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Keep yer dirty mitts off our history

July 1st is the anniversary of the beginning of hostilities at Gettysburg, the beginning of the end of the first American Civil War (or War of Northern Aggression, or War Between the States).

For weeks, anti history activists have been openly discussing their intentions to defile Gettysburg battlefield’s monuments and markers.

Following recent anti history actions in New Orleans, where the mayor simply removed valuable old Confederate army statues he said were “offensive,” there is now a war against American history.

This attempt to destroy historic statues  and markers here is the same as ISIS blowing up churches, synagogues, and Buddhist carvings, as well as quite ancient carvings from Sumerian civilization.

In ancient Egypt it was fairly common for subsequent rulers to chisel out the names of a politically incorrect forebear from the many stone monuments that relayed the nation’s history

It’s all an attempt to destroy history so it can be rewritten to suit a modern narrative, be it now or 3,000 years ago.

History belongs to everyone. You cannot rewrite it, or destroy it, or damage it. If there is something in history you don’t like, then don’t judge it by today’s standards. Rather, try to understand what was in the minds of the people originally involved.

That understanding is how we use history to inform our decisions today. It’s why so much effort is put into researching history, and uncovering artifacts. We want to know. Well, civilized people want to know.

The people threatening to destroy Gettysburg don’t want to know and they don’t want you to know. They want ignorance, so they can present an alternative rendition that suits their political views today.

They’d probably write a textbook about how the evil Republicans were defeated by ANTIFA kids at Gettysburg. Or something like that.

The rest of America has a message for the disrupters and anti history people: Keep yer dirty mitts of our history.

Why I Trap

Trapping wild animals for food, fur, and pest control is as old as the human race, tens of thousands of years in action.

The traps may have changed over time, but the purposes have not. Pests still ruin valuable crops, eat valuable farm animals, and break into homes and ruin stored food. Humans still prefer to eat wild meat, which is tastier, cleaner, and healthier than agribusiness meat. And humans still prefer to wear wild furs that are warmer, prettier, and more natural than human-made fabrics. That furs are renewable, sustainable, biodegradable, and natural adds to their appeal.

But what has also happened over time is the incredibly abundant material success of Western civilization has created an unnatural gap between consumers of food and goods, and the natural world of forestry, farming, and natural resource management that creates those very same consumer goods.

Frankly, Americans and Europeans are largely spoiled.  Nearly everything we need is easily obtainable. Very few of us have to work hard for food, or shelter, the necessities that keep most humans personally toiling in dirty agriculture daily around the globe. Even our poor have expensive personal items like TVs and phones.

Never will I forget a family member decrying “those evil power companies,” years ago, because she did not like the air pollution resulting from power generation. It did not occur to her that her role as a consumer and generous user of electric power made her the real driver behind electricity generation, as well as all of the associated processes branching out from it.

And similarly, the ease of “shopping” for an unimaginably rich and diverse array of food items, so many made to suit nuanced tastes, especially meats, has resulted in a populace that does not understand the basics of what it takes to put meat and food on those same supermarket shelves.

Enter trapping. At first glance to the average American it appears to involve the sadistic mistreatment of very cute, furry animals that would beg us for their lives in humorous dialects of English, if we would only let them. Silly depiction, yes, but opposition to trapping is even more silly than imaginary talking cartoon animals.

Here are some reasons why I trap: We find a mother turtle, attempting to lay another clutch of eggs along the rail trail, the loose pea gravel of which provides perfect conditions for holding, incubating, and hatching turtle eggs. Three feet away is her previous nest, torn up, with raccoon tracks all over the destroyed turtle eggs, eaten by the raccoon. Raccoons are abundantly dead along roadsides everywhere because they are artificially overabundant in the wild, and especially in suburbia, where they have no real predators other than random cars. There are too damned many raccoons, and they are having a disproportionately high impact on other animals, like turtles, nearly all of which are in decline across the world.

