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We people need to just do what we need to do to move forward

America’s economy is now in artificial tatters, an unnecessary result of very poor public policies in reaction to the Wuhan coronavirus.

Politicians are not going to be able to solve this ridiculous virus panic. In fact, politicians are mostly making it much worse than it really is, and probably they are doing that on purpose. A lust for power, a desire to hurt a political opponent at any cost, even at the cost of hurting and inflicting huge personal losses on the citizens, seem to be the main reasons why governors in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kentucky, and elsewhere have thrown down the gauntlet and are acting like dictators.

The “orders” these governors and local governments have issued are laughably confused, full of inexplicable contradictions and clear violations of Americans’ most basic rights and freedoms. Kentucky’s governor warns churchgoers that he ordered the Kentucky State Police to take down license plates of cars parked in church parking lots on Easter Sunday and other days, so that they can be ticketed later. Michigan’s governor says power boats are not allowed, but sail boats and canoes are OK, but Michiganders may not visit their hunting cabins. In Valley County, Montana, the county health department [I originally and incorrectly wrote that it was Missoula, Montana, the ultra liberal city council there shaping the rest of the surrounding county] issued an order that coronavirus-free people wear pink arm bands in public. Another county in another state went so far as to issue an order that anyone with coronoavirus could be, and probably would be, picked up by the police and involuntarily committed to a special quarantine location. Here in Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf vetoed a bill passed by both the PA House and Senate that brought clarity and structure to his own bizarre order. Wolf now demands that everyone in public wear a mask and that people not wearing masks must not be served in the stores they are in. Local PA townships are not permitted to approve land subdivisions, even though the townships can and do meet by teleconference that pose no health risk to anyone. Home construction is stopped cold, not because Wolf has demonstrated that there is an identifiable risk of spreading a contagious disease from building homes, but simply because he says so.

These orders have nothing to do with actually serving the people of America. They are not actually helping people. The risks of the Kung Flu are obviously much higher in congested places like New York City than in flyover country. These orders are self-serving the politicians with more power and discretion over our personal lives than the political process would ever give them.

And this list of crazy, insane, tyrannical orders over the past few weeks goes on and on. Every one of these orders violates the most essential, core aspects of being an American. Again, with no measurable public benefit and yet at enormous cost to our individual finances.

One good thing that has emerged from the Chinese coronavirus panic is that we all get to see in broad daylight that there are many power-hungry Americans amongst us, who will use whatever power they have to get more power, and to crush dissent, strip us of our liberties, and use overwhelming coercive government force to throw us in jail for made-up violations. We used to laugh that such people could ever exist in our political system! Well, here they are, front and center, and they are no laughing matter!

If ever there was a need for an America with our Bill of Rights protecting individual due process rights and freedoms, this past month has demonstrated it.

So if the politicians are hell bent on screwing up our lives, and destroying America’s economy, then the only people who can fix this is us. You and me. The citizens and local officials who live here, pay taxes here, work here in America. We have to clean this mess up.

It is time for We, The People to put our foot down and show the politicians that despite their crazy power grabs and ridiculous demands upon us, we are going to do what is best for us. We can wear masks and stand apart in public, no problem. We would choose to do that anyhow. But we will open up our businesses again, we will go for walks again, we will drive on the roads for pleasure again, we will approve land subdivisions again, and you can call it civil disobedience, but we will live free again. There is no way any governor is going to enforce their nutty and unconstitutional order by rounding up everyone and putting them in jail.

And if any governor tries to do that, then there is the old tried-and-true torches, pitch forks, and a bucket of hot tar at the governor’s residence to get things straightened out again in a hurry. We are Americans, after all, not sheep.

 

Lotta covid19 pain? Better be lotta gain

For all the pain we are all experiencing from the Chinese covid19 flu “lockdowns,” shutdowns, economic activity coming to a screeching halt, businesses laying off people, orders drying up etc., there had damned well better be a lot of gain when all is said and done.

Meaning, all our sacrifice and loss and crushed civil rights should damned well have happened for a good reason. A lot of people should have lived who were going to die or get very sick. etc.

When the most mild mannered attorney friend texts me out of the blue yesterday “Are you worried about our civil rights?” I knew that the felt pain was cutting deep.

