The Wreck of the Katata

The wreck of the Katata, near the north side of the mouth of the Klamath River.  When it happened, is not known.

The dugout lashed to deck of the boat is a ‘lagoon dugout’ in contrast to the round-bottomed river canoes. Both the ‘lagoon’ and ‘ocean’ dugout had a lower prow and higher sides and more keel than a ‘river’ dugout.

The photographer is thought to be a Mr. Field, manager of the Klamath River Packing and Trading Company. The man in the picture has never been identified.

Liberal Professor Warns Congress about Obama’s Executive Over-reach

Jonathan Turley, professor of public interest law at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., warned Congress during a hearing Wednesday that America has reached a “constitutional tipping point” under the watch of President Barack Obama.

Here’s the conclusion to his statement before the Judicial Committee:

“The subject of this hearing is fraught with passions and politics. I do not wish to add to the hyperbolic rhetoric surrounding the current controversies. To be clear, I do not view President Obama as a dictator, but I do view him as a danger in his aggregation of executive power. It is not his motives but his means that I question. It is the danger described by Louis Brandeis in his dissent in Olmstead v. United States, where he warned that the “greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.”

It is my sincere hope that both parties will join in fulfilling their sworn duty to this branch and to the Constitution in putting aside petty or political differences to restore balance to our system. While this may be an exercise of hope over experience of a constitutional scholar, I know from personal experience that there are many constitutionalists on both sides of the aisle. Through the years, I have had many exchanges with Republican and Democratic members who reflected their deep understanding and love for our system. That common article of faith between members once transcended politics and I believe it can do so again. While strong institutional voices like that of Senator Harry Byrd (sic) [Reid] and others are now silent, I am hoping that new voices will be heard in these chambers. What is required is for members to recognize that there is a horizon for this country that extends beyond the term of the current president.

The only thing that joins us is our common faith in a system that has weathered wars, depression, and civil unrest. The current passivity of Congress represents a crisis of faith for members willing to see a president assume legislative powers in exchange for insular policy gains. The short-term, insular victories achieved by this President will come at a prohibitive cost if the current imbalance is not corrected. Constitutional authority is easy to lose in the transient shifts of politics. It is far more difficult to regain. If a passion for the Constitution does not motivate members, perhaps a sense of self-preservation will be enough to unify members. President Obama will not be our last president. However, these acquired powers will be passed to his successors. When that occurs, members may loathe the day that they remained silent as the power of government shifted so radically to the Chief Executive. The powerful personality that engendered this loyalty will be gone, but the powers will remain.

We are now at the constitutional tipping point for our system. If balance is to be reestablished, it must begin before this President leaves office and that will likely require every possible means to reassert legislative authority. No one in our system can “go it alone” — not Congress, not the courts, and not the President. We are stuck with each other in a system of shared powers — for better or worse. We may deadlock or even despise each other. The Framers clearly foresaw such periods. They lived in such a period. Whatever problems we are facing today in politics, they are problems of our own making. They should not be used to take from future generations a system that has safeguarded our freedoms for over 250 years.”

It appears both the House and Senate are okay with becoming obsolete along with the U.S. Constitution, the rule of law and our civil liberties and I fear the day streets across the U.S. begin looking like Kiev’s Independence Square.

Journalistic Selectivism

In August 2006, Fred Brown, columnist and retired Capitol bureau chief of the ‘Denver Post’ was the co-chairman of the ‘Society of Professional Journalists’ Ethics Committee.’ Supposedly, Brown was instrumental in shaping the group’s “Code of Ethics” which has become the industry standard.

I say ‘supposedly,’ because I have not researched this statement — and I don’t intend to.

“What you describe is clearly an unethical practice,” said Brown about my personal blog, which was hammered by a University of Nevada, Reno journalism panel because I wrote about many of the subjects I reported on while working at the Sparks Tribune.

Their main concern was the fact that I published on my personal blog, a Republican candidate’s letter of complaint sent to the paper’s editor and publisher, saying I was being unfair to him because his Democratic opponent was always quoted in my stories on their race. I took the GOP candidate to task over his inability to return my calls by the deadline set by the paper.

Somehow, all that got skipped as the trashing literally continued to make headlines around the world, including the UK, Germany and Denmark. Enough about that – what I really want to point-out is how selective the national media has become.

Case in point, on one hand our national media is pounding Uganda because it has outlawed homosexuality, making it a crime punishable by life in prison.  However, the same media decidedly ignored comments made by a Russian soap opera star who says ‘homosexuals should be burnt alive in ovens (sound like the holocaust to me,) nor do they report how homosexuals are treated in Muslim countries, where they may executed via stoning, hanging, or beheading, based on sexual-preferences.

And as this continues, the same media refuses to report on how the ‘Coalition of African-American Pastors’ are calling for the impeachment of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The preachers say Holder has violated his oath of office by trying “to coerce states to fall in line with the same-sex ‘marriage’ agenda.”

You certainly don’t see Brown and his ilk or a UNR panel condemning the national media for its ‘double-standard,’ when it comes to telling the entire news story – and you never will.

Tolerating that Which is Intolerable

What in the hell is wrong with our society? One side tolerating that which the other side would not tolerate — that’s what’s wrong!

This is what came up on one of my television channels: “Paid programming. Black Shopping Channel is an urban television shopping channel that sells the innovative products of small business owners across America.”

If it read ‘White Shopping Channel…,” it would be considered racist. Instead because I am pointing this out – I’ll be the one labeled ‘racist.’

Sadly, society is turning itself inside out.

It’s Only Your Civil Liberty Disappearing

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances,” reads the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Despite this, the Obama Administration plans on putting monitors in the newsrooms of local media outlets throughout the nation. If this happens, it could mean the end of free speech and freedom of the press for Americans.

Selected are eight categories of “critical information” such as the “environment” and “economic opportunities,” that it believes local newscasters should cover.  Station managers, news directors, journalists, television anchors and on-air reporters will have to tell the government about their “news philosophy” and how the station ensures that the community gets critical information.

Among the questions the Federal Communications Commission could be asking journalists: “Have you ever suggested coverage of what you consider a story with critical information for your [viewers, listeners or readers] that was rejected by management?” And “What was the reason given for the decision?”

Called the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” the FCC has a field test in Columbia, S.C., scheduled to begin this spring. Participation is voluntary, but remember, radio and TV stations would be out of business without a FCC license, which has to be renewed every eight years.

Meanwhile the ‘2014 World Press Freedom Index,’ puts the U.S. at 46, right behind Romania and down from last years ranking of 32.  Is it any wonder?

The Gods of the Lost

The pack felt heavy as I trudged along the narrow game trail. I had selected this path because the local elk population had used it for generations.

Now it was my escape to solitude.

A few years back I had accidentally discovered the elk trail while hiking and exploring after school. Howland Hill had always been a place for escaping the hustle of Crescent City.

Yet this was more than merely escaping the city below me. I was trying to escape from my shame.

“Cripes, I need to rest a minute,” I complained.

But I did not sit down or even stop. Instead, I pushed forward, climbing higher into the Redwood National Forest.

