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Putin murdered Navalny and is no saint, and you are your own leader

Political candidate, longtime Putin critic, and political prisoner Alexei Navalny (aged 47) was murdered in a Russian prison last week. Like the murder of Jeffrey Epstein in a supposedly heavily guarded and monitored prison in America, Navalny’s murder was also done to send a signal about who is in charge, this time in Russia.

The person in charge of Russia is Vladimir Putin, president for life and de facto dictator. Putin is known for poisoning his critics (Navalny was previously poisoned while abroad, and survived to bravely return home to challenge Putin in rigged elections, and was then jailed), having them thrown out of windows (too many examples to count), having them brutally murdered in the streets, and having them encounter impossible “accidents” like when the airplane they are on just mysteriously blows up in the middle of the sky without any warning.

I know that a lot of Americans are justifiably frustrated by the lack of leadership in America. While the Democrat Party is busy blowing up and setting America on fire, and illegally importing a veritable army of military-age illegal alien men, which is a dereliction of duty and outright treason, the Republican Party and almost all of its elected officials from coast to coast are spineless, flaccid, weak kneed, limp wristed, whiny, two faced girly men (first reference to GOPers as girly men was here on this blog months ago, and then used by Wayne Root, for which we are honored) who can’t do anything, not a damned single thing, to oppose or resist the Democrats.

These Republicans were elected on the basis of their campaigns, where they promised to be leaders, and lead on issues their voters care about. But they get into office and just don’t do anything. We have seen the same empty campaign promises here in Pennsylvania, where the vast majority of elected Republicans just can’t or just won’t say anything about election integrity.

In October and November 2020, the overwhelmingly Republican-dominated Pennsylvania legislature could have easily impeached and removed those PA Supreme Court justices who unconstitutionally turned PA law and constitution alike on their heads to make way for the theft of the 2020 election from President Donald Trump in favor of the non-campaigning basement dwelling zero-charisma plagiarist and serial liar Joe Biden.

But the PA GOP did nothing, absolutely nothing. Zero. And even now, asking people like state senator John Disanto to publicly say something meaningful about election integrity is like questioning the law of gravity. And as a result, elections are stolen and America is going up in flames.

So yes, there is a huge failure in leadership everywhere around us, at every level, and so yes, Americans are desperate for leadership anywhere they can find it. And so up steps Vladimir Putin to both attack the globalist swamp in Ukraine and to also stand firmly for his own country (imagine that) and for his church and history (doubly imagine that). And all of a sudden a void is filled, and Vladimir Putin becomes the embodiment of leadership to many Americans.

Stop it, people. Putin is not any kind of leader that any kind of traditional freedom-loving American can relate to or support. He is a cruel, evil, murderous tyrant who brooks zero opposition or even questioning. Yes, he has some good qualities, no, those qualities do not outweigh the terrible things he is doing to his political rivals or to Ukrainian civilians, much less to the American Dollar.

Forty-seven-year-old Alexei Navalny was just murdered in cold blood in a dark and cold jail cell, in the middle of Russia, alone without his wife or friends to hold his hand and comfort him, for the simple reason that he posed a threat to Putin’s illegal grip on absolute power.

We Americans are witnessing the same exact thing happening here in America, where absolutely innocent and peaceful protestors from January 6th 2021 are still being rounded up by gangs of federal Gestapo thugs and held in solitary confinement, without medical care, with inadequate food and water, under terribly unsanitary conditions, for the simple reason that they represent a We, The People response to the stolen election dictatorship of Joe Biden and his posse of lawless and violent federal employees.

So if you oppose what Joe Biden is doing here in America, you must oppose what Vladimir Putin is doing in Russia and in Ukraine. Standing up for freedom and for The People’s political opposition like Navalny and Trump doesn’t mean you automatically have to whole-hog embrace everything about Putin, or anyone else for that matter.

And I will bet that if you ask Russians, they will have mixed opinions about Putin. I will bet they admire and appreciate his strength and passion for Russia, but also reject his lawless violence and unnatural grip on absolute power.

When dictators in Russia or America resort to jailing their opponents, and killing them, they are illegitimate, and The People can and should rise up and take back what belongs to them. We, The People are the leaders we have been longing for.

Mayorkas impeachment = detectable pulse in GOP

Foreign-born US Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has finally been impeached by the US House of Representatives. Surprise to me that Mayorkas is the first cabinet-level federal employee to be impeached in something like 150 years.

Why this roughly 150-year gap between cabinet impeachments exists is likely because in normal times of governance, the mere credible threat of impeachment would be sufficient to garner a resignation. But America is not now living in normal times of governance. Rather, America is living in a time of blatantly stolen elections, illegal border-jumping alien replacement of American citizen voters, and a brazenly political mainstream media that mass-lies and disinforms the roughly half of the American population still asleep at the wheel.

So, with massive daily doses of partisan propaganda and outright lies from the mainstream establishment media (NBC, CBS, NPR, PBS, MSNBC, ABC, Washington Post, NY Times etc) to cover up the stolen elections, people like Joe Biden are unaccountable to the voters. He literally cannot be voted out of office, because if his opponent gets a billion votes, Joe Biden will magically get a billion and one votes. So, without electoral accountability, evil villains like Alejandro Mayorkas continue to purposefully destroy America from within, like the gnawing rat that he is.

For the record, the official job that Alejandro Mayorkas has is the head of the Department of Homeland Security, in which he is allowing and facilitating the complete and completely illegal invasion of America across our open borders. Terrorists and drug dealers and military age single men are illegally pouring across our border every day, which puts Americans in direct danger. Alejandro Mayorkas has been refusing to do his sworn duty for three years now, and as a result American citizens are suffering terrible crimes of violence and fentanyl poisoning, and who knows what terrorism is coming down the pike.

Alejandro Mayorkas has blood all over his hands, and he deserves to be impeached, and removed. If anyone deserves to be impeached and removed from office, it is Alejandro Mayorkas and his boss Joe Bribem. But first things first.

But the US Senate Democrats will do everything possible to stonewall and slow-walk the senate trial of Alejandro Mayorkas.

Not all is bleak, however. Two good things have emerged from this impeachment: First, two of the three useless, spineless jellyfish RINO “Republican” congressmen who unbelievably voted against impeaching Alejandro Mayorkas have announced they will not seek re-election. Both Ken Buck and Tom McClintock have announced today that they will not seek re-election. Let’s say this one more time: Voters are incensed by the Washington DC swamp-slug behavior of their elected representatives, and voiced enough displeasure that said DC Swamp-Slugs are retiring from office. Success!

Number two is that this small step for humankind demonstrates that there is still a pulse in the Republican Party. Faint though this pulse may be, it indicates that there is some fight, some resistance to the Marxist coup d’etat happening right now. This resistance is noteworthy because maybe the GOP isn’t completely dead after all, and rather is only mostly dead.

With the promise of maybe waking up and going to war against the Democrat Party traitors who are purposefully and willfully destroying the America they were sworn to defend and protect. Best news in years!

Is the Republican Party really dead, only mostly dead, or just playing dead? Impeachment of Alejandro Mayorkas shows there is still a faint pulse in the GOP

Tucker Carlson’s interview with Putin

I have watched the fascinating interview with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin by journalist Tucker Carlson, and if you have any interest in world politics, you should watch it too, right here.

