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What is in a political “party”?

The Communist Party.

The Democrat Party.

The Republican Party.

What is the difference between these three and many other active political parties?

Their party agenda is what defines them.

Their cause, their unifying principles, their policies and political platforms, these are the things that separate political parties from one another.

But what happens when these parties begin to bleed into one another, when they begin to blend across their boundaries and blur their boundaries?  When they lose their distinctive appeal?

When political parties lose their way, do they lose their reason for being?

All political parties have their own structure, their functionaries, their own bureaucracies, lawyers, and bosses.  All have become self-interested organisms, influenced by a constellation of special interest groups.  At a certain point, the party exists simply for its own benefit.

And although my own Republican Party has pledged overall to serve the taxpayers, plenty of fellow Republicans hold personal and official positions contrary to the interests of taxpayers, voters, and citizens.  Their positions are subtle, often only visible in the important background decisions they make.

Many times in recent history, the Republican Party has been used as a weapon to silence voices of political activists who sought to return the brand to its more basic principles and its more elementary purpose, which would naturally be defined as the cause of liberty.

It is my own hope and the hope of many other dedicated citizens that the Republican Party, also known as the establishment, will stay out of any upcoming elections around Central Pennsylvania.

It is one thing for a candidate to ask, say, State Rep. Ron Marsico for his individual support, or to ask individual party committee members for their support.  It is entirely another thing for the Dauphin County Republican Committee to endorse a candidate so that the Pennsylvania Republican Party can spend money to challenge a Republican candidate’s nomination ballots, because he (or she) is too independent-minded.  Or too “conservative.”  Or not enough in the pocket of some party boss.

My experience tells me that this controlling, anti-freedom behavior has happened so often that many political activists are inclined to become political Independents, which means that the Republican base, the most passionate Republican voters, become driven away from the party and become less interested in its success.  We saw this with the past election, where former governor Tom Corbett had little street game.  The people with the most passion were not going to do door-to-door for Corbett.

Even more worrisome is if the one-time Republican becomes an Independent candidate, or mounts a write-in campaign.  Sure, these efforts may hurt the Republican Party’s nominee, but if the party didn’t want that independent-minded candidate in the first place, what right does anyone have to expect him to stay loyal to them?

Put another way, if some political boss doesn’t want a certain candidate to get elected, then what expectation does that political boss have of earning the support of the candidate he opposed?

Put another way, if you don’t want John to get elected, then why would John want you or your ally to get elected?

Do the Democrats have this problem?  Sure.  But that political party has become overrun with foreign policy extremism and anti-capitalism.  Wealth redistribution is completely contrary to American founding principles, but it is nevertheless now a core of the Democrat Party.

That is sad, because at one time, the Democrats just wanted more opportunity for everyone.  Now they want to take from one person and give to another person, which is theft.

But I am not a Democrat, so this is not my political problem.

My problem is with so-called Republicans who actually share a lot in common with liberal Democrats, but who stay in the Republican Party.

There are different ways a Republican can share values with a liberal.  For example, a Republican staffer who believes in the supremacy of  bureaucracy….despite bureaucracy being the enemy of freedom and individual liberty.  Working from within the party, these functionaries stamp their own flavor on policy and principle alike, often softening edges and blurring lines, giving the voters fewer choices, more government intervention, and ultimately less liberty.

The same could be said for certain “Republican” lobbyists, whose connections to money, political funding, cause them to promote bad policies such as Common Core, which strikes deep at the heart of liberty.  They would rather ally with liberals than support a conservative Republican candidate.  People like this have great influence in the Republican Party.  They influence its agenda, and the kind of decisions the apparatus supports.

If you stand for everything, you stand for nothing.  I myself will stand for liberty, freedom, and opportunity for everyone.  If that puts me and others like me at odds with some political party, then that says everything a voter needs to know about that party: It does not have your interests at heart.

I am a Republican because I hold old-fashioned, traditional American values, the kind of values that created America and kept her great for so long.  I will vote for and support only those candidates who hold similar values.  Regardless of what a party spokeswoman may say, a Republican Party that has no conservativism in it isn’t really a Republican Party any longer, is it?

