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What Would MLK Say?

Today is a national holiday honoring and remembering a great American leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Like great leaders across human history, King captured a moment in time, crystalized it, and put a flame in it that later generations of people can touch and be inspired.

Below is the famous I Have a Dream speech that King gave in Washington, DC, probably the last great speech given in that swampy town.

However, before we get teary-eyed and inspired by Dr. King’s honest speech and honest goals, let’s ask a simple question.

Today, the word “racism” and “racist” have become immediate responses for just about anyone who disagrees with liberal ideas. Any ideas, not just the subject of skin color.

This includes debates about the role and place of Islam in a democracy and republic. Islam is not a race, it is a bunch of ideas. Race has nothing to do with it, unless you are looking at the skin color caste system in most Muslim countries, or how Arab slavers started the African slave trade and continue it to this very day. Those things aside, race is not a component of Islam.

And yet proponents of American security, freedom, and Judeo-Christian culture are called racists if they do not accede to demands for unlimited Muslim immigration with zero acculturation and assimilation.

Accusing people of being racist even now takes off from completely unrelated subjects, as in “You said you follow the Bible, and it is not pro-gay. That is almost like racism. In fact, it is just like racism. It is like being racist. You are a racist.”

Don’t laugh, I have seen it happen in person and in writing.

So that “racism” becomes the standard synonym or fill-in for any kind of discrimination or bigotry or even self-selective behavior based on thousands of years of human history, at best. At worst, it becomes an empty accusation that as soon as it is uttered is seen for what it is, fake.

And let’s not even delve into the NAACP, Black Lives Matter, or even the Congressional Black Caucus, where members accuse someone of “racism” if they merely sneeze, and where brutally racist statements are made nearly daily. The NAACP has become one of the most racist organizations in America, and it is enabled by the outrageously bigoted Southern Poverty Law Center. Which is funded and run by white liberals. Ditto for BLM.

What results from the misuse of accusations of racism is a watering down of the word and idea.

If racism becomes subjective, and not quantifiable, then those wrongly accused of being racist will burn out and lose their yearning for fairness. After all, they themselves are being treated unfairly, accused unfairly.

Hijacking the word can only boomerang back.

Yes, there are many things worse than racism, but if we are going to value a racism-free America (a good thing), then we must reserve that word and its connotations for when it really applies. We must not misappropriate it, nor may we engage in racist behavior and then accuse the subjects of our abuse themselves of being “racist.” Especially when there are simply legitimate disagreements on policy and law.

“Racist!” cannot be a crutch. That will only undermine everything MLK fought for, and what he got the vast number of Americans to buy into: The idea that we are all meant to be free, we are all meant to be equal, we all deserve to have equal opportunity and no artificial barriers between us and our dreams and goals. An America devoid of discrimination is an America full of its greatest promise.

So what would MLK say about today’s misuse and watering down of the white-hot word that used to galvanize tens of millions of Americans to do the right thing?

What would MLK say about how the Left has turned nearly American institution into a force of discrimination and persecution against those with whom the Left merely disagrees, politically?

What would MLK say about the fake accusations of ‘racism’ to cover up the internecine mass murders among young black men occurring daily in nearly every single American city… That is done to obscure and excuse the utter and complete failure of nearly all of America’s black leadership, so that fifty-four years later, the American black community is in some ways in much worse condition than when Dr. King had his dream?

FBI and DOJ Used as Political Weapons, Now What

Recently released emails and texts between FBI agents and Department of Justice officials in the immediately past administration demonstrate that both institutions were completely politicized. Using their official crime-fighting jobs for gaining political power and blocking the will of the American People is the most corrupt thing possible.

A political party wrote fake accusations against a competing US presidential candidate, and those accusations were then used to acquire a search warrant to spy on his political campaign and on the people in it by the sitting administration, which supported the other US presidential candidate.

So we have a presidential administration using official American employees to pursue that administration’s political goals. That’s awful, and illegal.

But it gets worse.

Then the fake accusations and the fake search warrant were used to justify a special investigation into the new president. Making it worse, the special investigator hired dozens of lawyers who were openly partisan and officially associated with the opposing political party. Meaning they are not objective and operating at arm’s length, pursuing justice. They are already political activists.

Making it worse-worse, the FBI agents and DOJ staff in charge of ensuring American law is not broken reveal themselves to be using their professional jobs for purely political purposes here, previously and DURING THE INVESTIGATION ITSELF. They are openly partisan and basing their official actions on their personal values and political loyalties. That’s awful, and illegal, and criminal.

But it gets worse.

Then the special investigator began investigating everyone associated with the president, as well as the president, for everything they had ever done in their lives, going back decades. None of this investigating has anything to do with the original search warrant. This is called a ‘fishing expedition’, and it violates the most basic premise of American justice and law. This is awful, and illegal.

But it gets worse.

Then the special investigator began to entrap the subjects of his investigations, not on the original grounds of the investigation, but on the subjective and vague accusation that the people were trying to hinder his investigation. Not that they had actually committed crimes, but that they were trying to block or obstruct the investigation into whether or not they had actually committed the crimes on which the search warrant was originally issued.

