Saturday, April 29, 2017

The three legs of the stool. President Trump in Atlanta. Movies.

I have noticed a lot of people getting impatient for President Trump to do everything he promised during the election.  If he were a dictator, he could do these things faster, but America is not a dictatorship. Sometimes, I wish it were, but then I remember that while there have been good dictators, like Vespasian and Diocletian, they were always followed by people like Nero or Caligula.

So, we have to have a little patience.  During my three year sojourn as a teacher, the social studies classes were used to indoctrinate students in liberal values, not so much to teach history or anything useful. I at least tried to sneak in a few lessons on how the government is set up, to the extent that I could without getting raked over the coals for "deviating from the approved curriculum."

The "Old Dead  White Guys" who set up our government knew what they were doing. They didn't care for dictatorship, whatever you called it. So they designed three distinct but interlocking branches of government. Those branches were called the "legs of the stool" because if you removed one, the stool would fall over.

The Executive branch provided leadership. The Judicial Branch resolved disputes over what the law actually said. And the Legislative branch was intended  to make law. That's a vast oversimplification but I'm thinking that people who read this blog already know all of this.

Over time, though, we've drifted away from that. The worst offenders are the judicial branch. The party in power selects the judges, and they select them for political reliability and not for sagacity or integrity. After 8 years of Obama, the federal courts are larded with extremist judges who are tools of the Democratic party. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is the Gold Standard of this crowd.

The Democrats can always find a judge who will block any Executive Order the President issues. It was Obama who tried to rule the country with Executive Orders, bypassing the legislative branch. By and large, he got away with it because the Federal Court System, like the media, is a tool of the liberals.

Then there's the fact that the Republican Party is full of political hacks who hate President Trump. Their plan is to make sure he can't deliver on his promises, then hope that he won't run for a second term. Then they can pull strings and arrange one of their own to run for President in four years, exactly as they tried to do this time. Win or lose, it will be "back to business as usual" and that's what they want.  Some of these guys, like Paul Ryan, pretend to support the President but sabotage him at every step.  Others, like McCain and Graham, don't even pretend.

So, the President is trying to shift the nation from the disastrous course the Democrats have held it on for eight years.  He's doing it with no support from the judicial branch, and no support from the legislative branch. He's doing the best he can, but when all is said and done, it's a Herculean task.  I think he'll clean out the Augean Stables, but he won't do it in the first 100 days .

The Deep Forest is not a city park.

I watched a movie yesterday that I just happen to see was playing on the HBO channels. It was based on a true story, which is a shame because it didn't end happily.

In 2005, Jacqueline Perry and Mark Jordan went back packing in the Missinaiba Lake Provincial Park, in Ontario, Canada.

They were not experienced hikers, and had no woodcraft.

They were both in their thirties, and were  trying to hike to a lake Jordan had last visited in his High School days. Jordan told the Park Rangers he didn't need a map.

They took no weapons, no map, no compass, marginal food and water. Jacqueline thought she had her cell phone, but Mark took it out of her pack and left it in the car without telling her. He didn't want to be bothered with calls.

When you were a kid, did your mother read "If you go out in the woods today, you're in for a big surprise" to you? Well, these two got their surprise. They got lost, panicked, wandered blindly through the forest. A bear attacked their camp and ate Mark Jordan while his girlfriend watched. Everything you could possibly do wrong, these folks did.

The woods are not a park. Get far enough out, away from roads and people, and the woods aren't any different than they were when we lived in caves. There may not be dire wolves and saber tooth tigers, but there are plenty of animals who look cuddly in a zoo but a lot different in their natural habitat.

You can get lost really easily in the woods. Everything looks the same. There are generally not a lot of landmarks you can navigate by at ground level.  If you can read a topographic map and use a compass (not just to find north, but to shoot azimuths) you should be ok.  I don't go out in the woods much anymore, but when I did I used a hand held GPS system as a backup.  Never, ever as the primary navigational tool, but as a backup. Granted, the one I had was primitive by today's standards, but I'd stick with the map and compass as primary no matter how nice GPS is. The map and compass won't go down and leave you adrift.

