Friday, February 26, 2021

Our Founding Fathers Prepared Us For Today

Democrats today have a thinly veiled motive for what they are doing. Thinly veiled in the respect that it has become obvious to anyone not in denial that the mission of the Democrat Party is to turn our representative democracy into a totalitarian government, a police state. I have been saying this on Social Media for a long time, which inevitably gets me banned. 

As far as disguising their motive, they did much better in years gone by when they at least pretended to love America. These days, that's not the case. They must have determined that they have no need to pretend any longer. And with Joe Biden in office, their plans have been anything but covered up in any way. 

Joe Biden, less than three weeks before the 2020 presidential election, in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos talked about the dangers of governing like a dictator. Biden said, "You can’t [legislate] by Executive Order unless you’re a dictator." In just over one month, Biden has signed over 52 Executive Orders. Friends, that exceeds the number of days that he has been in office. That's called being a dictator, even by Biden's own definition. 

What is hard to understand is that with his political party, the Democrats, in control of Congress, one would think that he would legislate the things that he is putting into law instead of using his pen and issuing Executive Orders as if there are no limits to his powers as president. 

Of course, by doing the things that he is doing through edicts, he leaves them open to be overturned by a president like Donald Trump who works for us the American people instead of special interest groups or foreign countries like China and Iran. If he would go through Congress and at least give some sort of appearance of propriety, an incoming president who works for the people would find it very difficult to overturn a law or program passed by Congress. Yet, Joe Biden is bypassing the legislative process and Congress instead of acting as a dictator with zero checks and balances. 

While Biden lies to the American people by saying, "I'm not making laws, just removing bad policies," he is making laws with the stroke of his pen. All the while he does so, he is creating a dictatorial government ruled by edicts to put in place as laws. No, not laws passed in a Representative Democracy -- but edicts created by a despot who sees himself as all-powerful. 

As for attempting to create a totalitarian America, even one of the most prominent Democrat voices in the Democrat Party has come forward to say exactly that. Naomi Wolf, who served as an adviser to both Bill and Hillary Clinton, told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that in her view, the United States is swiftly "moving into a coup situation, a police state" as a result of Biden's ongoing coronavirus-related economic shutdowns and edicts. Wolf added that she believes the orders are being improperly extended under the "guise of a real medical pandemic." She said, "America is becoming a totalitarian state before our eyes" under President Biden's leadership.

Wolf went on to say, "The state has now crushed businesses, kept us from gathering in free assembly to worship as the First Amendment provides, is invading our bodies ... which is a violation of the Fourth Amendment, restricting movement, fining us in New York state ... the violations go on and on." 

She said, "Would-be tyrants always take when they want to close down a democracy... Whether they are on the left or the right, they do these same ten things, and now we're at something I never thought I would see in my lifetime ... it is step 10 and that is the suspension of the rule of law and that is when you start to be a police state, and we’re here. There is no way around it."

During her interview with Tucker Carlson, she said that she has interviewed Americans of various backgrounds and political affiliations. All are in a state of "shock and horror" as "autocratic tyrants at the state, and now the national level are creating this kind of merger of corporate power and government power, which is really characteristic of totalism fascism in the 1920s. They are using that to engage in emergency orders that simply strip us of our rights; rights to property, rights to assembly, rights to worship, all the rights the Constitution guarantees."

She went on to say, "The United State's overall response to the coronavirus pandemic has been completely unprecedented." She further stated, "Lockdowns have never been done in society, and really, we are turning into a totalitarian state before everyone's eyes."

Lastly, she observed, "I really hope we wake up quickly because history also shows that it’s a small window in which people can fight back before it is too dangerous to fight back."

But wait, Democrats in control of the federal government say their actions are to "defend the Constitution and uphold Democracy." They say this as they spread propaganda and misinformation by way of their control of the Mainstream Media. Make no mistake, they also say that while they create a totalitarian federal government. 

How? Through "emergency" pandemic edicts from Democrats in control of states like California and New York, and Joe Biden in the White House where he has signed more Executive Orders than days that he has spent in office -- just to usurp the Constitution that they say they are defending. 

Remember that pesky thing called the Constitution of the United States. I was asked to write an essay on the importance of the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment. I wrote to the people asking me to do so and advised them, that in my opinion, the Constitution is not being observed and has been rendered void today because of the pandemic. 

That's part of the Democrats' plan. Render the Constitution null and void by issuing emergency declarations not passed by any legislative body. Do so by usurping the Bill of Rights with a focus on concealing a citizen's right to Free Speech. Use the power of Big Tech and the Federal Government to attack anyone who disagrees with draconian policies and smash their ability to exercise their freedoms. All of their freedoms by declaring them "Domestic Political Extremist."  

Of course, among the Democrat Party's lies is the narrative that Democrats are pushing about the January Sixth, 2021, riot at the Capitol. The big lie there is that the riot was a "siege" and "armed insurrection." We know it is a lie because evidence has shown that they have lied. Yes, no different than Democrats lied recently about giving $700 Billion of American Taxpayer funds to foreign countries under the guise of "COVID Relief." 

By the way, less than 10% of that COVID Relief funds went to Americans, and now Congress is about to do it again. Again, they are putting the hardship and problems of Americans last. Instead of helping citizens, they are giving over a TRILLION dollars to everyone other than Americans in need.

As for their calling what took place on January 6th at the Capitol an "armed insurrection" when in fact, none of the rioters were armed with any sort of firearms that day, that hasn't stopped them from repeating that lie, and as propagandists know very well, repeat a lie over and over and over and people will believe the lie. It is an old tactic of the Democrat Party. In recent history, we all witnessed it first hand. At the same time, they repeated the Russia hoax over and over again until many, including some seemingly knowledgeable people, actually accepted the lie as the truth. 

But since I've been asked, let's talk about what an armed insurrection would look like if Americans decided to really take up arms against our federal government because of the totalitarianism that Democrats appear to want to install in leu of our Constitutional government.

First, let's talk about arms and numbers of Americans that would take part in an actual "armed insurrection" to make right the ship of state and restore our freedoms. So for the sake of argument, let's say that one out of ten legally armed Americans decides to show up at the capitol. How many armed citizens would that be? We're talking "legally armed citizens" and not those who have weapons that are not registered for whatever reason. 

Friends, if 1 in 10 shows up -- if that's all that feel the Constitution is worth fighting for, and frankly I know very well that more than 1 in 10 American gun owners feel the Constitution is worth fighting for -- then we are talking about 10.5 Million legal gun owners. Since government statistics show us that over 150 Million Americans own guns legally, my saying 10.5 Million will answer the call to defend freedom and right this sorry state we're in is probably an underestimate.   

