Archive for the ‘Natural Disasters’ Category

It’s About Time for a Reichstag Fire

July 10, 2012

The Reichstag burns, and Hitler decides “no crisis should go to waste.”

One of several reasons I am frequently annoyed with Glenn Beck, is his obsessive penchant for admonishing his listeners to disavow violence, utterly and unconditionally.

While I think I understand his motivation – to avoid giving the Obama administration any pretext to violence to “restore order” – I tire of the implication in Beck’s admonitions that his position is morally superior to that of ordinary citizens who acknowledge a rational limit to their willingness to submit to coercion from Muslims, Occupiers, union thugs or any other pressure group used by the Left as a weapon against us. .

It was obviously very important to Beck to discourage his listeners from any impulse to gather up the “pitchforks and torches” and march up to the Frankenstein castle, demanding that the authorities hand over the monster. I excused that the first few times, but after a few dozen, I started to resent the implication that I was some volatile, redneck Timothy-McVeigh-type who was a hair’s breadth from taking up arms in violent insurrection

I have not been recruited into revolutionary violence by Glenn Beck, McVeigh, or anyone else. I do not feel on the verge of becoming a serial killer, a guerrilla, a bandito, or a freedom fighter, toting RPGs and EIDs.

Thanks for caring, though, Glenn.

I do not, however, ignore the possibility that the Obama regime may metastasize on very short notice from a wanna-be socialist utopia to an iron-fisted, Communist dictatorship.

The magnificent socialist utopian experiments of the 1900s killed more people and wasted more wealth and resources in a single century than all the socio-political systems tried in all the rest of recorded history (with the possible exception of the first thousand years of political Islam – accurate stats on that are hard to come by). There is no reason to believe that this latest bunch of unaccountable, self-righteous, arrogant ideologues would do any less damage than their failed predecessors.

That would not keep them from trying, of course.

But, really, what makes anyone think an armed uprising among some serious believers on the Right would be necessary to provide the pretext for an Obama dictatorship? Have you not read about the Reichstag Fire?

One man could do it.

A lone Dutchman, Marinus van der Lubbe, was caught at the scene of the Reichstag fire, confessed, and described in detail his procedure for spreading fire in the old structure. British intelligence agent Denis Sefton Delmer,  wrote that he was on the scene at that fire in 1933. He reports reports his conclusion that van der Lubbe was plausibly the lone arsonist responsible for the destruction of the historic German parliament building. Delmer says senior fire investigators reenacted the attack following van der Lubber’s detailed account, and found that one man could have quite easily done the deed. Other evidence gathered after the fire tended to support the “lone arsonist” theory.

The truth became less and less important, even before the smoke cleared. The Nazis pounced on the event to accuse the Communists of committing the attack as the signal to begin a concerted, premeditated terror campaign, including “dynamiting, incendiarism and mass murder” all over the country.

The Soviet Communists fabricated and spread legends to convince the public that in the immediate aftermath of the fire, the building had been found to be crawling with Nazi Stormtroopers, who were supposed to have spread the fire so quickly, and, implausibly, hung around to watch it burn. Delmer, under his cover as a reporter in that period before open conflict between Britain and Germany, asserts that he entered the building in the wake of Hitler and his entourage as soon as the fire was under control, and that there were no Stormtroopers in evidence.

None of the Communists’ efforts to capitalize on the event  mattered, either, because Hitler and Goering, his adroit propaganda minister, successfully used the event to persuade the Germans to give the Nazis extraordinary authority over them — only for the duration of the emergency, of course – which his party used to round up the Communists and any other opposing political leadership, and to curtail free speech and opposition political activity nation-wide.

Hitler only had to invoke the Germans’ historic animosity toward Russia to justify his “conclusion” that the Soviet Communist political apparatus was on the verge of attempting a coup d’état. That van der Lubbe was a different brand of Communist – one with lasting hostility toward the Soviets – mattered not at all. The Germans reacted by allowing Hitler to stage his own coup d’état, without firing a shot. The Third Reich, and the War of Revenge, The Great Patriotic War, or World War II — depending on the version of history by which you choose to describe it – followed shortly.

History, as is often repeated, has a way of repeating itself. If the history presented by Mr. Delmer is accurate, one man, a small cadre, a group of government agents or, say, some “community organizers” could light the American Reichstag Fire, if the benefits seem to outweigh the risks, or – just for a bit of evil fun. The key factor in the succession of events isn’t the exact nature of the initial act, but the reaction to it by authority, and the willingness of the media to question or swallow the “official” explanation that best fits the political agenda.

With people such as Rahm Emanuel in positions of influence in the Obama White House, it’s unlikely that Emanuel’s maxim that, “[y]ou never want a serious crisis to go to waste” would be ignored for long.

All it takes is a crisis – real, imagined or staged. Is our Reichstag Fire smoldering at this moment?

Does it even have to be a “man-made disaster? Nope. How about a natural one that affects most of the country, like a New Madrid earthquake that crumbles every bridge over the Mississippi, or a huge solar flare that wipes out the national electrical infrastructure? Neither event would be unprecedented. Nature has served this continent both dishes before.

And, if nature won’t step up and provide a “serious crisis,” how about the Iranians, with their “peaceful” nuclear power, that, for some reason, requires the parallel development of Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs)? Those wacky, nuclear North Koreans can’t be counted out, either.

If so, then what?

Glenn, Rush and Sean will disappear from the airwaves, and we “sick, twisted freaks” will be on our own.

The Obama goons will exert whatever power they have, and the competing factions among them (Brotherhood Muslims vs. Communists vs. Old Left vs. Black Muslims vs. foreign agents and sleeper cells, etc…) will jump at the chance to flex their muscles, jockeying for position, with one eye on owning the ruins when the smoke clears.

The First Tuesday after the First Monday in November is right around the corner.  Will we have an election?

It forces one to think the unthinkable, doesn’t it?

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RINOs — Always Ready to Surrender

July 24, 2011

This way to Prison Camp. "Not just for the summer anymore!" http://federalprisoncamptour.com/

Republican Senators Offer Alternative Plan for Martial Law

Washington, October 29th, 2012

In the wake of President Obama’s declaration of martial law last week, just weeks before the 2012 general election, moderate Senate Republicans have proposed some alternatives to the President’s executive orders authorizing indefinite detention without trial and civil asset forfeiture.

The measures were described as “draconian” by former talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who has not been heard from in several days. Senate Republicans Olympia Snow, John McCain and minority leader Mitch McConnell came forward today with what they call “a reasonable alternative” to the emergency measures. They say they have met with Senators Harry Reid and Dick Durbin to negotiate the release on recognizance of several Republican senators, congressmen, and state governors, all of whom had been “very critical” of the emergency measures.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell spoke for the group:

“In this time of crisis, we must reach across the aisle to our colleagues and come to some sort of compromise on these executive orders. While we appreciate the urgency and severity of the situation that faces the President, we believe it is possible to deal with our unfortunate circumstances with a more moderate, measured approach.”

“We propose to allow those thousands of Americans being held incommunicado and without legal representation or charges being filed, to be released on their own recognizance from the detention camps around the country, after signing an agreement not to participate in political activity. They should be allowed to return to their homes, if they have not been demolished or re-assigned to needy immigrant families. They should wear a GPS-enabled house arrest ankle bracelet and keep authorities apprised of their whereabouts at all times.

“Of course, we would expect the President’s National Stability Police Force to continue to hold anyone who is a real security threat, but we expect that such detainees would be tried and convicted or released within a reasonable period.”

Saying they were trying to reach missing Congressional colleagues to get a consensus in support of the compromise, McConnell expects to be allowed to meet with the President’s chief of staff to present the proposal “within the next few weeks.”

