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My letter to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions

April 12, 2018

Honorable Jeff Sessions, Attorney General

U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Sessions,

When you recused yourself from a potential 2016 Russia collusion investigation, you did so out of a sense of respect for the American justice system. It was an honorable thing to do. Good for you.

Now, however, the American people see that the entire premise of the Russia collusion investigation is false. It is based on lies and deceit, law breaking and deep corruption at the highest levels of the US Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This investigation has become an open-ended fishing expedition, a political witch hunt, a farce. Nothing about it is justified. In fact, the actual criminals are walking free, and apparently their known crimes are not being investigated. America hangs on a precipice.

That an illegal warrant to wiretap a political candidate and then president-elect was obtained through the fake “dossier,” which was created by the Hillary Clinton campaign in collusion with Obama administration appointees at DOJ and FBI, is unthinkable. It is an enormous crime. It is the biggest political corruption scandal in America’s history.

Text messages show that FBI Agent Peter Strzrok is a corrupt public servant. Why is he still employed at the FBI? Why isn’t he being investigated for his obvious corruption?

The FBI will not cooperate with Congress. FBI staff will not release documents to Congress that the FBI Inspector General already has. A huge cover-up is under way, right in front of us, the American people. Why is FBI Director Wray allowed to remain in his position and behave this way, in complete defiance of everything that America stands for – transparency, the rule of law, and official accountability?

Knowing all this, why are you still recused? You are needed in this fight.

This is not the same “investigation” that you thought it was in early 2017. It is clearly wrong, unjust, un-American. Mr. Mueller is a rogue and illegal force, covering up evidence of crimes from the previous administration and attacking people who are trying to shed light on those crimes. His work is purely political retribution, disconnected from any legal justification. If anything, Mr. Mueller must be investigated for his role.

I am asking you to un-recuse yourself and get directly involved in this situation. America needs your strong and aggressive leadership, your firm hand, passionately seeking actual justice based on facts. Every day that this blatant injustice is allowed to continue America gets weaker. If you cannot get back in the fight for America’s life, then I beg of you to resign and allow someone with strength and courage to take your place. I feel like you are dithering away our nation’s most precious moments, our last breaths as a free republic.

Thank you for considering my request,

Josh First

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Why is today Tax Day?

Today is “Tax Day,” if such a thing could or should be celebrated or even noted among civilized peoples.

It is like marking “Oppressive and Scary Invasive Big Government Day” on your calendar.

Historically, tax collection involved brute force, some raping and pillaging to convey a sense of inevitability. A ‘heavy hand’ at best, done by the most powerful at the expense of the least powerful.

Historically, poor peasants hid what they could from tax collectors, who treated the poor working people and small landholders as a host body on which to parasitize, slowly sucking out the life force. Like a  vampire, concentrating vast wealth collected from a large number of people into the hands of a very small number of people.

Historically the extracted wealth was concentrated in the hands of nobles, monarchs, empires.

In more modern times Socialists stole private wealth by revolution or through bureaucratic means, and repurposed it in the name of “income redistribution.” But somehow socialism always involves keeping the Socialists in complete power, too. Over the peasants, once again. Cuba, Soviet Russia, China, and now Venezuela…all totalitarian, authoritarian, unfair, failed. And Socialist.

By its very nature, humans in centralized authority always crave more money, because money translates into soldiers with weapons and thus, more power, more control over other people.

Centralized government always craves more money, even in a democracy or republic, because money translates into more bureaucratic and enforcement power. People in centralized government get to make decisions for everyone else. It’s an ego trip. Rarely does all that bureaucracy actually become tangible services to the actual taxpayers at the ground level, where people live their daily lives.

Consider America.

America was originally created as a confederation of autonomous states, obligated to one another through the concept of ‘full faith and credit’, where the licenses and official bureaucracies of each state would be accepted by all the others. As equals, though different from one another, slightly unified through a weak central government. If you didn’t like the way one state ran things, you could move to another state. Rarely did you, the citizen, encounter the central government.

When the issue of slave states and free states arose in 1794, the states nearly went to war against one another, and finally did so in 1860.

Today a lot of urban Americans are unabashedly rethinking a great deal of what it means to live in America. Even things that have been settled since the nation’s founding, like basic freedoms. In much of their thinking, states are no longer autonomous, but are rather vassals to or withered appendages of the  central government in Washington, DC. Citizens are no longer free to make their own decisions, and smarter, better-educated technocrats with the best of intentions will make those decisions for them.

