Saturday, April 30, 2016

Living out of Your Ruck: What I took to the Invasion

It is truly stunning the amount of text that is devoted to the Bug Out Bag.  This is not one of those posts.  What I would like to do is give a perspective of things that may not be considered when you are on the move for an extended period of time and completely away from your normal supply chain.    
Being in the military assumes that you have an unending supply of ammunition, fuel, food, and friends. There exist some times that either the military will not provide or the supply chain will not keep up with.  Of course the unit has a detailed list of what people are required to take. In some cases, to assure uniformity, they make it known where you should put the item or how you should wear it.  The reasoning behind it is, if you are in need of an item in an emergency, you will not need to look around for it if you have to get it off of someone else’s kit.  This especially applies to things like first aid gear.   What the unit cannot tell you are items that you will NEED to take.

Prior to the start of the invasion, I tried to bend the ear of every single Gulf War vet I could find.  “What the hell do you take on an invasion?”, I would ask.  So they gave me the following list in no particular order:

Baby wipes-This has been said many times before but needs repeating.  You can never have too many. They are a lifesaver when you want to clean yourself but do not have the time or ability to do so.  When you are on the run, things like water are a premium commodity and will not be wasted on cleaning.

Batteries – It seems obvious, but batteries are essential.  Having your flashlight, electronic optic, or night vision device go down will be a significant emotional event when you really need it.  This is another item of considerable weight.  I have not looked into alternative power sources like the reportedly very fine one from Goal Zero, but it would be something to look into.

Socks – Lots and lots of socks.  I am a bit of a heretic to conventional military wisdom when it comes to how I wear socks in the field.  I believe in using plain white athletic socks and changing them often.  My feet tend to perspire more than most so keeping them clean and refreshed is the best way for me to maintain them.  Of course your mileage may vary with how your foot is conditioned.  Whatever kind you wear be sure and bring a lot of them.  You will need every pair eventually and they are not that heavy.

Tobacco – You will not be able to run to the corner store and I assure you, you will not find any battlefield pickups.  When I reached Iskandariyah on the outskirts of Baghdad, we were able to find come cartons of the Iraqi government brand cigarettes but they were used only as a last resort.  Beside from being truly revolting to each of the five senses, they ended up being forbidden due the high formaldehyde content.  Of course, you can skip the whole thing and quit now.  I did after 14 years and it has been one of the best things I have done for my health and my wallet.

Music/books – Entertainment items are superfluous but essential if you do not want to talk to yourself a lot and struggle to remember song lyrics.  Even during the initial mad dash to Baghdad and beyond we would still have times of boredom.  I have seen many articles floating around facebook about the utility of having a survival tablet.  I could not agree more.  Had I the chance to have an ereader back in 2003, my quality of life would have been much better.  Charging the battery is, of course, a problem, but it is manageable with current advances in solar cell products.  For the security conscious but not necessarily tech savvy, (and you are security conscious, right?), I would recommend the Libertas tablet as an alternative to the off-the-shelf version.

Laundry soap – You will get your clothes dirty and you will have to was them yourself.  A clothesline can be made from 550 cord, but you will want a smallish container of Dreft, Woolite, or other powder.  The key is that is must wash away clean with as little effort as possible (hence the baby or hand wash only detergents).  All Free does not have optical whiteners, so if you do not want to shine like a Christmas tree when being viewed by an enemies Night Vision Device, you will want to go with that brand.  I tried to use a device that was shaped like a ball that was supposed to build up pressure on the inside as you rotated with a crank but it did not work.  I think that the technology has caught up a bit, so if you can find a labor saving device to keep your undies nice and fresh whilst on the move, more power to you.

Toilet paper- Another item you can never have enough of.  However long you plan to be out, assume that it will be longer.  MRE toilet paper is woefully inadequate on many fronts.  Baby wipes shine in this department but you may want your foe other things.  I would recommend a full roll that has been relatively waterproofed in a ziplock baggie as enough for a month.  The fairer gendered among us may want to consider a bit more.

Caffeine or other stimulants – This, for obvious litigious reasons, you will have to be careful.  When on the run, you will have to be sharp and focused to do what you have to do.  The first 36 hours of the race into Baghdad we were driving the entire time.  When you are in continuous active combat operations you will not always have the luxury of taking a power nap.  The effects of sleep deprivation (among others)are a lowered immune system, weight gain (from using food to fuel your body to keep it awake), and eventual organ failure.  The harsh reality is, sometimes, it just cannot be helped if the mission or situation requires you to be awake.  So by having something on hand that can keep you focused for a longer amount of time until you can reach that nap, you will be better off.  

Zip Ties/Duct Tape - Hundreds of uses.  Maybe it was my lousy Supply Sergeant, but I never saw enough of these and would always have to buy it on my own.  Having a small bunch of various sized zipties that are fastened arond a rubber band are essential to every packing list.  If you are careful with your supplies,  you can even reuse them.  Duct tape can be either rolled around an old plastic credit card or pencil (the latter being my favorite).

Friday, April 29, 2016

Guest Article by Kit Perez of Order of the White Rose - Exploitation: How Your Own Nature Works Against You

Humans are social animals---even those of us who are introverts. Being in the resistance can be a very lonely existence. Having to compartmentalize parts of your life even within the existing compartments, having to “live the life” of privacy and security, having to constantly keep track of ever-changing threat landscapes even within your own groups, never being able to really trust anyone...all of this is exhausting. It requires a mental discipline that quite frankly, most people don’t have and aren’t interested in cultivating. As the saying goes, the human element is always the single greatest point of failure in anything. This is true even if (especially if) you're talking about security protocols and resistance members.
Imagine going an entire 24 hour period--or longer--where you specifically attempt NOT to talk to anyone, not to interact with anyone, not to let anyone really see or notice you, being absolutely forgettable…while being in public and around people. Can you do that? You might think so. You don't like people anyway. 

