Homeowner Fights Outrageous Fine For Flying Flag

Photo credit: U.S. Army Europe Images (Creative Commons)

A Florida homeowner is battling local authorities over the selective targeting of a Wounded Warrior flag he chose to present on his own property. While the Grand Haven community permits residents to fly flags of virtually any other type, he is facing a hefty find and could face a possible lien against his property because of the display.

According to Thomas Bagnoli, the homeowners’ association issued him a $1,000 fine for the apparent violation, though he was shocked to find out he was being targeted.

“I wanted to stand up for something, which I thought was important,” he said in a subsequent interview, “not only to me, but all these kids, men and women fighting over there.”

Reports indicate that, if the fine is not paid within a certain period of time, the HOA can pursue a lien against his home.

“They can do whatever they want,” he asserted. “I’m doing what I want. I feel strongly about this.”

One wonders why flags promoting other issues – including sports teams – are allowed while Bagnoli’s tribute to injured soldiers was not. As of this writing, however, the Western Center for Journalism’s request for comment has not been returned.

Other national outlets began to spotlight this development Wednesday morning, which will undoubtedly bring undesired scrutiny on the HOA and the Grand Haven Master Association. While these administrators could easily relent and come to an agreement with Bagnoli, the homeowner plans to stand firm on his beliefs no matter the outcome.

“They say, ‘Sorry, you have to take it down,’” he said. “I refuse to.”

The flag has been up for more than a year, and he has never received even one complaint. If anything, the display has endeared him to his neighbors. One local volunteered to pay the fine provided he maintains his dedication to flying the flag.

“I get angry,” he explained. “I really do. I don’t understand why.”

In any event, he maintains it will not be Grand Haven’s decision regarding when he takes down the flag, explaining that will not happen at least until U.S. troops return from Afghanistan.

–B. Christopher Agee

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Photo credit: U.S. Army Europe Images (Creative Commons)

Congress Finally Unleashes Its Killer Robots


Today’s U.S. Army doesn’t look anything like the Army of even a decade ago, and that’s a very good thing. For starters, our troops are safer now because of huge advances in force protection.

On top of that, technology is  giving ever-smaller groups of men greater “power projection,” which the U.S. Department of Defense defines as a nation’s ability to “apply all or some of its elements of national power – political, economic, informational, or military – to rapidly and effectively deploy and sustain forces… to respond to crises, contribute to deterrence and enhance regional stability.”

And now, the use of robots is about to give power projection a quantum leap forward.

An Unstoppable Robot Militia

Of course, robots are already being used by the Army, especially to deal with improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Early in the Iraq war, IEDs were killing soldiers, destroying equipment, and making travel inside Iraq difficult.

But today, the standard TALON robot is used to identify and eliminate IEDs. In fact, TALON robots have been so effective in military operations that they’re now used in chemical, biological, and nuclear detection, and even as part of HAZMAT units nationwide. Though unarmed, TALON robots have proven their resourcefulness.

Better yet, they’re durable. During one engagement in Iraq, a TALON robot was blown off the roof of a Humvee, only to land in a river. Sometime later, the robot was driven via remote control out of the river and was retrieved on the bank.

The Next Logical Step

Given the success of the unarmed TALON, the U.S. Army has decided to push ahead with armed robots, mirroring the progression we’ve seen with unmanned drones. (Drones were first used for reconnaissance, but they’re now routinely used in the projection of lethal force.)

The powerful and combat-ready Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System (MAARS) robot has added target acquisition to its duties, in addition to reconnaissance and surveillance missions. MAARS can “man” forward positions in remote areas where personnel are currently unable to monitor, or where it’s too dangerous to send soldiers.

These robots will play a critical role in the Army’s plan to draw down the number of troops in uniform. According to a briefing given by General Robert Cone, head of the service’s Training and Doctrine Command, the Army is considering reducing the size of the brigade combat team from about 4,000 soldiers to 3,000. The Army would replace the lost soldiers with robots and unmanned platforms.

“I’ve got clear guidance to think about what if you could robotically perform some of the tasks in terms of maneuverability, in terms of the future of the force,” Cone said. He added that he also has “clear guidance to rethink” the size of the nine-man infantry squad.

Could We Live to See Skynet?

The military’s technological revolution is happening so quickly that it’s nearly impossible for an individual to keep up with it. But don’t worry – at Capitol Hill Daily, we’ve been diligently following the changes for months. And we’re using what we learn to recommend the defense and technology stocks most likely to benefit. In fact, they’ve become the cornerstone of our extremely successful National Treasure Portfolio.

But most importantly, our military can now project more power with fewer men than at any time in our history. That’s great news for our soldiers. But I wonder whether Skynet isn’t far from becoming a reality…

Video: US Military Now To Allow Turbans, Other Religious Clothing

The Pentagon has approved a new policy that will allow troops to seek waivers to wear religious clothing, seek prayer time, or engage in religious practices.

Video: Pentagon Arming U.S. Police Departments With MRAP Combat Vehicles

Through a 1033 program, the US military is selling cheaply (or giving away for free) MRAP vehicles to small, local police stations across the country. MRAP, which stands for Mine-Resistance Ambush Protected, are heavy-duty war machines, which might seem excessive for small-town police stations…

Robots Set To Compensate For Shrinking Army


The Obama administration’s unwillingness to cut spending is obvious; however, scaling back the military has repeatedly been the one notable exception. Though the armed forces are one of few responsibilities the federal government is constitutionally given, today’s leftists are far more concerned about any number of entitlement programs than providing for the safety of our nation.

In a recent announcement by U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command leader Gen. Robert Cone, even more personnel cuts in his branch are on the way. Those disappearing positions, he explained, will be offset by robot combatants.

Throughout the next few years, he noted the Army’s brigade combat team will likely lose one-quarter of its number – from 4,000 soldiers to just 3,000. Overall, he expects to lose about 50,000 soldiers by next year and another 70,000 by 2019.

“I’ve got clear guidance to think about what if you could robotically perform some of the tasks in terms of maneuverability,” Cone noted, “in terms of the future of the force.”

While he framed the announcement in the context of embracing technological advancements, many believe the true motive lies in the reduction of military expenditures.

Cone touted the benefits of a “smaller, more lethal” Army, explaining that an emphasis on “force protection” has led to a reduction in soldier lethality. He insinuated that 3,000 soldiers “is probably enough probably to get by” in the new, robot-assisted brigade team.

He pointed at the Navy’s implementation of technology to suggest that there are “functions in the brigade that we could automate,” making it clear that there is a need to “lower the number of people that are involved given the fact that people are our major cost.”

Today’s leaders apparently see the cost of supporting and equipping American troops as an expense we cannot bear. Meanwhile, a full 20 percent of American families currently receive food stamps, the number of which has spiked by more than 50 percent since Obama took office.

The rampant fraud and abuse of the welfare state, whether by illegal immigrants or Americans looking for a handout, is never discussed by today’s leftists as a source of spending cuts. Instead, the brave men and women in our military are having the numbers in their ranks slashed and replaced by largely unproven machines.

–B. Christopher Agee

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