedness, food and drink, animals, cooking, more as I have time
Recent Activity
Contemplating this morning the intense irony, and odd appropriateness, of Sony -- a Japanese company -- delivering the first major public defeat of the growing cyberwar in December no less. Discuss. Continue reading
Posted 14 hours ago at BLACKFIVE
The holidays are upon us, and after the year that has been I think we all need something better than good, bad, and ugly. So, for a limited time, it will be possible to not only buy my new book (CreateSpace, Amazon , Kindle ) but you can get print versions of ADV: Travels to Al Qa'im and Beyond and ADV: Travels with Team Easy at a reduced price; and, through the weekend you can get the Kindle version of A Different View: Travels to Al Qa'im and Beyond at the sale price of $2.99 and you can get the Kindle version of A Different View: Travels with Team Easy, Iraq 2007 for free. A Different View: DJ, Doura, and Arab Jabour (Volume 3) is a view of the day-to-day life of the troops. It shares one of the most amazing Christmas dinners I've ever had, and it shares a bit about Operation Puppy Love. More than that, it shows how far things had come, and the hope on all sides that existed in late 2007/early 2008. It shares what was tossed away for domestic political purposes, and stands in stark contrast to the situation today. I think you really need to read Sarah A. Hoyt's entire introduction, but this part captures so much of what I hope is shown in the images: Children don’t understand about budgetary demands, or the expedient chicanery of partisan propaganda. All these children who survive will remember is that they were shown something unspeakably beautiful, something they might not have fully understood, but sensed. They were told it could be theirs. And then it was withdrawn. Forever. The cost of what was done is high, and while we can fix things to some extent, the cost to go back and do so again will be many times more than what was, or could have been. Trust is something earned, and that is gone. The three books show the day-to-day life of our troops, and share a bit of the cost even as they show what was, what was building. Together, they present a portrait, and through the weekend you can get the complete portrait at a discount or for free. Question: For anyone who has downloaded the Kindle version of my new book: Do you have any problems enlarging the photos to see them better? I've had no problem on my phone, but that is not the same as a Kindle reader. Just had a reviewer complain about this, trying to figure out if it is a legitimate complaint or not. Crossposted at Laughing Wolf Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at BLACKFIVE
A Different View: DJ, Doura, and Arab Jabour is now published, and can be purcased at CreateSpace (an Amazon company). You can also get it on Amazon proper and Kindle . I will note that the Kindle version has a bunch of blank pages added in odd spots, but it's a small price to pay to have the photos actually show up as I wanted. I want to thank former Playboy staff photographer (and amazing mentor) David Mecey (warning: link may or may not be work safe) for the foreword, and author Sarah A. Hoyt for her incredible introduction. Below are some cover/promo blurbs you may enjoy: “Blake Powers is an experienced combat photographer, and this is not his first trip to Iraq. He has an observer’s eye and can bring great meaning to what at first looks like an ordinary snapshot. If you want to understand our soldiers’ day-to-day existence in a foreign war, these photos do it in a way impossible for any other medium.” Larry Bond, bestselling author of Shattered Trident , Red Phoenix, and co-author of Red Storm Rising “What Powers has done in his most recent work is impossible to convey into words. Now more than ever, this book is a must read. The photos timelessly convey the struggle of valor and the American nobility of service at war. From the soiled faces of war weary civilians, to the bone tired appearance of the Warrior Class; these photos present every aspect of a deployment. The mission. The sector. Duty. Sacrifice. Fidelity. Holidays away from home. And the unsung service of those often times forgotten. If it is true that pictures are worth a thousand words, consider Blake Powers to have completed the complete annals of the true sacrifice of the Iraq War.” David Bellavia, U. S. Army veteran and author of House to House: An Epic Memoir of War “Blake Powers captures tender moments between troops and local Iraqi citizens in a dazzling array of clothing, uniforms, foods and the ever-present smiling, grubby faces of Iraqi children. In these photos and the accompanying descriptions, Powers deftly delineates the difference between citizens of Iraq who desire peace, against the face of insurgents who only want terror and violence. This is a brilliant effort to take us to a distant world, the land of Iraq and the people, citizen and soldier, who dwell there.” S.D Kent, author of Firework, The Training of an American Firefighter Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Thanks to Mike Lermon for making this happen! The man is tenacious. On the address, standby for inbound and Thank You!
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2014 on Adam Baldwin Joins Mission: VALOR at BLACKFIVE
1 reply
Thanks! It is, and with him and Nick Searcy onboard things are moving along. Mike Lermon is doing a great job spearheading this, and this is all his work. I think even more is to come, and soon.