{Note — like my “euthanasia letter” of a while back, I started this out as satire, but, as in that letter,  the events described are not nearly as fanciful or funny as most of us wish they were. The best I can manage is a strong sense of irony. From irony to irons, you might say. — TC}

AndersonVille POW Camp -- Mass Grave

We've done it before -- Andersonville POW Camp, circa 1864 -- Mass Grave http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/11andersonville/11visual3.htm

SORRY, Internet Closed! NOW WHAT?

February 3, 2011

Who pulled the plug?

(Geekspeak Alert! Multiple occurrences of Information Technology jargon and abbreviations follow. Approach at your own risk.)

What if, what if, what if…? The recent discussion of the Egyptians’ reliance on the Internet for communication in their uprising, and of the “Internet Kill Switch” legislation in our own Congress, led me to thinking about preparedness in general, and emergency communication in particular.

The Internet has gone from an obscure fad to a virtual communication spinal cord in a couple of decades. It’s “the network of networks.” It’s “the cloud,” and the “information superhighway.” To some, it’s a free-flowing gutter; to others, it’s a lifeline to information, communication and entertainment they can’t imagine being without.

You are “plugged in,” to one degree or another, to that “cloud,” or you wouldn’t be reading this.

What if it went away?

Egypt did its best to shut off public access to the Internet when the rioting in Cairo began to turn into a revolt.

According to a TIME online story, what the Mubarak regime did was order the Internet Service Providers that serve Egypt to shut down their Domain Name Service (DNS servers). The article offers a capsule explanation of DNS:

When you open up your web browser and type a domain name into the address bar—say Time.com, for instance—your service provider sends a lightning-quick request to whichever service provider Time.com uses to make its web pages publicly available on the internet.

The computer that holds all of Time.com’s web pages sends a response back through its internet service provider basically saying, “Yes, we’re online. Here’s the web page you requested.”

That’s part of the story. The critical part of the DNS process is address translation. The Internet doesn’t know from www.yoursite.com. The DNS server converts the Universal Resource label (URL), the “human-friendly” name for the site you want to see, into an Internet Protocol (IP) address, which, for now, is a series of numbers and periods in the format ###.###.###. That is what really travels across town or around the world, to arrive at “www.yoursite.com.”

There’s a lesson, for you. If DNS service is down, you need a list of Internet Protocol addresses you can put into the address field of your browser to get to sites directly.

To get to my favorite Internet news site, World Net Daily, in the absence of DNS service, I simply put “70.85.95.100”(without the quotation marks) into my address field, and go there.

How did I find that out? I opened a command line window (I speak Windows; sorry, Apple and Linux speakers – you’re on your own) and ran the PING command using several of my most frequent browsing destinations.

Here’s an example of the PING command and its output, from my IP address gathering process:

C:\Documents and Settings\Tom Cox>ping drudgereport.com
 Pinging drudgereport.com [209.234.251.93] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 209.234.251.93: bytes=32 time=105ms TTL=46
Reply from 209.234.251.93: bytes=32 time=113ms TTL=46
Reply from 209.234.251.93: bytes=32 time=112ms TTL=46
Reply from 209.234.251.93: bytes=32 time=111ms TTL=46 
Ping statistics for 209.234.251.93:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
 Minimum = 105ms, Maximum = 113ms, Average = 110ms

The important information here isn’t the lousy ping times I get from my ISP, but the fact that when I enter the domain name — drudgereport.com in this case – (note the omission of “www” and the like), PING gives me the IP address, (209.234.251.93) it got from the DNS server I am currently connected to, which it uses to find the right server at the other end and measure the time required to get an acknowledgment.

Obviously, taking down the DNS service will impede access for those who don’t know how to get around it, but just as obviously, that is a porous barrier to the Internet. Not only can people who have stored their most-used IP addresses locally get through, but satellite-based ISPs, as well as any ISP who can be reached by dial-up, even in another hemisphere, can provide access, however slow and filtered that access may be. Any regime or force that wants to cut off Internet service completely, or at least much more completely than the Egyptian government did, has to take down wireline phone service, as well as cellular service, and jam satellite downlink frequencies.

The Internet is designed with “robustness” in mind, with multiple paths among connected nodes, and that makes an “Internet Kill Switch”more of a challenge than it may appear to be from a user’s perspective. (Thanks to Bruce Schneier, long-time Internet security and encryption expert)

If it were possible to take down the Internet in a given region, the results may be a classic, “be careful what you wish for” scenario. Governments that want to clamp down on the Internet may discover too late how dependent their own activities are on it. Will they be able to use government debit cards to refuel military vehicles? Will their air traffic control system’s communication network collapse? How about the electrical grid, public transportation, metropolitan traffic control systems, for starters – will a government that wants to enhance its grip on its population deliberately blind and deafen itself, just to silence social networks and news outlets?

Government suppression of the Internet may be the least of our concerns, in fact. We don’t even need our government to put the Internet at risk. Two other “actors” may be a lot more likely to succeed where governments fail: terrorists, and the sun.

All it will take is a little, tiny episode of solar flatulence, known scientifically as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). The sun, notorious for its stubborn inclination to ignore and flaunt government regulations and environmentalist lobbying, is about due for another of its periodic episodes of instability. This instability includes a tendency to fling huge clouds of high-energy particles out from its nearly-endless supply of such materials.

A solar corona hole, February 3, 2011, courtesy http://www.spaceweather.com

 

Should our planet happen to be in the way of one of these clouds, the results will be spectacular and calamitous, but not unprecedented. As it passes through the cloud, the energy in the cloud will induce electric currents in any conductor, such as a power line or radio antenna, and the currents induced may be much greater than the conductor, and any connected equipment, can tolerate.

The earth itself will rattle with the shock of this blast of energy. A geomagnetic storm is a secondary effect of the CME. The earth’s magnetic field will ring like a bell, with effects on life and technology both known and unknown.

The history of these storms shows but a hint of the potential impact on the whole energy-transportation-communication-security-economy infrastructure.

This impact would not be an overnight phenomenon, but could bathe the earth in strong energy clouds for weeks or months. The associated Aurora displays might be spectacularly beautiful, but most of us will be too busy trying to survive the other effects to have much time top enjoy the show.

Aurora, courtesy Wikipedia

Aurora Borealis, courtesy Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Polarlicht_2.jpg

Ole’ Mom Nature and government shutdowns are not the only way uncontrollable forces can have a huge impact on the Internet and the rest of the infrastructure.  A small, but well-funded group of terrorists, or “axis of evil” agents, armed with a small nuclear weapon and a “SCUD” class, intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) can blind and cripple us, too.

SCUD on semi-trailer launcher, courtesy Wklipedia

 

A nondescript container ship could pull up off the Atlantic coast a hundred miles out from Washington DC, and launch a missile sold or donated by Russia, North Korea, Iran, or a non-state entity with lots of money. If the missile has a warhead consisting of, say, a refurbished Russian tactical nuclear warhead, furnished by the same thoughtful donor or another, or sold by some organized crime venture, the goal would be to detonate the missile not on or near the ground, as in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks, but a hundred miles or so above Washington, or nearby.

The nuclear detonation, even resulting from a very small, “suitcase”-style weapon, would have the expected blast effects from heat and sudden pressure – although they would be diminished on the ground due to the high altitude of the detonation — but it would also create a huge, sharp electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Before discounting the possibly existence of nuclear warheads small enough to launch above a SCUD-sized IRBM, recall that both the Russians and Americans developed and built thousands of nuclear artillery shells, one of which was successfully test-fired and detonated.

The upper atmosphere would interact with the pulse to create a huge, secondary pulse that would spread over an area of hundreds, or thousands, of square miles. There would be instant and dramatic effects on anything electrical for hundreds or thousands of miles in any direction. The impulse would be far stronger than a CME-induced surge, but lasting only a fraction of a second. The effect, though, would last for months, or years, in terms of its effect on the nation.

