Tuesday, September 1, 2015

McKinley never went to Alaska.

And Columbus never went to Ohio. Nor Washington to the Pacific northwest.

Why did Obama rename Mount McKinley? It had nothing to do with his spokesman's excuse that McKinley never even went to Alaska. It had nothing to do with honoring native peoples.

It has everything to do with the reason Obama had Churchill's bust removed from the White House as one of his first executive actions. The reason? Obama's a maladjusted jackass. He'll do anything he can think of to stick his thumb in the eye of America.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Who is John Galt?

     Well, at least for the time being, it seems to be Donald Trump.

    John Galt, for those unfamiliar with Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged, is the man who vowed to stop the engine of the world. In Rand's dystopian story, the world is falling apart, driven into a tailspin by self-serving politicians and trust fund babies who retain their wealth and power by exploiting the pathetic while punishing the producers of the world as enemies. That's the engine of the world that John Galt vows to stop, and when the word finally gets out, the people know he's right and go wild for his cause.

     I won't say too much more than that so as not to spoil the story for those who have not read the book. Or seen the movie. Actually, there are three movies, Part I, Part II, and Part III.

    I have just gotten a copy of Part III and enjoyed it. Like the other two, it tells the story well but lacks the high budget production values of a full-blown Hollywood feature film.

     I'm not knocking it. It doesn't matter how you experience Atlas Shrugged, it is a modern masterpiece of political insight. First published over fifty years ago, it has proved chillingly prophetic of the tyrannical, freedom-crushing government we find ourselves with today, yet serves up an inspiring story of hope with a recipe for undoing the damage.

     I don't care if Donald Trump is a bad Republican or a closet Democrat. I don't care if he disagrees with me on this policy or that policy or just about any policy. And I don't care if he's something of a jerk.

     What I care about is that Donald Trump loves America, champions free enterprise, has a proven track record of achievement, and on top of all that, especially important for this election:

     Donald Trump can win.

     And when he does, I fully expect him go to stop the engine of the world that is undoing America.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

John McCain's Race Card

The sharks started circling this weekend, tasting blood in the water over Donald Trump's comments disparaging John McCain's record as a soldier.

Republican co-contenders Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, and Carly Fiorina--the latter most disappointingly--stood up immediately to try to gain advantage from the gaffe to eat away at Trump's huge, visceral surge of support among conservatives. Essentially their message is that Trump's comments about McCain make him unfit to serve as commander in chief.

Time will tell if Trump will trip on his tongue often enough and big enough now to do mortal damage to his campaign. Meanwhile the Lilliputian candidates are going to do everything they can to stab him to death with their small swords.

(As if anything they have ever done renders this bunch of contenders fit to serve? The Baby Boomers running for office today nearly all avoided the Vietnam War through deferments of one kind or another. The way that the privileged class managed to avoid service in that period of the draft is a stain on the generation and their guilt and defensiveness over that and other moral failings is a primary reason they have provided such poor leadership in the last two decades. But that is another subject for another blog post.)

The thing is, Trump has once again--as with his immigration comments--said something utterly true, that everyone thinks, and no one else dares say.

John McCain has been using his POW experience throughout his career as a shield to deflect all criticism. He is consistently as wrong-headed and incompetent as Barack Obama, the great race-card user (and remember, it was Bill Clinton who famously first called it that). McCain bungled the 2008 race against Obama and should have retired then. Instead, he is a leader of the Boehner-McConnell appeaser crowd that talks big and gets absolutely nothing done to stop Obama's America-neutering juggernaut.

So the Donald did not put it eloquently. But in response to McCain's comments that Trump's candidacy brought out the crazies in the Republican Party, Trump came right back at him and attacked where it hurts. If the conservative movement is lucky, this will be McCain's Waterloo.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Why Trump for President?

I've worked extensively in Mexico. I know and love the Mexican people well. But it's true that Mexico is exporting its problems.

There are other candidates whose ideology is more in line with mine. But judgment is more important to me than ideology.

If Donald Trump were in one corner at a party, I'd head toward the other. But I'm never invited to those parties.

And I've never even seen "The Apprentice."

But why am I excited about Trump's run for President?

Because he's a natural leader, he loves America, and he speaks the unvarnished truth. It's all these three qualities together that make him the most effective candidate Americans have had to rally around in a long time.

Not since Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan have Americans had candidates who were independent of Washington machine politics. Admittedly Carter's administration was a disaster because he's kind of a kook in general, but at least, like Bernie Sanders, he's an earnest kook. His electoral success was mostly a backlash against the political venality bared in the Watergate mess and the collective shame over our abandonment of the South Vietnamese.

But Reagan turned the country around in a way no other individual could have. And though they are quite different personally and ideologically, Trump and Reagan share those three key qualities that are the recipe for saving America from itself--born leadership, love of country, and truthfulness.

Frankly there are just a lot of people who because politics is such a nasty business, don't care to pay close attention. Some of them are downright ignorant but a lot of them are well educated, accomplished people. And they can and do vote in varying numbers. Their political opinions are formed by whims and impressions more than by careful thought and research. They're likely to form an opinion, for example, that Sarah Palin is a dunce because of a skit they've seen on SNL or because of her voice and accentand never pause to think that after all, she was governor of Alaska and a damn good one.