So the mainstream establishment politically partisan leftwing activist media, and their political members like Hillary Clinton, have all piled on Tucker Carlson for doing this interview. I don’t see why, except that the establishment media is jealous, or maybe afraid. Unlike the establishment media people, Tucker Carlson doesn’t ask softball questions or act like a fawning stooge.

He asked logical questions of Putin that visibly provoked Putin quite a few times. In fact, Tucker Carlson asked questions I would not necessarily have thought of, like if it is OK to carve up modern Ukraine among its former occupiers, as Putin stated, then is Putin advocating for giving northern Ukraine to Viktor Orban’s Hungary? Would Putin be ok with Poland taking a big piece of Ukraine, too?

Putin did not like those questions! He oh-so-very-clearly dislikes being challenged and is not used to it.

For his part, Putin was fascinating. He gave an impressive recitation of Eastern European history, beginning at the year 862, from memory. While I have studied the history of Europe a lot, I do not think I could give you all of the “who kicked Mary and who hit John” moments that make up the chaotic past and present of Eastern Europe, much less Western Europe, from memory.

One area that Putin was clearly not being truthful about was this “Denazification” of Ukraine justification-excuse for invading Ukraine. Yes, there were Nazi collaborators in World War II. There were also Ukrainian Communists in World War II. Russia also committed a genocide-by-forced-starvation against Ukraine, called the Holomodor, in great part in retaliation for atrocities committed by Ukrainians against Russians not too long before. There is indeed a long history of blood and feuds here.

Putin also stated that Poland collaborated with the Nazis in World War II. Yes, the same 1939 Poland that was invaded and crushed by the German Nazis, supposedly did it on purpose to help Germany. Despite the fact that it was the Soviet Russians who committed the Katyn Massacre of the Polish elite. Obviously Poland did not welcome or collaborate with the German Nazis, but Putin says they did, and moreover, that the Poles were themselves Nazis.

This is nonsense. It is not factual.

But, like I say, you have to hear this interview yourself to understand how the Russians really think, or at least how they want you to believe they think.

Whether or not Putin actually believes his own propaganda, it doesn’t matter. He says it, and to me it sounds crazy, but I will bet that a lot of other Russians believe the same things. Which is why these interviews and dialogues are so important.  We humans should strive to understand one another. Or at least lie to each other, mutually. Some sort of understanding emerges, and if it prevents bloodshed, cruelty, and crying children and destroyed civilizations, then probably for the good.

Putin very clearly has a passion for the region and for Russia, which is to his credit. Because the one thing that has caught the fancy of a lot of Americans is that Putin loves his homeland Russia. If there is one thing that at least half of America admires it is an appreciation for one’s nation, and so Putin’s clear love of Mother Russia resonates with them.

Putin’s love of country, to the point of waging an illogical, incredibly destructive, and probably illegal invasion-war against Ukraine, is something we no longer see in America’s politicians.  No, America’s politicians are largely fat globalists, citizens of the world, moral relativists who enter Congress worth fifty cents and who are then worth $29,000,000 three terms later. American politicians love money, not America, and they are allowing America to be invaded. American politicians are selling America to the highest bidders, most especially Joe Biden, whose literal name Joe Biden is all over illegal bribe and graft checks and money wires written by Chinese businessmen to him and his son Hunter Biden.

Putin doesn’t put up with traitors, which a lot of Americans find refreshing and wish would be the norm once again here in America.

Putin gave his perspective on his region’s history, which is obviously from his own view. I know for a fact that asking a Ukrainian citizen will result in a different view on a few of those same exact facts. Same goes for people from Poland, Lithuania, Finland and many other nations around there. For the past few hundred years at least, that big grizzly bear Russia has had its grip tightly on so many of its neighbors. And from the Russian perspective, this is normal and perfectly fine. If you are Kazakh, or Tajik, or some other ethnicity, you probably disagree with Russia’s actions.

One of the regions that Russia invaded and absolutely stomped to pieces in recent times, unarmed civilians and all, was Chechnya. Back before YouTube became all censorship oriented, you could watch actual video footage of Russian soldiers laughingly executing unarmed Chechen civilians in their ragged clothing, mothers and fathers, grandmas, and then walking on to the next rustic stone farmhouse and doing it all over again. I really defy anyone to try to justify this barbaric behavior. Same goes for Ukraine now.

And Putin complains that the CIA was responsible for Chechnya’s response…

Other items that fascinated me are Putin’s view on his experience squaring off against and sometimes trying to work with the CIA and American political leadership over the decades. He seems genuinely flummoxed why American leaders and bureaucrats alike do not trust Russia, even post-Soviet Russia. It is helpful to me to closely watch Putin’s face as he voices his disbelief, and his reluctant acceptance of realpolitik, over the proxy wars and NATO maneuvering along Russia’s borders.

Maybe he really does believe what he is saying.

Long ago, a friend of mine who taught Russian history and military doctrine at the US Army War College in Carlisle, PA, pointed out that over its long history Russia has never had democracy or representative government. Russian culture has always favored some sort of headman, dictator, Tsar, whatever, and so, believe it or not, today’s Russia with all of its obvious problems, and its journalists being thrown out of windows, is still relatively open and free compared to its history and its potential now and future.

In other words, as ruthless dictators go, Putin is not so bad. He could be a lot worse.

In any event, Tucker Carlson has done a good deed here. He sat down and had an honest-to-goodness real and very long interview with a head of state that no one in the American political-media establishment wants us to hear from.

You should ask Why the American political-media establishment wants us to be shut off from Putin’s perspective. Is it because so many American bureaucrats and politicians have been privately and very illegally benefiting from Ukraine’s oil and gas business, and from its illegal bioweapon labs set up at the behest of Dr. Mengele Fauci and American Big Pharma companies? These illegal relationships have been coming to light in the past few years, mostly now as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Watch the interview, and be thankful that a free America still exists in part, despite the Biden Regime’s best efforts to turn America into a violent police state, and freedom never being free and having to be occasionally renewed by the blood of patriots and tyrants alike.

UPDATE: Tucker Carlson goes food shopping in Moscow. Whoa.

Biden lies, America dies

Joe Biden has been a well documented serial liar and plagiarist his entire long career. The citations for these immoral and non-stop character flaws are too numerous to put here; curious readers can simply use just about any search engine EXCEPT Google to discover them (try using the website-only search engines at The Gateway Pundit and Breitbart). And despite being “an elderly man with a feeble mind” as a US Special Prosecutor wrote this week while evaluating Biden for violations of confidential records law, Biden still knows how to blatantly lie on demand.

Even today Joe Bribem blamed President Trump for the wide-open American border. Which is either old crazy man talk, or just another lie meant to deflect criticism from this unbelievably corrupt and illegitimate regime. After all, it is Biden himself who opened the border to anyone with two feet who wants to walk across it, without any vetting or testing. And it is Biden himself who sued Texas to stop them from blocking off the Texas border to illegal immigrants.

It is Biden alone who is responsible for the estimated 18 to 20 million illegal border jumpers now freely roaming America in the past three years, many of whom are committing horrific crimes of violence. And it is Biden alone who has been giving these lawbreakers my and your taxpayer money in the form of cell phones, health care, and even spending cash. So it is a huge lie for Biden to blame anyone else for this crisis. And crisis it is: Public health and disease crisis, public school crisis, crime crisis, public sewer and water crisis, hospital crisis, you name it, this influx of illegal people is stressing every fiber of the American social fabric.