An Independent Film:

The movie "Collapse" is an independent, low budget film.  I don't think there is a single professional actor in it, which I found  to be refreshing. There are not many of the Hollywood crowd I have any interest in seeing, on screen or otherwise.  I ordered this DVD but I think some libraries can get it for you at no cost.

Essentially, it's the story of two brothers, and the people they meet as they try to get from the Pacific Northwest to relatives in Arizona after an economic collapse.  The movie shows common people in a positive light. Because the actors are not professionals, sometimes the acting is sketchy. Sometimes the plot is simplistic. But it's an uplifting show, and I enjoyed it.

If you are one of those folks who always sit behind me in theaters, and pick the movie to pieces as it plays, you probably won't like this one. But if you can take it for what it is, and cut the production a little slack, it's entertaining and you feel better about people in general after watching it.

President Addresses NRA Convention in Atlanta

If you didn't get to see the speech, here it is. It was a good speech. It's been a huge burden off the shoulders of gun owners not to have Barrack Hussein Obama, the liar who promised not to attack gun rights and then did all he could to do so, in office.

I flipped through all three Atlanta affiliates, and all they were showing were the clowns and flakes outside, with their stupid little signs. Everybody the media interviewed was from out of state as far as I could tell.  The "protesters" did a little drama where they all lay down on the grass and pretended to be dead. They said they "represented" people who had been killed by guns. They should go down to Spring Street and do their protests in "de hood". I'm sure they would be well received by "de brudda's"

Thought for the Day:

Money for Vote'n

And furthermore!


  1. It sure would be nice if it were written into law that if the president issues an executive order, the only judicial court that could overturn a ruling would be the supreme court. The lower federal courts are full of ex law school maggot professors.

    Years ago, it took a scare getting lost in the woods for me to wise up to using a compass. I've now got a good quality military one (Cammenga) and it has never let me down. I tried a GPS for a little while, but it broke down on me after a year. It also didn't work in the thick timber. I think too many guys put too much faith in electronic gadgetry anyway. Just give me a topo map and I'll be OK. --Troy

    1. There's been some discussion of breaking up the Ninth Circuit. They actually cover some fairly conservative states adjacent to the Left Coast. Your description of what type of individual sits on the lower federal court benches is apt. Once one of those Moon Bats gets appointed, it's almost impossible to get rid of them until they die.

      I worked at a state park, in the camp office one summer on a "senior work program." We had several trails going off the park into the national forest. Some of them were short loops, but one of them was a real tough one. It went 14 miles up into the forest.

      We would constantly get cell phone calls from dim wits who went out on that trail and managed to get lost. Before you could go out, you had to sign in, tell us who was going, and when you'd be back. We had detailed maps of the trail, which we gave out free. People would decline to take them, because they had GPS. But they didn't have GPS configured for off road trail hikes, once in awhile, and they'd learn the hard way that standing in thick brush with no markings other than just forest, it was not helpful to see that you were in the woods "off road" and that was it.

      People would call and say they were lost. We'd ask them where they thought they were. No idea. We'd ask them what they could see. More often than not, I'm not making this up, they would say something like " I see two big tall trees."

      We'd wind up having to call the County Rescue Squad to go find them. This essentially consists of a bunch of twenty something guys who just like to go out and have something like this to do. They got $15.00 a rescue each, from a grateful county. If they had to haul some grossly obese fat idiot who went out in the woods and then gave out, back on stretcher over miles of trails, they were all for it. I'd have left that kind of individual for bear food, myself.

    2. Well, Harry, I am one of these people with no sense of direction. I even got lost in a subdivision one time. That is one of the reasons I live in small towns.....few roads and they usually go back to main My DH worked for 30 years out in the back country woods of Idaho and he never gets lost...but then he always has a map and compass. He does not trust electronics and still carries a flip phone. I will venture out in the woods with him by my side only; so now you know why I live where I can see 50 miles in all directions. I dearly love the forests, but know my limitations.

    3. Tewshooz, I understand completely. I wish I could go back out and explore the national forest, but when my son moved off I lost interest and now I'm a bit old for that. Your husband sure had a good job. While he was out in the woods I was wearing a coat and tie and saying "yassuh, massah, sho nuff" no matter how inane the instructions from on high.