The sound of Mill Creek was slowly fading with every step. On my back I carried everything I would need for the next few weeks.

I reflected back on my last conversation with Dad, “I need to just disappear.”

Dad responded by asking, “What good would that do?”

I didn’t have an answer.

All I knew was that I needed to get away from everyone. And packing up and setting out on a long hike seemed to be the only answer.

The idea of leaving civilization had occurred to me in January. It was now late March. The heavy wet weather was still in the air but it would soon clear in time for spring.

“Six weeks isn’t anything,” I told my brother.

Adam jus’ scoffed at the idea. It wasn’t that Adam didn’t believe I could do it; it jus’ appeared as a strange idea.

Soon the game trail disappeared, ending at the top of a ridge. I turned around and looked at where I had just come from.

The sound of the highway was gone. So were the tumbling and rushing waters of Mill Creek.

I pulled the compass out of my shirt pocket.

The ridge ran roughly north and east. I decided to follow it for a while just to see where it would lead.

Down deeper into the forest I walked. When the sun was high, I stopped.

Pulling the backpack from my sweat soaked back, I laid it on the ground.

The sounds of the forest were everywhere. There was no quiet.

The trees were very much alive and making sound. The wind blew through them causing them to gently sway.

As the sound of the swaying came to my ears, I closed my eyes and jus’ listened. Soon I found myself thinking about the last year.

It had been rough for me. I had been mustered from the service; my parents were in the middle of a bitter divorce; and I had difficulty finding a job and an even harder time trying to keep one.

And jus’ last year my youngest sister, Marcy had been run down as she walked from the Woodland Villa Market to their home on Redwood Drive. She was in a wheel chair and no longer talking to me.

Then there was the arrest for stealing. It was made worse by the fact I had worked as a deputy reservist at the time.

Finally my girlfriend told me to move out.

The heaviness in my heart caused me to open my eyes and sit up.

“I’m trying to get away from all that!” I nearly screamed.

I reached over and picked at the top string holding the flap down on my backpack. Out of it I pulled two pieces of store-bought beef jerky.

“It’ll have to do until night fall,” I sighed.

Suddenly I felt naked as I reached for my pocket watch. It was not in its usual place by intention, because I had decided to leave it behind and learn to follow the seasons.

It was time to get back on trail and continued to hike deeper into the woods. My ears and eyes were ever alert for the presents of other people.

Periodically I would come across a strip of orange or blue plastic, evidence that men had once walked the same path. But I wanted to go where no one had been before or at least where there was no sign of a man having been.

“Jus’ think how many no ones are out in that big old world,” Grandpa had once said.

But he was gone now too. The thought had sent a stab of loneliness into my chest.

In the distance I could hear the breaking of water over stone. It sounded small at first but grew louder as I drew closer.

Down the hill from the trial, about 50-feet, ran a small creek, which emptied on large pond.

“Probably an off-shoot from the Smith or something,” I thought. “This is where I’ll set up camp for tonight.”.

I planned to walk further the following day.

A mosquito whined in my right ear and I slapped at it irritably. The sudden movement caused my over-sized and unbalanced pack to shift, throwing me from slope.

Falling, I hit on my right shoulder with a tooth-rattling thud, and began to tumble. I grabbed at the ground with no success, then at a bush, which came out by its shallow roots.

My foot struck something, right leg bent at a painful angle, and I was suddenly airborne, the world revolving as I did an unplanned somersault. I came down on my back and slid that way, legs spread, arms waving.

My shirt pulled up to my shoulder blades; sharp pieces of half-buried rock tore snatches of skin from between them. I tried to brake with her feet.

My left one struck a jutting outcrop and turned me to the right. That put me into a roll-first onto my stomach and then onto my back and then onto her stomach again, the pack digging into me, then pitching upward each time I went over.

The sky was down, the hateful slope was up, and then they swapped places. I went the final ten yards on my left side with my arm stretched out and face buried against the fold of my elbow.

Then I thumped against something hard enough to bruise my ribs on that side and before I could even look up from my arm, a needle of pain drove into my face jus’ above the left cheekbone. I grunted in pain and jerked to my knees, slapping.

There was something caught between my palm and cheek; a wasp, I realized, as it stung me again. Then I saw them all around me: buzzing like electric HO train motors, yellow and black, and tail section weighted down with poison.

It was a dead tree that I had slammed into, standing at the foot of the slope about twenty feet from the stream. In the dead tree’s lowest fork, was the gray paper nest. Agitated wasps were crawling all over it; more were flying out of a hole in the bottom.

Pain needled the right side of my neck. Another sting lit up my right arm above the elbow.

Something stung the back of my neck; the small of my back, above the waistband of my bluejeans, where my shirt was still pulled up. I ran in the direction of the stream without any thought.

Jumping in the water, I laid down in the stream to escape. I held my breath for as long as I could before I sat up.

When I did, the wasps were gone, but they had done plenty of damage before I had managed to outrun them. Once out of the water, and moving slow and careful, I examined myself, finding at least half a dozen stings.

My back felt scraped up and my left arm, which had absorbed most of the damage during the final part of my fall, was  skinned up from wrist to elbow. The side of my face where the stump of branch had poked her was bleeding, too.

I dipped my cupped hands into the water and washed my face.

Looking at the stream, I noticed how muddy the banks were above the water. I dropped to one knee, wincing as the waist of my jeans chafed against the wasp-stings above the hip, and took up a dab of the brown-gray mud.

Dipping up more, I wet my neck and soaked my arms to the elbow. Then I scooped up mud and began to apply it-not only on the stings but all over, from my shirt collar right to the roots of my hair, finishing with a couple of careful dabs to the eyelids.

It was blessedly cool, and the itchy pain diminished almost at once. Working carefully, I dabbed it on as many of the stings as I could reach, including the one which had puffed up beside my eye.

The stream sounded pleasant as I unrolled my sleeping bag. Again I sat there and listened at the sounds redwood forest offered me.

Then I thought about the distance I might have walked today. I couldn’t judge it. I didn’t want to. All that concerned me was my stings, scraps, cuts and the still forming bruises.

The sun was filtering through the trees as it journeyed westward. Soon it would turn dark and I realized for the first time I was truly alone.

The thought frightened me for a few minutes. Then I pushed it away.

The pond was gentle yet fairly deep. It had a two-foot waterfall cascading over into. The water was clear and the fish could be seen.

In need of drinking water,  it was from this pond I decided to get it. But first I had to “purify” it and since I didn’t want to build a fire, I decided to build a water filter.

Breaking off four fairly strong branches from the surrounding Alder trees, I tied them together at the top. Next I attached a red bandanna to the four sticks.

Under that bandanna I attached a second one. This was followed by a third bandanna.

Setting the contraption on level earth, I placed my enamel coffee pot underneath it. Finally I dipped my coffee tin into the pond and poured its content into the first bandanna, which dripped into the second bandanna, which dripped into the third.

I repeated this until I had filled the coffee pot with water. Finally I pulled a sack of trail mix out of my backpack and ate a few bits while lying on top of the sleeping bag.

