↓ Archives ↓

Archive → September, 2019

Public Lands: Public good, public love

Someone named this September “Public Lands Month,” and while I have no idea who did this, or why they did it, I’ll take it nonetheless. Because like the vast majority of Americans, I totally, completely, absolutely love public land. Our public parks, forests, monuments, recreation areas, and wildlife management areas are one of the greatest acts of government in the history of human governments.

As a wilderness hunter, trapper, and fisherman, I truly love the idea of public land, and I love the land itself. No other place provides the lonesome opportunities to solo hunt for a huge bear or buck, either of which may have never seen a man before, or to take a fisher and a pine marten in a bodygripper or on a crossing log drowning rig, than public land.

If you want a representation of what is best and most symbolic of America, look to our public lands. They best capture the grandeur of America’s open frontier, the anvil upon which our tough national character was hammered and wrought. It was on the American frontier that Yankee ingenuity, self-reliance, and an indomitable hunger for individual freedom and liberty was born. And yes, while it was the Indian who reluctantly released his land to us, it was also the Indian who taught us the land’s value, so that we might not squander it, using it cheaply, profligately, and indiscriminately. Public lands are the antidote to our natural inclination to use land the same way we use everything else within our reach.

Some armchair conservatives argue that our public land is a waste of resources. That it is a bottled-up missed opportunity to make even more-more money, and if only we would just blow it all up, pave it all, dam it all, cut it all right now, etc, then someone somewhere would have even more millions of dollars in his pocket, and daggone it, he really wants those extra millions on top of the millions he already has in his pocket. When all our farmland is paved, that same armchair conservative will have nowhere to grow food to feed us, and apparently he will learn to eat dollar bills (he already thinks Dollars are what we survive on, anyhow, so it’ll be an interesting test of reality meeting theory).

But the truth is it’s mentally sick to talk about how much money you can get for selling your mother, or for selling your soul, which is what our land is, take your pick. Hunger for more money than a man knows what to do with, notwithstanding. But some things are just not worth valuing with money, and no number of payments of thirty pieces of silver will ever, ever amount to anything in comparison to what is actually in hand, our public land.

Others complain that public land is communism, but what do they say about the old English and New England commons, where villagers pastured their collected cows? Were our forebears who fought at Bunker Hill fighting for communism? You know they weren’t. Sometimes sharing isn’t a bad thing, and sharing some land is probably one of the best things. If Yosemite or Sequoia National Parks were privately owned, no one from the public would be there, right?

Americans are fortunate to have in their hand millions of acres of public land that they can access, from Maine to Alaska to Hawaii and everywhere in between. Little township and county squirrel parks, big state forests and parks, and vast national parks like the Appalachian Trail and Acadia are all magical experiences available only because they are public.

It is true that LaVoy Finicum was murdered in cold blood by out of control public employees over a legitimate debate with tyrannical, unaccountable public land managers in Oregon. But that is not the fault of the public grazing land there, any more than a murder can be blamed on the gun and not the man who pulled its trigger. We need to hold accountable those who screwed over Finicum and those who murdered him, not blame the land on which it all happened. Despite some failings by public land managers, of which Finicum’s murder is a great and sad example, public land remains one of the very few things that government actually does well and right almost all of the time. Corrective action is just one new administration away, as selected by the voters.

If you want to see untrammeled natural beauty for campers and hikers, or if you want to experience bountiful hunting lands for an afternoon or a week, then look to the public lands near you or far away from you. Everything else – nearly 100% of private lands –  is either dead, dying, or slated for eventual execution at the hands of development.

We need a lot more public land in America. We need more to love in life, and nothing compares to loving a whole mountain range, a river, a field or a forest. It will love you back with nurture and sustenance, too.

Hang glider leaps off of Hyner View State Park, surrounded by a couple million acres of Pennsylvania state forest and state parks

 

Down below Hyner View State Park is the Renova (Renovo) municipal park, with some historical artifacts from past freedom-ensuring conflicts, reminding the next generations of the sacrifices made so they can enjoy iPhones and Starbucks

 

Yours truly standing high up in the Flatirons above Boulder, Colorado, demonstrating “Trump Over Boulder” in case any hikers had missed the shirt. None had missed its presence there, by the way. Lots of public land here, enough for everyone to share, even Donald Trump!

The author malingering around the Boulder, Colorado Chautauqua kiosk, silently taunting the invasive liberals gathered and passing through there. And in fact, the Trump shirt earned many double and triple-takes from fellow hikers, unused to experiencing diversity of thought. I did not bite those people, though I was tempted. Great public lands experience!

about John Bolton’s departure from government

John Bolton has been a Washington, DC, fixture since I was in college, which is a long long time ago. He has held a number of high level government jobs in that long time, as well as the usual garden variety of middlin’ roles that regular revolving door people in DC have. Like mid-level government, academic, lobbying, and think tank jobs.