This is called a ‘process crime’.

It is usually a flimsy charge, easily disputed, and is usually associated with getting criminals to more easily own up to their actual crimes for which they were originally targeted.

But in this investigation, it is the ONLY purported “crime” with which anyone is being investigated or charged. So it’s not that anyone being investigated here actually broke a law, but they are being charged with trying to avoid being charged with no proof that they actually did anything they would be charged with in the first place.

This is awful and a violation of everything that America stands for. Not to mention our Constitution.

So we have a political witch hunt, based on paid political activity by the opposing political party, illegally enabled by a sitting president and his staff, illegally implemented by the supposedly professional, non-political bureaucrats who work for the American people to ensure that American law is followed and that real criminals go to jail.

And it turns out the biggest criminals involved are the previous administration, the special investigator, and the FBI agents and DOJ staff who made this whole investigation happen in the first place.

The 1972 Watergate scandal is used as the basis for judging all political scandals, because it was considered so outlandish and unacceptable that it brought down the sitting president, Richard Nixon.

Well, by Watergate standards, this “Russia collusion” investigation by Mueller into Trump is the biggest political scandal ever in American history. It is so big, and so terrible that it has no parallel. It is so evil, and so illegal, that it is impossible to describe as anything other than earth-shaking. The number of FBI agents, DOJ staff, and special investigators (especially Robert Mueller, who knew all along that his investigation was founded on and actually run by corrupt FBI agents) who should be under indictment right now numbers in the dozens.

When the foundation of American justice, the FBI and the DOJ, are so deeply corrupted and used as political weapons to protect political power by one political party, then we have a serious crisis. An enormous crisis.

Were there to be any legal decisions or criminal charges to emanate from this corrupt investigation, our entire rule of law will be called into question. It would mean that whoever controls the official institutions of American crime control and justice will control the entire legal process, and they can do what third-world dictatorships do: Simply accuse their political opponents of vague crimes, charge them, process them through phony kangaroo courts, and lock them up or execute them.

With so many federal judges already amassing political power unto themselves, with the American media protecting them and the previous administration, America is much closer to a serious political crisis than people understand. How this Mueller investigation plays out is anyone’s guess, but we have one political party absolutely going for broke to protect their political power by bringing down a properly elected president they oppose.

And on the other hand, we have a supposedly opposing political party that, with a few exceptions, is mostly silent about the attempted coup d’etat now under way.

Let us ask this question: What if the current president decided to do what was being done to him? Let’s say the current president decides to use the FBI and DOJ to criminalize and prosecute his political enemies. People who have done nothing more than oppose him politically are suddenly either criminal suspects or are actually charged with crimes.

You OK with that?

The Curious Case of “Dr.” Bandy X. Lee

If there is one place in our lives where integrity matters most, it is with healthcare and the medical professionals and caregivers who provide it. Our personal health is everything to us. Without good health, we decline and become disabled, or die.

Healthcare professionals who monkey around with your health are at best incompetent. Like basing their opinions on hearsay. Those who play with people’s health for personal reasons, like philosophical views held by either the caregiver or the patient, are evil. They either cannot or will not rise above their own limited personal views, and instead use whatever authority they possess to inflict damage on someone they disagree with.

Such is the case of “Doctor” Bandy X. Lee, a purported professor at Yale University.

A review of her credentials reveals just how low medical standards have become, because the subjects she studies and supposedly specializes in are the most abstract, subjective things. She does not actually treat anyone for an infection, or for an injury. Instead, Lee specializes in creating new categories of fake injuries resulting from an otherwise healthy society.

By their nature her subjects of study defy critical thinking, and instead rely upon political positions, or at best philosophical views. Such as “violence prevention.”

Maybe it is no surprise that Lee defines violence and violent behavior in a way that indemnifies truly violent dictators like North Korea’s dictator Kim Kong Dong, or whatever his name is, and which ascribes negative values to people engaging in self-defense. Especially with firearms. Especially in America.

Or, people like President Trump, whose mere discussion of defending America is characterized by Lee as “violence” and “violent behavior.”

Parasite Lee is in an American policy world infested with hordes of anti-America academics, trained to couch every area of study and specialization in a way that undermines American security, culture and law, and which elevates our avowed enemies. Their political enemies are always Republicans, conservatives, and now “white males.”

Ms. Lee recently injected herself into the international spotlight by pronouncing Donald Trump mentally unfit to serve as president. Like, he’s crazy.

But wait, there’s more!

Lee also declared that the fate of the world hangs on Trump’s forcible removal from office, and that he represents a dire threat to humanity. Yes, she asserts, Trump is going to get all humanity blown up in a nuclear war, because he likes war, he likes weapons, and he acts tough. Yes, she says, it will be Trump’s fault when the world is blown up. Nope, not North Korea’s fault, or China’s fault, but the guy trying to defend America from North Korea. Yup, huge crisis if trump stays in office, she says.

