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The original Thanksgiving Day address

NOTE: Several recent blog posts were lost or misplaced while this website’s hosting provider “migrated” the site to another location. A few people had expressed appreciation for those posts, and an attempt will be made to get them back.

Re THANKSGIVING, today: Like any normal person who has ever lived on Planet Earth and who has struggled, risked, and sacrificed much to achieve something, America’s first president, George Washington, had true appreciation for the unique freedoms and special attributes of his newly created America. So many people had died and risked everything to create freedoms for following generations – you and me – that Washington believed it necessary to state what was then the obvious. So he issued a proclamation. Here it is, and it is beautifully said. We Americans should all say it every day we live in America, not just today, which is Thanksgiving Day:

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be– That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions– to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington

Cabela’s-Bass Pro merger = Lower Quality for Sportsmen

Cabela’s hit its stride about ten years ago. A national, trend-setting family-owned outdoor business, the company took from the best and discarded the rest. Innovation there never stopped, as they improved on Zeiss-quality optics made for price-pinched Americans, and innovated rain-proof soft fleece parkas suitable for stalking deer with a recurve bow in wind, rain or snow, and all combinations thereof.

No one else made these products, and certainly not at their prices.

Some might say that Cabela’s took the best names and put their own name on it, and there may be some truth in terms of boots and optics. But when it came to outdoor clothing, the company did its own thing, making outdoor sports so much more fun. Every now and then they would do a run of virgin wool hunting shirts. Outside of Filson and Pendleton, it is tough to think of virgin wool shirts being offered anywhere else.¬† While the Cabela’s shirts were not near the quality of the Filson or Pendelton, they were not anywhere near the price, either. These were true working wool shirts for a fair price that you would not regret tearing or getting soaked in bear blood.

Perhaps there are some industry insiders with a tale to tell here, and I would stand corrected if proven wrong.

Along came competitor Bass Pro a few years ago, and bought out the Cabela family. The merged Cabela’s-Bass Pro union made little sense for innovation, and those outdoorsmen who greatly benefited from Cabela’s unique service held their collective breath. Bass Pro has been known for marketing all the usual stuff, plus a lot of Chinese junk, and also their own RedHead label clothing and some equipment.

RedHead has been around for a long time. An LC Smith 20-gauge double barrel in my care came in its apparently original Red Head canvas case. Nicely made, quality product. From the 1940s, when just about everything was made with pride.

Fast forward to now and RedHead is not known for high quality, or for innovation. It is mostly slapped-together variants of better-made products by Cabela’s and others. I guess the wool socks are pretty good. But most of it is not high quality. At all.

So fast forward to me getting on-site freezing-rained out of a distant hunting trip I had planned all year. All of the usual high quality equipment that has worked for me all these many years would not have worked under the unusual wet and very cold conditions I found myself in; in fact, had I stayed out there in that freezing rain, I would have undoubtedly gotten hypothermic and probably died. My kit was not designed for that unforeseen situation, and so I hightailed it out of the back country and glumly slunk home. No deer is worth dying for.

But I feel determined to never have this happen again. We get so few of these opportunities as it is; once we are out there in the middle of nowhere, we must take advantage of all the hunting time there we can make.

Subsequently looking for new clothing and kit capable of both light weight and all the other properties has left me slack-jawed. The Cabelas-Bass Pro merger has resulted in a really narrowed field of high quality outdoor clothing and kit. Instead of maintaining Cabela’s high standing products and focus on continuous unique product development, Bass Pro has cut off the innovation pipeline, used inferior materials in successful old product lines, and substituted other more expensive makers like Sitka and ScentLok for the old standby Cabela’s brands.

Very few of the high quality products that Cabela’s made, like lightweight, waterproof, silent parkas in different camouflage patterns, are available any longer.

So it seems that the merger has not benefited sportsmen, and that Bass Pro is just slowly squeezing whatever value it can get out of Cabela’s before it eventually shuts it down and forces sportsmen to consider the solely mediocre stuff that Bass Pro specializes in.