And all that time John Bolton has been a staunch, unabashed defender of America and American interests.

John Bolton was our hero when he worked for the last Bush administration and he took on the gun prohibitionists at the United Nations. That was a proud day for America, with Bolton at the podium, when American government told European tyrants that one of the great defining characteristics of America is the right and the ability of our people to make an effective armed revolt against our own government, and so No, we would not be signing their small arms treaty as a back door way to strip American citizens of their Constitutional rights.

Over the past year or two, US National Security Advisor John Bolton has been hugely criticized by conservatives for being a war hawk, someone too eager to use full American force at the drop of a hat. A warmonger some call him.

“We are so tired of wars. We are not the world’s police man,” goes one refrain, which on its face certainly makes sense, within certain basic parameters.

Another common refrain which does not make sense goes “Iran is not a threat to America, and we should do everything we can to avoid war with Iran.”

Thus, with that second refrain, anyone promoting a strong deterrent policy and posture with Iran, like John Bolton, is automatically risking another Mid East war, which we are told, we absolutely must avoid at all costs. Apparently even at the cost of letting Iran nuke a few of our major cities.

The left-right crossover by these so-called anti-war conservatives is fascinating to me, and Bolton became the friction plane for where their war-weary criticism met the Trump Administration’s foreign policy activities. As a Bush II legacy, Bolton reminded everyone too much of poorly implemented wars, in which the USA rules of engagement put our warriors’ lives and limbs at unnecessary risk, and where America foolishly sought to implement a second Marshall Plan, this time in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Like Bolton, I also say Give War a Chance, but let it always be total war, uninhibited war, completely and immediately successful war, not the war of namby pamby uniparty globalists worried about how America will be perceived poorly as some sort of meany arch defender of its own interests. Hell, Russia, Turkey, Iran, and China do not give a damn about how anyone else perceives their pursuit of their national interests. They do whatever they want, come hell or high water, with a lot of extra brutality thrown in, just so the defeated remember the high price of resisting.

So, in turn, I believe, America should be just as ruthless and just as bold as they, our main competitors, if we are to survive them. John Bolton was a proud promoter of this stance. He believes in America, a successful, strong, defiant America.

It is certain that Bolton was a nettlesome cowboy inside the Trump Administration. He was well suited to the first year or two of this administration, when America was being felt abroad for the first time in decades, but Bolton was not a good fit in the third or fourth years, where Trump is beginning to tame the bureaucracy and bring his own more nuanced policies to bear. Anyone with a huge manly mustache like Bolton has, in this day and age, is living in the 1950s past, where mustachioed gunslingers in chaps and dusty cowboy hats still represented the best that America had been and the best that she still could be.

It is no surprise that Bolton was taken down by Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, because no matter who runs the State Department, they all at that agency are always the weanies, the wimps, the “war-no-more” tip-toeing weasel fairies of our foreign touch. Everyone at the State Department believes fervently that all our conflicts can be resolved amicably, if America just gives in and gives away enough of its own interests.

On the other hand, every day he was on the job John Bolton was leading the US cavalry straight up San Juan Hill with the American flag in his left hand and a smoking Colt .45 revolver in his right. I will miss the guy.

John Bolton’s approach to American foreign policy: TR’s famous charge up San Juan Hill with the Rough Riders

 

The US State Department: Obsequious weasel with a toothy beaming sycophantic smile looking perky and wide eyed, always

9/11’s meaning then and now

Today is the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, known as “9/11”.

From October 2001 to October 2003, I worked closely with the National Park Service and with the families of the Flight 93 victims on protecting the crash site, two solid hard-working years, so that it could eventually become a national memorial without worries of losing the physical sense of what the surrounding ground looked like the moment the plane flipped upside down and did a nose-dive into Tim Lambert’s spruce grove.

And for those two years no one ever blamed the victims of 9/11. Nor did anyone try to scapegoat anyone else for 9/11. Solemnly we focused hard on protecting the landscape so that future generations would know and remember not only what happened, but why and by whom. Like a battlefield, which most Americans properly see it as.

However, for a lot of Americans today, the ‘why’ and and ‘whom’ parts of 9/11 are now strangely flipped around.

In a recent conference about 9/11, panelists blamed guns, the NRA, whites, Christians, and a lack of open borders for 9/11. No, I am not making this up. Blaming the American victims of 9/11 is the actual state of mind among many liberal leaders today. At the conference, they refused to mention Islam, Muslim terrorists, or hijacked planes. Instead, they used the event to call attention to their favorite failed policy goals, not to heal the wounded nation or to discuss lessons learned about how to avoid a repeat of 9/11.