409+

Last week, under pressure to perform at an adult, professional level, the senior staff at the NCAA folded right before appearing in court.

The discovery phase of a lawsuit brought against the NCAA for its disproportionate over-correction of Penn State University was about to begin, and with a handful of damning NCAA emails already in hand, the meaty part of discovery would have exposed the heavy handed NCAA overlords for what they are: Incompetent, vacuous bullies.

The fictional Louis Freeh “report” aka Hit Piece and Flaming Bomb Meant to Humble Penn State has gradually yielded to the collective bits of disbelief and basic deductive logic surrounding the Joe Paterno Assassination aka The Oxbow Incident.

Knowing now what we already knew two years ago, the NCAA storm trooper and tactical nuke assault on one of the very few pristine colleges in the nation has blown up in the NCAA’s own face.

Yes, we got our 409 wins back, but we deserve so much more.

And to have undergone so much knee-jerk reaction injustice…..Penn State deserves compensation, to be made whole, to get back what we lost, if it’s remotely possible.

I want blood.

I want guts.

I want a shred of public justice for Joe Paterno and Penn State, and for the student athletes immorally saddled with faux guilt from the sick, distant actions of a man they’d never met, let alone heard of (Jerry Sandusky).

To begin with, the Joe Paterno statue immediately goes back to its original prominent place on campus.

Then, every member of the PSU board involved in the debacle issues a personal, hand written apology. And then each resigns. I’ve got a few names to go with that demand.

Then each NCAA staff member associated with the debacle issues a hand written apology, and then resigns.

That’s what real leaders do when they fail badly.

And for those folks who really want to demonstrate their earnest attitude, I’ve got some old Japanese swords you can fall on. I’m tempted to serve as your second….to ensure a clean ending, of course.

A clean ending to a tragedy, a failure to protect little boys, a failure to act like grown men and women and apply justice carefully, a failure to protect the grown boys on the team and the many professional educators and students unfairly tarnished by the NCAA’s hasty, shoot-first-ask-questions-never attitude.

And then there’s the scholarships, the bowl money PSU lost. The opportunities unfairly crushed. How do we get all that back?

And Mr Louis Freeh, you may be ex-FBI, but I’m ex-Penn State Nittany Lion. Don’t meet me in a dark alley.

Don’t howl too loudly, Wolf Pack

If the Tom Corbett administration was marked by poor communications, unaccountable senior staff running amok in the name of their boss, a hands-off management style by the chief executive, and a general lack of charisma, there’s a good indication that the Tom Wolf administration is headed the exact same way for similar reasons.

And they might experience the same one-term result that marked Corbett.

Maybe Katie McGinty will run a right and responsive ship. Maybe John Hanger will avoid sharp conflicts with the Republican legislature.  Those will be advantages over the Corbett administration. But the missing outside voices from across the aisle are an indication that an insular culture is already taking place. From insularity springs all kinds of foolish mistakes.

There will be time enough for natural disagreement. But unless the Wolf Administration wants to go down fighting from the beginning, and thus get saddled with a deadly four years of failure, they’d better start thinking hard how to navigate the minefield, to give and to take, to lead.

Can the French run France?

Old French military guns are often sold here in America.  They are in like-new condition, because they were never fired and were dropped once.  Now we get to see the modern day footage of French “bravery.”  Shameful.  Real police do not run away like this.  They stand and fight, they use their car to block the bad guys.  Forgive me if this just reaffirms my perception of the French as weak hedonists.

Bad guys are on the run around Harrisburg

Toldja so.

Last year, several critical essays I wrote about PA AG Kathleen Kane were widely published, long before other people felt safe enough, I guess, to jump on the band wagon.

Kane’s incompetence and corrupt behavior were evident within a few months of her arrival in the PA Attorney General seat.  She only got worse and worse, and was on a downhill slide to the point where she has now been indicted by a grand jury.  Imagine that.

I feel vindicated.  Sadly.

