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Will the real Ireland please get up, stand up?

Tramping the Temple Bar in Dublin with old friends, we were in search of native music, and a cold Guinness. Despite our best efforts, we could not find one authentic Celtic pub, that was open at lunch time, anyhow. Every place we went was either blaring the same exact mix of John Denver, U2, the Beatles, and Neil Diamond, or had someone playing those same songs on a guitar. Really loudly.

This was not the real deal Ireland we came to see and experience.

What the hell is all that incongruous music doing on native Celtic soil? So out of place was this alien cacophonous tumult that we finally fled to what we thought was a quiet spot, only to have the talking-level ambience be detonated by just one guy with a guitar. Singing John Denver, Beatles, U2, and Neil Diamond songs. Really loudly. So loudly that we could not speak to one another at the table, except in between his songs. And believe it or not, this pub had run out of Guinness.

No Irish music and no Guinness in this Temple Bar Irish pub….the heart and soul of Ireland. Supposedly.

This arrangement was, to us, utterly bizarre and not at all what these Americans wanted to hear, or experience. We had traveled back to the old country to hear the heart-felt authentic sound of the old country, either old or modern, not modern, plastic inversions from and for the New World. We put up with it and enjoyed each other’s company for a while, and then fled to greener pastures.

Now about that old time Irish religion…every Catholic church we visited there was a museum. They all had small charity shops, selling post cards. Dark and uninhabited, after a thousand years for some, they now sit mute. How sad to see the backbone of Irish morality, spirituality, and identity cast aside so abruptly.

While talking to anyone who would share their views with us about this, which included at least a dozen natives, from taxi drivers to cops on the street to the barber Seamus who cut me hair, we heard the following themes: The Catholic church overplayed its hand and alienated the very flock under its care. By being part and parcel of the public schools, the Church had a lot of control over people’s lives. But instead of being a positive force, the Irish we spoke to said that when they saw a priest coming, they ducked the other way. Their schooling was unhappy, not inspiring. The Church did not have to compete for the people’s trust and allegiance; it took them for granted and treated them like a captive audience.

And then there was the same molestation issue as here, except that it was bigger, known longer, and covered up in plain sight much longer in Ireland than in America. One man, Martin, our taxi driver on the way to the ferry to Holyhead, said “And you loved Pope John Paul, right?”

To which I naturally answered “Of course! He was a powerful force for good on Planet Earth!”

To which Martin replied “Yes, of course you would say this. All the Americans say it. But did Pope John Paul, the greatest pope in modern history, ever apologize for the molestation problem, here or in America? No, he did not, and it caused most Irish to turn away from him and the Church. Including me.”

I was then reminded of Sinead O’Connor’s bizarre outburst on Saturday Night Live decades ago. “Fight the real enemy,” she shouted at a picture of the Pope. Most Americans were stunned and unhappy about it, regardless of their religious affiliation or identity.

Apparently Sinead had a reason that the rest of us did not know. And at that time, Ireland was just an island a million miles away. We did not know what she was talking about, what Martin was telling us about. There were no social media to broadcast her message, just a brief appearance in front of a big TV audience. It was up to the audience members to dig deeper to find out what she meant.

Today, it appears that outside of the really rural areas, the Catholic Church in Ireland is being abandoned by the Irish. Like completely abandoned.

This terrifies those of us who believe in the supremacy of Western civilization. Without the Church, a cornerstone of Western Civilization, the whole falls. What fills that vacuum could be anything, and there are some powerful forces at play, playing for all the chips that spoiled, soft, fantasy-driven Westerners seem to be oblivious to. The Irish are not soft, or spoiled, but they are like children in a way. They are largely innocent children, in my eyes, unexposed to the harsh realities of the outside world, waiting to eat them up. Their guard is down, not up. The Irish are vulnerable, in the way that middle-income American kids are clueless and big hearted about the intentions of their enemies they call friends.

It is painful to see an Irishman drop his own music in Dublin, drop the source of his soul and family, and drop his guard when a fight for his culture is looming in his face.

Will Ireland please stand up? Will the real Ireland please get up? Yes, we know you are tired of fighting, but sadly, we all must fight to stay free. It is a constant thing. You Irish should know this better than everyone else.

For those who want to hear some authentic, modern, native Irish music, in the symbolic spirit of James Joyce; it is possible:

Fairy Forts: Being Truly Green, and Emerald

On a really neat hike around Howth, Ireland, guided by a really neat guy named Mark, I was introduced to the weird world of Irish politics two weeks ago.

Just two weeks before I had an even stranger introduction to Irish politics, when at the Yuengling beer plant tour in Pottsville, PA, a little Irishman with a big Brogue said to me “Yer nawt Oirish, becauz yew doon’t leev ‘n Ireland, and I’m nawt Oirish becauz ah leev ‘n Northr’n Ireland.”

