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The Wonder of Elvis

Elvis Presley was a wonder in so many ways.

Youthful cutting-edge song writer and musician, he combined mountain folk music with country, blues, and gospel, with substantive themes and meaningful words, creating his own powerful sound with bi-racial bands that captivated people around the world. Come to think of it, in some ways like Ray Charles, a similar creative genius who also went on to make his own unique blues and jazz sound (also drawing upon sacred music) during the same time.

Both men created, captured, and represented certain turning points in American culture in their music.

But Elvis was more than a musician of meaningful songs. He also wrote, directed, and starred in dozens of movies, for which he wrote or performed some or all of the sound tracks. Like his music, Elvis movies are about simple life themes, like love, relationships, community, commitment, family, patriotism, public service, and God. Gosh his movies are corny, with clunky acting, but they carry important and positive messages Americans could sure use a dose of today.

In the 1950s, when Elvis was debuting, American women were married to the scarred men who had returned from the battlefields or the military training grounds of World War II. A lot of these men were tough, hardened either from the Great Depression or from their military experiences, or both. Romantic thoughts or gestures, tender touches, gentle words with their women were pretty scarce then.

Along came Elvis, singing to these women about loving and relationships they could only dream of, representing a model man they could only hope for. In his way, Elvis taught men of his generation how to respect and treat women right, mostly by singing about the kinds of feelings women had and how men could aspire to satisfy them.

Women screamed and swooned, and men wanted to be his friend.

Meanwhile, other entertainers were singing about banging in the back of a car, and most popular music hasn’t moved too far forward since. OK, it is true that later on Elvis developed that hip thrust, but he let it stand on its own without any words to back it up.

He was a good soldier, literally, volunteering for the US Army at a time when most of the people being drafted to serve in combat were less privileged young men without access to lawyers or school deferments. His military service was mostly symbolic, but inspiring. Asked by a reporter in 1971 what he thought about the anti-war protestors, he responded that he was just an entertainer and would rather keep his opinions to himself.

In private Elvis was no Lothario. Reportedly chaste and deeply religious, his child was born exactly nine months to the day after his marriage to Priscilla. No fooling around or cutting corners.

After developing his own sequined and bejeweled stage look, Elvis wore a freakin cape, and yet still commanded the adoration or respect of everyone around him, be it president of the United States or hard bitten businessmen. He was authentic, real. A humble, simple country boy. With a big shiny gold belt under his coat!

He was relatable, because he was real.

“Before Elvis there was nothing,” said John Lennon of the Beatles.

“When I heard Heartbreak Hotel, I was transported,” said crusty Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, no pushover or soppy romantic.

Elvis’ impact on the development of music was unequaled.

Embodying so many unique, separate, divergent, and ultimately convergent strands of American identity, Elvis was a wonder no matter how you analyze him. He represented the best of America, the best of its values.

Elvis is still be the King of Rock and Roll, four decades after prematurely reaching the Promised Land. His generous spirit lives on, albeit appreciated by fewer and fewer. No one since has attained his heights or impact on popular culture.

America could use a pop culture figure like Elvis today. Someone to bridge the gaps between us, to help inspire and unify us, to sing to us about our best qualities, about love and gentleness.

We need and miss you, Elvis.

Current American Parallels with the Fall of Ancient Rome

In the recent past I have been in touch with some old high school friends.

We were quite close way back then. All remain good people, and we have maintained irregular but meaningful contact for the past 35 years. So any communication between us now is like picking right up where we last left off way back then.

“When are you and your militia friends going to storm DC?” semi-teasingly asks one, a professional resident of Washington, DC.

Immediately I’m thinking “Trump winning pretty much was the storming of DC, in a way.”

But I don’t say it, as the cascade of shallow whining about the election results sure to follow has become regular and boorish among Trump detractors.

“Josh, I was no Hill-Dog lover [Hillary Clinton], and I liked Kasich [presidential candidate], but do you really like Trump?” asks another, this one a successful self-made businessman, his face unhappily wrinkling over Trump Anything.

