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Neil Young’s 1970 Protest Song REWRITTEN for 2016!

Following the 1970 fatal violence at Kent State University, Neil Young of Crosby Stills Nash and Young fame performed a song dedicated to his perspective of that sad event. It was written by Patricia Griffin and Robert Plant and published by Universal Music.

Neil Young named his song “Ohio,” a “protest song and counterculture anthem” representative of the Left at that time, and probably today, too. If you remove the lyrics, or replace them as I have here, it’s actually a good song.

Ain’t it funny how what comes around goes around, Mr. Young. Yesterday was the 46th anniversary of Kent State.

Four Dead in Benghazi

(Sung to the tune of Ohio)

A Parody by Josh First

Tin soldiers and Clinton coming,

we’re finally at the “T.”

This summer I hear the drumming,

Four Dead in Benghazi.

Gotta get down to it,

Government letting us down,

she should’ve been gone long ago.

What if you knew Chris,

and saw him in the compound,

How can you run when you know?

Tin soldiers and Clinton coming,

we’re finally at the “T.”

This summer I hear the drumming,

Four Dead in Benghazi.

ISIS soldiers and Clinton coming,

We’re finally able to see,

this summer I hear the drumming,

Four Dead in Benghazi

Four dead in Benghazi,

Four dead in Benghazi

Four dead in Benghazi….

Information on the Bowlby family sought

Information on Edward Salvin Bowlby is being sought for a research project, especially photos from the late 1890s. Please contact Josh if you have knowledge of this interesting man.

Cruz Quixote

Ted Cruz was my candidate until he was clear he’d rather be used by the GOPe to block Trump than stand on his principles, do or die.

Now with another Super Tuesday primary election behind us and boosting Trump, with zero chance of a Cruz win, Ted Cruz has decided to go on a Quixotic anti Trump jihad.

Cruz has made damaging Trump his top principle. Not defeating Hillary. Not promoting an overhaul of the GOP. Nope. Hurting Trump is now Cruz’s raison d’etre.

Pathetic. And unpatriotic.

At this point, a real American would step aside and cheer on the front runner. A real American would consider the national interest before his own.

Not Cruz. Being an obstructionist is now his highest and best use. This is sad to me, as I had thought he was bigger than this juvenile behavior.

It’s so bad that some Pennsylvania Cruz -aligned delegates are talking openly of going to the Republican convention just to work against Trump.

Donald Trump still does not represent my values very well, nor do I trust him to be the warrior in office he is now.  But Trump is a damn sight better than Benghazi Billary, and he’s now our standard barer, for better or worse.

Time to let go of personal ambitions in the greater interest of America. Or maybe move to Canada and just get out of our way.

Our Future Belongs to the Young

After spending years running for office and fighting many political battles on behalf of the common citizen, I was excited to run for State Senate in 2015-2016. It was supposed to be “our time.”

Enter Andrew Lewis, a young guy newly back in the area after a ten year period of service in the US Army.

Some already know the story: In late November hunting season I fell, injured my left knee, and headed in to surgery.

Competing against wealthy land developer John DiSanto was going to be a battle royale I nonetheless felt confident of winning. But with Andrew undermining our campaign base in rural, wonderful Perry County, and with him making up for a lack of money with an abundance of energy and hard work in the door to door arena, it made sense to cut my losses and see if Andrew could get my own agenda done.

After all, I did not relish the prospect of a 33/33/33 result decided by a couple hundred votes in the end.  Our family time and money was worth more at home than on that uncertain kind of a campaign trail.

Andrew had already adopted a great deal of our campaign platform, and when he agreed to term limits and not taking unconstitutional perquisites, I endorsed him.

Here we are, a day out from Election Day.

I am asking you to vote for Andrew Lewis in the Pennsylvania State Senate 15th District race.

Andrew Lewis is a young conservative who represents the future of American leadership.

John DiSanto is a fine man I’ve enjoyed getting to know on the campaign trail, but he has two liabilities: First, his business by its nature has left a trail of unhappy people. That’s not a great selling point in an election where the same people’s votes are needed.