  2. i always enjoy your web log, harry.
    what seems so clear to me is invisible to so many.
    apparently they watch the 'news' and think they are getting a straight story.
    when it was written, ' all we like sheep are led astray,' it is clear that human nature was always a few bricks shy of a whole load.
    explains why 'progress' never gets very far.
    still praying for the country.
    ever notice how it takes only a few minutes to do damage but hours and days to undo it or to rebuild?
    if God will put His hand of protection over this nation it will still take a long time to fix the boo-boos, not to mention two or three generations will have to be un-brainwashed .

    1. Most people are too busy with the trials of daily life to really care what's happening on the larger scale. Kids, work, money, it all just engulfs a person. The last thing they want is something to worry about that they don't see they can do anything about, so they just tune it out.

  3. Harry, your political views sound disgustingly (to some) like my own! ;-)

  4. trump already accomplished my goal, neal gorsuch to the supreme cort. everything else is gravy, what had obammy done by now? nothing. pelosi and reid were responsible for everything attributed to barry.

    1. Getting Gorsuch into the Supreme Court was a huge accomplishment, not least in that doing so forced the Republicans to take drastic action. They did so, put the Democrats in a small and dark place, and that's a good thing.
      If we ever get a Democratic President and a Democratic House and Senate, it will be a precedent we live to regret. But I hope I am long dead before that happens. Appres Moi, Le Deluge.

  5. The Republicans control most of the levers of government. If they don't get their act together and make life better for the average Joe they will be judged harshly. It's easy to be out of power and an opposition party. Actually running the place takes skills that many lack. It's early yet, and for the good of the nation, I hope they get it together.

    When you've good wood skills, the forest is the safe place. Rather deal with bears than inner city thugs. When I was a kid I used to hunt in a large swamp. It had mineral deposits that messed up compass readings up to 90 degrees. You could walk 50 feet in a straight line and watch the needle wander all over the place. Since then a few logging roads have been put in, so it's easier to bump into one and find your way out.

    Obama was the best thing to happen to the gun industry. Since Trump got in gun sales are way down. Buddy of mine works for a major gun company and they've laid off people in every department.

    1. The last election has shattered the Republican Party, although they don't realize it yet. Here in Georgia, there's so much outrage over the "Never Trump" antics of the Party that the Party machine has broken down. That's why the Republicans had 16 candidates running against 2 Democratic candidates in the 6th District in the special election. Doing so guaranteed a run off that the Democrats might win, instead of an outright Republican win on the first ballot.

      For me, personally, I've been a Republican voter for more than 40 years. But having seen just how corrupt and Tammany Hall they really are, I'm out.

      From now on, I'm not voting for a candidate, I'm voting against him. Doesn't matter to me which party they are from, since both parties are essentially the same. The one who is least in line with my view, that's the one whose opponent gets my vote.

      I was always comfortable in the woods, and I am distinctly uncomfortable in cities. Bears at least are more predictable than "de bruddas."

      Obama was good for the gun industry, but not good for the practice of the 2nd Amendment. I'm glad to see him off making half a million for speeches, and staying out of my life.

    2. I spoke with some of the guys at work and asked if they voted, they didn't and asked me why they should vote? I told them I vote against all taxes and against all incumbents, but that it is a duty to vote. One guy asked about a good politician, I asked him if he knew how to pick up a turd by the clean end.
      Keep posting and I will keep reading.

    3. This last election was a good example of why people should vote. I'd ask the fellows at work if they liked Obama. If they said yes, I'd have said "you are exactly right, no reason to vote at all." ;-)

  6. Hey Harry,


    I gotta check out that 'Collapse' movie.

    'Trump's doing okay as far as I am concerned. Everyone is against him.
    I watched one video from a climate change rally and there were dozen's of people carrying 'red communist' flags and wearing read t-shirts.
    Never thought I would see that in America.

    I still think its beyond hope in the long run. Too many are poisoned through indoctrination in schools etc. This country is on the downhill run and accelerating.

    'At least when I get really old I can watch all the chaos on tv and the internet and laugh and say, I told you so to some of the turkeys I know.

    1. There have been revivals of decaying societies in the past. I think it's possible that can happen here. Having said that, I'm not aware of any historical precedent for a civilization in decline completely arresting the decay and returning to prosperity and security. I've heard it said that human civilization is like a human being. They grow, get strong and vigorous, then age and decline, eventually dying.