America is dying. It is dying mostly because of the lies that deflect from the lawless actions of criminals like Joe Biden. And it is also dying from the lack of re-action by disinterested bystanders, like most of the elected Republicans across the country. There is no way to know what comes out of this situation, except that whatever expectations, hopes, dreams, plans, and investments we had in October 2020 are now over. That was I guess a sort of Phase II of America, and we are now in a Phase III post-Constitution America, where our founding documents are meaningless to 90% of our elected officials, and the oaths of office of that 90% are meaningless, and where the rules and procedures and laws that governed our courts are tossed aside to suit the whim of brazenly politically active judges at every level.

So Biden lied, the rule of law died, America died, and now what do we do?

Don’t trust anyone under thirty

A few weeks before I was born, a leftist activist in Berkeley, California, said “Don’t trust anyone over thirty” in a newspaper interview, and a star was born.

What young Jack Weinberg was saying in that late 1964 interview was that a generation gap had developed between America’s youth and our elders at the time. In 1964, the young people were using language and ideas that their elders could not understand, and did not approve of when they did understand them. Weinberg’s point then was that people over thirty years old could not be trusted, because they could not understand or relate to the young people and held onto old fashioned ideas. There was a sense among young people that they were leading a movement for positive change that would make America even better.

While those young people were wrong about an awful lot, like most everything they promoted, they were right about the Vietnam War. And it was the daily images from that bloody, sad war that energized Jack Weinberg and his fellow activists most, and enabled them to implement a whole bunch of real crap that has still damaged America to this very moment.

Fast forward a couple decades, when I was in graduate school down south back in the late 1980s, and my former hippie dad sent me a funny post card with a cartoon of an aging hippie saying the “Don’t trust anyone over thirty” line, which was crossed out. And then there were subsequent lines, each one crossed out: “Don’t trust anyone over forty, Don’t trust anyone over fifty.” The implication being that the once-young hippies had grown up and themselves become the conservative elders they once rejected, and if Jack Weinberg’s truism was going to still hold true for them all those decades later, it was going to have to keep up with the march of time, age, grey hair, and robust bank accounts and retirement plans. My dad was poking fun at himself, and admitting that he had become that which he once rejected.

And what eventually happened to Jack Weinberg, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and the other 1960s radical leftist Jews and their Christian colleagues? They eventually almost all grew up, bought nice clothes, got married, bought a home, got jobs selling stocks, in law, and accounting. All their silly radical generation gap nonsense was discarded. Many of them found God, and became the hard working middle income earners their parents had aspired to be.

Now let’s fast forward another couple decades and I am talking to a class of college students in central Pennsylvania. Invited by professor Andrea, I mostly answer questions about my perspective on “climate change”, environmental protection, the role and purpose of government, marriage, gardening, owning guns, and work life. Afterwards, Andrea confided to me that her own students accuse her of being a conservative because she is married to a man, with whom she has two kids, a home, a car, a dog, and a mortgage.

Josh, never in a million years did I think that by being a traditional liberal would I be accused of being a right wing reactionary,” she told me, with her eyes bugging out in surprise.

And this is why we can no longer trust anyone under thirty years of age. These young, untested, pampered, entitled, spoiled goofs clogging up our colleges and street protests and Tik Tok video feeds are not only politically radicalized, they are incapable of growing out of it. These are not the happy hippies of the 1960s, rather, these are monsters.

Their overweening parents have protected them from reality all their lives, allowed them to become culturally indoctrinated in government schools resulting in no actual skills like knowledge of math and science, but great skills in yelling at people they don’t know while crying about boo-boo words. Unlike yesteryear’s working class hippies they want to emulate, today’s kids don’t know anything and cannot do anything, so much so that they are at risk of never growing up and never being able to grow up.

This is where today’s young people diverge from the Jack Weinbergs, Abbie Hoffmans, and Jerry Rubins of the 1960s and 1970s. Young people in the 1960s still had an American work ethic and knew basic right from wrong. They thirsted for knowledge and trusted science. Today’s kids mostly have zero work ethic, know zero actual facts, have no useable skills, can’t tell a man from a woman, and have no moral compass. And they are not interested in anything that gets in the way of their five dollar latte.

Today’s young people have become not an agent for change, but for destruction. We can’t understand them because they don’t understand themselves and probably can’t ever. Today’s young people are a dire threat to themselves and to the rest of us who rely on the rule of law and the application of modern science in our daily lives. Their nonsensical ideas about hiring scientists and engineers based on skin color and allegiance to Marxist principles instead of merit and skill is why Boeing planes are suddenly disintegrating and nearly hitting each other in the air, and why schools everywhere at all levels have openly given up on teaching math and science in lieu of teaching racism against white people, enforcing silly pronouns rules, and subjectively respecting “feelings” above all or “I will throw a crying tantrum while simultaneously beating the snot out of the offender.”

Today’s under-thirty man-child crowd is soon going to be at the controls of America, and it won’t be a sustainable situation. We don’t trust these people for good reason, and unlike the young people of the 1960s who eventually grew up and contributed to America, there is nothing funny or cute about this situation.

Today’s young people aspire to be permanent wards of the state, while their elders work to support them, and also bow and scrape and constantly apologize for whatever imaginary hurt the woman-child has just experienced.

America is in a world of trouble.

America’s young have this fantasy that they can simply force everyone to adopt whatever crazy ideas they have, no matter how destructive

“Mom, peanut butter smoothie NOW!”

Biden DOJ is suing Texas and others because Biden DOJ does not want federal immigration law enforced. Think about this crazy treason

I am not making this stuff up, just using their own images and their own words (arch demon Adolf Hitler on left)

 

 

 

Two great shows coming up soon!

Two great shows are coming up soon. If you live in central Pennsylvania, then fortunate you. If you live farther out or even far away, even out of state, both are worth traveling to, even from far, far away.

The first show starts this Friday, the 18th Century Artisan’s Faire, now (as of last year) held in Carlisle, PA, at the Carlisle Expo Center at 100 K Street. It used to be called the Lewisburg Show, because for decades it was held in Lewisburg, PA, along Route 15. The Carlisle Expo Center is SO MUCH BETTER than the prior hotel venue. I went to this show last year and could have easily spent both days there. Better lay-out, better room, more room, higher ceilings and far better lighting.

If you are afflicted with history-itis, with a passion for hand-made tools and utensils of all sorts, including eating utensils like forks and knives and plates, with blacksmithing and historic reenacting, with hand-carved curly maple furniture and gunstocks, leatherworking, with anything black powder or flintlock or percussion, with 17th and 18th century clothing, then this show is for you. I have been attending for I don’t know how many years, a long time, and every time I go it’s worth it. The nationwide talent that is assembled at this show is amazing to experience.

The second show starts this Saturday, the Great American Outdoor Show. It is held for the whole week in Harrisburg at the Farm Show Complex on Cameron Street. This is the “new” show built on the ashes of the old one, which I helped end by starting a boycott.

The prior show was run by a British promoter, and they had no feel for America, Americans, guns, gun rights etc. In the immediate political backwash of another Democrat-run mass school shooting, that British promoter tried to prohibit exhibitors from having AR-15 platform rifles. That set off a slight negative reaction among the paid participants, advertisers, and attendees that culminated in the boycott, which ended the show that year. And it ended that tone deaf promoter’s role in the show ever-after.

In the press interviews I did about shutting down that show, my favorite quote was “The British did not understand Americans in 1776, and they still don’t understand us in 2012.”