Our text conversation last night was brief, but it covered all the territory a person might expect, given its premise. My friend reports that many of his other friends are starting to get pretty fussy about this government-imposed suspension of civil liberties. He wrote “It is one thing to cooperate and volunteer to move less in public, but to be told we must stay in our homes…?”

This guy who wrote these texts to to me is a solid religious person, a respected family man, a well regarded attorney, pretty staid and non-excitable, perhaps even at times a boring personality (hope he is not reading this). It would take a lot to get him to write something like this civil rights text. And yet by now it is doubtful we can find any American who has not also felt a lot of pain from this covid19 China Flu business, so his texts to me are probably indicative of a lot of other Americans’ restlessness. A chafing at the bit. A natural inborn resistance to being told what to do, as opposed to being asked to volunteer as free people.

Really at the center of all this lockdown/shutdown/ Big Coercive Government vs Smaller and Smaller Citizen are two factors: 1) The philosophy of governance held by the various mayors, governors, and federal disease experts, and 2) a sense of duty to nation and to one another held by Americans.

A natural tension always exists in our republic, between effective government decision making on the one hand, and citizens’ rights on the other hand. Our founding documents (Constitution, Bill of Rights) are all about this tension, and how to strike a balance between the trade-offs of having an effective government and also having a free citizenry. No doubt that Communist China has a really effective government, but on the other hand its citizens have zero freedom. Americans want maximum freedom, so we naturally reject the kind of government it takes to be really effective.

However, many if not almost all of the Washington, DC, careerists are inured to the notion of a strong federal government. An overpoweringly strong and coercive government, need be. And why would they not have this mindset? It makes them maximally relevant and powerful. So enter Washington bureaucrats Fauci and Birx, and their approach to the Wuhan China covid19 flu has been to at first pooh pooh it, and then when it becomes a big issue, to take the opposite tack – everyone lock yourself in your home and do not come out until we experts tell you to.

Back in January and February, Fauci was quoted many times pooh poohing and disavowing the China covid19 flu. Can’t happen, won’t happen, not a big deal. Oops, now it is happening – everyone run and hide, to hell with the economy.

Add to this message coming out of Washington bureaucrats the naturally authoritarian nature of many elected officials around America, and we get some pretty authoritarian abuses of power. In Malibu California the other day, a guy simply paddle boarding out in the surf was actually cut off by two police boats and then arrested for not self-social-distancing. While he was literally all alone out on the water, near no one, hurting no one, putting at risk no one. And of course the ACLU is nowhere to be found for him, because the ACLU is not about civil rights, it is about destroying America.

Here in Pennsylvania, our governor, the mild mannered and generally friendly Tom Wolf, has issued a pretty wild declaration, a dictatorial ultimatum, that has suspended our civil rights and shut down most businesses and the families who depend on them. While many of us have a strong sense of duty to our fellow humans, and we are happy to make personal sacrifices in order to protect our neighbors and our communities, at a certain point we begin to chafe under the dictatorial approach to applying law.

A lot of pain is being felt across America, and certainly here in Pennsylvania. Many of the businesses I regularly interact with are in increasingly bad shape. Much of this has to do with their diminished cash flow and uncertain banking situation. So if the banks are eventually made whole, then the rest of these businesses will be made whole, and the whole economy will come roaring back to where it was or stronger. In the mean time we all have families to feed and bills to pay, and the pain of Wolf’s lockdown is becoming intense.

Is this pain worth it, is it justified, people are asking.

Everyone I know has a real commitment to doing the right thing, because it is the right thing to do. They do not need to be told what to do, just asked. But now the pressure and resentment to being told what to do, at great personal cost, without a lot of evident gain, is beginning to build up. This would naturally be expected. The sacrifices we are all making seem to be much greater than would normally, reasonably be expected. We cannot really see the fruits of our sacrifices.

Americans die every day from all sorts of maladies and accidents. A regular flu season sees about 32,000 Americans die nationally, from just the regular old flu. We take that number of deaths as a matter of fact, a cost of being alive. And yet we are not seeing that same result from this covid19 coronavirus thing. Not even close. In fact, so far, just the opposite.