Toggle Commented Nov 19, 2014 on Adam Baldwin Joins Mission: VALOR at BLACKFIVE
1 reply
Actor Adam Baldwin has joined the Mission: VALOR National Advisory Board. He joins actor Nick Searcy to help develop Operation Audie, our film and television focus area, and is also providing other assistance as well. Full release is here. Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
If any of our good readers in NYC care to join in, Mission: VALOR will be taking part in the NYC Veteran's Day Parade. Details are here and we will have limited edition t-shirts for the first 20 people to show up at 1300 on Tuesday. Hope to see you there! Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Mike Lermon has a wonderful response to the rather disingenious op-ed that ran a week or so ago in the Washington Times. I really think you will enjoy reading it. Unlike the previous op-ed, I will disclose that I am a bit biased and know Mike, as he's the project lead for Operation Audie/Task Force DeForrest at Mission: VALOR. Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
They Came In Peace. Today, remember them all. I remember Bill Stelpflug, Lance Corporal, USMC. Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
UPDATE: We have more wonderful news to share soon, and possibly a challenge too. Meantime, we are NOT moving or painting this Friday. Standby. Mission: VALOR has some office space being donated in Indianapolis to serve as its Indiana Operations Center. Even better, a firm is donating office furniture for the office. However, the furniture needs to be picked up Friday in Lafayette and transported down to Indy. We need some volunteers to help paint the brand-new office. Mission: VALOR also needs to get things like phones, office equipment, and other delights to make the office run. So, if you can volunteer to help Friday, my contact info is over on the right or you can use the Mission: VALOR contact form. You can donate through the site, or directly at the Square Marketplace (faster/better service and a LOT less expensive than any other service). LW Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Love him, hate him, but most had considerable respect for Mike Harari. A legend in the intel community, and probably the best known member of Mossad, has passed away at age 87. He was instrumental in Operation Wrath of God and the Raid on Entebbe. It was the former that saw him indicted by Norway, after bad intel led to the killing of a waiter in that country mistaken for one of the architects of the Munich Massacre. Mike submitted his resignation over the incident, but Golda declined to accept it. Godspeed. Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Bumping. This is Saturday with what looks to be a good lineup of music and more, and the proceeds go to benefit a good cause. Stop by and say hi if you make it! Spreading the word on this, as Mission: VALOR will be there in support of this cause. Note that Madison Rising is also going to be there, along with a number of other good groups and interesting speakers. Come on by, sit a spell at our table, and enjoy what promises to be an amazing time. Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
One of our readers works for a company that exhibits at SHOT, and talked with me a couple of years ago about it. If you still read here, please drop me a line as I would like to talk with you again about that discussion. LW Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Do you like science fiction/fantasy books? Non-Fiction? Anthologies? Other? If so, you have a treat this weekend with a Labor Day Sale/Push for works that are $2.99 or less. Check them out! Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Well, some artists made suggestions to improve the art contest for everyone, and Mission: VALOR listened. To be honest, we not only listened, but apologized for one part that was gold-plated double-dipped REMF. Net result, the contest deadline has been extended, artist rights are changed, and more file types can be submitted. Oh, and Madison Rising, Crossroads Cigars, and Star City Coffee and Ale House have added prizes to the prize baskets. Check it out. Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Your good ones (and best-selling ones) are ahead of Stan on this. The problem is, your major publishing houses, and the major so-called professional organization, are controlled by those same SJW/GHH PC killjoys, and if you don't toe the PC line, purge, purge, purge. You might want to go read Larry Correia's blog posts on this, along with Sarah Hoyt and others. SFWA has spent the last few years in a series of Lenin/Trotsky purges that have stopped at literal ice axes (for now), but have brought out the figurate ones and more. You would also think that the major publishers could figure out the problem and go with things that sell (Like Baen is doing, at least for now); but, no. It is easier to blame Amazon and the rise of Independent publishing and attempt to destroy same than to face cold hard economic facts. For those wanting some fun, go take a look at sales figures for the Hugo winners for the last ten years. Then compare it to the sales figures for Correia, Hoyt, Weber, and Ringo. Heck, throw Kratman and uber-left Eric Flint in there too. Look at the market share held by Baen, both in general, within SF/F, and within niche markets. Use Amazon to score same, and look at how independents stack up in terms of sales within general and niche markets. It is rather educational, and something that sets off howls of outrage from the SJW/GHH I'm-more-PC-than-you crowd.
