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The Democrat Party left me, I did not leave the Democrat Party

Following the ancient dictum of “If you are conservative when you are young, you have no heart, and if you are liberal when you are old, you have no brain,” I was once a registered Democrat.

Long ago, in my early twenties.

True, I was from central Pennsylvania, where the differences between the Democrats and the Republicans (and everyone else) were barely noticeable. The Democrats were the union guys who worked in the coal mines, and a lot of farmers who depended on government crop insurance programs; the Republicans were the mine owners and managers, the small business owners.

But everyone drove the same pickup trucks with an American flag and an NRA sticker. Everyone was full-throated do-or-die patriotic over America. No question. Everyone owned guns. It was the odd home out there that did not have any guns, and in fact, I cannot think of any homes where I grew up that did not have at least a handful of firearms. At least one was a .410 shotgun kept by the back door for starlings, groundhogs, and crows in the garden. Guns were as practical as any other tool in the home.

So in 1988, I was the Al Gore for President campaign’s central Pennsylvania coordinator. Way way back in 1988, you know, before the last Ice Age, Al Gore was an NRA-endorsed, pro-life conservative. His party affiliation was almost irrelevant. He was my kind of guy. And he cared about the environment, in which I like to hunt and fish.

And then the creeping, seeping radical anti-America 1960s politics caught up with even the rural areas, including Tennessee, which then-Senator Al Gore, Jr., lost, after running for president as a kook-Left Democrat. Gore even lost his senate seat.

That is because by the early 1990s, most of America’s rural Democrats started becoming former Democrats, and abandoning the political party that had so suddenly abandoned them.

Fast forward to today, and the Democrat Party is not your grandfather’s Democrat Party. Gone is the patriotism, the pride in America. Hell, even the loyalty to America is gone.

Instead, the Democrat Party has now become a witch’s brew of treason, sedition, anarchy, political violence, lawless political opportunism, and blame-America-for-everything Marxism.

That political party now stands for illegal alien invaders over American citizen taxpayers; for illegal alien invaders over secure borders and secure families inside the borders; for sanctuary cities over the rule of law; for bureaucracy over freedom; for vague feelings of supposedly aggrieved groups over the Constitution’s guarantee of individual rights and liberties for everyone. And so on. There is very little to nothing that the Democrat Party stands for today that is good for America. Pretty much everything the party stands for today is anti-America.

I am pro-America. It is the best nation on the face of the planet, bar none. It has created the greatest amount of opportunity for the greatest variety and number of people of any nation in history. If this is not good enough for you, then America is probably not the right place for you. On the other hand, America is more than good enough for me; I worship America. I am staying here, and I will defend her.

I did not leave the Democrat Party, the Democrat Party left me. Hell, the Democrat Party abandoned America, completely.

 

 

“By ANY means necessary”

Have you heard the revolutionary call to arms “by any means necessary”?

It is usually said by ‘black nationalists’ (black racists), white liberals, white radicals, Communists, community organizers, even local teacher’s union members (teachers; your kids’ teachers…), and others who believe that armed revolution and genocide against white conservative Christians not only is necessary to restore “social justice,” but that this violence is inevitable.

In other words, people are advocating for violent rejection of American government as founded and as run today. It is heard most in the big Democrat-run cities, but you can find it in small communities, too.

Would you like a prime example of how this “by any means necessary” gets implemented on the ground, say, in your own community?

Here is a recent example, from Jackson, Mississippi, of all places. Jackson, Mississippi, is the home of one “Chokwe Lumumba,” who is now the town’s mayor.

Mr. Lumumba openly vowed to make the town the “most radical town in America.”

Well, just a few days ago his radical town’s Forest Hills High School student band actually staged the imitation execution of police officers, on the football field, using imitation guns. The photo below is from cell phone footage taken of this “by any means necessary” event.

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba recently said of this event:

“While I do not believe that there was a malice intent on behalf of the students that participated in this halftime show, I understand that we are ultimately not defined by the things that we set out to do, but rather how we respond to the things that actually do take place. It is the responsibility of adults to offer guidance to youth. Our students should have been instructed that this was neither the time or place for that performance.”