Another reason: The PA Game Commission and many other wildlife agencies nationwide are studying why whippoorwills are in such steep decline. One of the reasons is they are ground nesting birds, which makes their nests easy prey for the raccoons, possums, and skunks that pulse out in unnaturally high numbers from the habitat created for them in suburban sprawl environments. The one place I have seen and listened to these sweet nocturnal birds is a place where we aggressively trap, thinning out the artificially high population of ground mammals that would otherwise raid the whippoorwill nests. We create breathing room for the birds to nest and rear young. The same holds true for grouse, turkeys, and woodcock, all ground nesting birds.

I could go on with a long list of cute feathered and furry animals that are in trouble because of predation by skunks, raccoons, and possums, but it should not be necessary. I prefer these animals because they are colorful, or sweet, or rare. Some of these animals are in real trouble, and if not for trapping of their predators, they might be gone altogether. Any thinking person will join me in preferring these uncommon birds and animals over the overabundant, artificially common racoon, possum, or skunk.

Given that choice, trapping is the natural way to preserve animals we want. We remove the animals we don’t want. I trap because I love wildlife, and given certain population dynamics, as a Nature lover, I face certain natural tradeoffs that I must consider. In order to love and enjoy one little birdy, I must eliminate a whole bunch of its predators.

What amazes me is how little most people know or want to know about trapping. They write it off with the wave of a hand. They seem unimpressed that we can easily target certain types of animals, and thereby avoid other kinds of animals in our traps. We can selectively harvest overabundant predators, to help cute, little, rare and endangered critters.

Trapping is not random, it is not haphazard, it is not cruel, and for me it is not about money. For those of us who love Nature and all in it, trapping is really the only way to ensure that Nature in all her facets sticks around. That, or level all of the large lot suburban sprawl developments and pack everyone into cities.

After all, it is suburban back yards that give us the worst of the critters needing the most control: Raccoons, possums, and skunks.

 

In defense of Mr Coffee

We enjoy coffee in this house.

Rather, to be honest, coffee is a necessity to get a day started properly.

Just one or two cups, and we are off and running full bore.

The question is, How should the coffee be created in the first place?

One person likes the fancy high-tech coffee makers, with all their automated bells and whistles, timers that people outside your home can set their watches by, nuclear heaters, supersonic filters, and so on. You push a button and things start to whirl, hidden gears begin to spin and interconnect, a promising mechanical thrumming starts, and then you wait a hell of a long time while all of the various moving parts begin to work together to make a black liquid known as coffee.

Me, the other person here, likes coffee made easy.

I like Mister Coffee, the low-technology coffee brewer that is easy to set up, easy to turn on, easy to load, easy to run, and easy to clean and shut off.

Unlike the fancy NASA spaceship – inspired coffee makers, with the flick of the ON switch, Mister Coffee quickly pumps really hot water over the coffee grounds and provides hot coffee faster than I can boil it on the stove top.

There are no moving parts in Mister Coffee, no hidden functions, no tiny gears, capacitors or microprocessors that the NSA can hack into to read your kitchen habits.

So when the umpteenth fancy pants ultra-tech coffee maker dies a sudden and unexpected technologically complex death requiring a full autopsy to understand, you can imagine the conversations we have here…

Me: “Well, your latest contraption died, and now we are back to boiling the coffee grounds in a pot, or drinking yechy instant coffee. What do you say we go with the old tried and true Mister Coffee?”

Her: “But I like all those gadgets! I like setting the coffee maker to automatically begin brewing at six AM, and then finding it in flames at 6:15 when I come down into the kitchen.”

Me: “So by being sarcastic about your own choices, are you finally admitting that these high-tech coffee makers universally suck, despite their equally high prices?”

Her: “No, I am not yet ready to give up. While you were gone, I ordered one and have already sent it back after it failed to work properly the first morning. Then I looked at the online reviews and saw that I should not have ordered it in the first place. Another new one arrives tomorrow, same manufacturer. After that, I have another brand to choose from.”

Me: “OK, so….we have still no coffee maker? And you do realize that for twenty bucks, we could have by now had a simple, low-tech, high-function coffee maker on the counter?”

