Reno Recalls Police Officers from Ukraine

Following up on my story, “Behind the Use of Reno, Nevada’s Police Officers in Ukraine,” the city council voted to have Reno Police Chief Steve Pitts bring home the five police officers sent to Ukraine. The officers traveled to the embattled country last month to train officers in Kiev under a U.S. Department of Justice program.

The council isn’t upset over the fact that these officers are in a war zone and could be hurt or killed. No, they’re mad that they were lied too.

Initially, Pitts said the Department of Justice was picking up the tab for the program. But he’s been left holding the bag, as the DOJ is now refusing to pay the officers salaries.

Instead, the City of Reno — meaning its local (and not federal) taxpayers — will have to foot this bill.


Death of a Marine and Political Correctness

First, a little history…

The U.S. declared war on Spain in April 1898. It would be the first overseas war fought by our nation, involving campaigns in both Cuba and the Philippine Islands.

Following the end of the war, another conflict began, this time between the Moro and the U.S. which also took place in the Philippines between 1899 and 1913. The Moro or Bangsamoro are Muslim and were at the time, attacking and killing American servicemen.

Since Islam is the dominant influence of the Moro culture and pork and pork byproducts are forbidden, one U.S. Army Cavalry officer in 1911 devised a plan to deal with the Moro’s using their culture against them.

“It was Colonel Alexander Rodgers of the 6th Cavalry who accomplished by taking advantage of religious prejudice what the bayonets and Krags had been unable to accomplish,” writes Vic Hurley in his 1938 book, ‘Jungle Patrol’ about the conflict. “Rodgers inaugurated a system of burying all dead juramentados in a common grave with the carcasses of slaughtered pigs.”

One-hundred-years later…

After weeks of observation, Marine Sergeant Rob Richards and his fellow scout snipers took out a Taliban leader in Afghanistan responsible for killing two of their fellow Marines. The Taliban desecrated one of those Marines’ bodies by hanging his leg in a tree as a message.

Then a video showing Richards and his fellow snipers standing over the dead leader and another fighter, urinating on them, surfaced on YouTube a year later. This prompted an investigation by the U.S. Marine Corps.

One of eight Marines to face discipline as a result, Richards pleaded guilty to failing to obey a lawful order, failure to maintain good order and for actions bringing discredit to the armed forces. The deal let him avoid a bad-conduct discharge that would have eliminated his VA medical benefits.

“We were cheering at the time because, I don’t know how much I can get into it, but he was a high-value target or a person of great interest,” Richards explained in an interview with the Marine Corps Times. “I guess one thing led to another and, jokingly, four of us took a piss on him. Looking back, I know it sounds kind of taboo or distasteful doing it, but at the time it was just hilarious. It made sense. It was just another ordinary day.”

Richards was found dead in his Jacksonville, North Carolina, home in August 2014, his death the result of an adverse reaction to his pain meds. So now, the once vilified Marine lays at rest in Arlington National Cemetery, in a canister bearing his favorite Ernest Hemingway quote: “There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter.”

Thus is the price of political correctness in today’s U.S. military.

Obama Does Claim ISIL is Islamic

Okay, I stand corrected.

By his own description President Obama repeatedly identifies the terrorist group threatening the Middle East as Islamic. In fact, Obama makes a point of using a very specific term for these ‘radical Islamists’ — ISIL.

“…We are here at this summit because of the urgent threat from groups like al Qaeda and ISIL….Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy,” President Obama stated during his recent White House workshop-and-seminar on “Violent Extremism.”

ISIL is an acronym for the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,’ whose stated purpose is to create an Islamic government (in this case Shia Islam) led an Imam or leader chosen by God from Muhammad’s direct descendants.  The term ‘Levant’ refers to an area in Southwest Asia bordered by the Taurus Mountains of Anatolia in the North, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, and the north Arabian Desert and Mesopotamia in the east.

Though claiming he wouldn’t give terrorists “legitimacy” by associating them with Islam, Obama’s done that very thing, over and over again. This makes Obama the ‘denier,’ a label Progressives have given those who disagree with the administration and others when it comes to issues like climate change or racism in the U.S.