Second, John’s toughness may be an asset in the land development field, but it’s not a great skill set in politics. John’s performance during and after debates demonstrates he is uncomfortable being challenged. If he easily gets testy among a friendly Republican forum, how’s he going to come off in a death match with sitting senator Rob Teplitz?

The 15th senate district should be in traditional American hands, and Andrew has the charm, background, and articulate policy interest necessary to demonstrate to citizens of all political leanings that he has their interests at heart first and foremost.

Please vote for Andrew Lewis on Tuesday.

If it smells bad, it’s bad

Donald Trump wasn’t my candidate. Lacking a political or social track record appealing to my values, he was going to be enjoyed for having mixed it up with the corrupt political establishment.

But then Ted Cruz began behaving in ways inconsistent with my values, too, and I began second guessing my loyalty to his campaign.

American voters across the country have increasingly complained about voterless primaries run by insiders. Actual voters, public opinion, have been shunted aside in Colorado, Wyoming, Indiana, and elsewhere.

We are then lectured about “the rules,” and how if people want to win, they need to play by the rules.

Well, in Georgia there were no rules. It was Lord of the Flies, anarchy, where voter sentiment was tossed out and insiders voted themselves into delegate roles inconsistent with the actual vote outcome.

Rules? The rules here are meaningless. They change with the wind. They’re open to interpretation. They apparently don’t mean much at the end of the Election Day, and across America actual voters are complaining that something smells bad. They’re saying they are being disenfranchised.

If our voters say it smells bad, then it’s bad.

On Facebook some people I know and respect assert that Trump is “whining” about losing, that he’s disorganized, that he doesn’t care about or want to learn the various state rules. That he doesn’t want to play by the rules.

Problem with this thinking is, Trump is merely giving voice to the hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens feeling shut out from their political process. When our fellow citizens express these concerns, we must listen. When they say they’re being ripped off by insiders playing by rules that are by their nature fast and loose, we should listen.

When voting fails, the fabric of society is tearing.

Real conservatives are principled. First and above all else, conservatives follow our Constitution and the basic, essential principles devolving from it. Like one citizen, one vote as the basis of our republic.

People who say they don’t care about these claims, who say they don’t care about Trump or his supporters, are really saying they just want to win and they don’t care how they do that.  And that right there is as unprincipled as it gets.

Cruz’s character is being tested here. In my sad opinion, this candidate I donated to, campaigned for, lined up endorsements for in Pennsylvania, is demonstrating poor character. He should be disavowing the voterless primaries he has “won,” as well as the delegates he has “turned,” despite the will of the voters who created those delegates in the first place.

No question, Cruz better represented my values early on. But now, his actions say that my perception of his values was wrong. And thus, I’m not voting for that, or him. I’m voting for the voters and their voice, their best advocate, Donald Trump.

Farewell Senate Campaign Page, Hello ol’ Blog!

With the Pennsylvania Primary election just eleven days away, the time has arrived to go back to the blog and leave the campaign policies and pledges to candidates Andrew Lewis and John DiSanto.

The last blog post was in June 2015. How surprising it was back then to see the amount of traffic the blog received, and from all corners of the world. Most of our readers were from Harrisburg and Washington, DC, two government hot spots and centers for policy development. Wonks galore in those two locations. But then there were the places like Washington STATE, Louisiana, Upstate New York, and California, where many fewer dedicated policy weenies reside. Even recently a bearded Democrat said he missed this blog, “Even though I don’t agree with you a lot of the time, you are a good writer and you have interesting subjects.”

So we begin again. However, with the election just days away, you can expect some politicking to occur here. Welcome back, dear reader.

Hunting licenses, 1976 and 2015

Since my first hunting license adorned my back way back in 1976-1977, a lot has changed in the Pennsylvania landscape.

For example, wild game then so abundant that you could go out and shoot a couple for dinner is now practically extirpated.