To which I think we can easily now add the entire Democrat Party, because it is openly and officially the political party of big government, of citizen disarmament and gun confiscation, of digital currency and your money control, of high taxes, of speech control, of thought control, of censorship, of car control, of health care control, of Covid lockdowns and private citizen movement control, but not USA border control.

Nope, under the Democrat Party the American border is wide freakin’ open to tens of millions of anyone and everyone from around the world.

So, go to these two shows. Both are very family friendly, regardless of what your family members each like. You will be really happy you did go. Enjoy America and freedom while you still can.

On Friday and Saturday you can rub elbows with gunpowder horn makers, flint knappers, flintlock and percussion rifle makers, black powder bag makers, historic dress and bonnet makers, tri-corner hat makers, and blacksmiths.

On Sunday you can go to the Farm Show Complex and see the whole world of tactical socks and vests, endless semiauto blast-em rifles as well as very cool historic lever action rifles and Wild West revolvers, bushcraft duck calls, high fence deer hunting legends and other TV created one-dimensional personalities, useful ATVs, fabulous boats, and cool end-of-the-world survival RVs, high tech synthetic and high tech  wool outdoor boots and clothing, hunting guides from all around the world, and all kinds of fishing stuff. The Great American Outdoor Show really is an amazing experience. I highly recommend it.

I myself will be both a visitor and a volunteer at the GAOS. After many years of volunteering at the show and its predecessor, I took 2021-2023 off. This year I will be volunteering one or two days with the Pennsylvania Trappers Association, a wonderful conservation group of which I am a Life Member. Come on by the PTA booth and chat with us!

Gunmaker extraordinaire Mitch Yates

Leatherman’s new proprietor with his wares, which many black powder hunters use nationwide

Hoffman Forge. Jymm Hoffman made the outstanding modern steel anvil that we use in our own forge

I am a proud volunteer with the Pennsylvania Trappers Association at the GAOS.

Hoedown showdown at the Texas border

An interesting political dance is happening down along the Texas border. The Texas border is the primary venue through which millions of military-age male illegal invaders have crossed into America without any documentation, or health checks, or anything else that every other sovereign nation has in the way of border control since 2021. These illegal alien invaders are being given our own taxpayer money in forms of credit cards and cell phones! As well as health care that we taxpaying citizens will never get!

This illegal invasion is happening contrary to federal law, as well as Texas state law. It is happening only because the Biden Administration wants it to happen. In fact, the Biden Administration is actively facilitating the invasion, going so far as to sue Texas to prevent the state from enforcing both federal and state law that prohibit foreign invasions, and going so far as directing US Border Patrol staff to help illegal aliens cross over into America.

We all know why the Biden Administration is committing this brazenly lawless treason. It is a cheap attempt to bring in enough new voters to overwhelm conservative areas with liberal voters and turn America into a one party nation. Here in Pennsylvania, the governor is attempting to turn all new drivers licenses into automatic voters, because he is trying to give all new drivers a new driver’s license and new voting rights, irrespective of whether they are a citizen, or not.

Pretty slick pure evil.

Texas has been bussing its illegal invaders around the country, specifically targeting those states and municipalities that had long billed themselves as “sanctuary cities” and “sanctuary states.” Turns out that these so-called sanctuaries did not really want illegal aliens in their community. Rather, they were just virtue signaling, and they actually wanted illegal aliens to overwhelm the conservative states and conservative jurisdictions, so they could eventually be turned into welfare dependents, wards of the state, and tuned to voting for government handouts. And so become loyal Democrats in areas where Democrats would not normally get elected.

If anyone still doubts that the 2020 election was stolen, this single policy of not just allowing but facilitating and even forcing an illegal and dangerous foreign invasion of America is Exhibit A in the proof that the 2020 election was stolen for a reason. This is just more brazen lawlessness by the Democrat Party and its RINO allies, and a double-dog-dare to American citizens that they won’t finally stand up for their rights and their interests.

So now Texas has finally gotten a spine, and is finally shutting down its section of the border, in defiance of both the China-penetrated and compromised federal government and the completely failed and compromised US Supreme Court. The Biden Administration is threatening to federalize the National Guard and turn them into Maitre D’s and docents welcoming the illegal invasion, while Texas is actually using its National Guard troops to stop and turn back the invasion. This is a real showdown, with both sides invoking military force against one another.

Like millions of other Americans, I am not in the least upset about this situation.

Texas is the only party here standing on both existing federal law and Constitution, and standing up for American citizens’ rights, though you would not know this based on the legacy media reporting on this situation. According to the Demedia (Democrat Media), federal government exists to facilitate foreign invasions, not stop them….which only shows for the zillionth time just how compromised and lawless the establishment media is, just how much an enemy of The American People the mainstream media are.

I suspect that a shooting war among Americans on the border will elicit a rather overwhelming response from the rest of the absolutely fed up and enraged country. And so…This showdown at the border might turn out to be the flashpoint that gets America the conflict it unfortunately seems to need in order to painfully squeeze out the infected pus festering in the maggot-filled gaping wound known as Washington DC.

And to be clear here, crazy demented old man Joe Biden bears 100% of the responsibility for all of the hate speech and threats of violence against Americans here. The guy must smoke crack with his son Hunter and then dodder up to the microphone and just say whatever the hell it is that is floating around in his wasted mind. Like he is going to bomb Americans with F-15 fighter jets! He really did just say this. It is Biden’s second such threat against Americans.

If I were Governor Abbott of Texas, I would have every constitutional sheriff in Texas deputize a few thousand Texas citizens and others, per county, arm them, and send them to the Texas border to stand guard against invaders from both sides. With orders to shoot to kill any law-breakers. If the border becomes a shooting war between the China-owned Biden Administration and our own citizens, then America is off to the races of Civil War Number Two. Not that such a thing will be pleasant, or easy, or without great calamity and loss on all sides.

But like lancing a festering boil, or pulling out a rotten tooth, or cutting out gangrenous flesh so that the remaining healthy flesh can survive, such a conflict could be the beginning of a return to law and constitution. Beautifully led by American citizens, who are of course empowered by the Declaration of Independence to dissolve and alter their government as they see fit, from time to time, to constitute a new government that actually serves them as government is supposed to do.

So, come what may, whatever conflict happens along the Texas border, and whatever that sparks elsewhere in the country, it is a wholly American thing. Because Americans naturally love freedom and liberty above all else. Certainly above lawless and tyrannical government. And thus such a contest is natural and organic. As opposed to this China-owned Biden Administration openly doing its best to destroy America from the inside and turning Iran into a nuclear power to destroy us from the outside. That is not natural or healthy.

God bless Texas!

Reviewing the Marlin 1895 SBL

I have had some Marlin rifles, and what American deer, bear, or small game hunter doesn’t have one or two along the way in a life in the woods. But I never got so excited about one of them that I needed to join an online forum to discuss them and compare notes on handloads (handloads are non-commercial ammunition loaded by hand by the end-user, on a personally owned loading press, allowing the shooter to tailor ammunition to exacting tolerances and specific uses). This changed with the purchase of a new Ruger-made Marlin 1895 SBL, which I am really liking (after sending it back for much needed warranty work immediately after taking possession of it brand new in the box from the factory – ahem).

Overview

The new Ruger-made Marlin 1895 SBL (https://www.americanrifleman.org/content/2023-rifle-of-the-year-marlin-1895-sbl/) is a rugged, well designed firearm that I bought for two reasons and for two uses: It is fast shooting and unusually hard hitting within 50-60 yards for a sporting rifle, and I cannot think of a better rifle to hunt with on our bear drives here in PA and on bear hunts in Alaska.