If it turns out that Wuhan China covid19 Chinese Flu actually results in very few deaths, and yet the entire nation’s economy was thrown out the window for little or no gain in health, then there is going to be hell to pay.

Five Spice Donkey Meat: Coronavirus Lessons Learned

As the lab-grown Chinese Wuhan Flu coronavirus tornado has whipped around the planet, destroying people, families, businesses, hopes, dreams, savings, homes, careers, there are a few initial takeaway lessons we have learned so far.

Lesson 1: We cannot trust the media. The mainstream media (CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, NPR, BBC, PBS, Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, AP, Reuters etc) is full of politicized nonsense, not actual factual reporting.  After weeks of calling the Wuhan Flu the Wuhan Flu, the China Flu, and the Chinese Flu, because this virus comes from Wuhan China, mainstream reactivists (my own conjunction of reporter + activist) immediately began saying it was racist after President Trump called it the Wuhan Flu. So if the president says something, the mainstream media reactivsts immediately disagree with it and criticize it. After doing the same and saying the same thing themselves. This is obvious hypocrisy and reveals the media as a bunch of political activists, not news reporters. OK, so you knew this already, especially after the media has constantly parroted Communist China lies over the past few weeks. Well, now you know it even better.

Lesson 2: China is actively pursuing the domination of America. Through any means necessary, Communist China has demonstrated that they are like the German Nazi Party of eighty years ago and the Democrat Party of today. They are our avowed enemy. They will stop at nothing to dominate everyone around them, especially America, even if it means playing with strange fire like lab-grown viruses designed to wipe out entire enemy adult generations, so that only the inexperienced and defenseless young are left alive. Chinese efforts to undermine and dominate America are nothing new, but for thirty years Americans have been told by elected officials from BOTH political parties that it was in our own best interests to give all of our technology, jobs, money, and security to China. Well it turns out that this globalism impoverishes Americans while further enriching a small handful of oligarchs. And now we see that Chinese domination of our pharmaceutical industry is not a benefit to us, and is in fact a great risk to our survival.

Lesson 3: Everything China makes is contaminated and dangerous. China has no environmental regulations and very few food regulations. Their rush to industrialize at any cost has resulted in tremendous environmental damage and the contamination of their food, soil, and water. This week we were treated to a video of a sick Chinese worker deliberately coughing into a shipment of new face masks bound for America, in order to further infect Americans. Five years ago the “Five Spice Donkey Meat” scandal in China demonstrated just how badly Chinese foods are adulterated, infected, and contaminated with a God-knows-what mix of dangerous chemicals and pathogens. Even donkey and fox meat, which are actually (unbelievably) succulent delicacies in China, alongside snakes, bats, cats, rats, wombats, dogs, hogs, and monkeys, are infected; not just baby milk powder and apple sauce sold to America. Anything we import from China is full of nasty chemicals, viruses, and bacteria. Including food, medicine, and clothing. Don’t let it in here.

Lesson 4: Buy American – Putting America First means protecting American Health. Putting America first in all things means that we will now question whether or not certain practices are in fact actually good for Americans. Whether or not cheap labor and cheap products from China are desirable in the short term, we as a nation will now always ask “Is this good for America and her citizens, my family, my neighbors?” If the answer is either No or Probably Not, then we will re-patriate whatever goods were being made elsewhere and have them made here. Having things made here in America, subject to our own regulations, high expectations, and standards, will give us control over our destiny and health. Including physical and financial health.

Lesson 5: Secure American Borders equals Secure American Citizens, so Force the Issue. In early February, US senator Chuck Schumer (Democrat) and US Congressthing Nancy Pelosi (Democrat) accused President Trump of being a “racist” for implementing a travel ban from abroad. Literally four weeks later these same two fools accused President Trump of not having enacted a travel ban soon enough. All kinds of dangerous diseases, dangerous drugs, dangerous people, sex slave trafficking, child prostitution, child molesters, and violence have been pouring over and through America’s open borders into our towns and cities. This is happening only because the Democrat Party has been totally devoted to having our borders remain wide open, for their own short term political gain. A willingness to trade off the health and safety of American citizens for the benefits of law breakers and parasites should demonstrate to any open minded person that the Democrat Party and its criminal assistants like La Raza and the ACLU are guilty of treason and crimes against the American people. All of these groups should get big bills from the United States Treasury for the damage they have wrought on innocent Americans. China should get a big bill for the widespread destruction that their Chinese Wuhan China Virus has wrought, too. Close America’s borders and get control of who and what gets in here.