Why pheasants and quail disappeared from Pennsylvania is a big debate with no clear answers. Loss of farmland to sprawl, low density development is one. Changes in farming practices is another; fallow fields had the best habitat. A plethora of winged and four legged predators cannot be discounted. Successfully rebounding populations of raptors like hawks and owls for sure ate a lot of plump pheasants. But why a sudden and dramatic crash?

Conservation successes since 1976 are plentiful and say a lot about wildlife biology. Wild turkey populations, fishers, bobcats and other animals once thought completely gone are now firmly in our lives, whether we see them, or not.

An interesting dynamic is playing out at our hunting camp. This year we have a virtual carpet of oak and hickory seedlings unlike anything we saw over the past 15 years we’ve owned it. Why?

Conventional wisdom is the deer population is low, and it’s true that it’s lower than it has been in 15 years. That is, deer are known eaters of acorns and tree seedlings. Fewer deer means more of both.

However, another factor seems to be playing out with these newly abundant tree seedlings. Where we once had an incredible overload of tree rats, aka squirrels, the new fishers have eaten them all. Like all of them. Not one tree rat remains in our carefully cultivated forest of white oaks. We see fisher tracks. We neither see nor hear squirrels.

As squirrels are known eaters of acorns and hickories, it stands to reason that their absence means more acorns and hickories hatching into baby trees.

Add a long icy winter that appears to have crushed our local wild turkey populations, also known for eating nuts, and the right conditions emerge to help a forest rebound and grow some new stock, a huge challenge we aggressively tackle every year.

So, my son getting his first hunting license yesterday is now entering a landscape that in some ways is just as dynamic as the one I began hunting so long ago.  What a difference these landscapes were and are, and who would’ve guessed the fishers would be responsible for oak and hickory forests regenerating?

A lot has changed in our wildlife landscapes, and yet not much has changed in my lifetime. Different animals, same kind of population changes, variations, pressures. One thing I keep reminding myself: It’s all natural, these changes. And while some are painful to see, like the loss of pheasants, other opportunities open up. Never would I have imagined in 1976, nor would any PA Game Commission staff, that in 2015 my son would get a bobcat tag and a fisher tag with his license.

Totally different opportunity than chasing pheasants in corn fields, but still good.

Power can corrupt, but some people worship power before they ever get it

“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” goes one famous observation.

Here in Pennsylvania we’ve had one long going example of power-mad officials using their office to attack symbols of their political opponents, and we’ve had one recent example of a nudnik mayor whose goal in life was to finally acquire power, and who then flubbed it publicly.

Long-term: Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane dropped a bomb of false accusations and police with guns on Brian Bolus, his wife, his little boy. Bolus had the temerity to be cited by then governor Tom Corbett as a classic example of bootstrap capitalism, an all American kid who did well.

Corbett- Republican, Kane, Democrat. So Kane uses the power of her office to attack Corbett by proxy.

Years later, the AG has nothing, zero, to prosecute Bolus. Brian’s personal effects and titles to his paid-for home and vehicles are not in his possession, and the home video surveillance footage of the day the Gestapo visited his house is somehow missing.

Now why would criminal investigators “lose” the security video footage of their violent, over-the-top raid on a peaceful family? Could it be damning? Ummmm, you know it.

The Bolus attack is an obvious abuse of power by an AG drunk on influence and deep corruption, as if hiring her own sister into a sensitive public service job wasn’t bad enough.

Another reason for Kane to begone. And give back the Bolus family their personal things before ya hit the road, lady.

Short-term: Harrisburg cops terrorize, bully, threaten, harass, intimidate and falsely accused a 75-year-old Marine named Robert Ford on Memorial Day.

Ford’s crime? Wearing his fifty-year-old US Government issue Marine Corps uniform in public, where he had earlier performed Taps at a Memorial Day event. In other words, no crime.

Public outrage against the two Harrisburg keystone kops has grown ever since, with the story hitting media and blogs coast to coast. Officers Moody and O’Connor will not apologize for their unprofessional behavior, but making things worse…neither will Mayor Eric Papenfuse.

Papenfuse has excused the police officers and said they did nothing wrong.