Let's say that my low-ball estimate is closer to the truth and that only 10% will step forward to defeat those wanting to impose tyranny on our people. Let's put that in perspective. That's 5 times the number of personnel that we have in our entire military. That's 5 times the number of everyone in our military, including those support personal who have probably never fired a rifle since they graduated from Bootcamp. 

Let's put it this way to better understand the sheer numbers of actual armed Americans if we only look at 10 million, or 1/10th of the legal gun owners in America. Ten million armed Americans are more than all of the military personnel, the Communist Chinese military, the Russian military, the North Korean military, and the Iranian military forces, all combined. That's only one-tenth of all American gun owners. Imagine what an actual "armed insurrection" would look like if a quarter of all gun owners showed up for such an event.

Just one Million legal, law-abiding American gun owners are 1000 times the number of National Guard troops at the Capitol presently. And ask yourself, would they be a match for even 1 Million legally armed Americans nevertheless 10 Million if there really were an armed insurrection with the intent of stopping an oppressive regime in Washington D.C.? 

Remember how the Democrats had the National Guard vetted to remove every Straight-White-Hispanic-Asian-Black-Christian-Conservative from serving on the fence surrounding the Capitol presently because of the possibility that they were Trump Supporters? How many American soldiers will fire on Americans if they see they are supporting an oppressive totalitarian government? 
How many soldiers will violate their oath to protect and defend the United States' Constitution when the government has violated our Constitution? 

As a Marine, I swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, not prop up dictatorships disguised as our government. How many men and women around the Capitol right now feel the same way?

So now, how did our Founding Fathers prepare us for today for the situation that we are in today with a government that's clearly gone off the rails and is ignoring the Constitutional limits placed on it? Well, that's what the 2nd Amendment is all about. That's why it is included in our Bill of Rights. It was written so that free men and women can address such a threat from the government. It wasn't put in place to go hunting, or skeet shooting, or target practice. The 2nd Amendment was put in place to protect our Republic from people like those in high-office right now. 

Our Founding Fathers were suspicious of a too-powerful government. They were concerned about tyranny because they understood that men would sell their honor and integrity for less than thirty pieces of silver. They understood human nature and knew that men will seek high office with the desire to be rulers instead of representatives.

Our Founding Fathers understood full well that we need to guard against the corrupt power-hungry megalomaniac who will walk over dead bodies to gain power. Our Founding Fathers recognized that there would be people like Napoleon Bonaparte long before Napoleon Bonaparte was ever in power in France. Humans are like that. Sadly, one of the horrible aspects of human nature is that man can be power-driven and lust for control. Some in Washington prove that daily.

Our Founding Fathers understood what tyranny was because they lived through it. They felt the boot pressing on their throats as they strove to be free-men. They saw the horrors of war and knew full-well that an armed citizenry with the ability to outnumber the government can right the ship of state if need be. 

They wrote the United States Constitution to keep the government in check and restrain it from being too powerful because they understood that the government would be the oppressor if bad men controlled the government. They added the 10 Amendments to ensure that the government understood that there were rights that the government could not touch. In those Amendments, the government is told what they could not infringe upon. The government is told what the government was to leave alone. 

As sad as it is to say, I truly believe that our government representatives do not recognize that the Constitution limits government and speaks directly to representatives who want to tamper with the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is not talking to the American people. The Bill of Rights is warning representatives of our government to leave those rights alone. 

Those Amendments are addressing those in government who see them as an obstacle to gaining power and the framers wanted them to know that those rights are sacrosanct.  

The 2nd Amendment states, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

When the framers wrote that, they were talking to our elected government. They were telling them, those in power, that this right is not to be violated. They were telling the government that they cannot ride roughshod over this right or the others. The framers believed that some rights are regarded as too important or valuable to be interfered with -- so it spelled it out by saying "shall not be infringed." Shall not be violated. It is lost on those in government today who see themselves as above the law and subsequently beyond observing any right as indispensable. 

Of course, that train of thought by some in Washington D.C. and many in State capitols today is why razor wire fences and troops are surrounding our Capitol today. Because those politicians are there to get rich and not work to enhance the lives of Americans, proof of such is the present administration's desire to make America energy dependant on foreign nations while putting thousands of Americans out of work, by the Biden administration putting American priorities last instead of first and foremost when it comes to worrying about the welfare of our people, today the Biden administration and the Democrats in control of Congress need troops to protect them against the American people.

To justify their placement of National Guard troops around our Capitol, Democrats have lied about an "armed insurrection" at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021, when rioters breached the Capitol's poor security and entered the building. Among the other lies is that a Capital Police Officer was killed by rioters when it has just been revealed that he died of a stroke -- sad as that is, that's no different from how at least one protestor died of a heart attack while there.

This takes me to the question asked by one of my readers. What would a real "armed insurrection" look like, and do I think it is possible? 

Well, I believe this. If Democrats want to see what an actual "armed insurrection" really looks like, then all they have to do is keep pushing the American people toward a 2nd Civil War. If that happens, there will not be enough razor wire and fences, nor military, to protect them from the 10 Million legally armed Americans who will show up at the Capitol to demand a change of government.

Yes, just as our Founding Fathers prepared us for by giving us the 2nd Amendment. If the government does not retreat from its quest for totalitarianism, they may find out that our Founding Fathers prepared us for such an assault on our Republic by those in government. 

I believe that there are a great many Americans who are prepared to defend our rights and die doing so. The question becomes if those who seek to enslave our people are willing to die trying to take our rights from us?

Tom Correa

Monday, February 22, 2021

The Exemplary Life of Marine Brig. Gen. Harry Liversedge

Yesterday morning, February 21, 2021, I had the honor of attending a ceremony remembering Marine Brigadier General Harry Bluett Liversedge and commemorate the flag-raising on Iwo Jima. As a member of Marine Corps League Mother Lode Detachment #1080, it was a real pleasure to be in the small nearby town of Volcano, California, yesterday for the observance.

The "town" of Volcano was once known as Soldier's Gulch. It sits at about 2060 feet elevation and has a population of about 101 people. Marine General Liversedge was born in that small California Gold Rush town on September 21, 1894.

While it is anyone's guess what sort of young man he was growing up, it's a safe bet to say that he was a typical American youth who celebrated America's greatness. And really, why not? We were in a period of economic prosperity, and the future was one of optimism and hope. America was already the champion of democracy due to freeing those under the Spanish colonial yoke in Cuba and the Philippines.

By the beginning of the 20th century, most Americans saw the old ways of suppressing citizens' rights in Europe as something that's needed to end. While at the same time that European Monarchies enslaved and kept their peasant class in place, their rule was being threatened by Socialists and Communists who wanted power to enslave subjects and keep the peasant class in check.

Americans saw feuding Europe pushing itself to war. And worse, some of the governments' actions, such as intentionally attempting to starve their own peoples made Americans want to act to remedy the situation in the same manner that Americans remedied Spanish oppression during the Spanish -American War.