Lee is not completely alone. She shares this distinctive role with a whole mess o’ other so-called mental health professionals, who, like Lee, are also complete frauds. These are all political activists masquerading as medical professionals, who inject their political views into what is supposed to be sacred medical work. They are doctors like Doctor Jekyll was a doctor, like Auschwitz death camp Doctor Mengele was a doctor. That is, fake, fake, fake doctors.

The biggest problem here is that none of these people, including Lee, have actually examined Trump in person. They make wild, subjective suppositions about him, ascribe wild, subjective motives to his decisions, and apply their own subjective personal views and values, as if THEY are what is normal behavior. But none of them have actually talked to the guy, which is what their professional standards require.

Lee and her cohort of political activists are not actual medical professionals. That is measured by their substitution of personal views for professional standards, a clear violation of everything being a doctor is about. She and her fellow psychiatric screwballs have violated medical standards, state, and federal law by passing medical judgment on a purported patient without actually examining them.

Aside from obvious frauds, these people are a bunch of wimps, too. They are not fighters, defenders of the nation, or even healthcare providers or caregivers. They will quickly lock up as “crazy” anyone who disagrees with their leftist political views. By the way, this is what dictatorships everywhere do. They characterize their political opponents as “unsteady,” a “threat” to people around them, and then forcibly lock them up and at best keep them heavily sedated. One has to wonder who Lee has done this to already…let us guess, are there patriotic Americans among her victims?

I would not want Lee or any of her fellow medical frauds in my life, or in your life, in any way. These people are liabilities to America and to their local communities. Their “standards” are so screwy, so low, that they are hurting the people around them, not helping them. Maybe that is their purpose.

The use of one’s medical training to be a partisan political whore, or a traitor, is grounds for losing one’s professional credentials, and that is what must occur next: Strip Lee and her fellow medically trained prostitutes of their medical licenses. These aren’t serious medical professionals, and the medical field will not miss them.

The case of Bandy X. Lee’s medical malpractice is a also view into the world of leftwing political activism. Literally everything there is politicized; there are no boundaries that cannot be crossed to achieve political domination, including the illegal mis-use of one’s medical credentials. The ends always justify the means to liberals. It’s always some world-ending crisis that justifies destroying their political opponents.

Which reminds us of the newly renamed global warming, no, wait, climate change, no, wait, now it is “climate crisis”: A bunch of so-called professors use tenure to promote bizarre and indefensible claims totally contrary to actual science, but it is such a “crisis” that everything must stop, change, and turn hard left, or else…the world ends.

One takeaway message from all this is that our colleges have become cesspools of anti-American activism, but paid for by hard working Americans. Yale University now produces the stupidest, least trained people, most incapable of critical thinking. Ivy League? Oh pshaw! It’s the Political Correctness League, where being close-minded is the standard. And the Americans who believe the ideas and assertions emanating from places like Yale and Lee…I mean, we are constantly told by the media that Trump’s supporters are a bunch of idiots, but look at the low standards liberals have. They will believe anything!

There is a crisis, all right, a crisis in credibility. The more outlandish the claims, the bigger the credibility crisis.

The bigger takeaway message here is that America is under assault from within, by people who use their professional roles to damage and undermine America’s security and the health of her citizens. Whatever the better alternative to America is, is never stated by these people. Their message is simply that America as it is, is bad, and it must radically change.  Perhaps they think communist China is better?

Maybe Ms. Lee needs to go there, to China, and promote her ideology. Surely she will be warmly welcomed.

Perhaps they were the ones who sent her to America in the first place.

UPDATE: January 12, 2018, it turns out “Doctor” Bandy X. Lee has no medical license. She held a medical license in California, which lapsed in 2013. She holds no medical license in Connecticut, where she now resides and “practices” medicine. Performing the duties of a medical doctor without a license is a criminal act. In the past few days Lee was reprimanded by the American Psychiatric Association, because she issued a medical opinion about a person without having examined that person, and made it public without that person’s consent.  As we suspected, Bandy X. Lee is not really a doctor, she is a highly trained political activist with the trappings of a doctor. Zero credibility, Bandy X. Lee, zero credibility.

 

 

The Importance of Wilderness

Wilderness rarely makes it into the news.

It usually gets mentioned when a US president designates a new wilderness area, or adds existing federal land to an existing wilderness area. The acreage involved in those events is so large, usually so vast, that it must be newsworthy. It just has to be news. It is impossible to ignore it.

This makes the “very good” news.

Another way to get wilderness into the news is to raise the subject of natural resource management in a remote area that is not declared or designated wilderness, but which has a wild and untouched character. These reports are usually cast as a loss of innocence, a loss of wildness, a loss of something special.

This makes the “very bad” news.

Wilderness as a news topic usually involves one extreme or the other: Very good, or very bad.

The truth is that wilderness, those huge untouched areas with nothing but healthy flowing watersheds, breathing forests, and nearly unlimited wildlife habitat, are of mere flesh and blood. Wilderness gets such short shrift and limited coverage in the news media, because so few people know what it is. It is mythologized for better and worse. That it is nearly 100% public land can complicate things, politically, but the fact is, you will not find wilderness in any other state of being in a developed nation.