The little master was quite assertive in his girly long shorts (thankfully these have not yet arrived in America) and me, for the first time in my life not knowing what to say and how to not say it, I simply said “Brother, you need another beer.”

And yes, he did drink another beer. Guess that meant he’s not really Irish…

So two weeks later on Howth, I described this encounter to our guide Mark, himself of Belfast like the non-Irish Irishman in the girly pants, but Catholic, and he responded like a PhD historian.

To wit: After 750 years of English occupation, colonization, violence, repression, uprisings, death, mayhem, chaos, cultural suppression, etc., the Irish are still sorting a few things out now that the English are mostly out.

The idea that an Irishman from Belfast is not really an Irishman is to me, like, I don’t know, let me think of something incongruous, well, it is like finding out something so incredibly outlandish that your whole world view goes topsy turvy for a week. That was the effect.

But Mark said matter of factly “Oh yeah, that is the mentality and attitude up there [Belfast], and that is why I left to come down here [Dublin].”

You would probably have to live there over a few lifetimes to figure it all out, because just as I was starting to comprehend the political and cultural dynamic of Northern Ireland, Mark then went on to describe Irish MP Danny Healy-Rae in the way someone from some deep urban ghetto cloister in New York City or Los Angeles would describe a rural NRA member farmer in flyover country.

It was not pretty, but hey, who am I to judge, and I just sat and nodded along. Mark was an excellent guide and passionate about his homeland and his happy life there. I can relate, and so like I said, I just nodded along.

Danny Healy-Rae is probably all alone in his singular rural style of political representation the world-over. Despite having a lot of rural areas and a lot of fired-up rural people, I do not think America has anyone like him in politics. Danny Healy-Rae is both principled and colorful, with a straight face.

The incredible irony of Danny Boy’s place on the political spectrum was totally lost on Mark, who only moments before was explaining Irish politics very cogently, and advocating for new roads in the deepest rural areas as “progress.”

See, Danny Boy objects to new roads being built through really rural areas, especially those places that have “fairy forts.”

Yes, fairy forts. Wonder if you will, laugh if you must, but the man is indeed worried about how new roads will destroy or impact ancient fairy forts. Setting aside the rural traditions and folklore about fairies and fairy forts (and I do tend to side with both Native American Indians and Native Irish on their spiritual sensitivities to real things in the natural world that city folk aka Town Mice completely miss), fairy forts are real.

A week after Mark had explained Irish politics so clearly to me, we visited Stonehenge.

Have you gone there? Stonehenge is literally surrounded by fairy forts. Lots of hill forts and burial mounds and mystery places clearly built by the ancients for mysterious purposes that were really important to them and unattainable to us desensitized moderns. I was not expecting this side of Stonehenge, and it turns out it’s the presence of all those hill forts and mounds that make the big Stonehenge rocks so important.

After seeing this unexpected oddity in person, I looked up “fairy forts” and read most carefully this one (of several) reference. Naturally the Irish ones came to mind first, because of the footage of Danny Boy talking about Fairy Forts in Ireland’s parliament.

Archaeologically a “fairy fort” is a fascinating historic remain, and it’s evident why the ‘hick’ locals in all these places both revere and fear them. The English seemed to have plowed theirs extensively, which is very bad from the view of the historian, archaeologist, or Druid.

Turns out that Danny Boy is not only concerned about new roads destroying Fairy Forts, but he is also publicly concerned about the explosion of rhododendron in rural Ireland.

Now as much as Mark mocked Danny Boy’s unpersuaded opinions about man-made “climate change” (like Danny Boy, I too am unpersuaded by the heavily politicized, faked data behind the mere statistical models purported to be and shouted to be irrefutable “science”), Mark admitted he did not know the flora and fauna subjects along our beautiful walk on Howth. Nonetheless, he mocked Danny Boy over the rhododendron thing, too.

That flora issue includes the tidal wave of invasive plants moving in on the beautiful Irish countryside. That would also include rhododendron, and you will not find a bigger faunal representation of imperial Victorian England (something Mark is very much opposed to) than the various copses of rhododendron planted and quickly spreading from one end of the Empire to the other.

In other words, Danny Boy is objecting to invasive rhododendron for environmental and cultural reasons, things that his detractors say they care about, and his supposedly proud Irish compatriots are mocking him about it. They mock him simply because he comes across as a hick, not because they actually know better than he or care more for the environment than he.

I think this hillbilly Irishman MP, Danny Healy-Rae, should get a lot more credit from his fellow countrymen than he has thus far received. At first I thought he was just an aggressive environmentalist trying to keep roads and invasive plants out of undeveloped Paradise. Now I think he’s also a keen historian!