Let’s take the mayor’s statement for what it means: There actually is a place and a time for students to engage in this activity, but it just wasn’t there, at the nearby town of Brookhaven, where the game took place and where the Jackson student band played on the field.

And why was it not the time and place for this insane behavior? Because in Brookhaven the week before, two town police officers had been murdered, and the small town was still mourning their deaths.

But we know that the Jackson students did this specifically because the two Brookhaven police officers were murdered, and the students were making their “by any means necessary” statement especially poignant. It was an in-your-eye thing.

No accident here. And no remorse here by the elected leader of Jackson, Mississippi, either.

And why would the mayor have remorse? He supports the students’s behavior, because he supports the murder of police officers. That is simply part and parcel of his goal of gaining “social justice” through any means necessary.

America, are you paying attention to this?

Remembering 9/11

It is tough to square up the religiously-inspired terror attack on America 17 years ago with our national policies since then.

America went through a ridiculous bout of Political Correctness, instead of rational, logical approaches to minimize the risk of something similar to 9/11 happening again. The PC policies placed American at even greater risk. Our porous borders are a symbol that we are still asleep.

Today, political commentator Jamie Glazov was tossed from Twitter, on 9/11, for posting simple ideas about how to protect America.

FakeBook deleted people’s accounts for simply mentioning 9/11.

PC is alive and well and it will only invite more terror attacks like 9/11 on America if we do not adopt a survival attitude.

God bless America and the brave Americans who put up such a fierce fight on Flight 93, and who showed us all how to deal with this scourge.

Who has the national Democrat Party NOT declared war on?

Is there any thing or anyone in America whom the national Democrat Party has not declared war on?

Nationally (not to be construed with what always happens at the local or state level, which is often less radical), the Democrat Party has gone after the First Amendment free speech rights of everyone who does not agree with their politically correct radical base voters.

The Democrat Party has gone after the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, while opposing prosecutions of actual criminals who illegally use guns.

The Democrat Party has aggressively championed the elimination of the Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights of the US president and everyone around him, which means they will try to strip you, too, of your presumption of innocence and due process rights if you, too, oppose them politically.

The Democrat Party openly sides with people illegally invading America, who break our long established laws on their way over our borders, and who then commit outrageous  crimes against and impose tremendous costs on our citizen taxpayers, all the while demanding taxpayer-funded (your money, my money) welfare, universal education and health care. The Democrat Party calls these criminals “victims,” and has abandoned the citizen, the taxpayer, the people who pay for America to run and work every day.

The Democrat Party has declared war on the rule of law by creating “sanctuary cities” that are so obviously contrary to our laws for such obviously necessary reasons. But the Democrat Party wants a huge wave of illegal aliens as new voters to put the Democrat Party into permanent political power. The Democrat Party is even now extending voting rights to illegal aliens, even though they are obviously not entitled to vote for dog catcher or anyone else running for office.

Naturally in all of this Democrat Party warmongering, police officers everywhere are targeted for demonization and vilification at the very least, and usually police officers are targets of violence and deadly ambush justified by totally fake complaints of widespread racist police brutality. Failed NFL Democrat icon activist Colin Kaepernick and his endorser Nike Shoes have done more to damage the standing and safety of police officers and the rule of law they safeguard than any other individual or company. Think long and hard about how this junk impacts your own personal safety before voting for a Democrat in a national election.

If you are enjoying the shared prosperity of a powerfully productive economy, record low unemployment (especially among Blacks), and an American president pushing back against the unfair trade war waged against America over the past fifty years, then do not count on the Democrat Party to join you. I cannot tell you how many Democrats I know personally, beyond those prominent elected Democrat officials saying things in public, who are wringing their hands over how good the economy is, how well it is doing, how much more money American taxpayers are putting in their pockets. When I point out that the economy is doing GREAT!, they respond that either it is not nearly as good as I think, or that it will come to end any minute now, or that it is the result of the previous administration’s policies. The Democrat Party would rather see the American economy destroyed and poor-mouthed into failure than to give credit to the current president.