Given the constant opposition to the Trump presidency from both establishment parties (Republicans and Democrats, or the ‘UniParty’ as some call both parties together), as well as from taxpayer-funded entitlement recipients, some small and many big business folk alike, and especially the media-academia Big Government complex, now seems a good time to remind everyone who has something to lose of the history that brought America up here and could drag us back down.

First, like America, ancient superpower Rome was also “too big to fail,” both in the minds of Romans and their many enemies. They had too much money, too much military power, and the Roman people were living too fantastically a high standard of life to envision it actually dissolving.

In that way, America is no different than Rome, or any other major civilization that has come and gone before us: We perceive we are too wealthy and powerful to fall, and our personal lives are so fantastically comfortable and convenient that we cannot imagine all of it coming undone. It’s just too good. How could it possibly go away?

But fail and fall, Rome did. First sacked in 410 CE by its own mercenaries, and then for good in 454 CE by its mercenaries allied with their ethnic tribes. Inside jobs, both.

Second, like Rome, America is an island anomaly in a sea of big, all-powerful governments, dictatorships, really, domineering little citizens. While by today’s standards ancient Rome may not have been a free society, by the measure of its time it provided a lot of liberty and opportunity to individual citizens, much more than anywhere else.

Rome also had a semblance of the rule of law. Most nation-states back then were simply feudal aggregations of people with swords at the top and field-cropping, over-taxed serfs at the bottom. No rule of law.

Today, Planet Earth still has mostly tyrants and dictators, with a cruel grip on their respective  populace. So, like America now, Rome then had some extra work to do to hold itself together. Government power had to be diffused among senators, army officers, and business people. Standards and expectations were higher among a wider group of people. Government power, societal stability, quality of life did not depend upon the one monarch alone.

Predicting the end of America is almost as silly as predicting “climate change” -caused sea levels catastrophically rising, and super-powerful storms catastrophically leveling human civilization.

Though there is evidence of climate and weather affects on past human civilizations, it is a historical fact that human civilizations come and go of their own accord, usually due to simple power lust and ego. Sometimes environmental destruction rendered the land unfit for habitation. So on that alone we know that some day America will change. And it will not be a change good for the majority of its citizens.

America is nowhere near where Rome was when it fell, in terms of military preparedness. But in other ways we are past where Rome was, in terms of our unsustainable debt, ironically held by some of our worst enemies. The Chinese have become a kind of mercenary banker force, also supplying us with the electronics we use to run our daily lives as well as much of our military. That they are spying on us through their electronics is already proven.

Plenty of people inside and out would like to run America themselves, without the annoying, dirty citizenry in the way.

And yet so many Americans continue to party on, oblivious, as if we are invincible, invulnerable.

Go ahead and tease me, friends. Your ribbing is funny. But you should also be reflecting on the implications of ANTIFA, BLM, OWS etc mobs-cum-militia already rampaging across American streets, including DC and the US Capitol. Those stormings are already under way, under cover of national media and academia. They are real, and neither I nor any militia I know of have anything to do with them.

Go ahead and casually write off people like me, ‘kooks’ who love America in a simple way, a traditional way. We love all Americans, in all their ingenuity and passion for liberty and opportunity, and we have therefore come to despise the power-grab being waged against the citizenry by Big Government latté sippers. In both parties.

Go ahead and smugly dismiss us, mock us, cheerily toast our foolishness.

Just remember in the back of your mind, it is you we are trying to save. God knows, you can’t get it done.

NFL – “No F@#*n Loss”

As part of the entertainment industry’s decades-old war on American culture, ESPN and now the NFL have joined the politically correct pile-on.

Hollywood has led the way, surely, with its movies’ power of suggestion.

That Hollywood increasingly excretes unvarnished political activism in the guise of children’s movies as well as rated R adult movies is a thing of pride to that city; no one there even denies it. Hollywood is really just a communication propaganda arm of one political party.

But you cannot discount the increasing effects of ESPN reporters who now openly write that President Trump and his supporters are “white supremacists,” among many other examples of overt daily political activism by ESPN staff.

When I write “effects,” I mean the boomerang effect, which is where the intended results of one’s actions negatively rebound and injure the person who started it. These are ironic consequences, the best, most well-earned.