After several months of ownership, here are my experiences with this gun.

Despite purchasing it brand new from the factory, I returned it to Marlin one day after picking it up from the gunshop, because the lever screw backed out, the action kept binding up, it was difficult to cycle the lever, had lots of sharp metal edges, and proud wood around the tang. This gun should have never been allowed out of the factory in the first place, and yet the buyer demand is so high that there must be pressure on the factory to just sling them out the door. According to reports made by other new owners, my experience is not unique. Ruger Marlin is going to kill their golden goose if they keep up this sloppy behavior. The gun is being sold on its presumed high quality.

The “Improved, slimmer” Forearm

While Marlin touts that the new, improved 1895 SBL forearm is slimmer than the old one, it is still too fat. This forearm is hardly easy to handle, and is not slim by any definition. It can easily use another 1/8” shaved off each side, or more, and tapered, like a shotgun forearm. That is, if you mean what you say about the forearm being easier to handle, dear Marlin.

Floppy Trigger Syndrome

The SBL’s factory trigger is pretty good, though it could be better. It is almost crisp, with a very defined and short step of creepy travel, and no stacking, but is a bit heavier than I and other users would like. It works well as a hunting trigger, which is all it really has to do anyhow. I don’t think this trigger was designed by a liability-minded lawyer. Other reviewers have reported that their 1895 SBL triggers were coming in between 5.5 to 8.5 pounds pull weight, and I am just guessing that this particular gun’s trigger is around 5.5 pounds. My preference would be in the 2.5-4.0 pound pull weight range, but I do not believe this factory trigger is adjustable. So “it is what it is,” as that tired old cliché goes, though there are superior aftermarket triggers available (https://www.wildwestguns.com/product/trigger-happy-kit/). One thing I do not like about the factory trigger is that it flops around and can make a tiny metallic sound. It would be preferable that it be stationary, locked in place, and not make noise. Because it’s on a hunting gun, and hunters require stealth. Nonetheless, the factory trigger works well as-is, and it certainly could be a lot worse.

One Rugged Beast

The SBL is one well made and tightly built rugged beast, and I think this is one of the main reasons for its popularity. Stainless steel and high tech laminate wood on anything, especially a firearm, mean it is made for southeast Alaska, at least, or anywhere else that is physically challenging and frequently wet and/or loaded with salt air. This is a rugged gun that should take all the wet and salty environment that could ever be encountered under normal hunting or camping conditions. The stainless steel does result in a shiny, reflective presence, however, and maybe too shiny for a hunting gun. Someone out there is going to bead blast their SBL for good reason, and thereby start a trend.

OK, I Guess Modern Hunting Guns are High Tech

Because I am a devoted black powder shooter and hunter, and because the year 1895 was the pinnacle of firearm development for people addicted to antiques and history like me, and because I prefer break-action single shots and double rifles over all other types of sporting guns, and because nicely blued or blacked steel with figured walnut make the most attractive firearms, I have heretofore been positively allergic to stainless steel and plastic modern guns. Everything about them just irked the crap out of me. Modern sporting firearms are just not appealing to me on any ground, most especially because nearly all of them are just plain ugly as hell. But in recent years I came to recognize that the most beautiful sporting arms can and likely will be destroyed by extended visits to places like Alaska, and so I came to a form of détente on this conundrum by recognizing the unique abilities of the SBL, and only the SBL. Its traditional lever action form is recognizable as quintessentially American, even in stainless and epoxy laminate.

The SBL is not only stainless steel and laminate wood that you can dig out a fox hole with, it also comes with a screw-off end cap for attaching a sound suppressor or a muzzle brake. Neither of these make any damned sense to me on this gun in the relatively quiet out-of-the-box 45-70, but whatever. People who are already crazed about suppressors and high tech gear-queer technical gobbledygook like muzzle brakes on deer cartridges will have all the joys of toys their little flaming hearts desire with this rifle’s little bells and whistles. Leave me out of it. To me, this is just a reliable, fast action mechanical gun in a caliber I can rely on in close-quarters grizzly country, end of technical story.

However, the factory attached Picatinny rail is pretty intriguing, even if it is also downright fugly as sin. It blows up and sets on fire whatever nice lines the 1895 SBL had to start with, but it is a valuable addition for those who use scopes and red dots and other training wheel tubular sighting contrivances on guns that don’t need them. I myself have not yet needed to use a scope on any gun I own, much less this lever action, and so this Picatinny rail is of no use to me. But in the interest of not “fixing” things that are not broken, I will leave it attached to my rifle and just hope it stops jabbing me in the proverbial eye every time I look at the gun.

This Gun Can SHOOT

Accuracy out of the box indicates these are being roughly sighted in at the factory with a laser bore sight, which is a good place to start shooting it in for hunting accuracy after you take possession of it. Do not take your 1895 SBL hunting out of the box! A fair amount of adjusting the rear peep sight for windage and elevation was necessary to get this one dialed in point-of-aim at 70 yards, which is the likely range I will be using it (see below for the deer I took with it this week at a measured 151 yards). Four shots were needed to get it centered, using the Hornady LeveRevolution 325 grain FTX, which is pretty much the standard factory ammunition designed for this gun.

Reloaders be aware that the loaded Hornady FTX brass is trimmed back shorter to accommodate the long ogive on their polymer-tipped FTX bullet that comes with their factory ammunition. You might be able to reload the Hornady factory ammunition FTX empty brass, depending on which bullet you use, and I certainly will try. If you are reloading with the Hornady FTX, then the empty brass can be reloaded without any fussing or fooling around. Other bullets, I don’t know. The 45-70 brass of any manufacturer is expensive enough to warrant trying to reload each one as many times as possible.

Accuracy is excellent after dialing in the open sights. Surprisingly good. Actually, amazingly good. This is, after all, a lever action with a short barrel, and historically these kinds of guns were mostly utilitarian 3” MOA (achieving three-inch groups at 100 yards) hunting weapons. The 26” barrel Henry 45-70 I hunted with in Alaska last year was achieving 3” groups at 100 yards with both Federal and Hornady ammo, so accuracy better than minute-of-deer in this thumper cartridge is a welcome surprise, emphasis being on the surprise. The SBL is very accurate, with surprisingly tight groups. I have read about many shooters getting MOA and even sub-MOA accuracy out of the 1895 SBL. Apparently even the old problematic “Remlin” 1895s had outstanding barrels. The new Ruger Marlin barrels are apparently just as good, if not better. This lever action gun provides accuracy expected of high quality bolt actions. Impressive and most welcome.

Its Open Sights

Yes, I like open sights, as you might guess. They are all I use and have ever used, and the factory supplied rear peep sight and neon yellow front sight work very well for me, especially at the fairly close distances I intend to hunt at with this gun. The sights are light years better than the Henry 45-70 I hunted with last year. That Henry had a cheap and flimsy rear sight that would constantly readjust itself out of true, which is downright dangerous in the grizzly country I was in. And yes, I was constantly surrounded by grizzlies, and so I kept checking and fidgeting with the Henry’s flimsy rear sight. This Marlin’s rear peep sight is more rugged, but it really sticks out and so it is vulnerable to catching on things and hard hits. It could use some sort of protective arch or band, which given how ugly the Picatinny rail already is, I don’t see how such a protective piece of steel could hurt the gun’s looks any more.