The effect on a society as dependent on electricity and electronics as ours, would be devastating, and that is not just the apocalyptic fantasy of a few catastrophe freaks and post-apocalypse survival enthusiasts. Credible groups have testified before Congress on the potential effects of such an attack, but with little apparent impact on our national priorities.

Nightmarish scenarios exist, such as a novel by a historian named William Forstchen, One Second After.

There is considerable disagreement as to the scientific and technical accuracy of the novel’s predictions, as one can see in the extended discussion of the book on Amazon, but not much disagreement that the effects will be severe and long-lasting. As long as the Internet stays up, you can learn more about EMP in its various forms at EMPact America, http://www.empactamerica.org/

Whether the cause of the outage is government action, terrorism or solar storms, doing without the Internet is

What’s a communication-dependent technophile to do? Do you carry a spare tire in your car? Why? The odds of a flat in the middle of nowhere are low, but the repercussions are severe – what disaster prep strategists refer to as a “low probability, high consequences event.”

Technophiles are smart to be ready with multiple options for communications, to fit the circumstances. Dead cell phone battery? Where’s your crank-up charger? Power out for an extended period? Cable system, wireline phone system, and cell service down? Where’s your CB radio, your GMRS/FRS portable radio set, your crystal radio, complete with rolled-up, ready-to-launch wire antenna, your HF ham radio and accessories, your fire starting kit, your wood stove, your bottled water, your toilet paper, your emergency food, your maps, your compass, your handgun, your rifle, your ammunition…

From a dead DNS server to the collapse of civil society and enemy attack – you can be a victim, or you can be prepared.

Don’t VOLUNTEER to Be a Flood Victim!

May 14, 2010
Flood Waters Kill
There’s more to flood waters than meets the eye.

Charlotte, TN, 5/13/10; Revised, 4/27/11

Here are some reflections on the power and danger of flood waters, put down as the Cumberland sulks back within its banks, and the months-long process of cleaning up Middle Tennessee gets into gear (and revised as flood waters rise almost a year later.)

First, let’s dump that  “Save the Planet” sentimentality, OK? Look at some of the pictures of this flood. Look at pictures of the Iceland Volcano, Eyjafjallajökull. (Eyzeforjutosey!) For some superb pictures, try National Geographic online.

Feeling small and insignificant, yet? Good. Now, tell me how plastic bags and SUVs can destroy this immense, powerful Earth, when all it will take is an unconscious, negligent shrug for this planet to destroy the human race. One seismic twitch, a raised terrestrial eyebrow, an atmospheric sigh, and humanity is — not history, because somebody has to be around to WRITE history — simply and permanently gone.

If you still harbor doubts about how insignificant you are before the forces of nature, review some video of the Tsunamis in Japan. Understand? Good. Let’s move on.

The force that flowing water can exert on objects challenges the most fertile imagination. Like an advancing line of indifferent bulldozers, it pushes aside man’s monuments, or tumbles them ahead like toys,  and moves on downhill.

According to the recording instruments at the Cumberland River in Clarksville, downstream from Ashland City, the depth at the peak of the flood was 57.36 feet, at 9:00 AM, on May 6th. At that depth, the rate of flow past that point was more than 300 thousand cubic feet of waterper second. A cubic foot of water weighs just less than 62.5 pounds. That means 18,750,000 pounds of water passed the gage every second, at peak.

Depth (L) and Flow rate (R) of the Cumberland at Clarksville, downstream from Nashville (NWS

Rainfall, May 1 & 2, 2010 (NWS)

A railroad train, consisting of a typical diesel locomotive and 31 loaded freight cars weighs around nine million pounds. That flow rate was equivalent, then, to the weight of two such trains passing the measurement station every second. No wonder a river can push along the contents of a neighborhood, including houses, cars, trees and topsoil.

Six inches of running water can drag an adult off his feet, and then beat him against immovable objects like tree stumps or guard rails, rendering him helpless. Of course, “six inches” of muddy water can be hiding a six-foot hole in the pavement that the water undermined minutes before you arrived at the flooding.

washed-out pavement, TN Hwy 7, Maury Co., TN

A foot and a half of flood water, moving at six miles an hour, can turn a car into a rudderless, powerless, leaky life raft. A foot and a half of running water looks innocuous enough — especially in the dark — unless you know how strong the tug is on anything in its way.

Or, unless it’s after dark, and you think the water is much shallower than that. You don’t know the truth, until the car starts moving on its own…

Of course, by then, it may be to late. Your car-turned-into-a-boat turns into a coffin.

More people are killed nationwide in flash floods and river floods, on average, than in tornadoes, hurricanes, and lightning.  Most of those deaths could have been avoided, if the people thinking of crossing running water had only known how powerful it is.

Twenty-three, flood-related fatalities have been confirmed in Tennessee so far, according to Tennessee’s Emergency Management Agency . Two more bodies have been found in the Nashville area as of May 13, and both are tentatively described as flood victims.

The Harpeth River is a tributary of the Cumberland, and is usually a mild-mannered scenic “stream” that plays host to a lot of leisure-time activities, including fishing, boating and camping. My first chance to see the flooding close-up came two days after the rain had stopped, on Tuesday, May 4th. The bridge was closed to traffic, but no longer under water.

Flooded Harpeth

The treeline in the distance is usually the far bank of the Harpeth, as seen from the Montgomery Bell Bridge, Cheatham County, TN. Not on 5/4/10.

The Harpeth River Campground, adjacent to the Montgomery Bell Bridge, was under ten or twelve feet of water when I visited the still-closed bridge on May 4th, 2010.

It might have looked like an inviting ride in a raft or tube, but, standing on the bridge, feeling the faint vibration of the brisk flow of flood water under the deck, it looked forbidding and ominous to me. I looked over the upstream side at the uprooted, whole trees, building materials and trash pressed against the bridge by the current, and wondered what was just under the muddy water, ready to tear a hole in a boat hull or crush a swimmer.

snake

Along with trees and other hazards, flood waters may contain surprises. A snake crawls toward shore along the Harpeth

Fortunately, nobody in the area of the Harpeth Campground thought a swim or float would be fun, that day. In fact, as I listened to the scanner, the only people willing to risk everything to get on that water were the rescuers.

Ordinary boaters, as well as fire and police rescue squads, fish and game officers and professional water rescue crews were picking people off the roofs of their cars and houses, or anything that would float, and, occasionally, right out of the water. That activity went on every hour of daylight for days, and the crews who did it had to be exhausted by the time it was too dark to continue.

These people put their personal lives and their safety on hold for most of a week to do what they did; I salute them.

For stunning photos of flood rescues from last week,browse the Nashville newspaper, The Tennessean.

Don’t volunteer to be a flood victim, Volunteers. The flood will kill you if it you give half a chance. It doesn’t need any help from you.

For more information on flood safety, I will do something I don’t usually do: defer to a government authority on the subject. If you don’t have time for this, here’s one more chance:

flooding sign

Nature will get you eventually. Don’t volunteer to drown. (National Weather Service Flood Safety Awareness)

A Flood of Inattention

May 10, 2010
Cumberland at Ashland City, TN in better days

Cumberland River near Ashland City, TN, in better days -- August, 2008

Ah, how nature can turn. The gentle, slow-moving Cumberland River and its tributaries have given us lots of comfort and beauty, and not a few catfish.

Last weekend (May 1 and 2, 2010), however, nature turned mean. A vast and unstoppable force, sometimes raging, and other times creeping, the Cumberland and its tributaries surged out of their banks and up miles of roads, in through thousands of front doors, stealing irreplaceable personal and public treasures, and destroying dreams and lives.