Europe went to war in 1914, and the American Expeditionary Forces arrived in Europe in 1917 to turn the tide of war in favor of Britain and France. As for a young Harry Liversedge from tiny Volcano, California, he began his career as a Marine when he enlisted as a Private (E-1) in the Marine Corps in May of 1917 at the age of 21.

While I can't find information about his service in France other than the fact that he served with the 5th Marines, I suspect he saw action and distinguished himself in battle. What makes me suspect such a thing? For one thing, it's not every day that a young man enlists in the Marine Corps as a Private, and then a year and a half later is commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. But that was exactly what took place by September of 1918. Keep in mind that World War I would end two months later, on November 11, 1918.

Unlike many of the returning troops from World War I, with most looking forward to getting out of the service, Lt. Liversedge stayed in the Corps in Europe. It was there that Lt. Liversedge was selected for the 1919 Inter-Allied Games. In late May of that year, Lt. Liversedge passed the pre-selection for the Inter-Allied Games in Paris, France. In late June, he took part in those games and finished second in the shot put. By that July, he was promoted to First Lieutenant while serving with the Fifth Marine Brigade in France.

It wasn't until August of 1919 that he returned home to the United States. That was when he was ordered to the Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia, while awaiting orders to the Second Provisional Marine Brigade at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in October 1919.

It was in April of 1920 that he again home to the United States. But this time, his duty was much different than in previous situations. While in the Marine Corps, Lt. Liversedge played football in the Army-Marine Corps game at Baltimore, Maryland. That same year, Lt. Liversedge represented the United States in the 1920 Olympics at Antwerp, Belgium. This time he won a bronze medal in the shot put.

He returned home to the United States after the Olympic Games in 1920 and served a tour at the Naval Academy at Annapolis for almost 2 years. In March of 1922, he was ordered to Marine Barracks, Quantico, to serve as aide-de-camp to Brigadier General John Henry Russell.

If Marine Gen. John Henry Russell sounds familiar to my fellow Marines reading this, well, he should trigger a memory from a Marine Corps History class. As a younger officer, General Russell served on two different ships in command of ships' Marine Detachments. He later became Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps and then the 16th Commandant of the Marine Corps.

General Russell ended the old system of seniority promotions of officers. He changed it to a promotion system based on advancement selection. He also created the Fleet Marine Force to assumed greater importance which we still see today. He was the Commandant who placed more attention on Marine Reserves, and he increased the number of Navy ships carrying Marine Detachments.

It was Gen. Russell's time aboard ship as part of a ship's Marine Detachment that he, like that of Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller during his time in command of a ship's Marine Detachment, learned the importance of having a force of Marines in readiness aboard ships to respond anywhere around the world. That doctrine is why we now have Marines "afloat" for extended periods of time. We can land anywhere with short notice.

Lt. Liversedge participated in the Banana Wars in Haiti and the Dominican Republic before being ordered back to Quantico in August of 1922. He was then assigned to duty as aide-de-camp to the American High Commissioner in Haiti in December of that year.

By July of 1923, he was again assigned to Quantico to attend the Company Officers’ Course at the Marine Corps Schools. Upon completing his course, he was then transferred to the Marine Barracks at Mare Island, California, for 3 years. Lt. Liversedge served again in Quantico from September 1926 to February 1927 before being sent for duty in China. It was while in China that he trained his men on the skills of boxing.

In August of 1929, he was again in Quantico before being ordered to the Marine Corps Base at San Diego, California, where he was promoted to the rank of Captain in January of 1930. After almost two years there, he served as aide-de-camp to the Commanding General of the Department of the Pacific located in San Francisco.

As with General John Henry Russell and Chesty Puller, Capt. Liversedge served aboard ship in command of a ship's Marine Detachment. He was on the battleship USS California from June 1933 to June 1935, before he returned to Quantico, where he completed the Senior Course at the Marine Corps Schools by June of 1936.

Later, he was transferred to serve on the Basic School staff, Marine Barracks at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. It was there in July of 1936 that he was promoted to Major. By early 1938 he was again ordered to Quantico to serve with the First Marine Brigade.

By May of 1940, Major Liversedge was assigned to duty as the Inspector-Instructor, Fourteenth Battalion, Marine Corps Reserve at Spokane, Washington. Following his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel's rank in August of 1940, he was ordered to the Marine Corps Base, San Diego, where he took command of the 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division.

As we know, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was attacked by the Japanese Navy on December 7th, 1941. As with all of our services, the Marine Corps was hit that day. On that Sunday, there were about 4,500 Marines stationed at Pearl Harbor.

Besides the over 800 officers and enlisted Marines in Marine Detachments aboard the USS Arizona, USS California, USS Helena, USS Honolulu, USS Maryland, USS Nevada, USS Oklahoma, USS Pennsylvania, USS Tennessee, USS Utah, and USS West Virginia at Pearl at the time of the Japanese attack, there was Marine Aircraft Group 21 (MAG-21) at Ewa Beach and the Marine Barracks, including Marines of the 2d Engineer Battalion, 2d Service Battalion, 1st Defense Battalion (rear echelon), 3d Defense Battalion, 4th Defense Battalion, and a token element from the 6th Defense Battalion.

Marine Corps losses resulting from the attack on Pearl Harbor included 112 Marines killed and missing in action and at least 64 wounded. The heaviest Marine losses came from the ship's detachment of the USS Arizona. Of the 82 Marines that made up that Marine Detachment, only 3 officers and 12 enlisted men survived.

In January of 1942, Lieutenant Colonel Liversedge was placed in command of the Second Battalion, Eighth Marines located in American Samoa. By May, he was promoted to Colonel. And by August, he was placed in command of the Third Marine Raider Battalion. It was his Third Marine Raider Battalion that he led ashore at Pavuvu in the "unopposed occupation" of Russell Island.

He commanded the Third Marine Raider Battalion until March 1943, when he was given command of the newly organized First Marine Raider Regiment. It was with the First Marine Raider Regiment during the fighting on New Georgia Island, British Solomon Islands, that Col. Liversedge became the recipient of the Navy Cross.

Our nation's highest military award for bravery is the Medal of Honor. Just below the Medal of Honor in precedence is the Navy Cross. Col. Harry Liversedge's 1st Navy Cross citation reads:

Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps
1st Marine Raider Regiment

Date of Action: July 5 – August 29, 1943
The Navy Cross is presented to Harry Bluett Liversedge, Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of the First Marine Raider Regiment and the Third Battalions of the 145th and 148th Infantries, U.S. Army, during operations on New Georgia Island, British Solomon Islands, from July 5 to August 29, 1943. 