And let’s be honest: Open borders will lead to not just one more 9/11, but many more acts of mass terror against Americans. You could fairly argue that the coast-to-coast illegal alien crime wave already is a form of terrorism, or that the liberal policy assault on law enforcement and the resulting mass shootings is a form of terrorism. But what is meant here, and what is the worst, are carefully planned and targeted acts of mass murder. Like what happened on 9/11.

Eighteen years ago 9/11 heightened our awareness. It made Americans feel vulnerable. It taught us that our best intentions and most open-minded policies are seen by most people outside of America as signs of weakness, of decadence, of a lack of willpower to survive, and they were then exploited to our disadvantage. Our federal government at the time properly took revenge on the Taliban and al-Qaeda, mostly hiding in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But then that same government mistakenly tried to implement a repeat of the World War II Marshall Plan, where America re-built the nations we had invaded and occupied. The post-9/11 attempted rebuilding of Iraq and Afghanistan was overly optimistic, because these Muslim countries are not European. They share none of the values or culture of WWII Europe, and they are immune to our culture and values.

And so now, instead of learning lessons from 9/11 and using them to protect America, we have an entire American political party that has inverted 9/11 and turned it into another forum and stage for promoting policies that have zero to do with 9/11 or preventing something similar from happening again.

Today in America, to one political party, the military veterans who fought to protect America by taking the fight to Iraq and Afghanistan are now the threat to America, not orthodox Muslims following the Koran to the letter of the law. And the patriotic friends of those veterans are the threat to America; the religious Christian friends and family of those veterans are the threat to America; and the hunters and target shooting friends of those veterans are also the threat to America.

Everyone but the actual perpetrators of 9/11, and their supporters like US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, are that political party’s scapegoats for 9/11.

For radical Muslim Ilhan Omar, on 9/11 “Somebody did something.” That’s it, that is her whole take on 9/11, and her political party agrees with her.

And now her political party is coming hard after you and me.

Looks like a whole lot of people missed the lessons-learned part of 9/11. Probably because they don’t care about them. And that right there is the real lesson learned for the rest of us: 9/11 only means something to people who actually care about America staying America.

 

My Confession

I have a confession to make. Maybe in the grand scheme of confessions or public admissions this is not too significant. But for me, wow, the burden I am shedding by admitting this here is just tremendous. Pardon me while I take a deep breath.

My confession is that …gosh, it is tough to say this…I really enjoy Rob Schneider movies.

This is probably (hopefully) not quite as risky as admitting to watching risque movies, but it comes close, because the subjects addressed head-on in Rob Schneider movies are wide open, no-holds-barred. A gaping chasm separates his movies from the standard Hollywood affairs, and admitting to watching them, maybe sometimes on repeat, carries some social stigma.

Rob Schneider movies are not alone in the low brow humor category. They are waaay better quality than Adam Sandler or Chris Kataan movies, and probably an even toss-up with Will Ferrell’s productions.

In the genre of man-child-not-grown-up, Rob Schneider plays the idiot savant better than anyone. Adam Sandler has “goofy” and “well-intentioned-moron” down better than anyone, but we know what is coming every time. Jim Carrey has in fact actually lost his mind to a bad case of TDS and now actually mugs and over-acts in public not on purpose but as his own personal habit. When he was just acting, Jim Carrey was funny; now he is scary. But Jim Carrey is not alone in ruining well-intentioned humor with politics. Will Ferrell also has become infected with the funny-man-not-funny disease by seriously involving himself in politics, for which he is ill-suited, and so now when he appears in public it is difficult to tell if he is serious but kidding, or plain foolish but serious. Ferrell’s pre-politics Talladega Nights was top shelf damned funny, and while I am in the process of opening my life’s weak points to public scrutiny here, I might as well tell the readers that my wife and I took our two small girls to see Talladega Nights when it opened. In a former church turned into a theatre, in Galeton, PA, when our girls were really, really small. Viv and I laughed a lot, and the two tiny infants fell asleep, or so we thought, until many years later.

And now on second thought hindsight, that one movie night may account for how the one kid turned out….I suppose a movie like that could really warp a young mind…guess she wasn’t asleep after all.

So anyhow, if you are looking for lightness-beyond-levity, easy-watching, seriously-not-serious, entertaining-without-pretense, slight raunch with a straight no-PC-here face, then Rob Schneider movies are for you. The high brow of the low brow. Especially Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo. And as you can imagine, I am hoping as many people as possible will watch them, so I am not feeling totally alone, like I felt when caught looking at Ladies Home Journal bra ads when I was twelve in the super market magazine aisle. It would be nice to have someone on the couch next to me, enjoying the same movie as me. Instead of hitting me with a shoe and cussing me out about it.

Select scenes from Talladega Nights 1, 2, 3, 4.

Select scenes from Rob Schneider movies 1, 2, 3.