Most Americans do not have any real exposure to actual wilderness. Their hands-on exposure to it is either zero or merely driving through or around some wilderness area or region (like northern Maine), and admiring it from a car or picnic area. Few immerse themselves in it.

For me and for many people like me, wilderness is like oxygen. We just have to have it. We must have it coursing through our bodies, supporting our feet as we stand or hike or explore. There is nothing mystical about this experience. No transformative or spiritual worshipfulness. No beams of sunlight directed downward by heavenly forces. It is a purely physical connection that in the context of modern sedentary lifestyles becomes such a stark contrast and unusual experience.

Oh sure, we see the hand of God in Nature. Goes without saying. How can you not see Him there? The genius of life on Planet Earth is beyond magical, beyond scientific.

That I get an endorphine rush from every moment I am out in wilderness is an indication of my own “nature deficit disorder,” a topic worthy of a full discussion some other time and something most assuredly suffered by the vast number of Americans.

Why people do drugs of any sort is beyond me, because I can get a safe and natural high from watching a tree sway in a breeze, or a snowy hilltop dressed in silent snow, or a tiny junco flitting among the snowy branches of a small spruce tree. So much of what we call wilderness is really just the same things going on in your own back yard, except that actual wilderness has much less of some of that animal activity, and a lot more silence and serenity. In designated or de facto wilderness, we do see the more rare and cool “charismatic” animals, like moose, panthers, fishers, bobcats, marten.

As an experience, for wilderness lovers like me, wilderness excursion or immersion is just like eating, or breathing. Its quiet is a quantifiable value, like a gallon of gasoline has a price we pay to keep our vehicles going. People like me simply gotta have that wilderness experience to keep running. In modern American terms, it is like having a really big house. We feel like we belong and must be there, comfy and snug.

One of the challenges with wilderness designation is that most of it happens out West, where there are already hundreds of millions of acres of nationally-managed public lands. Already out there are big wilderness areas that a person could spend an entire summer exploring just one location.

Back East we have hardly anything resembling wilderness, and what we have is easily degraded. It is here in the East that the energy and money must be focused on setting aside wilderness while we still have some few opportunities remaining. Opportunities being those industrial lands no longer useful for commercial forestry or mining.

It is a lot more politically palatable to work on wilderness protections here, in the East, where the majority of the American population is concentrated. Many more people are excited about it here, and far fewer people feel like their livelihoods will be negatively impacted by public land and wilderness. Because we have so little of it.

Wilderness is important because it is in wilderness that our species evolved and lived happily for 99% of our time on Planet Earth.

Wilderness is our natural state of being, where we humans are most at home, most honestly, naturally ourselves. In modern times, it is where we are least distracted by “narischkeit,” meaningless chatter and buzz. In wilderness we can be honest, true, most mentally healthy, if only for a day or two.

This past Fall I killed the biggest bear I have ever seen in the woods, in a designated Adirondack wilderness area where I was on a solo hunt. It weighed close to 600 pounds, and its hide squared over six feet. Its hide is literally over twice the size of the 260-pound bear’s hide I sleep under in the winter. A true monster. The king of the mountain.

Know what’s neat about this hunting experience? This bear had probably never seen a human before, and he stalked and tried to eat me three times. The third and last time he tried was when I lost patience amidst growing fear that I was going to be eaten alive, and I shot him at thirty yards in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Just skinning him took almost two days, because his enormous carcass rolled under a log on a steep hillside.

It was predator versus predator, animal eating (or wearing) animal, the most basic natural law on Planet Earth.

Though I admit feeling remorse for having ended his kingly reign. I had been after a big buck, and only took my foe when he had willingly forfeited his nine lives over the course of two days with me on the mountain.

I have never felt so alive.

Wilderness, it’s in us. It is important to us, to be us.

To be human.

2017 Year in Review

Looking back on 2017, it is tempting to list all of great accomplishments, and the few failures, of the new administration in DC.

One could spend a week discussing them all, but for the sake of time, here is one person’s opinion about what we have gained, and what we have yet to gain, from the new administration.

Gains

Where haven’t the citizens of America gained under the policies of the new administration?

From tax reform to ending executive policies designed to bully American citizens through the illegal use of government coercion, President Trump is daily deleting prior executive orders, and often substituting his own pro-freedom policies in their stead.

One gain has been the reining in of the US EPA, a place at which I used to work as a policy and legislative staffer, and which has long had an unprofessional staff culture of political activism substituting for careful reasoned decisions, shaped by law, in the interest of the American People. Fundamental transformation of USEPA was long overdue. The same can be said for NOAA, a huge source for fake climate change junk science, which is now getting a new chief who actually is a meteorologist and who does actually know a thing or two or three about Earth’s climate. How refreshing.

Another gain has been the moving of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. No, this decision is not about Israel, it is about Western Civilization, of which tiny outpost Israel is the canary in the coal mine.  Trump made this decision in the face of United Nations opposition, the same corrupt UN that is run by the biggest tyrannies in the world. He made this decision in the face of violence and threats of violence pouring forth from literally every single Muslim nation. The embassy move draws a stark contrast between a Christendom determined to survive, and everyone else. Sorry, the Jews are just the foil here, not the cause celebre.