But now consider all the tiny things that humans do to stand out without even thinking about it (and believe me, this list applies to us all—I’ve had to make some changes myself as I’ve learned and grown over time).
- T-shirts with various sayings
- Tattoos
- Hairstyles and colors (including men’s haircuts and specific styles of facial hair)
- Makeup
- Other clothing that defines your interests (Motorcycle leather, etc)
- Anything that does not fit in the environment where you are (wearing a jersey for the Minnesota Vikings while in Green Bay, for instance; or camo pants in a section of town more known for its vegan restaurants and yoga clinics)

- Things we are interested in or collect.
Now imagine that whether you get arrested or even killed today depends on your ability to fade, to go without talking to people you know, to go without being yourself. Now could you do it?

Whether we admit it or not, the same thing that drives us to get tattoos, to wear that in-your-face T-shirt, to put the bumper stickers on our car and announce to everyone who we are and what we are willing to do, is the exact same thing that is exploitable by anyone who’s trying to watch/track/hunt you. That’s what will make someone remember you when you desperately need to not be remembered. That’s what will get you caught, or make it impossible for you to carry out certain tasks. 
No one remembers the guy on his laptop wearing a button-down shirt and a clean-cut appearance in a coffee shop full of guys on their laptops, all dressed like businessmen and sipping lattes and whatnot, who come in for an hour, get a bit of work done on their laptops or have a quick meeting. They do, however, remember the guy with the big ol' beard who came in to that same trendy little shop wearing a shirt that brags about his willingness to kill for liberty, tactical pants and a DTOM hat while ordering a large coffee, black. If someone comes to the shop later showing your driver's license picture around, which of those two scenarios would result in someone saying "Yeah, I remember that guy!"

We could talk all day about being the gray man, about fading into your environment and being invisible even in public, but that's not the focus of this article. Today we're talking about something deeper: the drive that makes humans naturally want to NOT fade. The drive that craves identity and wants to let that identity shine through, whether it be through our clothing, our vehicles, our stickers, our hair, even our mannerisms and habits. We are who we are--and that leaks everywhere we go, unless we learn how to control it and how to hide it when necessary.  

The greatest point of failure in your operations, your security, your group, your you. By extension, that means that the people you work with are also on the hook for your mistakes---and you are on the hook for theirs. (Reason #489 why you should be very careful who you associate with and/or even discuss liberty resistance business with.)

Even basic good character traits can be exploited. People's desire to help others, their need to impress people, even to feel accepted and liked; all of these things can be used against you. In other contexts, criminals use these all the time. There is a reason why in many places it's not safe to pull over and help a stranded motorist. There is a reason why Ted Bundy was able to rape and kill a number of women by wearing a fake cast and pretending to need help. Human nature is, by default, exploitable.

Take the time to sit down, go through your life, your closet, your vehicle, yourself. Find the places where you "leak" information or make yourself vulnerable, and find a way to plug the holes.  Plan out how you would go about getting a burner phone, for instance. Don't just plan the location, plan it all. How will you get there? What will you wear? How will you act? If you already have that burner phone, think through how you did it. Is there something you could have done better?

You might be surprised at how much you give away...even when you're hiding. We all learn, we all evolve. If you're doing everything the same way you did a month ago, a year ago, you're not learning. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Everyone thinks they are that "One"

Will the real warrior please stand up?

“Out of every hundred men, ten shouldn’t be there, eighty are are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.” - Heraclitus

I do not wish to try to put my own spin on why this article is relevant. Replace the word "warrior" with the word "leader" and you will see how applicable it is today as it was in two and a half millenia ago.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

George Patton is Back Up

Mr. Patton comes from a long slumber to give us dire warnings and portents.  Evil never dies, says he.

Herschel Sends - Nothing Good Will Come From This

Discovery In The Sandy Hook Families Versus Remington Case

BLUF: For the most regulated industry in America, a Connecticut Judge rules for "Social Justice" not Rule of Law.  A symbolic case against Bushmaster for the companies perceived complicity in the Sandy Hook Massacre is starting to gain traction with the help of Connecticut’s Superior Court Barbara Bellis. 

Even though the Bushmaster rifle used in the shooting was stolen, the prosecution seeks to prove that the rifle's intent is for killing.  Let that roll around in your mind for a second.

Good Read for the Modern Man in Your Life

This. Every word.

21 Things Modern Men Need to Stop Doing

Check out the comments for more gems.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tacticool Tuesday - The Redimag/BAD Lever Combo

Having spent most of my adult life with the M16/M4 family of weapons, the platform just comes natural to me when I pick one up.  The ease of shooting, ergonomics, and modularity make it an easy weapon to shoot.  Since the Global War on Terror kicked off and defense spending went through the roof, firearms manufacturers have been cranking out the latest widgets and gizmos at a dizzying rate. Some work. Some are quite silly.

Pretty Ninja, huh?

Mostly due to the flood of useless crap, the pendulum has swung the other way and the rifle purists are becoming happy once again.  While we may never get back to just iron sites, I am seeing more unrailed weapons than before.  I am completely ambivalent to keymod, picatinney, or plain jane.  To each their own.  But even the rifle purists understand that there are utilities in at least some of the toys available today.  In my very humble opinion, every weapon needs a light and I am certainly not alone.  Talk to a cop or Marine that has had to clear a room in the dark without night vision and you can quickly see the advantage.  Especially for your home weapon, lights prevent angels, as the saying goes.  Other than lights, installing a quality trigger on your M4gery is the single best thing you can do to aide accuracy.

What I would like to talk about in this post is the use of the Redimag in conjunction with Magpul's BAD lever to get your weapon back in the fight after you have expended a magazine or need to clear a malfunction.  What this will do for you is get your weapon back into the fight quicker than you could otherwise by utilizing economy of movement by eliminating unnecessary sweeping motions from your hands to your gear to bring your weapon back into the fight.

Okay, great but what does that mean?  The best way to illustrate this is visually.  Please see the videos below:

What it looks like:

How it works (pretty much) with your gear:

It should be noted that neither of these videos do the platform justice, but I think you get the gist. Not to say that the guys that made the videos did a bad job, it is just difficult to explain how these things work if you are not familiar with it.  Also, your gear may be different than the other guys.  Mine sure is. Just understand that the entire idea is to prevent you from wasting valuable time in motion grabbing that things when you can have everything right there.