Flood water under Cumberland River Bridge

Flood water churns under the Ashland City bridge over the Cumberland, twenty feet higher than normal. 5/5/10

Riverview Restaurant/Campground, Ashland City, TN 5/5/10

There it met the water from the second day of rains flowing downhill, having saturated the surrounding ground to the point where it could absorb no more than a paved parking lot. Inconsequential creeks and streams became roaring whitewater monsters.

Take the most rain ever to fall in Nashville over 48 hours… and double it. At one point along the Cumberland, in better days, a relatively civilized river was a few hundred feet across. By Monday morning, after over a foot of rain, that same stretch of river had swollen to thousands of feet across, and it carried cars, livestock and whole buildings along at an astonishing pace. Structures that weren’t floated off their foundations were crushed under the weight and pressure of millions of tons of running water, pushing debris ahead like battering rams. Every crushed building, uprooted tree and floating car added to the mass that careened downstream, multiplying the flood’s destructive power.

As the flood waters recede – and they continue to recede, a week later — they leave behind mud, building materials, brush, dead things, an evil stench, uncatalogued contaminants and nightmarish memories that will last as long as the survivors.

The Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the system of dams, locks and generating sites along the Cumberland and other rivers in the region, had no experience to guide them in operating the flood gates and locks to best manage the water, because not since the completion of the system in the late ‘60s has so much rain fallen in so short a period. The best they could do for a few days was operate the system to keep the floods from destroying it, adding greatly to the surrounding destruction. That they did.

When I had time to watch national news, which was seldom, I was amazed at how little coverage was given to our situation. My amazement diminished when I thought about it.

I composed a “top-ten list” of reasons the lamestream media ignored this story:

10. Tennessee is a Red state. You could skip 9) through 1) now, and know all you need to know.

9. Al Gore didn’t call a press conference at his Nashville estate to blame the flooding on global warming.

8. People in Tennessee don’t sit around and wait for the gummint to give them a hand. They help themselves, and each other. No government dependency story, here, folks; move along!

7. New Orleans Progressive hack Ray Nagin is not the mayor of Nashville. Karl Dean is. Dean took personal responsibility for his city’s rescue and recovery, and was clearly in charge. No whining, no blame-shifting, just good communication and effective action.

6. People in Middle Tennessee cling to their bibles and guns. Looting makes good video, but it has not become a popular leisure-time activity here, because it is publicly frowned upon, and is likely to be fatal.

5. There is no way to blame it on Karl Rove, Halliburton or Dick Cheney.

4. CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS and CNN did not inform the hacks and opportunists in Washington of events in Tennessee, thus depriving them of timely photo opportunities against a backdrop of hapless victims and tireless aid workers. No one watches MSNBC, so coverage there would not have mattered, anyway.

3. There was no way to blame it on Wall Street speculators, Big Oil or Big Tobacco.

2. It’s hard for the race mongers to claim racism, since people of all races got wet, and people of all races were immediately helping each other, without waiting for government permission or coercion.

1. There was no way to blame it on George W. Bush.

It doesn’t matter much to locals to notice the way we were ignored by a crisis-hungry White House and its propaganda engine, but it certainly tells us who our friends are – and aren’t — and how we stand in the eyes of the current establishment.

It’s not hard to imagine. Some primped New York twit from a network morning show in fashionable raingear, trailing a camera crew and makeup artist, walks up to a Bubba dragging soggy, stinking carpet out the front door of his mobile, or searching for his lost goats in the trees, or carrying a dripping family photo album. The twit sticks a microphone in his face, and asks, “So, how do you feel? Don’t you wish Bush and Cheney had done more to prevent this?”

Considering the most reasonable reaction to the kind of stupid question said twits are capable of, maybe it’s just as well. There were enough casualties from the flood waters, without adding any New York twits to the body count. A jury of peers would acquit Bubba in five minutes, but the lawsuits would go on forever.

Stick your microphone where the sun don’t shine, New York twits. We’ll manage without you, somehow.

After all, we’ve managed up to now.

A Wood Stove — Getting That Warm Feeling

February 2, 2010

We love wood heat. We’ve had wood stoves for most of the last twenty years, in four different houses. The mobile home we live in now is old and leaky, and takes two or three electric space heaters running most of the time on cold nights here in Middle Tennessee to keep it in the low 60s, if the outside temp drops much below 40. Fortunately, we are comfortable in the low 60s.

BREAK FOR IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE:

I am NOT a professional wood stove installer, a lawyer, a fire inspector, an insurance underwriter or any other kind of wood heat expert – just a smart-ass blogger. This is not, no way, no how, presented as a how-to or a recommendation on the following project; rather, it is simply an account of the way I did what I did, and is presented for entertainment purposes only. Got that? Entertainment. Okay, then.

This article will not cure cancer, shrink hemorrhoids with or without surgery, will not get you out of filing income taxes, and it will not make you more attractive to the opposite (or the same) sex, or make you smarter. Well, maybe you’ll get smarter, but no guarantees. As to the rest, forget it. Ain’t happenin’. Just read on, and enjoy it.

I’m glad we had this talk.

END OF DISCLOSURE

Trailers are apparently not supposed to have wood stoves in them, according to The Powers That Be. At least, they are not supposed to have stoves we can afford. We were able to afford a Vogelzang Frontiersman,

Vogelsang Frontiersman

especially after it went on sale last spring.

I thought we could install this stove in such a way as to avoid the hazards inherent in a trailer install, and I went about it with that in mind.

This is a little stove, and one of the few small enough that it would not continuously overheat our small living space (it is specified for “up to 1,000 square feet”).  The instructions that came with it explicitly state in several places that it is not to be installed in mobile homes. Of course, we installed it in a mobile home.

The rationale for the prohibition is apparently twofold: The stoves that are OK to put in a mobile provide for getting their combustion air from outdoors, via a discrete duct and connection between the outdoors and the firebox. Those stoves are all pretty pricey; certainly a lot more expensive than ours.

The Frontiersman has no such provision, but our mobile has plenty of infiltration leaks, including forced-air heat ductwork that is uninsulated, cracked and separated in several places. I have plugged many of the heating vents, but not all, and I still can feel cool air leaking up from most of them. This is definitely not one of those airtight, super-insulated mobiles from the last few years.

It’s a bit more “vintage,” than that. It also has inadequate windows, some of which are cracked or broken, and all of which need to be replaced. They are another source of fresh air, whether we want it or not. I’m not too worried about using up my oxygen, in other words.

The other concern is that this mobile would burn like a cardboard box if a heat source got close enough to a wall. Well, that’s certainly a reasonable concern, and one I share.

To reduce our odds of becoming flaming human sacrifices to the gods of global warming, we put the stove on a ceramic tile floor. In the spirit of over-engineering with which I approach most projects, I put a layer of ¼-inch cement board down over the existing ceramic tiles, and cemented and grouted in another layer of ceramic tiles over that. I covered an area much larger than the one specified in the instructions that came with the stove, as well. A sandwich of ceramic tiles around cement board seemed reasonable to keep heat from the bottom of the stove away from the sub-floor. Ceramic tile is obviously resistant to fire, and “cement board” is fiber-reinforced concrete, with high flame-resistance characteristics and good insulation.

Stove platform detail -- existing tile, below, cement board (not visible), new tile on top

Platform covers more floor area than required; also serves as entryway

To keep the walls of our live-in cardboard box from burning, I put over-engineered, home-built heat shields on the wall behind the stove, and between the stove and the living room where any furniture might go. The rear heat shield consists of a layer of Hardiboard cement board, same as the platform, up more than four feet from the floor, completely covering the existing wall, and a sheet of roofing metal mounted on galvanized steel, “Unistrut” channels, and four vertical runs of ¾” metal conduit.