Harrisburg’s top cop may go to jail, or be fined, disbarred, and barred from holding public office.  It says a lot about politics, that her Breck Girl smile and slow-motion hair tosses were enough for  her to get elected.

For the record, I believe that if Pennsylvania absolutely must have a Democrat AG, then Katie McGinty would be the right person.  McGinty is every bit as liberal and political as Kane, but Katie is also way too smart to let it show or implement it so egregiously.  So, we’d end up with a partisan professional and not the corrupt political hack we have now.  That’d be an improvement.

An even better improvement would be Ed Marsico as AG.  Ed Marsico is the stellar DA for Dauphin County, and he is so a-political that the Republican establishment has passed him over in the past.  Can you imagine, an AG who simply does the job of prosecuting bad guys?  How refreshing that would be.

On to Harrisburg City, my home town and my family’s home since at least 1745.  It’s a place I care about a lot.  We moved here from Washington, DC, to enjoy the high quality of life, easy commute, and low cost of living.  I love living in Harrisburg.

Yes, the city has problems.  OK, that is true and I think people are genuinely working to solve them, even as many of the same people have worked to exacerbate them because they stood to make money from them (think: Public Parking).  But that is another story.

Here’s a story that is just now unfolding: Harrisburg has decided to hold on to its illegal anti-gun laws.  Harrisburg City remains happily and blatantly in violation of two state laws barring any PA municipality from passing gun laws.  The city has been served notice that they may get sued over this, a costly loss because the city will have to pay money damages and legal fees to the winner.

And of course, the gun laws they have do zero to punish criminals or limit crime.  They are designed to punish law-abiding citizens and turn them into criminals, because the zealot prohibitionist crusaders pushing these laws are against guns per se.

Late last Friday night a deranged man attempted to forcefully enter my home through the front door.  He was banging away at it, working over the handle hard, and shouting at us.

My wife and kids cowered on the kitchen floor, with Viv talking with a surly 911 dispatcher (who actually yelled at me over the phone); our guests were in the basement.

I stood with a pistol pointed at the door, waiting for the guy to come barging through.  Every warning I shouted to him through the door elicited a curse-filled response and harder efforts to get through.

Even I was scared.  Someone trying that hard to break into your home is going to do damage once he gets inside.

Ten minutes later the Harrisburg police arrived and caught him, two doors up the street.  They were professional and friendly to us taxpayers, and they used force to capture the crazy man because he was violent.  I watched him fight with them and try to kick their police dog, Bo.  He had some white powder drugs on him and acted like he was insane.  Case in point here: Drugs are bad, m’kay?

Without my gun, immediately accessible, our family was a sitting duck for this guy.

We were lucky that he did not come through a ground floor window.  Sure, I would have shot and killed him had he entered our home, but who needs that?  And what about the other citizens who are neither armed nor prepared or able to defend themselves effectively against intruders?

Let’s ask the obvious question: What about “when seconds count the police are only minutes away” do you not understand, Mayor Eric Papenfuse?

Why are your illegal, ineffective gun laws more important than the safety of my family?

What makes people on the Left so cocksure about their illegal behavior? It must have something to do with the tradition of Leftist protests always being “right,” a mentality that undergirds everything they do.

We will see you in court, Mayor Papenfuse, because you may not inflict your illegal laws on the safety of my body.

Obama admin flees from Paris free speech rally

Neither Obama nor VP Biden, nor Sec. of State Kerry, nor any other high ranking US figure attended the free speech and anti-terrorism rally in Paris.  Over forty heads of state participated.

Why would the Obama administration make no attempt to have high level representation at a historic rally for free speech and against terrorism with America’s oldest ally?

Simply put, for six years Obama has punished America’s allies, he has rewarded our enemies, he does not believe in free speech at home or abroad and instead has done all he can to undermine it (IRS and NSA scandals), and finally, he will not lend his hand to anything that might appear like criticism of Islam.

Obama is not ham-handed or tone deaf about this, as his friends in the US media have complained.  Rather, he is utterly opposed to the very things that the people marched for in Paris.