Some of this urban rethinking of what it means to be an American is pretty radical stuff, and all of it involves a much stronger centralized government. The kind of centralized government that can quickly and authoritatively reach deep into the personal lives of all citizens, and threaten them with severe punishment for not following the new rules which the urbanites envision.

For example, these largely urban Americans now openly want to criminalize the otherwise peaceful ownership of basic firearms (AR15s, and semiauto shotguns and rifles), and clamp very tight controls on the ownership of all the other firearms they would allow (bolt, pump, lever actions, even single shots). They look at the Second Amendment to the US Constitution and simply scoff. They themselves do not want to own or use these damned guns, so why would anyone else?

Turn them in, or else!

Another largely urban idea is the notion of human-caused global climate change (begun as the former global cooling, then global warming, now global climate change). It is premised on the otherwise very real fact that humans have previously and continue even now to seriously degrade the natural environment that sustains us.

But a bunch of urbanites and false academics want to criminalize and severely punish the non-belief in human-caused climate change, a well-deserved rejection of heavily politicized climate change “science.” Despite the fact that these urbanites have a greater and less sustainable impact on the natural environment than rural landowners.

That all these crushing new rules and laws are not directly connected to crime reduction or pollution reduction is an indication of how radical these ideas are, how radical the urbanites have become. There is no direct link between one thing and the other, no cause-and-effect result, but they want it nonetheless.

These proposed laws and rules are about bureaucratic control, that is all. No pretenses are made at amending the Constitution to achieve these changes.

Rather, these changes to constitutional rights would simply be done by legislative power grab or even worse, by executive fiat, which the Obama administration began experimenting with.

Their best argument is that “times change and we all need to change with it,” i.e. certain guns do not fit these modern times and therefore must go away.  But the time-honored established process for legitimately implementing that change is not suggested by the advocates of change.

Historically, huge swings in American law and custom were mostly associated with major improvements in lifestyle. For example, the 13th (ratified 1865), 14th (1868), and 15th (1870) Amendments were all about freeing and then protecting the African slaves.

After the 15th Amendment, for another 43 years America did not ratify another constitutional amendment, probably because the changes in rights and then law resulting from those three big amendments took a long time to digest politically and culturally.

Four long decades later, in 1913, the 16th Amendment was ratified, giving the US Congress the “power to lay and collect taxes on incomes…” This was a huge change in American politics and culture, as it concentrated tremendous authority, power, and wealth in the hands of a relative few in the nation’s capital.

Today this is known as the Income Tax, and it concentrates tremendous power into the hands of the few, funding everything the central government does, and much more, including returning to some states and foreign allies parts of that collected money. Or funding heavily politicized “research” into “gun crime” and “climate change.”

So here we are 105 years later after the 16th Amendment was ratified, and after such a long time Americans can really legitimately now ask themselves if this way of funding the central government is effective, fair, or consistent with a constitutional republic that puts the freedom, liberty, and happiness of its We The People citizens first and foremost.

In the context of prior constitutional change, 105 years between amendments is a long time, and one could easily argue that America is now overdue for a revisitation to the income tax. Or at least a hearty debate about it.

A flat rate tax is the fairest, most efficient. Why don’t we do it that way?

Plenty of evidence now that the 16th Amendment’s income tax is inefficient and unfair, and worse, that it results in an invasive, un-American GOTCHA! government culture where unaccountable bureaucrats are back to terrorizing the peasants with all kinds of sudden searches, house tossing, life-and-liberty-threatening activity with the power of official coercive force behind them. The IRS was turned into a weapon against conservative groups with which the Obama administration disagreed.

We are back to Medieval times with this kind of official behavior, and it is really not the kind of government that America was founded on or meant to be. Quite the opposite.

You could argue pretty effectively that the Income Tax has not been good for American citizens, and that the 16th Amendment (or the IRS) concentrated too much power in the hands of too few unaccountable central government employees.

The complete failure of the 18th Amendment (ratified 1919, repealed 1933), known as “Prohibition,” which was a complete ban on alcohol, reminds us that America went through a previous round of control-freak exploration around the same time as the 16th Amendment. Very similar to what is being proposed now by today’s modern Prohibitionists, this time against guns and personal freedom. Their “war on drugs,” “war on poverty,” and a zillion other do-gooder laws haven’t worked to eliminate or even reduce crime, so why not go back to holding up the old law-abiding people for better results?

After all, people control is the real goal, as it always has been since time immemorial.