The sheet metal screws into the conduit, and the conduit is clamped against the Unistrut. The cement-board-covered wall surface is separated from the sheet metal by about a 3 & ¾-inch air space. The upper and side edges of the shield are supported with galvanized steel angle with two-inch legs, about 1/8-inch thick. The steel hardware between the sheet metal and the cement-board-covered wall is intended to be massive enough to dissipate heat from the sheet metal that might otherwise be conducted to the wall.

The Unistrut and two-inch angle were surplus, salvaged from an old antenna tower. The roofing sheet metal was a gift from our nephew, who had it left over from a chicken house project.

Cement board (L), air space (C) and sheet metal (R)

Unistrut detail, rear heat shield

The heat shield between the stove and the living room space is another piece of roofing metal, bolted to cement board, and supported by more, 2-inch angle.

Side heat shield, inner view

Side heat shield, outer view

Both heat shields, early in installation

This morning I over-fired the stove, in the process of learning its preferences, and the stove top got to just above 500 degrees F, which is hotter than it needs to be, but (based on experience with previous woodburners), is not dangerously high. I closed the damper completely, and watched the stove for about two hours. The stove and stove pipe never got hot enough to glow, even in low light, but I kept the fire extinguisher and cell phone handy, being something of a pessimist. The curing stove paint and chimney sealant set off the smoke detector a few times, which is a normal part of stove burn-in. Otherwise, it was a non-event. The stove soon cooled back into the efficient operating range, according to the thermometer.

At the peak of the heat, the sheet metal on the side shield was just a little too hot to touch; on the opposite side, the cement board was just warm. The rear shield, which has the air gap behind it, stayed cool enough to touch throughout, and the cement board on the wall behind it was only slightly warm. The drywall above the heat shield was slightly cool. As I said, the stove temperature dropped back into the normal operating range in about 45 minutes, and stayed there for about two hours, warming the place up enough I had to open a window and a door.

The connection between the stove and the world is single-wall chimney pipe from the top of the stove to the wall, where it connects to a Simpson Dura Plus through-the-wall chimney kit.

The Simpson kit is a very conservative design, consisting of triple-wall pipe, and a thimble (the transition from the single-wall to triple wall, and also the means of penetrating a wall made from flammable materials safely) that offers a lot of thermal isolation between the stack and the wall materials.

The inner wall of this pipe is stainless steel. It is wrapped in high-temperature insulation, and another layer of sheet metal, surrounded by an air space and another wall of pipe. The piece of this pipe that passes the exhaust through the wall thimble is 9 inches long. There is no, single-wall pipe inside the wall. It stops at the inside portion of the thimble, seen below. The single-wall pipe comes from the stove on the left, and seals and is screwed into the transition piece from the kit. From there, it connects to the triple-wall section, and then to the tee, seen in the exterior shot. By the way, the sealant around the outside of the thimble is high-temperature silicone caulk, made for this purpose by Rutland.

Inside portion of "thimble," showing sealing materials

The black material at the joints between the single-wall tubing sections, and between the tubing and thimble, is Rutland stove cement.

It is applied inside and out at each joint, and along the seams of the tubing.

Simpson tee connector, on outside wall. Note un-melted snow in braces and base

This connects outside to a “tee” section (above) that, like all the chimney parts from here up to the storm cap, is also triple-wall. This is an important part of a kit by Simpson made for putting a chimney through a structural wall safely. What would be the vertical leg of the tee, if it were oriented upright, connects to the through-the-wall segment. At the end of the downward-facing (as installed, now, not as a letter “T”) end of the tee is a stainless steel cap, which is secured with screws. This acts as a cleanout access, since there is a straight shot up the tee to the storm cap from there. A piece of galvanized sheet slides into the bottom of the tee support, and serves as a barrier between this cap and anything flammable enough to be a concern if it came into direct contact with the cap. The flange of this sheet is visible at the bottom of the tee assembly in the picture. A chimney brush on ten feet of Fiberglass rod sections will reach all the way to the storm cap from ground level, eliminating the need for a scary, vaudeville ladder act.

The triple-wall chimney keeps the exhaust hot all the way to the top, reducing the condensation that becomes creosote, and also provides maximum draft, which improves the efficiency of the stove.

The triple-wall actually penetrates the building wall, and it passes through the thimble, which provides more layers of sheet metal and air gap between the hot exhaust gases and the wall materials. A note on the picture of the tee installed: The snow seen at the bottom of the tee support – un-melted by running the stove for twelve hours or so — is a good indicator of how effective the insulation is in the triple-wall kit. If it won’t melt snow that close to the exhaust, it probably won’t set the wall on fire.

Triple-wall chimney, standing proudly

The triple-wall stack, seen above, consists of three, 36-inch sections atop the 12-inch leg of the Tee. These sections, by the way, use a “bayonet-style” connection that twist-locks in place, tightly mating all three walls, the insulation and the air space without needing sealant.

I did not trust the screw-in connections of the tee and lower mounting bracket to hold the stress imposed on it when the wind blows on the chimney. Not that the brackets didn’t look to be up to the job, but I wasn’t sure the wall would hold the lag bolts I used to fasten the lower supports. I used the second (also included in the kit) bracket as an anchor point for the guys seen above. Sloping toward the camera, into the lower, right-hand corner of the picture, is a section of ¾-inch electrical conduit, of the same type I used on the rear, interior heat shield.

The other end of the conduit is clamped to a piece of steel angle which is bolted to a porch rafter. This serves as a “dead-man” guy, since it is rigid, and would tend to prevent the chimney from tilting toward or away from the wall. The wire guys are galvanized guy wire that is plastic-coated, and threaded through the holes drilled in the bracket for screws. The wire guys are a little slack, because pulling them tight would only increase the stress downward on the chimney pipe, without a useful increase in support to either side.

Rigid, "dead-man" guy, clamped to porch roof at right

Storm cap/spark arrestor

Between the dead-man and the wires, the chimney is supported in four directions. Sure, a strong-enough wind would still blow the chimney over, but a strong-enough wind would blow the trailer over, too. That’s just a fact of life in tornado country, and I can live with it. My objective was to make the chimney reasonably secure in most conditions.

You will have noticed the top of this stack has a cap, called a storm cap. It keeps rain from falling directly into the chimney, and a wire screen around the opening is supposed to keep burning cinders large enough to start a fire from getting out, as well as birds and other creatures from getting in. This is not a frill or an optional accessory, and it is included in the kit. Like the Dura-Plus sections, it uses a twist-lock means of attachment.

Carbon Monoxide detector -- cheap protection against a silent killer

Besides the wood stove accessories I’ve already mentioned or shown in photos – fireplace tools, fire extinguishers, etc. — there is another one, and it is required: a Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector. A subtle defect in the stove or chimney could let CO leak into the living space, which could be deadly. This detector is inexpensive, and runs on batteries, which is important, since one of the times when such a stove would get the heaviest use is during a cold-weather power outage. Along with smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, no wood stove install is complete without at least one CO detector. CO is odorless, invisible, silent and an insidious threat. Don’t leave yourself, your family or your pets exposed to that risk.

The point of this article is to relate my adventure in wood stove installation. I hope you have been entertained, but have resisted the impulse to be informed, per the “IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE,” above. Should you undertake to install a wood stove in your death trap of a mobile home (and I’m not recommending that! God forbid!), I hope you will do it safely, and that you will experience the same “warm feeling” I have.

May you know that, even if Mom Nature and Uncle Sam get in the way of furnishing the outside sources of energy that keep you warm in good times, you will have the means to do it for yourself. Safely!

The Woodstove Channel -- My favorite program!

Smart Grid Paranoia

October 28, 2009

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Erica Lovley, (POLITICO.COM), 3/4/09Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus bill includes $4.5 billion in funding for the so-called Smart Grid, an ambitious plan to modernize the country’s electric grid that many Obama contributors are helping to shape.