Built for Speed and Comfort

The SBL is fast shooting, and despite lobbing huge hunks of ballistic lead downrange, it is also comfortable to shoot. Probably due to its weight and the purposefully big and soft butt pad, I did not notice any real hard kick from this gun. But then again I am a very large framed guy with not only a lot of muscle but also a generous helping of blubber, which is like a giant shock absorber. Consider that I also shoot a .577 NE comfortably, so don’t be looking for reports of “the 45-70 kicks like a mule” here on this blog. I find it quite pleasant at the range and also hunting.

The 45-70 is No 50-110, OK?

Due to the SBL becoming so popular, much has been made about the 45-70 as some sort of atomic cartridge. Well, it’s not. The 45-70 certainly is no 50-110, which with modern smokeless powders really is a powerful stomper, and it is no .50 Alaskan, either. The 45-70 Government cartridge is not a “Jurassic” dinosaur killer, and in most ways it doesn’t come close to “boring” 30-06 performance.

For God’s sake and Goodness Gracious, it is not anywhere close to something so powerful. Yes, this 1870s black powder case is big compared to the modern bottle-necked cases we hunters mostly use today, and it has a lot of room for powder. And yes, it holds large bullets that are double or even triple the size of the typical 120-180 grain bullets we typically use for big game these days.

But way too many, if not almost all, the online video reviews of the 45-70 cartridge and this 1895 SBL rifle are done by young men wearing cool guy sunglasses and tight short sleeved shirts that showcase their pumped up biceps, bragging up how monstrously “powerful” this “howitzer” cartridge supposedly is (accompanied by the inevitable macho heavy crunching rock guitar musak). The implication being that they are powerful and macho as heck, and you can be, too, if you just own this rifle.

So powerful, so awesome, so macho. Barf, puke. No.

Wrong, guys. Holy smokes, people, calm down. Put down the new toy and get a grip on reality.  Stop and back up to the technical reality that simple science imposes on this 45-70 cartridge and on every other cartridge, for that matter. Put away the emotional nonsense, the ego, the lame desire to be seen as cool, or tough, or macho. The 45-70 is not that powerful, nor is it macho. Owning a lever action 45-70 won’t make you cool or make your you-know-what bigger.

We Americans do like our big trucks, big engines, big homes, big landscapes, and big bore firearms, no doubt. And I am all for all of that. But the 45-70 is just nowhere near what so many people promote it as, some kind of crushingly, overwhelmingly powerful “Jurassic dinosaur killer.” Even its modern loadings in the updated Speer and Hornady manuals pale in comparison to the apparently boring old .30-06 and even the .308. And 45-70 brass is prohibitively expensive, not to mention the high cost of better factory loads, which are somewhere about two fifty per round.

In short, an American deer and black bear hunter can get much better performance and value with any off-the-shelf 30-caliber rifle than with the 45-70. The 45-70 requires an awful lot of tweaking and handloading to get it into the realm of impressive. And even at its most impressive, it is still overshadowed by the boring old .30-06 for general duty. And the .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester, and proprietary Marlin rounds like the .338, too, for that matter.

Sorry to all the macho strutting young bucks on YouTube, but your new toy is not that big or impressive! Please don’t cry!

Where the 45-70 shines these days is with just a few modern smokeless powders married to just a couple really modern solid bullets, in a fast handling, fast shooting, high quality lever gun like this 1895 SBL, at relatively close range, for fast follow-up shots on tougher-than-average critters that can stomp and eat you if they get too close.

That’s it.

That little description above is the narrow application for the 45-70 cartridge that is superior to most other sporting cartridges. Put a big, heavy 50-caliber hunting round in a Winchester Model 71 lever action, or in a Winchester 1886 lever action, and the 45-70 again falls into a far distant second choice for big and dangerous game.

But neither the old Model 71 nor the Model 1886 are made in stainless steel by one of the best gun makers.

And this reason above is why I have selected the 1895 SBL in 45-70 to be my new bear hunting rifle in Alaska and for bear drives in Pennsylvania: It is rugged, fast shooting, and potentially very hard hitting at close range with solid bullets.

If I am sitting on a hillside calling to black bears, which might require a 100-150 yard shot, then I will use a longer range bolt gun or double rifle with a flatter trajectory. One guy I know of has used the 1895 SBL for big game in Africa, but again, using a very narrowly designed combination of powder and high tech solid bullet at short range (see below).

If I were simply hunting black bears in open country, at ranges up to 200 yards, with occasional grizzlies around, like southern Alaska, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, the 1895 SBL would not be my choice. Not even in my top five choices. Rather, a more powerful rifle with a flatter trajectory would be my first choice, such as a .300-.338-.375 magnum bolt action. If I were hunting black bear way down the southern Alaskan coast, like on the islands from Juneau south, where brown bears (grizzlies) are far fewer and black bears are much more numerous, then I would take a .308 or .30-06 and dispense with the need to cover myself in case of short range ambush charges from the really dangerous bears in heavy Alaskan jungle cover.

Summed up perfectly by a federal wildlife employee who hunts big game and also dangerous game with the 1895 SBL in Alaska and Africa, who goes by the online name Tundra Tiger, “It is true: [the 45-70 Govt.] comes with a shorter effective range than some other calibers. However, if one chooses to recognize its limitations and work within them, I don’t see what the issue is [with hunting dangerous game with it].” He has taken some dangerous game in Africa with his Marlin lever action 45-70 using just one bullet, the Cutting Edge Bullets 325-grain solid brass bullet (https://cuttingedgebullets.com/458-325gr-lever-gun-safari-solid).

In Closing

I am sure that plenty of people can and will find a way to make the 1895 SBL in 45-70 round their home defense gun, their everyday big game hunting round, whatever, and that is fine. Why not, it’s a gun, which is better than nothing for self defense. It is far better than a baseball bat, which like all striking or stabbing weapons requires you to close with your opponent. And it is far better than calling 9-1-1 and waiting for your spirit to watch the EMTs zipping up your corpse in a body bag while the police show up to write a report about the crime scene. Lever actions are fast, and being mechanical, they are reliable and theoretically less susceptible to jamming problems than semi-autos, which are notorious for jams.

And lever actions have always made good hunting guns.

For most of my big game hunting, I prefer old guns shooting black powder at relatively close range that pack the same punch as the modern 45-70, or more, or more modern but still old centerfire guns of blued steel and aged walnut shooting modern bullets at woods range, in calibers like the 7x57R, 243, 308, 270, and 30-06. Like within 100 yards, without all of the unnecessary hard work trying to figure out how to make my short barreled lever action firing huge hunks of 45-caliber lead and brass with rainbow-shaped trajectories into performing like a flat shooting bolt action in a caliber nearly half the size of the 45-70.

AGAIN, this gun was purchased for just three reasons: 1) It is constructed of the most weather-resistant, durable materials possible in a firearm, stainless steel and high tech epoxy laminated wood, 2) the lever action is extremely fast, much faster than a bolt action and even than a pump action, and finally, 3) when properly loaded with the proper high-penetration solid bullets propelled by generous and safe amounts of powders like R7 and IMR4198, this modern 45-70 lever action provides the best combination of a practical stalking rifle for black bear in Alaska with a practical emergency short range defense weapon against grizzlies.

Loaded hot with the proper (heavy high quality solids going 2,000-2,100 fps) bullet, the 45-70 does its best better than most calibers within 50 yards. Only a short-barreled 12-gauge pump shotgun accurately shooting high tech heavy slugs is a superior, equally reliable defensive long arm than the properly loaded 45-70 lever action. But I would not take that same 12 gauge short barreled shotgun bear hunting, because it is really limited in range, even more limited than the 45-70.