Her: “But I don’t want a Mister Coffee! It’s so boring!”

And so on.

This same conversation has been had in some version about a half dozen times over the same number of years.

Meanwhile, in my own little domain, I continue to use the same Mister Coffee I acquired nearly twenty years ago. Sure, Tim dropped the glass pot early one deer season morning and broke it, back in 2008, I think, but he easily grabbed a new one to replace it, and it is still going strong.

Here is the truth: a) Simplicity trumps complexity almost every time across life’s landscape, as increased complexity results in greater, more expensive, more “exciting” breakdowns, b) coffee is a simple drink, and does not require complex machines to make it, c) low cost and high function trump high cost and low function.

Perhaps there is some hidden aroma associated with fancy coffee machines, and perhaps this hidden aroma stimulates an ego gland buried deep within the brain, resulting in an enhanced coffee drinking experience. All those lights and computer-driven processes could be stimulating on a amusement park ride, so maybe that is happening with these coffee machines, too.

But as far as I am concerned, by the time my fellow coffee addicts have started and finished their Western version of the Matcha, Chado, Sado, and Chanoyu services, I am long gone out the door, fully charged, ready for the day ahead.

Thank you, Mister Coffee, for your constance, your ease of use, and your rugged, low-cost performance.

Here’s to ya!

You get what you pay for, and is this what you want

That old adage “You get what you pay for” is universally popular.

While this adage usually applies to private transactions for durable (or not so durable) goods, it applies to American and British cultures, too.

In both nations, taxpayer expenditures on public “education” have hit incredible highs, both in sheer volume and per capita.

While we once thought of education as being basic arithmetic, history, home economics, science, etc., over the past fifty years the process of forming young minds has increasingly deviated to include all kinds of social re-engineering.

This is now open, widespread indoctrination against the established culture, values, mores, boundaries, expectations etc by politically powerful teachers unions.

Day after day we see headlines, news reports, and cell phone footage from the front row of some low grade class, where either a teacher engages in gross personalization of education, or where even the official school body creates policies that openly trample civil and constitutional rights.

Recent examples include lots of hateful ranting against republicans, tea party activists, social conservatives, and political moderate Donald Trump, to the point where year books are being selectively edited and Photoshopped to remove references contrary to liberal\progressive beliefs. Like a young senior’s “Trump” tee-shirt being blacked out in his graduation photo, or Trump quotes being edited out from some senior’s year book text.

Then we get to colleges and we see a whole other level of pure hate being taught. A grades are given for answering in politically correct terms, and Cs or even failing grades are given to students who merely answer with actual facts.

Disparaging Republicans and conservatives is like a competitive sport on college campuses, to the point where college administrations now openly (and illegally) discriminate against student groups that are politically incorrect.

While this tyrannical behavior itself is frightening, because the Nazis could not have demonized their intended victims any better, the consequences of educational radicalization are starting to bear violent fruit for everyone to see.

College professor Eric Clanton wears a mask and, using steel bike locks, he sneakily attacks and badly injures peaceful protestors with whom he disagrees. He is caught on video several times, and despite the mask, he is identified by police. Clanton openly teaches “revolution” on college campus.

The other day, Mister Hodgkinson was merely a socialist and Bernie Sanders campaign volunteer. He too has lots of anti- Republican hate, begun on his college campus many years ago, and so he takes a rifle and a handgun and shoots a bunch of Republicans playing baseball.

So the question is, as we are now reaping the results of decades of hate being taught and rewarded in educational institutions from the very beginning grades to the very end of graduate schools, is this what taxpayers want? Is this what you have in mind when you pay your school tax bill, or your child’s college tuition?

If you think that this carefully cultivated hate is not what you what out of our educational system, that it is not what you are paying for, then what are you going to do about it?

 

 

A Vulture’s Nose is Deep Stuff

As I am one of those many outdoorsmen who feels the presence of God most when outside in the wild (as did Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Byzantine monks, most Eastern religious founders, moved by the spirit present when interposing interference is removed), and who daily revels in the magical mysteries of nature and her myriad inhabitants, two days ago I experienced one of those affirmative moments I just had to share here.

