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Father’s Day

Today is Father’s Day, the day we celebrate our dads, the people who helped us grow into young men and women. For thousands of years, fathers have been the protectors and providers for their families, and they have traditionally been the source of life-saving wisdom and decision making. The lessons and skills they teach their children, especially their sons, are essential for living life properly.

Thank you to my dad, for teaching me to use a chainsaw and an axe from a young age. For giving me the childhood chore of splitting and stacking firewood all summer long, so that our family would have heat and comfort all winter long. Other chores included weeding the garden and shooting pests like chipmunks, squirrels, and groundhogs, all of whom could easily do tremendous damage to the garden in just minutes. And while these chores trained me in self-reliance, hard work, and planning ahead, it was the one thing that dad would not let me do that probably shaped me the most.

Although my dad comes from a hunting family, he himself did not and still to this day does not hunt. Oh, he appreciates wild game and will eat it over everything else, given a choice. But when I started taking my BB gun on deer hunts with neighbors at age eight, my dad always told me I had to get close to the animal to shoot it. As I grew into a young Indian or frontiersman out there in the wilds of southern Centre County, I was prohibited by dad from topping my rifles with scopes. Only open sights were allowed. He said using only open sights taught me woodcraft, requiring me to get close to the wild animals I wanted to harvest, before taking their lives.

“It is only fair,” he said. “You can’t just assassinate unsuspecting wild animals from hundreds of yards away. If you hunt, you must be a real hunter. You must get close and take the animal with skill, on its own terms, where it can see, hear and smell you. That is fair.”

And so last deer season, on a steep hillside deep within the Northcentral PA state forest complex, all of those lessons and preparation came together in one quick, fleeting second. I did the Elmer Fudd thing all alone, quietly sidehilling into the wind, trying to live up to Dad’s dictum. One cautious, slow step at a time. Eyes scanning ahead, downhill, and especially uphill. Ears on high alert for any sound other than the wind in the leaves. Big bucks that are bedded down high above where the puny humans might slip, stumble, and walk, are most likely to flee to higher ground when one of us Pleistocene guys shows up too close for comfort. Deer might hear or smell us coming a long way off, or they might see us at the last second because we are being quiet and playing the wind right, but they know that within a hundred yards or so, we can kill them. So they flee uphill, and in stumbling up against gravity and slippery things underfoot they give us shot opportunities we would not otherwise have.

And so when the strange <snap> sounded out ahead of me, just over the slight rise that led into the large bowl filled with mature timber and rock outcroppings, and an odd looking animal bolted down hill almost bouncing like a fisher, I quickly backpedaled.

Anticipating where the deer would emerge about 130 yards below me, I quickly and also carefully walked straight backwards to where a natural slight funnel in the ground provided a clear enough shooting lane down through the forest to a small stream bed. Anything passing between me and the stream would be broadside at moments, providing a clear shot through heart and lungs if I took careful aim.

And sure enough, the big doe filled one of those spaces so briefly that I don’t even recall seeing her. All I do recall is how the rifle butt fit carefully into the space between the backpack strap over my shoulder and the thick wool coat sleeve, and how the open sights briefly aligned with her chest. The thumb safety had been snicked off already without thinking, and the gun cracked. I fired the gun instinctively.

Quickly raising the binoculars to my face, the doe was clearly visible way down below me, lying fully outstretched on the forest floor just above the stream bank, like in mid-leap with her front hooves and rear hooves completely extended ahead and behind, except she was not moving. She was laying still, her neck fully stretched out on her front legs like she was taking a nap. I watched her tail twitch a few times and then knew she was dead.

Sliding on my butt down to her was more challenging than climbing up to where I had been still hunting her. Northcentral PA mountainsides are the most difficult terrain for humans, in my experience. It is topped with a layer of slippery leaves, then wet twigs and branches waiting underneath to act like oil-slicked icicles, ready to throw a boot way ahead of one’s body. If the wet leaves and branches don’t make you fall down, then the rotten talus rock waiting underneath the leaves and twigs will slide, causing you to either do an extra-wide wildly gesticulating split, or fall on your butt, or fall on your back.