It stands to reason that American citizens would now revisit Tax Day and the 16th Amendment altogether. Consider them for abolishment or replacement, because on the other hand we have a pile of urban Americans demanding that about fifty million fellow citizens be turned into criminals overnight by virtue of simply exercising their Constitutional rights with firearms or freedom of conscience.

I mean, if something so basic and fundamental as personal freedom is being questioned and slated for abolishment, then heck, let’s really open up the process to include subjects and government activity long, long overdue for review, like tax collection. One should naturally follow the other.

Motorcycle haiku

this peaceful valley is so beautiful

nature’s tranquil serenity is so rare

why are some motorcycles so loud?

Haiku

Fair trade, Yes

Historically, free trade American-style has come at a huge price to Americans.

Often defined by the same unsustainable standards that bring us endless illegal immigration today, free trade agreements between America and our trading partners have always treated America as a bottomless wallet. America could “afford” to give up more and absorb more costs, just because we were so rich and so great and kind-hearted (went the thinking, even among American decision makers).

America never got the “free” or even the good end of “free trade,” and it always got the burden of abiding by external tariffs on American goods and internal dumping that we could not legally identify, that enable our trading partners to undercut American-made prices every single time, no matter what the item.

So now there is a debate about how trading relationships between America and the world should be structured. If China, for example, has big tariffs on American goods, then it stands to reason that we Americans would benefit from placing similar tariffs on imported Chinese crap. Right?

I mean, fair is fair is fair. If one party can do it, the other can do it, too.

People treat one another fairly every day, and each side benefits in the way that they see fit for themselves. It is a good way to run a relationship.

Thus is fair trade born. The idea that trade ought to be fair, just straight up balanced without artificial contrivances giving one side an unfair advantage, based on symmetrical relationships and transparent production costs.

For example, China tolerates no equal opportunity hiring laws, no environmental laws, no workman’s compensation laws, no feminist demands for equal pay, etc. Chinese citizens who advocate for those things are either shot or jailed. Under those artificial conditions, China is able to produce almost any item far cheaper than Americans, who must comply with all of these laws and social pressures, and much, much more.

On top of that starting point, China will dump its own products at below-cost prices, just to swamp the competition and drive them out of business.

Fair trade tolerates none of this make-believe.

If China, again just as an example, wants to sell us a car here in America, fine. Sell it. Ship them over, and let’s see what the market will bear. But if we want to sell cars in China, by gosh, let us sell them there, for whatever the market will bear.

Free trade is one of those theoretical ideas that never really happens, try as one might. Like the magical unicorn under a rainbow, it paints a pretty picture, but it is mostly myth or fantasy.

Fair trade, yes.

Why I am voting for Paul Mango for governor, and not for Scott Wagner

When I stood out for twelve hours in the freezing weather four years ago, handing out Scott Wagner for Senate brochures at a polling place in York County, I was helping Pennsylvania elect someone to state government who promised to remain independent of political party leaders and the insider dealings that are the despicable hallmark of Pennsylvania Republican party politics.

Within a few months of Wagner’s historic upset win over a creaky establishment, I began to regret his obvious character flaws. And then six months later I had the unfortunate experience of having Wagner lie through omission to my face.

“Yeah, I know John DiSanto,” said Wagner.

What Wagner did not say was that he was aggressively promoting DiSanto as a would-be candidate for state senate. Fast forward another six months, and DiSanto was on track to be the state senator for the 15th district. He has been a huge improvement over the former senator, Rob Teplitz, a political radical out of place here in this region who was also dedicated to his constituents.  I have no real hard feelings about DiSanto now bearing the burden of serving in state government, as it comes with big personal costs that I realize I would not want.

But I saw then that Scott Wagner was not the straight-up guy a lot of us believed he was when we worked hard to get him elected.

Wagner has this habit of ascribing to himself full responsibility for his material and political successes. As a capitalist I applaud anyone who can and does leave to their son or nephew a running business and millions of dollars. And I also applaud those people who are strong enough to take those inheritances and build on them, instead of squandering them, as so many Americans do.

But it upsets me to hear Wagner take credit for these things when he was simply the beneficiary of other people’s hard work.

No, Mr. Wagner, you did not win that special election in York County all by yourself.

Rather, we, the hard working campaign volunteers won it for you, by getting fired up people out to every polling place in the district and demonstrating to the voters that we, the people, wanted you to be elected. Voters saw our passion and responded by handing the GOPe a tough and well-deserved loss.