Gallantly leading his troops through dense jungle into combat against a fanatic enemy long experienced in jungle warfare and well-entrenched in strong positions, Colonel Liversedge commanded the assault with cool and courageous determination. Although handicapped by extremely adverse weather conditions, constant enemy fire, and the difficult problems of supply, he skillfully coordinated his forces and those of cooperating units and relentlessly forced the Japanese to withdraw. Colonel Liversedge's aggressive fighting spirit and brilliant leadership contributed immeasurably to the success of the New Georgia Campaign and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

-- end of the citation.
Iwo Jima

By January of 1944, Colonel Liversedge was transferred to the 5th Marine Division and was placed in command of the 28th Marines. It is said, "He gallantly led the 'twenty-eighth' ashore in the Iwo Jima campaign, for which he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of his second Navy Cross."

Imagine the scene there that February 1945, a 2-mile wide by 4-mile long island about 600 miles from Tokyo, Japan, is the location for one of the last great island-hopping campaigns of World War II in the Pacific Theater. It was this battle that would brand the United States Marine Corps and the Marines who serve forevermore.

After months of naval guns and air bombardment, thousands of U.S. Marines invaded Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. For the next month, Japanese defenders who were dug into bunkers deep within the volcanic rocks waged an incredible bloody fight to keep the island.

History tells us that about 70,000 U.S. Marines battled against 18,000 Japanese Imperial soldiers. And while the island of Iwo Jima was finally declared "secured" on March 26, 1945, it came at a huge cost and is one of the bloodiest battles in Marine Corps history. The reason, in the end, after 36 days of fighting, nearly 7,000 U.S. Marines were killed, and 20,000 were wounded.

Securing Iwo Jima prepared the way for the last and largest battle in the Pacific Theater. That was the invasion of Okinawa. The Battle of Iwo Jima came at a high cost, but it also saved tens of thousands of lives for our U.S. Army Air Corps, which needed to run operations closer to Okinawa and the Japanese mainland.

As for the iconic flag-raising atop Mt. Suribachi? That took place on February 23, 1945. Yes, just five days after the battle began. As for the now-famous photograph of five Marines and one Navy corpsman raising the flag, Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal took the photon of the famous flag raisers Cpl. Harlon Block, Navy Pharmacist’s Mate John Bradley, Cpl. Rene Gagnon, PFC Franklin Sousley, Sgt. Michael Strank, and Cpl. Ira Hayes. Of those gallant men, Sgt. Strank, PFC Sousley, and Cpl. Block would die on Iwo Jima before the end of that battle.

The photograph of the Iwo Jima flag-raising was wired around the world and reproduced in newspapers across the United States. It was a wonderful source of motivation for our country in those long days of sacrifice for the war effort. As for that photo, it was also used as a model for the Marine Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Fleet Admiral Chester William Nimitz said of those who fought on Iwo Jima, "Uncommon valor was a common virtue." That statement is underscored by the 27 Medals of Honor awarded to Marines and Navy servicemen who fought there, the highest number awarded in a single American battle. Of those 27 men, 14 Medals of Honor were awarded posthumously.

In August of 1942, Congress made the Navy Cross a combat-only decoration that follows the Medal of Honor in order of precedence. Col. Liversedge's 2nd Navy Cross citation read:

Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps
Commanding Officer, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division

Date of Action: February 19 – March 27, 1945
The Navy Cross is presented to Harry Bluett Liversedge, Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of the Twenty-Eighth Marines, Fifth Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, from 19 February to 27 March 1945. Landing on the fire-swept beaches twenty-two minutes after H-Hour, Colonel Liversedge gallantly led his men in the advance inland before executing a difficult turning maneuver to the south preparatory to launching the assault on Mount Suribachi. 

Under his inspiring leadership, his Regiment affected a partial seizure of a formidable Japanese position consisting of caves, pillboxes, and blockhouses until it was halted by intense enemy resistance, which caused severe casualties. Braving the heavy hostile fire, he traversed the front lines to reorganize his troops and, by his determination and aggressiveness, enabled his men to overrun the Japanese position by nightfall. By his fighting spirit and intrepid leadership, Colonel Liversedge contributed materially to the capture of Mount Suribachi, and his unwavering devotion to duty throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

-- end of his 2nd Navy Cross citation.

Following World War II, he served a tour of duty with the occupation forces in Japan. Then in March of 1946, he was ordered to the Marine Corps Base in San Diego. By that July, he was assigned as Director of the Twelfth Marine Reserve District and District Marine Officer of the Twelfth Naval District headquartered in San Francisco.

He served in that capacity until he was named Assistant Commander of the 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, California, in February of 1948. In May of that year, Col. Harry Liversedge was promoted to Brigadier General. Fitting his rank, in May of 1949, he was placed in command of Fleet Marine Force, Guam, where he remained until April of 1950.

Brig. Gen. Liversedge had served briefly as Deputy Commander, Marine Barracks, Camp Pendleton, before becoming Director of the Marine Corps Reserve in June of 1950. Though he was known fondly throughout the Marine Corps as "Harry the Horse" because of his stamina and resilience, he died at the Navy Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on November 25, 1951, at the age of 57.

During his 36 years in the service of our great nation as a Marine, in addition to his two Navy Crosses, his decorations and medals include a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, a Presidential Unit Citation, the Victory Medal with France clasp and Maltese Cross, the Expeditionary Medal with bronze star, the Yangtze Service Medal for service in China, an American Defense Service Medal with base clasp, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three bronze stars, the American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Navy Occupation Service Medal for his service in Japan after World War II.

He was married to Kate Bluet Liversedge. They had one child. The website for Arlington National Cemetery says that he is, in fact, buried there in the Arlington National Cemetery. But, they note that "the Stockton Marine Corps Club honors Harry annually with a memorial at his gravesite in Pine Grove, California."

While I can't find proof that Brigadier General Liversedge is buried in Arlington National Cemetery other than the Arlington website stating that he and his wife are buried there, I can present you with the picture above of his grave in Pine Grove, California. 

I can also tell you that that the monument in the town of Volcano commemorating the flag-raising on Iwo Jima is very nicely done. This is thanks to the Marines of our Marine Corps League Mother Lode Detachment #1080. Because of their efforts, the valiant deeds on Iwo Jima, and the memory of this good man, this great American, this exemplary U.S. Marine, will not fade away.

Semper Fi General!

Tom Correa

Sunday, February 14, 2021

They Call It Chuck -- Provisions On A Trail Drive

Most of us interested in the Old West know Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving decided to partner up to drive cattle to livestock markets wanting beef. That was in June 1866. It's said that while cattle were selling for $5 to $10 per head in Texas, they could get five times as much in the North. 

The demand for beef was there for a few reasons. The beef was needed to feed hungry settlers and soldiers, and also to meet government contracts to feed hungry Navajo which the U.S. Army had recently placed on reservations. But most of all, the demand made the cattle drive profitable because cattle were needed to ship to hungry Easterners after the Civil War.