The little clearing was soon filled with moonlight, strong enough to cast a firm shadow beside me and put ash-bright sparkles on the water of the little stream. Overhead in the black were a zillion stars, which paled a bit when the moon rose.

“The moon’s so bright it must’ve embarrassed all but the brightest stars into invisibility,” I said and then something about it, or about looking at it from where I was, made me feel my loneliness and failure.

The feeling didn’t last long as white fire scratched the sky when one of the stars fell. The streak ran halfway across the black and then winked out.

Then there was another, and then another, going in a different direction. Not just a meteor but a meteor shower.

The sky lit up in a silent storm of bright contrails. Most were momentary white flashes, thin and straight and gone so quickly that they would have seemed like hallucinations if there hadn’t been so many of them.

A few, however lit up the sky like silent fireworks, brilliant stripes that seemed to burn orange at the edges. Then at last the shower began to wane.

When I next awakened the sun had gone down and I felt chilled. So I climbed into the bag and returned to sleep.

Come morning, I bent over the stream to splash my throbbing face, saw my reflection, and moaned. The wasp-sting above my cheekbone had swelled some more, bursting through the mud I had smeared on it like a newly awakened volcano bursting through the old caked lava of its last eruption.

It had mashed my eye out of shape, making it all crooked and freakish, the sort of eye that made you glance away if you saw it floating toward you and usually in the face of a mentally retarded person on the street. After applying more mud, looked down into a pooling area of the stream, I saw the dace a minstrel-show performer, a dark pasty gray face, eyes and lips white.

Speaking to that face in the water, I quoted from one of my favorite childhood stories, “Then Little Black Sambo said, ‘Please, tigers, do not take my fine new clothes.’ ”

The following week I was continually on the move. I had long since put the compass in the bottom of my backpack.

“If God can work for six days, then rest, I can walk for six days, then set up a base camp,” I’d concluded.

That following evening I found myself standing by a slight stream on a grassy bank. Sunlight fell onto the bank in bright yellow bars as three butterflies, two white and a third velvety-dark, brown or maybe black, played, dipping and swooping.

“This is the place,” I said, as I pulled the harness buckle on my backpack, letting the backpack slowly drop to the ground.

The next few hours of daylight were spent exploring my new home. I chose to go up-stream to see what was there.

Moving deeper into the woods, I came to a broken maze of long-dead trees and I realized I was entering some kind of ghost-woods, the site of some a long-ago fire. The ground in which they stood was swampy and wet and rising from the flat pools of standing water were patches of earth covered in grass and swatches of weeds.

On the far side there appeared a low gap in the treeline. I wanted to know more about this area so I decided to cross the marsh, following the outside line of the water.

At one point, I step down onto what I thought was solid ground, only to have my sneaker disappear into a deceptive crust of moss over a soupy pocket of mud. The viscous substance was too thick to be water and too thin to be mud.

Struggling to hold my balance, I got a knee under me and yanked my foot back. It came free with a loud sucking plop, but my sneaker stayed down there someplace.

Now on both knees, I plunged my arm into the water-welling hole which had temporarily swallowed my foot. I felt around in the cold murk, fingers tearing through membranes of roots or dodging between those too thick to tear.

Something that felt alive pressed briefly against my palm, and then was gone. A moment later my hand closed over my sneaker and I pulled it out.

Taking my other shoe off, I knotted the laces of both sneakers together, then hung them around my neck like cuckoo-clock pendulums. I removed my socks, rolled up the cuffs of my jeans up and continued walking.

With branches and roots hidden beneath the surface, I tripped, sprawling full-length, getting a mouthful of gritty, silty water. I saw my hands in that brackish water and they looked yellowish and tallowy, like things long drowned.

Finally, after crossing the marsh, I stopped, put on my socks, then slipped my sneakers on.

Half-an-hour or so later, I found an old logging road. I concluded that it had to be at least 50 years old, judging by the fact, that though it was deeply rutted, it was no more than a trail slicing through the forest.

Following the road, I was about two-hours into it, when I saw what was left of an ancient truck, rearing out of the matted undergrowth. The cab was dark red with rust, tilted to one side with the wing of the vehicle’s rusted hood was flung up, and I could see there was no engine inside; ferns grew where it had been.

Pulling back the growth that covered the partially open driver’s side door, I found the inscription of a name I knew well from childhood: MacBeth Logging. I suddenly understood that I was above the Trees of Mystery and nearly to the grove of Redwoods I played in as a kid.

Elated at my discovery, I returned retraced my steps to where I had left my backpack and began to explore the place I’d selected to be my base-camp. It turned out that the ribbon of water was a run off point for a larger pool of water, in a flat area that opened up from the congestion of forest that tangled and intertwined itself with the path of the stream.

The area grew into a marshland. It was a wetland of green vegetation and deep brown earth. The pond was quiet and still on top.

“Like glass,” I reflected.

In its center rose a lump of dirt. It looked much like a deserted island with one single tree near the water’s edge.

“That’s the perfect spot for shelter,” I realized.

I set about collecting small pieces of dead-fall and laying them in a stack. Soon I  had enough small logs that I could easily build two lean too huts.

“Now to get over there,” I commented as I reached down and picked up a sturdy pole.

I walked to the marsh edge, looked out at the island, then sat down and pulled off my boots. The soles were wearing down and the heels tilted hard to the inside.

I set them aside along with my jeans and shirt, removed my long handles and folded them up and laid them next to my other clothes.

Feeling shy, I stood up, naked in the late afternoon sunlight. Civilization had taught me that I should hide my body, but nature demanded to uncover it.

I waded out into the stillness of the water.

The cold of the water sent a shutter through my body. I gasped for breath as the little lake rose to my stomach.

Probing ahead with a stick, I reached out and gently pressed the blunt end into the spongy softness of the pond’s bed. I could feel it envelop the pole and suck it in. The earth was soft as I stepped into it and it pressed itself up between my bare toes.

Then the land started to slope up ever sharper until I found myself standing on the mass of isolated soil.

“No higher than my rib cage,” I learned.

I decided to float the dead fall across piece by piece.

The work was difficult and time-consuming. It was dark by the time I placed the first log as I wanted.

I had floated eight of the longest logs I could find and laid them side-by-side. I used the longest of these as a guide as I rasped my way through the others with a Sierra Saw.

I then collected dead fall-logs of half the length of those I had already chosen. These I cut down to equal lengths and laid them out before me.

The hatchet rang as it cut into the wood. I was chopping out saddle notches to fit the logs together.

“Dead fall maybe ‘dead’,” I concluded, “but it sure is tough.”

I laid the first log down and noticed that the ground was uneven. I needed to dig out an area to allow the log to lay flat. Soon the second one followed.

The sun had set before I finished. I had positioned four logs, stacked on top of each other, creating a miniature log cabin of about two feet high. There were four walls and the start of a vaulted roof.

With that I covered the frame in some canvas I had brought with me. I had a home now.

That night I pulled from my back pack the matches and striker. I would have my first fire in seven days of travel.

I wondered as I sat staring into the flicker of flame, if anyone missed me. I finally admitted to myself that I was home sick.