Failures

If there is one friction point of real consequence in Washington, DC, it is that surface where the federal judiciary meets the executive branch.

Populated with political radicals, the federal judiciary has rogue judges who routinely use their positions to legislate from the bench, not adjudicate within the constitutional confines of their actual duties. They try to implement specific policies, instead of determining whether or not the question before them is simply constitutional, or not. They continually usurp powers from the executive branch, to the point where these judges have set themselves up as the actual bureaucrats running America.

Got a grievance? Bring it before the right federal judge, and you could get a very detailed, specific holding directing the executive branch of government to implement a certain policy in a certain way under a certain time frame.

The first problem here is that the judiciary rarely has actual jurisdiction in these subjects, because they are wholly functions of the executive branch. Immigration is one such area. Immigration and borders are clearly left to the executive branch to run. And yet America has federal judges who routinely issue holdings they believe will block the implementation of the executive branch’s functions. And these same federal judges will do the same things repeatedly, defiantly, even after the US Supreme Court has struck down their previous decision. These rogue judges are using their official positions to advance social justice causes.

A similar policy subject is gun regulation.

Despite the US Supreme Court’s Heller decision and others like it, lower courts routinely issue holdings on gun regulation that are in direct, clear conflict with US Supreme Court decisions.

A third policy subject is transgenders in the military. Recently a federal judge held that the US military must accept transgenders, ignoring the clear separation of constitutional powers between the executive branch and the judiciary. The executive branch has sole discretion over who it allows into the warfighting military, and civilian courts have zero jurisdiction. For a federal judge to insert himself into military matters is a clear violation of the US Constitution.

The second problem with this is, this is not the way the court system works.

Lower courts are always bound by the holdings of higher courts and by the duties and roles clearly spelled out in the US Constitution. Judges who disregard the higher courts and the Constitution, and instead issue their own politically motivated holdings, are destroying the rule of law in America. They are far overstepping their boundaries, and trying to make law and policy instead of deciding law or remanding a decision back to the political process. In essence setting themselves up as dictators who make all legislative, policy, and legal decisions.

If these rogue judges are successful, America’s court system will become meaningless. It will be a random assortment of competing political decisions governing hundreds of millions of citizens, made by a small handful of unelected people in black robes. These are decisions that are supposed to be hashed out through the political process by elected officials, accountable to the American People through elections and votes.

So, the failure here for the Trump Administration has been an unwillingness to simply disregard these rogue judges, and then move ahead with the administration’s immigration policy, foreign policy, and military decisions. Moreover, Trump’s administration should be openly calling for the impeachment and removal of these rogue judges. Official abuse of power is the most serious threat to American representative government, it must be confronted head-on, and that is not happening. Why is a mystery, because if there is one hallmark of this presidency, it is this president’s willingness to and enjoyment of directly communicating with the American People in the clearest terms.

Conclusion

The rogue judges issue highlights a scary fact that most establishment Republicans are loathe to address, and that is how liberals will do absolutely anything to impose their will on the American People.

The liberal lust for power and control, as marketed through “social justice” causes, means that their ends always justify their methods. It means that all officials with liberal opinions have to do is claim a higher moral ground, higher than existing law, and implement their views through their official role, no matter if it clearly contradicts established law, procedure, and policy.

This of course is not how any democracy or republic works. It is politically unsustainable (it is patently illegal), but it is evidence that liberals will burn down America in order to wrest control of it from the American People, or to prevent their political opponents from running it as the result of elections that liberals are unhappy with. It is also evidence that establishment Republicans have zero fight in them, because they do not believe in anything more than making more money than a person has use for.

If there is a need for a new political group in America, it is one that is focused on documenting official abuses by federal judges, and then working to hold them accountable. Impeachment and removal from the bench is what is needed.

So, in conclusion, 2017 was a very good year, an exciting year, and we can hope for more of the same in 2018.

 

Merry Christmas. So shoot me

Christmas time is the best time of the year in America.

Regardless of your religious affiliation or conviction, wishing fellow Americans a Merry Christmas is in the good spirit of cheer, fellowship, happiness, relaxation, making room for one another.

While “Christ’s mass” had an obvious religious basis, it was originally scheduled to track its parent religion. Christmas always falls on the 25th day of the last month in the Gregorian calendar, December, just as Chanukah always falls on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev. The two holidays therefore always fall near one another, and in America Chanukah (a commemoration of an improbable win for religious freedom against ethnic cleansing) has been strongly coopted to be more Christmas-like.

Over time in Western Europe, Christmas evolved to include gift giving, merrymaking, communal singing and declarations of faith, time with family. The befurred Scandinavian Saint Claus (Saint Klaus, or Nicholas, now Santa Claus) in his snowy winter environment became one of the defining symbols of the holiday.

Charles Dickens put the exclamation point on Christmas in the 1800s, through both strongly pointed opinion essays and his fiction stories arguing for a truly gentler, kinder, more forgiving time where the most important religious values would be brought to bear. And make the season happier, society more humane.