We will return to Ireland. Several other friends and friendly couple friends of ours were simultaneously touring Ireland when we were there, and between us all we all pretty much covered the whole country by car, bike, kayak, and foot. The collective photos we all took showed Ireland in all its splendor. What a beautiful, unspoiled, undeveloped, magical place is Ireland.

Turns out that Ireland, the whole entire place, is one big beautiful, magical  fairy fort!

We are coming back, and we hope that Danny Boy has succeeded in diverting the roads, protecting the fairy forts, and uprooting the rhododendron. Mark, you will have to come with us, because I think you should see Ireland through our eyes. It might help you better appreciate the incredible natural beauty you have.

And this next trip might help us all better figure out Irish politics, because as we can see with Danny Boy vs. the liberal Irish, Irish politics are a complete mess where up is down and left is right. When you have liberals advocating for environmental destruction and keeping the symbols of imperial England, and the conservatives opposing them are the greens, things are just not yet sorted out.

That’s the best way to put Ireland. It just isn’t yet sorted out. But it is beautiful, thanks to the fairy forts.

Howth and the “Eye of Ireland”:

Chautauqua Institution’s Destruction

Chautauqua Institution was once a fine place to visit, many years ago.

It was safe, quiet, full of interesting people reading books or lecturing about the most recent book they had written. The on-site opera and orchestra provided just about everyone with any artistic taste with something.

Decades later, it has been completely taken over by the same people who have targeted every other American institution for capture and control, or destruction.

Chautauqua is now a summertime parade of communists, bigots, America haters, partisan political activists. Each speaker is treated to lavish welcome ceremonies as if they are the most gifted thinker on Planet Earth, when in fact they are the meanest, most close-minded political street brawlers in America.

The place reeks of radical, angry politics everywhere you turn. The air is poisonous with hate and tension, but always sold as love and open-mindedness.

I think the institution is still physically safe, for now, but my own kids have this sense that all is not well there. They have grown up going there every summer, and they report back feeling that same tension that anyone with different views feels there now. Unwelcome.

The last time I was there, or one of the last times, I sat at the Amp for a lecture by Donna Brazile. Of course she was presented as some kind of open-minded Deep Thinker, when in fact she is a narrowly partisan fighter and proven liar. Brazile helped fix Hillary’s illegal cheating “win” over Bernie Sanders in the Democrat primary.

When Brazile spoke that day, the entire Amp was a cheering section for the lady. There used to be rules against cheering or clapping for speakers, but the hyper partisan activists who now populate and run Chautauqua observe the same kind of rules on decorum as they do the laws they disdain for border security and illegal aliens living in “sanctuary” cities. That is, they make the rules as they go.

Having just received some emails from one of the Chautauqua administrators, I had to write this. The guy is either a huge liar, or a huge fool. To assert that Chautauqua Institution is anything but a far-left training camp and summertime re-education society is to deny the obvious reality as reflected in the speakers they invite, the speakers they DISINVITE, and all of the other far-Left programming there.

The CHQ administrators purposefully exclude alternative views they disagree with, even though CHQ is supposed to be all about alternative views. “Dissent” and “dialogue” is only acceptable from those who agree with the CHQ administrators and their partisan, liberal guest voices. This means that Chautauqua is an artificial, fabricated environment. Reality is concealed. Stealth is their way.

I understand the mindset of Liberals. I grew up with them. Liberals are very close-minded and very, very uncomfortable sharing any kind of space – physical, emotional, or intellectual – with anyone else. Let’s face it, Liberals are the very angry, hate-filled bigots they always said they were against. Chautauqua now perfectly represents that hateful culture, and the people now drawn to it and most happy there are like-minded tyrants and control freaks. Zero tolerance for opposing views.

And no, CHQ’s in-house “conservative” David Brooks is not a conservative. He is a RINO Republican, a moderate, which means he is pretty much a liberal. But he is there so the institution can falsely claim to cover all philosophical corners.

Please, spare us the visibly false claims and the pretensions to openness. Like the Boy Scouts of America, the education profession, academia, the media, Disney, and almost all other once-great institutions, Chautauqua Institution has been overthrown and captured by bigoted political partisans, who have now bent the place to their warped purposes.

Everyone have a nice summer. It won’t be at CHQ for me. The Chautauqua of my youth has been destroyed.

It is now ratatouille season, and for the rest of the summer

Summer time means gardens.

Summer gardens here in urban and suburban America mean tons, literally, of zucchini and tomatoes.

Some gardeners can their success. Using Mason jars, they boil, steam, stew, blanch and otherwise prepare their hard-won vegetables for the long pantry sleep or freezer burn.

