sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia

a fictional short


I had to run into the house because the sky screamed at me unrelentingly until I did. The silence that surrounded me once I pulled the door closed with a bang, brought relief that I can only describe as nearly orgasmic in its intensity. I felt embraced by the walls, by the absence of breeze, by windows with heavy black felt drapes blocking out the light from the sun. The panic brought on by the light and space had been suddenly replaced by the dim glow from a coal oil lamp surrounded by gentle blackness.

The smell of freshly mowed grass, pesticide and tar from the public road crew truck that faithfully repaired the pot holes from winter's depredations, came into the house with me.

You're here. I know I told you that I leave the place unlocked but I didn't know that you'd just saunter in. Good enough. No, don't apologize, I offered. Your English is pretty good. I guess good enough to land you a job with the Gazette, huh?

In every neighborhood there is the legend of a crazy person who lives in a home, likely haunted by a restless poltergeist. That's me. I'm the guy. But I don't live in this gothic manse by myself.

You'll know my housekeeper when you see her. She has slight, narrow shoulders, a modest bosom and hips that some people would call, 'child bearing', but she had no children that I've heard of. Certainly there were none who accompanied her to the America from the old country. She has a sharp chin, a broad forehead and a small, mean-spirited Irish mouth. She wears her hair bobbed, the way that a chore woman normally does, except that it has the colors of the evening sky, gold, orange and red all at the same time.

Then there is Carlos, but don't mind that he's a Mexican. He's not one of those types that carries a knife and is quick to use it. He doesn't talk much, so don't worry. He's not always around and if he does say anything you won't be able to hear him. He only speaks to and through me, in English.

I ordered a wife by mail from Bohemia, or someplace near Bohemia, through the service advertised in the Montgomery Ward's catalog. To get her here, I had to pay her way over by steam ship. I think that she had higher expectations in the way of a mate than I could offer. It is 1904 and the American modern age may not have been to her taste.

Or maybe my habits put her off? I gave her a purse and sent her on her way. Maybe that's all she wanted in the first place.

During the mine accident, the roof gave way. The prospect of death sometimes creates an interlude when time stops. I saw a portrait of what my life should be like rather than what it is. I resolved to acquire a wife, but there were no women of the marrying sort in hard rock mining camps. The women in Philadelphia of a marriageable age don't find me appealing. Thus the resort to mail-order.  It happened while I eased myself out to the morning shed to do my business and as I sat there, thumbing through the catalog, half of which remained, I found the advertisement.

I went West broke as a church mouse. Then I left the far West and moved to the Atlantic seaboard. A degree of coarseness followed with me from the mining camps. The good people of Philadelphia defer to my eccentric nature because I came east with wagons of gold, bankers, lawyers, managers a majordomo, a wine steward named France-wah, a gentleman's gentleman named Luther, and all that the entourage meant to the burghers of The City of Brotherly Love.

If you have money, you need all of these people surrounding you - or so they told me. I even had a gunman named Mike Heidt, who planted two Italians who needed killing on my behalf. They're all gone now that I'm settled. Just the house keeper to keep me company now. And you for the short time we have together.

Really, you want to hear more about the mine cave-in, which was called a disaster, but not by me? It was in the papers. Why don't you just read about it there? Some dime store novelist even wrote a monograph on the subject. Ah, you're too lazy to do that. Shoulda figured.

There's not much else to tell but what they told. Twas east of Bridgeport on the eastern slope of Potato Peak, which makes it the western slope of Bodie Mountain in that saddle that connects them that we staked our claim. There had been some prospecting in Rough Creek, but it didn't look promising and the panners, dredgers and sluicers didn't stay. We bought two claims laid by the same gentleman by bartering a wagon and an old mule for them. Such was the value placed on that slope. No gold had come from it. We had different thoughts on the matter.

Carlos, the Mexican I referred to earlier wasn't around in those days. The Potato Peak Mining Company consisted of yours truly, Frederick Haskel, a cantankerous bastard who cultivated a nasty bristle beard who continually reminded me he was my uncle and Marsh Simpson, who was not related to either of us.

I've forgotten my manors. Can I get you a drink? The housekeeper stocks damned near an entire liquor store?

Sweet tea? Yeah, we have some of that in the ice box. I even have an ice block. I'll chip some of it off and put it in your drink. It is hot in here, but I can't tolerate breeze so I lock the place down.

How's the tea? I forgot for a moment that you're Chinee and that your race is plum fond of tea.

           'Good.'

Back to telling you what you came here to write about. The mine disaster. We found a small vein of quartz with gold running through it. When I say small, it was damned small,  but we followed it down. We barrowed the ore down hill to the Masonic Road and loaded it on a rock wagon. From there, the trip to the stamping mill in Bodie is only three miles or maybe a scosh under. There are miners who have to take their ore a hundred miles over rough freighting roads to get it stamped, and we only had to go that short distance.  Marsh took some of the profits and hired three Chinese to help with the digging. We could have afforded more than three, but Marsh is cheap and as he continually reminded me, it doubled the work force.

Why don't we go down into the basement? I have something to show you.  I can talk while I walk. We burrowed down, blasted, collected, sorted ore bearing from feldspar and blasted again. Marsh felt that shoring wasn't as necessary as he should have and in the end it killed him, killed the Chinee and Uncle Frederick. We'd just finished a vent hole so we could breathe down there and we'd turned to the face. We were all working the face, boring to place dynamite in it and blast again when the roof came down. That's when Carlos showed up. Twere his ideas that got me out of the glory hole so that others could go to work for me and make me richer than Croesus.

Light a candle for yourself and mind your step. These wood stairs get slippery.

So there I was, still alive. Trapped but living. And when the dust cleared, I could see with my carbide lamp that behind that roof was a vein of quartz and gold six inches wide. There was air. There was always water in the mine and I had a lot of digging ahead of me to get myself out.

No, the close quarters didn't bother me anymore than being down here in the basement of this mansion. It feels more like a womb, same with the mine. I got used to it.  And I had Carlos for company, cracking jokes and making suggestions.

You're right there. A man has to eat.

Marsh and Uncle Frederic were entombed, but two of them Chinee weren't and I needed the sustenance to dig my way out. I came away with two things. A love of enclosed spaces and a fond taste for raw Chinee, even though the last one had turned before I got all the way out.

Twas Carlos who picked you, not me, cause you're fat and soft, not tough like them others.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Retrospection

In this retrospective and introspective season, I thought that it might be useful to share a bit, with a moral to the story.