Perhaps the pinnacle of this boomeranging political activism is the anti-America statements by NFL players. Taking a knee and not standing during the national anthem wasn’t enough. Now some NFL players are making political videos that are shown at the game opening, or at half-time.

Well, removing the ESPN application from my iPhone was easy. There, ESPN, I am done with you. You are out of my life. See ya!

Over the past few years, ignoring the latest crop of poorly acted, poorly scripted, CGI-heavy Hollywood movies was a little more difficult, because Saturday night out at the movies with ice cream afterwards is a regular family thing. Even a lame movie would nonetheless entertain us and provide food for discussion later on. Like, was the movie’s symbolism consistent with its message? Did the message flow, or did acting anomalies and hiccups sidetrack the message? Was the message worthy, or was it muddled, or even negative?

These kinds of conversations with our kids were always stimulating, because as parents we enjoy watching our children grow. Nonetheless, unless a movie is exceptional in every way, we now decline to spend our money on a product from Hollywood, because that city is constantly at war with our values.

Now we have the National Football League, the NFL, getting all poseur-like. The NFL, too, is starting to see a substantial decline in business income. Why?

Illiterate men of the NFL, who have earned tens of millions of dollars in a few brief years’ time simply for running up and down a field, are out complaining about their station in life. You cannot make this stuff up. We indeed have phenomenally successful young men from disadvantaged backgrounds, whose wealth is largely accumulated from admirers of a different skin color, now claiming discrimination. And therefore, they take a knee during the American anthem.

In short, they tell their audiences and fans to go to Hell.

I don’t deny these guys have a right to stage their silly protests. But I have no duty to watch them, or to listen to their nonsense. And I have the right to stop watching their football games altogether, which is what I have now done.

This past January I called the NFL headquarters in Manhattan. Sharing my opinion of the league’s unwillingness to bring the football games back to being just about the games was the goal of the call. But, try as I might, finding a live human being was impossible. The phone menu just kept rotating through, taking me back to the beginning each time.

So I just started punching random numbers in to the phone.

Next thing I know, I was into the voice mail of a young NFL staffer, whose name I do not recall. But you know I took that opportunity to leave a detailed message on his voice mail.

My message to him was simple: Since I was eleven years old, I have looked forward to new NFL seasons. I always enjoyed watching NFL games.  But that enjoyment has diminished lately because of all the fake moaning, fake victimhood, fake whining by these anti-America grandstanders on the football teams. And so I kindly asked the league to give players a simple choice: Dear employees, play, or leave, but no more political crap on someone else’s dime.

Unsurprisingly, I did not get a call back from anyone at the NFL. The organization seems to take people like me for granted. At their own peril.

Well, I did not watch one single NFL game last year, and I will not watch one single NFL game this year, either. And I will keep spending my time on other activities until the NFL gets its players to commit to just playing the game, and to stop insulting good people who have not had a racist thought in their lives. Or perhaps the time I free up that I used to spend watching NFL games on TV will become better spent, irrespective of the political landscape.

Yes, I know, it is common now for people to assert that disagreeing with them on policy issues automatically means you or I are “racist.” The contrary facts do not matter to them. As a result, nothing has done more damage to the battle to end discrimination and racism than this constant crying wolf by crybullies and rich crybabies.  I am a very good person, I am not a racist, and I am tired of being told I am a bad person because I do not share some silly ideology.

Guys, just play ball. OK?

I have now arrived at a place where the NFL has taken on a new meaning: No F@&#’n Loss to me. I don’t miss it.

 

9-11, still happening in slow motion

“Nine Eleven” evokes images of smoky towers in lower Manhattan, and still photos of planes rocketing toward the towers, and people throwing themselves from the windows to escape the flames, heat, and toxic black smoke.

Finally, the twin towers fell, or rather collapsed, not long after the Muslim hijackers from Saudi Arabia had sacrificed themselves and the passengers on the planes.