 

Rush Limbaugh

The other day I was driving up I-95 though New Jersey, destination Manhattan, listening to Rush Limbaugh on the radio. The usual analysis of recent events – Nanshee Peloshee’s failed political attack on the American president, the Democrat Party’s disarray of socialist presidential candidates, each trying harder than the other to give away more American taxpayer money to buy votes than the other, the SuperBowl result.

And Rush’s voice was gravelly, something new. Over the past year he has been complaining about having a cold, or a hairball, or whatever stuck in his throat. And over the past year he has taken off more time than usual. Usually that kind of time away indicates a change, usually due to burnout. But Rush would return to the golden EIB microphone and pick right up where he left off, with great energy and clarity. So no, his absences were not attributable to doing the same damned job over three decades.

And then, nearly at the end of the three-hour show, matter-of-factly Rush simply stated that he has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, which later on was disclosed to be stage four, which is highly advanced.

Now if there is one symbol of this iconic man’s persona, it is his cigar. Limbaugh enjoys a cigar, and has posed with cigars on the covers of magazines. Promoting, much less admitting to using tobacco these days is the ultimate rebellion, the strongest anti-political correctness statement one can make. Let’s just say, waving a lit cigar about in one’s hand these days gets a lot more attention and dis-approbation than a hairy man putting on scanty lady’s clothes and accoutrements and wobbling up and down a public street in high heels.

Limbaugh has used his cigars as the ultimate rejection of PC nanny state over-reach, to the point where he occasionally almost sounded flippant about the potential health risks.

And while tobacco can and should be enjoyed occasionally – a pipe with a bowlful of cherry Cavendish, a cigarillo, a Dutch Masters or Swisher Sweets mini-cigar, its constant use is anything but innocent. Because the constant use of tobacco products really does damage the human body. Nothing new here to science or human knowledge.

So while Limbaugh may have shared one thing in common with president Bill Clinton, the non-inhalation of lit smoking products, the fact is that cigars put off a huge amount of smoke that, unless one is outside or in a highly ventilated indoor space, is going to certainly invade one’s lungs. Apparently Rush’s lungs were invaded by copious amounts of heavy cigar smoke, despite his not inhaling.

Last night at the State of the Union speech by President Donald J. Trump, Rush Limbaugh received the Medal of Freedom from the hands of First Lady Melania Trump. Rush was obviously surprised that it occurred there and then, and his humility and emotion shone through like a giant airport beacon.

People who hold leftist views may disagree with or even hate Rush Limbaugh. But the level and pitch of their opposition to him is an equal representation of his effectiveness over the years. The first time I heard Rush Limbaugh on the radio was in my friend Kenny Gould’s car in Rockville, Maryland, in the spring of 1991.

“You gotta hear this guy, Josh. You gotta hear what he says. He’s amazing. He is so right. You should hear what he says about Bill Clinton; no one else in the media is saying it.”

And so Kenny turned on the AM radio to the Rush Limbaugh program, and I dutifully listened to what at first sounded like a chatterbox man talking and talking about political and cultural issues.

At the time I had started my first fully professional full time job as a policy staffer at the US EPA in Washington, DC. I disagreed with some of what Rush said that day, but I never forgot him. And years later, when I had discarded my anti-taxpayer job at the EPA like a piece of dog crap stuck to my shoe, because of my own observations and experiences, I had begun to understand just what this big voice on the radio was talking about.

And so tens of millions of other Americans have been educated and trained to think critically and analytically by Rush Limbaugh since that time, and as a result, he has had a tremendously out-size good effect on America.

First Lady Melania Trump placing the Presidential Medal of Freedom around Rush Limbaugh’s neck

More humility than some people might expect caused Rush to compose himself

Good luck to you, Mister Limbaugh. May you have a complete and easy recovery from your cancer. Please don’t be one of those guys puffing away through clouds of cigar smoke with the oxygen line stuck in your nostrils. That just will not do as a lasting image to your greatness. (…and to those who would never listen to Rush’s radio show, how can you say you disagree with him if you do not listen to what he says?…and to those who have openly rejoiced at Limbaugh’s health, you are exactly why he has needed a radio show in the first place, and why America listens to him)

It’s berry season!