The Redimag is a bolted on accessory that attaches around the mag well that enables you to hold another mag on the weapon without the use of a mag coupler.  The Gen 1 version of the Redimag (no longer in production) dropped both the mag in the mag well and the mag in the redimag simultaneously.  The new version makes you first drop one mag and then drop the other.  This is not terrible as in a real world, not getting infinite supplies from Uncle Sugar, you will want to hold on to those mags for future reference.  One more thing of note for the determined Tacticool Geardo, the Redimag can hold a Surefire 60 with a regular aluminum or plastic mag sitting in the mag well (and of course vice versa).  Potentially 90 rounds on your rifle may seem heavy and overkill.  Normally it is.  But you may not be doing normal things all the time.  Exactly the reason you have the weapon in the first place, right?

The BAD lever is covered in many articles from many different companies.  At around the price for a large pizza, it is a pretty good deal to eliminate movement of your non-firing hand touching the paddle for the mag release.  You simply sweep your finger up, tap the release and you are ready to rock.

Easy peezy, right?  Utilizing the technology available to get you back in a fight, or to determine good guy from bad guy quickly, or aide you in putting rounds where they should go should not be taboo.  Adding stuff to the rifle will cause it to get heavier but it is not the end of the world.  Making a rifle that is 6 to 7 pounds heavy when loaded into a 7 to 8 pound weapon but gaining those abilities mentioned above is a pretty good trade off.  I will close this out with this final very important tip that neither of these things will work if you do not train with them.  Especially for the guys that have had one for years, there is a learning curve you will have to overcome in order to actually make this system work faster.  Practice, practice, practice. And when you are done practicing, repeat it again.

Check it out.  Give it a chance.  If you have another whiz bang, holy smokes gotta have it widget, let me know in the comments.  Just do me a solid and no "AK or _____ is better than the crappy mutilated M16 I fired for familiarization in Airforce boot camp"posts.  I get it, and you are absolutely right.  Now lets move on.

From David Codrea - A visit with Mike Vanderboegh, my friend

If you have not seen the latest update from David Codrea relating to his short trip, I would invite you to do so.  Death is a homecoming, but he has summed up the sentiment of saying goodbye to the Old Man in a way that I could not.

What an incredible life he must have lived to know such a friend as David.  If we all had just one like him, this world would be a very different place.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A message from Mike.

I collected a number of Freedom Fighter grade magazines for distribution in armed civil disobedience actions in New York and Connecticut. I would like to see if there are any volunteers to publicly distribute these in defiance of those laws, but there is little likelihood that I can participate myself. I'm simply running out of time. As originally envisioned, I have a reporters for a major news organization to cover it and my plan was to use the venue of some county (NY) whose sheriff has publicly declared his opposition to SAFE act enforcement.
CT of course is a bit more problematic, but if necessary, CT's portion can be reassigned to NY. If there are any volunteers who are willing to take the risk, please email me. Thanks.

Easter Uprising - 100 Years Ago

Just like most fledgling uprisings, the line between success and failure rides on the razors edge.  History is filled with examples of ill-advised, Pyrrhic, and prematurely executed attempts to gain freedom.  The Easter Uprising on April 24, 1916 was of no exception. 

The Military Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, which consisted of Eoin Macneill, Chief of Staff of the Irish Volunteers, Patrick Pearce, James Connoly, Sean MacDermott, Bulmer Hobson, Patrick McCartan, and John MacBride decided that it would be prudent to call off the uprising and develop a better plan. During the planning meeting, MacNeill had initially voiced concerns that it would not be the best time due to an arms shipment from Germany abourd the Auld had been seized and would not be arriving. Pearse and MacDermott eventually agreed at the meeting that the fighting would be postponed until the time was right. The Military Council was not unanimous in consent to hold off on the Uprising. Tom Clarke gave the most passionate disapproval for the measure insisting that it go on as planed so the movement for Irish Independence would not lose the momentum while the English Military was busy fighting World War 1.   

On Sunday, April 23rd, 1916, MacNeill, had an article published in the newspaper the Sunday Independent that gave orders to members of the Irish Volunteers, Citizens Army and the 200 strong female Cumann na mBan to cancel the uprising.

No uprisings were planned on a whim. Even Hitler’s Munich putsch was planned a year prior. Other than the Military Council, most of which would not survive the Uprising, several perennial figures surround the event.  Countess Markievicz, oldest daughter to an English baron and Arctic explorer, was a leader in the socialist Irish Citizen Army and close associate of James Connolly.  On January 19, 1916, Connolly disappeared for three days and would eventually show back up at the Countess’ house with the plan to go on ahead with the Easter Rebellion despite what certain more cautious council members would say.  He has enlisted Pearse to calm any fears that MacNeill would have prior to the event.  Prior to the seizure of the German weapons shipment, the council had planned to have MacNeill unknowingly recruit and mobilize for the uprising. As the plan for MacNeill shifted, Pearse leaked fake documents to the council allegedly coming from the Dublin Castle, the British seat of power in Dublin, which gave word that the weapons of the Irish Brotherhood were to be seized. This was to bring a sense of urgency to MacNeill but he instead, of course, advised more caution. In addition to the subterfuge with MacNeill, Connolly and his associates went so far as to kidnap fellow councilman Bulmer Hobson, so as to prevent him from compounding any opposition prior to the uprising.

Even though Connolly, Pearse, Clarke and even MacNeill’s subordinates knew that they would more than likely be leading a failed coup. A failure which would assure their deaths; they were prepared and welcomed becoming martyrs.  They had put all of their chips on the fact that the British would completely over-react and in so doing shift more public opinion to home rule and independence. They, of course, would succeed.  Everyone, save a couple on the council, would eventually get their chance at martyrdom after the Easter Uprising.