Their goal was to attack America, as did their fellow hijackers on other planes that day. Flight 93 went down here in Pennsylvania, and it was my role to try to purchase or protect with conservation easements that landscape around the crash site. Working with staff from the National Park Service was mostly fun, sometimes frustrating, but in the end, the site was secured and the area set aside as a memorial.

Other memorials have been established at the Pentagon and in Manhattan.

But what is a memorial worth if the lesson it memorializes is lost?

After 9-11, our mainstream media did everything it could to cast Muslims as the actual victims of 9-11, not the perpetrators. Certainly not all Muslims can be painted with that hijacker’s brush that day, but it is a fact that throughout the Muslim world the day’s fiery images were greeted with shouts of joy and celebration. Including here in America.

Jihad groups like CAIR quickly went on offense, playing to defensive notions. CAIR and other groups played upon big-hearted Americans’ sense of fairness and justice. And so they demanded that we not only forget that 9-11 was by and for Muslims, but that we actually embrace Islam so that we could come to understand that it is actually a great belief system. Anti-Christian groups like CAIR actually used 9-11 to achieve greater inroads against Christians in America and against Christianity globally.

So far their approach has kind of worked. For example, the mainstream media refuses to report how the Muslim Students Association at a major university is actually holding a big celebratory bake sale today. You have to go one or two layers down into media sources to find this infuriating fact. Another example is that key Trump administration appointees are still cozying up with CAIR and other jihadist groups, in the hopes of makey-nicey public appearances translating into a protection scam on the ground, like the mafia used to do.

“Nice country you got here. Shame it’s so…Islamophobic. We’d hate for some Muslims to take all this Islamophobia stuff the wrong way and start cutting off American heads here…” goes the CAIR sales pitch. And so the State Department and Homeland Security Department are continuing the failed Obama policies, which allowed civilizational jihad to continue.

A new report shows that the government of Saudi Arabia funded a dry-run of the 9-11 events, helping its jihadists perfect their hijacking methods. Why we have not occupied Saudi Arabia and confiscated their oil reserves as punishment and reparations for the damage they caused America is a mystery. Any other self-respecting nation would do that. Like it or not, Russia does that kind of response. And it works.

So here we are, 16 years after 9-11, and the net result is that we are still under attack, just as we were that day. Except this attack is slower, quieter, and playing on our silly notions of fairness and justice, which are being bent and used back against us.

To millions of Americans, the 9-11 memorials are a huge red flag. They are a “WAKE THE HELL UP, AMERICA, YOU ARE UNDER ATTACK” sign, neon on a dark night. As any national memorial should be.

But do Americans have elected leaders who understand what it takes to remember 9-11 in a meaningful way, learn the lesson from that day, and apply that lesson to our laws and policies; that is the question.

Until that question is affirmatively answered in a way that protects and supports America, the answer is that 9-11 continues in slow motion.

 

DACA, Shmaka

“Trump’s decision about DACA makes me feel so sad,” types a dear friend on her FakeBook page.

“It’s not who we are [to turn away or deport illegal minors],” responds another emotional thinker.

DACA was an illegal, unconstitutional executive “action” taken by Obama, circumventing a congress that wouldn’t enable or stamp with approval this and many other similar monarchical decisions by His Highness. Dovetailed with DACA was an illegal freeze by the then executive branch in enforcing actual immigration law.

So Trump issues an executive order to eliminate a prior executive order, DACA. This is the prerogative of the president.

Heaps of emotion cannot change the law on the books. Feeling oh, so so sad can’t change the way the executive branch functions.

Saying DACA is for “the kids” doesn’t work, either. Because it wasn’t ever about kids. You for kids? But for abortion on demand any time any where? How’s that “for the kids”?

Gotta be consistent, folks, because your credibility is melting away with these double standards.

Fact is, DACA is about getting more voters for one political party, and making sure there’s always a new pool of unhappy underclass present to complain about America. One political party needs that. They thrive on it.

So go on and do your job, president Trump. Whenever you hear “DACA,” think “Shmaka” or another naughty rhyming word. That’s what it is– it’s crap.

Hurricane Harvey: Land Use, Not Climate Change

If there has been one big lesson from the sad devastation in the Texas Gulf, it is that poorly planned and poorly implemented land use more than anything is responsible for the catastrophic results.