Let me begin in a normally circuitous way.

Among our friends, the cabin frig is a notorious repository for hilarious experiments in food storage. Examples run from milk containers constantly long past the “Use By” date, which poses no boundary for me when making morning covfefe, to plastic containers containing mysterious fuzzy delicacies once lovingly stashed in misplaced anticipation of an immediate followup feed some distant time before.

So the other day, I grabbed what I thought was a container of meat pottage of recent vintage, only to discover it held the sad remains of a once-proud free range tuna fish turned to tame tuna salad some weeks prior. Upon opening the plastic container, it was clear this material could be frozen for trap bait come November, or taken to a regular dumping point deep in the forest, 100 yards from the front porch, where several trail cameras record and document the many cool forest denizens that come to explore the enticing odors thereupon.

Unwilling to risk the entire freezer contents to this nasty smelling mess, option B was followed. Taking water along to help rinse out the container only added yet more stink to the spot.

I retreated from that odorous field of battle and took up my point of respite on a chair on said porch, thinking of all the hard physical labor awaiting me, once more responsible instincts took control of my limbs. Within minutes, and I mean just a few minutes, a handful of black-headed vultures began circling the spot of spoilage, some diving down below the tree canopy to more personally investigate the enticing smell.

To me, seeing this is a magnificent experience and feeling. What a display of the incredible smelling ability of these birds!

Yes, vultures are carrion eaters, and they are supposed to be able to smell well.

Well, to me, being able to smell a few ounces of old tuna salad water dumped out in the Big Woods in the middle of a vast forest complex, from miles away, is not just good sense of smell. It is beyond imaginably incredible.

We are talking about parts per trillion of stink being immediately picked up by a winged creature far, far away. What sophistication! What finely honed senses! It is miraculous, and to me, it is a sign of the hand of God, because only God can create such complexity. Human attempts are not even cheap imitations.

Which takes me to this perhaps unexpected conclusion: I do not understand the use of recreational drugs. The free and easy endorphin “high” that my brain feels from witnessing the vultures’ display of smell capability is intense, because I appreciate what it represents. Just minutes later a beautiful ruby throated hummingbird buzzed the porch, inspecting our colorful (flower-colored) American flag gently luffing in the breeze.

Hanging momentarily a few feet away from me, I marveled at its minuscule dose of radiant iridescence.

And then as the hummingbird buzzed away at an impossibly high speed (I mean, how can such a small animal achieve such a high rate of speed so quickly? Another miracle of Creation!), my brain experienced yet another rush of self-induced stimulants. No outside drugs required. No danger, no addiction, no expense, no law breaking.

My takeaway from the vultures: Don’t take Nature for granted. She is everywhere, the handmaiden of God, here to show us The Way. If we just open our eyes and revel in the mystery.

 

Are the British a Free People?

A free people does not live in fear.

Either their government, which is created to serve them, eliminates the fear, or the people themselves eliminate it.

What has happened in England is that the government no longer represents the British People. Instead, an array of amorphous, feel-good, politically correct goals are substituted. These are “global” interests that reportedly supersede the interests of the people living within Britain itself.

When the British government fails to care for its own people, and the people begin to complain, then the government creates limits on what the People may say. Under threat of severe punishment!

The British speech codes are only slightly worse than what we see on American campuses today. If you step out of line and utter something “unacceptable,” or “offensive,” whatever that means, then your individual rights are stripped from you in an instant. No due process, no overarching Constitutional rights, just immediate and sudden delivery of scary coercive government force.

And when Muslim terrorists run amok in Britain’s streets, stabbing people, no one is allowed to carry a gun to defend themselves. Instead, heroic bar bouncers are limited to throwing chairs and beer bottles at the terrorists.

Can you imagine if people being terrorized had concealed carry?  The terrorists would not have made more than a few seconds of headway, and then they would have justifiably died.