So I scooted downhill to the doe, tobogganning on my butt on the slick forest floor, cradling the rifle against my chest, keeping my feet out ahead of me to brake against getting too much speed and hurtling out of control.

Arriving at her body, I marveled at how she resembled a mule. Her long horse face and her huge body were anything but deer-like. Her teeth were worn down, and she must have been at least five years old. The single fawn hanging around watching me indicated an older mother no longer able to bear twins or triplets. This old lady had done her job and had given us many new deer to hunt and watch over many deer years.

Normally, in such remote and rugged conditions I will quickly bone out the deer, removing all of the good meat and putting it in a large trash bag in my backpack, leaving the carcass ungutted and relatively intact for the forest scavengers. But this doe was so big that I just had to show her off to friends, and so after putting the 2G tag on her ear, I ran a pull rope around her neck and put a stick through her slit back legs, and began the long drag out.

This hunt has stayed with me almost every day since that day. I think about it all the time, because it was so rewarding in so many ways, and emblematic of being a good hunter. Not the least of which was the careful woodcraft that led up to the moment where the smart old doe was busted in her bed and then brought to hand with one careful shot as she loped away, far away. Just as easily I could have been a hunter clothed in bucksin, using a stick bow and arrow five thousand years ago.

Thanks, Dad, for all the good lessons, the chores, the hard work, the restrictions and requirements that made me the man I am today. Without your firmly guiding hand back then, I would not be the man I am today. And what kind of man am I? I am a fully developed hu-man; a competent hunter with the skill set only a dad can teach a son, even if it takes a lifetime.

[some will want to know: Rifle is a 1991 full-stock Ruger RSI Mannlicher in .308 Winchester with open sights. Bullets in the magazine were a motley assortment of Hornady, Winchester, and Federal 150-grain soft points, any one of which will kill a deer or a bear with one good shot. Binoculars are Leupold Pro Guide HD 8×32 on a Cabela’s cross-chest harness. Boots are Danner Canadians. Coat is a Filson buffalo check virgin wool cruiser. Pants are Filson wool. Backpack is a now discontinued LL Bean hunting pack, most closely resembling the current Ridge Runner pack. Knife is a custom SREK by John R. Johnson of Perry County]

Climate Change’s Story, as Told by a Rock

The subject of climate change has been a political issue for about ten years. Before that it was called global warming. Before that it was called global cooling. Despite having dramatically different, even diametrically opposed, oppositional names, this subject of earth’s changing climate has been treated the same by political activists for about 30 years. No matter how different, under all rubrics it has been presented as a result of planet-altering human intervention into Planet Earth’s fundamental forces.

In all of the undocumented claims presented about this subject over the past thirty years, especially the fake junk science claims, the ignored elephant in the room has always been the very well and long-documented evidence of great periods of climate change pre-dating the appearance of humans on Planet Earth. In other words, climate change/ global warming/ global cooling did not automatically appear in 1985 because Al Gore wrote a book about humans emitting too much carbon dioxide. Nope. The scientific elephant in the climate change room was standing here all along, because decades of non-politicized scientific inquiry demonstrated how mile-thick ice glaciers covered northern America, Canada, and northern Europe and Asia many times over the past 100,000 years.

That is, a natural ongoing cycle of climate change, real dramatic alterations to the face of the planet, even without one human being present to contribute one breath of carbon dioxide to it.

Well, here is the short and easy story of actual, real climate change; the long documented climate change that shaped the land you are standing and driving on every day. This big story is told by a simple humble rock. Here is a picture of that rock (below), unearthed the other day. It was unearthed about 600 feet above the Pine Creek stream bed and channel. Until it was unearthed, it was entombed on a hillside way above the existing channel, in mostly clay dirt amid sharp shards of shattered sandstone, all jumbled together like a giant mixer had tossed them around.

Look carefully at this stone.

It is rounded, unlike most of the other rocks around it in the dirt from whence it recently emerged. Someone with a bit of curiosity would ask “Gees, this rock looks totally different from the rocks around it. It is rounded like a typical long water-washed and tumbled river cobble I can find in any stream bed in the world. Now why is this rounded rock sitting hundreds of feet above the Pine Creek river bed? How did it get all the way up here?”