On Sunday, Captain George Oliver Plunkett, commander of the Kimmage Garrison, had been convalescing in a hospital outside of Dublin but discharged himself.  The following day, Monday, April 24th, Captain Plunkett marched his Soldiers to the train station and used his revolver to flag down a trolley.  He paid for all of his 52 passengers, and then demanded that they be taken to the city center. The first order of business would be to commandeer Dublin’s General Post Office (GPO), a place that would be the headquarters for the rebellion for the remainder of the week. 

The instructions to abort the rebellion had significantly reduced the numbers for the first day.  Plunkett arranged his coterie in sections of four, as was the standing order for the Irish Brotherhood, and marched them to the GPO.  British Army Garrison Soldiers that were off duty lingered outside and were amused that the Irish were playing at being Soldier.  Plunkett who had to be assisted off his horse ordered his men charge the GPO and clear everyone out. 

The British Soldiers stationed inside had been completely taken by surprise and did not even have ammunition loaded in their rifles.  After a few shots at the ceiling and a few bruised egos from the incredulous patrons, the GPO was cleared. Pluckett’s Soldiers immediately took to fortify the building and place snipers on the roof.  By this time Pluckett had begun to succumb to his illness and was visibly worn out from the exertion. Pearse and Connolly walked out of the GPO together, and Pearse read the following proclamation to a small audience of curious onlookers whose loyalties to the event were decidedly mixed:

In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.
Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.
We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades in arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.
The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien Government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.
Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National Government, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.
We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline, and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called”

Not knowing the full scope of the uprising, the British Lancers on horseback had been initially dispatched to clear out the GPO.  A call from the Irish leaders to not fire, (presumably to maintain the moral high ground), was ignored.  As the Lancers began to get closer to the building, volleys of fire from Enfield’s quickly cut down the Soldiers and their mounts and they retreated.  A newsboy would collect the rifles and ammunition the Lancers left behind and ave them to the Irish occupiers. 
Word quickly spread throughout the city and armed bands of British Soldiers and Irish Constabulary would bump into the “Volunteers”, (a title they used for the collective rebellion forces), and engage each other in small ambushes.  To complicate matters, the Dublin slums emptied for opportunistic looting and the city quickly spiraled out of control. 
The GPO would withstand repeated assaults, largely due to the defense network and the open fields of fire. With the exception of City Hall and a few other minor road junctions and buildings, the Irish would be unable to capture any other key locations of British government and dislodge the British Garrison from the city.  During a night operation, the British entered the City Hall through a back window and retook the building in a stealthy and daring raid.  All occupants were killed or captured.
Fighting during the Uprising is largely characterized by rooftop sniping and long range gun battles as neither side was prepared for a direct urban engagement.  The British, however, were able to use machine guns and grenades to great effect against the Irish.  The fighting on Tuesday would be constant and brutal.  Many of the Volunteers had fled the city and it was left with the determined few to hold onto key road or buildings.  In Stephens Green, the Irish had dug hasty trenches and prepared to hold the ground.  Of note the Countess had been present at the Green to assist in digging trenches and fighting.  Instead of an outright battle to clear the area, the British placed machine guns at the top of a nearby hotel to the north that overlooked the green.  The British were able to kill five and send the remainder fleeing to the nearby College of Surgeons.  Despite the setbacks, the Irish were unbowed and sent out a telegraph to the world proclaiming that they had held the city and today would be the birth of the Irish republic.
The River Liffey, as it is called, intersects Dublin, and it was through here on Wednesday, April 26, a British fishing protection vessel named “Helga” floated into Dublin and opened fire with two large 18 pound cannons on the Custom House and Trinity College.  The destruction of the certain parts of the city by the bombardment would be considerable and would deny the Irish more key terrain. 

2000 fresh faced and brand new British Soldiers landed in Dublin with orders to clear the streets.  Their effects, however, were quickly halted when they were ambushed and began taking considerable casualties from coordinated fire from two different building. Eventually the British would have to clear the buildings with a series of grenade attacks.  Word eventually spread to the Volunteers of the considerable casualties they were inflicting upon the British, but it was obvious that they were not gaining any new ground that their supplies were quickly being depleted.
Fighting on Thursday would be even more desperate.  By the end of the day many of the Volunteers that still chose to fight had either expended their ammunition and died in place or surrendered.  Connolly was wounded in the ankle and was able to make it to the GPO for medical care by a captured British Army surgeon.  Many parts of Dublin were burning or had been destroyed by artillery.  The last fighting between the British and the Volunteers would be in house to house clearing.  The Irish would knock down walls to enable them to move effectively from house to house.
By 3 P.M. Pearse had surrendered to the British military authority, General Howe.  Connolly had to be removed from the GPO by stretcher and would follow Pearse to sign the surrender order.  Plunkett led his Soldiers out of the GPO and surrendered en masse.  Fighting would go on sporadically with 1st Battalion’s Ned Daly refusing to lay down arms.  The Uprising, however, had been crushed and by Sunday the city was rebuilding.  Civilian casualties would be horrific.  An estimated 250 were killed and over 2000 had been wounded.
The Countess would eventually be captured and was given a death sentence for her part in the Easter Uprising.  She would eventually have that sentence commuted, and would take an active part in the Irish Civil War and Irish politics. Eamon De Valera would also be spared death, largely due to the fact that he was part American, (his father was actually of Cuban decent).  James Connolly was famously executed while sitting in a chair (due to his leg wound).  Thomas Clarke, Sean MacDermott, and John MacBride were also executed that May.

Lesson 1: Trust your friends, but verify.
Never turn your back on crazy.  MacNeill had been an unwitting pawn, but by issuing the stand down order on Sunday, he stymied the efforts to truly bring about a decisive victory on the first day of the Uprising. Had the Irish been able to use the momentum of the victory at the GPO to take more buildings unawares, they could have isolated Dublin Castle until reinforcements arrived.  Potentially, they could have captured more of the Garrison and used that as a bargaining chip.  As it went, they had too few Soldiers and too few weapons to ensure victory. 
Also, if your friends are quite serious about martyring themselves, you should believe them.  If you are not into the murder-suicide thing that characterizes martyrdom for political beliefs, it is probably best to choose different friends.  Citizen Soldiers generally do not have any qualms about laying down their life for something greater, like freedom from a tyrannical foreign government.  What they would strongly disagree to is dying for the sake of a body count. 