While some might not realize it, those Post-Civil War cattle drives were not the first cattle drives. The first cattle drives were from Texas to San Francisco and the Gold Country in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 1850. Cattle were selling for a great deal of money in the California Gold Country just a year into the Gold Rush.

There was a reason for that. With the massive influx of thousands of gold-seekers, both miners and merchants, they competed with the Native Indian population for wild game such as deer, bear, and turkey for food. Many Californians working on the ranches did the same as many others did and abandoned their jobs to go get rich in the hills and mountains. Because local cattle production dropped, and wild game was being depleted pretty rapidly, cattle from places like Texas and Southern California were seen as Godsends. 

The killing of wild game, the traditional food source for local Indian tribes was so bad, that Indians in the Sierra Nevada Mountains started killing and eating what became known as "Sierra Elk." In response to the lack of wild game caused by the significant number of newcomers, and in retaliation for killing and eating all of the game, Indians started stealing and eating the miners' mules.

Cattle drives to Northern California brought in a lot of profit for those willing to drive cattle North. After the Civil War, the country was in challenging economic times -- especially in the South. The war took a horrible toll on the nation. Food shortages were commonplace after the war, and Eastern meat markets needed cattle to meet the growing demand for beef. 

Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving risk their lives trying to cash in on the need for cattle while making a considerable profit doing it. Goodnight did not use just one wagon for his cattle drive. I've read that he used two wagons. One was as a "Chuck-wagon" and the other as a "calf-wagon." 

It is said that Goodnight bought two extremely durable U.S.Army-surplus covered wagons that were used in the Civil War. The wagons were manufactured by Studebaker. Goodnight outfitted the two wagons for different purposes for his drive from Texas to New Mexico. 

On one, he bolted a "Chuck box" to the back of the wagon. The box had drawers and shelves for storage space and even a hinged lid that served as a flat work surface. It stored everything the cook and a helper would need to feed an outfit on a trail drive, including pots, pans, dishes, utensils, and more. On the Chuckwagon was also a "wagon-box," or two, which were used to store more cooking supplies and cowboys' personal effects. Bedrolls and arms were also carried on the Chuckwagon.

Here's a bit of trivia for you. As we know, "chuck" is a cowboy term for food. So why is that? Since "Chuck" is short for "Charles," and Goodnight designed of the first "cook-wagon," food is called "chuck" after Charles Goodnight. What started out as "Chuck's Wagon," later became "Chuck-wagon." 

While the Chuckwagon was for the cook and the cowboy's personal effects including bedrolls, it's a fact that some cattle drives included a second wagon to carry calves during the day. The calves were released to their mothers to nurse at night. The calves that were born on the trail may not have been strong enough to walk the drive. At least not initially.

Chuckwagons had at least one water barrel attached to it and they used a canvas that hung under the wagons to carry kindly and firewood. Because a lot of the territory was initially uncharted and no one knew where water could be had, the calf-wagons carried an extra water barrel or two. The calf-wagon was also outfitted with canvas slings to carry kindling and firewood. So if you've wondered where their kindling came from when there were obviously no trees around. Besides the firewood that they carried to start a fire, they also used Buffalo chips for fires.

It's a safe bet that about now you're wondering when I'll start talking about the provisions part of this story. Well, here it comes. While it's not much, I'll try to make it interesting.

Besides easy to preserve sacks of flour, salt, sugar, multiple sacks of dried beans, and coffee, they also carried with them meats that were preserved. To preserve food at the time, foods were canned and meats were salted, dried, or smoked. The meat they ate was known to be "greasy cloth-wrapped bacon, salt pork, and beef which were all usually dried, salted, or smoked." 

As for dried meats? Dried meats were very important to the cowboy, as well as the overall success of the cattle drives. Though drier and not as heavily seasoned, or tasty, as the jerky we have today, it provided needed protein and energy to the cowboys during their long days on the cattle drive. Besides hardtack, a cowboy always had some small pieces of dried meat in his saddlebag. Today's modern jerky is very similar to the cowboy version of dried meat from back in the day. 

Another reason it was prized is that it was so easy to pack into a saddlebag, and like hardtack, a cowboy didn't need a fire or cook it when wanting a piece at any time of day under any weather condition on the drives.

In the case of hardtack, it was baked and then baked again. What's Hardtack? I was once told that hardtack was extremely cheap to make and there was always hardtack in the Chuckwagon, as well as in a saddlebag of almost every cowboy on the trail.

Hardtack is said to date back to Ancient Rome. We know that it's been in America for ages. It's believed Mountain Men carried them, and so did pioneers, miners, soldiers, and cowboys. It's simply a large cracker, what the Brits refer to as a biscuit, made with flour, water, and a bit of salt. They are baked repeatedly to suck as much moisture out of them as possible. They are exactly as they are promoted. They are almost tasteless, endurable, "hardtack." Baking them many times meant that hardtack would not spoil.

How resilient is hardtack? Let's put it this way, it is said that "troops in the Civil War were issued hardtack that was actually made during the Mexican-American War fifteen years earlier." Yes, sort of like the freeze-dried MRE's that our military uses today. They last forever. 

Because hardtack is a bone dry large cracker that is extremely tough, and I did say dry, a lot of folks back in the day would soak it in coffee or water before eating it. As for a cowboy riding trail and wanting a "snack." It's wasn't unheard of for a cowboy to bite into hardtack and chase it with a sip of water from his canteen. The water would swell it in his belly.

During the Great Depression of the 1920s and 1930s, hardtack was a staple -- especially for the poor. When I was a kid, my grandparents used to buy saloon crackers (hardtack), break them up in a bowl and let them soak in milk before we ate them. No sugar, not so tasty. Add sugar, very tasty. It was then that I found out that sugar makes anything better.  

As for what was served on the cattle drive? 

It is believed that food was also gathered on the trail if found, but there were no fresh fruit, vegetables, or eggs. That's why cooks soaked dried beans and served a lot of beans daily. While they had a lot of names, some folks referred to them as "Mexican Strawberries." Sourdough biscuits were with every meal and had a few names including "sourdough bullets." While there is never pleasing everyone, sourdough biscuits were considered a treat.

Of course, cooks did serve beef and meats such as salt pork and bacon. Bacon was served and in some places was fondly referred to as "chuckwagon chicken." But as I said before, meats that they had were not fresh and were either salted, dried, or smoked. 

Fresh meats were usually a bison if a bison was found and harvested, or an animal that had to be killed. Fresh meat on the trail may have been one of the herd, that may have become injured and had to be killed. 

That leads us into talking about "Son-of-a-bitch Stew." We talked a little bit ago about the newborn calves. The calves that didn't make it even when they were helped by carrying them in the calf-wagon, actually ended up as part of the cattle drive's provisions. It was called "Son-of-a-bitch Stew" and it was made of the brains sweetbreads, and other voice pieces of a freshly killed calf. It's said that a cowboy would refer to it as "Son-of-a-Gun Stew" to be polite around women. 