As an open society, America has come to embody the best, most inclusive aspects of this European legacy. It’s really remarkable, if you think about it, how inclusive America is, how open it is. To the point where Sikhs, Hindus, Jews, Mormons, Buddhists, and others can equally feel a part of Christmas time.

It’s true that Christmas has become captured by materialism, that it has become largely secularized, and much of its original religious message has been blurred. But what is wrong with making a major religious holiday welcome to so many others who do not necessarily share in its most religious aspects? What is wrong with seeing the very religious values of tenderness, kindness, gentleness, love and happiness be widespread among everyone?

Because of aggressive anti-religion atheists, somehow wishing fellow Americans Merry Christmas became verboten. Well, I just reject that.

Christmas is now a quintessential and quintessentially American holiday. America’s best qualities are on display at Christmas time. To try and shame people from wishing one another a Merry Christmas is itself shameful. If you don’t observe Christmas, fine. Just wave, smile, and enjoy the happy spirit in which the greeting was given. Nothing bad is meant by it.

It is the spirit of America.

Merry Christmas, my fellow Americans, Merry Christmas.

And peace on earth.

 

 

The bucks in my stew

Despite a fabulously successful hunting season in two states, I am still driven to keep going, to hunt more, get out more, sleep under the stars more, freeze my butt off more, adventure more.

Such is that 150,000-year-old drive to hunt that was perfected by our Paleolithic ancestors. It can be all-consuming.

“Why I hunt” has been described a thousand times before, by writers and hunters better than I, and I will not do a good job of describing in turn why I, too, hunt.

All I can say is that we have been a hunting species for 150,000 years, which is much longer than our 5,000-10,000 years as agrarians, 300 years as industrialists, 150 years as communicators, 75 years as eaters-from-tin cans-and-styrofoam, and 25 years as effete metrosexuals too pure to shed blood either to eat or to defend ourselves (our Paleo ancestors survived the harshest conditions; on the other hand, the effete metrosexuals among us will either be speaking Chinese in 25 years or they will just be wiped out for the incoming Chinese colonists).

Hunting is literally in our blood, and yes, I do have that “cave man blood type,” identified as the most primitive of human blood types.

Our teeth are designed to eat meat. I feel best when I eat meat and vegetables, and also when carbohydrates, gluten, and sugary foods are excluded from my intake. Every year I make a lot of jerky, and it lasts me for months. By the time I have eaten it all, I have usually lost between ten and twenty pounds.

Meat is good for me, and it is good for you. Good meat, that is, not abused slave animal meat full of hormones and antibiotics and food colorants. You know, the “meat” most Americans buy at supermarkets. All that crap in the meat is the high health cost of having cheap meat readily available and generically packed.

So accustomed to buying this junky meat have most Americans become, that I regularly hear from old friends that they cannot believe I hunt, because it is so “cruel.” While they post photos to FakeBook of their most recent bloody gourmet meat meal.

As if having someone assassinate their meat for them exonerates of the animal’s death.

So despite killing a bear estimated between 500 and 600 pounds while on a solo wilderness hunt in a very remote designated wilderness area, and having killed three deer during the rifle season, the urge to hunt is still powerful.

My mother kindly sent me some lamb stew last week. It resembled in many ways what the Bible describes as Eisav’s meal prepared for Isaac: Pottage. Which is to say, ragged lumps o’ meat and vegetables.

Tasty stuff.

And all I could think of while eating the delicious lamb stew was how the lumps of lamb reminded me of venison, and how I needed to get back out and score my buck for the season.

So here I was, having a most civilized meal, eating the most tender animal, and all I could see were images of bucks prancing about in my stew when I bent down to take another spoonful.

 

 

 

 

Some thoughts on the Alabama special election

Judge Roy Moore has probably lost the special election for the vacant US Senate seat in Alabama by just a couple thousand votes.

What this result means to me, and I think to a lot of others who share my values and way of seeing things, is the following:

  1. Moore’s big “crime” was to be a conservative Christian Constitutionalist who bucked the bipartisan big government UniParty, and who openly challenged US Senate leader Mitch “The Squish” McConnell.
  2. Moore’s unwillingness to go along with the GOP’s careful bipartisan management of America’s slow motion death spiral was a direct challenge and affront to the GOP establishment’s grip on power.
  3. This “crime” made Moore a big target, and all through his tough primary election he faced tens of millions of dollars of negative attack ads by, who else, the GOP establishment, including incredible statements by McConnell (and other Republicans) that he’d prefer a liberal Democrat in that seat over an independent-minded conservative Republican like Moore.
  4. Once into the general election against super leftist Democrat Doug Jones, lo and behold!, allegations of sexual impropriety suddenly emerge against Moore. From forty years ago. Surprise! By a couple women who had actual details and another five who basically said he asked them to date him. The media specializes in these assassinations against Republicans and conservatives, and it is a now predictable cycle.