LL with scoped .22 rifle (age 7)
Growing up in the country there were many little part-time/occasional jobs that kids took. There were other more permanent jobs. Young people today don't seem to have the industry, but then again if we didn't work, we didn't have money. In the epoch of income redistribution, it seems that there is much more trickle-down income for youth.

I lived with retired grandparents who didn't have much. So I learned to do much as the rest of the community did. My grandfather made custom firearms and did a healthy trade. He was dying of cancer and it took him a long time to die because he was tough. Rifles were his part-time job.

Occasional Income

* Soda bottle redemption value. When I was too young for regular employment. We would find them by the side of the road mostly, and if you wanted to buy a bottle of Coke, you had to have sufficient in redemption value to make the purchase. And lest you think that I was the only one, I wasn't. The competition was fierce. At night we caught night crawlers (fishing worms) and sold them. There was a sign on the fence near my driveway that I made. Twenty-five cents per dozen. I did a brisk business while the ground wasn't frozen.

* Sheep and cattle docking/branding - spring

* Turkey catcher (horrible job) - late September.

* Family livestock (horses, Jersey cow - milker, occasional calf being grown for slaughter later) and weeding the family garden. We ate what we grew. - constant demand

* Hay hauling - summer

* Cowboy - two summers

* Root cellar digger - I kept a steady business all year but count it as occasional income.

* Mowing Lawns - The pay was so miserly (we said 'niggardly') back in the days, that I did it when I couldn't find other work.

* Loading Ammunition - Custom loading peaked on the eve of deer season, which meant that evenings were spent loading from August through October.

* Lifeguard at the municipal pool - summer job

* Great West Range and Experiment Station, US Bureau of Land Management - summer job

* Clean the local doctor's office (part-time but lasted for 5 years) after school.

Most of these jobs paid very little, but they paid. The best paying was "turkey catcher" because it was the worst, and they had a difficult time finding people who would do the work. The jobs put money in my pocket and I could buy clothes*, and when I reached 15 and started driving, gasoline. Beginning in Jr. High, we had to buy our own text books at school. It wasn't so bad unless we couldn't re-sell because a teacher moved on to a newer book.
*The poor kids who couldn't buy clothes scavenged at the city dump. It became an issue when richer kids identified the clothing that they'd thrown out. It was particularly hard on girls. Poor people didn't throw away fabric. It ended up on quilts.
Living and working in the country made us strong. The physical strength would come into play later in life and would be an enduring legacy to hard work as a young man. When I worked for the government, later in life, there were strict restrictions on outside employment. I always found that difficult, because as a young man, balancing three or four (smaller) jobs was normal. At night I loaded ammunition on my RCBS press. I bought the press, I bought the components, I factored in my labor and I made a healthy profit. Everyone had night jobs while sitting by the fire or TV. Many young ladies quilted because there was an ongoing demand. Others knitted or crocheted.  Today they watch the Kardashians and dream of being rich parasites.

I recall one rich kid, spoiled, nice looking. His father grieved because he was a complainer and lay-about. He had the kid fill lists for sheep herders and take them food. The kid stole from the herders. He turned out to be as an adult who he was as a young man. A carbuncle on the ass of society. No surprise there. He'd fit in comfortably with the Occupy Wall Street crowd. 

There were rich people (small minority) where I grew up in the Intermountain West but not that many poor people. The reason why is clear when you consider that everyone seemed to work and have many jobs. They figured it out. 

ROK EOD/UDT/SEAL qual badge
When I grew up, joined the US Navy and was assigned briefly to Commander Naval Forces Korea, working with ROK Squadron 56 (ROK EOD/UDT) in Chinhae and ROK 707th Special Mission Btn, I spent some time on walk-about in Korea. In Korea, every single family had a night job. Walking through a Korean neighborhood at night reminded me of walking through mine back home where everyone seemed to have work to do. 

Korean officers and chiefs invited me to their homes from time to time. In the Korean context, it's one of those things where the men are left on one side of the Chinese wall in the one-room house and the women and children were on the other side, working.

Welfare, where I grew up, was a shameful thing. It was a scarlet letter, and a thing to be avoided unless starvation was imminent. There were people on welfare, but everyone knew who they were and their characters were weighed in the balance by the community at large. You never saw them working at night, catching turkeys, hauling hay or digging root cellars.

Times have changed. 

I am a dinosaur.

Modern youth doesn't understand me. My day has passed.

In America, the government prints $18 trillion without much of a second thought. The culture is money for nothing and chicks for free. How is that working out for us?




Monday, December 28, 2015

Compendium (looking ahead to 2016)


ONE MORE YEAR

"All is lost when a man’s first vice is a delusion of infallibility. 

"All other vices will then cascade through their lives, and they will be forced by the resultant cacophony to jam their fingers ever more forcefully into their ears. 

"Wise people realize the limits of their own knowledge and accept that new arguments must be confronted or compel a change of opinion. Fools have all the answers and brook no new questions." -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac

You don't have to be the "Great Karnak" to foresee that there will be a lot of political blogging in 2016.

TOYS

The difference between men and boys is definitely the price of their toys. And just when you think that you have all of the material goods worth acquiring, something else catches your eye. Bloggers, I am not asking for permission or forgiveness.

WORK

When you are generally self employed, there is no telling what will come through the door. Looking ahead to 2016, there is the inevitable return to working in Mexico. I feel like Al Pacino's character in the Godfather. Just when you think you're out, they pull you back in. I'm sanguine about it all, but it's a reality and the wheels are in motion to drag me back into the hell that is Mexico.

Don't get me wrong. I like Mexican people and I love Mexican cuisine, but working in Mexico with all that brings is not pleasant. But it pays the bills.

There is talk of re-starting my failed UAV/Drone start up company. The company didn't fail because of the potential or because of the technology, but because of two very dysfunctional folks who monkey-wrenched the program unwittingly. I'm cautious about dipping my toe back into that pond.

And then there is Texas (IBM/UNT). No doubt I'll be back in Texas - which means also Norway and the Faroe Islands. I do like Norway but haven't cultivated a taste for lutefisk yet. A lot of that comes down to simple budgeting and re-budgeting. Profit/Loss projections, etc. Being self-employed means that time=money. Bureaucrats working for public institutions and even large private concerns don't always appreciate that equation.

I'm not complaining. Just contemplating.

FRIENDSHIP

Auld Lang Syne is a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and later set to the tune of a traditional folk song. The song's title may be translated into Standard English as "old long since” or more idiomatically, "long long ago", "days gone by" or "old time’s sake". The song begins by posing a rhetorical question as to whether it is right that old times be forgotten, and is generally interpreted as a call to remember long-standing friendships.