      You can do that if the internet and tv are still running. Wouldn't surprise me if they weren't within our lifetimes.

  7. What was that old saying in the military, 'Nothing is more dangerous than a 2nd Lieutenant with a map and compass'? . Back in 1995 I bought one of the first GPS gismos on the market (big as a brick), it was fun when it worked, first time I used it was coming back from the original Cabela's store in Nebraska and it showed me going around the first cloverleaf interchange. Then I took it out into the woods and it seemed off (it was, and I sorta expected it because this was in the days before the .gov turned off the scrambling feature) so I dead reckoned back to the truck, was standing at it's left rear fender and the dang thing showed me a quarter mile away....phooey! On top of that the battery didn't last very long and as near as I can tell, they still don't... score two for the compass! If you're good with a compass you don't need no stinkin' topo map, and by good, I mean Roger's Rangers good. Can't post an image of it but I have a replica of the compass they used back before the Revolutionary War which has just the 16 point of the compass and a mini sundial on it. They traveled 300 miles through the unbroken Eastern forests to conduct a raid, and back. Now, to my way of thinkin' that's some navigating.

    I feel for the folks who go out without much knowledge, but there might be a whole lot more that are too scared to try. Back in the day I used to head up into Rocky Mountain NP by myself (both by preference and lack of friends who were also backpackers), but I would always check in and get my back country permit. The conversation would typically go something like this (I always seemed to get the 'new' person). Me: I'd like a backcountry permit for such and such trail or basin. Newbie: I'm sorry sir, the campsites are full. Me: That's OK, I'll camp offsite. Newbie: You can't do that sir. Me: .....Yes I can. .... Rinse repeat.... Me: May I talk to your supervisor? ....

    Newbie: (to Supervisor), Sir, this man wants to go into the backcountry, but it's full sir...and he's alone!

    Supervisor: Son, you got a stove? Me: Yessir. Supervisor: No fires outside of established campsites, set your camp at least 1/4 mile from the campsites and water. Me: Roj copy. Supervisor: Here's your permit. Me: ::smiles and winks at the Newbie:: and off I'd go.

    On the way up invariably I'd meet day hikers on the way back and at least one, often more would ask where I was headed and wasn't I afraid of walking back in the dark....nope.... I'm staying....wait for it...."You can't do that".....

    Pfft! Snowflakes even then....

    Well, I've taken enough of your time, perhaps if there's interest I'll tell ya the story of the Midnight 'intruder' I saved from falling through the ice and helped him get back to his car the next morning.

    Until then, bring your compass, stay oriented.... draw yer own map (there's a concept I was trained early in) and stay safe.

    1. Have you ever read any of Edward Abbey's books? I think you would like them as he was very much a kindred spirit. two of his best are "Desert Solitare" , and "Beyond the Wall." He has several other excellent books about solitary journeys into the wilderness.

      My first Gps was a handheld Magellan designed for using in the woods. It showed contour lines, direction, and it would let you put in a destination and then keep your track so you could follow it back if need be. I still used my forest service maps and a compass though.I got a better feel for the lay of the land from the map.

      Don't know about you but I am pretty sure that I'm not going on any journeys of exploration at this point. I still have my ancient GPS though.

      Feel free to add the story on to the string.I think that makes the post more interesting.

    2. To answer your question about Edward Abbey's books, no, I haven't had the pleasure but I've added them to my reading list. Growing up, besides the Boy Scout and Explorer handbooks I found a pair of books in the Jr. High library. One was called Camping and the other was Outdoor Lore and they came boxed together I must have checked them out a dozen times. Then there was Townsend Whelen's and Bradford Angier's book 'On Your Own in the Wilderness'. I virtually slept with that one. As for more modern solitary adventures I read Colin Fletcher's 'The Man Who Walked Thru Time' and 'The Thousand Mile Summer'. I'm imagining that Abbey's books are more like Fletcher's. All this modern 'Bushcrafting' reminds me of all the skills we learned as Scouts and which were presented by Camping and Outdoor Lore books and epitomized by Whelen and Angier. For someone who is prepared for modern conveniences to go away, they represent a very good skill set to have. A degree of common sense helps to, which brings me back to the story I mentioned.