The Democrat Party is literally making war against the American economy.

The Democrat Party is openly, brazenly, laying siege to America, coming at us from dozens of directions, trying to destroy and tear our nation down from the top and at the foundation.

The last time the Democrat Party did this, they controlled the South and started “the war between the states” in 1861.

These many disgraceful actions make the Democrat Party a seditious criminal enterprise that is illegally and openly at war with the American people, your laws, and our form of government.

Is it time to outlaw the outlaw Democrat Party?

 

A culture of protest, a culture of animosity

If you desire to see the raw underbelly of an overly tolerant democracy, then watch or listen to today’s US Senate hearings on Judge Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh is a smart, friendly, humble, kind of nerdy, bookish federal judge who had the audacity to be nominated to the US Supreme Court.

Why audacity? Because he is not super liberal. Because he does not walk in lock-step with the media arm of the Democrat Party. Because he has a judicial philosophy that is directly connected to how America was founded. He does not run around making legal judgments that are contrary to the US Constitution.

All this makes him audacious in the eyes of people who would use the US Supreme Court to achieve de facto legislative results they cannot get in the US Congress. Kavanaugh is audacious in some people’s eyes because he dares to fill a vacant seat on the Court, and play a constructive role in administering US law and jurisprudence.

To me, it looks like the most boring job in the world. Though at one time, in the heat of my youth, I aspired to be a constitutional scholar and actually studied a lot of constitutional law at Penn State and in graduate school (Vanderbilt) in preparation for it. My uncle has argued twice in front of the US Supreme Court, and on his second trip I was honored to help draft an Amicus brief and sit in the audience while the justices grilled both sides.

But now, look at how even Kavanaugh, The Most Boring Man In The World, is attacked and dragged through the mud by opponents of a lawful society. A shameless howling mob greeted him and the entire world today in one of the world’s most hallowed democratic chambers, the US Senate. To watch and listen to Kavanaugh’s opponents today in The People’s chamber, you would not know that we live in the most civilized nation.

From the 1960s to present, a culture of protest has developed to the point where the ends justify the means. That is, if someone opposes a political issue or a political person, they can go batshit crazy in front of everyone and put on the most foolish antics, with the craziest accusations, and the most violent and destructive behavior, because they are simply protesting.

And because they are protesting, they must be correct, is how they think. And if people oppose them, or have a majority in a legislative chamber or on a court, then every possible brick must be thrown in order to stop them…is how they think.

Where protest has its healthy roots in the First Amendment’s guarantee of peaceable assembly and petitioning the government, today’s protests are anything but constitutional. They are violent and hate filled, lawless and vile, cruel and destructive of people and property.

A very real culture of animosity has resulted out of the 1960s, and it is a bad thing, a toxic thing, corrosive and uncivilized. Its practitioners do not wish to live and let live; they desire control above all, and the use of angry mobs and threats to intimidate their opponents into acquiescence.

In the 1930s and 1940s, Hungary fell the same way. Slowly but surely the Communists there used a combination of violent mobs and corrupted police and courts to eliminate their political opponents. The Hungarian Communists used democratic processes and institutions to achieve non-democratic, tyrannical ends. Hungary went from one of Europe’s great nations to completely oppressed under the Communist boot. Only through uprising and great sacrifice were the Hungarian people freed once again, long after many horrible repressive crimes had been committed.

That same thing is now happening today with the national Democrat Party, whose hatred for the common person, the working person, the taxpayer and citizen, America’s “normal” and boring people, like Judge Kavanaugh, is so overwhelming that it can no longer be controlled.

If you love America, if you enjoy your simple pleasures and the basic freedoms we have here, then tell your US senators you support Kavanaugh, and do not vote for Democrats. The national Democrats do not have your interests at heart. Democrats care much more for illegal aliens (purported “victims”) who murder and rape our children than they care for you or me, taxpaying citizens who have worked hard to build this nation.