Great question! In most American class rooms, asking this question might get you ejected, or a bad grade from a fake educator who doesn’t want you asking good questions, but instead you are supposed to repeat a mantra of junk science that ignores the actual science represented by this simple little rounded rock.

Pine Creek’s history is retold at Leonard Harrison State Park, in DCNR geology circulars available online, and in many other places and publications. It won’t be reiterated at length here. But we do provide a history lesson in a nutshell.

Essentially it goes like this: Until about 15,000 years ago, Pine Creek flowed northward into the Genesee River watershed. After the last glacial age ended 20,000 years ago, the Laurentide Glacier began to melt, as prior glaciers there before it had melted. As the glacier melted, a pool of water built up against an ice dam, which eventually broke from the weight of the water and the thinning ice. When the ice dam broke, an enormous torrent of water was unleashed southward as a tidal wave. As it raced southward, the tidal wave followed the landscape’s natural contours, including the river bed of north-flowing Pine Creek.

As soon as the tidal wave hit the Pine Creek stream bed, the tidal wave followed that natural channel southward, scooping up hundreds of millions of tons of stream bottom rocks, as well as surrounding ledgerock. We have seen the videos of the Japanese tsunami from several years ago, and this one probably looked similar. Thus, an increasingly muddy tumultuous mess of water, dirt, and rocks flowed southward to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. Along the way rocks like our little rounded river cobblestone here were picked up and deposited high up on the river channel’s slopes.

Even though the rock had come from deep down in the river bed, it remained in place on the hillside as the roaring water receded to the stream flow we know and love today. The rock is an artifact of climate change, real honest-to-goodness climate change, devoid of any human causation or intervention.

Our pet Pine Creek stream bed rock now in Lycoming County, PA, probably originating due north in Steuben County, New York, 15,000 years ago, already rounded from thousands of years of tumbling in a stream bed

Ever since that melting glacier released that tidal wave and placed our little rock here on the hillside, Pine Creek has flowed south, into the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, and not northward into the Genesee River. And as a result of that huge rushing torrent southward, the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon was cut and shaped.

Climate change, folks. It is as natural as the Sun rising and setting on the Earth’s horizon. It can be real. It was real, and still is real and ongoing, even without human involvement. But you probably won’t find the real climate change science taught any more, because it is contrary to a radical political narrative that tells us modern capitalist societies are evil and destructive and must cease and desist, because we alone are destroying the Earth’s climate.

Which just goes to prove that Marxism really is anti-science, anti-truth, anti-fact, and anti-human. Shame on the Marxism Climate Change fraudsters who represent themselves as guardians of the environment. They are no such thing. They are destroyers of the environment, as every Marxist society’s destroyed environment demonstrates.

Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone you saw this, because the “climate change” activists will have me locked up for disseminating actual science!

All this climate change happened before humans were even present on the planet, let alone before we and our cows began farting so much and creating green house gases…

Be careful showing this glacial map to a New Yorker. They believe that New York City pre-dates all human civilizations and was founded by the gods, who would never let a mile of ice stand on top of their sacred ground.

Showing this image in a modern class on “climate change” is like showing a crucifix to a vampire, and you will probably be ejected from the classroom and declared unfit for indoctrination by the fake teacher. Be careful how you use this science.

Oh no, we did it, we showed New York City under ice. NYC mayor Bill DeBlasio will probably ban me from entering NYC henceforth.

 

Today my head was designated a “Sanctuary Head” and I got a haircut as a form of civil disobedience

Today I got my hair cut in an establishment here in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. Our county opened today by a patriotic act of the county commissioners, Jeff Haste and Mike Pries, who are looking out for their citizens (see Jeff Haste’s letter to the citizens of Pennsylvania here).

My haircut stands as a symbol of #resistance to petty tyrant Governor Tom Wolf’s power-mad attempt to control free Pennsylvanians.

