Best political ad ever! pic.twitter.com/ff5j8KQlY9
— Dane (@UltraDane) February 28, 2024
UPDATE: Vote YES on the Bylaw proposal.
The Bylaws require a vote of the membership to create a new officer position, and this is one that needs to happen. — Jeff
Four candidates dedicated to reforming the troubled NRA will be on the ballot for election to the NRA Board this year.
The four reform candidates are Judge Phil Journey, Rocky Marshall, Dennis Fusaro, and me, Jeff Knox.
We are encouraging people to vote for only these four and no one else.
Bullet voting for just the four reform candidates gives your votes more weight and increases the odds of us winning seats.
Ballots are supposed to be in the March issue of NRA magazines for those members eligible to vote.
Only NRA Life Members, and those Annual Members who have been members for at least 5 consecutive years, without interruption, are eligible to vote and will receive ballots.
Each year, the NRA sends out around 2.5 million ballots, but only about 5% of those are ever returned, meaning that almost 2 million ballots are never returned. Finding and activating those un-voted ballots this year could be the key to getting the reform candidates elected, so please talk with your NRA member friends and encourage them to vote for the four reform candidates.
No one knows what will happen with the trial now going on in New York. It’s almost certain that the NRA will lose, and LaPierre and former Treasurer Woody Phillips will be ordered to pay some restitution, but there’s just no telling what the judge will decide regarding the NRA itself. He could just order them to clean up their act and sin no more – which would leave the same people in charge who allowed this mess in the first place – or he could go so far as to dissolve the current board, throw out the current election, and order a new election. He could also appoint a Special Master or overseer to take charge of reorganizing the NRA. He has a lot of leeway and we can only guess at what he might do, and try to position ourselves to be able to participate in the resurrection of the Association.
There’s also a good chance that the NRA will appeal any decision that goes against them, resulting in more delays and more NRA member money poured into the pockets of lawyers.
For the time being, our focus must be on getting our four reform candidates elected.
Please look for the ballot in the March issue of your NRA magazine, which should be delivered in late February. As soon as you receive your ballot, please mark Jeff Knox, Phil Journey, Rocky Marshall, and Dennis Fusaro, sign the back of the envelope, and mail it. Then reach out to all of your NRA friends, members of your gun club, and in any online forums you participate in, and encourage everyone to do the same.
The official NRA magazines with the ballots for the 2024 Board of Directors election have started to arrive. The Complementary Spouse and I both received ours today.
I would urge you in the strongest possible terms to bullet vote, i.e, only vote for these candidates and no others, for the Four for Reform. While there are a couple of others deserving of your vote, it is essential that these four get elected.
So few of the eligible voters actually vote that every vote for these four is critical.
We don’t know the outcome of the trial in New York and we don’t know what remedies Judge Cohen will impose if the NRA is found guilty. He could dissolve the current board and reduce it in size. He could appoint a special overseer. He could appoint a temporary board of people who are not tainted such as these four. He could do all of these things and that is why support for clean, untainted candidates is so important.
Napoleon & His Marshals
Napoleon the Greatest?
My opinion, yes he is. I know others might say Julius Caesar or Alexander, but Napoleon fought across 3 continents in many climates against a variety of foes. He was engaged in at least 70 battles over his career, winning 59 of them, with only 11 battles resulting in a loss or draw. This means he was victorious 84% of the time. He also won many of his battles with inferior numbers to his enemy. This demonstrates he possessed superior tactical ability versus the generals of the opposing army. Napoleon was so successful, there was 10-year period from 1799 to 1809 where he didn’t losE a single battle. Indeed, most of his losses occurred during the end of his empire from 1812-1814 when he was low on troops and supplies.
Although he was a voracious reader of books and military history, he never really cared about what previous generals had done in similar battles. He went to a battlefield, did a few equations of probability in his head and knew where to position his troops and to attack the enemy troops.
But overall, I believe he remade warfare to achieve his goals. His maxims and strategies are still studied at military schools around the world to this very day. If you are still unsure if he was the greatest, here’s a list of opposing generals Napoleon defeated.