Not I. Oh, I like to eat, especially fresh vegetables.

So my thing is to give away some extra garden produce and eat like a king every day, lunch and dinner.

Probably the easiest and most wholesome meal possible out of the basic garden is ratatouille. If this word has too many syllables for you, like it does for me, and it makes you think of fancy French men in white chef’s hats, take heart. It is this easy to make: some diced zucchini sauteed in olive oil. About 3/4 of the way to done, fresh tomatoes are thrown in the skillet and simmered down amidst the sautee action. Maybe an onion, if you like onions. More olive oil (we use California Olive Ranch) can only make things taste even better. Then some home-grown herbs (no, not that), like basil, rosemary, dill, garlic.

Keep simmering and sauteeing. Low flame.

When it is all becoming a big mush, sprinkle it with cheese. Don’t mix it in. A blend of grated hard cheese like wine goat or parmesan, with some decent Vermont cheddar, and let the skillet lid sit over a very low flame for about three to five minutes.

Turn off the heat, and let the skillet sit there on the burner for a couple minutes, with the skillet lid still on. Magic is happening in there. Don’t lift the lid to peek, or you will let the magic slip out and away.

Serve yourself first, because everyone else around you will dive in on the ratatouille and it’ll be gone in a minute.

Adios, Pancho Villa

When he came out of the guest room, suited up to hunt, he looked like the famous Mexican bandito Pancho Villa.

No lie.

Under his ten gallon Texas cowboy hat, he had two bandoliers of rifle ammunition crossing his chest, a Colt .45 ACP on his right hip, a massive custom Bowie knife on his left, his rifle slung over his shoulder, and I think a revolver in a shoulder holster rig.

We were going deer hunting in northcentral Pennsylvania, but my Pancho Villa was loaded for bear and beyond. We all kind of stood there at 5:00 AM, slack-jawed, staring at him in disbelief, our coffee mugs levitating between lips and falling to the floor in uncontrolled spasms.

He carefully explained what purpose each weapon served. The scoped rifle was obviously for deer, and the knife was for gutting a deer. The Colt Commander .45 ACP was in case a bear attacked him at close quarters, and the revolver was in case a human attacked him. Or maybe I have that reversed.

The bandoliers were self-evident. Everyone needs an extra 100 rounds of ammunition when deer hunting.

We went hunting that day, and I sent him up the hill to sit above the cabin. It was a good spot, and many deer had fallen there. He did not shoot any deer, however. Oh yes, he saw some, and a couple that presented decent shots. But he did not feel like getting all bloody.

He took a lot of chiding that night around the dinner table. So the next day, when we set out from the porch under twinkling stars, he was dressed like everyone else: A parka, orange hat and vest, a rifle. Half way across the gravel driveway I stopped and asked.

“What the hell is that SMELL?”

We all looked at one another, and then everyone looked at Pancho.

“What? I always wear aftershave in the morning. Every man should wear aftershave,” he stated.

“We are deer hunting, not running around on our wives, dammit,” I hissed. “Get back inside and clean yourself off. Every deer can smell you for a mile away!”

Five long minutes later Pancho emerged from the cabin, smelling less like a man on the make. Good. We all checked out with complete kit, and we started to all walk across the same stretch of gravel driveway.

Again, halfway across the gravel a tremendous CLANG! rang out. We all jumped out of our boots, whirling about to see what it was. In the stillness of the 5:20 AM pre-dawn dark, that loud and incongruous metallic noise was the only noise, something absolutely necessary to avoid if we were going to put the sneak on wily whitetail deer.

“Oh,” said Pancho.

“My rifle sling was not attached properly and it disconnected from the rifle barrel.”

His rifle and expensive scope had fallen to the ground. Never mind the air raid siren warning affect this had on deer for half a mile around, it probably damaged either scope or gun, or both.

Nevertheless, he reattached the sling and off we went into the gloaming, working our ways into spots high up to snipe ambushed deer from above.

He did shoot at a deer that day, and he missed. Even he was not surprised. The scope had taken a hell of a hit, and required a half dozen shots off the porch to get it dialed back in later that day.

Over the years many similar hilarious and improbable tales emerged from Pancho’s hunting exploits up north. Unfortunately he skipped an opening week of rifle season to take his flock on a trip to the Holy Land, ate undercooked, tainted chicken, got Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and became paralyzed from the neck down.

This once strong, masculine, proud, intelligent man was increasingly hemmed in by a world of aids, walkers, motor scooters, and help with everything. In the past couple of years he talked constantly of dying. His body was in fact shutting down, and he wanted out. His untreatable pain was immense.

