The Camp of the Saints

Since the Migrant Crisis in Europe has been raging on, I’ve been thinking a lot about a 1973 book entitled “The Camp of the Saints”, where a million migrants from India hop on some boats and head towards France, with millions more waiting in the wings.   The book was written as a dystopia, where the arrival of so many of the refugees (?) spell the end of the world as we/they know it in Europe.

When I first read it 8 years ago or so, it sounded outlandish, even though immigration to Europe was high then.   Today there’s a flow of over a million refugees streaming into Europe due to the turmoil in the middle east, so in a way we’re kind of living out The Camp of the Saints.   It’s a little eerie how much in the book lines up with what’s actually happening across the pond.

This video is my off-the-cuff review of the book and some thoughts on how it compares to the events of today.   I might make another one a little more refined later, but this is where we’re at now with it.    I have a lot to say about the book that probably didn’t make it into the video….I can’t believe how long-winded I can be!

Columbus Day Is The Worst Day On The Internet All Year

So tomorrow is Columbus Day 2015 and just like every year, the bullshit is already flowing on facebook.

If you want to say that Columbus was an asshole, genocidal maniac or whatever, that’s fine, but let’s address all the other trimmings that go along with that…

“He didn’t discover America, he landed in the Caribbean” 

Ugh…  “America” means “the Americas” which is NOT the same as “the United States of America”, although the US is part of America.   Basically everything from Tierra Del Fuego to the Canadian Arctic is “America”.   Toronto, Nebraska, Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica, Alaska, Paraguay, etc.   All “America”.   Now if someone says he discovered the United States then yes, they are incorrect.

“There were already people here, how could he ‘discover it’?”

There most certainly were other people inhabiting the Americas…and no one in Europe were certain that they were there before him.  No one is suggesting that he was the first human being to find this land mass.   What is being suggested is that his discovery opened up the Americas to Europe, which of course was an extremely significant historical event.   While the natives did have their own history, the overwhelming majority of what’s happened here since has been an extension of Western/European history rather than theirs.   I’m sitting here in Iowa right now.   I’m sure the tribes that lived here before the arrival of my ancestors were solid dudes, but all I know of them is some (presumably) butchered place names that we still use.  Just because I live here doesn’t mean that I inherited their history.   I’m a continuation of European history and pretty much all the nations and institutions of the Americas were formed in the image of Europe.

The impact of Europe on this land mass AND this land mass on Europe cannot be understated.   Columbus bringing back this info was not a trivial event…

“So what if I just walked into your home and said ‘hey, I discovered this!'”

First, I’d probably shoot you or kick your ass.    If I didn’t, it wouldn’t matter because your “discovery” wouldn’t have any impact on anything.  No one’s mind would be blown by knowing that my land I were there and you certainly wouldn’t have the gumption to build empires out of it/us.  When Columbus did it, it really was earth-shattering for all involved.

“The Vikings were here first”

True, but their voyages basically happened in a bubble.   They showed up, didn’t stick around long and that was that.  After they left there was no continuation of European settlement in the Americas and 99.999% of the American natives had no fucking clue they were even there.   They didn’t bring back any concrete info on what lies at the other end of the ocean to Europe.

I get the sore feelings about the atrocities and all of that, but let’s be smart about this, people.

Well, I Grew Kiwis in Iowa

Within the past couple of weeks I’ve harvested kiwis here and there.   Unfortunately something (birds, squirrels, the wind, etc.) took most of them but I was able to at least taste a few of them.

Holy shit, are they delicious!   They taste like the kind of kiwis you would buy in the store, but instead of the fuzzy coating they’re about grape size and with a skin similar to grapes.

Next year I’m going to have to put netting on them or harvest them early and let them ripen on the counter, because I started off with a ton of them and ended up with a handful.   Not cool, but at least I FINALLY got to taste them.

…and the horticulture guy on Talk of Iowa said kiwis don’t grow in Iowa.   Showed him.