For about 150,000 years we humans have been hunter-gatherers, living a nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyle that follows the migrating animals and the growth of plants our bodies can eat.

Edible plants were a huge component of hunter-gatherer food, easily dried and carried, many of them lasting well into October and November after plants have gone dormant in most places. Unlike meat, dried edible plants do not easily rot, or attract nibbling animals.

Among edible plants, fruits and wild berries reign supreme.

That is because fruits and berries contain an unusual mix of carbohydrates, sugars, minerals, and vitamins, all of which are necessary for survival. Especially vitamin C, a crucial ingredient in a healthy human body (think scurvy).

The fact that wild berries taste especially sweet and supplement other foods with extra flavor is a big draw.

Sweet-tasting foods rarely occur in Nature.

Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, huckleberries, wineberries, and many others grow abundantly here in Pennsylvania and across the Eastern US.

Plains Indians like the Lakota, Pawnee, and Comanche made a mix of red meat and berries called pemmican. Ripe berries were turned into a big mush and then worked into meat strips. Usually the mixture was dried on wooden racks in the open air and sunlight, and the dried slabs and sticks were then put under the horse saddle to be worked and broken down into what we would call jerky today.

“Jerky” gets its name from the gentle jerking motion of the horse saddle, as horses step forward. The motion slowly breaks down the meat fibers, making them easily chewed and digested.

So here we are, a bunch of sedentary Americans, mostly eating out of cans and bagged frozen foods.

One antidote to this somewhat unhealthy arrangement is to go outside and do stuff.

Hike, walk, sit and read or sit and chat with someone face to face, fish, canoe, grill out, etc., so many easy outdoor activities.

A really easy outdoor activity is berry picking. Sure there are some thorns, but so what. The benefits are fresh, delicious, healthy berries that are not sprayed with chemicals, or bagged in plastic bags, or frozen. The whole family can do it. Go find a field edge, and bring some hard containers, and start picking.

Humans have been berry picking in that Summertime window of opportunity for a really long time. So long that it can be measured in ice ages come and gone, ice sheets advancing and retreating. That is a lot of years.

If we have been doing that activity for that long, you know it is good and natural. That the whole family can do it, and then make pies together afterwards, makes it all the better.

Just watch out for poison ivy!

 

 

Ooh-ooh, that smell

Dedicated readers of this site might wonder why we are not commenting about the lameness of a political party that filibusters everything in the US Senate, used “the nuclear option” themselves to advance the most radical and extreme federal judges and political appointees from 2010 to 2015, but which now is screaming bloody murder that the other political party followed their lead, did exactly what they did with the Senate rules, and allowed a simple majority vote to confirm the next US Supreme Court justice (Gorsuch) yesterday.

Why would a normal, healthy person spend time on that issue? It is obviously quite insane. One political party is dominated by people with an agenda that does not fit in with America’s political model. Would you normal people please stop supporting the Democrat Party, until its leadership is replaced with normal, mainstream Americans?

Instead, this essay here takes a line from a Lynyrd Skynyrd song about drug abuse, “Oooh-ooh that smell.”

This is about a daily personal health issue that seems to be unknown and unaddressed, despite having a real effect on Americans across the country. If you care about your health, read on.

We Americans are so addicted to cheap Chinese junk (tools, food, clothing, furniture, shoes, tires) that we shop ever more in big box stores filled to the brim with that cheap Chinese junk.  Or buy from Amazon, which imports from China by the shipful.

And when you enter the doorway of these big box stores, you are confronted with an odd, sickly sweet smell associated with the vast majority of Chinese manufacturing: Formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is used to pickle human remains for wakes and open casket funerals. It is used to stash scientific specimens in glass containers, so they will not rot, so they can be viewed and studied.

Formaldehyde is dangerous, toxic, and both acutely and chronically dangerous. And yet Americans work around hugely elevated amounts of formaldehyde in these ubiquitous big box stores, and Americans shop daily in these same places, all blissfully unaware that they are inhaling a significant amount of nasty chemical.