These Van Gogh voters (to borrow a phrase from Phil Valentine, meaning they only listen with one ear)  are the key people for winning an election, not the so-called "middle." There really is no middle in voting. And these are the people Donald Trump can reach with the mere flash of his hairstyle that no other candidate in the Republican field can hope to connect with. And they, just as thoughtful voters do, also feel the malaise that is pervasive in the country today from too much dependence on government, too many rules invading one's personal space, too few job opportunities, too much success at the top sucked out of the bottom and middle classes, and too much insanity parading as peace and justice.

Meanwhile as the more ideological and thoughtful voters study him, they will come to see past the bombast that Trump is a man of action and accomplishment and integrity. That although they may disagree with him on this or that, you can bet he's going to do what he sees as best for America, not what fits a particular ideology or buys a certain voting bloc. And that although his words may not always be precise, they are not the mush coming from today's Clinton and Bush candidates.

And he loves America.

Isn't that refreshing?

Monday, July 6, 2015

On being a hater.

Hello. My name is John and I am here to admit that I am a hater.

Oh, I don't hate anyone in particular. In fact I try to follow Christ's instruction to love one another. But apparently in today's world that fact alone makes me a hater.

Of course hate is a word that has pretty much lost its meaning today, like some others such as gay and peace and justice and choice and border and state and marriage and freedom. Not to mention male and female and even black and white.

The list can get pretty long.

What passes for hate today I always took to mean disagree.

There's a short story by German author Peter Bichsel called "Ein Tisch ist ein Tisch." ("A Table Is a Table.") The man in the story is dissatisfied with life, so he decides one day to rename everything he can think of. He sits down with a notebook and starts building his new vocabulary. He works at it zealously day after day. It's a very funny story but it doesn't have a happy ending. When the man finally ventures back out in the world, he can no longer understand anyone and no one understands him.

I feel like that man, except I think I'm still using the original vocabulary and it's the rest of the world that has renamed everything. It's a very Orwellian feeling.

Anyway, from what I can understand of all the media babble, I am now a hater.

I disagree.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Pickin' Blackberries

Blackberries coming ripe.
Hoo-boy, it's exciting around here at Erin-Tops! The blackberries are coming ripe! They are sweet and full and just dying to sprinkled over vanilla ice cream.

The first summer, I didn't even realize I had them. I was too busy sweating with scant relief from the portable A.C. that was cooling the whole house. Last summer I found a few, then spent much time online trying to figure out if they were blackberries or black raspberries or what. Once a bit educated, I looked around for more. It was as if a camera lens suddenly came into focus. I picked pint after pint full day after day. I think the high season lasts two or three weeks. I finally quit one morning when I reached over to a good bush full of them, heard a rattling at my feet, looked down and had the image of a timber rattler burned into my head. I retreated right quick, as we say around here, and didn't go back for more after that. Nevertheless I have already learned a few things in my short history as a blackberry picker.

Blackberry bush blooms.
Where are the blackberries? First of all, if you walk over your land and get aggravated by tall thick thorn shoots, don't be so aggravated! These are known as canes and are a sign that you will find blackberries around them in season. Secondly, just after the dogwoods bloom blackberry bushes will bloom in similar fashion in a distinctive five-petal flower. Walk around your land the first part of May while the underbrush is still thin and you may be surprised at how many patches of white you will find, markers for where to do your blackberry hunting about two months later.

Hmmm, what's this?
Right here on my hill in middle/west Tennessee, today is the first day I have plenty of berries ripe for picking. And let that rattler story be a cautionary tale: snakes like to hang around the same places blackberries like to grow. This year I'm wearing waders. At the least wear thick high boots and heavy pants. That's one good reason to go very early in the morning, to beat the heat while you're dressed for winter. My waders were soaked from sweat on the inside by the time I'd spent an hour picking this morning. But better safe than sorry.
Spooker likes 'em!

Also, wear long sleeves and a ball cap. The thorns are sharp and will draw blood, and you will not be able to resist leaning over to get the really big black juicy ones that are always just out of reach. The hard part is getting them into your pail without eating them. Sometimes they look ripe when they're really not quite there. If there's even a little bit of red in the berry, don't pick it. And if it doesn't pull off the vine with just a slight tug, don't pick it. If you get some that are not ripe, they will be tart. Once you've worked a bush over for all the black ones, crouch down. You'd be surprised how many more fat girls are there hiding under the leaves.

One hour's pickin', about two quarts.
After you've finished picking, don't wash them! Let them dry, then put them in a container in the refrigerator until you're ready to enjoy them and wash them then. Otherwise they get mushy. If you want to freeze them, let them dry, then lay them out on a cookie sheet in your freezer so they will freeze individually first, then put them in a container. That keeps them from forging into mushy clumps.

If you want some blackberries, now is the time to get busy. And I can tell you this, while you're enjoying the morning, palling around with your dog, dodging snakes and thorns and filling your bucket with delicious natural blackberries, you won't be thinking one iota about the sorry state of the rest of the world.

Friday, June 26, 2015

So what do you expect...

...from a chief justice who calls himself "Caitlin" Roberts?

(That comment was in reaction to yesterday's Supreme Court decision in which Justice Roberts demonstrated that he can't interpret the plain text of Obamacare any better than Bruce Jenner can figure out his anatomy. Suddenly in today's ruling on homosexual marriage Justice Roberts becomes a strict constructionist. He is indeed a confused soul. He is acting as if a puppet master is pulling his strings to contort him in grotesque manner. If we ever have bona fide truth-seeking journalists in this country again, perhaps they will unveil the machinations that are going on behind the scenes.)