I sat quietly leaning against a lone alder and gazed into the fire until it was down to glowing embers. I banked the fire to save the embers, ate the last of my trail mix and the black berries I had found, looked over my blistered and swollen hands, climber into my sleeping bag under my little cabin and fell into an exhausted sleep.

Weeks passed and I thought less and less of my old way of living.

“The creature comforts,” I had called them.

Instead I spent my days trapping food and gathering nuts and berries.

I knew I was not alone as I had seen the paw prints in the mud several times. Whatever it was, it might be hunting the abundant frogs like I was.

It could also be curious about me. Bears were like that and I remained alert.

The little cabin was growing stronger with each day. The logs were chinked with mud to make them more resistant to the wind at night.

I had placed dirt against the outside logs to reinforce them. Sod from a patch of tall grasses down stream was cut and laid over in place of the canvas. It made the cabin waterproof and the rain that occasionally fell caused the roots to bind together creating a greater strength.

The fish catch worked well too. There were small trout in the pond.

I pushed several small branches into the stream’s bed forming a box shape with an opening. The opening pushed back into the box much like a letter “V.”

The fish could swim in, but couldn’t find their way out. This was strategically placed in the center of the stream as the pond emptied out into it.

Catching the fish in the trap was the easy part. Getting them from the trap to the fire required skill.

I tried all sorts of tricks. I poked at them with sharp sticks. I tried to stab them with my knife. I even tried grabbing the slippery things with my bare hands.

Finally in frustration I grabbed a small log and wielding it as a club, beat three trout into submission. While dinner did not look elegant that night it was tastier than the tubers and frog legs of the previous nighttime fare.

Nothing was left to go to waste. Even the skin and bones of the fish were to put to use.

Nightly, I would go to the water’s edge and bait another set of stick traps. I had five of them in different places along the island.

I would wade out to them and drop the scrapes into the traps. And each morning I would return and discover two or three crawdads in those traps. There were usually enough for breakfast along with a strong tin cup of ‘alder leave’ tea.

Twice, I had killed a rabbit with a deadfall trap I had set. It was a simple but brutal device that would knock an unsuspecting animal in the head, killing it.

I would balance a heavy log on the end of a wedge pole. Then farther back from the wedge pole I would place a single-stick in the ground.

On top of that I would lay another stick. On the piece of wood that was lying on its side would be another piece of wood balanced on end.

The trick I soon realize was the center of balance in the dead fall. I would lay a fresh tuber or some other vegetable on the stick laying on it side and wait.

Most of the time I would return to find the trap still set and the bait gone. A simple examination revealed how I could get better results, and soon I was successful.

“Should have put a hole in the bait stick sooner,” I thought as he picked up my third and then fourth rabbit.

I examined the bait where I pushed it through the hole.

“Hardly a nibble on it,” as I observed as I bit into the wild water crests.

Around the evening campfire I worked at making a hunting arrow. I had no obsidian so I ‘improvised’ as my survival instructor would have said, by fashioning it out of wood.

I whittled it down to shape then worked in some notched to create barbs. Then I set it on a stone near the fire as I worked on straightening the shaft of a future arrow.

As I heated the length of stick and bent it into shape, I chewed on a slender string of deer hide from a recent cougar kill. I had managed to carve off a hind quarter of the deer without seeing the large cat.

“That had to be at least three miles from here,” I thought as I gently worked the leather onto the ends of the small game bow.

With a few feathers robbed from a blue jays nest and pitch collected from the skin of a pine tree, I worked on affixing the feathers to the end of the arrow shaft. Then I worked the wooden arrow tip into place and touched the runny pitch to it.

Each night I worked at making arrowheads of wood and shafts with feathers for flight. During the day I practiced until I could hit a moving quail as it scurried away, but before it could break for flight.

With my ‘skin of civilization’ stripped and living bare, I turned red, then bronze. My body also went from soft to hard.

I wore a breech clout; hand hewn moccasins of rabbit skin and around my neck hung my Bowie-knife. It was drape there on the end of a wide leather band.

I always carried it with me along with thick walking stick. I had carved it and decorated it with wet leather so that it would harden around the staff.

My beard had also grown out and matted with debris every day as was my hair. And every night I bathed in the pond. I learned to groom myself using a single twig from a tree picking the leaves and small pieces of crap from my facial hair.

Everyday was spent exploring for and gathering food, which sapped much of my energy. The air had grown hot and the breeze did not come as often as it had.

This made me feel lazy. Even the animals appeared to grow lazy.

They would sit and sleep during the hottest part of the day then come out in the evening. I started doing the same thing.

The coolness of the evening brought with it a new scent in the air. I could not identify it.

I sat and listened for along time, carefully searching for movement or shapes that did not belong. I did not travel far from his island.

Something was out there, but what. I didn’t know.

Late one night, long after the evening fire had been banked and I had curled myself into my sleeping bag, I heard a piercing scream. The sound frightened me, causing me to pull my knife from its sheath. While, it sounded like a woman screaming from terror in the night, I knew better; it was a cougar.

The next morning I discovered the tracks it had left. I spread my hand with held fingers wide and failed to cover the track. It was large.

“Wish I had paid attention to the tracks at that deer it killed,” I muttered.

The mountain lion had walked around the entire edge of the little lake. A chill ran up my spine and I shivered.

It was then that I turned and looked over my right shoulder, where my eyes met with the cougars. It was stalking me and had I not looked back, I would have never known it was there.

The cat emitted a low growl that turned my stomach. I gripped my walking stick in my left hand and came up yelling. The lion sprang backward as I pulled the bowie-knife from around my neck.

We moved in a slow circle to the right, the mountain lion alone waiting for the attack, for the cat had no fear of me. Once I realized this, I resolved to disregard my fear.

I was now as much a part of this forest as the cat was, so sprang at the lion. It reared back showing its fangs with a startling hiss. The animal swiped at the air menacingly and backed away.

I moved against the cat again. And again the cat reared back and displayed its teeth. And again I feinted an attacked towards the cat.

This time I was close enough with my right hand to strike a cutting blow with the knife. The mountain lion screamed in pain and backed way off.

The cat circled a little to my left and crouched down low.

I remembered as a boy watching the family’s house cat. We kids would tease it with a string and it would give chase, and jus’ before it would spring it would lock its gaze on the object and then the tail would twitch at the end.

I searched for the lion’s tail. I kept an eye on its black tip as I slowly sheathed my knife.

It started to twitch wildly as I placed both hands on my walking stick. I held it over my shoulder like a baseball player at bat.

The mountain lion leaped at me.

I swung the stick turned club jus’ as the cat started down. The blow landed right on the lion’s head.

It spun out of the air and lay on its side momentarily. The walking stick shattered upon impact.

I immediately drew my knife, expecting the cat to get up and launch at me again.

The cat rose slowly and turned towards me. It growled a deep menacing throaty growl then turned and ran into the woods.

My instinct had grown strong I learned at that moment as I sensed something behind me.

I turned, expecting the cat to be there, ambushing me from behind. Instead I came to look up into the face of a large bear as it stood looking down on this puny man.