I also did this act of defiance under the totally illegal but patriotic self-designation of my head as a “Barbershop Sanctuary Head.”

While this act of civil disobedience happened in an actual barbershop and salon, the hair cutter informed me that she has been doing hair coloring and haircuts at private homes over the past month, wearing PPE and a mask as the client requires. I was her first “in-patient” at the establishment. Yes, like the free adults they are, people have been deciding for themselves what level of risk they are willing to engage in order to look presentable in public. Without Governor Wolf and his creature doctor telling us what to think, what to do.

Recall that Pennsylvania is under a draconian “lockdown order” issued by the governor. Basically you can’t go pee without the government telling you to go.

In response to Dauphin County opening up, petty tyrant Governor Tom Wolf went on a tantrum tirade of threats: Businesses that open without his OK will have their state licenses pulled, and insurance companies will be notified or damaged, and federal aid will be withheld, and so on.

If you don’t listen to Tyrant Wolf, he will do everything he can to harm you, much more than the virus ever could. Governor Wolf demands that you listen to him and obey him! His threats over compliance are arguably worse than the risks he says we incur by not following his dictates. Wolf has gone overboard after already going overboard. The guy is drunk on power.

Governor Wolf is like all of the other liberal governors in America right now: Might makes right, the full coercive force of government will be brought down on the now-shorn head of anyone who dares to challenge him, you will be punished for daring to act like a free person. None of this covid19 policy stuff is about public health any longer. It is purely about power, and a rather unconstitutional, un-American power at that.

Petty tyrants like Tom Wolf just don’t realize what stuff Americans are made of. He doesn’t realize he inspired me to do this. I pulled a liberal trick out of my hat, and by unilaterally declaring my head to be a Barbershop Sanctuary Head, I have automatically blocked government from doing anything to my head. Because, you know, for years sanctuary cities and states have been releasing from jail all violent illegal alien felons, but recently locking up law-abiding citizens out for a walk while again releasing yet more violent felons from prison, because of covid19. It all made so much sense…

So now my own sanctuary head is off-limits to Governor Tom Wolf. I am sure he will understand.

Two months of hair growth on my head resulted in a pile of wool-like sheep-shearings. Sad that this pile of hair is now an act of defiance, resistance, and civil disobedience in America.

 

 

 

Democrat Party: Burn Down America and See if Donald Trump is Still Standing

Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf just issued another edict: Nothing really opens in Pennsylvania until June 4th. Because he says so.

No science supports his action. All the Wuhan covid19 data now pouring in from around the country, and Pennsylvania, demonstrates the virus is an urban problem, a nursing home problem, an old age and bad existing health problem, an I-95 corridor problem that stretches from Richmond, Virginia, to Boston, Massachusetts.

Covid19 is most especially a New York and New Jersey problem, where the overwhelming proportion of deaths and hospitalizations have occurred. Thanks in great part to the decisions of Governor Cuomo and NYC Mayor de Blasio, both of whom encouraged sick people to move about freely, to ride the NYC subway, and for nursing homes to take in sick people known to be infected with covid19.

While Wuhan Flu is here because China wanted it to be here, if any one or two people in America are responsible for its spread and damage it is Cuomo and de Blasio.

Across America Democrat governors like Tom Wolf are throwing down the gauntlet, issuing fatwas, edicts, executive orders all extending the stay-the-f*k-at-home demand that has shut down businesses and bankrupted tens of millions of Americans. Putting people in jail merely for opening their barber shops and hair salons. None of these edicts are constitutional. None of these decisions emanate from the powers granted to elected officials. None of these are about health, they are about power. These are simply power grabs by elected officials looking to give themselves more power and to damage America.

This is economic warfare against the citizens of America. You and me.

Why would anyone want to damage America’s economy, you ask?

Because it is the only thing the Democrat Party has left to try to damage President Trump. They have tried everything else: False accusations, the Russia collusion hoax, the Ukraine hoax, fake impeachment hoax, hookergate, etc and at every turn, Trump has beaten them. Now all the Democrat Party has left is a scorched earth policy, burning down and blowing up America, and the Chinese covid19 virus is the last card in their hand for doing it.