Hollywood’s Disconnect with ‘Regular America’

Clutching her husband’s dog tags and holding back tears, Chris Kyle’s widow said she wished he was with her as she walked the red carpet at the Oscars for “American Sniper.” Taya Kyle said her husband would be ‘blown away’ by the support the film has received and that he would be his ‘usual humble self’ despite the success of the movie based on his life.

In the end, the film “American Sniper,” didn’t win the top award, but it’s no surprise. It jus’ proves how disconnected the cultural and entertainment elite are from everyday American.

After all Progressive politics dominated the winners’ acceptance speeches. This included best supporting actress winner Patricia Arquette’s call for equal wages for women, best original song winner John Legend’s condemnation of the number of Black men in prisons and best director Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s immigration reference and best adapted screenplay winner Graham Moore’s speech addressing gay rights.

By the numbers, “American Sniper” has earned over $320 million domestic and crossed the $400 million mark at the worldwide box office. The movie’s the eighth-biggest grossing Best Picture nominee of all-time, ahead of “The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring” and “Forrest Gump.”

But the film won only one Oscar – for sound editing.

It is interesting to note that “Saving Private Ryan” and “Hurt Locker,” which are both fiction, did win top honors when nominated. Meanwhile, highly trained and well-placed snipers from the Los Angeles Police Department kept Hollywood’s elite safe as they celebrated themselves.


“Here they defended themselves to the last, those who still had swords using them, and the others resisting with their hands and teeth,” wrote Greek Historian Herodotus of the Spartan defeat at Thermopylae.

It’s hard not to draw a comparison between the Battle of Thermopylae where Xerxes I of Persia led an army of 70,000 soldiers into Europe to defeat Greece, fulfilling the idea of “one world ruled by one master,” to ISIS/ISIL’s plans to sweep into Europe with the same idea. However, Xerxes was held off for three days by 300 Spartans, who blocked their passage through ‘The Hot Gates,’ allowing Greek troops begin fortifying the Isthmus of Corinth.

Nearly 2,500 years later, history could be on the edge of repeating itself.

“With 300 Marines, you could probably take over Iraq if you wanted to get rid of ISIS completely,” Former Navy SEAL and author of Lone Survivor Marcus Luttrell said. “Make no mistake about it, Marines are war fighters. I mean they are really good at what they do.”

“The only time they are not good at what they do is when someone puts the shackles on them,” he added.

He was on ‘Fox News’ Fox & Friends’ where he talked about ISIS/ISIL’s growing control of the Middle East and the imminent terrorist attack on al Asad Air Base. His remarks follow news that the terror group may soon take control of the entire Anbar Province in Iraq, where al Asad’s located.

ISIS/ISIL fighters recently attacked the base with suicide-bombers but Iraqi soldiers killed the attackers before they reached the American stronghold. The base is about five miles from terrorist-controlled al-Baghdadi and home to 300 Marines.

They also beheaded 21 Coptic Christians on the shores of Tripoli, pledging to bring the fight to Europe, citing that their presence in Libya will allow them to cross the Mediterranean Sea to places like Italy. The threat has led Italy to call for NATO intervention.

Luttrell’s plan: “Jerk the chains off those guys (the Marines) and let them go to work.”

Given that Obama and his administration refuse to call ISIS/ISIL ‘Radical Islam’ or ‘Islamic extremism,’ it is a sure bet they won’t listen to his advice. Meanwhile, Obama’s State Department says we need to “find jobs” for ISIS/ISIL members.

Unraveling Obama’s Idea of America’s Founding

“Here in America,” President Obama said, “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since it’s founding.”

Islam had nothing to do with the founding of the U.S. Judeo-Christian values are what built the fabric of this nation.

In order to back up his statement, he added: “The first Islamic center in New York City was founded in the 1890s. America’s first mosque — this was an interesting fact — was in North Dakota.”

His proof is at least 114-years too late to be a part of the founding of this nation. Furthermore, while he’s right about the first mosque being in North Dakota, it actually opened in 1929, over 150-years after America’s founding.

But this isn’t the first time Obama’s made this claim.

In July 2014, during preparations to celebrate Eid-al-Fitr, he released this statement: “In the United States, Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy.”

Five-years prior, during a speech in Cairo, Egypt, Obama said, “I also know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story.”