Sad to say, the British People do not appear to be free any longer. Their government cannot protect them, and the government will not allow them to protect themselves, either. In fact, it tells the People that they should expect to be terrorized as a matter of cultural reality going forward. That is, the People must live in fear. Contrary to the basic living standards of a free people.

With human history as our guide, we know that at some point something gives way. Either the People are fully controlled and enslaved by their government, or the People revolt and create a new government that actually represents their interests.

 

Benjamin Marauder Air Rifle 3.0 Review

With Pennsylvania recently adopting regulations allowing the use of air guns for hunting, a new air rifle was acquired to take advantage of the new opportunities. It is the .25 caliber Benjamin Marauder, version 3. This is a PCP version, which is to say, highly compressed air from a specialized hand pump that gives you a heck of a workout, or from a SCUBA tank, to a maximum of 3,000 psi. These PCP air guns are quite powerful and nothing like the Daisy BB guns my generation is familiar with.

It was purchased from LG Outdoors brand new in the factory box, for $465.00.

The .25 caliber was selected because the slightly larger pellets can carry significantly higher kinetic energy, as measured in foot-pounds, than the .177 and .22 caliber PCP air rifles. Supposed to function like a firearm.  That was the idea, anyhow.

A UTG 3-9×40 AO mildot scope was added to it, because the gun does not have open sights. UTG was selected on the basis of internet reviews and recommendations. It is designed for .22s and air rifles, which are much harder on scopes than even heavy caliber big game rifles. This was purchased from Midway for $85.00.

Pellets used were .25 caliber 25.39-grain JSB Match Diabolo Exact Kings. According to internet reviews I have read, these seem to be the best performing pellets in the Marauder. They are pure soft lead, rounded blunt, with a pronounced skirt, so no sharp, pointed, killer-type field tip contours here.  But within 25-35 yards, they are going to be deadly.

Shooting Experience

The clip included with the rifle broke right away, and I could not get it to work more than once (eight shots). Apparently the internal spring sprang, and the clip would not rotate afterwards. The clip is an over-engineered, overly complicated contraption, designed to frustrate most users. After those first eight shots, the clip was broken, set aside, and the gun was tediously fed single shots by hand.

After the first ten shots, accuracy began to drop, so more air needed to be pumped in with the hand pump. While the gauge on the rifle showed 1,500 psi starting out with the re-charge, it then went to 2,500 psi after just a few pumps. On the other hand, the hand pump gauge showed 3,000 psi, which is the limit. Mind you this was only the second time the gun had been pumped up. When the bleeder valve was opened and the pump disconnected from the rifle, the rifle gauge needle dropped into the white area below the marked pressure range. In other words, the rifle’s gauge died immediately upon use. Only the pump gauge was accurate.

The de-gassing tool needed to quickly let out the compressed air is not included with the gun, which is ridiculous.

The awful matte finish on the barrel and air tank attracts scuffs, holds any paint it encounters, and the metal underneath rusts easily from even the slightest exposure to moisture. This is not your old Daisy single-pump BB gun’s black finish, a finish that even decades later may be somewhat scratched but is still robust and protecting the steel underneath.

After wondering about how the barrel could be counted on to remain accurate without being rigidly supported by the front barrel band, I learned in a phone call to Crosman customer service that a rubber O-ring was missing from the barrel band on this rifle. That O-ring would grip the barrel inside the barrel band and keep the barrel from flexing or moving, which would destroy accuracy.

Despite lacking the O-ring to hold the barrel rigidly, this gun was accurate. With the barrel band O-ring installed, I’ll bet it is amazingly accurate. The adjustable trigger is outstandingly crisp.

After shooting it into and through half-inch-thick dried oak boards, which are iron – hard, we learned this is a gun quite capable of cleanly taking squirrels, rats, starlings, European sparrows, and rabbits, either hunting or in pest control out to about 35 yards. I am unsure if I feel comfortable using it for more challenging pest control like skunks, groundhogs, possums, raccoons, or feral cats, all of which are very tough, unless it is a head shot at point blank range, like in a trap. Having just killed a large porcupine gnawing on our pavilion the other night, which required five point blank Federal Premium .22 LRs, there is still a distinct power difference between even a “mere” .22 and this souped-up air rifle.