He died Friday, a victim as much of the Guillain-Barre paralysis as the double-edged drugs meant to prolong his life.

Pancho Villa was not his real name, but to me, one of his admirers, he will always be that colorful bandito. A man swimming powerfully both with and against the tide he had been born into. To those who could not pronounce his name, he was “Chay-me.”

To his parents, he was Chaim. Born in Boro Park, Brooklyn, he was the son of a wood worker and a homemaker, who both fled Germany before the death plague descended on everyone around them. To those who do not know Boro Park, think Fiddler on the Roof. This is a super insulated society, walled off from everything outside. This concrete jungle does not breed woodsmen or hunters.

Chaim Schertz got his PhD at NYU and his rabbinic ordination at YU. He was a terrible hunter, but a great man, a great teacher, a great friend. I miss him now and always will.

 

The boys of summer

This past weekend a friend and I got our boys together, plus one of my son’s friends.

The four young teenagers ran themselves ragged, and it was a beautiful thing to see. Running up and down the river, floating downstream with the strong current, exiting downward of the rocks, sloshing back up and doing it all over again. And again.

Until one of them discovered some otter’s half-eaten breakfast of fish and crayfish, lying exposed in the strong sunshine on a rock with the water swirling around it. Inspecting that absorbed their attention, heads crowded around, someone poking about with a stick. And then >POW< they broke and ran back upstream as a splashing, sloshing pack, marking a distant boulder in the middle of the stream as their next object of focus.

This kind of outdoor joy went on all weekend.

Campfires, campfire cooking, campfires becoming scary bonfires, shooting guns, lighting fireworks, ear-ringing blackpowder cannon booming, combat SORRY! games, food crumbs everywhere, clothing smeared with mud and grass stains, pickup football games, woods walks. It was just one non-stop blur of motion.

At night we watched movies, shooshing one another when someone talked over the dialogue. Crumbs on the couches, popcorn on the floor.

It was a thing of joyous beauty to behold. Such unbridled happiness. Such carefree freedom.

Meanwhile the dads sat on the river bank, on the porch, on a log in the woods, in the living room, and compared childrearing tactics, kid behavior, learning and teaching successes and failures, hopes and fears for the kids’ futures, hopes and fears for our own parenting, for our own relationships.

Somewhere in all of this I was both a child again and a responsible adult. Watching these boys being boys as boys were meant to be was refreshing, and kind of a validation of my own untamed side.  That part of almost every guy that is a kind of mostly-hidden teenager who refuses to grow up and get with the adult program. Heck, being a boy is fun, even a fifty-year-old boy. You never really stop being a boy, you just get new toys. The consequences of screwing up are no longer skinning your knee, however; now, you can lose your home, your spouse, your health.

But we are boys inside, nonetheless.

Being a dad is difficult, and fun; hard and enlightening; frustrating and rewarding. Doing a bit of it with another dad over a weekend makes it easier. But most of all I enjoyed being a part of the boy herd, and reliving some of that unfettered joy of just being a boy free to roam and run in the summer sunshine.

Santa Fe School Shooting: Liberal Democrats Sacrifice More Kids on Altar of Gun Control

Another school shooting today, in Santa Fe, Texas.

Yes, a good guy with a gun stopped the shooter, and he could have been stopped sooner.

But stopping that shooter (and the next one) would require taking the kinds of concrete, proactive steps necessary to actually protect the students from harm. It is as easy as having police stationed in the school, or armed guards (including armed volunteers), or arming the staff and teachers who want to be armed.

And these options are all too pragmatic, too simple, too real for liberal Democrats, who reject them all. They would rather use this latest blood in the streets to promote their nation-wide civilian disarmament schemes, because what they really want is political domination over every American citizen.

In fact, sacrificing a few school students on the false altar of gun control is one of those unfortunate but necessary “breaking a few eggs to make an omelette” things that liberal Democrats desire, to achieve their political goal.

The more blood, the more emotion, the more fear, the more crisis, the more they can take advantage of people’s emotions and ram through laws that will do nothing to solve the problem, but which will advance liberal Democrat goals of civilian disarmament.

When the ten-year Clinton gun ban sunsetted in 2004, liberal Democrats admitted openly that it had done nothing to lower crime. But they wanted it reinstituted, nonetheless. The high cost of disarming law-abiding Americans won’t do anything to make schools safer, either.  So why demand this?

Liberal Democrats want absolute control over you and me, folks, and that is all. They do not want solutions. An armed citizenry is the ultimate block against the Democrat Party’s goal of full control of America; this is the “problem” they are really trying to solve.