This, from a man who hung around and lauded former anti-police terrorists. This from a man purveying his Yale undergrad degree as proof of his superiority. Apparently Yale doesn’t teach Morality 101, or Papenfuse was just so smart, too smart to take such a course.

So here we have an inexperienced used bookstore owner who used to accuse the police of being criminals, now wallowing in his newfound power, high on power, unable to break out of its grip and just do the right thing.

Yep, power corrupts. Let’s hope our citizenry corrects it.

Eric Papenfuse, you owe Robert Ford an apology

The following story is found at http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2015/06/harrisburg_artsfest_veteran_st.html#incart_m-rpt-2.

The other day, a Harrisburg Police officer aggressively harassed an old Marine dressed in his uniform, accusing him of stolen valor.  That is where people wear military uniforms and medals they are not entitled to wear.  They do it to make themselves appear better, cooler, tougher.  Turns out, the old Marine, Robert Ford, was in fact honorably discharged from the US Marines a long time ago, and the uniform he proudly wore was given to him by the US Government.  He had just finished performing “Taps” at a Memorial Day ceremony and decided to walk over to ArtsFest along Front Street and the Susquehanna River.

American citizens cannot be expected to put up with this kind of over-reach and abuse of power.  It is official malfeasance, which is actionable. Harrisburg City has real crime problems.  This is Bad Government, Exhibit A. My God, what is happening here?

Questions about this videotaped and photographed event abound:

a) Will Detective (!) John O’Connor offer an apology to Ford?

b) Will Detective (!) O’Connor be demoted or terminated for his wildly unprofessional, threatening, bullying behavior of a free citizen?

c) Will Mayor Papenfuse have anything to say? Will he do anything?

d) Will Harrisburg police Captain Deric Moody also apologize, or be demoted? Moody’s behavior is almost worse than O’Connor’s, because he compounded the initial antagonistic behavior and then tried to cover it up.

Folks, Harrisburg is in trouble, deep trouble, and unless elected officials are quick to get these kinds of situations under control, a festering culture develops.  Recently I discovered that yet another city agency is once again making bad decisions in a vacuum.

Mayor Papenfuse, an apology from your police officers is Job #1.  Other elected officials should chime in, too.

 

A well-deserved Thank You to some stalwarts in the shooting sports

Since early childhood and Wyeth paintings of Captain Kidd and pirates bearing cutlasses and flintlock pistols, old timey guns and edged weapons have gripped my imagination.

No, there is no oddity here in that. There is no eccentric or weirdo behavior resulting from this affliction.  In a sporting world increasingly enamored of stainless steel and plastic firearms, bearing Hubble Telescope-like magnifying scopes capable of coldly assassinating animals at half a mile or longer, being a nut for simple guns of old steel, open sights, and darkened walnut sets one apart more on the side of sanity.

When these old guns last hurt someone, the War of 1812 was a recent memory; maybe some time in the 1890s a kid playing with one hanging above the mantle managed to unintentionally bag his grandma in the living room.

In 1994, a pile of them were dumped into the trash by one of my neighbors in suburban Maryland, because they were “guns,” and therefore bad, apparently, despite each one being representative of one artistic school or another, each a canvas of steel and wood, not fabric. Together worth a new luxury car at that time, and today each worth a single car.

Dumping them in the trash was that recent widow’s own self-inflicted wound.

In general, these quality antique firearms and their “modern” descendants, including the black powder express rifles, double barrel shotguns, nitro double barreled rifles, and single-shot stalking rifles, pose no risk to humans and are a threat to four-legged animals only when used with hard-won, developed skill and hard-earned, focused woodcraft. After all, these weapons require their user to approach wary wild game within at least 150 yards, and well within 100 yards is preferred, where noses, ears and eyes easily tell the quarry “RUN! NOW! FAST!”

No assassinations here.  Hunting skill is the key.