A good, decent man, a Justice Kavanaugh will restore some semblance of lawful and constitutional behavior to America, and the howling mob opposes that. Don’t let them win. They are not “protestors,” they are angry, lawless destroyers who pretend they are under the protection of the First Amendment.

How to render bear fat into usable grease

We take a break today from our more usual political commentary and slide easily over into rural culture. Specifically, how to render your luscious bear fat into a usable grease.

Why, you ask?

Because at one time, bear grease was considered a very close substitute for whale oil, which was such a cool product that literally every kind of food, medicine, and flame was made from it. As whales are rightly protected, and bears are bursting at the seams everywhere across America, making a bit o’ bear grease is a neat way to reach back in time.

Many people will use their bear grease for baking, and I have heard and read it is delicious for that purpose, provided it is rendered down carefully. My purpose was and is much more utilitarian: bear grease is going to be a new leather preservative and a lubricant for the patched round balls in my flintlock rifle. I am going to experiment with this unique grease as it was primarily used until the 1880s, when bears were in short supply from unsustainable market hunting, and more modern substitutes, mostly synthetic oils but also including whale oil, were more widely available.

Here are some photos of the simple process I did, using about five pounds of fresh and then immediately frozen fat from a young male bear.

The fat started out as mostly well trimmed, with only slight slices of meat on it. I left those on to see how those slices and the grease would turn out, and if the meat would impart a smell\flavor\aroma to the grease. What I have read is that any meat left on the fat will leave a meaty aroma and flavor to the grease after rendering. Based on the sniffing results of my snoot’s sharp capabilities, I think that is true. That is, meat left on the bear fat will definitely infuse a meaty smell into the grease.

If you intend to cook with the bear grease, then whether or not the meat is absolutely all removed is a question of what you intend to cook in the grease. If it is vegetables and other meats you will be frying in it, then my opinion is the aroma of the bear meat is pleasing and it will not ruin your cooking. If, however, you wish to bake pastries, pie crusts, and breads with your bear grease, then all of the meat ought to be removed. That means every scrap, shaving, and hint of meat should be sliced off the fat.

The fat should be clean, free of debris, leaves, twigs, pine needles, etc. Wash it well. You do not need to dry the fat when you go to render it, as a little water will only help you. It will not be a problem. Cut it with a knife into small chunks. The smaller the better. Some people process their bear fat in a meat grinder, breaking it down into a gooey mess that has no bonds linking the globules. Which makes the fat break down much faster. I think if I had ground up the bear fat, then it would have rendered out in the boiling water in a couple hours.

At first I steamed/ boiled the fat chunks in a second metal bowl immersed in a boiling cauldron over a propane burner. My goal was to be gentle, go slow, and not burn or even cook the fat. For cooks, burned or fried bear fat will definitely impart a certain taste or flavor to the grease. Depending upon your cooking goals, that “cooked” flavor might not be a bad thing. It is a savory smell, and will not go well with pies or sweet pastries.

After six hours on the water, the bear fat had barely begun to melt. So I turned up the heat. The higher the heat under the water, the faster the fat melted. But it was still taking way, way too long. So with about a third of the fat rendered, it was removed from the water and put directly on the lowest flame possible. A little water was added to keep the fat from immediately scalding. Some people put in a lot of water and render the fat on top of it, skimming it off. I did not try that, and it may work better than what I did. It would also be messier.

Direct flame under the pot definitely caused the fat to begin to cook down much faster, and it also began to fry a bit as time went on. The chunks and bits of bear fat began to turn a golden brown. For those interested in rural cuisine, these are called chittlins, much like various types of fried animal fats from Down South. And not just hog skins. Be a bit more creative in your imagining.

Think Larks’ tongues, Wrens’ livers, Chaffinch brains, Jaguars’ earlobes, Wolf nipple chips, Dromedary pretzels, Tuscany fried bats, Otters’ noses, Ocelot spleens, and a host of other fancy Roman cuisine listed in The Life of Brian.