He’s correct about Islam being ‘a part of America’s story,’ though but jus’ not the ‘founding.’

Shortly after the U.S. declared its independence, the nation “was dragged into the affairs of the Islamic world by an escalating series of unprovoked attacks on Americans by Muslim pirates, the terrorists of the era.” In 1785, Muslim pirates captured two American merchant ships.

The U.S. tried diplomacy instead of military force to win the release the 24 American sailors. But talk proved useless as Muslim pirates took another thirteen U.S. ships, and 119 American sailors between 1785 to 1793.

So yes — in one sense Islam is part of America’s ‘fabric’ – but not how Obama would like you to think: It is the followers of the Quran that first introduced ‘radical Islam,’ and Jihad to the United States.

On the other hand, it was a Polish-born Jewish American named Haym Salomon, who helped finance the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, which lead to the defeated of Great Britain and our nation’s independence.  This is a real fact about our country’s beginnings, unlike Obama’s disingenuous claim regarding Islam’s involvement in our country’s founding.

Finding Contract Air Mail Arrow #18

Not too far from the Steamboat Ditch Trail, east of Reno, Nevada, is a remnant of the U.S. Postal Service’s history. It’s a concrete slab in the shape of an arrow critical to the cross-country delivery of mail for the U.S. Air Mail Service in the 1920s and ‘30s.

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There were no good aviation charts in those days, so pilots had to eyeball their way across the country using landmarks. This meant that flying in bad weather was difficult, and night flying was just about impossible.

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As part of the effort to help pilots successfully navigate the route between New York and San Francisco, the arrows and an accompanying tower equipped with a gas-powered beacon were installed at roughly three to 10-mile apart across the country.

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At first, I planned to go by myself, but my friend Kay insisted on coming along. Her reasoning was solid, asking, “What if something happened and you got hurt?”

Debate over – she won.

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The hike follows a foot trail up to the Hole-in-the-Wall tunnel, then around the pre-tunnel ditch route and uphill to the arrow. The arrow’s located on top of a hill that overlooks the Truckee River some 400 feet below.

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As we walked up to the tunnel, we saw a group of Asian women, using a selfie-stick to take a photograph of themselves in front of the tunnel’s entrance. They were from Reno and obviously not very interested in chatting with us.

However, following their departure, a lone bicyclist came rolling up. He hopped off his bike and came down in the ditch, where we were and immediately struck up a conversation with Kay and I.

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He introduced himself as Frank Luchetti. We soon learned too our amazement he’s the father of one our favorite veterinarians, Tony of Baring Veterinary Hospital.

After parting company, we should have made an abrupt left and hiked up the steep trail over the tunnel. Though very steep, it would have been the shortest way to the hill-top where we believed the arrow to be located.

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Instead, Kay and I continued along the tail to where it forks, staying to the right. This proved to be the long way around, but I’m glad we took this route as it provided us with a view of the valley we wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

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About a hundred yards below the summit of out target hill, we stopped to have lunch. There was very gentle breeze to off-set the warmth of the day.

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Once back on trail, we slowly worked our way along what by then was nothing more than a goat path. It wound its way near the edge of a bluff overlooking the Truckee River, some couple hundred feet below, before turning sharply in and up the steep hill-side.

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Kay saw the tip of the arrow jutting from the ground first, as she made it to near-level ground. We knew then —  though not the first to find the site — we had made it.

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Admittedly, I thought of explorers like Francisco Garcés, Jed Smith, Peter Ogden and Joe Walker, who wandered the wild expanses of the Nevada Territory. They were some stout hombres.

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Then I couldn’t help but think how double-tough the men were who built the arrow that Kay and I were standing next too. Think about it – they had to get the concrete and water to the location, clear the area, built the arrow’s form, pour it and then maintain it.

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Today, the arrow’s cracked in some places, and disjointed from the shifting of the hillside over the last 90-years or so, but it is there — all 70-feet of it. I think it should be included in the National Registry of Historic Places.

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There are two more arrows to be found in Washoe County along the same route, one by Derby Dam and the other near Tracy Clark. As soon as I’m sufficiently recovered from this trek, and before the weather turns too hot, I plan to go photograph those sites too.