“Climate change” may be a political science exercise more than a science exercise, but there is no debate about the actual facts on the ground in the Texas Gulf communities like Houston: Residential developments built downstream from watersheds are in the path of a watery bullet or bulldozer. And to think that undisturbed, those watersheds perform highly valued ecosystem services, for free, that no amount of channelizing, dyking, levies etc can come close to reproducing.

For two hundred years America has described any kind of residential and commercial development anywhere as “economic development,” and therefore desirable. And yet, here we have a classic example that some places should not have development. Unless the buildings there can withstand serious flooding. Even then the costs far outweigh the benefits.

I feel terrible for the flooding victims in Houston. Our own home in Harrisburg was built in 1939, in the flood zone along the Susquehanna River. It is a foolish place to build a house, and in 2011 our home had nearly six feet of water in the basement. It is a traumatic, disruptive experience.

To the extent they can help, state and the national governments should try to figure out how to buy out development rights in areas subject to floods, wildfires, and other natural disasters. That is a concrete response to a demonstrated problem. This would be the actual function of government, versus a lot of the silly peripheral “social” functions slowly accreted by government over the past decades.

And this is one of my objections to alleged human-caused “climate change.” It reduces our focus on actual, tangible environmental issues like land use, which we can actually fix.

I am crying over spilt milk

Whether FakeBook causes, accelerates, or encourages the split-up of long standing friendships and friendly acquaintance-type relationships is a subject of endless discussion.

People who for many years, even decades, shared affection for and cheerful enjoyment of one another’s company and personality are now not talking, communicating, or sharing. Instead, one party has abruptly broken off entirely, leaving the other party bemused, hurt, and or frustrated. The drama can be plain silly, because we are talking about adults here who post histrionic things like “If you voted for ________, then just un-friend me, now, please, I beg of you.”

Or it can be more subtle, with people hitting the “ignore” button on a relationship, pretty much tossing the friendship away without the pain of actually breaking off.

This one-sided dynamic plays out most visibly on FakeBook because “likes,” comments, and the number of “friends” are actual numeric measures of a relationship’s quality. And when you start seeing a numeric down-trend in one area, you often see the actual end coming quicker and quicker.

And what is the primary cause of these fractured friendships?

Why political differences, naturally.

Do you recall the poll done about eight or ten months ago (Pew, Gallup? I don’t recall which firm did it, but it was a real polling firm and the results are believable), which showed 39% of self-identified liberals can and will live with a conservative, versus nearly double that for conservatives willing to live with liberals?

That poll showed what many of us have observed personally for some time, and increasingly over the past year: Political correctness has destroyed liberals’ ability to live up to the qualities they claim ownership of, like being tolerant, open-minded, and accepting of differences.

PC has become so intense that now simply belonging to the wrong political party, driving the wrong vehicle, or EVEN HAVING THE WRONG SKIN COLOR is grounds for heaps of burning hatred and criticism. Nothing about this behavior is open-minded. It is not tolerant. And watching people walk around with a burden of hate for all kinds of classes of people makes them look and feel a lot like the other side, the KKK or neo-Nazi side, who are ALSO intolerant and violently hateful.

While the few decades-long friends I and others I know have lost through FakeBook were not violent people, their visceral hatred still burned bright.

Where someone’s burning hate becomes physical violence is a subject for philosophy books, because gut instinct tells you that one naturally follows the other. Seemingly uncharacteristic behavior for the loving and gentle relationship we had enjoyed lo these many years, even decades, suddenly there was the hatred, the intolerance, the violent words, and then the break.

Not one conservative I know of has broken off with the liberals in their lives (because they are liberals), via FakeBook or any other way, but the number of liberals who have broken off with people who are not liberals is legion and legendary.

These liberals’ behavior is the very definition of intolerance.

Do you ever wonder why there is no ‘world peace’?

I do wonder now, and I always have wondered since I was a kid, when the Vietnam War was going strong.

Well, part of the answer to why there is no world peace is that those people who most assiduously claim ownership of being peaceful are those who in personal practice are the least peaceful.