So for those of you who enjoy shopping for high quality outdoor gear, get ye to a local Cabela’s store soon. Look on the closeout racks for the stuff you used to take for granted; it won’t be coming back. Buy the old Cabela’s stuff before the company is openly yet one more victim of short-sighted corporate greed and sloth.

OK, so click on the old Cabela’s button for their amazing “Instinct” hunting clothing…

 

you clicked on the Instinct button and….and there is nothing there. Under Bass Pro ownership, Cabela’s is abandoning its long history of gear innovation and product design specifically done for serious hunters.

It’s that time of year again, Pt. II

It is now “that time of year again,” but Part Two.

A month ago your firewood had better have been laid up and close to perfectly dry, or you were going to have an uncomfortably cold winter in rural America.

Now, a month later, a whole bunch of hunting seasons are upon us. Small game, trapping, deer archery, bear archery…and many people are afield a serious amount of time. Some people try to catch the deer rut in a couple different states with their bow. It can become a crazed time, where the humans are just as worn down and rutted up by the prospect of catching unawares a big old wary buck who, in his brief moment of annual craziness, lets down his guard.

Usually, I do not begin trapping in earnest until December, when all pelts are truly prime and when the bobcat and fisher seasons begin. Early on I set out cage traps to thin out the skunks and possums that will otherwise clog up my best sets later on. Never one to sell furs, trapping for me has always been about helping ground-nesting birds against an overabundance of nest-raiding mammals pulsing out from suburban sprawl habitats. With Russia and China in bad financial and economic situations the past five years, wild fur has not been in as big demand as the past. This lower demand has led many professional trappers to abandon their lines and wait for prices to come back up. In turn, that let-off in trapping pressure results in TONS of raccoons, possums, skunks etc running around. Over the past couple of weeks I have seen more road-kill raccoons than in many years past all together.

And this high population of raccoons means higher rates of rabies, trash-raiding, fights with pets, etc.

My favorite type of hunt is the solo wilderness excursion. Sleeping in a cold tent, bundled against the night time freeze, waking up to some snow on everything, enjoying a hot tea to start the day, and wandering into the wind, trying to find buck or bear tracks. Or in the case of a big male bear, making sure he isn’t on my track, like two years ago.

Is there danger in this? Sure. Then there is danger in being hit by a car, or falling and damaging a body part. There is danger in never experiencing life, and thinking that the modern risk-free cocoon most of us live in is either normal or healthy. It is neither.

And so it is that time of year again, when every fiber in my body says “Get outside, NOW!” It is a time of forgotten or deliberately misplaced professional obligations, phone calls returned on a Friday afternoon, instead of the prior Monday morning. I hope friends and colleagues will forgive me if I am a little late in getting back.

Nature is calling on the phone, it’s for me, and I gotta run.

I’ll be back. Promise.

24 hours after election, GOP still asleep while Democrats are at war

America is in trouble, no two ways about it.

Seems like the only person actually fighting for America is Donald Trump, his kids, and a small handful of elected senators and congressmen.

Meanwhile, the Democrat Party has not let down for one minute. They have maintained  a war footing against their political enemies that is both admirable for its forcefulness and disgusting for being anti-America in every way. But the Democrats are playing for all the marbles, all the money, all the power, and so they do not let up. It helps them that they have the mainstream media on their side as their mouthpiece and running interference for them.

But the Republicans could respond. If they had any fight in them to do so.

Here’s a suggestion: US Senate leader Mitch McConnell could tell the Democrats that their un-American sham kangaroo secret court so-called “impeachment” thingy will not be honored in the US Senate. The senate will simply not consider it because it is so obviously flawed, lacking that due process thing and transparency thing and witness cross-examination thing America is known for.

But instead, McConnell says that the fake impeachment hoax will not prevail in the senate, meaning he will honor it despite its flaws. Why should he even buy in to the whole premise in the first place?

Turns out the GOP dropped the state of Virginia, didn’t bother to even field candidates in 30 of the state house and senate seats up for election yesterday. No door-to-door. NO FIGHT. So the Democrats took the governorship and both legislative houses.