Mind you – all these men had a plan for victory, gave Napoleon their best shot……and lost. Argenteau, Provera, Beaulieu (defeated twice), Knorr, Wurmser (3 different times), Davidovich (twice), Alvintzy (twice), Wintzingerode, Murad Bey, Abdallah Bey, Mustafa Pasha, Melas, Mack, Kutuzov (twice), Hohenlohe, Kamensky, Benningsen, San Juan, Hiller, Konovnitsyn, de Tolly, Schwarzenberg, Wrede, Wittgenstein, Olsufiev, Sacken, Yorck, and lastly Blucher (5x) and Archduke Charles (6x).
Was he short?
This is a common myth, Napoleon was actually 5’7” or 5’6” which was about average for a Frenchman of the time. The British listed him as 5’2” and often depicted him as tiny in the press and cartoon caricatures. In addition, the British referred to him as “Little Boney” and even some French troops called him “le petit corporal”. But the latter statement was more of a term of endearment.
Early in the Italian campaign, General Bonaparte would usually site his cannon batteries – a job usually reserved for corporals. He also surrounded himself with his Imperial Guard at all times on the battlefield. The height requirement to be in this elite personal guard was 6’0”. The imperial guard uniform included a bearskin cap which was a little over a foot tall. So anyone would look smaller when standing next to a group of these hulking men.
Was Napoleon a Genius?
This is a tough question. My answer is I don’t know, although he was highly intelligent. In today’s society, only 1% of the population tests at the genius level on IQ tests. Quick sidebar – please ignore any IQ estimates of Napoleon that you might find on the internet. The first modern IQ test wasn’t developed until 1904, almost 90 years after Napoleon’s death. My opinion is that he was always the hardest-working person in any room. Growing up as he did, competing against his siblings first, and then his well-to-do military school classmates instilled an incredible work ethic within him.
He came to a France as a nobody from the small newly acquired territory of Corsica. He always wanted to be the man in charge and he was a risk taker. He could work without sleep for several days straight, sometimes sitting on horseback for 20 hours a day and even eating his meals there. He understood the military maxim, “get there the first-est with the most-est” as he hurriedly pressed his troops to march hundreds of miles to run circles around their opponents. But he also incurred many failures in life, he had a tumultuous first marriage with Josephine. His siblings were of constant displeasure to him.
His Imperial Navy efforts were disasters as was his Continental System economic plan. And despite all warnings from his subordinates, he initiated 2 invasions that would bring down his empire. Spain and Portugal in 1807 and Russia in 1812. After tremendous losses in both endeavors, he had many opportunities to make peace with the rest of Europe. He spurned those olive branches and this led to his eventual downfall. I believe that a battlefield was simple to him, much like music was to Beethoven or Mozart when they sat down at a piano.
What were the backgrounds of Napoleon’s marshals?
Napoleon’s “sacred few” marshals were from diverse backgrounds. Some were former nobles from King Louis XVI’s reign, while others were sons of commoners who worked their way up through the ranks. An attractive feature of the French army after the French Revolution was the opportunity to advance in rank based on merit. This was a radical idea at the time. In most pre-Revolution royal armies in Europe, officers were only allowed to come from nobility. The highest rank a commoner could achieve was a non-commissioned officer such as a sergeant or warrant officer.
Ney was the son of barrel-maker, Oudinot was the son of brewer. Lannes and Mortier were the sons of farmers. Bernadotte, Soult, Moncey, and Brune were sons of lawyers. Murat, possibly the most famous of all the marshals, was the son of an innkeeper. Only 5 of the 26 marshals originated from military families – Serurier, Davout, MacDonald, Marmont, and Victor.
There was an adage at the time that stated every soldier in Napoleon’s army carried a baton in his backpack, meaning that the highest rank was available to anyone who worked hard enough. I believe the marshals and the Grand Armee was successful because, for the first time, the soldiers were promoted on merit instead of privilege. When a rising officer was lobbied by Napoleon’s staff to become a general, Napoleon usually asked a simple question – is he lucky?
Sounds ridiculous but Napoleon really did believe in luck and he also believed that the harder you work, the luckier you are. He was fortunate to have a large assortment of lucky, hard-working generals.
What were the rewards and dangers of being a marshal?