The formaldehyde you smell in the store is off-gassing from the consumer items sitting in cardboard boxes on the store shelves. This chemical permeates everything made in China, and there is so much of it that for years it keeps leaking out of the plastics, fabrics, and woods sent here, which we then put in our homes and garages as furniture and tools.

You are worried about ambient cigarette smoke? Cut us a break! Exposure to air-borne formaldehyde in these amounts is far worse for the human body, far riskier than the occasional cigarette, as is standing on a street corner in down town Manhattan, waiting for a street light to change, for that matter, because of all the ozone, particulates, and sulfur/ carbon dioxide/monoxide smog.

But nothing is being done about ambient formaldehyde risk, because it is associated with too much money and economic activity. And it is invisible, except to the nose.

There are no sexy prohibitionist crusades about ambient formaldehyde like there is with tobacco use (an upcoming subject here).  And yet take a good whiff the next time you go to a big box store. That weird sickly sweet smell is formaldehyde. Your lungs are getting a free embalming when you enter.

Note: If we bought American products, made in USA facilities where formaldehyde is not allowed to be used, then we would not be exposed to it when we went shopping. But we are like drug addicts, addicted to cheap Chinese junk, to our own detriment.

Why are there syllables in my bread?

The other day I made the mistake of looking at the the ingredients label on the bag containing a loaf of sliced bread I brought home from the Giant store on Linglestown Road.

Can you believe the chemicals and additives and preservatives that are in that loaf of bread, according to the label? These are seriously long, serious-sounding, polysyllabic words that I have trouble pronouncing, no matter how long I have to spell them out slowly.

Words this long do not belong in the human body.

It made me wonder, Why are all these syllables in my bread?

Shouldn’t bread just be something like flour, water, salt, sugar, eggs, baking powder, maybe some fresh yeast, plus fire? For the past five thousand years, bread has been successfully made with slight variations on this theme of basic ingredients.

One of my kids has a health issue, and for most of her life it was treated with scary chemicals.

One by one, the chemicals stopped working. We were left with few options.

Then a researcher in Israel began a study, where kids with this health issue would go on a basic diet: No processed food, no canned food, no frozen food except what you freeze yourself. Everything fresh. No soda, no powdered drink mixes. Etc.

Guess what? She went into remission. It was attributable solely to the lack of processed food and the attendant polysyllabic chemicals she was otherwise ingesting when she ate “food.”

Today our friend Roberta came over, delivering Girl Scout cookies that only our boy can eat (well, I could easily eat them, but my body needs no extra calories or fat). We caught up in the kitchen over fresh coffee. Turns out she has changed her diet, and is feeling a lot better than before, plus she is lean and feeling energized.

What is her diet? No processed food.

Seeing that bread label got me thinking. Seeing my beloved child get better from a serious health issue got me thinking. Talking with our family friend of nearly twenty years got me thinking. Here is what I am thinking:

Syllables and food do not go together, unless it’s Italian. Certainly not in English.

Chemicals and food should not go together.

Chemicals are not food.

Chemicals and body health probably do not go together, except as a treatment for a serious health issue.

I just ate a pile of fresh carrot sticks. They were not nearly as satisfying to me, as they don’t taste great, as something processed. But it’s the beginning of something good. And it reminds me to start preparing seeds for the summer garden.

And one more thing: Giant also sells freshly baked bread. This bread lacks the preservatives of the bagged bread. It’s my new go-to bread, and as I do most of the food shopping for our family, it is what we are going to have going forward.

Are Alien Invasives Driving You Nuts, Too?

“Alien invasives” is an ecological term or phrase for plants and animals that have parasitically invaded a favorable host environment, where they are unchecked by natural predators or forces. Examples exist in the Florida Everglades, where monitor lizards and giant pythons are rapidly becoming the dominant predators, in the Great Lakes, where round gobies and Asian carp are displacing walleyes, bass, salmon, and trout, and along the East Coast, where Asian mosquitoes are now fully entrenched.

It is this last species that really aggravates me, although the 15-20 million invasive non-native tax money-hungry and public services-gobbling humans presently here also bother me, too.