It's said that cooks seeing cowboys walking over to them with hands full of pieces and parts of a calf automatically knew they lost a calf. While "Son-of-a-bitch Stew" was seen as a treat, most meals on the drive didn't vary too much.

As for cowboy coffee on the trail drives, it usually came with every meal and had a bite to it. Cowboy coffee was a must as it was the drink of the day. While canteens were filled with water, I was always told they were sipped with a prayer. Coffee was the go-to drink for breakfast, noon chuck, and supper. It was the go-to drink for the same reason that whiskey and beer was such a big hit in the Old West. The reason is simple, water in the Old West was notorious for giving folks the trots.

Let's keep in mind, Giardia is a microscopic parasite found in the soil, in food, and in water that's been contaminated with feces from infected humans or dung from animals. Cattle and bison caused giardia which caused diarrhea. Dysentery is caused by a parasite or bacteria that infects your intestines that causes bloody diarrhea.

During the Civil War, it's believed over 45,000 Union troops died of dysentery which was often spread through contaminated food or water. Some say as many or more Confederates died from dysentery only. Boiling water stops such water contamination. Coffee, whiskey, and beer are all products that are boiled, and subsequently safer than drinking water. Especially in the Old West. Yes, there are reasons why coffee, whiskey, and beer are good for us.

Tom Correa

Monday, February 8, 2021

The Great Cowboy Strike of 1883

A few years ago, I wrote an article about Labor Unions and the American Cowboy after a reader from Australia wrote to ask a curious question wanting to know if cowboys had Labor Unions in the American Old West?

As I said then, I have to be honest and say that this made me sort of laugh at first. I laughed because I figured that the last folks who would have ever want to start a Labor Union for themselves would have been cowboys back in the day. But frankly, I found out that I was wrong.

Though the era is known as the "golden age of cowboys" in the 1880s, America has always had cowboys in one way or another. The first American cowboys were those hands in Florida. They can trace their lineage to the 1500's Spanish Vaquero. The cowboys in the West, those originated from Spanish Texas and the Spanish California Vaquero traditions which were prevalent throughout the West, really didn't come about until much later.

As for ranches, the Spanish had ranches in North America long before the arrival of the Brits and other Europeans. Mexicans had cattle ranches long before the European settlers in Texas or California ever did. Fact is, American cattle ranching has only been around for a little more than 200 years.

Cattle ranching in our nation has established itself as a huge part of our American culture, A cattle rancher owns the ranch and the cattle. Ranchers hire workers. Today those workers can be anything from breeding specialists and nutritional in cow/calf operations to barn managers and mechanics to keep the machinery going.

It's true, modern cattle ranches are full-time livestock operations with a number of duties having to be performed. Our modern-day farms and ranches use permanent and seasonal hands, just as they did in the days back when the industry was new.

These days, besides the normal ranch work of branding and tagging, giving vaccinations, and being aware of calving and feeding, facilities need to be managed, fences and outbuilding need to be maintained, there are hay and grain storage that needs to be monitored and replenished, pastures have to be rotated and monitored, transport trucks and trailers need to be maintained, cow/calf programs that need to be monitored, and the list of duties goes on. 

From fixing water troughs to helping birth a calf, the jobs seem never-ending and can take place at all hours of any given day. Unlike most other industries, there are no such things as holidays and weekends. While some people have no clue what that means, it's simply this. Livestock operations are a 24/7 job. They have to be fed and tended to when other industries have weekends and holidays not having to deal with their businesses.

The only thing different about today versus the 1800s is that those days were as complex, especially with modern machinery to use and maintain. The American cowboy was a ranch hand that needed to be a Jack-of-all-trades so that he would able to maintain water troughs, fences, barns, stables, irrigation, harvesters, firebreaks, as well as ranch harnesses and saddlery, and much more. No, American cowboys didn't just work from atop a horse as some would like to think. 

I tried explaining to someone wanting to hire on at a ranch when I was there helping out during a gathering. For some odd reason, he thought ranchers hired painters to paint their barns, plumbers to fix irrigation systems, others to cut and bale hay, and others do the other things that need to get done on a working ranch. He was absolutely surprised that cowboys didn't just wake up, have breakfast, and then jump in the saddle -- and stay there all day until it was time to eat again. He had absolutely no idea how educated the American cowboy has to be to know how to do so many trades. 

I remember telling the young man during our lunch that being a cowboy took more smarts than simply being able to ride a horse. The ranch owner told him that he wouldn't need a hand that thought all there was to cowboying was roundup and riding horses. 

One of the things that have not changed over the years is that cowboys worked for ranchers then and they do today with an employee/employer relationship. Just as some bosses are not the easiest people to get along with today, including some ranch bosses, cattle ranchers were not always the easiest bosses to get along with back in the day. As is the case today, some bosses were condescending individuals who treated those working for them horribly.

Of course, some ranches were a lot better to work for than others. While most were great places to work, it's said that some ranchers treated their men no differently than slave labor with below normal wages, hard work, and little sleep. Those ranchers were known to skimp on food and even bunkhouse needs. Many of the bunkhouses were known to leak in the rain, be freezing in the winter, act as sweatboxes in the stifling heat of summer, all while the beds were lice-infested. 

Again, let me say that that wasn't the majority. And really, there were things that changed how cowboys were treated. For example, during the heyday of the cattle boom from 1867 to the winter of 1886 and the big die out, it's said a cowboy had his choice of ranches to hire on to. In those days, cowboys were pretty much able to pick and chose who they wanted to work for simply because the need for hands was great at the time. Whether he was White, Mexican, or Black, a cowboy could work for the ranch that treated him the best. 

The number one reason that cowboys in the 1880s were treated so well is that they were plentiful because so many were needed. Later when the cattle boom went bust, that changed in a lot of cattle outfits. For many, because of money restraints and cutbacks in the numbers of hands needed, things turned sour and life for a cowboy became miserable on the ranch.

While some say the romantic notion of cattle ranchers treating hired hands well is very much a storyline fabricated in Hollywood, that's not exactly the whole truth. There were several ranches that treated cowboys harshly and with very little respect. While that was typical for a lot of ranches for a number of reasons, we should understand that the majority of ranches did treat their hands very well -- more as family members than mere employees. 

So why were some ranchers great to work for while others weren't? Well, the primary reasons for that had to do with economics and in some cases who owned the ranch. In the West during that time, a large number of ranch owners became Eastern investment companies and corporations. 

Along with that, several were ranches owned by Europeans -- primarily British who saw themselves as Lords and the American cowboy as a non-essential servant instead of an integral part of a cattle operation. That caste system extended to the wealthy of the Americans East. There were wealthy Easterners who saw their employees as belonging to not merely a lower social or economic rank, but as crude uncouth ill-bred lower class people lacking culture or refinement. 