Steve Holland, (Reuters) – ARCADIA, Fla., Oct 27President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced $3.4 billion in grants to help build a “smart” electric grid meant to trim utility bills, reduce blackouts and carry power generated by solar and wind energy.

Oh, don’t we feel good? The Obama administration is paying back GE, Google, IBM and Microsoft, among other evil corporations, for their support of Dear Leader’s presidential campaign. How? Why, they’re handing them a bag full of Scamulus Gigabucks to implement “Smart Grid,” the technology that is supposed to “modernize the country’s electrical grid.” What could be wrong with that?

See, our electrical grid has been patched and bandaged to keep it from repeating the sort of “cascading failure” that caused the Northeast Blackout of 2003, but much of the physical plant that makes up the electric power distribution system of the United States is old, obsolete, and subject to just such failures at any moment.

(Never mind that it is also terribly vulnerable to terrorist attack, either via the Internet or by any sufficiently insane country or extra-national entity with a few bucks to spend to loft a Scud from a freighter off the Atlantic coast, topped with a low-end nuclear warhead, and detonate said warhead a hundred miles above Washington or Baltimore, wiping out the whole system for months, or years. Never mind that.)

Why would the electric companies neglect their own infrastructure? Let me speculate: The big electric power companies are reluctant to put hundreds of millions of dollars of stockholders’ money into infrastructure improvements that will require a microscopic rectal examination by every regulatory agency and environmental group in North America to be sure that they don’t harm snails, owls and fish, or cause offense to favored ethnic groups, or allow career legislators to use them as punching bags when appealing to the aforementioned groups for campaign money.

And, these days, those greedy power company execs are probably wondering, “Is Obama going to nationalize us, the way he did the financial industry and the auto industry, and the way he wants to nationalize the health care industry? Will someone explain to us why we would want to sink money into improvements, when some Obama appointee may well wind up carving up our salaries and profit margins, or inventing regulations that make electricity so expensive no one can afford it?”

Well, now, simmer down. All this “Smart Grid” stuff is about is allowing the power company to reach into your house and instruct your dishwasher to run overnight, when power usage in your area is lower — your dishwasher, and any other appliance that has the right kind of microprocessor controller, and a connection to the Internet.  Never mind that you might want to set your own dishwasher’s timer to run later all by yourself, or that you have good reasons for wanting it done before bedtime.

Big deal, right? Oh, it may also allow Big Power to turn back the thermostat on your central heat system to 60 or so, on the next cold night, from your preferred 68. So, Global Warming takes the night off, and the house is a little chilly when you roll out of bed in the morning. So, it takes a while to get it back into a comfortable range, while you shiver in your bathrobe and sweats, in front of the coffee machine, waiting for it to receive permission from the Smart Grid to start perking. So what? We all have to make sacrifices, in this new world.

You’d like to warm up in the shower, but the electric water heater is still recovering from being put into “sleep” mode by Smart Grid, and it will be a while before there’s enough hot water to keep you from feeling like one of those Titanic passengers floating in the icy North Atlantic, waiting for Leonardo DiCaprio to shut up and drown.

You’d pass the time watching Fox News, but oddly, the new, microprocessor-controlled TV in the kitchen skips past Fox News and stops on MSNBC, and has been doing that for a while. You think about disconnecting the network line that connects that TV to the Internet, but (surely not!) the creepy tingle in your scalp may be less about the prospect of a cold shower, and more because the thought has wormed its way into your mind that someone has decided you are too easily influenced to be allowed to watch Fox News, and is using your power company connection to block it from your TV.

If you disconnect the network line from the TV, will somebody know, and just not allow it to power on, tomorrow morning? Fox News will just put dangerous ideas in your head, anyway. Might as well leave it connected, and do without Fox. That way, when your security system’s motion detectors indicate to Smart Grid that the kitchen is empty, it can turn the TV off, and save a few watt-hours. It saves you money, and allows the poor and unfortunate to use the power you would otherwise waste — or your self-righteous, vegan neighbor can use it to top off the charge in his little electric car.

So, what is there to be paranoid about? Sure, you flew that “Don’t Tread on Me” flag on September 12th, and you sent $20 via the Internet to that independent Congressional candidate that pledged to put the Constitution ahead of any desire for re-election, even though he wasn’t running in your district. A couple other people in your neighborhood did, and, in fact, your congressional district didn’t go for Obama in ’07.

Wait a minute… I wonder if it ever occurs to the Obama Administration to tweak the Smart Grid to favor “blue states” over “red states?” Once you have the power over power, the possibilities are endless. As I wrote a while back:

Once you have a stranglehold on the generation and use of energy, you have a stranglehold on people.  Let’s just suppose that, on this sub-zero night over a large swath of the United States, the feds decide to provide a little object lesson about how the Constitution is no longer a limit on government power.  It would be a little brazen for President for Life Obama to instruct everyone to hold his or her breath for a few minutes, just to get an idea of what it would be like to be prohibited from emitting the bad pollutant CO2.  Might be a little hard to enforce, too, at this early stage in the Administration.

No, let’s just “accidentally” turn off the power to some states that didn’t go “blue” in the last election, but they’re going “blue” now, from sub-zero temperatures.  Not for long; just for a few hours — say, overnight…the first time, anyway.  Maybe, they will be offered some half-hearted explanation about a squirrel getting into the transformer, and the dang computers shut everything down, dumb computers, or Christian fundamentalist  terrorists, or something.  But don’t try too hard to be convincing, because the point is to make a subtle threat.

See?  If you don’t play by the new rules, will the Constitution keep you warm?  (Maybe you could burn your copy of the Bill of Rights on the kitchen table.  That’ll last a minute or two.)  Yes, your wood stove may tide you over for a few days without power, but a passing car carrying a government official might just see smoke coming from the chimney.  A DEA helicopter might be scanning in the infrared for indoor hydroponic pot farms, and see the heat coming from your fire.  Whoa, we can’t have that, can we? Spewing CO2 out into the publicly-owned air, melting glaciers and drowning polar bears? Tsk.

No, that would never happen. Sure, Obama said before the election he was about to “transform” our country. Sure, he keeps hiring people to important posts who profess an affection for socialism and even communism, and for mass murderers like Mao tse-tung. But surely, they have no intention of making those quirky political views into policy, right?

I’m just being paranoid. Right? Hey! Who turned off the lights?

GUN CONTROL IS PEOPLE CONTROL

August 7, 2009

This post started with some musings triggered by reading a couple of the densely-written and informative newsletters I just got as a result of joining Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (www.jpfo.org). JPFO is easily the most no-nonsense gun rights organization out there, with the possible exception of Gun Owners of America (gunowners.com), which I also respect very much. NRA has gotten fat and lazy, in my less-than-humble opinion, and has a bit too much in common with the compromisers and careerists in the Republican Party.

That aside, a slogan that may well have originated elsewhere started ringing in my head as I read the JPFO articles: GUN CONTROL IS PEOPLE CONTROL. Control, as Jews who have not succeeded in forgetting their history know, is a prerequisite to subjugation and annihilation, and a people must be disarmed to be subjugated.

Any government that wants to abridge inalienable rights, regardless of the excuse given, wants control over people. That is the nature of government. Any government that is allowed to control you will do so. I’m not just talking about banana republic dictatorships, or the Russian and Chinese super-states. The United States government is no exception. Your city or county government is no exception.

When the dumbed-down, subsidized, emasculated, rootless, amoral, dependents constitute the majority, facts and principles will no longer matter. When that critical mass is reached, perception REALLY WILL BE reality, because there will be not be enough, free people left with a voice and a rational mind that are willing or able to speak out against the lies and propaganda – the “perceptions” peddled to us by government and the compliant, government-approved media.