Asian mosquitoes come in several Latin names, which I won’t bother Dear Reader with here, but suffice it to say that they are the Samurai warrior in the world of mosquitoes. Where our native brown mosquitoes are relatively slow, lumbering, hovering, whining, nocturnal wall-hugging louts, the Asian mosquitoes are surreptitious, incredibly fast and dextrous, ankle-biting, and active 24/7, even in bright sunlight. If you swat at one, it won’t fly away and hide, it will Judo-fast avoid your hand, and immediately counter-attack.

One Asian mosquito is called the “tiger mosquito” because it has long camouflaging stripes which render it nearly invisible to the human eye, even up close. Almost like a shape-shifter, the tiger mosquito dodges your swat, and deftly, fearlessly moves in for the kill.

Asian mosquitoes have taken up residence in our back yard over the past five years. Each year they get worse, more dense, more aggressive, far beyond pesky. They have rendered our entire property nearly unusable during the months best suited to being outside. Gardening is now a run through a mine field, a gantlet that must be mastered quickly with a return to home base before too many painful bites are felt.

One fine Saturday in early August, in a shady spot in our back yard, reclining on a comfy chaise-lounge chair next to my wife and daughter, I soon discovered a black cloud horde of Asian mosquitoes around me. Welts were rising all over every area of exposed skin. I went and got the fly swatter and a can of bug spray, and returned to my reclining position, but with the swatter ready for action. After twenty minutes of battle and little reading, I had covered every part of my body with so much toxic bug dope that it began to make me feel ill. And yet the mosquitoes still found places they could land for the brief one or two seconds they require to extract my blood.

Unable to withstand the assault any more, I went inside and sat at the big picture window, watching my wife and child swat at the insects, the humans determined to enjoy the outdoors and the insects determined to suck blood.

Although my political nature dominates my writing, I really intend no metaphor here. This is really just waving the flag, an SOS, a warning, that America has become a breeding ground for alien invasives that are ruining our outdoor lifestyle. Now that the Ebola and Zika viruses have arrived with Obama’s foreign minions, more and more Americans are becoming aware of the costs of these invasive insects. It is not just about a little discomfort anymore, like with our friendly old native mosquito, but rather any time outdoors could cost you your health, even your life.

And what is the cost of lost happiness over twelve weekends, for tens of millions of people?

Going where no Western man has gone before

Each day this past week I have waited for the other-other shoe to drop.  And sure enough, each day some new incomprehensible surprise greeted us.

Obama’s most endearing trait is his public persona.  His smoothness.  His likeability.  But what has come out more in the past week than in the past six years is how treacherous Obama is, how deliberately two-faced he is, how big of a blatant liar he is, how evil he is and how intent he is upon tearing down America and replacing it with…God knows what.

In his rapprochement with genocidal Iran and his war on Western Civilization Israel, Obama is dragging the United States into a place no Western human has ever gone before: Down.

Obama is dragging all of us into an abyss from which our nation will not climb out, if Iran gets to own nuclear bombs.  And it is clear that Obama wants Iran to have them, just as it is clear that he resents Israel having them (note the release of Israel’s deepest nuclear secrets by Obama’s Pentagon this week).

Odd as it is, Obama’s supporters still include most American Jews, whose recent brushes with genocide would under normal circumstances remind them to place their sympathies elsewhere.  However, political correctness is the new religion of the people formerly known as American Jews, and political correctness demands utter fealty to The Human One, whomever that may be at any given time, not The One who created Heaven and Earth.  This is a sad development because so much of America’s intelligentsia is represented by the people formerly known as American Jews, such as academia and the media.

In going Down, instead of on the Upward trajectory Western Civilization has carried all of us over the past thousand years, minorities are most likely to suffer badly, one way or the other.  One of the largest minorities in America today are Caucasians.  How will they fare under the new America?  Will there be a place for them?  Will faux “White Guilt” force them to become willing slaves? Are they becoming that already, working as they do to support a tax-heavy government intent on wiping away their free speech and self-defense rights?

So many have placed their trust in a Muslim Marxist, whose mask is beginning to fall away, and yet they hope, in vain, that the dirty deeds he does now will not really exist later on. That’s the hope they voted for.

Just as surely as you can keep your doctor and your health plan, you can bet on everything working out just fine, folks. That’s the change we got.