In Europe, the wealthy saw lowly peasants as a class of agricultural laborers. Today, there are those on the Left and in the entertainment industry and mainstream media who mock and ridicule, show open contempt for rural Americans in the exact same way that the wealthy upper-crust in the 1800s showed their disdain for "a country person."

What most really don't understand is that Westerners didn't have control of the cattle industry in the West at that time. And along with taking control, Eastern and foreign investment companies and corporations had an unfriendly way of treating their employees. And as far as many ranches were concerned, especially those owned by European Cattle Barons, cowboys were more like subjects, and the rancher was royalty. It's true, many of the ranches owned by Easterners and Europeans saw themselves as being superior to cowboys. They saw cowboys as a lower class of people.

Remember, the first cattle drives started in 1867. But within less than 20 years, there would be a beef glut. As I said before, initially, cowboys were needed by the score. And with the closing of open ranges and the end of cattle drives, fewer and fewer cowboys were needed. By the end of the cattle boom in the late 1880s, it's said that there were thousands of cowboys out of work. And for those working in serval ranches run by Eastern and foreign investment companies and corporations, the conditions were pretty bad in most cases.

Because of this, a number of the cowhands gathered together to form a Labor Union. They even went on strike. They did so because they wanted better wages, better working conditions, and compensation for their expenses. The first major national labor union was the Knights of Labor. It was the Knights of Labor Union that attracted a small number of Texas and Kansas and even Oregon, Montana, and Wyoming cowhands to join.

The Knights of Labor, officially known as the Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor, was the largest and most important labor organization in America in the 1880s. The Knights promoted the social and cultural uplift of the workingman while rejecting Socialism and Anarchism which many other labor Unions would adopt around World War I. For me, I find it interesting that the Knights of Labor are said to have fought for an eight-hour day while promoting the ethic of Republicanism.

Today it is better known as the Cowboy Strike of 1883.

In West Texas during that time, a large number of ranch owners were investment companies and corporations from back East. And yes, a large number of ranches were also owned by Europeans. It is said that the folks from back East and those in Europe actually gained control of the ranching industry in the West at that time. Along with taking control, those companies and corporations had an unfriendly way of treating their employees. And as far as some of the Easterners were concerned, cowboys were merely employees. As for the Europeans, they saw cowboys as peasants.

Along with looking at hired hands as mere employees, many of the traditions held in place for years were then being dismissed. For example, on some ranches, bunkhouse doors were left unlocked so that an out-of-work cowboy passing through could have a place to rest and maybe grab a bite to eat. In exchange, it was said that he would perform a few odd jobs such as mending a fence or chopping wood. Well, that stopped.

Another example is that it was customary to allow a cowboy working on a ranch to have the option of taking part of his pay in calves, usually unbranded "mavericks." They were allowed to even run small herds on their employer's land.

As some folks might not know, "mavericks" are unbranded range cattle. They were usually calves that had become separated from their mothers. Traditionally, these were considered the property of the first person who brands it. And yes, for many a cowboy these cattle were seen as the foundation of a ranch of their own in the future.

Well because the mavericks were seen as company property, the cattle ranchers put a stop to that immediately. Those ranch owners were only interested in expanding their holdings and increasing their profits. And to the surprise of many at the time, another huge change that took effect was that ranchers started to insist that cowhands work only for wages and be treated no differently than any other laborer.

Where a cowboy's loyalty was to the brand, the brand's loyalty in many cases was not returned. In fact, loyalty in many cases became a thing of the past thanks to new business practices in the cattle industry at that time.

For example, besides ranches making their cowhands work for wages, the work also became seasonal. Cowboys were literally let go depending on the workload of the ranch operation. Prior to that cowboys were seen more as part of the ranch. Once cowboys became seasonal workers, they were seen as just temporary help.

Of course, as anyone who has worked on a ranch can testify, ranching requires long hours and many skills even back then. Most cowboys in the early 1880s were paid on average about $40 a month, and room and board. There were problems with that since ranching is an ongoing operation, as I mentioned earlier how it still is today.

So now, some speculate that the problems between cattle ranchers and working cowboys may have had been because of the class systems which were prevalent back East and in Europe. Some say it was a notion on the part of cattle ranchers that they were superior to those they employ. But for whatever reason, the ranchers created a great deal of discontent among the cowboys in the region. Yes, so much discontent that a large number of cowboys decided to strike.

One source states that it was six ranches. Another source states that the 2½ month-long strike was against five ranches. Some have said those ranches were the LIT, the LX, the LS, the LE, and the T Anchor. Either way, in late March of 1883, cowboys a number of ranches drew up an ultimatum demanding higher wages, better working conditions, as well as better living conditions.

They submitted their demands to the ranch owners. It's said that 24 cowhands signed the letter. Their piece of paper set March 31st as their strike date. The original organizers of the strike actually established a small "strike fund." They also spread the word to other ranches to persuade other cowboys in the area to honor the strike.

Reports on the number of people involved in the strike ranged from 30 to 328. Actually, the number changed as men joined and deserted the walkout. The number was about 24. And since it's said that timing is everything, it was the wrong time for a "Cowboy Strike."

What made it the wrong time for a labor strike? With a full month remaining before the spring roundup, ranchers had plenty of time to hire out-of-work cowboys to replace the striking cowboys. And besides having the time to hire, they could actually fire anyone they saw as having "bad attitudes." Because of the lack of work for cowboys at the time, and the horrible economy in the United States in general, the strike fizzled.

But even though that was the case, the strike did change a few things for the better. Some ranches put on a few more permanent hands instead of seasonal hands. Some increased wages. Also, some ranches cleaned up the bunkhouses and were said to have put on better chuck for their hands.

As for those two dozen strikers, most of the ranches affected by the strike simply fired them. Of course, most of the affected ranches even went a step or two further than that and created a "Blacklist" to "Blackball" some cowboys who they saw as angry, in some cases threatening, or agitators. Since most ranches belonged to various Stockman's Associations there in Texas, for many years many of those Associations kept lists of the names of those cowboys who had been "Blacklisted" or "Blackballed" from working as a hand.

Many of those "Blacklisted" were the cowboys who were the organizers. Although, some were cowboys who threatened new hires, replacement cowboys, ranch managers, and even threatened the manager's families. In a horrible move, it's said that some of the strikers threatened the children of those ranch managers and the children of the cowboys who had families living at the ranches. 

Proving that they should have simply ridden away and hired on somewhere else more to their liking instead of striking and threatening others, almost all of the cowboys blacklisted would never work as cowboys again and were forced to move on. They either found work as cowboys somewhere other than in Texas or simply found other occupations as a result of being "Blacklisted." Many were branded for the rest of their lives as bad hombre and worst.  