Comparatively speaking, bear chittlins are right up there in that “unusual and fancy” category.

For me, the goal was to maximize the amount of bear grease rendered from the fat, and to minimize the cooking smell or odor imparted to it from the rendering process. This meant reaching a balancing or tipping point where the fat chunks were clearly cooking down substantially, but not completely. Because at completely rendered, the fat is really hot and it is cooking itself. As I wanted to avoid the grease having any kind of food smell, this meant I prematurely ended the whole process, before all the fat was completely cooked down, or even close, to avoid scorching the fat and making the grease smelly.

As you can see from the photo, about 36 ounces of bear grease was obtained from the several pounds of bear fat. Not a bad conversion ratio.

The first photo below shows double boiling; you can see some of the grease appearing. The second photo shows the grease after six hours. Clearly not much progress, even with higher heat. The last photo is after the pot was put directly on a very low flame, with a small amount of water added. Even after this care, the pot had some fat cooked (not burned) onto the bottom. This did give a faint food smell to it. The last photo shows the grease in a refrigerated wide mouth glass pickle jar. It is easy to access in the big jar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Whiteness, with Antlers and Runes

As much as real, tangible racism was in free fall and thankfully a long way out of style throughout America and Europe, Liberals could not live without it, and so they brought it back and breathed life into it like a Frankenstein monster. Newly created by the past president, Black Lives Matter is “the Klan with a tan.”

Racism and race consciousness (they are the same) is a powerful accelerant for liberals’ ever-offended victimhood, and a driver of demands for coercive Marxist “social justice” wealth redistribution and forced equal outcomes (not equality via equal opportunity, which is meritocracy).

Put another way, racialism is a powerful drug. Take a racial supremacy pill and you are on top of the world, feeling good about yourself simply for existing inside your own skin color; but take a racially aggrieved pill along with the first pill and you are ready to lay waste to the world in the name and image of your skin color. You feel personally righteous and motivated. Witness the BLM and ANTIFA street violence, the murderous hate of Jeremiah Wright’s followers, neo-Nazi Storm Front. True jihad.

For every Yin there is a Yang.

For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction.

For every black supremacist Louis Farrakhan and BLM kook and tone deaf NAACP functionary, there is now or will end up being a Neo Nazi or sympathizer, just as equally filled with foolish hatred, racialist supremacy, and racial grievance as their mirror image.

I do not know what “white” skin is, and neither do the strongest proponents of “whiteness” nor its  enemies and modern creators, the black supremacists like Black Lives Matter, Louis Farrakhan, Democrat leader Keith Ellison, or celebrated jihadia Linda Sarsour, et al.

There is simply no quantifiable or operational definition for whiteness, or blackness. But racism’s artificiality does not stop people from using racist ideas for political gain or personal aggrandizement.

A recent vacation trip through several once-sovereign nations in Europe showed that, like America, most “whites” there have accepted the idea that racist/racialist discrimination is a bad thing. This is a repeated empirical observation where one meets a friendly young mixed race German couple: the She is milk chocolate brown, herself of racially mixed parentage, and the He is a supremely blonde and genuinely “white” Teuton, what we jokingly refer to as the ‘Hitler Jugen’ in our own family. Together they are happily affectionate and in love, oblivious to the artificial divide that Black Lives Matter demands of them.

Repeat this scene a thousand times, as we did across the three nations, and the takeaway lesson is that the “whites” got it; they got the memo on being racially accepting. It seems they are alone, however, as the pendulum is swinging the other way now, driven by BLM’s fake racial grievance industry, enabled by the establishment media, as well as South Africa’s latest non-news African anti-Caucasian genocide.

An interesting child born of the Left’s destructive efforts to artificially separate humans, break them out, and pit them against one another along skin color lines are those Caucasians returning to early Norse language, religion, and identity. Now this is really, honestly, truly Caucasian in every way, and if you had to point to something and say “Yeah, this is what we would call ‘white’,” this would be it.

It is an affirmation of historic roots.