Covid19 has given the Democrat Party their ability to try to blow up America and everything around President Trump, and then see if he is still standing. Never mind the collateral damage, like you, your job, your family, your business, your children. You and I are simply cannon fodder in the Democrat Party’s attempt to wrest control away from the one person who has the strength to stand up against them, against their media arm, and the GOPe (Republican establishment, AKA spineless jellyfish).

But Josh, the Risks!

Josh: Horsesh!t.

The epidemiological data shows us now exactly what the covid19 risks are and are not. Generally speaking, the risk from this virus is extremely low. America can function just fine going forward, and at-risk people will need to change their habits a bit, and there is no justification for this stay-the-f*k-at-home crap any longer.

But since November 10, 2016, the goal has been to get Donald Trump, no matter what.

And so now we are watching one aggressive political party blow up America in their pursuit of getting Donald Trump, while the opposing party is full of milquetoast, soft spoken, reasonable sounding, carefully coiffed, preened, gentlemen who would like nothing more than to have an early round of golf before going out to dinner and then to cocktail parties, where they can get their next insider information for their next big investment. That is why they got into politics in the first place.

Welcome to America 2020, where most of the politicians are utterly worthless. People, we ourselves are going to have to solve this ourselves, without the politicians. We cannot let them bankrupt us and destroy our families.

Stand up, stand tall, and tell Governor Tom Wolf to Stay The F*k At Home if he has a problem with you leading your life as you choose. Go get your hair cut.

UPDATE: After this was written, Dauphin and Lebanon counties joined Beaver and Greene counties in defying Governor Wolf. Thank God we have strong leaders here like commissioners Jeff Haste and Mike Pries.

Turkey season finally arrives

Spring turkey season has finally arrived. No, no, we are not talking about the season of the political turkeys, the various state governors around America who are artificially extending their unconstitutional stay-the-f*ck-at-home “lockdowns” into July without any merit or cause. What we are talking about is spring gobbler season.

No, no, no, not the Cookie Monster-type of gobbler, like California politician Nancy Pelosi eating her wall freezer full of gourmet ice cream while Americans can’t buy flour or toilet paper.

We are talking turkey here, a gobbler being a wild male turkey that gobbles to locate hens he can breed with. He gobbles as he walks through the woods and fields, and hunters call to him with hen calls, to lure him close enough to shoot with a shotgun. In the head. It is a huge challenge with a hunter success rate of about 5%-10%. Not a real high probability of success, but nonetheless by the end of May, when the season ends, hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania turkey hunters will be walking disasters. They will have gone out daily at 4AM, hunted until 7:30 or 8:30AM, whereupon they will have gone to work for the day, and done it all again day after day. Until they get a bird or they are haggard skeletons and cannot function any longer.

Spring turkey hunting is demanding and tough to do well, and even the best callers get skunked. It is nonetheless a challenge that so many hunters gleefully embrace, however, because the rewards of simply trying are so high. Nothing else is like it.

One of the challenges facing spring gobbler hunters especially is a fairly new one.

Pennsylvania’s turkey populations are way down from historic highs about 15 years ago. Some biologists attribute this measurable decline to a continuing maturation of Penn’s Woods. That is, the continued growth of Pennsylvania’s mature forests, which provide good food, like abundant acorns, but very poor cover habitat for wild turkeys. Heavily cut forests that result in areas of impenetrable thickets of brambles and small tree saplings provide the kind of safety and nesting cover that wild turkeys require. Unfortunately, most timber logging is done more for the appearance of good looks, like lots of low-value trees left behind, than for valuable timber regeneration or wildlife habitat.

A second factor that has caused turkey numbers to drop is the relatively new presence of the fisher. The fisher is either a huge weasel or a small wolverine, but it is fully representative of the ferocity and toughness of both its cousins. It is a native predator here in Pennsylvania, but it was wiped out by the late 1800s like so many other cool animals that competed with new farmsteads built to feed families. Capture-and-release programs in the 1990s and early 2000s resulted in wild fisher populations expanding their territories and populations across the east coast. And if there is one word to describe the fisher, it is voracious. These things eat and eat and eat! They are especially adept at hunting animals in trees, like roosting turkeys.