Lesson 2: Know the capabilities of your enemies and know your own.
The British employed superior firepower from machine guns, grenades, a gunboat and a armored cars to break the lines of the Volunteers.  While the Military Council was quite aware of how foolish the coup would be, the average Volunteer could not have known, at least initially, how desperate their fight would be. Numbers of actual fighters for the Uprising have the Volunteers outmatched by four to one.  Additionally, most of the Irish Volunteers would not participate in the hard fighting at the end of the week,

Lesson 3: Sometimes you have to go through the rain to get to the rainbow.
After the Military Council was destroyed, Puckett’s Aide de Camp, Michael Collins, would pick up where they left off and would cause the British immeasurable grief to great effect and without the martyrdom.  Not martyrdom by the British, at least.  He could not have had the opportunity to do so without the council destroying itself and creating a power vacuum.

Lesson 4.  Always have a Plan B.

By Thursday, the Military Council discovered that they were surrounded and that the same barricades that helped to defend their positions were the same positions that helped to tighten the noose around them and cut them off.  The ability of the British to envelope their positions could largely be from the fact that they had 16,000 Soldiers and 1,000 local police to work with whereas the Irish had on 1200 determined fighters.  Had they abandoned their positions by Wednesday, the Council would have remained largely intact and it would not have been so costly in civilian deaths.  Hindsight being what it is, the fact remains that they did not allow for a Plan B, or a way out.  I would consider that pretty important.

Friday, April 22, 2016


I have been trying my best to answer mail requests and comments but I am still woefully behind.  I owe it to each person that supports the 3% movement and contacts me through this blog, the email addresses, or now through Facebook, a timely and considerate response.  Due to the overlap in information requests I would like to address a few recurring questions.

Question 1: How is Mike doing?
Still ornery as ever. As good as to be expected.  "Fair to middlin', partly cloudy" as he would say. He has been spending most of his time tying up loose ends such as finalizing a will, tinkering with Absolved, meeting with old friends, and generally still being a thorn in the side of the enemies of liberty.  There is still much to do and I think that has been keeping him going.

Question 2: T-Shirt Sales
Regretfully, t-shirt sales will have to be put on hold for the foreseeable future.  I would like to start exploring a Cafe Press or other online t-shirt company where fans can get SSI logo merchandise,but that will be well into the future.  There still exists a quantity of original 100 heads shirts but I cannot say for certain what colors and sizes remain.  I deeply apologize that I cannot give you a concrete answer as to when the remainder will be made available.  Though I am not personally aware of any remaining orders, if you have paid money for the shirts and not received any, please send me the date and amount you sent as well as any pertinent shipping and contact information.  You can reach me at

Question 3: Absolved
This being the 300 million dollar question on everyones lips.  With a bit of luck, the Old Man will live to see this book become a reality.  I assure you he wants nothing more than to be able to make good on his promise to put a copy of the book personally in your hands.  If he cannot, that will fall on the family.  As the final work of Mike Vanderboegh, I vow to you that I will make this a reality.  It will go out first on Kindle and then on paperback.  Absolved will not be an unfulfilled dream.

Tuesdays with Bernie

On Tuesday, I happened upon a conversation that by rights should have given me PTSD, or at the very least a lazy eye.  I go in to work earlier than most and start at it pretty much right away.  There is an older gentleman who comes to work an hour early and spends that hour trying to consume as much food as he is able.  He is fond of his “Vietnam Vet” hat but looks entirely too young for it.  He has raged against the Bilderberg’s, is a bit of a black nationalist, and loves the 24 hour news cycle.  Usually, he is good for a laugh. I walk in the break room and he is has put down his sandwich and is staring intently at the TV screen that is currently highlighting whatever Bernie Sanders is up to.

So I says to him, half-jokingly, not really caring about his politics, just making small talk,” So you feeling the Bern, are you?”

Considerately, “Well, I am, I just don’t think he’ll win”.

Sweet baby Jesus, I hit pay dirt.  I can get an unvarnished opinion from a Bernie supporter.  The last one I tried to talk to was not very sporting at all.  He played grievance Olympics by becoming offended at my use of a curse word in a sentence. I believe it was, “How the fuck do you think that would work?” or words to that effect.  This one, I can jump right into his mind a bit and root around to see if I can get to the root cause of the madness.

“Okay, I’ll bite. What do you think that he will do for you personally?” I ask.

“Well he doesn’t like Wall Street.”

"Who do you think is financing his campaign?” I retort.  I am bluffing, of course.  I really do not know nor care how he is funding his war chest.

He is noticeably blinking.  The RAM is having difficulty processing the new information.

I redirect the question. “Okay, you do know that Bernie is a communist, right?” I figure he MUST have heard that this probably is a bad thing to be at some point in his life.

“No, he a socialist”

Okay, he did not quite take the bait but we can work with this.  If I can make him see how ruinous socialism is, maybe…

“What do you think is a difference between the two?”

“Well theys either communist or socialist”.

I feel my left eye drift over towards my right. 

“That may be more true than you know, but you do understand that there are more forms of government than socialist and communist, right?”

He blinks again. Harder this time.

He retorts, “But you say that Trump was going to bail out of the race”.

This is a reference to my original idea that Trump was just in it for the campaign contributions, and would exit the race at the primary so he can keep the money.  I am quite sure his success was as much of surprise to him as it was to everyone else, so I stand by it as being correct for the time.

“Are you saying that he is not an opportunist?”

More blinking.  

I ask, “Are you saying that me being incorrect on Trump exiting the race is the exception that disproves the rule that Bernie is a communist?”

I immediately regret the question and quickly move on, as he is now visibly losing interest.
“Well Bernie is going to raise the living wage.” He says triumphantly.  This is something that he just KNOWS.

“Cool, how is he going to do that?” I parry.