I raised the gleaming blade above my head and scream wildly at the bear. The bear raised his left paw up and wildly raked the air, then dropped and turned to disappear into the woods as well.

Shaking and fearing another attack by the mountain lion or a threat from the bear, I retreated to the island. I stayed there without food or sleep for two days and nights.

The night sounds returned to their regular voice. The days remained hot and stagnant. Gone was the strange odor of the mountain lion. Nor did I see the bear.

Still I remained hole up on the island. The night of the second day, I finally fell asleep, exhausted.

As I slept, I dreamed about the fight with the cat. I thrashed about in my sleeping bag until I had once again beaten the animal by cutting it.

Then I turned and came to face with the bear. I screamed and raised my knife forcefully into the air.

This time though the bear didn’t leave after pawing the sky. Instead he spoke, “Man, it is time for you to leave and go back with your kind.”

“I don’t want to leave,” I protested.

The bear shook his head, “Your pain is gone now. It is time to go home.”

The bear turned, and walking upright, disappeared into the woods. I jerked awake and lay there in the darkness, listening to the night-time sounds. I realized I was dreaming.

It was the first dream I’d had while in the forest. I smiled as I rolled over and fell back to sleep.

The next morning I awoke refreshed.

I went down to the fish trap and beat the five fish it held. I took them to the island and cleaned them and started drying them by the fire I had built. I collected all the crawdads I could, then tore down all the traps.

I boiled the crawdads and left them to cool as I wondered along the edge of the pond gathering black berries and other wild edibles. I returned with my gathering to the island.

Slowly and methodically I packed my belongings together and stuffed them into my backpack, along with my sleeping bag and what food I had gathered.

I collected the broken pieces of my walking stick together and placed them in the fire.

As they burned and the sun rose I chopped smooth a block of wood. took my knife and carved my name and the year into the logs face and placed it in the center of the little cabins floor.

“Never thought ten by five foot hovel could be a home,” I spoke aloud.

I sat down and leaned back against the lone alder on the island. I slowly worked on a piece of jerked rabbit and reflected back on my uninvited stay in the wilderness.

It had been a good stay and ‘Brother Bear’ was right, it was time to go. I laughed at myself because I realized that I actually regarded the bear as having spoken to me for real.

Yet, I knew it was more than a mere dream for the bear had come to me.

With a few croaks of a frog somewhere out on the pond I was on my way towards civilization. I was still clad in my breechclout a week later when I came to the bridge that crossed Mill Creek.

But this time, I was no longer a man wanting to be alone.

The Lions of Sigma Alpha Epsilon

NevadaReno

For years the Kern County jail was known for its two large terra-cotta lions that sat on either side of the front entrance. The lions remained in that spot for 47 years until the jail had to be updated in 1952, following a massive earthquake that year.

With the razing of the building, the lions vanished, as well. The lions were eventually recovered some 10-years later, put up for auction and sold for $175 to a fraternity house near the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno.

On way to their new home in Northern Nevada, the lions were damaged and had to be repaired before being put on display. Since then, they’ve been spray-painted, had their teeth chipped out and their whiskers broken off by rival fraternities, yet they still stand guard today at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house on Evans Street.

The Great Lava Bed Wars: Mistreatment by the Klamath

Alfred B. Meacham

Shortly after the Modoc started building their homes, however, the Klamath, longtime rivals, began to steal the Modoc lumber. The Modoc complained, but the U.S. Indian agent could not protect them against the Klamath.

Captain Jack’s band moved to another part of the reservation. Several attempts were made to find a suitable location, but the Klamath continued to harass the band.

In 1870 Captain Jack and his band of nearly 200 left the reservation and returned to Lost River. During the months that his band had been on the reservation, a number of settlers had taken up former Modoc land in the Lost River region.

Acknowledging the bad feeling between the Modoc and the Klamath, Alfred Meacham recommended to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in Washington D.C. that Captain Jack’s Modoc band be given a separate reservation at Yainax, in the lower southern part of the reservation. Pending a decision, Meacham instructed Captain Jack to stay at Clear Lake.

Meanwhile, Oregon settlers complained Modoc warriors roamed the countryside raiding the settlers; they petitioned Meacham to return the Modoc to the Klamath Reservation. In part, there was raiding because the U.S. did not adequately supply the Modoc on the reservation with food.

The Commissioner of Indian Affairs never responded to Meacham’s request for a separate reservation for the Modoc. After hearing more complaints from settlers, Meacham requested General Edward Canby, Commanding General of the Department of the Columbia, to move Captain Jack’s band to Yainax on the Klamath Reservation, his recommended site for their use.

Canby forwarded Meacham’s request to General John Schofield, Commanding General of the Pacific, suggesting that before using force, peaceful efforts should be made.

In the middle of the crisis, the Commission of Indian Affairs replaced Meacham, appointing T.B. Odeneal as Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon. He knew  nothing of the background of the situation and had never met Jack or the Modocs but was charged with getting them to leave Lost River.

In turn, Odeneal appointed a new US Indian agent, who was also unfamiliar with the parties and conditions.

On April 3rd, 1872, Major Elmer Otis held a council with Captain Jack at Lost River Gap, near what is now Olene, Oregon. At the council, Major Otis presented Captain Jack with some settlers who complained about the behavior of Jack’s men, and Captain Jack countered that it was the Modoc who were being abused and unjustly accused of crimes which other Indians had committed.

Although the council’s results were inconclusive, Otis resolved to remove Jack’s band of Modoc to the Klamath Reservation. He needed reinforcements and recommended waiting until later in the year, when he could put the Modoc at a disadvantage.

On April 12th, the Commission of Indian Affairs directed Odeneal to move Captain Jack and his Modoc to the reservation if practicable. He was to ensure the tribe was protected from the Klamath.

On May 14th, Odeneal sent Ivan D. Applegate and L.S. Dyer to arrange for a council with Captain Jack, which the latter refused. On July 6th, 1872, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs repeated his direction to Odeneal to move Captain Jack and his band to the Klamath Reservation, peacefully if possible, but forcibly if necessary.

Minor skirmishes occurred during the summer and early fall, but some of the settlers in California were sympathetic to the Modoc, as they had gotten along well with them before. The settlers knew the Modoc were being mistreated.

Nevada Side-steps Voters Over Gay Marriage

Nevada is dropping its defense of a state ban on gay marriage. This despite Nevada’s voters approving a state constitutional amendment by wide margins in back-to-back elections in 2000 and 2002 barring same-sex marriage, establishing that “only a marriage between a male and a female person shall be recognized and given effect.”

The move, made by the state’s Democratic attorney general with the support of its Republican governor, does not legalize gay marriage in Nevada but removes the state as an opponent of those fighting to overturn the ban in federal court.

A group of eight same-sex couples sued to challenge the ban as unconstitutional, saying the state’s domestic-partnership statute relegates them to second-class status. They lost at the district court level, but appealed to the 9th Circuit.

State Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto says after careful review, the state has filed a motion to withdraw a brief filed last month in support of the ban in a case pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. That ruling was issued the same day Masto filed her earlier brief in defense of Nevada’s same-sex marriage ban, on January 21st.