So over the past ten years or so, turkeys have become less vocal in order to avoid being detected and targeted by predators. For hunters, this means a tougher time locating turkeys and doing the classic back-and-forth call where the gobbler struts in to within range gobbling, strutting, and all fanned out. These days, hunters can easily call, hear nothing, and after ten minutes stand up because they think nothing is moving, only to see a gobbler rocketing its getaway through the woods.

Gobblers and hens alike are coming in silently to hunters’ calls more and more, which requires hunters to just sit patiently and wait, and wait some more. No movement at all. No sounds. Just wait. Patience will kill more turkeys than all the fancy calling can. Make a few clucks, a few purrs, and just sit back and wait.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission staff have studied the stomachs of fishers, and they have reported back finding very little evidence of turkeys in them. Well, why would anyone expect to see evidence of wild turkeys in the stomachs of fishers if there are so few turkeys left? A single fisher can and probably will, given the chance, kill and eat dozens of wild turkeys every year. It would not take many fishers to put a choke hold on wild turkey populations. How many of those successful fishers were studied?

In any event, turkey hunters noticed a dramatic decline in wild turkey numbers beginning precisely with the expansion of the newly released fishers. That is a strong statistical correlation that is simply impossible to discount, regardless of what a handful of fisher stomachs have yielded up.

Finally, pathogens like Lymphoproliferative Disease Virus (LPDV) and West Nile Virus are known to be affecting turkey and grouse populations in different areas, and Pennsylvania is in a region where both these diseases are represented. LPDV is hammering wild turkey populations in New York State, so it may well be hurting ours, too.

Good luck to all the turkey hunters out there. Hunt safely (with your back up against a tree, a root ball, a big rock), don’t stalk turkey sounds but rather call the turkey to you, and only pull the trigger when your eyes have confirmed absolutely that the shotgun barrel is pointing at a live red, white, or blue turkey head with a beard attached to it. Have fun, and if you are like me most years, and you have near-misses and run-ins with wily tom gobblers, enjoy the time afield for what it is at its simplest – a walk with God, enjoying His incredible beauty at the time of Earth’s re-birth.

Fisher or fisher cat, provided by concealednation.org

Wild male turkey, “gobbler,” photo courtesy of adirondackalmanack.com

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

Rural & Urban People Experience the Virus Differently

Rural and urban people are experiencing the covid19 CCP virus differently. And this means they each experience the various governors’ approaches to it differently, too. Chinese Flu policies impact rural and urban people differently.

In rural America, like Clinton County and Lycoming County here in Pennsylvania, life is still pretty much going on, not quite like normal, but fairly close to normal. The perceived risk from Wuhan covid19 Flu is low. This is because the rural peoples’ observations are not squaring up with what they are being told from their state capital. Rural people are not seeing up close and personal the disruptive chaos and death that is so pervasive in places like New York City and Philadelphia. So their behavior is different.

For weeks the Lowes in Mill Hall, PA, has been standing-room-only parking on the weekends, as local people shop for gardening supplies. Likewise the other nearby big box stores and small hardware stores are also full of people attending to their needs. Life is going on, albeit with some face masks and people clearly trying to steer clear of one another in shopping aisles. The Wegmans in Williamsport, PA, was full of shoppers the last time I was there, and the shelves were mostly well stocked. Notes about limits per customer are placed in all the usual places – TP, canned tuna, milk, bread. Ladies at the checkout are quite tough and firm about shoppers abiding by these limits, and everyone seems to be getting along just fine.

Elsewhere in rural PA are drive-in church services, food takeout, maybe some bonfires with chairs set apart, but still lots of chairs, nonetheless.

Actual Risk vs. Perceived Risk vs. Government Policy

At the heart of this lifestyle difference between rural and urban people is the difference they have over perceived risk, actual risk, and what the government policy says.