During the Vietnam War, being pro-peace meant being against American war-making in Asia; but those same anti-war people were not against Asians making war against other Asians, or against America. So they were not really, truly pro peace. They were simply anti-America, despite living in and enjoying America.

One test of being peaceful is your ability and willingness to accept differences between one’s self and other people without getting angry, hateful, judgmental, accusatory, or violent. When that inability to accept others turns to intolerance, why then…there is an absence of peace. And you are not a peaceful person. And it is self-evident to those around you.

And no, demanding that people adopt your way of thinking is not being tolerant. Humans have been doing things a few certain ways for thousands of years, and if you want to deviate from that, then asking for tolerance is fair. Demanding acceptance, acquiescence etc at the cost of breaking off (a form of coercion and violence) is unreasonable.

I am crying over all this spilt milk, because to not cry is to lie to myself, and to make pretend that certain unhealthy dynamics are not happening.

I am sad at the lost friendships, whether mine or those of friends of mine, for sure. I am also sad about an America that has everything, certainly more than any other country, and yet is being torn apart by violence and hate in the name of “peace” and “tolerance.”

The relationships between fellow Americans are being torn apart, over what?

This is spilt milk, and I prefer to cry over this now and have a positive, healing, peaceful conversation with someone about this, rather than later cry over something else being spilt as a result of no attempts at healing having been made and the logical outcome of hate and intolerance come to fruition.

Did GOP Senator Toomey Really Flush the First Amendment and Side with the Anti-Free Speech Movement?

We have all watched the Charlottesville debacle and its pathetic aftermath.

In sum, the city administration unilaterally decided to remove a neat old statue of some guy named Robert E. Lee, whom no one today can remember.

So a bunch of protestors decided to peaceably assemble and petition the government with their grievance, specifically that the statue no longer means today what it might have meant when it was erected a hundred years ago, and that it is a work of art, and that it is part of American history, and it should stay.

Then other protestors began to rally around this symbol, and these other protestors are a bunch of racist goofs holding up the most embarrassing signs (and hats, so let me ask you, what is worse, a stupid pointy white hood or a vagina hat…your opinion is as good as any, because they are all really embarrassingly stupid hats) America has seen since the Sore Losers March Against Democracy after Trump was sworn in as President.

In America, even racist goofs (including the racist goofs at Black Lives Matter) have a Constitutional right to free speech, and a right to peaceably assemble to protest, and so these racist goofs did that, along with the history buffs, the art buffs, the southern pride buffs, et al. to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue.

Naturally the media and its local affiliate, the mayor of Charlottesville, whipped up this small event into a frenzy, casting it as something it wasn’t, so they could make it into a national event and try to pin it on who else, but President Trump.

After the violent fracas, purposefully created by the mayor and implemented by racist goofs carrying African National Congress flags and using bats to attack Caucasians around them, Trump was repeatedly attacked for not having condemned just the white skinned racist goofs, but for having condemned ALL of the racist goofs at Charlottesville, including the violent leftists and their willing partners the violent white supremacists.

Nothing Trump said was good enough for the Democrat Party and their communications arm, the mainstream media. Everything Trump said was claimed to be insufficient, insincere, etc., though this was obviously just political grandstanding by his political opponents.

But guess who is a political opponent of President Trump, and who also jumped on the grandstanding bandwagon?

Why, Pennsylvania’s own US Senator Patrick Toomey.

In the recent past, Senator Toomey’s weak behavior begged for a primary opponent, and the only reason he did not get one was that he was facing someone even farther to the left than he, Katie McGinty in the 2016 election. And so we are stuck with this sniveling, whining, weak, spineless tepid little man Toomey for another six years.

Senator Toomey refused to condemn the violent leftists and racists who initiated the attacks on the goofball white supremacists, AS WELL AS ATTACKS ON OTHER PROTESTORS AND EVEN PASSERSBY.

Senator Toomey refused to condemn the Charlottesville mayor who manipulated the confrontation by changing the protest venue at the last minute, thereby ensuring physical contact between the opposing sides and also barring his city police officers from making arrests, except in the most egregious circumstances.