Many of these guns were made at a pivotal time in human and technological history when steels were dramatically improving in hardness and durability, explosives were well on their way to matching our best fireworks today, electricity-powered machinery was becoming more available and more precise, human labor was still abundant and relatively cheap, and standards of craftsmanship were still exceptionally high so that each item a worker produced carried his or her pride of best abilities applied.

Finally, remote stands of ancient walnut trees and other tree species, long neglected for their timber and enjoyed by the natives for their fruits and nuts, became known and available by steam locomotive, pack mule, and steam ship. Wood from these trees captured a time when few factors reared their hands against the relatively soft material, and so they grew slowly in peace and quiet in far-off lands and places, each decade adding a narrow band of dense and highly figured curl and figure to what would eventually become a stunning, valuable gunstock in London, Suhl, Ferlach, and Belgium.

Today, such firearms, and even reproductions of them, are highly sought after by harmless romantics seeking to hunt but not necessarily to kill, to capture the essence of bringing an aesthetically pleasing hand-craft to the necessary bloodletting in harvesting wild game; basically, to class-up and improve the joint a bit with style and understated elegance.

Certainly there are representations of this time period among our most favorite buildings around the planet, so if “guns” elude you, your emotions, or your tastes, think of beautiful, carefully constructed, famous buildings that inspire people (or furniture, or cars, or or or…). Then you should understand that those nerdy, harmless romantics actually carry such high art around in the woods, and that being a nut for such specimens of humankind’s best mechanical and artistic abilities is not such a strange preoccupation, after all.

It is an aesthetic pursuit, with a bang.

As this right here is not a book, and as it is merely my own small, off-hand, and brief attempt to say Thank You to people who have distantly but materially added to my quality and enjoyment of life, just three institutions are receiving mention today, though many many many more deserve kudos, too (Steve Bodio comes to mind, or Ironmen Antiques, and and and…).

First, a big thank you to the Cote Family, the hard working founding publishers of the Double Gun & Single Shot Journal (DGJ), 1989 to present. Without the DGJ, aficionados of old but not the oldest or most popular firearms would have but occasional and fleeting mentions in Grey’s Sporting Journal, American Rifleman, and hard-to-find tomes filled with errata and alchemy.  DGJ captures both the spirit of old hunting tools and methods, and the details required to make the whole endeavor successfully fall into place now.

Without the DGJ, Capstick and Pondoro and similar oldies-but-goodies would be most of the reading available to us.  Yes, yes, Roosevelt’s African Game Trails and his other hunting books are phenomenal, but how many times over can a person read them?

So a huge Thank You to the Cote family for keeping the DGJ going.

Second, DGJ hosts such gifted analysts as Sherman Bell, whose decades-long “Finding Out for Myself” series of articles has put to rest silly notions about using black powder and nitro-for-black substitutes (yes, you can kill a beautiful buck with style, elegance, and woodcraft, you do not have to be an assassin to be successful), the safety of Damascus barrels (yes, they are safe with modern shells), and other interesting myths and facts surrounding Grandpa’s old gun on the mantle.  Thank You to Sherman Bell, for enriching my life in small but directly meaningful ways with these beloved and useful artifacts.

Finally, a huge Thank You to noted gun writer Ross Seyfried, whose introspective writings and wanderings in DGJ and elsewhere have inspired many others to pick up the double rifle or single shot, and shelve the plastic contraption, once again capturing the spirit, at least, of fair chase. And Thank You, Ross, for your own steady, incredibly patient guidance and knowledge as I walk my own path.

Yes, I know, you too had your mentors, and they too held your hand and guided you along your path. We have walked those paths with you in the Matabeleland of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and the hills of Elk Song in Oregon. But in a culture of increasingly shallow or fragile relationships, expectations of immediate gratification, point-and-click ‘knowledge’, plastic contraption guns, brief patience, half-mile assassinations of unstalked animals, and so on, being a junior apprentice to someone like you is a pleasurable rarity, and an honor.

Ross, I pledge I will do my best to follow in your footsteps and do as you have done with me: Passing along all of my knowledge of the old things, the old ways, the class and the grace — what little I possess!, to those who want them. I will withhold nothing from that next generation.