‘Well he is going to take it away from the corporations.” He reposts.

“Do you know that 75% of the businesses in America are small businesses that are either a single or family run and employ less than 50 workers? You want to tax those guys? How are they going to pay for it?”.

Ah ha, now I got him.

“Well if you don’t know, I aint going to tell you.” He exclaims quite as-matter-of-factly.

‘Wait, did you just use the ole ‘I know the answer, I just want you to tell me first’ trick?” I ask.

“Well if you don’t know, I aint going to tell you.” He commits.

“But..” I stammer, having forgot all of my 3rd grade comebacks. I feel as though my left eye is looking directly at my right eye.

“Well if you don’t know, I aint going to tell you.” He repeats this over and over again. This is his final stand.  I know I will get no more from him.

We go back and forth a little bit and he catches me off guard with a moment of clarity.

He says, ‘Well, no matter what we say, we just won’t agree.”

That was the most profound thing he had said to date.  No, we will not see eye to eye on much of anything.  It bothers me a bit that I know that he congratulated himself on his stunning victory, but I also know that it only bothers me.  The differences being irreconcilable are clear and palpable.  I see that we, as a country, are finding less reason to debate and more reasons to just shut down foreign ideas with noise.  It remains to be see how long we find it politically or economically advantageous to continue this charade and simple find an amicable divorce.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


In less than 36 hours, 300 people on Facebook that have answered the call.

Once again I am deeply humbled at your continued support.  Who rocks?  You guys rock.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sipsey Street is now on Facebook!

Even Uncle Joe thinks it's a a Big F'ing Deal!

The link:

(Much appreciated Aelious Rex!)

Hide your kids! Hide your wives! Hide the silverware! We're taking social media by storm, folks!

It is still pretty paltry over there but head on over and give us some love. We just might give some back.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Great Read from Kit Perez- " What to Do if You Have Nothing to Hide"

Kit and others have pushed me to include more net security in what we do here at Sipsey Street.  It is a process but every little bit helps.  Kit is former Air Force, (but we don't hold grudges) with a BA in Counterintelligence and is currently finishing a thesis for a Master's in Criminal Intel.  She has more than a few things to say about keeping your digital house clean.  I guarantee a visit to Order of the White Rose will not be misspent time.
An excerpt: "... if you’re of the absolute belief that you have nothing to hide, that everything you do is just fine with the government, then you have a moral obligation to use that position to help the rest. You of all people should be providing cover, using the means available to help those who are being persecuted and targeted."

Happy Patriots Day

I would like to take the opportunity on this auspicious day to thank everyone for their support they have given me in the past few days.  I could not begin to appropriately express my gratitude for the incredible outpouring of support that I have received since the "Change of Command" post.  It has been both overwhelming and humbling.  I feel the weight more than ever to continue to support this community by producing quality content. 
I have always seen this blog as a platform to better inform and educate, and by extension make better people.  To that end, I would love to hear what you would like to see in the blog and how I can better serve this community.

Tacticool Tuesday: How I learned to stop worrying and love my inner Geardo

I am an unabashed geardo.  Gear queer, gear whore, gear nerd, whatever you want to call it.  I wear that moniker like a badge.  I get my hands on a quality 500 Cordura with triple stitching and a clever mounting attachment and suddenly I am 8 years old with a mail in only limited edition Star Wars figure.  It makes me smile every time.  I wear quality gear because I know that good gear does not grant magical powers of strength or speed.  It will not make you fake it until you make it.  It is not a replacement for real, honest-to-God training.  It should be common knowledge that you generally get the results from the quality of what you pay for.  Sadly, I see a trend on certain forums that gear made for the airsoft/cosplay community is perfectly acceptable.   Or that you can take on the entire Chinese army and bring down large game with the .22 Marlin you bring out a couple of times a year for squirrels.  I am sure you have seen it.   Just like any other idea that people become completely invested in, telling folks anything different will likely crush their world.  I do not want to be the guy to curse that darkness.  For public record, please allow me to light a candle instead.

TheSorry, Bruh. I can’t hear you over how awesome this Rothco Ninja SWAT vest makes my butt look.”  Guy
From what I have seen, the people that extol the virtues of substandard gear are never people who have had to trust their lives to the equipment.  Curious, that.   This mindset is generally from people that are too ignorant of the harsh environment of what they are training for to know that the UTG vest with the cool cross draw holder will absolutely let them down.  Notice my word of ignorant and not stupid.  These are not stupid people but simply people who do not understand how hard you have to be on certain equipment.  Without a frame of reference brought on by experience (either through training or other life experience), they have lulled themselves into a false sense of security that just because they have SOMETHING that something is somehow enough.  It is a similar mentality from the person who takes their Mosin/M4gery/whatever out of the box once and thinks they have this whole defense thing in the bag. 
Cool guy widgets of whatever stripe are awesome if you have the money.  I do not put things like weapon mounted lights on weapons or helmet mounted night vision in the category of superfluous impedimenta.  Things that give you a huge margin of difference between people that do not have them are generally worth every damn penny.  Most things can be bought on secondary markets like Facebook private selling groups or internet auction sites for fractions of what they cost new.  Never pay full price for anything.  Peer reviews are a great way to filter out the garbage as is asking the question “why do I want this and do I really need it”.  Leave vanity for date night.

The “But the guy on the internet said I could take down a deer with this 10-22.” Guy
Deliberately not having enough or the correct equipment for a task is misconception can easily be remedied by the simple equation of having the right tool for the right job.  Can you take down a deer through the eye at 50 feet with an air rifle?  How should I know because I would never be crazy enough to trust my future food supply to a one-in-a-million shot?  Living things do not sit perfectly still generally.   Fun fact for those that doubt it, people move around a lot too if they know they are in danger.  Can you face a mutant biker gang with a HiPoint?  I suppose, but why would you want to?  This argument most always boils down to available cash.  I get it.  As a guy who has had a family and lived off of an Enlisted mans salary for pretty much his entire adult life, I really do get it.  Just like everything else in life, it all comes down to how much you want it. If you have the money to spend on takeout pizza but not enough to save up for something that will actually keep you and your family and your friends safe, I would ask that you think about the quality of life you and yours will have when the S hits the F and it really matters.  You are a leader to someone, whether you know it or not.  Don’t let them down with a false sense of security that you have enough gun.  And again, don’t pay full price for anything.