Crosman did respond to this gun’s deficiencies. They sent a new clip (the size of a fifty cent piece) in a package the size of a shoe box. I guess shipping costs are not an issue at Crosman. Days later a new air pressure gauge and barrel O-ring arrived. After looking at the terribly illustrated and poorly worded user’s manual, which did not include instructions on installing either the O-ring or the pressure gauge, I decided against trying to install the barrel O-ring or the gauge myself. The gun is going back to Crosman. They can fix this one or send a new one.

Bottom line

The Benjamin Marauder 3.0 PCP air rifle is very accurate up to ten shots, and then it needs to be pumped up again to 3,000 psi. Don’t push this rifle beyond what it was designed to do, and it will perform fine within 35 yards. Just make sure you actually get a functional rifle when it comes “new” out of the box!

UPDATE: 6/2/17 Crosman customer service is shipping the rifle back at their cost. The nice lady told me the serial number is from late 2015, which made her think the gun may have already been returned to LG Outdoors once before, as it should have moved through the channels of trade long before June 2017. She also said we’ll be receiving a new gun. That’s good customer service!

UPDATE: 6/23/17 Crosman delivers back to me the same rifle I had sent to them for repair or replacement. Judging by the small amount of pressure indicated by the gauge, the gauge has been replaced. However, the O ring in the barrel band is still missing. It has not been fixed. This means that the barrel is just flopping around, unsupported. This means mediocre accuracy, at best. Dear Crosman (went my unanswered emails and phone calls), WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON OVER THERE? This is not customer service, it is a rip-off. I purchased a brand new air rifle, and months later, it still doesn’t work right. To be continued!

 

Memorialization Day

Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day” in 1868, as a way to remember the fallen military fighters of both the South and the North, the “Great Rebellion.”

Later it became Memorial Day to remember ALL fallen military service members, who gave their lives so we might live in ease here at home, especially those who fell in the “Great War” of World War One.

Perhaps you are surprised it wasn’t really started in 1968 to sell cheap mattresses and cars at exciting prices? Or perhaps slightly better, a weekend spent with family and friends around a campfire, drinking beer and eating hotdogs. Because that is what it has come to mean for so many of our fellow Americans.

To memorialize something is to “do or create something that causes people to remember (a person, thing, or event),” according to Merriam-Webster dictionary.

My son and his fellow Boy Scout troop members make annual pilgrimages to local Harrisburg cemeteries, and arrange flags on the graves of Veterans. The boys tidy up the graves, make sure the bronze emblems are correctly shown, and then they move on to the next.

This activity causes the boys who do this, and those who see the patriotic results, to actually memorialize the fallen heroes. And to me, every service woman and service man is a hero. Whether you see combat or not, whether the armed services gave you the step up you needed in life, or if the armed services were actually a digression for you, it makes no difference. Everyone who puts on an American armed services uniform is a hero, a patriot, and deserves to be memorialized.

Now and later.

The question that keeps rolling around in my head this week is “What will I do to mark this special holiday weekend?”

No, drinking beer won’t do it. Neither will eating hotdogs.

I will figure out something, and it may be as simple as leading our family in the Pledge of Allegiance to our great flag, which flies over our porch. But by God, I will remember, because if there is one thing I cannot do, it is take all this opportunity and wonder for granted.

If not for our armed services, America would not exist.

Thank you, women, and men, for your service.

***********************************************************

HEADQUARTERS GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC
General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868

1. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, “of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.” What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from hishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.

2. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

3. Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.

By order of

JOHN A. LOGAN,
Commander-in-Chief

N.P. CHIPMAN,
Adjutant General

Official:
WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.

 

My impression of Paul Mango, candidate for PA Guv

Three weeks ago I spent half an hour on the phone with Paul Mango, newly declared candidate for Pennsylvania governor.