The rank of marshal in France is highest honor a person can receive during war-time. Its tradition goes back to the 1200’s. During Napoleon’s reign, each marshal or the “Big Hats” as they were called by the rank and file, received a baton decorated in blue velvet and adorned with a Latin inscription that translates to “Terror in war, ornament in peace”. Each marshal also received financial endowments, estates, dukedoms and kingdoms from Napoleon. Berthier received the most cash, $1.2 million francs per year. Ney received an average of $1 million francs per year and Davout received the 3rd most with $910,000 francs per year.
The marshals were essentially viceroys for the Emperor. As much as he tried, Napoleon could not be everywhere at once. All marshals were expected to lead from the front and it was a dangerous position. Most of the marshals were wounded in battle, with Oudinot being the most frequent recipient with over 35 battle scars. All were amazingly fearless even for that era of honor and bravery. Only 4 of the 26 – Massena, Brune, Moncey, and Kellerman not wounded in battle at all. On the other hand, 3 of the marshals were killed as a result of wounds suffered in battle.
Were Napoleon’s Marshals effective without him?
This is another common myth that Napoleon’s troops were only effective when he was on the battlefield. After diving into and analyzing the battle numbers, this is a falsehood. For the purpose of this podcast, I analyzed the won-lost record of every battle fought by Napoleon’s army from 1793-1815. Winning a battle is hard thing to define, as even winning armies can take huge casualties. For our purposes, we will count winning as controlling the battlefield after the battle was over or the taking of a castle or fixed position after a siege is over. We will qualify losing a battle as retreating or losing control of a castle or fixed position.
When it comes to this metric, most of Napoleon’s marshals had a winning battle record on their own – meaning without Napoleon in the immediate area. Some had very impressive won-loss records like Lannes, Bernadotte, Murat, and Davout (of whom it was said never lost a battle). Others like Soult and MacDonald had more losses than victories, but were still trusted by Napoleon with important tasks and objectives.
A final point is the question of whether Napoleon would have been as successful without these brilliant men – arguably, the greatest collection of military talent in history. I can’t think of any other group of generals that have so much research about them. You don’t often find books about the generals of Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, Genghis Khan, or Frederick the Great. These generals were the celebrities of the age and they won battles with Napoleon and without Napoleon.
New Delhi, India
If army mules ever get to swapping barnyard yarns after this war, the mules of Merrill’s Marauders should outbray all the rest. For early this year those long-eared veterans of the Burma jungle slogged their way for four months straight over 700 miles of muddy trail and precipitous mountain tracks on the march to Myitkyina. Without those heavy-laden pack animals from Missouri, Texas and Tennessee, Merrill’s fighting foot soldiers might never have captured that strategic Japanese airfield for General Stilwell’s forces.
The Marauder mules were activated at Fort Bliss, Texas. After two months at sea they arrived in Calcutta, slightly underweight but none the worse for having weathered a heavy seven-day storm and two unsuccesful torpedo attacks.
The mules had scarcely got their land legs back when they were sent on the trek to Myitkyina. On that long jungle march each carried, in addition to 96 pounds of saddle, 200 pounds of essential equipment – light and heavy mortars, 75-mm pack artillery, heavy and light machine guns, ammunition, radio equipment, food, medical supplies.
Among the Marauders only about 150 were trained mule skinners. Thus, on the eve of the march to Myitkyina, each of several hundred former clerks, salesmen, factory workers and garage hands suddenly found himself in charge of one of Nature’s strangest four-footed creatures – the sterile, stubborn but almost lovable mule.
Many of the Marauders possessed as little animal lore as the British officer who, on receiving a consihment of sleek, fat-bellied mules, wrote that the mules looked all right, except that half the damn things were in foal. Once, at the end of a long day, General Merrill said to a disheveled, weary mule skinner who was laboriously rubbing down his mule, “You seem to take good care of your mule. Had much experience in the States?”
“Well, sir,” said the soldier, “I saw a mule once, in Brooklyn, hitched to an ice wagon.”
To train a man to be a mule skinner is no easy task. It is so difficult, in fact, that General Merrill said after Myitkyina had been reached, “Next time give me mule skinners and I’ll make doughboys out of them instead of trying to turn doughboys into mule skinners.”