Sunday, December 27, 2015

Hillary's Long March


The coronation of Hillary Clinton is of prime concern to the Democratic Party's handlers and mandarins. They made the decision to hide her until she can become the Party/Political Labor Union's nominee. The mainstream media, which serves the Democratic National Committee, is acquiescent in this.

The question is whether or not this will better prepare her for what she will face in the ordeal of running for President as a candidate.  Will the thick glasses that she wore after her organic brain injury in 2012 return along with the lank, unwashed hair that we became familiar with, or will the coifed efforts of the staff continue as she personally deteriorates? 

There is monumental pressure which comes with not knowing when or if the FBI will refer her case to the US Attorney, thus derailing all of the plotting and skulduggery. How does that impact her daily life?

Then there is Bill, endless philandering, and her preference for female sexual company. Would an opponent mention that in response to her attacks? Can she survive the repost? The media will shield her to the extent possible, but even they may find that they have some limits - brought on by the hated, unrelenting and highly watched FOX News cable cycle.

I wonder whether or not Donald Trump will excuse her from the lectern in debates, or whether she will have to content herself with dumping into her 'depends'? 



Saturday, December 26, 2015

Star Wars Saturday


Besides cleaning up the mess from Christmas (or if you're in Britain, today you can open the boxes that Father Christmas brought yesterday).....

Today is also a good day to join the throng of people who are going to watch Star Wars. If you haven't seen the popular and immensely profitable Episode Seven, here are a few hints.

The new Darth Vader is far less competent than the old Darth Vader. I don't know why that is, but it is. He almost looks 'retarded'. I know that's not a politically correct term, but that is my impression and I have to run with it. Maybe 'developmentally disabled' is better for those haters out there who will take exception with my characterization.

The new evil general is something like eighteen years old...and doesn't seem nearly as wicked as what we have become accustomed to. I don't get it, but I'm sure that all will be revealed in coming episodes in the ongoing struggle between good and evil!

It's a new galactic empire but all of their toys look the same with an even larger Death Star complete with cannon. In fact, it's almost a cut and paste remake.

The new person, strong in the force, is Daisy Ridley, who is much better looking than Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), who at age 64, didn't age all that well. 

If characters weren't killed off in the previous six episodes of Star Wars, they're back in this, the seventh incarnation of tales from long ago in a far away galaxy.

The cast includes Carie Fischer/Princess Leia Organa (pictured with young Mark Hamill, left), who married Harrison Ford/Han Solo, and together had a son who disappoints them in the film.

Then there is Finn, a black guy who decided not to be a storm trooper anymore, who is curiously attracted to Daisy Ridley, but who I hope is not her brother in some strange, twisted, Starwarzian way. Call me old fashioned because I am. 

But maybe they are brother and sister because neither knew their true parents and with Star Wars, history repeats - A LOT. When you see the film, you'll get my point and I don't think that I'm spoiling anything.



Friday, December 25, 2015

Stocking Stuffer





The G2 RIP Ammunition in .45 ACP is solid copper. It creates a significant wound cavity with several wound channels as the bullet fragments within the target. Based on what I've been told, they don't do as well on auto windshields, etc. as extreme penetration ammo, but that's not what they're for. They are designed to damage flesh and bone, not to punch through walls to damage people beyond. 


Santa loves me.

Joy to the World

For your Christmas entertainment, first a combined British Army Band flash mob. It will remind LSP of his days under the standard in the Royal Army, wearing his red coat and his helmet with a spike on top. Jules walks through the mall in England and this is what she hears at Christmas time. No big deal for her.


The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum is some place that I can spend an entire day in and just not get enough. The US Air Force Band and Singing Sergeants did a flash mob there (originally posted on this blog) in 2013. This is a reprise of that for those of you who are skimming the net today on Christmas, the most auspicious of days.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

It's now Christmas Eve and the world has stopped for a moment as we gather with those we love, call them on the phone or have plans to celebrate, each in our own way. 

A celebration of peace on Earth and good will to all is something to be extended past the Christmas holiday, but it is unlikely. Even so, the moment can be cherished and embraced as if it will never end. Whether you go to church, to grandma's house or both, I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.

And since there's nothing more important than family, I'll share some photos of my grandkids.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Ancients, Astronomy, and the Christmas Star


There is a considerable body of evidence that suggests that "the ancients" were significantly advanced in both mathematics and astronomy even though they lacked the tools that we have to aid and verify our observations.

The Ancient Egyptian papyrus Cairo 86637 calendar is the oldest preserved historical document of naked eye observations of a variable star, the eclipsing binary Algol -- a manifestation of Horus, a god and a king. This calendar contains lucky or unlucky prognoses for each day of one year. Researchers have performed a statistical analysis of the Cairo Calendar mythological texts.

The Egyptian analysis of the day revealed that the periods of Algol (2.85 days) and the Moon (29.6 days) strongly regulate the actions of deities in this calendar.
Lauri Jetsu, Sebastian Porceddu. Shifting Milestones of Natural Sciences: The Ancient Egyptian Discovery of Algol’s Period Confirmed. PLOS ONE, 2015; 10 (12): e0144140 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0144140
Papyrus 86637 - Cario Museum
"Until now, there were only conjectures that many of the mythological texts of the Cairo Calendar describe astronomical phenomena. We can now unambiguously ascertain that throughout the whole year the actions of many deities in the Cairo Calendar are connected to the regular changes of Algol and the Moon," says Master of Science Sebastian Porceddu.

This research confirms that the first variable star, as well as its period, were discovered much earlier than was previously thought. These two "classical" milestones in the history of natural sciences need to be shifted three millennia backwards in time to 1244 -- 1163 BC.

This also confirms the two "modern" astrophysical results reported by the Helsinki group in the year 2013: The first direct observation ever of the expected increase of Algol's period and the accurate long--term estimate for the mass transfer in this binary system.

Many of the early peoples who studied the dome of the night sky were more appropriately "astrologers" than "astronomers" as we presently understand the difference between the two. They believed that the sky above them was a magnificently complex clock and that by examining that sky, they could understand momentous events. Is it pseudo-science? Some of it clearly is, but I'm not ready to denounce it completely.

The wise men who traveled from the East after they saw the "star" to visit the Christ child arrived as much as a year after the event and inquired of Herod where the new King was so that they could worship him. As soon as they left, Herod killed all male children under the age of 2 in Bethlehem, so Herod took them seriously.