The “I have played play Call of Duty a lot for like, 10 years man, so that pretty much makes me a Spetznaz Super Sniper God. Or something.” Guy
Playing video games does not approximate any type of training. Ever. It may be good to give you ideas on how to clear a building or defend a compound.   Humans are a pretty crafty bunch when they really are trying to kill each other.  It is scary as shit to actively have people who want to kill you.   On that same note, In the past few years, the Army has had to initiate a service wide physical training program to assist Millennials in building up their atrophied bone structure because they were having too many hip and leg injuries.  Get off the couch.  That thing will get you killed quick.
Poor training habits, however frequent, is also a recipe for failure.  If you are using a computer you have probably seen by now videos from opportunists that try and capitalize on new shooters that want to train by are too ignorant to know what right training looks like. By providing newcomers with substandard to criminally dangerous training, they are building habits that are very difficult to fix assuming there is retaining.  We know who these people are and the community has been pretty good about giving them the derision that they deserve.  Good training is a lifelong event so get out when you can and do quality training from vetted trainers.  The best martial artists of whatever stripe out there, whether it is 3 gun, cowboy action shooting, precision rifle, or Greco-boxing-Krav-Ju-Sumo-whatever, are doing nothing but the fundamentals.  If you spend time to perfect the fundamentals you become both quicker and more accurate.  There will be time enough to learn the difference between the Judy Chop and the Ninjy Chop when the fundamentals are mastered.
When a carpenter reaches for his hammer, he knows that it is going to do what it needs to do. He is trained on it and knows its limitations.  It is not to be used for as task when a saw would do.  You do not expect the hammer to drive in a screw.  A hammer does the task of pounding flat objects.  If we all understand this then why is there always a clamor to use an inferior product in an inappropriate way for tasks whose failure would be life altering and expect anything other than failure? 
Get good gear. Get it out of the packaging.  Get trained on that gear.  Repeat as often as you still draw breath.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Well That Didn't Take Long

So I get back from an 18 hour day and clear the comments section out to find my first real piece of semi-hate mail.

Mr. Anonymous Special Snowflake at 12 something today wrote:

“Nothing honorable about killing people half way around the world that never did anything to us. That’s not self defense, that is murder. Furthermore, you were paid to do all of this with money that was extorted from me and my family at gun point. Adding insult to injury, you did the opposite of upholding your oath. You attacked people who never harmed you or your family, and instead let the very people that extort, kidnap, assault, and murder all of us,continue to do their evil. Not only did you not defend your oath, you actively worked against it on many different levels. I understand that you have bought the ticket and took the ride, and now you are stuck defending the jingo mantra for the rest of your life, or be subject to truth that will be embarrassing to you and hard to deal with. My advice, let the truth in and move on, continuing the good guy military role that will honor his oath is a lie. A deadly lie that not only has helped to kill millions, but to only further enslave on”

So please tell me, Mr. Anonymous how much courage it takes to regurgitate jingoistic talking points straight out of the Media Matters playbook?  Sitting and doing nothing in the face of evil, (and Iraq had some very evil men), does not make you morally superior.  I will say that I do not have to justify my existence to someone whose crowning achievement, thus far, is showing up to comment on a blog.  You may sneer at people who have done more than you ever will from the safety of your room and go tell everyone that shares your limited worldview how brave you were. But it does not make you brave.  Going somewhere far off to defend a people you will never see again just because it is the right thing to do, again and again, and again, is courageous.   Being afraid and going anyway is brave.  Shooting spitballs at better men than you whilst enjoying relative peace and prosperity is absolutely pathetic.
To be clear, I am not offended in the slightest by this comment.  I smacks of passionate naiveté and willful ignorance.  I hope that in the fullness of time when this special snowflake has seen more of the world and understands history a little better, they will remember this comment and how completely devoid of reality it is.  If not, meh, doesn’t matter.  I and my brother’s and sister’s don’t need his approval.

Defensive Operations in Urban Areas: What I Learned from the Surge

The first time around in Iraq, I had the honor of serving in the 101st Airborne on the Invasion.  I would be lying if I said I do not miss the excitement that was unique to the Invasion.  Everyone I have met that went on the “run and gun” ground assault race to Baghdad, with stripped down HMMWVs, in unbreathable NBC suits, surrounded by 140 degree heat ,with very little water and no air conditioning, tends to compare every other bad event in our life to that year.  I was completely undertrained and underequipped, but I was simply too ignorant to know the difference.   That was the first time. 
On November 3rd of 2007 I happily left the oppressive heat of Kuwait and went back to Iraq for the second time.  I remember the date exact as it was the same day that I got the call on my cell phone that my second Son, Gabriel, was born.  Due to some serious differences between my boss and I about how he treated the Soldiers, I was asked to take an assignment as the Squadron’s, (it was a Cavalry, i.e. light Infantry unit) public affairs officer.  My mother was a union boss and my father was a militia leader so I guess I was just not built to shut up and mind my own lane.  The sunny side of the incident was that it gave me the freedom to step away from a life as a TOCroach or Fobbit, (to those unfamiliar with the terms please see “Bob on the Fob”) and go Soldier.  Some of what I wrote went through sites like DVIDS and can still be seen online if you Google hard enough.  But I digress.