No matter what Obama says, his actions always speak louder, and his actions on the subjects of protecting free speech and stopping terrorism say loud and clear that he is not on the side of America or its allies.  Obama identifies with Muslims to such an extent that he cannot bring himself to admit that it is Muslims who are committing atrocity after atrocity.  He keeps denying that they are Muslims at all, which is just silly, and if he really were forward-thinking, he would join Egyptian president Al-Sisi, who recently called for Islam to undergo a dramatically needed reformation.

Under Obama, the NSA spied on Americans exercising their basic rights to free speech, and the IRS was weaponized to suppress and even criminalize political free speech with which Obama disagrees.  Of course, free speech is a threat to his agenda, so the Obama FEC is now trying to control political speech on the internet, too.

And no matter what someone does in the name of Islam, Obama will permit no official criticism of Islam, a logic he abandons when he blames legally owned guns for criminal behavior (what if the staff at Charlie Hebdo or the police protecting them had had guns to defend themselves? The whole attack could easily have been over in seconds).  The civilized world says “Je suis Charlie,” and Obama says “Je suis Muslim.”

How the heck did Obama ever get elected to be anything more than dog catcher in the first place?  His values are diametrically opposed to those of all but a very small fringe percentage of the American people.  For those who disagree with this statement, just open your eyes and look at the sad facts.  Obama should never have been president of the United States.  He cannot even pretend to represent our nation any longer, and he is a disgrace.  He should resign, or be impeached.

Abbas smiles in group photo mourning French dead

World leaders gathered in Paris to publicly condemn typical Islamic behavior that resulted in a whole bunch of French citizens dying the other day, murdered by good young Muslim men, and in the group photo Abu Abbas is smiling ear to ear while everyone else looks grim or serious.

Abbas smiling

Why is Abbas smiling? Because he is a Muslim supremacist, he is anti-Western civilization, he is against free speech, and he is happy that a bunch of innocent Christians and Jews were executed by young Muslims who have heeded Abbas’ many calls for jihad.

A Jewish grocery store was also targeted in the terror act, and four shoppers there were executed by one of the devout Muslim terrorists.  This brought cheers and dancing in the streets all over the Middle East.

Why pretend that Abbas really wants peace?  Why pretend that Islam is the “religion of peace”?

And why Abbas was even there in polite company, among actual leaders, is another indication that Europeans have not yet come to terms with their growing problem.  They are still embracing silly slogans and empty gestures while innocent people are gunned down in front of them.  Having Abbas present was a slap in the face to the victims.

Kudos to Filson clothing

Filson is a clothing manufacturer in Seattle, making pretty much the most basic American clothing styles for the past 130 years.

Little has changed in their styles or fabrics. Boring? Maybe.

Flannel and wool shirts, wool and canvas coats and pants, wool long underwear, leather boots with wool insulation, tote and carry bags and purses, every item is made in America of virgin wool or different weights of canvas.

One short phrase describes Filson products: Brutally tough.

Or, “Last a lifetime.”

In an era of cheap Chinese crap and Asian sweatshop “designer” clothes, Filson stands alone, or probably alone. I am a consumer of top-quality outdoor clothing, and I cannot think of another manufacturer who makes anything like Filson’s clothing line.

Oh, sure, there are plastic and Gore Tex outdoor clothes galore. Eddie Bauer, LL Bean, Mountain Hard Wear, and others make some pretty good ones, which our family wears. Fleece coats, mountaineering parkas, super-sophisticated PhD plastic fiber clothes for the outdoor lifestyle. Some are married to goose down, which is genuinely warm.

But all of these synthetics catch on fire and turn the wearer into a large, running, screaming torch when exposed to flame. Or at the least they wilt, melt, smell very bad, and cease being useful when exposed to a camp fire hot enough to dry your damp undies and wet socks. In other words, the newfangled modern synthetics may weigh next to nothing and stop wind faster than a speeding bullet and locomotive, but they lack certain basic physical properties necessary to truly enjoy or survive the outdoors.