Whether the new, so-called Christmas star, was a supernova in some far away place or whether it was a convergence in the heavens that astrologers believed, announced the birth, is something that others can fight over (like arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin). 

The basic truth is that people thousands of years before the birth of Jesus Christ studied the heavens closely. As scientists paw over old texts they confirm this is true again and again. The accuracy of the Aztec calendar, the presence of water clocks in the ancient world, etc. demonstrate that they were not simply savages living in dirty huts.

As with all things that are related to faith, you will make of this what you will.


Business Opportunity?

camel urineI never knew that there was such a demand for camel urine in the Muslim community. I'm looking into becoming a camel urine importer/distributor to service the needs of the people who attend the mosque-down-the-street from my home. 

Saudis shut down camel urine shop (Daily Mail).

In Saudi Arabia, drinking camel urine is considered to be medicinal. Some hadiths depict Muhammad touting the medicinal benefits of drinking camel urine. This one also shows him in his full compassionate, merciful glory: 
“The climate of Medina did not suit some people, so the Prophet ordered them to follow his shepherd, i.e. his camels, and drink their milk and urine (as a medicine). So they followed the shepherd that is the camels and drank their milk and urine till their bodies became healthy. Then they killed the shepherd and drove away the camels. When the news reached the Prophet he sent some people in their pursuit. When they were brought, he cut their hands and feet and their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron.” (Bukhari 9.76.5686)
Drinking camel urine is just as much a matter of obeying Muhammad (as the Qur’an repeatedly exhorts Muslims to do; see 3:32; 3:132; 4:13; 4:59; 4:69; 4:80; 5:92; 8:1; 8:20; 8:46; 9:71; 24:47; 24:51; 24:52; 24:54; 24:56; 33:33; 47:33; 49:14; 58:13; 64:12) as is waging jihad and subjugating Infidels (see Qur’an 9:29). 

More from the Daily Mail
Saudi authorities have closed down a shop selling traditional camel urine drinks after discovering the owner had been filling the bottles with his own bodily waste. 
Health inspectors swooped on a vendor in the port city of Al Qunfudhah, in south-western Saudi Arabia, and confiscated more than 70 full bottles. 
The practice of drinking camel’s urine mixed with milk is believed to date back centuries while some insist it has health benefits. 
But the shopkeeper’s business was closed down indefinitely amid claims he had been selling his own urine to unsuspecting customers. 
The traditional camel urine drink is believed to have originated from a passage in the Hadith.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Thoughts on the Christmas Season

There will be a full Moon on Christmas Eve - and a new Star Wars film just premiered. The last time that there was a full Moon on Christmas was 1977, and a the first Star Wars film was released. Coincidence? Yes.


I have not yet seen The Force Awakens, but I will eventually. Likely sometime this week. That's not what this blog post deals with. 

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has been probing the galaxy for signs of life for decades now and they haven't found anything. Those of you who know me, understand that I have an interest in this. The company that I co-founded with the (entire) planetary science department at Cal Tech, who left the university to do this unfortunately failed and currently rests on the garbage heap of start-ups. Still, the experience allowed me to interact with some of the truly great planetary scientists of our generation. 

There are a number of things about Earth that may make it sufficiently unique to allow life to exist here. Tectonic plates deal with the sort of excess carbon that sent Venus into a melt-down. We're the 'right' distance from the Sun, there is abundant water and varied minerals and we have a large Moon. Some would say that it's the 'right' size. While I was thinking on this recently, I stumbled on a recent video from Bill Whittle - Afterburner, where he does a better job explaining this than I can.


That life exists on Earth is a miracle of sorts. Here and now at this Christmas Season you will find yourself believing in our essential spark of shared divinity, or you will succumb to human insecurity, and either way your conscience lets you slice it, the main thing is to earnestly do what is right at the time. Treat others as you would have them treat you. Love your neighbor as yourself. Be kind and polite whenever possible as your default setting. (You can resort to mean and nasty if it becomes necessary.) Bring joy to the world as you are able. Only when you lose yourself in the service of your family and others will you find true happiness.

And have a Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Dinner at the Brass Monkey

Dinner at the Brass Monkey

a fictional short

It was the year 1999, just before monsoon struck the Philippines. The clouds rolled in off the ocean black, and angry and the humidity must have been close to one hundred percent. By night time, you couldn't see the clouds, but you could feel them moving overhead.

Dinner in the Makati City District didn't begin until ten at night. Every dinner in Makati is a power dinner with somebody wanting something from somebody else. I arrived at the Brass Monkey early. A fat, dirty police officer carrying a pump action riot gun moved aside when I walked up.

"Mr. Birch," He said with a nod of his head.

"Sergeant Santos," I replied with a nod of mine. Having a reputation with the police in Manila was a prerequisite for success at any venture. My mojo remained intact. I wore a baro, long enough to cover my .45 Colt, but it didn't disguise the bulge. It wasn't meant to. A Colt 1911A1 was and remains a fashion statement in the P.I.

Santos slung his shotgun and opened the door.

Most of the usual suspects were there, some important enough to 'hold court'. The manager checked my name on his list and led me to a booth. I ordered an Aussie beer in a can. A pretty waitress arrived with the can and a church key. I wiped the key and popped the can open. You can't be too careful in a joint like the Brass Monkey.

Bucktooth Eddie sat in another booth near the front of the Brass Monkey, endlessly flicking his balisong knife. Zen spin, a maneuver around the thumb, Patpong snap, and on and on. If he wasn't opening it and spinning it, he sharpened it. head down, long black hair in his eyes. The fact that a man could screw around with a butterfly knife as much as Eddie did and not have cut up hands provided adequate testament to his skill with that tool. Reliable sources confirmed that Eddie spent time with his knife because he'd been gelded almost a decade before. He'd been tortured and the gelding may not have been the most painful part of it, but it led to his obsession with that damned blade. Knife work for Eddie, it was speculated by those who knew him, provided a substitute for masturbation. I can only imagine that he had been hell on wheels if he jerked off back when he had balls, as often as he fiddled with that knife.

I'd been through the huge mahogany door of the Brass Monkey before, but since I'm not a member of the club, I had to have a sponsor then just as I do now. It's not like the Manila Press Club where anyone can simply show up at the bar and be served. Money does not change hands at the Brass Monkey, members sign a chit and it is added to their bill a and settled later. It's a civilized bar and restaurant in an increasingly uncivilized world. It's also politically incorrect, which is to say that only the right sort of people are invited. This might strike you as strange because Bucktooth Eddie is a voted-in member. You're prejudiced, I know. You infer that a Filipino eunuch from Pinoy can't have the means to afford the membership to old school tie style club. And, you'd be right on all counts. Eddie is there because his patron, every bit as much a thug as Eddie is, pays his freight, knife and all. Cardinal Sin backs Eddie's play.