Toggle Commented Aug 24, 2014 on Food For Thought This Sunday at BLACKFIVE
1 reply
An informal group of writers (and avid readers) to which I belong have been discussing a number of issues within writing in general, and science fiction in particular. A strong focus has been on the politics of SF, and the strangling of the field by political correctness. That there is such has been clearly shown by direct empirical work and in anecdotal evidence by the dumptruck load as the purges beget purges begets the complete and utter sham that the science fiction writers of America has become. I note for the record (and the stupid) that Sad Puppies did indeed succeed, and that no real effort was made to win the vote, as the purpose was completed with the nominations (and hysterical fits such entailed among the SJW/glittery hoo-haa brigades). For those not getting the references above, no worries as it is very much inside baseball type stuff. Suffice it say that there is a reason that much of the so-called "military science fiction" that comes out from major publishers sorta sucks. That said, there is an excellent post that delves into the philosophy behind these issues, and I commend it toyou as food for thought. Agree, disagree, or be mixed, there is much to think about and consider in the post. As a final note, and bit of food for thought, I will point out to the SJW/GHH crowd that much of what is considered classical literature today was yesterdays low-brow, frowned upon, popular literature. In other words, what sold well became the classics, rather than what the elite literati and academics thought was good. Smaller post at my place, go read the link if you are up for a good meal in terms of food for thought. Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Bumping: Reminder, this is tomorrow, Wed. 3 Sept. Hope to see you there! Not sure how many readers live in or near Lafayette, IN. However, for those who do, Logan's Roadhouse (Lafayette, IN only) is having a fundraiser for Mission: VALOR on 3 September from 4 to close. You come in, order, enjoy and when you go to pay your check, give the server a free ticket/coupon with it and a percentage of that bill goes to Mission: VALOR The more people who come, the higher the percentage -- up to 20 percent. You can get tickets in advance at the locations in the link, and Bob Rohrman Toyota (located next to Logan's) is letting us set up a tent there on the 3rd so anyone who doesn't have a ticket/coupon can stop by and get one (as we can't give them out that day on site). Hope you can come on by, and my thanks to the wonderful businesses that are serving as advance ticket/coupon locations! Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
If they think AR 670-1's are bad, they really don't want any GO-1's on the street! That would be a true and complete horror!
Toggle Commented Aug 22, 2014 on This Scourge Must End! at BLACKFIVE
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We can't. There is no way, just as acknowledging their support of the troops and honoring that is not worshiping celebrities or honoring them in death more than we do the troops. All we can do is acknowledge what is, hope that this can be used to prevent any from taking the same steps, and try to pay it forward. Jenna did a magnificent job on this, keeping it balanced and real. May people listen and learn.
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Since the news broke, there have been a number of people working to use the sad news to try to reach out to troops/veterans that were at risk, as well as to educate about depression, stigma, and related issues. I could rant about ignorant posts and posters, but I'd rather focus on what's important: reaching out to those at risk, because if even one stops and thinks, and chooses not to follow... The new social media manager for Mission: VALOR, Army veteran Jennifer Wilkins Perminas, sent me a post yesterday that she wasn't satisfied with. I thought it bloody marvelous, and said so. Here's a small taste: His death brings me to a larger epidemic that I believe we need to discuss. Some folks believe that suicide is a selfish and a cowardly act- and they are entitled to their opinion. However, depression is not a condition to which one wakes up to and shouts “depression; come and get me!” It is invasive and relentless in its goal of permanently demoralizing an individual. You can look at depression as a parasite; once it finds a host, it will progressively deprive the miracle fiber called courage (as George Patton liked to say). Critics labeling suicide as a selfish and cowardly act is not only insulting the deceased; but are adding to the ignorance that depression does not discriminate. Go read this wonderful post, at Mission: VALOR or on Facebook. If you are one of those thinking about leaving this way, please reach out. There are options, and there are people who care. There are links to resources, please follow them. Do not go. Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Well said, and thank you!
Toggle Commented Aug 12, 2014 on Despair or Determination at BLACKFIVE
1 reply
The news tonight is sad, as it appears that Robin Williams is dead via his own hand. The man was a comedic genius who also had a gift for making people think as well as laugh. He was a friend to the troops in public and in private, and made multiple trips downrange to entertain as far foward as he was allowed, with one proviso -- he wanted no publicity for doing so. He's one of a handful of entertainers in this category, and whatever his politics he made a clear distinction between what he thought of policy versus what he thought of the troops. The latter he respected and did what he could for them, and at the least went to places unexpected to give a gift of laughter and a moment of respite. My thoughts, our thoughts, go out to his family and those he leaves behind. Godspeed sir. For those that struggle with depression, and especially for those who serve/have serve who fight this fight, I ask you to accept that you are not alone and to reach out. There is good food for thought here that I commend to you. Adding this clip, that is a favorite of mine (and Col. Kratman's as it turns out). There's been some discussion of if he truly was as clueless as he makes himself out to be (I'm inclined to think he's not, but playing to the story), but it really doesn't matter. What does matter is how fast he stopped, became respectful, and even remembered (eventually) to take his hat off. Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Dude, punctuation, grammar, facts, and logic are your friend. This post has none of the above.