Senator Toomey refused to support the US president’s call for calm and a cessation of violence by everyone committing violence there.

Senator Toomey refused to support the US Constitution’s guarantee of peaceable assembly and petition of government, and in fact his own words spell out his hostility to free assembly and free speech.

Rather, Senator Toomey joined in on the leftist attack on Trump, equating equal condemnation of all racists, white and black, with supporting white racism.

Talk about moral equivalence, this sad excuse for an American Pat Toomey is full of moral equivalence himself, as well as full of political opportunism and spineless jellyfish wobbly-kneed “action.”

Earth to Spineless Weakling Pat Toomey: Bigotry is bigotry, and bigoted violence is bigoted violence, no matter who does it, and it all must be condemned. There are no sacred cows in America, so why are you helping create one?

America’s problems are not going to get resolved by weak, fake ‘leaders’ like Pat Toomey, who make common cause with violent rent-a-mob thugs bent on ending the free speech rights of people they disagree with. In fact, Toomey makes our problems worse.

Here is the email he sent out last week; you judge for yourself:

“This past week our nation was rocked by tragedy in Charlottesville, VA. The acts we saw were a horrifying reminder that there are still those who seek only to divide us.

The racism, hatred, and violence seen in Charlottesville were vile and unacceptable. I am disgusted by white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis and believe the racism and hate spewed by these groups have no place in our society.

Furthermore, there can be no moral equivalency between neo-Nazis, bigots, white supremacists, and those who oppose them. Our country has no room for corrupt ideology or violent acts.

I hope that what occurred in Charlottesville will be an isolated incident. Moving forward, I pray that members of Congress will put politics aside, unequivocally condemn hate and bigotry, and find ways to work together to protect our shared American values of equality and justice for all.”

Yay, it’s county fair season

No matter where you live, it is county fair season.

County fairs everywhere are celebrations of community, family, simple pleasures, and simple, easy fun. That fun usually includes eating really naughty, high-fat, high-carb, high sugar food you would never, ever eat any other time of the year, like funnel cakes.

Yum!

If you get the powdered sugar on your funnel cake, don’t take it on a ride until you’ve eaten it, or you will have a white powder imprint of the funnel cake on your face or shirt. Guarantee it. The small-town carnival machines populating county fairs everywhere specialize in jerky motions to entertain the riders, and those jerky motions always catch people unaware, shoving their food right back into their face or chest.

The fresh smell of farm animals there for show mingles with the smells of the fried food, and it is an acquired taste of a smell, I must say.

Last night I was at the Perry County Fair, which I have gone to for years, out near Newport.

Volunteering at the Duncannon Sportsmen booth is a lot of fun, because I get to interact with the happy public, as they good-naturedly try their hands at small games of chance for a non-profit, educational purpose (the club). Such as, when a little kid lines up the little plastic crossbow loaded with the plastic dart, getting them to shoot it at one of the club members’ hat, instead of the deer target that will win them a soft (“plush”) toy. Laughs all around, as the club members good-naturedly take the abuse. The kid gets the toy anyhow.

One thing we are missing is a dunking pool. I’ll work on that for next year, because there are several guys I just really want to see get wet, in public. And no doubt, we could raise a lot of money with a dunking pool. The Duncannon Sportsmen money goes right back into Perry County, like local 4-H, Boy Scouts troops, volunteer fire and ambulance crews, etc. As my folks would say, the money is just making the rounds, going from one hand to another to another and eventually it finds its way right back to where it started. That right there is the essence of community, ‘all in this together’.

And that is probably my biggest enjoyment of local county fairs, including the Gratz Fair in northern Dauphin County, where I live: The sense of community, the ties that bind us all together. In a time of really fractious political rancor, pushed by the establishment media more than anyone (I mean gosh, have you noticed how all the mainstream media outlets have the same exact message, which is 97% hyperventilating and aggressively negative about President Trump, all the time?), isn’t it nice to get a breath of fresh air and hang out with your fellow citizens in an environment of fun and relaxation, away from all that noise?