If you doubt this, look at this phony, illegal “Russia collusion” thing: It is just “resistance” against the Trump administration by any means necessary – legal, illegal, unethical, immoral. Liberal Democrats reject results of elections they lose. They reject laws they don’t like or don’t write. They enable an unsustainable illegal immigration invasion and illegal sanctuary cities to recruit illegal aliens who they want to convert into loyal voters and artificial political dominion. They use the democratic process to achieve non-democratic results.

After the Parkland shooting, liberal Democrats had meetings, marches, protests. Lots of demands. Lots of brutal demonization of the NRA, of law-abiding gun owners, of gun manufacturers, even of the US Constitution.  In all of that activity, they would not address how their liberal Obama-era PROMISE program had caught and released the violent criminal Nikolas Cruz half a dozen times, so that he could finally follow through on his public promises to commit mass murder in his own school.

I am sorry for the parents of the children hurt and killed in Santa Fe, Texas. I am sorry for their parents, and for their teachers and school administrators, and friends. I feel very badly for them, and if they are angry about this, they need only direct their focus on the liberal Democrats and their henchmen (teachers unions) who have blocked all natural, logical, and effective means to preventing these shootings from happening.

Liberal Democrats love political power and gun control more than they love school students. Remember that the next time you vote.

Vote for the Boy Scouts tomorrow

While the Boy Scouts are not actually running for office in tomorrow’s primary election, the principles of that venerable American institution are certainly being voted on.

Voted on in the sense that there are candidates who are go-along get-along types, for whom holding elected office is a career, a business opportunity, an ego boost (let’s call all these types “swamp dwellers”).

And then there are candidates for whom holding elected office is a sacred duty of service to one’s fellow citizens. These candidates stand on the bedrock principles that founded America and which make it great. These principles are bound up in the fabric of our institutions, like the Boy Scouts, which taught those values and ideas (self-reliance, accountability, community).

Last week about eight people on the national board of the Boy Scouts of America voted once again to give in to extremist demands aimed at gutting everything the Boy Scouts stand for.

This time this small handful of people voted to change the name of the Boy Scouts to just “Scouts,” paving the way for an undefined, politically correct, genderless soup standing for vague good feelings. Maybe. At the cost of boyhood.

As one might expect, those Americans with the greatest connection to the Boy Scouts as founded have now begun to officially withdraw from the “new” organization. The Mormons were right up front in their abandonment of the sinking ship. Good for them. My own son just found out about it last night. After seven happy years in the Boy Scouts, he said “I do not want to do this, I do not want to participate in this. This is not what I signed up for.”

How incredibly painful.

The gutting of the Boy Scouts is symbolic of the leftist ailment we are experiencing across America and the liberal civil war being forced upon all normal and good Americans.

Those representatives who are supposed to be on the front line, defending us from constant assaults, are actually AWOL or worse, whether they are elected in politics or sitting on non-profit boards.

Across America we see people get elected to office, and they have no intention of doing anything except holding that office. Or worse, using it for self-enrichment or cultural destruction. What is happening on the Boy Scouts board is exactly what is happening across America.

Tomorrow I will be working a voting poll, helping two candidates I like, for the simple reason I believe they are tough enough to stop our bleeding, stop our cultural deflation, good enough to use public office for public benefit. They are Paul Mango and Andrew Lewis.

Locally, here is who I will be or would be voting for:

Paul Mango for governor. Paul is a good guy, a US Army veteran, rated more conservative than his two opponents. Laura Ellsworth is rated as “Liberal,” and moderate state senator Scott Wagner has become the very swamp creature he said he was against.

Peg Luksik for Lieutenant Governor.

Andrew Lewis for state house. Andrew is a fine young man, a US Army veteran, with strong character. His opponent, liberal Adam Klein, is the very essence of the political establishment swamp destroying Pennsylvanians’ hopes, dreams, and rightful expectations.

Either George Halcovage or Scott Uehlinger for Congress, over Dan Meuser. Dan has so many issues, some of which have been listed on this blog, his candidacy is an example of why diligent citizen action is required to hold on to our government. Meuser is DC swamp through and through.

Both Lou Barletta and Jim Christiana are rated as “somewhat conservative,” and neither one impresses very much through some particular distinction. On the one hand, Barletta has earned a good name for himself on illegal immigration (i.e. protecting US taxpayers’ and citizens’ rights), while Christiana is a young go-getter. Either one will be superior to political careerist disaster Bob Casey.

Tomorrow, while I am voting for and supporting particular candidates as a volunteer poll watcher, I am inwardly doing it for the old Boy Scouts and everything they stood for.

I want my America back. I want the old-fashioned values  on which America was founded. I want the Boy Scouts back. Voting for these people above helps us move Pennsylvania and America in that positive direction.