The Collapse of Rand Paul and Maybe Libertarianism

The Ron Paul campaigns of 2008 and 2012 were actually kind of exciting.   Although no one really thought he would win the general election, new ideas were buzzing around America.   Granted many of those ideas were largely shot down by the American public (i.e.  “I like Ron Paul but not his foreign policy”) enough of them weren’t shot down by enough of the American public to the point where his presence and words actually did have an effect on the national consciousness just by influencing the political outlook of a small but noticeable segment of the country.

The gains made “for the cause of liberty” by Ron Paul’s campaign in 2012 have been handed off… his son, Rand.  Now it’s always been stated that “Rand isn’t Ron” and that there were some fundamental differences between the two, but Rand has always been presented as “our guy” and the bigger, badder future of libertarianism in the US.   I think he’s always been sold as a guy that more or less had the same views as Ron, but a more traditional conservative bent…in common political parlance, “a guy who can win”.

Instead of steamrolling on, Rand’s campaign pretty much floundered.   Ron’s base lost interest and about the only positive things you hear about him is that he’s “not as bad as the other ones”.   That might be true and I think he has done some good things in his political career but nothing that leads me to believe that he’s on the same level as his father.    Politically, he hasn’t done much to make him stand out from the other candidates and at the same time he’s done enough to maybe make him stand out from the other candidates where the typical GOP voter (who his “moderation” is meant to woo) gets a slightly sour taste from him.

This leads me to ask, was the surge in popularity of Ron Paul in the past elections a function of truly being sold on libertarian ideals OR is it a function of a lot of people just being fed up with what we currently have and gravitating towards the political theory that runs the most interference against “the man”?

I think it’s somewhere in the middle.   I think some of Ron’s main points really did resound with the American public – the government is way to big and they need to leave us alone (and stop taxing us so much), the wars are bad, spying on us is bad too and who cares if someone wants to smoke dope and two dudes want to marry?    I think others didn’t really strike a chord, like some of the “free market solves everything” thinking and his stance on immigration, which was a little wish-washy but usually tended towards “borders are bad”.   His foreign policy turned a lot of people off, but I think that was mainly people who wouldn’t have considered him anyways.

Right now Donald Trump is the candidate that is getting the most excitement, at least on the GOP side.   I promise you not a single person that wouldn’t have voted Republican anyways can say that they’ve been brought out to vote/participate by being inspired by Scott Walker, Ben Carson, etc.  I think Trump is resounding with a lot of people that normally wouldn’t care – the same with Ron Paul.   Although the author of the article is a tad condescending towards the “birthers, truthers and conspiracy theorists” that he claims made up both the Paul and Trump campaign, he is on to something.  I prefer to call us “alternative issues voters” though.

Now Trump’s success isn’t because of his “star power” as some bitter Republicans have suggested and it certainly isn’t any profound ideas.   It’s all about attacking an establishment that a large segment of the population feels failed them.  The author of this article brings up the “white working class” and it’s absolutely true that most of them (us?) have more or less written off the democratic party for various reasons…like pandering to the poor, minorities, wealthy urbanites, etc.   The republican party hasn’t been good to these (us??) people either – pandering to big business, putting our kids on the chopping block with the wars and focusing on the “religious right” over populist economics and contrary to the whiny liberal’s belief, the GOP has been absolutely terrible on immigration.

Ron’s support may not completely overlap Trump’s on the venn diagram, but their support comes/came from the segments of the population that doesn’t feel represented by the current system.    Rand just can’t tap into that because of his attempts at being a moderate and he’s not pleasing anyone.

A few years ago I thought the country would see a large lean towards libertarianism as the GOP became increasingly unelectable nationally and we would see discussion from the red states/working class whites turning towards distancing themselves from Washington.   Now I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a viable populist campaign that slams Republican economics AND Democrat social justice before we see a real circling of the wagons from large swaths of the country.