The late Cardinal Jaime Sin
I mused how a Chinese-Filipino priest named Sin (both an adjective and a proper noun) could be elevated to serve as a prince of the Church of Rome. The cardinal made the Borgia Pope look like a saint. I thought on that as I sat in my booth and watched Bucktooth Eddie fuck endlessly with his knife. I had the waitress send him a tall drink and he chugged it with one hand, while he multi-tasked with that balisong knife with his other, never missing a beat.

The suits all looked at the little bucktooth Pinoy gunman out of the corner of their eyes while they talked business. It wouldn't have happened at Twenty-One Club in New York, Tontaria in London, or at the Old Ebbitt Grill, across the street from the White House, but Eddie was sitting in the Brass Monkey in Manila wearing a Grateful Dead t-shirt three sizes too big, and let me assure you that money is the universal solvent. Nobody had more money than Cardinal Sin.

Eddie served as Cardinal Sin's business card. He sat there as a reminder that the Cardinal got a piece of all the action in Makati. Paying off President Joe Estrada was not paying the Sin tax. You could call it a donation to the Holy Church if it made you feel better. Tax could be paid in any currency, including white powder, whores or trafficked women, stolen cargo, guns, gems or gold, but Sin got his tithe. If he didn't, somebody like Eddie would slit you groin to sternum and drop you into a pig pen to eliminate the evidence. The point was that you were alive when the pigs began to feed on your entrails. I avoided pork in the P. I. as assiduously as did the Mooselims or Jews. It's not unlike how I feel about Tilapia fish.

Entertainment is predictable at the Brass Monkey. There is an early act where a girl with a cello plays melancholy tunes and a late act where a tall, homely Malay lady boy wearing the same a suit every night, crusted with dirt, two sizes too small, sings sad songs of lost love. He opens with a nasal rendition of La Vie en Rose in a high tenor that you thought only Edith Piaf, the lady herself, could belt out. It may pass for culture to the right sort, but it annoys me. At least they don't have an Um Kulthum impersonator like the Egyptian bar, one block to the East.

My client arrived, half an hour late, as expected. Think of her as a near dwarfishly small Chinese woman with protruding cock-eyes, fleshy lips and a wig on her head that looked as if birds nested there. "Hello June," I greeted her by bending and going for a peck on her fleshy cheek. She smelled of mayonnaise, which I'd smelled on her before. She considered it a recipe for youthful features after her age gene kicked in (inevitably ravaging for Chinese women).

"Hello Farang." Standard Thai insult. The fact that we were in the P. I. and not Thailand must not have registered with June (her chosen Anglicized moniker). She traced her money back to Chairman Mao, a cousin. In her case, Mao got the good looks, and you can make of that what you will. They shipped her off to the Island to keep her from embarrassing the family. She learned English from an expat lover from the Bronx. Her accent was comical enough that I struggled to keep a straight face. I could have switched into Mandarin, but she called the shots, had the money, and I didn't want to spook her.

A Bombay Saphire Gin, straight up, appeared in front of her like magic. She knocked half of it back and burped. "So how you love life, Birch?" She finished her drink.

"Fraught with adversity and diversity. Same as always. Thanks for steering that dragon lady spy my way. She's been well schooled and works very hard to make me like her."

A cloud crossed June's face, and just as quickly, vanished. Normally I wouldn't have let on that I knew, but this meeting had a special quality to it and I threw her the tip.

The lady boy began his second set, starting with L'Hymne à l'amour. June expected small talk, so I commented on Edith Piaf's life. Edith still had a legendary reputation among the cultured in the Philippines as well as the former French colonies that had formed French Indochina. I lifted that Aussie beer that I still nursed toward the lady boy. "She had a rough life full of disappointment, heartache, booze and drugs. But will always be the 'Little Sparrow' and France's most cherished asset."

"You too damned sentimental, Birch. It be your end." Shrimp dumplings arrived and June worked two of them into her mouth, one right after the other. The dumplings at the Brass Monkey enjoyed a solid reputation.

"That dragon lady we were talking about, Da-Xie, your step-daughter. I can't believe you pimped her to me. You must have had a big score in mind."

June's eyes bugged out even larger than usual and she seemed to have a problem speaking, but she stuffed another shrimp dumpling into her mouth and chewed, with a portion of the dumpling falling out of her mouth and down into her silk blouse. There were no breasts to hold it and the partially chewed dumpling splatted onto the floor.

She tried to get something out of her purse but slipped down and out onto the floor. 

I bent low, looking up, pronounced, "heart attack, I think. Give us room. Somebody call a doctor!" I palmed the cheap Chinese handgun from her purse and slipped it into my pocket.

June was right. I am sentimental. I felt that I owed her an explanation on her way out. "Tetrodotoxin. The bacteria that live in the intestinal tract of the puffer fish create it. You can't breathe, so you can't speak. But this isn't about me, or the American government. It's about Sin. You've been holding out on him. Frankly, I'm fine with feeding Da-Xie bullshit for the slants' consumption. She screws like a horny rabbit and doesn't seem to mind it when I tie her up. But Sin? You can't fuck with Sin."

Her pupils dilated and she gave a brief death rattle. 

A priest pushed through the crowd, knelt next to me and checked her pulse. He went through the motions of last rights in a thick Irish brogue. Then he went to the bar and ordered a shot of Tullamore Dew. I stood next to him and ordered another unopened can of beer telling the bar keep to put it on June's tab. He gave me a hard look, thought twice, and brought the frosty can and a key.

The priest handed me a Bible. "There's a bindle of very nice clear stones glued under the cover in the book's spine. They're an old style cut, of the sort women used to wear in their engagement rings. Best not to inquire too closely when it comes to the wages of Sin." 

"I'll remember that, Padre."

On the door of the Brass Monkey. Some cynics
maintain that it looks a bit like Cardinal Sin


index




Saturday, December 19, 2015

Cultural Marxism vs Trump

I lifted some of this from the traditional right blog and CW's Daily Timewaster. The crux of the article by the traditional right blog is that America is facing a 4th Generation War and the only politicians who are either wise enough or brave enough to take on jihad are Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. You can read the article for yourself and make of it what you will. I'm going to take this blog post in a slightly different direction.