 

Boy Scouts, Supreme Court, Mueller Witch Hunt: One Common Thread

In 1973, amidst an earth-shaking cultural civil war, a divided US Supreme Court legislated a patchwork interpretation of the US Constitution to create a heretofore unmentioned “right” to abortion-on-demand.

Irrespective of whether you agree with abortion on demand as a reasonable or moral policy, or you do not, there are three key facts from this incident that are important today.

First, it marked one of the major milestones in an increasingly legislative judiciary, taking for itself the creative duties Constitutionally assigned to the US Congress (House and Senate).

As constituted, the judiciary is simply supposed to render more or less Yes and No holdings on US laws, deciding whether or not they are Constitutional. Those that are not are supposed to be remanded back to lower courts or sent back to the legislature altogether. Our courts are not constituted to come up with their own ideas and substitute them for the ideas brought before them in lawsuits.

Laws and the ideas in them are supposed to begin and end in the Congress.

Second, in its decision, the Court did mental backflips and logical contortions to arrive at its holding, because nowhere in the Constitution or any of the Founding debate documents is or was abortion mentioned; nor was the legal process or thinking that the Court used to reach its conclusion.

Again, as a policy, one can agree or disagree with abortion on demand, but to reach into a top hat and pull out a new and arguably foreign concept, as the Court did, and declare it protected by the Constitution is really legal chicanery. It is not how American government is supposed to work.

Which leads to the third outcome: out of all this brazen behavior in Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court established a political and cultural precedent for illegal legislating and political meddling from the bench.

This behavior evolved the court system into a de facto government unto itself; all three functions – judicial, legislative and executive – housed in just one branch of government.

Housed with just a five-person majority on the Court.

This last result is the most dangerous to democracy, because it tested the American people’s credulity and patience. The outstanding hallmarks of American government are the separation of powers, the rule of law, and the idea that government legitimacy flows from The People, not from the government’s coercive power. To grant just five people absolute power over an entire nation is to throw America out the window.

Like their European Marxist counterparts, modern American liberals (progressives, Communists, ANTIFA, Socialists, Democrats, whatever) focus their efforts on acquiring power, on controlling decision making, on getting government-endorsed results, at whatever cost, in whatever way possible.

So, judicial over-reach is now a major liberal approach to implementing political change, and changing cultural norms for political decision making.

Thus, Roe v. Wade was not as much about abortion as it was about five unelected, unaccountable people wearing black robes making all policy and legislative decisions about all issues for three hundred and fifty million other Americans.

This behavior is as un-American as anything could be. It strikes a subtle but fatal dagger blow to the American heart, demanding fealty to the rule of law while suspending the rule of law. It really is a coup d’etat.

Several years ago the US Supreme Court did the same thing again with gay marriage as it had done with Roe v. Wade. Instead of begging off of that political issue, because marriage has always been a subject of local and state purview, the US Supreme Court took decision making away from the American People. It created a right that no one had ever heard of before, that flew in the face of thousands of years of human behavior, that should have bubbled up from the local level and worked its way through the legislative process to gain traction among a majority of the American People to give it legitimacy, a real organic cultural belief with roots.

But the Court circumvented all that messy representative democracy stuff, and just implemented the policy and cultural goal they wanted.

(And if you care at all what my opinion is about gay marriage, I don’t give a damn. Marry the adult you want to marry. Go ahead, live your life. Gather together a community or quorum or church or whatever imprimatur you think you need and get married under those auspices. But it is a mistake to demand that three hundred and fifty million other people accept your ideas at the price of their liberty).

So now America is undergoing the Mueller “investigation” of supposed Russian tampering and collusion with Donald Trump so he could win the presidency. After two years of looking, not one shred of evidence has been found, and there is tons of evidence of lots of illegal actions by the prior administration.

Nonetheless a highly coercive and obviously political witch hunt has emerged, with arch criminal Robert Mueller leading the charge.

Why is Mueller a criminal? Because he knows his cause is unjust and dangerous to democracy. He knows there is no evidence for the fake cause of his work. He knows that the FISA warrant upon which his work is based was obtained under very fake pretenses (the fake Clinton-created political “dossier” on Trump). He knows that everyone he has charged is totally innocent or innocent of anything having to do with Russian “collusion.”

Mueller withholds from Congressional oversight the investigation-enabling letter written to him by Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, which began this witch hunt.

If Mueller believed in the integrity of his work and his mission, he would happily, willingly share the enabling letter with the American People. Transparency, right?

Mueller’s witch hunt is so utterly brazen because it demands the American People abandon their commitment to the rule of law, and instead swear allegiance to raw political audacity and the aggressive exercise of power.

Mueller’s attack on our democracy is criminal because it is the creation of coercive political power by sheer willpower and desire to rule, without a shred of legitimacy behind it. Robert Mueller is everything that America is not.

