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Joe Biden, Fentanyl dealer of the millennium

Last night I was called to the home of a friend, who asked me to help him pick up his sick wife. These are “elderly” people who often require physical assistance with heavy or tall things, and I figured she was on a couch, needing help going upstairs.

I entered the house and found her curled up in the fetal position on the kitchen floor, her head resting on a pillow, eyes closed.

“My son died this night six years ago, and my heart is broken,” she said. “All I can think about is what a beautiful and innocent child he was.”

Though I had heard the general story before, I asked her how her son had died, and she murmured “Fentanyl.”

Fentanyl is a dangerous, highly toxic drug that has been killing mostly young Americans for the past ten years (my friend’s son was in his fifties), both occasional “recreational” drug users and addicts. Often mixed into marijuana or heroin, fentanyl can apparently provide an extra “kick” to the already intense “high” from the primary illegal drug. But fentanyl can also kill people, because it easily shuts down the nervous system. It stops our regular automatic breathing and our heart from beating.

Over the past few years, it appears that fentanyl is becoming ever stronger, ‘hitting the street’ in such purity that now even a tiny amount is causing Americans to drop dead on the spot after taking just one puff of laced marijuana. A new fad has criminals leaving folded dollar bills lying on the ground with fentanyl dust on them; just the invisible dust alone is strong enough to kill the person picking  up the dollar bill with their bare fingers.

All indications are that China is the main source of fentanyl in America, dumping pure fentanyl and more common drugs laced with it into and onto America. It is a lost leader in their war on our youth, whose naivete and carelessness leads them to smoke, snort, rub, eat, huff, drink etc whatever is presented to them as a casual and harmless recreational drug. While China most assuredly is America’s brutal enemy, I mostly blame the 1970s Cheech and Chong dope culture for this stupid attitude. Being a goofy stoner is no longer harmless or funny, because it is too often an immediate death sentence. The cost of recreational drug use is no longer measured in bags of Cheetos eaten or lost work time while staring off into space, but rather in beautiful young Americans stacked high at the local morgues from one end of the nation to the other.

With America’s southern border along Mexico now wide open, because of the Biden Administration’s illegal attempt to flood America with illegal trespassers who the Democrat Party hopes will become illegal or maybe legal voters, fentanyl is now pouring like a river into America. Where illegal humans flow unchecked into America, so flows fentanyl and the other illegal drugs (as well as human slave trafficking, child sex slaves, prostitution, violent terrorists etc.).

The number one person responsible for this river of death into America is White House resident Joe Biden. We could easily congratulate Poor Ol’ Joe for being the fentanyl salesman or dealer of the year or the decade, but it’s no joke. Biden is literally killing thousands of beautiful American children, and leaving their parents curled up in the fetal position, clutching a small stuffed animal their dead child once held for comfort. He could stop the carnage by closing our border and regulating what and who comes through, but Biden’s lust for political power is so much more important than our children.

Once again, as a former Democrat, I have to ask current registered Democrats “Why on earth do you continue to vote for and support this crazy political party that cares nothing for the collateral damage we all suffer from its terrible policies?

 

PA’s Forester Jim Finley Enters the Forest Cathedral

Penn State forestry professor emeritus, department head, and all-things-forestry guru Jim Finley died yesterday. I was told that he was either felling a large tree on his property, or he was trying to dislodge a large tree that had been felled but was hung up on another tree. Whatever the actual facts are, Jim died from the tree falling on him. It is a reminder that even the best, most experienced forestry professionals are at grave risk.

As trite and awkward as it sounds to write here, the fact is that Jim Finley died doing what he loved in the environment he considered sacred. I am quite sure that had he been asked about whether he would like to die from a tree falling on him, or some more peaceful and less traumatic way, he would have given us the look he is giving below. It is that knowing “Why are you saying that, you know it is wrong” look. In his mid-70s, Jim was nowhere ready to leave us, and we were nowhere ready to let go of him.

His death is a huge loss.

Jim was a remarkable man, who I admired, and who left a way outsized hand print on Pennsylvania conservation and the practice of forestry in eastern America. He was a force to be reckoned with, an institution in his own right, a political-cultural movement, a gentle soul with a will of iron, kind and easy but also passionate and unrelenting.