Toggle Commented Aug 11, 2014 on Despair or Determination at BLACKFIVE
1 reply
I’ve written on the difference between a victim and victor before, and today I find myself writing about despair. Let’s face it, there is a lot out there to make us despair. Anti-semitism has become public and fashionable once again, particularly among the so-called intelligentsia. Some token efforts are made to cloak it in terms of anti-Zionism or some such, but quite a few — including former major world leaders — don’t even bother to cloak it in that anymore. The war on women rages on. Not the fake outrage of the glittery SJW crowd, but a real war where a modern caliphate is parcelling out captured women as sex slaves with nary a word of objection raised by that same group of SJWs. These are also the people beheading or or otherwise killing those of other faiths, down to children. Yet, we are told by our so-called betters that solutions have to be found by negotiation. Translators and others who risked life, limb, and family to help us have been deliberately, and in my opinion maliciously, abandoned by our department of state. Only where significant political pressure has been brought to bear has there been much movement on individual cases. The larger program? Not of interest to or a priority of the lace panty brigade. I swear there are days I think they see those brave people as traitors or similar scum… In Iraq, I watched as individuals, squads, and companies of our troops changed a country. A brutal dictatorship fell, and an effort was begun to raise a new country, complete with laws and rules of law — a concept that was new. For not just decades, but centuries the rule was family and clan, and the heck with all else. Sure there was lip service, but the rules and laws were to be broken at need, and for those in power ignored. Western Enlightenment principles of rule of law, fairness, and even the social compact had no sway. We tried to plant those seeds, and by our actions show that such was possible. I’ve written before on these pages about individual Iraqi’s telling me that no matter what was said in public, that they did not want us to leave. We were the only party they trusted to be objective, neutral arbiters. Given all, I need to point out that they were referring to the military and the troops. A good reason for that trust of the troops by your “average” Iraqi (and even some in political circles) was a young commander I met who became known as a Sheik, for he went and visited every home and family in his AO. When he met a family that needed help, he went and bought a goat from another and gave it to them. That gift helped two families, and showed the people that he would do right by them and was a real leader. Sad to say, our own rear echelon had already decided that he was not a fit for advancement, because he had failed to check a bureaucratic block before showing himself to be a capable combat and reconstruction leader. The work of thousands can be undone by a single person or incident, and especially by a small group of like minded people. The current administration deliberately walked away from the SOFA discussions, and pulled us out. This despite being warned of what would happen, and private pleas from a variety of parties. No effort was made to make the prime minister honor spoken or written word, much less follow the rule of law. His people got the good jobs, the best stuff, and all that went with the power. The result, is what you see before you. ISIS has created a caliphate stretching from Syria to Baghdad, and Maliki’s forces can’t stop them. Most of the effective fighting Government forces is reported to be by Russians (pilots) and Iranians. The most effective fighting is being done by the Kurds, which is no surprise to me given those of them I had the chance to meet and observe even briefly. It is also the start of a coup, with Maliki having used his own forces to secure key points in Baghdad yesterday. He has no plans to give up power for himself and his faction of the Shia. We have zero leverage with him even now, or perhaps especially now, since DC seems to be coming down on the side of the Iraqi president. Understand this, Maliki will not give up, and is perfectly happy to take Iraq down in a flaming mess with him (esp. as he undoubtably has an escape plan or two). Add in Ukraine/Russia and any of several other issues, and it is clear the world situation is deteriorating alarmingly and rapidly. I have no faith or confidence in our political elite (or most elected officials) to deal effectively with any of it. As a whole, I see them as more interested in staying in power and having the perks of same than anything else. Such as doing their jobs and being representatives and servants of the people. Looked at this way, despair is easy. What we need is determination. Determination to operate in the best interests of America for a change, something that seems to have escaped the leadership of both major parties. Determination to be exceptional, to carry the light of individual freedom and liberty as that beacon in the night. To show, despite erosion of it even (especially) here, that the rule of law applies. It means cleaning house on many levels and in many ways. In practical terms globally, we don’t have a lot of good options, and frankly not even that many merely bad. In Iraq, the best thing we can do is arm the Kurds and give them all the support we can. Frack Maliki. There may be some options with the president and the government that is supposed to be forming, but I’m not... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2014 at BLACKFIVE