It is not symbolic of Aryan supremacy. Yet.

Fascinatingly and in a way frighteningly, because it is so contrary to America’s Biblical idea of color-blindness, which I myself exalt (even in the face of BLM and NAACP racism), this is something quietly growing in the shade between the glaring extremes of BLM and Storm Front’s 21 marching members. It is this truly authentic “white” identity, increasingly celebrated in real song and historically accurate, authentic costume, rooted in Scandinavia, Dane-Land, Germania, the true home area of Caucasian “whites.”

These resurrected ancient symbols send a strong signal to modern lost souls; a chill up the spine tells them they are back home, after a long absence.

These are Caucasians working their way back to a proto-Caucasian, pre-Christian tribal identity, something organic with and naturally arising out of the Western European and Scandinavian landscape, even before Beowulf. It is very much a part of their DNA heritage. At least of what they know of it, or think they know of it. But that is enough for this new identity.

This nascent identity movement ironically started with the 1980s nativist Celtic music revival. But it is now its own thing, complete with a signature public face, a highly literate music style based on old Norse poetry and Viking history, Old High German and Old Danish literature and myths, the use of runes, and native music emitting from natural Iron Age objects, plants, and animal parts. And those totemic tattoos!

Call it “Viking Rock.” Their musical style is a big Viking tent, encompassing chants, to entirely primitive instruments, to electronic everything, and all of that together. One thing for sure, it is energetic, mostly aggressive, very much a product of the Norse beginnings. We know this from archaeology and history.

With this activity we are approaching a clearer and more honest “white” identity that is probably irrefutable, if also unnecessary in my happy, peaceful, color-blind American life. Shallow Storm Front, it ain’t.

We had thought the Vikings were all buried in the shallow inland sands of the North Sea and the barrows and dolmens of England, and now today seen only in documentaries, but in fact they walk among us once again. An entire genre of music, language, religion, exemplified simply by old Norse tattoos, are emerging from Europeans participating in their own natural, organic responses to artificial demands of racial identification.

Perhaps the most visually gripping band is the newest, Heilung (and photos and music videos below).

Early Caucasian people did and said and danced and wrote and sang these things playing out on stage, while today in America we barbecue outside and throw a baseball to relax, instead of beating war drums.

Where this goes is anyone’s guess. Neo-Nazis have already tried to claim some of this turf, now harkening to Odin for aid and comfort and decrying Christianity as a ‘Jewish plot’. But there is a tremendous amount of well-intentioned bleed-over into fascinated onlookers and others justifiably fed up with being told over and over that they are racist bad people simply because of their skin color, or lack of it. Other adherents are just fed up with modern materialism and consumerism, and are looking for what can only be called authenticity. This movement is going to take hold and sink roots in different places.

If we must view this ‘PaleoScando’ style as something purely racial, then one question that immediately comes to mind is this: Can the other “whites,” i.e. the Irish, Scottish, English, Welsh, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Eastern Europeans also participate in this Viking celebration of whiteness? What if you are a typical American and you have a bunch of German, Austrian, and Irish DNA floating around in your veins? Under white racialism, these Celtic and Saxon strands are at war with one another. Do they cancel themselves out? Do you then cease to exist as a racial symbol? Should you be taken to a remote place and shot, or gassed, thereby removed from the gene pool? Or should you just shoot yourself?

A recent DNA-driven facial reconstruction of the 9,000-year-old “Cheddar Man” skeleton from southern England (near Stonehenge) gave him black skin and blue eyes, with a definitely unmistakable Irish mug. An Irishman with a deep tan. But wait, aren’t the Irish and English white?

Do any of these people above also qualify as ‘white’? Should they also be celebrating their whiteness with the modern Vikings? Or are they just onlookers, or cheerleaders, or cannon fodder and stepping stones?

The movement’s music and visuals are powerfully suggestive, and moving. If the Vikings and their incredibly creative, powerful, often merciless successful descendants were any indication, this movement will go somewhere. Hopefully it goes for good. God, I hope for good.