No, you did not create that trucking business as you constantly claim, you inherited a good portion of it.

Two days ago at a dog-and-pony show press event, Scott Wagner released a phony “internal” poll result saying that he already leads in this primary race by 50.2% to Paul Mango’s 20-something percent.

Flanking Wagner was the chairman and the vice-chair of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, the same GOPe that Wagner once opposed but which he has now shamelessly joined. Wagner’s willingness to trade his political independence for political gain with the same old political insiders is another indication that he is not a straight-up guy. Rather, Wagner is just another aggressive political opportunist willing to sell his grandma and his former supporters to get ahead.

The message of having the two GOP political bosses next to him at the event is simple: “Vote for our insider stooge here.”

But if Wagner is already so far ahead in the polls, then why does he need the personal presence of political bosses at his press event? The whole thing is phony – the supposed poll (two other recent polls show a statistical dead heat between Mango and Wagner, with also-ran Laura Ellsworth in the single digits), the fake political endorsement, his supposed political independence. One thing is for sure, Scott Wagner is now yet just another political insider, trying to use every object around him to gain power and prestige. Just like he used and then discarded us campaign volunteers to get into the state senate.

Wagner’s political views have spanned the full spectrum, from great to crazy left, like his transvestite bathroom bill sponsorship.

Will the real Scott Wagner please stand up? Without screaming at anyone, please.

Contrast this chaotic mess to his primary opponent Paul Mango.

Paul Mango is about as exciting as watching the grass grow.

He is soft-spoken, measured, very smart and articulate on policy, and to me, mostly boring. Though he has gotten better at public presentations as time has gone on.

Is Mango the fiery revolutionary that Scott Wagner was four years ago? Nope.

Neither is Scott Wagner.

Is Mango the political trench warfare conservative that Wagner used to be, and which many of us wish for more each day? Nope.

Neither is Scott Wagner.

Mango is a work horse, not a show horse.

Instead of having all of Wagner’s drama and duplicity, Mango is a simple guy with true blue collar working class roots, who put himself through West Point and became a real-deal warrior in the US Army 101st Rangers, and who went on to build a career for himself that put him at the financial top of American society. Not to mention his all-American family. He is a US Army veteran who served our nation, thank you very much.

Mango is the all-American rags-to-riches story every American politician wishes to be, and which Wagner has tried to falsely claim he is.

This is why I am voting for Paul Mango and not for Scott Wagner.

You make up your own mind on this race, and you should also know I made up my mind through direct experience with both candidates. Sometimes it isn’t just how great a candidate is, but also how awful the other guy is.

Mango is good enough, Wagner is awful.

Wild fur makes the best clothing

Wild-caught salmon is a big treat, especially for those inclined to support sustainable fisheries. It is so special it is sold in boutique stores with pink ribbons tied in a bow, and all kinds of fancy messages to its end-users.

People feel good and righteous about eating wild caught salmon, because many salmon farms are not sustainable.

Similarly, wild-caught fur is the best clothing material you can obtain. It is far more beautiful than anything humans can create.

Wild caught fur is natural, not synthetic, so there is no industrial pollution associated with it.

Wild caught fur is a renewable resource, especially where ugly sprawl development has created the unfortunate conditions for predator populations to artificially grow and succeed beyond the surrounding habitat’s carrying capacity. In these suburban populations, trapping is a necessity, especially with raccoons, possums, skunks, fox and coyotes, all of which are exploding in number and tremendously damaging native song bird populations, among other native species.

In any case, wild animals naturally procreate and renew themselves, and all furbearer animals are carefully managed by professional wildlife biologists, who ensure that none are taken that the population cannot sustain.

Wild caught fur is biodegradable. It rots when it is used up, and it returns to its natural constituent parts, becoming soil over time. Contrast this to synthetic clothing, which is made from petrochemicals and industrial pollution, and which remains household waste and then environmental pollution for the next ten thousand years.

Finally, wild caught fur is sustainable. There is not one animal trapped for its fur anywhere in North America that federal or state biologists believe is at risk. Not one animal trapped for its fur in North America is going extinct, at risk of going extinct, or is piquing the concerns of biologists in Canada or America. Sustainable wild caught fur includes wolves, fox, marten, lynx, bobcat, fisher, otter, beaver, and of course raccoon, possum, coyote, mink, and others.

One former staple furbearer is having trouble, and that is the muskrat. For whatever environmental quality reason (likely improved water quality, of all things), muskrat populations are having terrible problems across North America. As a result, some states are carefully studying them. Trapping has a negligible impact on their overall populations.