The Washington Post made it a cause célèbre to beat Moore, if not outright destroy his character, so the unproven, empty allegations were repeated and repeated and repeated as if they were fact. When people outside the establishment media began to dig into these “allegations,” one woman’s claims immediately failed under scrutiny. Her stated facts and timeline changed constantly, the other people in the story said she was lying, that she never worked in the places she said she worked, and so on. She appeared to be a political shill with an axe to grind or a hankering for media attention.

The one other woman actually sounded credible, but the bottom line was when she and Moore were alone, and he busted a move on her, she declined and he then took her right home. The fact that she was fourteen at the time adds a big Ooh Icky Gross factor to normal people today, but forty years ago she was of the age of consent in Alabama. Hey, I’m a Yankee, so don’t ask me about that. Bottom line for Moore was that he was operating inside the boundaries, not outside. With one woman; not five or seven or nine.

  1. Moore faced the combined power of both the Democrat and Republican parties, and their collective interest groups. He faced the combined power of the entire establishment media. He had on his side political activist Steve Bannon and some independent-minded conservatives from around America. Against this incredible wave of hate, lies, false vilification, and tens of millions of dollars of negative attack ads, it is amazing that Moore actually came so close to winning.
  2. The take-away from this election result is that the American People now openly face a bipartisan UniParty that believes in all-powerful big government, increasingly limited individual liberty and freedom, mass illegal immigration and cultural conversion (not cultural assimilation), and the fundamental changing of America from a Constitutional Republic to….some sort of European social democracy.

While the Democrat Party has since Obama’s election openly embraced socialism, communism, and national suicide, the Republican Party has quietly hidden its agenda. Over Obama’s eight year reign of terror, the GOP made all sorts of symbolic gestures, but it never fought him. Moore’s kind of special elections have really tested the GOP, and they have showed their hand: They are Democrat Lite.

For the GOP it is not a question of whether or not America will become a socialist dystopia, but simply when. There is no fight left in the GOP, at least not against socialism and national suicide. Instead, the GOP saves its fight for opposing independents and conservatives who threaten its hold on whatever power it can carve out for itself in its power-sharing arrangement with the Democrats. The GOP party functionaries are like little bureaucrats, ready to move into whatever positions of political and government power are handed to them. The GOP and its functionaries are not patriots, they are not on the side of The People. They are our enemy, not our friend.

  1. So, for me it means more resolve to stand and fight for America, the America as it was envisioned in 1776 and constituted in 1787. Wherever that takes me. I can also easily say this: If I lived in a state with an open primary, I would become a registered Independent. The Republican Party left me, or rather has kicked me and people like me aside. Duly noted.

 

So, so many fake Japanese swords

A quick ebay search for “gendaito” results in dozens of purported Japanese katanas for sale.

Hand-made “art sword” gendaitos were very few in number to begin with, maybe a few thousand by 1944, and after 1945, when Japanese swords of all qualities were being melted down, there were a lot fewer left.

When I began collecting antique Japanese swords in 1993, it was a pretty structured environment with plenty of Vet bring-backs available through newspaper ads and at gun shows. But most of those swords were basic Showa shin-Shinto machine made swords of solid stock. Created en masse for Japanese NCOs, they were the great bulk of “samurai” type swords captured and brought back to England and America after WWII. Though justifiably iconic in their own right, as they are beautiful weapons by design, none of them were art swords. None were made by hand in 1562 by a famous swordsmith.

Enter China. And with her came all kinds of fakery of every kind of antique collectible you could ever want. Guns, swords, knives, bayonets, not to mention shoes, purses, clothes etc. The first faked Japanese swords from China were easy to spot. Some were laughably crude, some were pretty good but either missing or overplaying critical aspects of real antique Japanese swords. Either way, only the most gullible or inexperienced buyers took them.

Today, however, you can find practically mint condition gendaito or older swords, with a nice new reddish rust on the tang, selling for half or a third of what such swords used to bring. Lots of them. Most of these fake blades are in authentic WWII military fittings, giving them a false air of authenticity.

The reason for the price drop is that so many fake Japanese swords have been brought to market that the natural demand and market absorption is oversaturated. Thus, supply exceeds demand, and price drops accordingly. Greedy dealers looking to enrich themselves at the expense of  would-be collectors have driven this dynamic.

Oh, there is a demand out there for real Japanese swords. People from all walks of life recognize how perfect these edged weapons are, and how refined and representative they are of the warrior ethos. Japanese swords are iconic, and therefore inspiring. They bring a lot of happiness to their owners, if only to serve as reminders of the old ways, like when men were men.

But sword dealers have now definitely overplayed their hand. The evidence of this fakery is overwhelming.

There is not only no possible way that one dealer can have so many authentic Japanese swords for sale at any one time, and there are dozens of dealers each stocked to the gills with fake swords being represented as authentic antiques, there is no possible way that this many authentic antique Japanese swords were ever available at one time in any one market, except maybe on the entire island of Japan in 1944.

After 1944 and Japan’s fall, swords were outlawed by the Allies, and they were destroyed by the thousands. Just like fabulous rifles in Germany and Austria were destroyed by the Allies. Though highly lamentable, it was all done to protect our troops. Very few Japanese swords or German rifles made it out alive, so to speak.