He did not suffer fools easily, though he accepted honest debate and earnest dissent exactly the way an academic ought to: His eyes took on this hard laser focus, and you could tell he was actively listening and processing, not always ready to give an answer, either. His response might come tomorrow or next year, and if your argument was good, you could tell it had moderated Jim’s perspective.

Jim Finley was an academic, and sometimes prone to the idealism that academics naturally grow into. However, he also had the ability to be hands-on practical, and even more important, he had the ability to support aggressive, hands-on, totally practical forestry practices. You know, the kinds of visual impacts that most urbanites recoil in horror from, and which many land conservation groups really did not want to see, either, no matter how scientifically they were needed or justified. It is an admirable and rare trait to be able to be honest about unpleasant things, and Jim could look at a heavily cut tract with tree tops lying all over the place, and cheerfully explain all of the wonderful things that were now going to follow on the heels of all that disturbance. Because of Jim, conservation easements in Pennsylvania are now a lot more forestry-friendly than they used to be. And a landowner who is able to manage his or her forest as aggressively as they need to under a conservation easement, is a landowner who is much more likely to sign that easement and protect their land in the first place.

Jim invited me to speak to his classes a couple of times, and we worked together when I was at DCNR and the Conservation Fund. I knew him when I was a kid in State College, I knew him as a professional forester and academic at Penn State, and I knew him as a colleague of land conservation legend and Penn State forester Joe Ibberson, whose PSU forestry department endowment Jim presided over at the end of his formal career. It is always a huge loss when someone of Jim’s high caliber leaves us, but it is even more so when he was just starting to become mature, as he would put it in the terms of a tree.

So long, old friend. Happy travels in your peaceful forest cathedral. We who are left behind mourn your untimely departure and we will miss you greatly. You were a hell of a guy, Jim.

Wooden bowls and a vase turned by Jim Finley. Photo kindly provided by forester Dale G.

A silver lining

It is easy to become angry as it becomes clearer every day that the coronavirus lockdown response has been a partisan media hype job without any basis, and we have all been deprived of our most essential civil rights by a bunch of power-mad politicians.

After all, as of today’s Pennsylvania Department of Health statistics, exactly 2/3 of the deaths here attributed to covid19 Wuhan Flu occurred in nursing homes and other elder care facilities, among vulnerable elderly people who already had serious health problems.

And we are also learning that a great many of the Wuhan Flu – related deaths are not actually related to the CCP Wuhan Flu. But they are chalked up to it to artificially inflate the numbers, to make it seem worse than it is.

And we are also learning that the death rate of the Wuhan CCP Flu is actually very low. Lower than ye olde regular annual flu! In other words, a lot lot lot of Americans contracted the CCP Flu, showed little or no signs of it, and did not die or become hospitalized.

So as a bunch of justifiably angry Michiganders storm their state house, and as sheriffs in barely-touched rural areas defy state governors’ over-reach, and as counties and townships begin to open up for business on their own terms (with people wearing masks and standing apart), it is easy to see that a public powder keg could go up in dramatic fashion. Why not? It is the American way. It is how we founded our great nation. Hang ’em high!

But there has been a silver lining to all of this stay-the-f*ck-at-home stuff, and that is the result that American families have spent more time together, as families, than since 1952 and the advent of the television. Families have been forced together. In our own home we have had regular family dinners, family conversations, some doozy family fights, and lots of really valuable, really enjoyable, really loving time together. This has been the upside of all the artificial insanity.

And that said, I will also say that I lost a lot of acquaintances and some friends in New York City. They were mostly much older, almost all with some existing health challenges. Some died alone in a hospital, their family members unable to be with them at their time of passing, as they choked to death alone in unfamiliar surroundings. Bad deaths, really hurt and very sad families. There is no question that New York City and its environs have been the hardest hit from the Wuhan Flu, and it is turning out that most of their deaths were also in nursing homes, where Governor Cuomo ordered sick people to go, even as the virus spread.

So yes, there are going to be some lessons learned here. Some painful ones and some good ones. The main good one being that American families are still intact, much more so than we might have thought just eight weeks ago. Let’s not forget this nor let it go. Spending family time together is one of the very best ways to spend time. Hopefully we don’t need a public health emergency to remind us in the future.

