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Archive → December, 2017

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.

Judge Roy Moore is a Victim, and He is Going to Win Alabama

Judge Roy Moore is a candidate for the vacant US Senate seat in Alabama.
Moore had the temerity, or strength of character, to openly criticize a bipartisan political establishment that is destroying America from within.
As a US senator, he would be in a unique position to openly confront those same people who cling to power and lord it over a cowed American public.
For that “crime” Moore has suffered unbelievable attacks on his character from top elected officials in both main parties, as well as endless fake news and tens of millions of Dollars spent to deliver it all to the voters of Alabama.
If you are at all interested in this story, then you can simply start to read about it. Read widely. Look for the facts, as opposed to the common fake news started and spread by the Washington Post.
The Washington Post is not a news organization. Rather, it is an aggressive communication arm of the political party opposing Moore’s quest to fill that senate seat.
This is a gentle way of saying the Washington Post is a propaganda machine.
An example of this is how the organization simply repeats lies like Moore has seven, eight or nine “accusers,” as if somehow he is awash in sexual harassment claims.
As it turns out, Moore has been accused of sexual anything by two women, not seven or nine, one of whom sounds somewhat credible, and the other is now being shown to be a bold faced liar.
The lady with credibility describes how forty years ago (40!) Moore invited her to his home for sex when she was a teenager (she was then at the age of consent in Alabama, which for a Yankee like me is pretty bizarre), and how she went there, and then declined, he accepted that and then he took her home.
The balance of the women involved simply say that they were young when he asked to date them, and that there was no sex-anything about it.
To call these women “accusers” is a lie. It is not true, it is not truth.
This is simply an effort by the Washington Post and the bipartisan political establishment in Washington to keep Moore away from their taxpayer-funded honey hole.
Moore has done absolutely nothing wrong, though where I am from the age of consent in Alabama is pretty freaky and it makes me uncomfortable.
Nevertheless, the guy has clean hands, and the accusations against him are junk, lies, made up political assassination to try to keep him from getting to Washington and upsetting the apple cart.
Moore is up in the polls, some showing a 5% lead, others a 15% lead.
Either way, it is likely that Moore will win this senate race, and that he will be seated. He has done nothing wrong, and therefore cannot be subjected to further attacks by ethics committees or other organs of the state.
What has bothered me the most about this is how craven the “moderate” Republicans have been. People like pollster Frank Luntz, and local politicos like Charlie Gerow (who I have always liked and admired), have sought to stay on the anti-Moore bandwagon. It just looks like they are trying to curry favor with the liberal media, as if they are afraid of the media, instead of doing the right thing and standing up to it and confronting its open warfare against the American People, against their form of government, and against honesty, truth, and accuracy.
Everyone shoulder to shoulder now with Judge Roy Moore, for America, for truth, for honesty.

You call that resistance? THIS is Resistance

Over the weekend at a lovely social event arranged by dear friends and populated by wonderful people, I was approached by a well meaning and hell-of-a-nice-guy doctor.
This is a man who has helped my oldest kid with her career choices, and who is always a friendly and pleasant person to spend time with.
So, despite wanting to talk with me about a subject that is beyond passe for me, I stood with him and others interested in this subject, and let him explore the many “common sense” and “reasonable” ways government can steal my liberties.
While trying to stay focused on the wide variety of quality spirits available within arm’s reach, I answered his questions as best I could.
“Why can’t we just take all semi-automatic rifles and lock them up at a range? Then when you want to go shoot them, you go to the range and get your gun,” he proposed.
Then, as an afterthought, the good doctor admitted “I don’t know much about guns, I don’t like guns, and I am afraid of guns, but I am interested in what you have to say.”
In stepped another helluvaniceguy doctor, an organ transplant specialist renowned locally for probably being the most genuinely kind and thoughtful person on Planet Earth.
“I am a liberal, but because my dad hunts I grew up with guns and I can tell you right now, you are not going to eliminate crime by restricting the rights of the law-abiding,” he said.
Having a political ally at a social event is an uncommon and most welcome opportunity for me, so I just sat back and let the two doctors politely muddle their way through the subject of gun control.
Finally, I was again asked my opinion, and with no one else in the circle of drink holders willing to step in or step up, I took a deep breath and said
“If you come for my guns, I will kill you or go down fighting trying to kill you.”
You might guess this caught the nice, inexperienced doctor by complete surprise.
The idea that his long time friendly acquaintance would openly admit such a psychotic goal was shocking, and it showed on his face. He was stunned and uncomfortable.
“Hey, if you were able to implement the gun confiscation policies you just listed, what you call common sense gun control” I said, “then you would have de facto declared war and death on me, my friends, and family. So I am just telling you that we would meet fire with fire.”
It appears that so many people have so much faith in big government, that they cannot imagine what the actual, practical implementation of their ideas would mean.
When someone talks about “common sense gun control,” they are inevitably talking about gun confiscation and the elimination of the Second Amendment liberty on which America was founded. Some activists have become brazenly open about this goal, after decades of pooh-poohing it, denying it, and calling wary gun owners “kooks” for believing they did, in fact, mean to take away guns from law abiding citizens.
Gun confiscation means going door to door and taking away guns, or sending threatening letters to gun owners followed up by home visits from police.
None of this gun control has any connection to crime control. Zero.
In fact, gun control and gun confiscation increases crime, because criminals do not follow the law, they will hide their guns from the police, and they will use their guns to further victimize a now disarmed population.
So, when some well ignorant, intellectually lazy, but well-intentioned person tells me they are going to in effect declare war on my family, by way of invading our home, taking our property, and threatening our life, limb or liberty for some vague purpose, I now simply respond “We will see you at the barricades.”
Or something similar to what I said to the doctor, and what I said after a live TV debate with a pro-gun control police chief (to be accurate, we were behind the stage and I said that if I were driving down the road in his jurisdiction and saw him in duress, I would immediately risk my life and come to his aid, and that if he came to my home to take my guns, I would kill him. He was unfazed and admitted that since moving to Central Pennsylvania, local citizens had said the same thing to him repeatedly).
It really is that simple.
Or as I said to the nice doctor, if you sic armed thugs on me (a law-abiding citizen), I will be an armed thug in response.
Because that is what this gun control issue has come down to. Probably like abortion to some other Americans, who assert they will not comply with laws restricting abortion.
As is otherwise so casually asserted these days, this is actual “resistance” to political interference.
People want to talk resistance?
Try to take my guns. You’ll get to see what real resistance looks like, then.
So can we please talk about something else? This subject has grown boring.
There are no gun grabbing schemes that I am going to agree to. There is no such thing as “common sense gun control,” and no matter how much a person tries to doctor it up and make it sound “reasonable,” there is no way I will go along.
The answer is simply “No.” I will not obey any more such laws.

Now would someone please pass me the bottle of Scotch, no not that one, yes, that one, and some cheese and crackers?