    3. On one of my trips to escape the pressure of grad school I headed up into RMNP and going through the now expected routine I hiked back in 5 or 6 miles along a creek with numerous beaver ponds. This was during mid-winter, no human tracks so I knew I was guaranteed the solitude I sought. The hike in was pretty easy and might have been easier if I'd chosen to walk across the beaver ponds, it being the dead of winter and all, but, from other's unfortunate experiences, and we were experiencing a mid-winter thaw, the ice on beaver ponds, even at that altitude, was not to be trusted, so I skirted the ponds til I found a nice big spruce along the way, set up my camp underneath and prepared for a peaceful night in the backcountry. Now, from experience, and remembering the advice of T. Whelen, sleeping on the ground is not like sleeping at home. You will wake up at least once, maybe more than once during the night....just roll over and go back to sleep. Well... somewhere around midnight I wake up and as I lie there waiting for sleep to return, I hear of in the distance a distinct 'Whump! At first I thought, well maybe it's just snow collapsing on itself during the thaw...was pretty warm as I recall. Then I heard it again...closer... and then, a couple of minutes later, Whump! pretty darn close! Well, I'm back under this spruce in the dark and in those days I didn't have any firearms available, and then there was this illegality thingy about carry weapons in the park and all... I was gettin' a little bit nervous at whatever was headed right toward me, but... I couldn't see anything in the starlight. Then I detect the faint swoosh..shoosh...shoosh of what sounded like cross country skis. Naw....nobody would be that ....lacking in common sense.... no way..... yes way. Sure nuff, he comes this guy skiing right up to my camp, and stops right by my tree. I know he can't see me.... What to do, what to do. he's headed right of the trees and I can just tell he's contemplating skiing across those beaver ponds.... I'm, I don't want to go have to pull him out of the water and I don't want to scare him ....but that's the better choice so I just speak up: Hi, you lost? You might imagine that he was a little bit, how shall I put it, startled and once he got calmed down he began to relate his story. He'd been skiing over in the next basin, decided to go off his plan and cross over the ridge and back down to his car some 10 or 15 miles away....but there was this cliff, see...that he didn't and he ended up landing upside down in a pine about 30 feet off the ground and it apparently took 5 or 6 hours for him to get himself down out of the tree. He was worried that his wife would be very worried as he was suppose to have been home that night. After some discussion of discretion being the better part of valor I convinced him to hunker down right there and as he hadn't had much to eat in a while I offered to fix him what I had and wait til daylight to negotiate the rest of the valley. I swear he still wanted to book it across those beaver ponds, until I chucked a rock out there and it broke through...wasn't a big rock, neither. I guess for some folks, seein's believin'

    4. How many times I have heard some variation of what that guy did. It's as if perfectly normal, intelligent people completely lose their minds when they get out away from the swarms of people, the traffic, and the lights. Most of the time, the tale doesn't end on a positive note like this one.

      People disappear on the Appalachian Trail every year. I'm convinced that most of them made an error in judgement that turned out to be fatal. Leaving the main course of the trail is probably one of the worst, "taking a short cut".

      I forget which of his books it is, but Cody Lundin starts the preface of the book with a similar story. In that case, the guy went out of a day hike and was found a long time later at the foot of a cliff.

      It's good you were able to help the guy out. It seems to me if he hadn't stumbled across you he'd be another "disappearance in the mountains" story.

    5. Abbey is a strange character, or was, as he's dead now. I found one of his books by accident, read it, and was hooked. He apparently published a lot of novels, none of which I've read at this point. But his "journals" are fascinating, and I've always loved the South West. I've read "Desert Solitaire" and "Outside the Walls" so far, plus a collection of essays he wrote about traveling down rivers in rafts and river boats. They were all really entertaining.

      He died relatively young, of a throat ailment. In accordance with his wishes, his friends spirited him out into the desert and buried him in a secret place. The man had style.

  8. The Executive Branch is not to "provide leadership". The job of the president is to carry out the laws as passed by Congress. Nothing else. He is not our leader, he is our employee.

    The men at Philadelphia in 1787 gave us a dictatorship when they enacted the coup that put the current constitution in place. Patrick Henry was right. We should have stuck with the Articles of Confederation. We might still be a free nation instead of this empire of slaves.