Gosh dang, all these headlines about violence…gotta change the subject

While our planet has descended into a frenzy over epic Islamic violence threatening Western Civilization, or least just all of the Christians remaining in the Middle East, it is important to take an escapist break from it all and look back to the distant past.

Better times, right?

Well, a history lesson is now in the works in 2015, because it is the 100-year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, a milestone that no one is going to forget, no matter how much the perpetrators try to sweep it under the rug.

One and a half million Christian Armenians were starved, executed, enslaved, tortured, exiled, children were turned into sex slaves, families were broken apart, homes were taken by force, men were beaten to death in front of their families, women were raped in front of their dying husbands, eventually ancestral land was taken and occupied, and the first modern genocide was under way.

Who conducted this outrage against humanity, and surely they been held to account, we ask.

Why, it was the Turks, as in Turkey, as in the Ottomans, as in the leaders of the Islamic World, as in…dare we say it…will Obama approve?…Muslim Turks.

The Religion of Peace.

Of course, the Turks also still illegally occupy half of Cyprus, have committed genocide against the Kurds, and still illegally occupy their homeland.

The Religion of Peace….leading the way. Invading Europe. Invading Spain. Murdering the Armenians, because they were Christians.  Bombing infidels.

Now, back to these pesky headlines about Christians getting their heads cut off we’ve been dealing with the past few weeks. You know, the news, as in what is new.

Time for a Muslim Peace Movement, Now

Muslims are not victims*.

However, the victims of Islam are many, and continuing, and today yet another was unveiled.

British peace activist David Haines was beheaded by a Muslim activist on video, which I watched both in horror and in solidarity with him.  David Haines knew what was happening, was absolutely composed, cocked his eyebrow and muttered some inaudible phrase to himself as his chin was lifted and the knife sliced into his neck.

David Haines died on his knees, his hands cuffed behind him, utterly vulnerable, not a threat to anyone.  This is pure sadism.

Whether Muslims will admit it, or not, this sadistic evil violence has become the face of Islam to Westerners.

In the absence of massive Muslim marches supporting Western civilization and individual liberties, one can only conclude that Muslims everywhere agree with this Koranic behavior.

Oh sure, there are some bland Takiya (religiously permitted deception) statements by Muslim infiltrators, but there are zero public demonstrations by reformers who wish to indicate their break with the parts of the Koran that proscribe this exact form of murder and mayhem for non-Muslims.

It is time for a Muslim Peace Movement.  A movement that supports Western civilization, that supports the rights of minorities such as Christians, Yazidis, and Jews, that will re-write the Koran to represent a Western mindset.

It is time.

* The Koran forbids any criticism of Islam or its founder, Muhammad, and yet the Koran is full of hate and vilification of every other religion around the Arabian Peninsula in the year 670 CE. Christians, Jews, and Hindus are specifically called cows, monkeys, pigs, and so on.  If this is not “hate speech,” I don’t know what is. This double standard must end.  You are not a victim if you are victimizing everyone else and they are calling you out on it.

Remembering neat people, Part 1

A lot of neat, interesting people have died in the past year or two, or ten, if I think about it, but time flies faster than we can catch it or even snatch special moments from it. People I either knew or admired from afar who changed me in some way.

There are two men who influenced me in small but substantial ways who I have been thinking about in recent days. One of them died exactly ten years ago, and the other died just last year. Funny how I keep thinking about them.

It is time to honor them as best I can, in words.

First one was Charlie Haffner, a grizzled mountain man from central Tennessee. Charlie and I first crossed paths in 1989, when I joined the Owl Hollow Shooting Club about 45 minutes south of Nashville, where I was a graduate student at the time.

Charlie owned that shooting club.

Back before GPS, internet, or cell phones, the world was a different place than today. Dinosaurs were probably wandering around among us then, mmm hmmmmm. Heck, maybe I am a dinosaur. Anyhow, in order to find my way to the Owl Hollow club, first and foremost I had to get the club’s phone number, which I obtained from a fly fishing shop on West End Avenue. Then I had to call Charlie for directions, using a l-a-n-d l-i-n-e, and actually speaking to a person at the other end. You’d think it was Morse Code by today’s standards.