In supporting Masto’s move, Governor Brian Sandoval, who is seeking re-election this year, says the state’s ban would not hold up to legal scrutiny.

Seventeen states as well as the District of Columbia now recognizing same-sex marriage. Federal court rulings could add Utah and Oklahoma to that group if legal decisions overturning gay marriage bans in those states are upheld.

Shirley Temple Remembered in Northern Nevada

The passing of Shirley Temple at the age of 85 brings to close the University of Nevada, Reno’s history during the golden age of Hollywood. Shirley played the part of ‘Ellen Baker,’ a journalism student enrolled at ‘Clemens University,’ in “Mr. Belvedere Goes to College.”

belvedere1

The make-believe school in reality is the campus of UNR. The 1949 film features Clifton Webb as snobbish writer Lynn Belvedere, who enrolls at the university with the plan to get a four-year degree in only a year.

After rising to fame at the age of six in 1934 with her performance in ‘Bright Eyes,’ Shirley starred in a series of films, that saw her become the top grossing star at the American box-office during the height of the Depression. In all, she starred in 14 short films and 43 feature films between 1931 and 1961.

In early 1950, while vacationing in Hawaii, Shirley met and fell in love with Charles Alden Black, who passed away in 2005.  In later life, she became a United States ambassador to Ghana and later Czechoslovakia.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Its What I Never Knew

Sometimes I find myself completely surprised by the responses I get from articles I’ve posted. For instance,  I wrote and shared an angry ‘obituary,’ in November 2011, for my brother, Adam because neither his widow or children had.

Because of that ‘obituary,’ I’ve learned more about Adam than I ever thought possible. There is the fact that he had a child with a woman while he was in the service.

That child is now a 27-year old man and is my nephew. His mother and I are in contact having spent time sharing our memories of Adam with one another.

Furthermore, I’ve learned of the ‘tender’ side my brother had when it came to romance from a letter I recently received. I feel it’s only right to share it with you this St. Valentines Day:

Dear Tom,

I have just learned of Adam’s death. I am so very heart-sick and sad. I have cried a little all day today. I out of the “blue” today just looked up Adam’s name to see his whereabouts and I just wondered about him. I have very fond, loving, innocent memories of Adam because he was the 1st boy I  kissed.

When I was 15-years-old I met Adam at Camp Marigold, right behind his house there in Klamath, California. That is when we were both so young and innocent. He would try to impress me with his strong muscles and would take me and my brothers and sisters up in the woods. We were the same age, but he had told me he was 18. I learned this later on. At the time of our long family vacation Adam would talk to us girls through the back window of the “Hunting Lodge” cabin at Camp Marigold. I was so impressed with him and how beautiful the redwoods were because I was from San Diego, California. Adam took me on a picnic at “Hidden Beach” which was just past “The Trees of Mystery” and around the bend of the Lagoon pond. Adam made us a lunch and we had a magical, sweet, clean romantic time for 15-year-old kids. He was so funny, sweet and good. I am so sure God will bless him for his gentlemanly behavior.

I was the eldest of 10 kids and my Dad was a California Highway Patrol Officer.  So as all my sisters and brothers were running about Camp Marigold Adam planted a kiss on my lips as I leaned against the cabin, but four of my sisters came out of hiding squealing as they witnessed that tender moment of ours. I was very dismayed at them, but it was probably good they were around.

Adam and I wrote little love letters and sent presents to each other for 3 years by mail. I truly thought I loved him. And i suppose I always will in a very special way. His letters were so very sincere and I would cherish each one as they came in the mail. I would always enjoy writing him back. I think I still have a heart pendant made of Tiger’s eye stone. My father and mother kept me hoping for another vacation at Camp Marigold, but they never made it possible. I have since been there several times throughout the years with my husband and kids. I even looked up in the woods, thinking of Adam. We were not in contact at all when I was married.

I am at least glad that you posted about Adam’s life. Much here I did not know. I did not know how he suffered with depression. At age 19 I was looking at the time to be a cloistered Discalced Carmelite Nun, the ones that wear the conservative brown habit, but God had a different plan for me. While I still am a Discalced Carmelite, I am a 3rd order, which means single or married. (The 1st are the priests and 2nd order are the sisters.) I have been a Carmelite for 30 years, now at age 50. Our vocation is we pray for the world and others.

I was contacted by Adam at two different times after I was already married with two children at the time. I was 22 or so and was conflicted about reciprocating contact. I did not write him back. I am still married and now have four children who are grown. We live in Missoula, Montana. I am glad that you mentioned that Adam was a Catholic as a child. And as you know, I too am a practicing Catholic. I am sure you know that we Catholics believe in Praying for the Dead. Adam was a very, very special person in my life and I am so sure that even though life was difficult for him and he is not “here”, Adam benefits from our prayers. I will have lots and lots of Masses said for Adam. I offered one up today for him.

Thank You, Tom.

Love and Prayers, Theresa

No, Theresa — thank you and God bless!

Alleged Reno Terrorist’s Trial Pushed Back to 2016

A federal judge granted a request to move the trial against a Reno man accused of supporting terrorist groups in India and Pakistan to February 2016. This after both the prosecution and defense asked for more time to prepare their cases.

In December, a federal grand jury indicted Balwinder Singh on six charges, including conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim people in a foreign country; conspiracy to support terrorists and immigration fraud. A judge has also ruled Singh to be a flight risk and a danger to public safety and ordered he be detained until his trial.

A citizen of India when he fled to the U.S. in 1997, Singh claimed asylum, obtaining a permanent resident card in 1999. However in 2012, the leader of Babbar Khalsa International in Pakistan named Singh as the leader of the BKI in the United States.

Singh sent wire transfers of money to several members of the group in India. Telephone conversations between Singh and members of the group revealed their plans to commit acts of terrorism using code words for weapons, ammunition and explosives.

Documents say Singh is also a member of the terrorist organization Khalistan Zindabad Force. Both the BKI and KZF are trying to set up an independent Sikh state in part of the Punjab region of India called Khalistan by using bombings, kidnappings and murders to try to intimidate the Indian government.

But Singh may never face a jury after the Obama administration recently adjusted its policies for allowing asylum-seekers into the country. It will now grant asylum to those who have provided a low level of monetary support to terrorist groups. Justice Department statistics show in 2012, the U.S. granted asylum to 12,000 out of 44,000 people who sought it.

A Department of Homeland Security internal review found at least 70 percent of asylum cases showed signs of fraud. Only 12 percent of those showed clear evidence of fraud, while the remaining 58 percent showed some signs but not enough evidence to make a definitive judgment.

No Excuse for Bad Behavior

Here’s an example of what’s wrong with our society today: When asked what she’d do if she had a son misbehaving like Justin Bieber, First Lady Michelle Obama says, “I would pull him close. You know, I don’t know if it would be advice as much as action. I would be very present in his life right now. And I would be probably with him a good chunk of the time, just there to talk, to figure out what’s going on in his head, to figure out who’s in his life and who’s not, you know.”