When rural people look around and see none of the catastrophic chaos engulfing New York City, they begin to ask simple and necessary questions about the actual risk of the China Flu to them. The actual risk, not the suggested hype or irrational fear stay-the-f#k-at-home perceived risk that is being breathlessly communicated by the cable outlets every minute. Without bodies stacked high, without lots of people becoming obviously sick from the CCP Chinese Flu, and with local health providers like hospitals and clinics operating as normal, rural people begin to question the value and necessity of the government policy that tells them their Constitutional rights must be suspended.

They then begin to question the value and purpose of their own government.

When we hear about the over-reach in places like Kentucky and Michigan, whose governors are literally demanding that people cower in their homes or else face huge overwhelming coercive force and jail time, it is natural for Americans to ask not just what is the value of these policies, but why can’t we have real policies that are tailored to the realities that each community faces. The potential risks of Wuhan Flu are just not the same everywhere.

Rural areas have more room and space between people, fewer people, less congestion, and a lot lot lot less exposure AND a lot less actual risk. Government policies need to reflect these realities. Blanket one-size-does-not-fit-all policies serve no real health purpose. Instead, no matter how well intentioned the governor may be, these blanket policies that are the same in Philadelphia as they are in Lock Haven, PA, make everyone equally miserable, damage all businesses equally, regardless of the health outcomes.

At the end of the day, government action must both balance risks with costs and benefits, while also safeguarding the citizenry’s sacred Constitutional rights. To date, very few states have done this. Instead, almost every state has treated low-risk rural areas the same as high-risk congested urban areas, and hit them all with the same heavy hammer. This makes the whole covid19 reaction thing seem awfully fishy.

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.

PA Gov. Wolf’s fatwa

A fatwa is an Islamic edict issued by a senior Muslim Cleric. Most fatwas involve placing a bounty on some poor soul’s head, or placing some poor soul’s head on a stick, for some imaginary religious infraction. While liberals may not share that religious perspective per se, they do share the same love of issuing these cross-this-red-line-and-die edicts.

And so Governor Tom Wolf has issued his own fatwa in the name of public health, supposedly due to potential risks of spreading covid19, the coronavirus. But the fact is that this edict does very little to minimize potential infection, and greatly increases it while also dropping an atom bomb on Pennsylvania’s economy.

Wolf’s edict yesterday essentially commands all business to shut down yesterday. Like close the doors, send everyone home, and sit inside and wait. No lie here, no exaggeration, and the order is made more confusing by using the standard “essential” businesses.

Aren’t all businesses essential to the people who work in them? If you have made life-changing investments in your own small business, then keeping it going would seem awfully essential. And if your job is your sole source of income, then being able to go to your job as much as you can, so you get paid, would seem awfully essential. And if your business is the main place of employment in a small community, isn’t it also essential?

The greatest mystery of Wolf’s edict is that it is openly self-contradictory.

For example, pulp mills can stay in operation, but not the logging operations or forestry support necessary to get the wood products to the mills. That is to say, a guy in a skidder on a hillside way the hell out in the middle of nowhere is hereby forbidden by Governor Wolf from doing his job. Nor can the guy running the chainsaw; he too must sit at home. Also forbidden by Wolf. Because of supposed risk of exposure to or spreading covid19. If you ask me, a guy in a bulldozer or a skidder working in the woods has self-quarantined. But farming can continue on as usual, of course.

The list of the order’s mindless and mutually contradictory restrictions and allowances goes on and on for several pages. A friend of mine who works in the Wolf Administration tells me the list was probably written by an urban kid with no exposure to real life.

Of course his order says that all beer distributors can stay open! No one will ever meet there and mix!

So it seems that 90% of Pennsylvanians will be going to their local beer distributor to get Corona brewskis, and then go hang out together and barbecue together and eat together. Because the schools are all closed and the kids will be home driving their parents crazy. Because there is nothing else to do than socialize. And thus will Governor Tom Wolf not eliminate or reduce the potential for the spread of covid19…he will actually make it worse, by forcing everyone in the state to have a big hang out while bureaucrats sit around and think up other ridiculous boomerang restrictions for the rest of us to follow.

“Hi, we are from the government and we are here to help you.”

Run!