If the government and media can cause you to be perceived as a slave, expect to be treated like one. If you can be perceived as prey, expect to be set upon by predators. If you can be perceived as meat on the hoof, expect to be treated like somebody’s cattle. It’s just that brutally simple.

It’s time for the defenders of gun rights to stand with other advocates of “inalienable” rights – speech, press, religion, redress of grievances, property, trial by jury, due process, etc. — and to realize that the loss of any of these rights is a loss of freedom  for all of us.

A 75% turnover in the US House in 2010, tossing out incumbents, regardless of party, would be, as the joke about lawyers goes, “a good start.” All of the US Senate incumbents should fall. Only a third of the sloths in this little club of self-important buffoons is up for election every two years, but that, too, would be a good start.

This administration, with far too much groundwork laid by the Bushes and Clintons, is out to “transform” our country – into a socialist state.

In this “transformed” America, we will be allowed to vote on things that don’t matter any more than who will be kicked off the latest “reality” show, so we can claim to live in a “democracy.” The Founders intended to leave us a republic governed by laws that limited government and maximized liberty, but never mind that historical curiosity.

Meanwhile, the real, life-and-death decisions will be made by invisible, unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats. When the pretense of democracy is no longer useful, it will be abandoned, and we will have reached the last stage of the evolution of socialism: communist dictatorship.

Remember! The “transformation” of the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich was entirely democratic and legal, right up until the Reichstag Fire, when the Nazis bluffed their way into a state of emergency, and got what they really wanted: the suspension of all rights, and the acquisition of total power over the German people. The phrase, “Round up all the usual suspects!” suddenly took on real and ominous meaning for everyone not currently in favor with the Nazis.

In the unlikely event that a huge majority of incumbents can be booted from office in 2010, we still have the immense, unelected federal bureaucracy and the Obama administration and its “Czars” to deal with, so the country will still be far from secure.

The battle will only have begun, and we will enter the very dangerous period in which a regime historically has felt itself threatened, and thus becomes the most desperate of cornered animals.

That’s when things really get interesting.

Begging for Money, and Pretending to Care What Conservatives Think — The Latest RNC “Republican Party Census Document”

July 30, 2009

I’d like to thank the Republican National Committee for inspiring this post.

Yes, I got another of their “surveys,” today. They must not pay much attention to the ones people send back unless they also contain a donation, which mine have not for about a decade.

Just so the RNC knows I’m not just spouting off on somebody else’s “census,” here’s my survey’s special, secret registration number:

051680-790130

509576472

I’d give you my individually-issued “Voter District Code,” but I’d have to kill you.

I can only stand to plod through a few representative questions, because so many of them are focused on the trivial, while ignoring the monstrous. My replies, all of which go well beyond the largely meaningless “yes” or “no” options, follow each question.

Now, on to the “census document”!

ECONOMIC ISSUES

1) Should we unite as a party to oppose President Obama’s huge tax increase on the American people, particularly the new tax on dividends, capital gains and small businesses?

As much as I would like to help out those who receive dividends, et al, I am really more concerned about the free-fall path to a socialist dictatorship the Republican “leadership” has offered to Obama, by lying down and letting him and the Democrats walk over them like a cheap doormat.

This passive acceptance of socialism and wholesale violation of the Constitution (heard of it, Republicans?) got a real boost under “your” President, George W. Bush, and would have continued under McCain.

Remember the Bush prescription drug welfare program – up to then, the biggest single expansion of government spending since LBJ? Remember “No Child Left Behind,” taking an already-invalid public education system and saddling it with a huge backpack full of federal mandates and no way to pay for them? Gross negligence on securing our national borders? Micromanaging (and largely handcuffing) the military in Iraq and elsewhere? And, as a last hurrah, how about that financial sector bailout, courtesy of George W. Bush, the “compassionate conservative?”

With that for recent history, who could be surprised that Republicans in Congress have rolled over and let Obama put the wholesale government violations of the Constitution into overdrive? Has it escaped your notice, RNC,  that Obama has nationalized two auto manufacturers, and appointed 30-some “czars” – unconstitutional, unaccountable, un-vetted and unqualified in any respect other than as cronies of The One — to run nearly every aspect, of our economy and personal lives?  Why haven’t you Republicans walked out of Congress in protest, and gathered en masse on the Capitol steps to declare you would be no part of such an outrage? If you did, I missed it. The last time you showed that much backbone was during the “Drill here, drill now” campaign, which was encouraging, but oh, so brief.

DOMESTIC ISSUES

Is the Republican National Committee so morally bankrupt, cowardly, so self-serving and/or so terminally stupid that it needs to be TOLD to oppose illegal immigration, “card check,” trial lawyer welfare, a taxpayer-funded, Obama-worshiping  corps of  brainwashed, brownshirt thugs, and the “fairness doctrine” censorship program for all media, including the Internet?

Okay, that isn’t an actual question, but it should have been. Unfortunately, the short answer is, “Yes.” Over the last hundred years, it has become obvious that Republicans include a large contingent of progressives who share Woodrow Wilson’s and Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s goal of weakening the United States and its fundamental principles to the point of irrelevance, so that it can be absorbed into a transnational government.

From Theodore Roosevelt right through John McCain, Republican “leaders” have been leading us over a cliff into subservience to the UN or its equivalent, by promoting a politically-driven court system, an irrelevant, emasculated legislative branch, and real power concentrated in an enormous, unelected bureaucracy.

At least, Obama was honest when he told a campaign audience in Missouri, days before the election, that he was going to “transform this country.” That is just what he is doing. He is making more of what the progressives call “progress” toward transforming the United States of America into a post-Constitution, socialist pseudo-democracy in months, on its way to becoming a communist dictatorship, than his most ambitious predecessors made in nearly a century.

The Republicans, meanwhile, grouse and pout about his methods, and wonder what will be left of the multinational corporations to which they have traded their souls for cushy lobbying jobs after they earn their cushy Congressional retirements. Will the big bucks still be there by the time they resign, or Congress is dissolved by executive order, or they are voted out of office by a contingent of ACORN thugs and illegal aliens, or…

FAMILY AND SOCIAL ISSUES

[Let me paraphrase and condense, for brevity]: Should Republicans allow Obama, Reid and Pelosi to pack the supreme court with liberal sock puppets, force taxpayers to finance abortions overseas, and allow partial birth abortion at home?

Sure, why not? Isn’t that what Republicans would have done if John McCain had accidentally won the election? And the loyal Republican base would be looking around, befuddled, wondering how this happened, and who is to blame.

HOMELAND SECURITY ISSUES

Are you (the former Republican voter, in my case) in favor of gutting the Patriot Act, and other […] laws that promote the safety and security of all Americans, blah, blah, blah?

Does it matter? We conservatives and Constitutionalists were in favor of a border fence, and it hasn’t been built. We still have the most porous border of any supposedly sovereign nation on earth, with thousands of illegals every week, including criminals and terrorists, pouring across like a continuous tidal wave.

Our Border Patrol agents are afraid to pick a place to go to lunch without the advice of an attorney, for fear of being blindsided by their administrators, or an Obama political operative. Bush gave them the back of his hand, as well. Ask former agents Ramos and Compean. Where was the RNC during that outrage?

We were adamantly and vocally opposed to laws that would allow illegal immigrants to stay and flourish on the taxpayers’ dime, and the titular leader of the Republicans was and is still promoting such laws.

Our troops are similarly hamstrung by stupid and self-defeating Defense Department policies, but the Obama administration is considering bringing the troops home to keep us in line, in the event of an emergency. What do you want to bet the civil rights hacks and community activists will be nowhere to be found when the troops get orders to bang on our doors and confiscate privately-owned firearms in some real, or ginned-up, national emergency?