So therefore, Robert Mueller is a criminal, and he knows it. Mueller and his allies hope that the American People’s loyalty to even a flawed democratic process overrides their disgust at the blatant misuse of the process and their trust. It is a big gamble.

Last week the Boy Scouts of America formally changed their name to the “Scouts,” formally adding girls to the mix.

Just eight or so people on the BSA board of directors voted for this change. Demand for this change did not come up from the ground, from the grass roots, from the thousands of local Boy Scout troops and the associated moms and dads across America.

Rather, this huge cultural change was forced down upon everyone else by a very small handful of politically and culturally radical people.

They know they cannot persuade the Boy Scouts members to agree with this change, so like the other changes made on abortion, same sex marriage, and political election results, the decision is made “from above” and forced down on everyone else. It is just another coup d’etat foisted upon America by liberals.

While we would normally think of the Boy Scouts and abortion and gay marriage and election results being totally different subjects and areas, they do share one commonality.

Binding them all together is the Democrat Party’s war on democracy, its lust for power, its lust for political control and domination over all others, its wish for the destruction of all established norms and expectations so that their version of cultural change will be implemented. By brute force, if necessary.

(For those who care to know, I used to be a Democrat. Today I am a reluctant member of the Republican Party, and, like George Washington before me, I disdain all political parties as an occasional, temporary necessity.)

And from all this, liberals hope to “fundamentally change America” into a Socialist paradise like Cuba or Venezuela, or even like the failed and dead Soviet Union they revered.

Why? Because liberals do not believe in The People. They believe in power and control, period, and that is the common thread connecting all of these disparate issues and topics they are involved in. It is just now that these decisions and changes are so starkly contrasted with how America was founded.

I, for one, do not accept any of this behavior, nor the coup d’etats being attempted against our government and our culture.

People we miss, a lot: Paul Lyskava, Tom Hardisky

As I get older, more and more people I know are either widowed or divorced, develop cancer and succeed or fail at beating it back, or drop dead while gardening, walking, biking, or hiking.

It seems to me that there is little correlation between body type or apparent fitness and these unexpected deaths.

And worse, there seems to be little correlation between how good these people are in life, and how premature their death is.

“Only the good die young,” is the famous quip made more famous by Billy Joel.

There is some truth to this quip, as much as I dislike it. It does make me wonder aloud about God’s plan, because there are a lot of really bad people who seem to thrive, while perfectly good people leave us way too soon, leaving behind grieving loved ones and friends alike.

Here are two fantastic people who left us way too soon. One of whom I knew well, and one of whom I did not know well. I miss them both very much.

The first one up is Paul Lyskava, former government affairs director for the Pennsylvania Forest Products Association.

Paul was probably the best person I ever worked with in the Pennsylvania capitol. He was the most level-headed, ethical, hard working, honest, good natured person there. Paul and I met in 1998, and maintained a friendship until he died eleven months ago, from a brain tumor. The painful truth is that I lost track of Paul in his last year, because he kind of fell off my radar screen and I was not assertive enough to follow up with him and ask what was up.

The truth that I eventually learned late was that he was dying. Not one to complain, Paul passed quietly.

I miss the hell out of Paul. I miss Paul a lot. I could cry all over again thinking about him being gone from us. His obituary hangs on the frig at our hunting cabin. The picture in it is of him with his young son. I look at it every time I go to the frig, and I almost always say “Oh, Paul, we miss you so so much. Why are you gone?”

The other great person who has left us is Tom Hardisky, who surprisingly died from a heart attack while gardening last Saturday. Tom and I met only a couple of times, and spoke on the phone and by email a few times.

Tom was the PA Game Commission’s furbearer biologist, which in Pennsylvania is a big job. We have more licensed trappers here than all of the states around us combined.

Tom was the kind of public servant who is a genuine servant. He lived what he did, and was an avid outdoorsman like those he served.

Desperate to get an official answer from him about some furs I was bringing in from Canada’s Northwest Territories at the Arctic Circle, I called Tom on a Sunday afternoon, at home. These are great furs coming in, running a gantlet of super and unnecessarily complicated Canadian paperwork and bureaucratic process.

“Sorry, Josh, please pardon the noise. I am making dinner for the family and some guests.”

And sure enough that friendly official answer he gave was accompanied by a cacophony of clanging pots and pans, frying food sounds, and banging dinner plates.

That is the kind of guy Tom was: Totally devoted to his constituents, even on Sunday, even while he is working in the kitchen for his family. And friendly. He loved this stuff and the people involved in it.

And now he, too, is gone, sadly.

Hello, God, can you help me figure this out?