Some representative examples:

“Krigsgaldr” (“War-Magic,” a song or play about cruel Vikings getting some payback)

 

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”:

1,000 welcome guests

Mark Twain noted that both guests and fish start to smell bad after three days. It’s a Mark Twain joke, not meant to be taken literally, wittily observing that well-intentioned hospitality has its natural limits.

A few days ago, I had a different experience with about a thousand guests, international immigrants, migrants, actually. Undocumented visitors, and formally uninvited to America.

For about three or four hours, I sat on the porch with a large coffee on one side, a pair of binoculars around my neck, and a large, heavy book on the other side. As I sat quietly, rarely moving and never moving quickly, I watched as a myriad of neotropical songbirds flitted, hawked, pirouetted, perched, sang, and chased all around the front lawn.

The green lawn is surrounded by a large mature hardwood forest with a high canopy, making it the natural destination for brilliantly colored migratory birds from as far away as Honduras and Guatemala. Gunmetal blue, electric blue, indigo, and boring old regular blue, scarlet, orange, red, yellow, grey, green, and just about every other color combination or version in the rainbow was represented in these tiny little bodies.

Tanagers, flycatchers, orioles (Baltimore and orchard), warblers in profusion, including the mysterious Cerulean Warbler, cedar waxwings, you name it, they were all there right in front of me.

If I had trouble identifying a bird, the binoculars were slowly raised to my eyes, trained on the little bugger, and I then engaged in a promiscuous amount of voyeurism. Reaching to my left for the big Smithsonian Birds of North America book and quietly turning its well-worn pages would usually reveal what I had seen and did not know.

Oh sure, there has been an ongoing battle with a female Phoebe the past three years. She likes to make her mud-and-sticks nest on the frame ledge above the front door. Her construction methods may be fascinating, but her habits are messy. Muddy gravel splashed all over the door, the windows, the porch. Then there are the kids, the poops, and of course we cannot disturb them, so we have to go around and use the back door. Last year she prevailed and caught me at a time when I was less vigilant. Grudgingly I allowed her to sit on her completed nest above the door, and aside from the mess and the Do-Not Disturb sign there, we were rewarded with close-up photos of the cutest little hatchlings and chicks you ever did see. We got to watch them fledge, too.

This year I chased her away and I think she took up a lesser spot in the pavilion, where she alternatively gave me the hairy eye from a perch, and then bombarded the truck daily with her droppings.

Another tiny bird provided a different interaction. Whistling his own song back to him from my front row seat on the porch, I called in a scarlet tanager who perched in a young white pine about thirty feet away, and inspected my odd appearance; I was found to be definitely NOT mate-worthy.

The pleasure gleaned from this quiet, near-motionless, but nonetheless intensely active time is tough to quantify. It is a special and rare time, snuck in during a narrow window in Nature’s endless timeframe. I can say that my heart sang along with those little survivors of journeys thousands of miles long, that my spirits were lifted with each visual treat they provided by wing or by perch, or by song, and that my own singular frustrations were slowly washed away by participating in something much grander, much more important than one man’s concerns:

That deep, quiet, often nearly invisible but enormous and magical ebb and tide of living things across the planet and through our lives. Gosh, are they all magical and their processes are magical, too.

This is a feeling of smallness, completeness, an unusually peaceful sense of place and order that is much more difficult for some of us to find in everyday human life. And yet it is the “natural world.” Think about that! Does it mean that we are living un-naturally?

For hunter-gatherers of old, seeing migratory songbirds probably meant berries and fruits were on their way, and that the known but unidentified Vitamin C in them would replenish the humans’ bodies after a long and planned near-starvation winter period. That is, this incredible migration so many tens of thousands of years old must have had a deep and more specific meaning to our primordial ancestors. Food.

But for us “civilized” people, quiet time, a time and place to contemplate, reflect, and to think is food. Brain food, emotional food, necessary.

Little migratory birdies, you are welcome back to America any time, with or without identification. I hope I get to see you all many more times again in the coming years.