The radical left has enshrined itself in institutions of higher learning and had been preaching cultural Marxism as a polemic for a long time. It's become more strident in recent years - to the point of being absurd and making "higher education" in any but the hard sciences, irrelevant. 
Cultural Marxism forbids us to acknowlege any of these realities, which is why culturally Marxist politicians (Democrats actually believe the stuff; Republicans are too cowardly to challenge it) and institutions such as the New York Times editorial page have frothed at the mouth over Mr. Trump’s entirely reasonable proposals. Cultural Marxism says all cultures are wonderful, peaceful, “vibrant” sources of enlightenment, except our own culture, Western culture, which is evil and oppressive...
Meanwhile, the more Trump insists on confronting cultural Marxism, a.k.a. political correctness, and urges us to face reality, the more his poll numbers go up. The public, it seems, both here and in Europe, want leaders whose feet are planted in the real world. No wonder the shrieks and cries of the cultural Marxists sound ever more shrill. Ideology has no deadlier enemy than reality.
As I have firmly asserted in other blog posts, political parties are nothing more than a form of labor union for politicians. The goal of the parties is to deliver reliable power (favorable results) to people who pay for that power and those results. It is all about pay-to-play. To that end, there is little difference between the Republicans and the Democrats (or other political parties in other countries). It's been that way since the Roman Senate squared off against Julius Caesar.

In America, rampant greed, corruption and vote-buying has reached a point where voters are ...voting. Or are threatening to vote anyway, for outsiders who are not part of the principle political infrastructure. The move toward voting the bums out was dismissed earlier in the year by party mandarins, but the anger in America has reached a fever pitch. The Republican Party offered Jeb! Bush and the voters selected Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and to a lesser degree, Marco Rubio. Trump is not a politician and has taken a page from the Barack Obama political play book, offering hope and change. 
Dr. Ben Carson is in the mix, but his numbers fade primarily because while Carson is a very good man, he's not ready to be the President.
The Party insiders are trying to reconcile that even though it's not Cruz's or Rubio's turn to be king, their membership hates the 'reliable' bought men that they put forward (Jeb!, Lindsay Graham, etc).

You see, the mainstream Republican Party are cultural Marxists too, in their own way. They went to the same schools as the mainstream Democrats. And that helps explain their absolute fear of a Trump candidacy. Who would Trump appoint to key positions? Clearly, his decision making would be a product of his own reasoning and not that of Party Handlers. How can such a man be trusted? The answer is that he can't be, and it's why many in the GOP have threatened to defect to the Democratic Party and support Hillary (The Bitch of Benghazi) Clinton (if she's not indicted first). If Hillary is indicted, they have Bernie Sanders (not even a Democrat - an Independent from Vermont) to support. Sanders is not a "reliable insider" for the Democratic Party. If Hillary meets justice, there is talk of Joe Biden or Al Gore - both reliable to deliver pay-to-play.

Some Republicans are openly considering forming a third party - Culturally Marxist - and running former New York Mayor (and a billionaire like Trump) Michael Bloomberg. In a choice between Cultural Marxists Hillary Clinton and Michael Bloomberg, they'd hope that Trump would be marginalized and that power would be maintained - and reliable - based solely on money.

Donald Trump, a (former) member of the donor class was accustomed to buying politicians in that endless pay-to-play game. He knows how it works. The political unions/parties are upset because he didn't know his place and has decided to become one of THEM. And the outcome of that action is unpredictable. Unpredictable is dangerous in the world where cash is king and Cultural Marxism translates into an Orwellian comfort for leadership.

Is it too late for our political masters to apologize?



Friday, December 18, 2015

Syrian Civil War, No Fly Zone and Vlad

While American politicians (endlessly) debate whether they should establish a no-fly zone in Syria, the Russians have put one in place. 
“Turkey used to violate Syrian airspace all the time,” Putin told reporters on December 17. “Let them try and fly there now.” Russia’s most advanced air-defense system is covering the whole country, he said. 
As for Syrian airspace, Putin’s language indicates that Russia has established a barrier air defense system along the Turkish border. In effect Russia has closed Syrian airspace to the Turks and anyone else it identifies. The difference between what the US proposed and the Russian version is that the Russian-enforced air defense zone protects the Syrian state, instead of providing a safe haven for the opposition.

Putin said that Russia will participate in international talks today on how to end the Syrian civil war. Asked about the Russian plan for Syria’s future, he said that the Russian plan is similar to that of the US. The plan envisions joint work on the Syrian constitution; the development of instruments of control over Syria's future early elections; conduct of these elections and recognition of their results. In the Russian version of the plan, Bashar al-Asad could run for president again. In the US version, he could not.
Concerning the cost of the Russian expeditionary force, he said, "We haven't started a war. We are conducting specific operations with the use of our Aerospace Forces, Space Forces, air-defense forces, and reconnaissance. We simply re-directed part of the funding that we planned to spend on training and military exercises to our Aerospace Forces in Syria. Something needs to be added there, but this absolutely doesn't have any great significance for the budget." 
"We conduct large-scale exercises. Just take the Center or Vostok-2015 exercises alone - thousands of people engaged, thousands relocated from one theater to another, hundreds of aircraft, and so on, and so on. We have simply re-allotted part of this funding there, for conducting the operation in Syria," he said. "You can't think of a better exercise. In principle, we can practice there for quite a long time without significant detriment to our budget," Putin said.
Putin said he was not sure that Russian needed a permanent airbase in Syria, but he made clear that the Russian commitment is for as long as it takes to end the civil war.

Barack Obama isn't sure what he wants to do. Maybe another red line?



Friday Follies

A review of all the news that's fit to print.

A Roving we will Go

Am I the only one who is tired of Carl Rove, the mainstream GOP shill, who calls himself, "The Architect"? Yes, he's made himself a lot of money being an 'advisor and advocate'. His net worth may never be known according to US News.

One thing is certain, Rove does not like Donald Trump, even though Trump has dumped tens of millions of dollars into the political action committees that Rove runs and ran in the past. Rove's stock in trade is buying politicians for and on behalf of his (nameless) employers - and being able to exchange hard cash for hard favors. The danger of a Trump presidency where favors were not purchased creates the unacceptable specter of upsetting the political apple cart for both Democrats and Republicans.

Rove is a Fox News contributor who lives in Austin, Tx.