After getting Charlie on the phone, and assiduously writing down his directions from our phone conversation, I had to use the best map I could get and then drive way out in the Tennessee countryside on gravel and dirt roads. Trusting my directional instincts, which are good, and trusting the maps, which were pretty bad, and using Charlie’s directions, which were exactingly precise, I made my way through an alien landscape of small tobacco farms and Confederate flags waving from flagpoles. Yes, southcentral Tennessee back then, and maybe even today, was still living in 1865. Not an American flag to be seen out there by itself. If one appeared, it was either directly above, or, more commonly, directly below the Confederate flag. The Confederate flag shared equal or nearly equal footing with the American flag throughout that region.

Needless to say, when I had finally arrived at the big, quiet, lonesome gun range in the middle of the Tennessee back country, the fact that I played the banjo and was as redneck as redneck gets back home didn’t mean a thing right then. Buddy, I was feelin’…. Yankee, like…well, like black people once probably felt entering into a room full of Caucasians. I felt all alone out there and downright uncomfortable. And to boot, I was looking for a mountain man with a deeeeep Southern drawl, so it was bound to get better. Right?

Sure enough, I saw Charlie’s historic square-cut log cabin up the hill, and I walked up to it. Problem was, it had a door on every outside wall, so that when I knocked on one, and heard voices inside, and then heard “Over here!” coming from outside, I’d walk around to the next door, which was closed, and I would knock again, and go through the process again, and again. Yes, I knocked on three or four of those mystery doors before Charlie Haffner finally stepped out of yet one more doorway, into the sunshine, and greeted me in the most friendly and welcoming manner.

Bib overalls were meant to be worn by men like Charlie, and Charlie was meant to wear bib overalls, and I think that’s all he had on. His long, white Father Time beard flowed down and across his chest, and his long, flowing white hair was thick and distinguished like a Southern gentleman’s hair would have to be. And sure as shootin’, a flintlock pistol was tucked into the top of those bib overalls. I am not normally a shy person, and I normally enjoy trying to get the first words in on any conversation, with some humor if I can think of it fast enough. But the truth is, I was dumbfounded and just stood there in awe of the sight before me.

Being a Damned Yankee, I half expected to be shot dead on sight. But what followed is a legendary story re-told many times in my own family, as Charlie (and his kindly wife, who also had a twinkle in her eye) welcomed me into his home in the most gracious, witty, and insightful way possible.

Over the following two years, I shot as much as a full-time graduate student could shoot out there at Owl Hollow Gun Club, which is to say not as much as I wanted and probably more than I should have. Although my first interest in guns as a kid had been black powder muzzleloaders, and I had received a percussion cap .45 caliber Philadelphia derringer as a gift when I was ten, I had not really spent much time around flintlocks. Charlie rekindled that flame in me there, and it has burned ever since, as it has for tens of thousands of other people who were similarly shaped by Charlie’s re-introduction of flintlock shooting matches back in the early 1970s, there at Owl Hollow Gun Club.

Charlie died ten years ago, on July 10th, I think, and I have thought about him often ever since: His incredible warmth and humor, his amazing insights for a mountain man with little evident exposure to the outside world (now don’t go getting prejudiced about mountain folk; he and many others are plenty worldly, even if they don’t APPEAR to be so), his tolerance of differences and willingness to break with orthodoxy to make someone feel most welcome. Hollywood has done a bad number on the Southern Man image, and maybe some of that negative stereotype is deserved, but Charlie Haffner was a true Southern gentleman in every way, and I was proud to know him, to be shaped by him.

The other man who has been on my mind is Russell Means, a Pine Ridge Sioux, award-winning actor, and Indian rights activist who caught my attention in the early 1970s, and most especially as a spokesman for tribal members holed up out there after shooting it out with FBI gunslingers.

American Indians always have a respected place in the heart of true Americans, and anyone who grew up playing cowboys and Indians knows that sometimes there were bad cowboys who got their due from some righteous red men. Among little kids fifty years ago, the Indians were always tough, and sometimes they were tougher and better than the white guys. From my generation, a lot of guys carry around a little bit of wahoo Indian inside our hearts; we’d still like to think we are part Indian; it would make us better, more real Americans…

Russell Means was a good looking man, very manly and tough, and he was outspoken about the unfair depredations his people had experienced. While Means was called a radical forty years ago, I think any proud Irishman or Scottish Highlander could easily relate to his complaints, if they or their descendants stop to think about how Britain had (and still does) dispossessed and displaced them.