Lesson 1: Know your neighborhood
There are three areas that you should be interested in.  The Army calls this your Areas of Responsibility (AOR).  The primary zone is your area of operations (AO).  This is your house, yard, crops, and everything that has your name on it.  Everything you can physically touch is your Area of Operation.  You have direct control of this area and it is your primary focus for most everything you do.  The second area is your area of influence (AOI).  This area is the block, neighborhood and town you operate in.  This is the area you are a stakeholder in and if something were to happen to this area, your own area of operation would likely come to harm.   I will go more in depth into the Areas of Responsibility and how it relates to planning in future Praxis posts

I told you that story to tell you this one; know who the people are in your areas.  Get a map of your town from the local visitors shop and mark out your AOR.  This is a map that everyone should be familiar with and it will help you in dealing with future contingency planning.  Topo maps are absolutely invaluable, so if you can have your area covered in 1:50,000 scale maps from, please do so.  It should be fairly obvious, but noteworthy none-the-less, to point out that the farther you get outside of your area of operation that the more you will have to interact with other people their own areas of operation.  What this means is that you will be dealing with individuals and groups that will have their own self-motivations and they may not be helpful to your cause.  This is no different than today but hardship tends to magnify personality issues seldom for the better.  The quicker that you can form relationships now in your area of influence is the more you can increase your effective area of influence.

Lesson 2:  Sometimes your “Friends” do stupid things.
The previous unit that occupied our AOR had to put a Stryker armored vehicle on every street corner in order to maintain order.  In order to sustain that presence, they built walled compounds around Baghdad called Joint Service Stations (JSS) to house and maintain a company of infantry.  Given the urban terrain, some were obviously better suited than others but we made do. It is easy to get things done when you don’t have a choice.  In order to get the Iraqi military and police force to do their jobs, the headquarters of the local military or police presence was co-located in the same compound.  With everyone walking around armed all the time it was relatively peaceful so long as you kept them out of your pantry and bathrooms.  Or until tragedy ensues.

Our JSS, dubbed Ghaz 1, was unique in that it had both local militia and Iraqi Army.  The militia was created by Uncle Sugar as what amounted to organized pay outs to local thugs to stop shooting at us and start shooting at the bad guys.  Sounds crazy enough to work, right?  One day, one reformed thug showed up with a bomb but ended up prematurely detonating it on himself.  The glorious moment was caught on one of our cameras and provided more entertainment then what it had a right to.  The take away is that it is impossible to see inside the hearts of the people you call you friends and associates but try to choose them wisely.  Sometimes they do stupid and self destructive things and it is best not to be collateral damage when they do.

Lesson 3 Fences, sandbags and walls are great. Walking is better.
If you want to maintain control your AOR you will have to walk around and see what is going on.  What you do not see, you do not own.  It is fine l to sit in a hermetically sealed bunker with a pile of MREs but that is simply unsustainable.   Walking around gives you positive control over what you currently see.  Just like when you are driving a car or clearing a room, as soon as your eyes are off of a certain space, it no longer becomes safe.  If you are not in control of your AOR, then who is?
Any Intelligence Analyst will tell you that for all of their high end technology to find what they bad guys are doing and that the good guys are thinking, it is the simple act of knocking on a door and talking with someone that will get you the best intelligence.  As I walked around Ghazaliyah with the patrols, we would literally knock on doors to see if anyone would talk to us.  After a brief exchange of peasantries we may be asked to share some tea or Tang, (yes, they loved the stuff) and talk about what was going on in the neighborhood.  Generally speaking, the Platoon Leader or Commander would enter their homes with a very small security force and remove as much armor as they could to scale down the intimidation factor.  Then, with the aid of an interpreter they would have a talk.  The worst thing that would come of this is that the person would know that we were there to help.   Go out and get social.
Lesson 4 Logistics, Logistics, Logistics
Unlike my experience during the Invasion, during the Surge we had seemingly endless supply of ammunition, food, bottled water, and, for the most part, we did not have to burn our poo in fuel soaked metal containers.   We had a mountain of jerky, Fruit Loops, salt, Pop Tarts, toilet paper, and hot sauce.  We received one “hot” meal a day from the main supply base, Camp Victory, and would have to get creative for the rest.  It was not a hardship but then it is amazing what you can get used to. As I remember,  I ate a lot of Ramen that year.  The supply train was great until it wasn’t there anymore.  A huge upsurge in violence from the Jaish Al-Mahdi made the logistical patrols unpractical and the four companies that we had sprinkled around Baghdad were cut off for a solid month.  With over one hundred guys sharing the same few Port-A-Potties, everything stacks up fairly quickly.  Donald Rumsfeld observed that you do not come to war with the military you want, you come to war with the military you have.  In a “come as you are” world, you will have to figure out where your logistical bread gets buttered and make sure you reach those goals.  The internet is filled with endless lists for BOBs, 72 hour kits, etc.  I recommend Rawles spreadsheet monster “List of Lists” over at the Survival Blog for a more comprehensive supply list for extended contingency planning.  Because I am a bit of an Excel nerd, I have tinkered to no end on my version. Take his as a rough draft and make it work for you.   

 Lesson 5: Physical Training
Proper physical training that approximates the types of conditions and equipment that you will use cannot be emphasized enough.  Running in full kit for any distance will take the breath out of you quick.   The last thing you want to do is run to the sound of an explosion or gun fire with an energy tank on empty and have to wheeze your way into your first mag change.  Go on short runs of one to two miles with a 12 to 20 pound weighted vest.  Work your way up to using wrist and ankle weights.  Do some pull ups and sit ups.  If you cannot do any of those things you are behind the power curve and will need to get there.  People will count on you to be able to physically do the right thing. Do not let them down.
If you are overweight, cardio and no carbs is the key. Getting in shape is like a bicycle in that you need both wheels of diet and exercise in order to run it.  One without the other is a losing battle.   It is just that simple.  There are more ways now than ever before to get healthy and in a fighting shape.  Take advantage of it now while you can.  It is slow and painful but looking good naked is the byproduct.
Much of what I have written is not new ground.  Thousands of other Vets have had similar or better, harder experiences than I regarding living and working in a tenuous area between stabilizing the community and fighting.  Whatever your stripe of preparedness, I would ask that you seek out those Veterans and learn from their experiences.  As time permits I may reflect on more lessons learned and produce a follow up.   I would love to hear from the community as to what their lessons learned are from either following a disaster or conflict.  Depending on the response, we can hang them on another post.