AGAIN, I bought this gun only for a) hunting in Alaska, which is brutal on firearms, and, thus, where a stainless steel gun will do best, and b) for bear drives in northcentral Pennsylvania, where fastest-possible shooting (i.e. lever action) at short ranges in thick laurel are the norm. Our PA bear drives are brutal on guns, boots, clothing, and every other piece of gear you have. One of my friends broke his brand new Remington 7600 pump action 30-06 stock in half on one of our bear drives. Alaska is also known for eating firearms alive, especially the southeastern coastal strip, where endless rain and salt air will corrode and rust blued metal, and mildew and rot traditional walnut stock wood, in just a few days. So the Marlin 1895 SBL really fits the bill in these two tough hunting environments.

I am presently testing my own hand loads using 16:1 and 20:1 alloy cast bullets and the Cutting Edge Bullets 325 grain solid brass bullet at 1950-2100 fps. Field reports from Alaska to Africa indicate that this CEB load in the 1895 SBL is more than adequate for both hunting black bears and also for defending against attacking brown bears at powder-burn range (and yes, grizzly attacks happen frequently).

Readers interested in understanding how modern (i.e. last ten to fifteen years) bullet technology in an 1870s cartridge like the 45-70 creates a lot more flexibility and dangerous game ability (i.e. grizzly/ brown bears in Alaska) should read the following online discussion threads:

https://www.africahunting.com/threads/45-70-for-dangerous-game.6852/

https://www.marlinowners.com/threads/african-lion-bullet-suggestions.661932/?post_id=8826110&nested_view=1#post-8826110

And for those hunters and bystanders interested in what a properly loaded 45-70 lever action rifle can achieve against dangerous game, Vince Lupo’s reports about his African safaris are amazing: https://www.leverguns.com/articles/lupo/lupo.htm

p.s. Men and Their Personal Weapons

Men have always cherished certain weapons. A boar spear that saved your life once, a sword that swings just perfectly in battle, a custom hunting knife made specially for us and used to gut and butcher our hunted game many times, or a well-made trusty poniard on the hip in case of trouble while at market. For thousands of years we men clutch these things close, reflexively place our hand upon them when at rest, and stare at them lovingly from across the room, because they reliably work for us daily and we can always rely on them in a tight spot. And because these weapons speak to us, us men, through their beauty, and because very often they speak for us, they come to represent us. To stand for us. We identify ourselves through them.

And so I say, you men on YouTube and elsewhere are in really good company, in your admiration for the stainless steel and laminate Marlin lever actions, like this 1895 SBL. Their robust build, certain mechanical reliability, and extremely durable materials are all big draws in a world of semiauto jams and broken parts and surprise rust at just the wrong moment. This gun is the equivalent of a good heavy steel-tipped spear a thousand years ago, and it just feels right, hefts right, in our hand.

Deer I stalked and shot at 151 yards this week with the Marlin 1895 SBL. The 325-grain FTX bullet passed through lungs and stomach without slowing. Custom knife by JRJ John Johnson.

Beautiful Central PA landscape in winter

Winter sunset over the Susquehanna River

Exhibit A in macho gun reviews. Joe Cool shades in the shade. Biceps. Etc. Unfortunately, this rifle will not make his or your you-know-what bigger.

A 45-70 dangerous game round I loaded, using the 325-grain solid brass bullet by Cutting Edge Bullets. This is for stopping a grizzly

Welp, it’s the GOP vs. The People, again

Here in Pennsylvania, we have the annual GOP Stomp On The Little People Event happening again.

Mimicking the failed and useless PA GOP, which is pretty much a reflection of the failed and useless Ronna McDaniel and her ridiculous RNC, yesterday in Dauphin County and elsewhere across our Commonwealth was the county candidate endorsement meeting, where county committee people meet to endorse registered Republicans running for office.

Even before the ballot petition process has started.

Even before we know which candidates are going to be on the ballot and available to the voters.

Even before all the candidates have had an opportunity to present themselves for consideration to elected committee people and political activists.

In other words, this endorsement process is a charade designed to keep ironfisted authoritarian control over the choices available to voters.

If the GOP is wondering why so many people, so many voters, so many political activists are jaded and fed up with the Republican Party and elected Republicans, they might consider how the GOP treats said people, said voters, said activists, much less the Republican candidates, all of whom are Republicans because they believe in freedom.

One of the best ways the GOP shows its disdain and elitist mistrust of the great unwashed Republican Party masses is this endorsement process. Its endorsement process is 100% inside baseball, ultra insular, ultra inward looking. The party endorsement process is designed to keep the GOPe (Republican Establishment) in control of everything, including the usual milquetoast do-nothing stand-for-nothing empty suits who populate the Republican Establishment and its constellation of interest groups.

The Democrat Party is much better at this dance than the GOPe. The Democrats have made a science of both maintaining control of their base and also simultaneously giving a long leash to their base while feeding them plenty of red meat. It is a remarkable and terrifying feature of the Democrat Party that they are now so similar to how the German Nazi Party operated. They are way way ahead of the GOP, and it is no compliment to say that the GOP is unlike the Democrat Party.

The artless GOPe is both hamfisted and snobby, and so it finds itself with an ever shrinking sphere of influence. Its voters are in ever increasing revolt against their own political party.

Take for example the PAGOP’s fake “unanimous” endorsement of globalist RINO and tourist candidate for US Senate, Dave McCormick, whose leftist wife Dina Powell is up to her eyeballs in shoveling illegal immigrants into America.

Dave McCormick and his elitist leftist wife bear no resemblance to the Republican voter base. These two are everything that is wrong with the Republican Party establishment, with the GOPe, with American politics in general. Dave McCormick may have grown up as a tree farmer in central PA, but he long ago threw away those good values not just when he moved to Connecticut, but when he ran a New York City hedge fund and made his millions. Hedge funds operate by betting against and working against what is good for America, good for Americans, good for American workers and good for American companies. This makes Dave McCormick no good for America.

McCormick has an opponent. Her name is Brandi Tomasetti, and she lives in Lancaster County. Brandi is a study in contrast with Dave McCormick: She believes in America and wants to put America first, she is concerned about election integrity, she is concerned about the lawless flood of millions of illegal immigrants into our nation.

I spent about an hour and a half on the phone with her the other day, and I offered her as much help as I can provide in her effort to get on the ballot so she can challenge McCormick.

Brandi told me that she has been overwhelmed with an outpouring of offers of help, from Republican voters fed up with the GOPe and with the Dave McCormicks and the PAGOPs and the Dauphin GOPs and the games, the elitist attitudes, the constant resulting GOP establishment failure. I hope everyone who reads this essay contacts Brandi and helps her out.

First things first: In the next few weeks Brandi Tomasetti must get enough signatures to get on the ballot. She needs registered Republican voters to circulate ballot petitions for her. Hope you can help.

Why the GOP met to endorse Dave McCormick before ever considering Brandi Tomasetti, or any other potential candidates for that matter, is not a mystery. Rather, it is a sordid and pathetic story of insider elitist people lusting for power and control, and lusting for dirty money from democratic representational politics, and this crap is absolutely killing America. And they don’t care.

Put America first and help Brandi Tomasetti get on the ballot and beat the damned GOPe.