While they may have gotten a few things changed for the better, the strikers learned what it was to be blacklisted and labeled as "trouble makers" and "possible assassins." They were shunned in their towns and then banned from working as cowboys in Texas forever.

Tom Correa

Friday, February 5, 2021

American Cowboys Are Not Immune To The Ill-Effects Of Politics

Energy, machinery, feed, and labor costs to ranchers and farmers are skyrocketing with the recent White House cuts to America's oil production. The White House's actions will certainly raise the price of food while putting many Americans out of work. As usual, the hardest hit will be those of us at or below the poverty line who are having it tough already. 

But, there is good news. The good news is that ranchers and farmers will not close their operations because of the extreme cold weather. They will still battle the ice, snow, inability to work in white-outs, and the freezing cold wind, all while still tending their livestock. 

While praying that their machinery works and fences remain standing, they'll also pray that not too many cattle are lost to the frigid elements, starvation, and lack of water because water troughs are freezing. They will also pray that they stay healthy enough to do what needs to be done in a job most Americans can't do. 

While ranchers and farmers are the most unappreciated workers in America today, they do this to ensure America is fed. Do they get thanks? Rarely unless it's from someone like you who is reading this blog. 

What do I mean by that? Well, it goes to your interest in the American cowboy, the American livestock producers, those of you who are smart and understand that ranchers and farmers feed Americans. 

Believe it or not, as horrible as it sounds, there are Americans who have no idea that dairy farmers and dairy cows are where milk comes from. Those same ignorant people have no idea that American livestock producers raise beef, pork, and chicken to keep Americans fed. 

I was just told by someone that she comes here to learn about the American cowboy's life. But she only wants to know about the life of the American cowboy in the Old West. She said there is too much discussion about politics today, and she knows that American cowboys don't care about politics.

While many of us are fed up with politics today, how can anyone say that a hard-working group of Americans doesn't care about politics? Think about that for a moment. 

Why is politics so important, and why should we all be very concerned with it? One definition states, "Politics (from Greek: "affairs of the cities") has to do with the activities of the government, members of law-making organizations, or people who try to influence the way a country is governed."

American cowboys, just like their employers and all of the support elements of livestock production, are not immune to what goes on in politics. It would be great if some of us were, but that's not the case at all. The reason is straightforward: the affairs of our government affect us all. 

How politics affect us is all about how government affects our society. The effects of sudden changes can be catastrophic when government policy changes for the worse. While some changes may be created out of good intentions, as some decisions are, those decisions not thought out and only brought to fruition as the result of political favors to a special interest group can be absolutely disastrous to the rest of us.

How do politics affect the American cowboy? We can start with the basics by using the recent White House cuts to oil production as an example. As I stated earlier, the White House's actions will certainly raise the price of food while putting many Americans out of work. As usual, the hardest hit will be those of us at or below the poverty line who are having it tough already.

So, where does the American cowboy come in? Well, while his role is essential to the operation of getting cattle to your local market, he is one player in the web of what it takes. Believe it or not, there are people who think that cattle producers simply buy cattle, feed them, and then sell them. Of course, if that were true, anyone in the cattle business would love it if life were that simple.

So, where do we start? Cost. Everything in ranching and farming is based on cost. When oil production on a national level is cut, the operating cost of everything goes up drastically. 

For example, the prices of steer and heifer calves go up because of all of the costs suppliers face. As with the rancher, his cost breakdown is usually in the same range as his supplier. Ranches have permanent employees and seasonal employees. In California, the minimum wage is $12 an hour. In Utah, the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. I'm not saying that livestock workers are paid either rate. In fact, as a norm, ranchers pay the national average wage for livestock workers, which is $14.00 per hour -- which includes the employer's share of payroll tax (USDA ERS). 

While trying to hold down its cost impact, labor and shipping costs are usually 15 to 16% of a cattle producer's business cost. Marketing costs impact 6%. Operating interest and ownership costs, combined with cash expenses, usually tend to impact an operation by 20%. Reproduction, veterinary and health range anywhere from 10% to 12% of the impact costs. Feed and supplements are the biggest cost involved. While using private pastures, maybe public lands, producers still have to bring in hay, straw, corn, and supplements to feed the animals. Feed and supplements cost amount to around 48%. 

Ideally, to stay in business, a cattle producer tries to hold their total expense to 68 to 70%, which would give them a profit margin of 30 to 32%. So with that, as you can see by looking at all of the costs involved, by the White House creating a situation where total expenses rise far above the 70% mark, a business may face lay-offs, fewer seasonal employee hires, wage reductions, employee hours cut, less of an ability to raise the number of cattle when the cost was lower, and possible default and closure. 

Is it a domino effect? Yes, it is. But worse, it impacts the employees away from the job as well. Let's keep in mind that the American cowboy, the working cowboy, like truck drivers, electricians, plumbers, mechanics, veterinarians, tradesmen and women, store clerks, and everyone else in America, is also a consumer. They and their families feel the pinch, especially when prices go up, hours are cut, and finding another job. 

And contrary to what wealthy politicians say, after years of working in a profession, a profession like others that takes a great deal of education and on-the-job experience to get right, most people don't want to throw that all away to start over again -- be it coal miner, sheet-metal worker, or cowboy.

By the White House stopping oil production, fuel prices and consumer goods' prices, from clothing to food, will certainly increase. By the White House enabling OPEC the opportunity of gouging the American public, our paying power goes down because our paycheck cannot buy as much as it did under a previous administration. 

American cowboys are not uneducated people. They understand what impacts our daily life. When prices go up, they understand when they may face lay-offs, when they too have their hours cut, when they too have to cut essentials, go without medical, dental, or insurances, or worse -- food. And that's why it's silly to think the American cowboy would not be concerned about what our government is doing. 

Hard times are nothing to laugh at. The White House should not purposely put our nation in an Economic Depression because it wants to please its special interest donors. In this case, wealthy Climate Change advocates say "the world will end in nine years." 

The only people who don't worry about hard times are the wealthy. They simply don't feel the pinch like the rest of us do. That is the case today, just as it was the case throughout our history. Sadly for us, politicians sending money overseas instead of the American people are the culprits killing jobs. 

Politicians don't care about Americans because they are both out of touch and don't care. They are the very wealthy who don't care if the American cowboy -- or any other American -- is out of a job. Being wealthy and bowing to their special interests, Washington politicians are disconnected from the problems of the rest of America. Frankly, I think they could care less about what happens to our people. 

As for acting as though they care? If there is one thing that politicians have shown us all, it's this: they are actors, con-men, scam-artists, scammers, who deal in fraud and deceit. They cheat the American people on a daily basis by trying to gain our trust and persuade us to believe something that is not true. All, while their only interest is in getting rich. That's who we are up against.

Tom Correa