Or, will that be left to Obama’s brownshirts, trained in “summer camps” at taxpayers’ expense to go out and throw their weight around, while the Republican Congressional leadership makes Elmer Fudd noises about being “vewy, vewy careful” with the civil rights of unfavored classes?

Are you in favor of air strikes against nations that harbor terrorists, and space-based missile defense?

Will any defense system ever get out of Congress without political and international law restraints so tight as to render it useless? Will Republicans care enough to do anything beyond casting safe, timid votes, and shrugging their shoulders in resignation when the Democrats bury them under procedural maneuvers? Will the Obama administration ever sign off on any air strike that doesn’t take out Israel or Taiwan? Not before consulting with Iran, Venezuela and Cuba, certainly. In other words, all questions about defense policy are moot.

FINALLY, THE INEVITABLE APPEAL FOR MONEY

I would go on, but I can’t stand it anymore. Besides, about all that’s left is the appeal for money, which was the point of the mailing in the first place. If I can’t give them $500, how about giving them $250? Hah.

Their last stand is, “However, I have enclosed $12 to cover the cost of tabulating my survey.” Shoot, if they can’t tabulate a stinking survey for a lot less than $12, they’re no better qualified to govern than the Democrats. But, we already knew that, didn’t we?

Besides, they’ll ignore the results and go with the path of least resistance anyway, so, what’s the point? I’d rather set a pile of money on fire, or spend it on a much more worthwhile cause, like buying somebody a copy of The 5000 Year Leap.

I’d buy the RNC a clue, but, talk about a waste of time and money….

Hey, Glenn Beck: Is There a “Reichstag Fire” in Our Future?

July 23, 2009

I’m a reasonably faithful Glenn Beck Program listener, or, as you call us, a “sick, twisted freak.” There are many reasons why I became a member of your audience. In addition to being informative and thought provoking, you are often funny – LMAO, ROTFL funny. When you and your crew get a bit silly, the humor flows freely, and I love it.

I really appreciate you recommendation of The 5000 Year Leap as reading material, and I am about finished with my first pass through your modernized adaptation of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.

I am currently preoccupied with one of the recurring themes of your program (at least the radio show, which I listen to on XM radio) that isn’t laughable. It is obvious that it is very important to you to discourage your listeners from any impulse to gather up the “pitchforks and torches” and descend upon the castle, demanding that the authorities hand over the monster. I understand it’s your way of admonishing us not to follow the example of Timothy McVeigh.

I take your point. One of many things I am not is a trained soldier. Another thing I am not is a cold-blooded murderer. McVeigh was both, and I do not regret his execution. I do regret that we did not have more time to interrogate him as to his accomplices, other than Terry Nichols. Did he have ties to Iraqi intelligence, as alleged by Jayna Davis in The Third Terrorist? Was his hatred of the US government his only motivation, or were there others? We may find out some day, but not from McVeigh. I agree with the quote from you I found on her Website, that we need a 9/11-style Commission on the Oklahoma City bombing.

Anyway, Glenn, I repeat: I take your point. I have not been recruited into revolutionary violence by Glenn Beck, or anyone else. I do not feel on the verge of becoming a serial killer, a guerrilla, a bandito, or a freedom fighter toting RPGs and EIDs.

Morality apart, you explain your practical opposition to “taking up arms”: it will give the Obama administration, sinking in the polls and facing disenchantment among the gullible, and new skepticism from unexpected directions, including among former friends – a pretext to leap right over the intermediate stage of socialism/corporate fascism, right into a dictatorship that has much more in common with the last century’s grand utopian experiments than with anything good that “hope and change” could bring about.

It is not just a very great leap from a “mandatory voluntary” Obama Youth Corps, the nationalization of health care and the giants of the auto and financial industries (except for a few close friends and generous campaign contributors), to the wholesale and explicit, rather than piecemeal and implicit, suspension of the Constitution – and to martial law.

The magnificent socialist utopian experiments of the 1900s killed more people and wasted more wealth and resources in a single century than all the socio-political systems tried in all the rest of recorded history (with the possible exception of the first thousand years of political Islam – accurate stats on that are hard to come by). There is no reason to believe that this latest bunch of unaccountable, self-righteous, arrogant ideologues would do any less damage than their failed predecessors.

That would not keep them from trying, of course.

But, Glenn, what makes you think an armed uprising among some serious believers on the right would be necessary to provide the pretext for dictatorship? Have you not read about the Reichstag Fire? One man could do it.

A lone Dutchman, Marinus van der Lubbe, was caught at the scene of the Reichstag fire, confessed, and described in detail his procedure for spreading fire in the old structure. British intelligence agent Denis Sefton Delmer, who wrote that he was on the scene at that fire in 1933, reports his conclusion that van der Lubbe was plausibly the lone arsonist responsible for the destruction of the historic German parliament building. Delmer says senior fire investigators reenacted the attack following van der Lubber’s detailed account, and found that one man could have quite easily done the deed. Other evidence gathered after the fire tended to support the “lone arsonist” theory.

The truth became less and less important, even before the smoke cleared. The Nazis pounced on the event to accuse the Communists of committing the attack as the signal to begin a concerted, premeditated terror campaign, including “dynamiting, incendiarism and mass murder” all over the country.

The Soviet Communists fabricated and spread legends to convince the public that in the immediate aftermath of the fire, the building had been found to be crawling with Nazi Stormtroopers, who were supposed to have spread the fire so quickly, and, implausibly, hung around to watch it burn. Delmer, under his cover as a reporter in that period before open conflict between Britain and Germany, asserts that he entered the building in the wake of Hitler and his entourage as soon as the fire was under control, and that there were no Stormtroopers in evidence.

None of the Communists’ efforts to capitalize on  the event  mattered, either, because Hitler and Goering, his adroit propaganda minister, successfully used the event to persuade the Germans to give the Nazis extraordinary authority over them — only for the duration of the emergency, of course – which his party used to round up the Communists and any other opposing political leadership, and to curtail free speech and opposition political activity nation-wide.

Hitler only had to invoke the Germans’ historic animosity toward Russia to justify his “conclusion” that the Soviet Communist political apparatus was on the verge of attempting a coup d’état. That van der Lubbe was a different brand of Communist – one with lasting hostility toward the Soviets – mattered not at all. The Germans reacted by allowing Hitler to stage his own coup d’état, without firing a shot. The Third Reich, and the War of Revenge, The Great Patriotic War, or World War II — depending on the version of history by which you choose to describe it – followed shortly.

History, as is often repeated, has a way of repeating itself. If the history presented by Mr. Delmer is accurate, one man, a small cadre, a group of government agents or, say, some “community organizers” could light the American Reichstag Fire, if the benefits seem to outweigh the risks, or – just for a bit of evil fun. The key factor in the succession of events isn’t the exact nature of the initial act, but the reaction to it by authority, and the willingness of the media to question or swallow the “official” explanation that best fits the political agenda.

With people such as Rahm Emanuel in positions of influence in the Obama White House, it’s unlikely that Emanuel’s maxim that, “[y]ou never want a serious crisis to go to waste” would be ignored for long.

All it takes is a crisis – real, imagined or staged. Is our Reichstag Fire smoldering at this moment?

Does it even have to be a “manmade disaster? Nope. How about a natural one that affects most of the country, like a New Madrid earthquake that crumbles every bridge over the Mississippi, or a huge solar flare that wipes out the national electrical infrastructure? Neither event would be unprecedented. Nature has served this continent both dishes before.

And, if nature won’t step up and provide a “serious crisis,” how about the Iranians, with their “peaceful” nuclear power, that, for some reason, requires the parallel development of Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs)? Those wacky, nuclear North Koreans can’t be counted out, either.

If so, Glenn, then what? You, Rush and Sean will disappear from the airwaves, and we sick, twisted freaks will be on our own. It forces one to think the unthinkable, doesn’t it?