Even as the Democrats reveal their party to be a giant crime syndicate that uses government to make billions of dollars and to crush people who get in their way, the Republican Party seems willing to just stand there and do nothing.

So, yes, conservatives have some happy Election Day 2019 results, but there is a cultural revolution that needs to occur within the GOP itself if winning is going to be more than haphazard. The “Flaccid GOP Syndrome” has been an issue for me personally for ten years, as I have previously run for office several times over that period, and have encountered the self-aggrandizing, self-adulating, self-protecting, non-performing RINO career officials and staffers riddling the Harrisburg Capitol building and Washington, DC. These people care about themselves, not you, not me, not Pennsylvania, not America. When they wake up in the morning, the first thing they think about is “How is today going to be good for me?”

So they don’t fight. Fighting makes waves, it’s risky. And they don’t want to risk their comfy careers!

I promise you this is the truth about the vast majority of the elected officials and their staffers here in Harrisburg and Washington. No political party can sustain wins and long term success when it is so inward looking and so self-interested. Politics in democratic societies is a substitute for war and violence. So in order to be truly successful, a political party must use the principles of war.

The Democrats have a screaming mob and lots of violence, and it could be met head-on, to the GOP’s advantage. Instead, the GOP just steps out of the way and hopes the howling mob will keep going and bother someone else along its path, not realizing that the zombies will eventually get them, too.

My “I voted Today” sticker on a Filson vest

Tuesday: Vote NO on Marsy’s Law, and YES for these fine candidates

The proposed constitutional amendment called “Marsy’s Law” is already being held up by an injunction, due to its bizarre process and wording. A Pennsylvania judge declared that none of the votes shall be tallied for this weirdly-conceived and falsely marketed change.

Why? Because the way Marsy’s Law is written, it will prevent people falsely accused from applying basic constitutional rights to their false “victims.”

That is, the falsely accused will not be able to cross examine their false accuser! And yes, believe it or not, plenty of angry people make false accusations against innocent people. Might be in a child custody case, a divorce, etc, the kind of hot legal contest that can sometimes induce the participants to grasp at any potential advantage. So in this mix, Marsy’s Law is not a good thing. In fact, it would allow criminal behavior to be hidden and the falsely accused could never directly cross-examine their accusers, a fundamental due process right guaranteed by the US Constitution as well as most state constitutions.

NOW, in terms of candidates who have impressed me, let me start with Dauphin County commissioners Jeff Haste, Mike Pries, and George Hartwick. Two are Republicans, and one is a Democrat, but it does not really matter, because they all work so well together. They have kept Dauphin County taxes set for FOURTEEN years. That achievement takes a lot of careful and responsible financial management and husbanding. Don’t fix what ain’t broken, vote for these three.

Over in Cumberland County my old friend Mike Fedor is running for county commissioner. Fedor is a Democrat who, when I knew him in a political way, was the old “Blue Dog” Democrat of Pennsylvania fame. Having spoken to him recently, I think Fedor is running a fine line between being a good Democrat and a good American. It is not so easy to do these days, as the Democrat Party base has gone socialist bonkers, pulling the party hard to the left. If Fedor gets elected, my opinion is he will serve the Cumberland County citizenry well and honestly, and if I lived there he would get one of my three votes. The other two going to Republicans.

In Perry County, the chances of a Democrat upset are about as slim as snowballs in Hell, so there is not much to say except that the county has both a long-standing Republican establishment and also a healthy citizen-led kick-in-the-ass reminder culture that brings most career politicians hard around to reality. I have a couple friends running for office in Perry County, and so Brian Allen, I hope you set a record for how many votes you garner tomorrow. Businessman Brian will be an excellent county commissioner.

In terms of state-wide court, it is Peck and King who deserve your vote, and yes, I still wish Rebecca Warren were the candidate tomorrow.

No matter what political party you identify with, what you think about politics, value, or do for a living — VOTE. Voting is the core of our Republic, and America cannot survive if its citizens do not vote.

Vindman Brothers: Russian Spies in the White House

In warfare, a bomber plane knows it is directly over the target when the flak guns open up in full. It is a dangerous place to be, and it is also the best place to be, because you stand a high chance of disabling your enemy.