Another animal that is not at all rare or endangered, but which has been purposefully politicized by people opposed to all trapping is the lynx. Lynx populations from Canada to Alaska are in fine shape.

Lynx do not really live south of the Canadian border, because the habitat conditions here do not support lynx.  However, south of the border, primarily in Maine, lynx are treated as if they are the last remaining examples of their species, and they are now heavily protected.

Lynx are the proverbial tail wagging the trapping dog in Maine. Though silly beyond imagination, newly required lynx exclusion devices have all but ended trapping in Maine. As a result of this silliness, there are certain song birds and native ground-nesting bird species that absolutely will become threatened or endangered, because all of the exploding predator populations no longer being trapped there. Those predators are very hungry and very efficient hunters.

This unintended result from stopping trapping in Maine proves that anti trapping activists do not care about wildlife. Rather, they substitute their sad, sad cartoon-like emotions for logic, reason, and careful thinking. Prohibiting all trapping is their goal, and whatever bad things happening afterwards is of no concern to them. Cute little piping plover birdies on Cape Cod or Long Island will just have to go extinct so the anti trappers can feel good about themselves.

Rest assured, trapping wild caught fur is not cruel, it is not barbaric, it is not mean, it is not sadistic, it is not dangerous to people or pets.

Aside from being a natural part of wildlife death, with modern traps and techniques (offset jaws, lots of swivels), trapping is almost always a humorous contrast between what is said about it by trapping opponents on the one hand, and the calm, relaxed reality waiting for the trapper when she checks her traps the next day, on the other hand.

Buy some wild fur yourself. Wear it with pride.

If you care about environmental quality, and if you care about cute little birds on the seashore, or turtles trying to lay their eggs, or cute little fawn deer trying to learn to walk in their first few days, then you will wear your wild caught fur with joy, knowing that your purchase creates the demand for more wild fur garments, and that healthier wildlife populations result.

It is a neat chain reaction, and you can feel good about it all the way around.

Hollywood trash

Whatever may be said about Hollywood’s corrosive effect on America’s collective soul through its films, there is no debating that it is also a physically disgusting and filthy place.

Blessing or curse, we had the recent opportunity to walk a lot through Hollywood. What we saw was the unfilmed insider look at the real, unfiltered Hollywood.

Beverly Boulevard of Beverly Hills fame was until yesterday loaded with heaps of rotting rubbish and trash. Both sides of the street, block after block after block.

Most of it was deposited by insane homeless bums who hoard every scrap of civilization they can get unto their respective shopping cart, and when it all overfloweth, they leave heaps of this detritus lying on sidewalks.

Everywhere. Every fifty feet, both sides of the street.

And this is Biblical crap: Defecation -covered clothing, food wrappers, styrofoam cups, stained rags, heaps of trash, everything buzzing with insects and smelling of urine and rotting food. Occasionally a dejected  human is guarding a particular heap, but as we witnessed over a week, even homeless bums reeking of long-unwashed bodies and wounded spirits eventually abandon their treasure and castles. They seem to move in unison, crossing the street en masse and setting up their tattered tents and new trash piles against walls, sidewalk benches, each block having its own long line of stench and crap. Old or new, there’s a lot of crap.

But suddenly the city of Los Angeles descended upon the heaps on Beverly Blvd yesterday. Workers wearing environmental protection suits used large snow shovels to scoop up the garbage into green-colored and clean-themed trucks.

While the trash disappeared, stains in the concrete and smells in the air remained.

Talking amongst ourselves, we surmised the situation was so dire that not even Los Angeles city government could ignore it. After all, this situation is hardly representative of America, democracy, successful self-government or even just simple wealth. Wrong again, rational people!

Turns out this morning is the LA Marathon. Beverly Blvd, La Brea Blvd, and nearby connecting roads and streets were shut down to allow new masses of sweaty, smelly humans to stampede through today. All disgusting crap already in place along the route was in the way, and had to be removed.

Plenty more discarded trash will be available to walk around and through tomorrow, after the race has ended.

Takeaway here?

Los Angeles is full of people, run by people, who embrace all kinds of bizarre notions in general, and who daily live completely out of synch with nature, who live wildly consumptive and environmentally unsustainable lives, and yet who also believe they can and must berate the world around them about all kinds of real and fake environmental issues, like human -caused climate change, the evils of cars, etc.

Los Angelinos and their city are literally full of crap.