Tom Wolf & Republican legislature should agree on this, if nothing else

A version of the following essay was published by the Patriot News at the following URL: http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2014/12/if_they_can_agree_on_nothing_e.html#incart_river

Conservation: An Area Where Democrat Tom Wolf and the Republican Legislature Should Agree
By Josh First

Land and water conservation are not luxuries, they are necessities in a world of growing demand for natural resources. As America’s population grows, the natural resources that sustain us, feed, us, cloth us, nurture us, warm us, and yes, even make toilet paper (and who can do without that), must be produced in ever greater supply.

Some of these resources are at static levels, like clean water, while others, like trees, are renewable. All are gifts that God commands us to manage wisely in Genesis.

Pennsylvania is facing some challenges in this regard, however, as the Susquehanna River shows serious signs of strain, and our world-famous forests face a devastating onslaught of invasive pests and diseases.

John Arway, executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, has been advocating for officially declaring the Susquehanna River an “impaired waterway” for years. The data Arway draws upon support his concerns: Dissolved oxygen so low that few animals can live in the water, one of three inter-sex (hermaphroditic) smallmouth bass populations in the country, a bass population with insufficient young to keep the species alive, the remaining bass covered in tumors and pfiesteria lesions, invasive rusty crayfish pushing out the tastier native crayfish, among many other factors. Once-abundant mayfly hatches are now non-existent.

Fishermen used to travel to Harrisburg from around the country to fish for smallmouth bass; not any more.

This past September a friend and I hunted geese out in the river, wading in our shorts. We saw none of the usual turtles, water snakes, birds, or fish that once teemed there, and the water smelled…odd. One day later, a small scratch on my leg had became infected with MRSA, and I spent four days hooked up to increasingly stronger antibiotics at Osteopathic Hospital.

In November, we canoed out to islands and hunted ducks flying south. Except that over the past ten years there are fewer and fewer ducks now flying south along the Susquehanna River. We speculate that there is nothing in it for them to feed upon, and migrating ducks must have turned their attention to more sustaining routes.

The river almost seems….dead.

Feeding the waterways are Pennsylvania’s forests, the envy of forest products producers around the world. Our state’s award-winning public lands and their surrounding mature private forestlands sustainably and renewably produce a greater volume of the widest variety of valuable hardwoods than any other state in America.

Our forest economy isn’t just about timber production, however, as hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation themselves represent large economic sectors. Our robust black bear and wild turkey populations draw hunters from around the world, but these popular species depend almost entirely on acorns from oak trees; without acorns, they would hardly exist.

The oak forests at the core of our world-famous hunting and valuable timber were once considered under the gun from overabundant deer herds, but with that problem now resolved they face an adversary that could turn them into the 21st century version of the American chestnut – sudden oak death disease.

Recall that the American chestnut, like the now-extinct passenger pigeon, once carpeted the entire east coast with unimaginably abundant white flowers and nutritious nuts that fed wildlife and humans alike, and its wood was a more available version of cypress – strong, rot-resistant, straight grained, easy to work. And then, like the once unimaginably vast swarms of passenger pigeons that had blackened the day sky until they also suddenly disappeared, the mighty chestnut was wiped out in a few short years, 100 years ago, by an imported disease.

Our oaks, ash trees, and walnut trees seem to be facing a similar doomsday right now.

Thousand cankers, emerald ash borer, lanternfly, ailanthus, mile-a-minute weed, Japanese honeysuckle, Asian bittersweet vine, and many, many other non-native invasive plants, bugs, and diseases now threaten our valuable native forests on a scale unimagined just a few years ago.

Ironically, the edges of our state and federal highways appear to be the greatest means of spreading these pests.

Today, Pennsylvania has a true balance of power between Democrat governor-elect Tom Wolf, and an overwhelmingly Republican legislature. There isn’t much policy that these two equal forces are going to agree on. But if there is one area that they should easily find common ground, it is land and water conservation.

Something is seriously wrong with the Susquehanna River, and something is about to be seriously wrong with our forests.

Whether a crushing regulatory response is the appropriate way to address these issues, or not, let’s hope that Pennsylvania state government can help fix these problems before they become catastrophes future history books write about.

Josh First is a businessman in Harrisburg