Wool and waxed heavy cotton canvas are nearly fireproof and can withstand tremendous force before tearing. Wool keeps the wearer warm even when wet. Yes, it is heavy compared to synthetics, but it is a lot quieter, actually it is silent, whereas even the best of synthetic fleece hunting clothes will leave a telltale “zip” sound when dragged across a sharp branch.

Filson forms a big part of my winter clothing selection. Mackinaw vests and coats of different colors and patterns form the core of the selection, and the double mackinaw coat in “Pennsylvania Tuxedo” red-and-black buffalo check plaid has kept me toasty warm in sub-zero temperatures day after day. This past week I wore the double mackinaw coat while flintlock hunting, and I never got cold. It was sub-zero every day.

Other wool clothes I wear are heavy camouflage Columbia hunting pants, Bass Pro Redhead heavy wool socks, Danner wool socks, knee-high SmartWool ski and hunting socks, and SmartWool long underwear. Yes, once in a while I break out the Eddie Bauer and Woolrich Adirondock plaid pants, jackets, and so on. They are real testaments to a world long gone, which dinosaurs like me cling to in misty eyed memories.

David Petzal is the gun writer for Field and Stream Magazine, and among many other witticisms and pithy one-liners, years ago he noted that all synthetic long underwear makes you smell like someone slaughtered a cow after a day, but wool long underwear can be worn for days without you or them being cleaned, and yet you don’t smell…too badly.

That’s the thing. Wool is natural. Like leather and fur, it is natural and fits the human body perfectly. We can sweat into wool for days on a hunt, and it just doesn’t smell bad. Oh, it may not smell fresh, but compared to the polypropylene synthetics, it does.

My Filson Mackinaw coat accompanies me on all my Adirondack wilderness hunts, serving as a blanket at night when the temperature inside the tent dips to 18 degrees. And yet after many years of being worn through thorn patches and rugged mountain brush, it shows zero signs of wear. That says it all.

Other favorites include the now discontinued styles of Tin Cloth logging jacket and Double Tin field coat, both of which I wear when hunting for small game in January and February, when thorns are a big part of the day. Some of these discontinued tin cloth coats have become collector’s items. Each one will last you your entire lifetime, and if you wax it at the end of the season, it will serve your kids, too.

So, kudos to Filson for making Best-quality, “old fashioned” clothing for a tech-happy generation. www.filson.com

Yet another Islamic attack on free speech

Yesterday’s murderous assault on French cartoonists in Paris is the logical conclusion of the idea that honest discussion about Islam is “islamophobia.”

When free speech in the name of freedom is unsuccessfully curtailed socially, murder follows, naturally. It’s that murderousness that critics of Islam are all about.

To fear Islam is natural. It’s a matter of self preservation.

The hypocrisy of whining about “islamophobia,” when the Koran is itself wall-to-wall hate speech about Christians and Jews, is what creates the expectation that murder and arson are the only remaining means of communication among followers of the Koran.

Civilized French citizens don’t carry guns, and apparently French police are pretty lousy, because all of them died on their backs or under desks. No real fight against the terrorists ensued during or after their attack.

Here in America, lots of citizens carry guns. They would probably put an end to an attack like that, before the police arrived.

Case in point: Gun control doesn’t work.

Case in point: Politically correct speech control doesn’t work.

Folks, it’s another wake up call that we are in the midst of a war. It’s pathetic that the Obama administration is against free speech (calling the anti Mohammed cartoons “poor judgment”) and against private gun ownership.

You’d almost think Obama would defend radical Muslims before he’d let Americans or French reporters defend themselves.

Time to primary challenge Rep. John Boehner

John Boehner used every trick, threat, and bribe possible to hold on to his role as Speaker of the US House. The man is a disaster, policy-wise. He says one thing to appease the people, then does whatever he wants to appease his political chums. That is not leadership, it is corrupt behavior, failed governance, and it is exactly everything that is wrong with politics and Washington, DC, a place I worked for seven years.

It is time that the fight was carried to Boehner directly. It is now time for a challenger to take him on in a primary race in his own district.