We talked about his candidacy, his background, political issues, economics, hopes and challenges, etc. We then followed up with several back and forth emails, each one of his expressing specific appreciation and thanks for how the exchange had benefited him in a certain way. He is a new candidate, new to politics (other than as a very generous donor to Republican candidates), and he is digesting a lot of new information and ideas, new ways of thinking.

Last week I met Mango at his formal campaign announcement at the Twin Ponds sports and fitness center in Camp Hill\Mechanicsburg.

Twin Ponds previously served as the region’s HQ for primary and general election candidate Donald Trump, who won Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes by a margin probably accounted for just by the simple dedication of Central PA’s “normal Americans” in both political parties. The big facility is run by a pretty, petite firebrand of a woman, Mrs. Patton aka General Patton.

Here are my impressions of Mango (and yes, I know, he’s just getting started):

He is impressive in several key ways: His family background and values, his education and military service, and his high level professional work experience.

Paul Mango is a very smart, confident, and empathetic man, who comes across as a reserved, reflective, nice person, and a responsive, good listener.  He is positive and genuine.

I questioned him in person about how he will compete against candidate Scott Wagner, who has spent years battling in the trenches with a lot of conservative voters and activists, against entrenched establishment political hacks in politics for personal financial gain, and who has thereby built up credibility with many politically active citizens who value bravery and honesty.

When I pointed out that Wagner has also alienated a lot of people (including many of his former supporters) in that process (because Wagner seems selfish, arrogant, and unappreciative), Mango responded that he will not say anything negative because he has never seen valuable leadership succeed except through “inspiring people.”

That is a very high bar to set for one’s self, much less one’s political competitors, but it is worthy because it says Mango has integrity. The Wagner campaign has already criticized Mango for supporting Cruz first, and then Trump later, though I got the impression that is what Scott Wagner did, too, like a lot of us did in last year’s Republican primary. Here we go, the mud is already flying!

Well, to start, if Mango is going to inspire voters, then he needs to increase his positive speaking energy, his intensity, his passion. The other night he came across as a little nervous, and definitely way too deliberative, almost plodding, at his formal announcement. His prepared speech was long and the delivery was very, very slow.

Recall that Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg is so hard hitting because it was not long and plodding, but brief and hard hitting.

Despite serving in the 82nd Airborne and actually being a warrior, Mango’s even-keeled demeanor does not seem warrior-like, while his main competitor, Wagner, did not do military service and yet is a proven culture and fiscal political warrior.

Though he wore jeans, work boots, and an Oxford shirt, Mango is the very definition and personification of “corporate,” which will probably look or smell like moderate RINO to the trench warfare grass roots conservatives. Time will tell if that first impression is accurate.

His approach to fixing government is his approach to fixing businesses, about which it is best to just quote my activist friend Ron:

The problem with these guys [corporate/business/ Chamber of Commerce GOP candidates who compare running government to running business] is they all have plans to fix government by running it like a business. This is not a unique viewpoint and it has never worked. This is politics, not business. Took me a while to accept that.  He can have the greatest plan ever but it won’t matter because politicians don’t care [about people, policy, economy etc.].  They care about themselves and getting re-elected.”

It is a fact that careerist politicians in BOTH PARTIES do not act like corporate employees, because there is almost no accountability in politics. The old quip about the only accountability in politics resulting from being “found in bed with a dead girl or a live boy” probably doesn’t even apply today.

Like him or not, candidate Scott Wagner goes right to the key policy battles: Corrupt blood-sucking unions, ridiculous regulations that violate our federal and state constitutions, wasted and stolen taxpayer money.

That is where the rubber meets the road in the culture war for America’s soul and the war for a middle-income economy.

This is the battle front between America as it was founded and as we knew it, and America as a bastion of totalitarian socialism and politically correct thought police, envisioned by the Left.

Candidate Mango will probably arrive here at the same battle front, eventually, because the leftists’ violent street battles across America tell us that nice words alone don’t work, and Trump’s improbable win says it all (JEB! was also the quintessential corporate nice guy, and GOP voters utterly rejected him).