America is at war, that no one can deny.

One political party uses every resource and opportunity it has to destroy our republican form of government, and that party is helped by the establishment media, which itself is now openly and even proudly an arm of that one political party. The past president stated that he would be “fundamentally transforming America,” and damned if he did not almost succeed. With overwhelming help from the media, Obama was able to hide his anti-America policies, and he was able to artificially undermine his political opponents (well, he did actually call Republicans his “enemies”).

The media+ Democrat war against America and the presidency has been kept at a fever pitch since January 2017, Trump’s swearing-in. It is a lot of flak still going out!

In normal times, the swearing in ceremony of the new American president is a calming reminder that power transfers peacefully in America, as settled through persuading voters. But the “resist” movement never accepted Donald Trump as president, and so an entire political party and the media, as well as academia, Hollywood, and the American Bar Association, the American Medical Association, and a zillion other supposedly non-partisan, professional organizations have maintained this constant drumbeat of attacks on the American presidency.

On the institution itself. Because they want to control it themselves, and they are upset that they do not control it.

And so America has been swamped in dreck the past three years, one false claim after another, amplified by the partisan media: the naked lady payoff, the fake Russia collusion thing, now the fake Ukraine collusion thing.

The Ukraine thing is amazing, because President Trump has been trying to clean up official political corruption since he was elected, and the Democrats in Washington, DC, have been trying to block him at every turn. Turns out that Joe Biden’s criminality in Ukraine was really as bad as Biden himself admits (brags about) on video. Suddenly, according to one political party, the USA president using a year 2000 treaty with the Ukraine to fight political corruption is actually an impeachable crime!

And the dead and gone Russia collusion thing? Gone. Nobody even mentions it. The “resistors” just seamlessly move on to the next anti-Trump hoax, helped by the media, which asks no questions.

But it turns out that there actually is a Russia connection, in fact.

Two Russians working in the White House actually are spies working for Russia, against America, and for the Democrat Party: Alexei and Yevgeny Vindman.

The Vindman Brothers are twins who are naturalized citizens from the former Russian state of Ukraine. And guess what? They both work in the White House’s National Security Council! Both were planted there in the Obama administration. And BOTH are now witnesses for the anti-America secret kangaroo court meetings being held by just one political party, run by California congressman Adam Schiff.

Turns out that the Vindman Brothers have been spying on America since they were planted here by the Russians in the 1980s, which was a time of many Russian spies being planted in America. Dentists, doctors, realtors, the list goes on and many arrests and deportations have occurred over the years as these people are uncovered. Turns out that years ago, then-Major Alexei Vindman was reprimanded by a superior officer for making anti-America comments while in uniform and on official military business.

So now that these two spies, the Vindman Brothers, are willing to step into the light and show themselves to be the spying little traitor moles that have been feeding this fake “Russia collusion” thing and the fake Ukraine phone call thing, thereby unleashing the heaviest flak of all – phony “impeachment-that-is-not actual impeachment” – means that the Barr-Durham investigation into Obama-era corruption and abuse of government power is right over the target.

Under no other circumstances would the Vindman Brothers be willingly outed; like all spies, they are worth more hidden inside an organization, especially inside the Trump White House.

Russian spies in the White House, left over from the previous pro-Russia and anti-America Obama administration, spying on President Trump and feeding misinformation to the anti-America American media…You cannot make this stuff up.

Political differences are one thing.

Political corruption is another thing.

Spying? That is the worst sort of treason in any nation, and the Vindman Brothers deserve what all military spies get: Execution at dawn by firing squad.

And what about the Vindman Brothers’ Democrat Party handlers and enablers? You know, the people who planted them in the White House, who purposefully coddled and promoted them through their military careers? What do we do with them? Good question. This phony Ukraine impeachment thing is just a lot of flak coming in, so I say bombs away, we are right over the enemy target.

God Bless America, God Bless President Trump.

The hanging of British spy Major John Andre during the American Revolution. Russian spy Lt. Col. Alexei Vindman deserves the same.