Russell Means played a key role in an important movie, The Last of the Mohicans. His stoic, rugged demeanor wasn’t faked, and he was so authentic in appearance and action that he easily lent palpable credibility to that artistic portrayal of 1750s frontier America by simply showing up and being there on the set. Means could have easily been the guy on the original buffalo nickel; that is how authentic he was.

Russell Means was representative of an older, better way of life that is disappearing on the Indian reservations, if that makes any sense to those who think of the Indian lifestyle that passed away as involving horses and headdresses. He was truly one of the last of the Mohicans, for all the native tribes. Although I never met you, I still miss you, and your voice, Mr. Means.

[Written 7/23/14]

Oh, those funerals…

If you live long enough, you get to go to increasing numbers of funerals.

Friends, colleagues, family, acquaintances, leaders you admire, they all begin to fall as time marches on.  Because each of us is already “born terminal,” dying is a natural part of living.

Of course, it is not necessarily the dying part that is upsetting at a funeral.  Unless the particular ending is unexpected, violent, or tragic, what gets me is the sudden absence of the qualities that particular person brought into the world around them.  The absence of their warm personality, their humor, their bravery, their way of thinking or looking at and solving problems, friendliness, and so on.  Whatever vacuum suddenly appears in the wake of a deceased person is the foil to the wonderful qualities the person had developed over a lifetime.

Recently I participated in several funerals, all for older people whose families loved them very much.  At the last one, hardly anyone cried during the eulogies or the burial, not because the person was so horrible, but because they had lived such an utterly full and meaningful life.  She had squeezed every available drop of opportunity, family, love, and community from her time on Earth.  No one felt sad, because she had lived so well and had made so many people feel so good about themselves, and instead, there was much laughter and chuckling.

At each funeral I find myself somewhere in the back, musing, contemplating, listening, and reflecting.  There is not one deceased person I know, or knew, whose abilities, talents, personality traits, character, and strengths I did not wish were my own, in some way.

I am a pretty hard-charging person.  Trying new, entrepreneurial business models, speaking out about my own ideas and beliefs, challenging political orthodoxies I believe are destructive of American liberty and individual freedom, not to mention the outdoor adventures I do each year that put some wear and tear on my increasingly stiff frame and joints…all of this makes me the person I am, now.

Hopefully, with the increasing number of funerals under my belt and the personal qualities I see getting buried each time, I will be a better and improved person as I try to take on some aspect of the person we lost.  Bear with me…

Happy Birthday, Pennsylvania!

333 years ago this week, Pennsylvania was born, when King Charles signed the Penn Charter, granting William Penn millions of acres of land in the New World.  Ever since then, Pennsylvania has been a leader in religious tolerance, democracy, and citizen liberty.  Contrast our liberties with, say, adjoining states New York and New Jersey.  ‘Nuff said.

Condolences to the Mowery family, who lost former state senator Hal Mowery this week.  Hal was a gentleman, cheerful, intelligent, thoughtful, charismatic, and without question the best looking man to ever serve in the Pennsylvania legislature.  He will be sorely missed.

Ryan Loskarn – to be judged

Ryan Loskarn. Look him up. No need to say here what he did. Today he took his own life. Now only One will judge him, and not a jury.

Viewing child pornography creates a demand for child pornography, and it creates the conditions where children are subjected to the worst physical abuse imaginable. It is not a victimless crime to watch child porn.

The worst retribution is justified. Suicide is the easy way out. Hanging yourself is the right thing to do. Thank you.

Update**** I extend my condolences to Ryan’s family. To his credit, his shame was so overbearing that he could not live with it. Like defeated Roman generals and honor-bound Samurai warriors of old, Ryan took his own life to atone for his great failure. It is to his credit. And one more thing: Like the traditionalist he was, wrestling with his inner demons, he took responsibility for his actions. I wish another political party out there showed a smidgen of the same awareness among their own failed leaders. Instead, red-handed murderers like Ted Kennedy are exalted.

JFK vs Obama

Today, Americans are more likely to learn who “really” killed John F. Kennedy than who Barack Hussein Obama really is. Obama’s school transcripts remain sealed. His life before Chicago politics remains purposefully murky. Obama lies about all of his policies, actions, and goals, so what do we really, truly know about him?

Shouldn’t Americans know who their president is, and what he believes in?