If I were to describe the ways these fake swords leap off the virtual pages of ebay and other sellers and scream “I am a fake,” I’d write a book. However, I’m just disgusted by it all, and writing a book is not in my future. However, here are some things to look out for: 1) tangs that have reddish rust. A true old worn rust is tough to fake. 2) file marks on tangs running the wrong way. 3) Tang inscriptions that are either perfect or that are cut over the defined edges. 4) Blades that are perfect, or that have a perfect yakiba or perfect hamon. This is the biggest red flag of all. Most Vet bring-backs were abused by the soldiers themselves, through horseplay. The swords were then used by kids in the 1950s for horseplay and cutting experiments. These swords were not then that valuable or collectible, so they were rarely protected from use or abuse. They were simply the artifacts and relics of brutal, cruel, sad warfare that their captors wished to forget. So to see so many shiny, smooth, perfect blades represented as antiques is a huge red flag. Very very few actual antique Japanese swords made it to 2017 unscathed, either through actual battle use or more likely, through abuse in American backyards at the hands of playful boys or demonstrative uncles in the 1950s-1970s. To see such incredibly distinct hamons on so many “antique” Japanese swords is a huge red flag. A real antique blade will naturally lose its luster over time, and the hardened cutting edge will follow that process, to the point where it becomes faint and barely distinct. Most blades will show clear splotches, discoloration, some rust, from having sat in a basement or living room for 70 years.

Guys, it’s tough to say this, but a lot of you are buying fake Japanese swords that are in reality made recently in China for the American collector market. It’s cliche, but caveat emptor. Ask yourself and your seller some really basic questions. The most important question to a seller being: How on earth do you keep finding these very rare swords, in such high quantities, in such incredibly good condition, to sell at such low prices?

You know the answer, or at least you should know it. The sad answer is the sad fact that it appears about 90% to 95% of the purported antique Japanese swords being sold today are fakes, most likely of recent Chinese origin (Pakistanis are getting better at making old looking edged weapons, too).

Do your research. Think hard about how each sword now for sale made its way to market. You’ll come to the natural and healthy conclusion. And you’ll run away, and save your money for real antiques.

Historic Harrisburg Association Home Tour another success

Though we have to date declined to allow hundreds of strangers to walk through our home amidst the cold weather and holiday cheer, there are one to two dozen other Harrisburg homeowners braver, more open, more comfortable than we who do so, and they are the ones who make the annual Historic Harrisburg Association home tour so much fun.
While seeing people’s fascinating, often perfect, intriguing and tantalizing homes is in itself fun, we also get to see old friends both on the tour and in their homes. It really is a lot of fun.
But let’s face it, though mostly beautiful Harrisburg City is broke, with a completely dysfunctional school district, and has high taxes.
These unfortunate factors artificially suppress home values. This can lead to parts of town where old homes sit vacant until they fall down.
I have lost track of how many times we have heard “If your house was where I lived, it would be worth millions!”
It is true that we have a high standard of living here, with access to fabulous homes at reasonable prices. Investing less up front in the acquisition of the old home provides an opportunity to make improvements that otherwise, in other places, might prove unobtainable or too expensive.
One home we visited was at 2333 North Front Street, the latest residence of Kristine and Alex Hartzler.
Alex and I knew each other at Penn State lo these many eons ago, and we have stayed in touch through the decades, which I find rewarding.
Alex is a guy who was destined to be a friendly but exasperated, overworked, underpaid attorney and lobbyist like so many others, but who in a fit of desperation signed on as legal counsel to a tech start up, which did well, which made Alex financially independent.
Alex now runs WCI Partners, which invests in Harrisburg City real estate.
Yes, that is correct, they invest in Harrisburg real estate.
Maybe it is voodoo economics, but they make it work.
Do you know how to create a five million dollar building in Harrisburg? Build a ten million dollar building in Harrisburg, and overnight it will be worth five million dollars.
Such is the economics of this city.
And yet, Alex and his partners remain undaunted, persevere on, carefully charting new neighborhoods out of old, using historic facades and structures wherever possible, and breathing new life into moribund and frankly decrepit parts of town that are otherwise only useful for briefly accessing hookers and heroin.
Alex and Kristine’s latest home at 2333 North Second Street is fantastic. It is a 6,000 square foot stone home that no one knew was there because of one of those infamously hideous 1960s “improvement” additions that so many beautiful stone homes suffer from all over the area.
Somewhere in the midst of the dopey free love ’60s someone got the bright idea to ruin this beautiful home with a cheesy coverup job. Until the Hartzlers removed it, no one knew the house was even there.
Honestly, I went to the home just to ask Alex what the heck “fenestration” means, a word he used in the written description of the home in the HHA tour brochure.

Must be a twelve dollar word for doorway.

After buying and renovating and living in and then passing on to the next happy owners five other Harrisburg homes, I think Alex is entitled to use fancy words that no one else knows.

Thank you to all the home owners who invited the paying public into their homes.

Here are our gracious hosts Alex and Kristine Hartzler, with long time friend Laura Campagne and the incredible Princess of Patience, Vivian.