She adds, “…he’s still a kid. He’s still growing up.”

marine running

Please do not blame Bieber’s troubles on the fact that he’s only 19-years old, not when there are 19-year-olds like Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Myles Kerr, who while running in his military gear, slowed his pace to motivate Brandon Fuchs struggling to finish ‘The 2013 Jeff Drenth Memorial 5K’ in Michigan, last August.

Beiber’s age is jus’ a lame excuse to allow him off the hook for his piss-poor behavior.

Law Enforcements Increasingly Dark-heart

With the increase in surplus-military equipment and centralized information hubs, called ‘Spectrum Centers,’ local law enforcement agencies appear to be growing dark-hearted. The news is filled more and more with agencies and their personnel doing things that defy common sense or are outright illegal, if not unconstitutional.

FAILURE TO AID

A Florida police officer is under fire for failing to help dying car crash victims and it was all caught on tape by a dashboard camera. Off-duty Miami Police Sergeant Javier Ortiz came upon the car crash scene that ended up killing two University of Miami graduate students, Ying Chen and Hao Liu.

Ortiz jumped into action to try and help the victims. Pinecrest Officer Ana Carrasco arrived on the scene shortly afterward and Ortiz directed her to work on trying to resuscitate the man.

“I got no response. She just stood there,” Ortiz says.

PRIVATE PROPERTY TAKE-OVER

Also in Florida, homeowner Deborah Franz was outraged after a SWAT team used her home to gain a tactical advantage — without her permission and without notifying her — during a six-hour standoff with her neighbor. This is nothing new.

In 2011, A Henderson Nevada Police SWAT TEAM broke down Anthony Mitchell’s front door with a battering ram in during a neighborhood-wide lockdown after Mitchell refused to allow his home be used for police purposes in a domestic violence response. Officers entered his home, fired pepper spray pellets at him and his dog, and then arrested him for obstruction of justice.

A SIX-BIT ARREST

How about the man who was arrested in Houston moments after he gave a homeless man 75 cents?

Greg Snider was on business when a homeless man approached his car window and asked for spare change. As Snider gave the man some change and as he pulled onto the highway, a police car came up behind him and started flashing its lights and sirens.

After Snider came to a stop, the police officer rushed at him, screaming and yelling. Snider was pulled from his car, handcuffed and thrown in the back of the police cruiser as ten more police cars showed up at the scene.

It turns out the police thought he had exchanged drugs with the homeless man. The police then asked if they could search his car and he gave them permission.

Authorities brought out drug-sniffing dogs to search Snider’s car and found nothing. They then allowed him to go free.

NO-KNOCK RAID

In Ankeny, Iowa, police officers executed a search warrant at a family’s home looking for $1,000 in merchandise purchased with a stolen credit card. Police claim they knocked on the door, but a surveillance video shows an officer pounding on the side of the house seconds before officers used a battering ram to bust through the front door.

Sally Prince says if they had only knocked first, she would have consented to a search of her home. Police are also seen destroying a security camera outside the home and covering another with some sort of fabric.

It could have gotten worse as Prince’s son, Justin Ross, has a permit to carry a firearm on his person. When he heard commotion, he says he drew his weapon while in the bathroom and prepared for an intruder to come through the door.

Luckily, he heard one of the officers say “police” before they kicked in the door, so he re-holstered his weapon, sat back down and placed his hands in his lap away from his gun. In the end a search of the home did not result in the recovery of the items police believe were bought with stolen credit cards.

EMERGENCY VEHICLE NO PARKING ZONE

And while responding to a rollover accident in Chula Vista, a California Highway Patrol officer handcuffed a firefighter after a dispute over where the fire engine should park. The officer ordered Engine Operator Jacob Gregoir to move the fire truck off the center divide or he would be arrested.

As he worked the scene and checked the overturned car for more victims, Gregior told the unidentified CHP officer that he would have to check with his captain. That’s when the officer arrested him.

Gregoir had parked the truck behind an ambulance to provide protection for the emergency responders from oncoming traffic. This is a standard safety procedure most fire crews are taught.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE

A California couple had their five-month-old baby taken by police last year, after they took the infant to get a second opinion on a medical procedure. Anna and Alex Nikolayev took their baby, who has a heart murmur, to Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento when he started exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

After giving her child an antibiotic she didn’t authorize, Anna decided to get a second-opinion. The doctors at Sutter Memorial argued against consulting other health experts, pressuring her to stay put, but Anna remained firm.

She took her baby from the hospital without a proper discharge, and went straight to Kaiser Permanente Hospital. While at Kaiser, the police showed up to take the child into protective custody but leaving after doctors said the baby was safe to go home with his parents.

The following day the police arrived at the family’s home, and without a warrant, took Sammy. The baby remains in protective custody.

NEVADA’S THOUGHT-POLICE

Finally, Californian Tan Nguyen was driving on Interstate 80 through Northern Nevada, when Humboldt County Sheriff Sergeant Lee Dove pulled him over for speeding, but instead of getting a ticket, Dove confiscated $50-thousand in cash Nguyen had in the vehicle.

In this incident report, Dove writes that he observed Nguyen seemed “nervous”, was “argumentative”, and that the car smelled of marijuana.  Nguyen was not cited for doing anything illegal, although Dove wrote in his report, “I felt he was not part of the legal traveling public,” which he cited as justification for taking Nguyen’s money.

Nguyen has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s office. Meanwhile, Assistant District Attorney Kevin Pasquale responded by saying, “If we think the money was obtained illegally, we have a right to seize it.”

Self-reliance

My ability to remain self-reliant has been on my mind for the past three or four weeks, with no answers coming forward. But then I turned on the television and as I flipped through the channels, I saw John Ratsenberger (Cliff Clavin on Cheers, Toy Story’s Hamm the Piggy Bank, and Yeti from Monsters University) on the ‘700 Club,’ and what he was saying caught my ear:

“We used to be a country of self-reliant people. As individuals, we were self-reliant. Regardless of your job, you could be a pastor, you could be an attorney, you could be a stockbroker, but you still had other skills,” Ratzenberger told CBN host Wendy Griffith. “You could change a car tire, mend your roof, do some gardening, you knew something about horses, something or farming. But that’s all changed. So we’ve gone from being a self-reliant country to a self-deluded country. And then we  assume someone else is going to take care of this problem for us.”

His comments ‘hit the nail on the head’ so to speak for me and I realize – I’ve nothing to worry about when it comes my ability to be self-reliant.

Las Vegas Police Continue Investigating Cline Brothers


A purse snatching attempt in the parking lot of the Cannery Casino in North Las Vegas left a 79-year-old woman injured January 18th. She held on to the purse, even after being knocked to the ground and dragged, forcing the would-be robber to give-up and jump into a silver Volkswagen Jetta, where he and the driver sped away.

Brothers, Brent and Raymond Cline were arrested after police received a call from their step-father. Sean Schmitt told investigators who they were, that the car used in the robbery attempt was his, when the two young men would be home, and when to come get them.

As the investigation progresses, a number of people have tried to connect the brothers to a hit and run that happened Halloween night last year involving another silver Jetta. In the incident, 6-year-old Brazyl Ward was critically injured.