Mango’s steady personality seems to avoid conflict, which though commendable and reassuring in so many other settings, can send the message to some voters that he may be like a zillion other mainstream RINOs who are unwilling to dive into the bar room brawl that needs to happen for America to be set right. These careerist RINOs don’t want to get their hands dirty waging political war, which tells voters that they really just don’t care very much about political or cultural outcomes.

Mango is smart enough to see these facts and voter trends. Whether he arrives at that messy policy battle front sooner or later is the question. If he finds a way to comfortably voice his quiet intensity, his passion, his compassion for working Pennsylvanians, then he will overcome the potential impression that he is another empty GOP suit (I was told that PA GOP kingmaker Bob Asher has NOT supported Mango, which appeals to the conservative, independent-minded base).

I like the guy and I am looking forward to seeing him develop over the next six months, because, again, he is new to politics and just getting started.

Western Civilization’s Superiority in One Image

The greater the variation in thinking, sound, taste, etc., the greater the range.

The greater the range of anything, the more refined it can become, and the more representative it is of sophistication.

The more refined something is, the more sophisticated it is, the better, more valuable it becomes to people, and when we are talking wild food and wildlife nutrition, the better it is for animals, too.

If there is one symbol of Western Civilization’s superiority above all other civilizations, it is the violin.

From a tiny violin a masterful player can emit the greatest range of sounds, which themselves can evoke a wide range of feelings and accompanying thoughts.

Stringed instruments are hard to make, hard to play well, and just as hard to keep tuned.

Stringed instruments require thoughtful, gentle and technically capable humans to create, play, and maintain them. A human culture capable of imagining, creating, playing, and maintaining a stringed instrument like the violin is at the height of human material, technical, and philosophical capabilities.

Not to disparage the cello, which in the hands of a master player can really surprise us, and not to question the viola…OK, what the heck is the viola, anyhow?

Yes, the piano is a stringed instrument. It is just a harp laid flat over a sound board, the harp strings struck by gentle little felt hammers of varying softness. No wonder the piano can be so emotionally evocative.

The violin is the most difficult to make and play of all stringed instruments. Not just because it is relatively small, but because it is both delicate and very strong. To make a good violin, that will be both a real performer and stand up to the hard use that wrings from it the wide ranging sounds that raise our hearts or cause us to cry, there must be a perfect alignment of the best natural and human-made materials with the best human capabilities.

This is art, the humanization of science. It is the highest form of human capability, and that perfected blend of form and function flows in all directions to encompass cars, firearms, clothing, music, buildings, food, etc.

That flow is what we call culture, and at the heart of my culture, my civilization, lies the violin.

Those fellow humans who join my country and my civilization are expected to join it, support it, appreciate it, advance it, not just benefit from it and give nothing back. Or worse, they cannot try to damage it, or change it. We call that treason, or war.

After all, this is my country. No one has a right to simply move wherever they want on Planet Earth, and demand that the natives there move over, make way, throw overboard their beliefs, their values, discard their noisy violins, so to speak.

Can an American Christian move to any Muslim country and build a church? No?

Can a Christian of any sort openly practice, safely, in any Muslim country? No!

Can a Jew even enter Saudi Arabia? Not without special permission from the Saudi government.

Western civilization’s simplest, sweetest violins are officially silenced across much of the planet. The violin is not their culture, that we accept.

But why must we accept that belief here, in our culture, their rejection of the violin?

American culture has always been successful and superior to all others because it made room for everyone to be themselves, and yet also be a loyal and patriotic American.

That understanding has ended among a great many Americans, old and new. Today, an American cannot be an openly practicing Christian without being ridiculed or accused of violating someone’s comforts, much less their rights. That someone might not even be an American citizen, entitled to do much if anything, by law.

When a different, outside civilization can imagine, create, play, and maintain a top quality violin on its own, then I can make space for it here in my civilization. Until then, I value my little world with its many violins above all others. I do this, proudly, defiantly.