County fairs are like a big family picnic, where long-lost cousins show up once a year. Friendly people you wouldn’t otherwise see or interact with, but now you do, and you enjoy it, because people are neat. And at county fairs, everyone just wants to have a fun time.

I like that.

 

Historic American Art vs. NAZI ISIS People

In the 1930s, the German NAZI party identified “degenerate” art that was supposedly representative of “degenerate” culture, officially unfit for Germans.

Paintings, sculptures, drawings, pottery, books, poetry, you name it, if it had any artistic value, the NAZIs scrutinized it carefully. And if that art did not match the NAZI’s new standards, then it was forbiddden, burned, destroyed, or looted and hidden away, to be ransomed and sold off to future buyers outside of the ‘culturally supreme’ Deutchland.

Entire museum collections and privately owned collections throughout NAZI-occupied Europe were looted, damaged, and or destroyed, because the art did not comport with the new standard these Ultra Germans had created. Priceless artifacts were lost forever, at best melted down for their precious metal value.

If you want to see the long-term impacts of this intolerant approach to art, use www.duckduckgo.com to search the phrase “nazi looted art,” and marvel at the sad results. Real Western culture took a huge hit from the neanderthal NAZIs, and the ill effects are still felt today.

Fast forward six decades to ISIS, the puritanical Muslim movement that uses extreme violence and sadistic cruelty to achieve political domination. A lot like the NAZIs, come to think of it.

ISIS has a thing against most art and even historic artifacts, if they do not fit neatly into the Sharia law that ISIS followers believe in.

Ancient Buddhist cliff carvings, imposing and inspiring…detonated into rubble, by ISIS.

Ancient Assyrian cities, buildings, from the beginning of recorded human history….bulldozed and detonated into shards of broken rock, by ISIS.

Important archaeological digs providing useful history, bulldozed by ISIS.

Entire churches looted of anything of immediate value, then burned down, by ISIS.

Entire museum collections either destroyed, or looted and re-sold on the international black market, by ISIS.

Fast forward just a few years to ANTIFA, Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, etc., and now we have priceless American artifacts that belong to the public being outright destroyed by mobs from these groups.

Irreplaceable and beautiful bronze statues of long-dead generals and soldiers are being removed and destroyed either by street thugs enabled by big city mayors, or by the big city mayors themselves.

This is a war on history and art no different than the NAZIs or ISIS.

At the very best, this is simply the mistake of applying new understandings to old history.

Oh sure, the neanderthals claim that these statues are memorials to bad ideas, and sad times, and to some extent there may be some vague shred of truth in that. But to keep these cultural artifacts, these works of high art, is no endorsement of what they may have once captured long, long ago.

Rather, these statues are mute testimonials to our nation’s history, its struggles, and its triumphs. The fact that the Confederacy did not win, due to the intervention and huge sacrifice by hundreds of thousands of Caucasian men from the north, is the real story of these old monuments.

Today we have one American political party that is increasingly at open war with every basic value and idea that undergirds America, as it was founded. These public square symbols are caught up in that party’s war.

That political party has more and more officials doing cheap political stunts, like seizing old bronze statues in the public square, and declaring them “Cherem” (unfit, like ISIS does to the churches it burns), and culturally unfit, like the NAZIs did.

Frankly, there is zero difference between these mayors, and Virginia governor Terry McCauliffe, and the other totalitarian movements that preceded them, like the NAZIs, ISIS, and the Soviets (who tore down beautiful old Russian statues and replaced them with boring, utilitarian statues of Lenin and Stalin meant to project an intimidating political message).

Whether these mayors and governors act unilaterally and use publicly owned machines to take them down, or if they allow their allied street thugs from ANTIFA and BLM to tear them down, while the city police are ordered to make no arrests, it makes no difference.

In the end, these mayors and their violent street soldiers are no different than the worst people in history. But if they win, you can bet they will erect statues of themselves, glorifying their total transformation of America to…God knows what.

Now they are talking about destroying the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC. No lie.

I say we make a stand like a stone wall to protect this historic American art, and stop this insanity, stop this assault on America, by these modern day NAZIs and ISIS thugs.