Brazyl needed emergency brain surgery, suffered a broken femur, and was put into a medically induced coma. She was released from University Medical Center in late December and still has limited movement in the right side of her face, and will have to relearn how to chew, eat, and walk.

Investigators continue to look for the other vehicle, which they suspect has damage to its front right side. They are also search for the driver, whose described a Latino male.

The pair’s mother, Lyn Schmitt says Raymond was with her and her youngest son, in the Jetta, trick-or-treating at the time of the hit and run. Meanwhile, Brent was at home with his step-father, handing out candy.

They remain in jail, charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and attempted robbery.

What is Right and What is Wrong

For the last couple of months I’ve been avoiding writing about politics as it effects our American society, because I’ve been wanting to find a way to give my opinion without completely ticking people who disagree with me off. I came to the idea that my thoughts should be integrated with history lessons, not jus’ commentary.

At first it appeared as if this new approach would solve my dilemma, but then I looked at the news this morning and I found myself lost. There is so much negative news (in my opinion) that it is overwhelming.

For instance, police in Florida forced a woman out of her home because SWAT was conducting an operation against her neighbor. They didn’t ask her for the usage of the house – but rather threatened to arrest her if she refused to comply.

How do I teach a history lesson out of that?

Sure, I can point out that it is unconstitutional to “quarter soldiers” in private citizens home without their permission. But Progressives will be quick to point out the police are not ‘soldiers,’ and thus render my argument moot.

This is because of how ‘complicit,’ our ‘free’ media has become with the Progressive movement. I found two examples that have left me shaking my head and in complete fear.

The first is from the publication ‘Salon,’ which earlier this week published an essay in defense of Communism.  The second is from ‘Rolling Stone,’ which lauds the same ideal.

While neither publications position is a surprise to me, it has left me shaken. The idea that ‘Communism,’ is being mainstreamed is frightening to me.

There is no way for me to combat this and it leaves me hopeless and empty.

Finally, the number of ‘newspeak’ incidents that both the administration and the media are engaged in has become a daily nightmare. The latest comes from the Congressional Office of Budget and Management report which says more Americans will find themselves either underemployed or unemployed due to ‘ObamaCare,’ than initially reported when the law was conceived.

However that is not how NBC or ABC chose to tell it. Instead they went with what Adminatration spokesman Jay Carney claimed the CBO report said, “…more Americans will now be able to choose whether they want to work full-time or not.”

In the end all I know is what is right and what is wrong. Forcing a person to give up their property, whether temporary or not, is wrong; claiming communism is good for a society is wrong; and lying to the American people is wrong.

The New McCarthyism: Are you now, or have you ever been…

“Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist party?”

McCarthyism, named after Wisconsin Republican Joseph McCarthy, was a period of intense anti-communism, also known as the ‘Red Scare,’ which occurred in the U.S. from 1948 to about 1956, when the government actively persecuted those suspected of being communists. Loyalty tests were required for government and other employment and lists of subversive organizations were maintained.

This ‘Red Scare’ affected many in Hollywood, resulting in arrests of various figures in the film industry. Many were also ‘blacklisted,’ unable to work in the industry (although some screenwriters were able to work under pseudonyms).

In the Senate, the primary committee for investigating Communists was the ‘Senate Internal Security Subcommittee,’ formed in 1950 and charged with ensuring the enforcement of laws relating to “espionage, sabotage, and the protection of the internal security of the United States.”

The SISS was headed by Nevada Democrat Pat McCarran, who gained a reputation for careful and extensive investigations. However McCarran’s character is questionable  according current Nevada Democrat Senator Harry Reid.

“Pat McCarran was one of the most anti-Semitic — some of you might know my wife’s Jewish — one of the most anti-black, one of the most prejudiced people who has ever served in the Senate,” claims Reid.

McCarran passed away in 1954.

“Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Tea Party?”

An actress is facing backlash in San Francisco’s Latino community, after she voiced support for a conservative candidate for California governor. Maria Conchita Alonso starred in a campaign ad for Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of San Bernardino County, a Tea Party favorite who is seeking the Republican nomination.

Donnelly has voiced strong views against illegal immigration and was once involved with the Minutemen Project, a group that patrolled the border with Mexico to catch immigrants coming across. Alonso received an earful from listeners of Spanish-language radio station, after she said in an interview that she supported many of Donnelly’s views on illegal immigration.

“Are you now, or have you ever been critical of President Obama?”

Conservative commentator and best-selling author Dinesh D’Souza has been indicted by a federal grand jury for arranging $20,000 in campaign contributions to a candidate for the U.S. Senate. According the indictment, around August 2012, D’Souza reimbursed people who he had directed to contribute $20,000 on behalf of Wendy Long, a lawyer and Republican who sought to unseat Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand as New York’s junior senator.

Long is not named in the indictment.

D’Souza is charged with one count of making illegal contributions in the names of others, and one count of causing false statements to be made. Federal law in 2012 limited primary and general election campaign contributions to $2,500 each, for a total of $5,000, from any individual to any one candidate.

He also directed a 2012 film critical of President Barack Obama, “2016: Obama’s America,” and has written books including “The End of Racism,” “Life after Death: The Evidence” and “Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream.”

“Are you now, or have you ever been a spokesperson for an Israeli-based company?”

Actress Scarlett Johansson is the latest casualty of a widening campaign to boycott her.  This after, she agreed to become the spokeswoman for SodaStream, a Tel Aviv-based company that makes home soda machines and has its main plant in an Israeli industrial park next to the West Bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim.

Johansson’s decision ticked-off Oxfam International, a humanitarian aid organization that she had served as global ambassador for eight years. They forced her to resign, saying they oppose all trade with Israeli settlements, deemed illegal by most of the international community.

“Are you now, or have you ever owned a fire arm in your home?”

ABC News wants you and me to spy on our neighbors. In an ‘investigative report,’ by Diana Sawyer called ‘Young Guns,’ she recommends parents go to their next door neighbor and ask if they had guns in the house and to find out if they are locked up or not.

Furthermore they use children to demonize guns but placing unloaded and unattended weapons in view of children at play. ABC used these instances to scare parents and try to prove firearms in the home are merely death wishes.

In one of the few instances in which the boys didn’t play with the gun, an older boy acted as the voice of reason and warned them not to touch the firearm. Afterwards, producers removed the 10-year-old from the classroom and as soon as the older boy left, the two younger ones grabbed the gun and played with it.

Not used in the ‘report’ are these Center for Disease Control facts: 81 children between the ages of one and 14, were killed accidentally by a gun. Suffocation is number one with 174 for the same age group during the same time period and third is poisonings with only 10.

“Are you now, or have you ever dissented?”

Dissent is to disagree with a current government policy, an individual or a political party. In some political systems, dissent may be formally expressed by way of opposition politics, while politically repressive regimes may prohibit any form of dissent, leading to suppression of dissent and the encouragement of social or political activism.

Though often misattributed to founding-father Thomas Jefferson, the quote “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism,” argues that a healthy society needs not only to protect, but also to encourage disagreement to remain at liberty.