Many of Merrill’s men, however, became passable mule skinners. They learned how to pack a mule so that his load was evenly balanced.
|IN THE BURMA JUNGLE, A MULE BECOMES
U.S. FOOT SOLDIER’S BEST FRIEND
And, camping at night, they always groomed, watered and fed their mules before finally bedding down near their charges.
The mules soon developed a fine instinct for jungle and mountain trails. But occasionally one would slip or fall exhausted from a precipitous path. Then the mule skinners would climb laboriously, often dangerously, down the mountainside and hack out steps by which the mule could climb up to regain the path.
Basic cavalry training had made them “bell-crazy,” for they had learned to drill by following a mare with a bell. It was, of course, necessary in the jungles for mules to disperse under attack and to act under the direction of each individual mule skinner. At first they insisted on following each other. If they were dispersed they balked and brayed. Later they showed excellent battle discipline, separating quickly and quietly.
At Walawbum, however, where a Marauder unit found itself greatly outnumbered by Japanese, the mules took it into their heads to bray lustily. Says General Merrill, “The Japanese were evidently fooled by the mules. They thought we had them greatly outnumbered and they didn’t dare attack, thanks to those mules.”
At Nphum Ga, where the Marauders were surrounded by a superior force for over two weeks, many mules were lost from starvation, thirst and artillery fire (a mule can’t get in a foxhole). The Japanese controlled the only water hole. Men were wounded trying to take animals to water. Eventually they had to send the mules to the water hole by themselves, unharnessed, since the Japanese could catch the harnessed mules. One mule was sent to the water hole at night to draw Japanese fire, so that Japanese positions could be located for a forthcoming attack. Later, when the action was succesful, the mule was found dead, with a huge steak cut away from one haunch. At Nphum Ga some of Merrill’s Marauders were killed while caring for and burying their mules.
Each mule skinner has his own mule whom he names Jake or Puss or Shorty but whom he usually calls “you ——” or “— — – —–.” These are terms of endearment for one’s own mule, but dangerous cursing when applied to another’s, Listening to this almost endless stream of profanity directed muleward, a novice is apt to inquire sympathetically, “What’s the matter with your mule?” The invariable answer is, “There’s not a damn thing the matter with it, it’s the best damn mule in the jungle.”
A mule always has a reason
Any good Marauder mule skinner defends mules vigorously against any of the usual charges made against them. A mule is not stubborn, he is practical. A mule doesn’t want to be disagreeable unless he has to. He just sensibly follows the line of least resistance. If he balks or kicks, he has a reason. Caught in a tight spot, a mule never kicks himself to death or flounders as a horse often does. He sensibly waits for help. A mule doesn’t fret and give way to nerves as men and horses do, he makes the beat of things. He is well-behaved under fire and bombing.
He never gets shell shock. He has much more endurance than a horse and, unlike the horse, he has too much sense to overeat and overdrink. A mule is in fact, say Merrill’s Marauders, a pretty savvy creature all round. As Colonel R.W. Mohri, the Burma mules’ vet, puts it, “A mule’s every bit as intelligent as a human being. Probably more so. So to get along with him you need to have, if possible, as much sense as the mule.”
A mule is as brave as he is intelligent, and the only thing that frightens him in the jungle is the elephant. The elephants fortunately are likewise terrified of mules. In encounters, both run away at top speed, filling the sir with their trumpeting and braying.
Marauder mules have proved themselves first-class “jungle wallahs.” After months of long, exhausting marches through mud, across rivers, up and down mountains, in thickest jungle growth, harassed by leeches and flies, shrapnel and bullets, most of them were put to work when they finally arrived at Myitkyina carrying supplies from the planes coming in to the airfield. Many are there now and eventually, instead of marching back out, they will be turned over to Chinese troops. Some days these mules from Missouri, Texas and Tennessee will undoubtedly find themselves marching to China over the Burma Road.
One out of all the numerous mule yarns has become a favorite with the Marauders, who are all volunteers. A mule skinner, exhausted by continual arguments with his mule, which consistently refused to climb mountains, cross rivers or otherwise overexert himself, finally lost his temper when the mule lay down and refused to budge. “Get up, you — — – —–,” snarled the driver. “You’re a volunteer for this mission, too.”