New Gun Control Laws Coming

Barack is gearing up for more unilateral executive action since Congress won't pass the anti-firearms legislation that he's pining for. He wants more stringent background checks conducted on would be gun purchasers. 
The Federal government conducted three separate background checks on Tashfeen Malik, the San Bernardino female Arab Terrorist, which failed to reveal that she was a jihadi.
The Supreme Court will strike down his executive order, but he's trying to make a point, not new law. I can see a federal court injunction coming as soon as Barack sets pen to paper. 


He Said/She Said

(USA Today) A Saudi millionaire beat a rape charge in England after claiming he 'fell into' a teen.
A millionaire businessman has been found not guilty of rape after claiming he accidentally penetrated her when he tripped and fell. Ehsan Abdulaziz, 46, was initially accused of forcing himself on an eighteen year old girl. The businessman said that his penis might have been poking out of his underwear when he fell on the teen. It's how he explained the presence of his DNA inside of the girl. 
The young woman said she had woken up in the early hours of the morning, with Abdulaziz on top of her, forcing himself inside her, then climaxing. 
He said: “I’m fragile, I fell down but nothing ever happened, between me and this girl nothing ever happened.” 
Yes, it was a Saudi millionaire, not (former) President Bill Clinton. But, I'm certain that Bill will use this as a defense in the future since it was successfully argued in this case.

Vlad the Eternal

The photos of Russian President Vladimir Putin, taken over the years have advanced a number of theories (but):

(a) He's not a vampire despite internet gossip. He goes out in the sun, he has been seen eating food spiced with garlic, he casts a shadow and you can see his reflection in a mirror. 

(b) Some suggest that he's an alchemist on the order of Merlin (who was British) and found the secret to eternal life through weird science. While that can't be debunked, it's just as likely that he found the 'fountain of youth'.

(c) The final theory is that he's a "highlander", out to live forever by lopping off the heads of others with a sword. While the theory would seem to have legs, I'm waiting for proof. Has anybody ever seen Vlad chopping off heads? (or does it happen in the third level basement in Lubyanka?)


Jeb!

The man who would be king believes that he deserves the title because his father and brother were both presidents.

The electorate see not a king, but a pampered country-club politician who is almost indistinguishable from Hillary (the Bitch of Benghazi) Clinton, who also wants to rule the world.

Donors who thought that dumping tens and hundreds of millions of dollars into the Jeb Bush for President (Jeb!) Campaign would push the tepid, timid Jeb! over the top are feeling betrayed.

Running television attack ad after attack ad on his Republican opponents hasn't done anything to improve Jeb!'s numbers. The only people who want him to be president are the people who hope to personally gain  in the way of government contracts and do-nothing appointed positions in a third Bush Administration.


The Obama Legacy

There is a lot of strangeness attached to the man himself and to his presidency. Some call it coincidence, others call it planning. Witness if you will, the stunning, untimely death of Joan Rivers, two weeks after she outed the first couple.

No matter what, the dreams of ObamaCare are unraveling and since it has been the signature achievement of his two terms in a failed presidency, we're all waiting for him to try something else to screw us over...in the eternal march to "radically transform America".

I have a deadbeat friend (don't we all have at least one) who lamented to me about the lack of benefits doled out by the government. I reminded him that I (and so many others) pay for the largess that he's handed. Best not whine to me about such things. He shut up.



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Jeb! - the - Debater


Jeb! HQ Florida during the debate
Jeb! Bush's candidacy was heralded by the mainstream Republican Party as the way forward. Unfortunately for them, there are precious few who care one way about Jeb! no matter how many commercials he runs on TV. Somebody tweeted a picture of Jeb!'s debate watching party from his Florida Campaign HQ. (left) I've heard that more people showed up later and there were about twenty present at the peak. 

I wonder if those who showed up did so for the free snacks or if they really want Jeb! as their next president?

The Jeb! Campaign fired back with the photo (below) of the Nevada Campaign HQ during the debate last night.


Jeb! HQ Nevada during the debate

When I think of a high-energy room in Vegas full of Jeb! supporters (eating free snacks), this is clearly what comes to mind. The photo is courtesy the Jeb! campaign via the Weekly Standard. You'd think that all of the party faithful would have been there, cheering. Maybe they were. And it explains why Jeb! doesn't have statistically significant poll numbers.

I think that America is tired of weak, uninspired leadership. I realize that there are a lot of mainstream Republican types who want to line up for all of the political jobs that are handed out by new president...but maybe they need to find a more likely host to attach themselves to.

Jeb! comes across as a generally lazy, entitled, spoiled mama's boy. 

Memo to Jeb!:  Every time you attack Donald Trump, he makes you look like an even bigger goof.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Finding a Safe Zone

There are mobile safe zones in America. One is "with me". When you're with me, wherever I go, you're safe. The same is true of (almost all of) my friends, because they are strong, trained, brave, and loyal. 

There are safe towns in America where people respect each other's rights. These towns feature people who, almost to a man/woman, take responsibility for their actions, earn their own bread and ask nothing but to be free. They inevitably are armed to the teeth. The young men and women go through the NRA safety courses and are taught at a young age to use tools necessary for their survival. They learn to change a car tire, to mow the lawn and to shoot a firearm accurately. None of these people are victims. None of them will "occupy" public space and crap on the lawn. If they gather for a public purpose, they will pick up trash after themselves. If there is a bad apple in their midst, they sort that out.

When I was a young man, visitors came to town from the big city and we went to the local market to buy food or something. The clerk took their check without asking for ID or anything. The visitor questioned this practice and the clerk said, "you're with Larry." Honesty and honor carry weight in places like that. Those places still exist in America (though there are fewer now than there were).

None of those places are gun free zones.


Many years ago when I stayed in England's Lake District, I found an area of sheltered villages, peaceful and quiet, where people lived lives far from the need for firearms. To secure that peace, rough men defended the Island through sending armies and navies abroad. If they hadn't, German would have been the lingua franca of the Island. The point is this, the world is not a safe place unless we make it safe for ourselves, those we love and for our posterity. Unfortunately, in this era, the only way to do that is to make it hard enough that nobody would dare broach the peace.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Clouds and Storms on Stars


This illustration shows a cool star, called W1906+40, marked by a raging storm near one of its poles. The storm is thought to be similar to the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. Scientists discovered it using NASA's Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes.