Some wonderful people gone

Jokes abound about aging, and quite a few are about those friends and family members who do not age with us, but who leave us all as we continue our own trajectory. Well, I am now definitely in the “aging” category and I am increasingly surrounded by people I enjoy and love who suddenly depart from this life. Recently two people here in Pennsylvania have left us all, and moved on to the spirit world, who I would like to mention. And it’s no joke, this dying thing. No matter what age a person is when they depart this life for the next, there is nothing funny about it.

Except maybe the last day on earth of European-Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, whose wild and often debauched Marxist Bohemian lifestyle made for intriguing movies and books. While some or maybe even a lot of the facts of Frida’s life may be funny depending upon the person considering them, her actual physical departure from this planet really is funny. I think.

After Frida died relatively young from cancer, or whatever it is that eventually afflicts the heavily debauched, her friends had her corpse dressed beautifully in her most customary colorful and flamboyant way, and prepared themselves all for a formal cremation send-off party in whatever crematory was present in Mexico City at the time. Her friends gathered in the crematory room while Frida’s corpse was ceremoniously loaded into the burn chamber, and as the roaring natural gas flames came to life, they all raised their glasses and toasted Frida.

And then the room erupted in gasps, cries, and people running for the exits, because suddenly Frida’s corpse stiffly bent at the waist, sat up, and made a wicked grin as her abundant hair caught on fire and created a demonic flaming halo around her yet untouched face. She wasn’t actually gone!

Yes, this was all her body’s muscular reaction to the sudden burst of 2,000-degree heat enveloping it, but apparently if you knew Frida, you kind of didn’t expect her to just die, you know, lie still and never move again. And indeed, she had lived up to all the hype about her, even while lying quite dead in the cremation chamber. I think this true story is funny, even though I did not know Frida and was not present at her cremation.

What is not funny and yet is not unexpected is the recent departure of Jim Brett, of Lenhartsville, PA, which for our geographically challenged readers is just north of I-78 and just south of Blue Mountain in Berks County, PA. Still confused where Lenhartsville, PA, is? OK, yes, it is the equivalent of East Succotash, PA, Nowheresville, PA, etc., and it is just about next to Hawk Mountain, the internationally famous sanctuary devoted to conserving birds of prey, especially on their annual migration south. There, solved this location question for you.

Hawk Mountain started as a simple land purchase to keep the shotgunners from standing on Blue Mountain’s highest Tuscarora sandstone boulder ridgetop and mindlessly swatting down out of the sky nearly every raptor that flew by on its way to South America. And in short order, more land purchases were added to what is now called the Kittatinny Ridge migration corridor. Hawk Mountain eventually became an educational organization and a destination for birders.

In the 1930s, birds of prey (hawks, owls, eagles, kites, vultures) were considered pestilential nuisances to farmers’ chickens and the rabbits and pheasants hunters enjoyed pursuing. In time, around the 1930s, raptors gradually became understood by some Americans as an important part of a healthy and properly functioning ecosystem, just as balanced populations of wolves, bears, mountain lions, bobcats and fishers have been subsequently understood today.

Hawk Mountain is now the world’s oldest continuously functioning conservation organization, but from 1934 to 1966 it was kind of a hidden gem, a hole in the wall of Blue Mountain that only certain initiates knew about or appreciated. It became much better known and more widely appreciated and much visited after Jim Brett became its second “curator,” as the chief executive position there is uniquely called.

As its leader, Jim Brett elevated Hawk Mountain to international status, built lots of buildings, hired lots of staff, attracted a lot of visitors, raised a lot of money, and he became a leading voice in bird conservation around our little blue and green planet.

On the outside, Jim Brett was a colorful Irishman, full of naughty jokes and a singular ability to imbibe liberally (often of his own make) and then hold forth to a captivated audience about biological and ecological science. But because Jim’s mother was Jewish, he had a separate interest in Israel, which, because it sits on a physical crossroads, is a lot like Blue Mountain. Israel is a birding Mecca.

A “sh*t ton” as Jim would say of raptors, storks, and other incredible and rare bird populations migrate through Israel, and Jim made their conservation from one end of their migration to the other one of his life’s missions. His Jewish half worked well with the Israelis, and his Irish half worked very well with the surrounding populations. One of his crowning achievements was working with Yossi Leshem to resolve bird strikes on Israeli fighter jets.

By finding ways to greatly reduce large rare birds being suddenly introduced to fighter jets at 1,000 mph, Yossi Leshem & Co. were able to save the lives of said rare birds, said giant titanium war eagles, and unsaid but implied young fighter pilots. It really was one of the great wild birds-living-with-modern-humans conservation success stories.

I met Jim Brett in 1998, when I had started working at PA DCNR in Harrisburg (having fled the corrupt and destructive US EPA in Washington DC). He was giving a presentation at an environmental and conservation education conference in Harrisburg, PA, and as the DCNR director of said polysyllabic educational field, it was my duty to both speak and to listen. Jim was standing up on the stage showing ancient stone tool artifacts and explaining the nexus between primitive hunter-gatherer lifestyles and the conservation or decimation of wildlife. I was hooked immediately.

Jim and I maintained a close personal and professional relationship until Fall, 2009, when I ran in a congressional primary (I was prompted to run by the devoutly corrupt and evil Manchurian Candidate Barack Hussein Obama, then president for nine months). My expressing my long quietly held political views educated not just Jim, but a sh*t ton of my “friends” and fellow conservationists alike about my true self. Gasp. Turned out that Jim did not know how conservative I was, and I did not know how liberal Jim was, and despite my desire to remain close, Jim had a hard time with it.

After 2009, our relationship involved less and less personal time, and fewer phone calls. I still have a generous gift that Jim gave me, which I occasionally take out and look at, admire, and then put it back in its safe place.

Jim and I stayed in touch through mutual friends for many years, including those who went on his African safaris he led. I can still recall Jim describing the funeral rite for a young son of a Maasai tribal leader, which he witnessed some time in the 1980s, I think: The boy’s body was ritually washed and then slathered in lamb fat, then put in the chieftain’s hut. The entire village was then evacuated and moved to an entirely new location, where a new settlement would be constructed. After the hyenas had entered the old village and consumed the boy’s body, the entire place was torched and left to become natural ecosystem thereafter.

Jim’s bright blue eyes flashed as he told this story, as indeed one would expect from someone so in tune with the endless hidden vibrations of our magical natural world. Though I know his spirit is now soaring with the majestic raptors, I doubt Jim’s liver will ever go the way of the hyena, Frida, or any mortal flesh for that matter. His official obituaries are here and here.

A second loss is someone I knew less closely, but with whom I shared a great deal in common and with whom I filled my buck tag this season: Phil Benner of Liberty, PA.

Until he unexpectedly died of Covid several days ago, the incredibly physically fit Phil Benner was a devoted father, a devoted husband, a devoted brother, a devoted uncle, a devoted son. He was a hard working small business owner, a risk-taking entrepreneur, and a pastor who saw God and felt Him deeply in the natural world around him, including the leaves rustling in the winter tree branches, and the quiet tinklebell sound of a small mountain stream’s clear waters falling over boulders. He appreciated everything and took nothing for granted.

Not only will I miss Phil Benner, the world will miss Phil Benner, because the world needs a billion more gentle, charitable, loving, devoted, kind, tolerant, peaceful Phil Benners. His loss is huge.

Phil Benner showing his son Nate how to remove a buck’s head with a large and sharp hunting knife

Phil Benner and his son Nate with a large bodied six point buck taken in Pine Creek Valley in late November, 2023