    1. I disagree completely. I would point out that the last eight years has been a Stirling example of what happens when a President does not provide leadership. If the President does not lead the country, who will?

  9. G'day there Harry,

    I have never been that good at compass & map navigation, I usually keep to established tracks if going bush and only for a day trip, my days of a blanket roll on the hard dirt are now over!

    Glad I don't have to worry about bears down here!! Mind you we do have plenty of over critters that can do you in but apart from a croc (up north) or a feral boar (known as a razorback) nothing that will eat you alive.

    Thought you might be interested, today (1 May ) is the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea when American & Australian naval units & aircraft caused the Japanese invasion fleet headed for Port Morseby, Papua New Guinea to turn back, big celebrations being held throughout the country. This was the first time a Japanese invasion had failed in WW2.

    Sgt 73rd Regt

    1. As long as a person can get where they want to go with a vehicle, it's usually not a problem to navigate. But we have areas here, called "wilderness areas" that are totally unimproved, meaning no real roads and no road signs. There are tracks out there you can use a vehicle on, but it's easy to get disoriented. I'm sure Australia, with it's vast tracts of unihabited land, is the same. Every year, we have people go out into our deserts using auto GPS systems, try to use roads GPS says are there, that aren't, and that' the end of them. Your method is probably the best for that kind of terrain, we used to call it "land navigation", and it was a mix of compass and map, eyeballing the area, and good guesswork. I expect GPS has largely eradicated that skill now , at least in the U.S.

      I am familiar with the battle of the Coral Sea, largely from a book by a guy named Edwin Hoyt who wrote "Japans' Pacific War." I doubt anybody here even remembers it, glad that at least in Australia it hasn't been forgotten.

      Midway tends to be the Naval Battle most Americans remember, if they remember anything at all about the Pacific War.

      Hope everything is going well there and work isn't too much of a drag. Nothing going on here. Rain and wind all day, we aren't planning on going out at all.

  10. Yes, keeping oriented in the mountains without a compass is a chore. You can see landmarks when you are high, but lose them when you are low and the slopes of hillsides that go around really disorient you. Also very frustrating in heavy brush when your farthest view ahead is measured in feet and you have to go around the stuff - getting back on track is tough if you don't use a compass and record your zig-zig travel.

    1. You have clearly spent some time in the mountains, because that's an accurate synopsis of the difficulties in doing land navigation here if ever I heard one.

  11. weather men and judges, only folks that can get it wrong all the time and keep their jobs.

  12. I just wish the government would figure something out for healthcare. It seems like they dips their toes in the water with it. The water was too cold, so they pulled their toes back out. We have our own, then our employers help out. Travis and I work at too small of companies to have it. From the looks of it we're screwed.

  13. That was a good recommendation on Backcountry. When you leave civilization behind there is a high risk that you become part of the food chain, moreso if you go unprepared.

  14. Aaron, I am constantly amazed at the things some people will do. I hear things on my scanner I just have to shake my head at.

    Some years back, a bunch of tourists from Atlanta drove up to the top of one of our mountains to an overlook. The road had been closed because snow was coming. They just drove around the sign. Then when they got up there, it snowed like Hades and they couldn't get back down. So they called on their little cell phones and asked the Forest Service to come get them. It's a dangerous road coming down from that place when it's dry. With snow on the road, it would have been hair raising. The Foristas went up there and got them. I'd have let them freeze to death, we don't need individuals like that in the gene pool. Those two people the movie was about, just didn't have a clue. It's hard to blame the woman, because the guy apparently represented himself to her as a latter day Davy Crockett and she trusted him to take care of her. But in reality, he was hopeless in the forest. He paid the price for it, though.

  15. Yes it made for some good drama.

    It was very loosely based on a real event in Missinaibi Lake Provincial Park, - a bear attacked a husband and wife who weren't clueless like those in the film but it still turned out badly. The husband actually had the guts to fight the bear off that was attacking his wife with his bare hands and all of a Swiss army knife. Sadly his wife didn't make it. Real story is here:

    1. I think I saw a segment on Discovery Channel about that. Maybe they changed things around so they wouldn't have to pay the husband anything to use the story.