Astronomers have discovered what appears to be a tiny star with a giant, cloudy storm, using data from NASA's Spitzer and Kepler space telescopes. The dark storm is akin to Jupiter's Great Red Spot: a persistent, raging storm larger than Earth.
"The star is the size of Jupiter, and its storm is the size of Jupiter's Great Red Spot," said John Gizis of the University of Delaware, Newark. "We know this newfound storm has lasted at least two years, and probably longer." Gizis is the lead author of a new study appearing in The Astrophysical Journal.
While planets have been known to have cloudy storms, this is the best evidence yet for a star that has one. The star, referred to as W1906+40, belongs to a thermally cool class of objects called L-dwarfs. Some L-dwarfs are considered stars because they fuse atoms and generate light, as our sun does, while others, called brown dwarfs, are known as "failed stars" for their lack of atomic fusion.

The L-dwarf in the study, W1906+40, is thought to be a star based on estimates of its age (the older the L-dwarf, the more likely it is a star). Its temperature is about 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit (2,200 Kelvin). That may sound scorching hot, but as far as stars go, it is relatively cool. Cool enough, in fact, for clouds to form in its atmosphere.

Spitzer has observed other cloudy brown dwarfs before, finding evidence for short-lived storms lasting hours and perhaps days.
John E. Gizis, Kyle G. Dettman, Adam J. Burgasser, Sara Camnasio, Munazza Alam, Joseph C. Filippazzo, Kelle L. Cruz, Stanimir Metchev, Edo Berger, Peter K. G. Williams. Kepler Monitoring of an L Dwarf. II. Clouds with Multi-year Lifetimes. The Astrophysical Journal, 2015; 813 (2): 104 DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/813/2/104
In the new study, cited above, the astronomers were able to study changes in the atmosphere of W1906+40 for two years. The L-dwarf had initially been discovered by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer in 2011. Later, Gizis and his team realized that this object happened to be located in the same area of the sky where NASA's Kepler mission had been staring at stars for years to hunt for planets.

Kepler identifies planets by looking for dips in starlight as planets pass in front of their stars. In this case, astronomers knew observed dips in starlight weren't coming from planets, but they thought they might be looking at a star spot -- which, like our sun's "sunspots," are a result of concentrated magnetic fields. Star spots would also cause dips in starlight as they rotate around the star.

Follow-up observations with Spitzer, which detects infrared light, revealed that the dark patch was not a magnetic star spot but a colossal, cloudy storm with a diameter that could hold three Earths. The storm rotates around the star about every 9 hours. Spitzer's infrared measurements at two infrared wavelengths probed different layers of the atmosphere and, together with the Kepler visible-light data, helped reveal the presence of the storm.

While this storm looks different when viewed at various wavelengths, astronomers say that if we could somehow travel there in a starship, it would look like a dark mark near the polar top of the star.


William Jefferson Clinton Redux?

Is Bill coming back? We all hope not, but it's the stuff that political satire was designed for.

For those of you who thought that old Slow Joe Biden was a creepy old man who groped whenever possible, it may be possible that he will be eclipsed by the return of First Husband, William Jefferson Clinton. How would a presidential Hillary control Bill, back in the White House and dipping his cigars?

There are rumors that include a divorce of the first couple prior to Hillary's betrothal to Huma Weiner. (after the election) While that would be politically correct and would make Huma an 'honest woman', it's unlikely to happen in a Hillary Clinton Administration where everything is done behind closed doors, in the dark, etc. That is the way it went with singing sensation Yoko Ono, Hillary's former lover.


LTCOL Ralph Peters US Army (ret), referred to Barack Obama as a "pussy" on Fox News last week. Just the mention of the word brought Bill Clinton bursting into a press conference in the West Wing, where Barack was in the process of defending himself from the verbal assault. Clinton said, "You are what you eat, and Barack has always preferred a sausage to a taco. Better to refer to him as a dick. That's what I do."



Saturday, December 12, 2015

Jeh and Islamic Terrorists

Jeh Johnson
There is a deep seated reason why Barack Obama and his administration are loathe to brand Islamic Terrorists for what they are, and to direct his branch of government to ferret them out. Much of it has to do with his family's communist roots (both grandparents who raised him and Frank Davis Marshall, who mentored him as a young boy). When Barack was a boy, the search for communists was still real as the FBI documented their politics and involvement in plots to undermine the US Govt.
When I was a boy, being called 'a communist' was the sort of insult that could not possibly be left unanswered. They were 'fighting words'. Apparently not today? Fighting words have changed. When I was young, being called a 'cock sucker' ended up with fists and feet. (I don't think that was true of Barack, who had a tranny nanny.) But I digress.
Homeland Security Director, Jeh Johnson's family history is troubling. As Muslim terrorism hits closer and closer to home, our Homeland Security chief views the war on Islamic terrorism as a another Red scare, as does his boss, Barack. You will recall after the San Bernardino Massacre, that the President referred to as "gun violence" as late as yesterday, his primary concern was that Muslims would be unfairly targeted.   
(Investors Business Daily) While speaking to Muslims last week, Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson revealed why he's so protective of them. He compared growing suspicions cast on them to the plight of his communist kin. 
Johnson dropped the bombshell that his grandfather had been investigated for communism and un-American activities. We can't say we're surprised. Add him to the parade of Red diaper babies in the Cabinet, including top White House advisor Valerie Jarrett, former political advisor David Axelrod and President Obama himself. 
No wonder this administration isn't interested in monitoring radical Muslims for terrorist connections. 
"In 1949, during the McCarthy era, my own grandfather was called upon to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee, to deny he was a member of the Communist Party and defend the patriotism of African-Americans," Johnson said in a speech to the ADAMS Center in Sterling, Va., a mosque founded by alleged radical Muslim Brotherhood leaders. 
"Today his grandson is responsible for the homeland security of this entire nation," he boasted. 
He likened the current climate of "fear, suspicions and prejudice" against Muslim immigrants to the Red scare and McCarthyism his grandfather, Charles S. Johnson, lived under in the 1940s and 1950s. 
In 1949, Johnson, a sociologist and president of predominantly black Fisk University, was dragged before the House Un-American Activities Committee and "asked to deny if he is or ever has been a member of the Communist Party." 
The panel had good cause to investigate. Communists hadn't just infiltrated Fisk as professors, but Johnson had readily hired them, including Giovanni "Ross" Lomanitz, a known communist operative. 
Even after Lomanitz's communist loyalties were exposed, Johnson spoke out on his behalf. Johnson then hired and defended yet another communist, math professor Lee Lorch. Johnson initially refused to fire him, but relented under withering criticism. 
There was also the issue of Johnson's own membership in communist fronts such as the National Sharecroppers Fund. 
Johnson denied the charges and called the hearings a "witch hunt." But the charges stuck. After he died of a massive heart attack, grandson Jeh Charles Johnson took his name.
Make of all this what you will.