My other observation is that it’s a real shitty state of affairs that someone like Paul or Trump has to latch on the GOP in order to be taken seriously.   I suppose it’s the same for Bernie Sanders on the other side.    It says something about our system when you pretty much have to work within the two party framework in order to be anywhere near competitive in an election.   I think this is on the way out (eventually though), and the fact that the GOP establishment’s guy that was supposed to woo all of us alternative issues voters (ha, I like that) has fallen as flat as he has shows this.    We’re still in for some interesting years ahead….

The Searchers, Battle of Algiers and Red Dawn

So last weekend I did something very old-timey –  Rented a DVD.   You don’t hear about people doing that all that often anymore, except maybe Red Box, which is something I never even looked into.   Whenever I walk by them, all I see is new releases and there’s usually nothing that they come out with these days that I’m even remotely interested in.

Several months ago a fan of my Red Dawn book sent me an email and asked if I’ve seen The Searchers, a 1956 film by John Ford starring John Wayne.   Apparently Red Dawn director John Milius (lots of Johns here…) loved the film and there’s lots of references to it in Red Dawn.    I had never seen it, so I put it on my mental list to acquire.   Turns out the local library had it.

I’m a very casual John Wayne fan.  I like him and his characters, but I’m just a casual fan.  I don’t go out of my way to seek him out and I don’t know everything about him, but I enjoy The Duke when I get a chance.   One thing I really like about him is that his hero status is approachable to the viewer – what I mean by that is that you’ll never have super powers, the fighting prowess of Chuck Norris or Rambo or the strength of Conan the Barbarian but the things that make John Wayne John Wayne are things that people can emulate if they want to.   He’s just a gritty son of a bitch that’s been around the block a few times.  He can’t gorilla press a fridge or roundhouse bricks to dust, but he can take and throw a punch with the best of them.  His decision making skills are never clouded by emotion and he always seems to know what to do.  His sense of honor is unwavering regardless of the situation he’s in – he’ll sneer at superiors in the military, clergy, politicians, businessmen and unscrupulous peasantry when he feels they’re in the wrong.

Ok, so as far as the Red Dawn connection goes, I heard several phrases in The Searchers that were used in Red Dawn.   The cool thing was that they weren’t exactly significant phrases, which tells me that Milius must’ve had an encyclopedic knowledge of the movie, which is something I guess I can appreciate.   They were pretty much just things plucked out of the filler of the movie.

Some of the scenery of the film reminded me of the parts of Red Dawn that took place near Partisan Rock when the helicopters came after them.   I’m sure Milius had The Searchers in mind during this part.   I also noted a scene where someone was holding horses that was exactly like the scene when Jed was about to execute Daryl on top of the plateau.

I think the biggest thing that jumped out to me was how similar the character of Andrew Tanner is to John Wayne, I can’t believe I never caught that.   His wry and sardonic sense of humor, his code of ethics that didn’t seem to change with the situation and even the way he teaches and shows compassion through slight mockery and firmness.   Tanner wasn’t a larger than life guy that saved the day a la Chuck Norris, but he was a tough son of a bitch that did what he had to do, like John Wayne.

As far as the movie goes, I did really like it.  It’s a genre I’m not really all that well versed in, but I got into it.   It’s kind of funny how un-politically correct it is, with John Wayne constantly sneering about “half breeds” and the savage Indians and the overtly Jewish scummy merchant (Jerem Futterman) – I laughed when they made sure to get a good shot of his large nose and diabolical grin, it looked like something out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or something.  I don’t think they’d get away with that these days.


Coincidentally I also picked up Battle of Algiers which must’ve been a huge influence for Red Dawn as well.   Some of the shots of Col. Mathieu look exactly like Boroshenko & co. coming to town and even the mirrored sunglasses seen on the upper echelon of the occupation forces seem to be a nod to Col. Mathieu.    No doubt the subject matter of an insurgency had an influence on the screen play.    I also think the similarities between the rapidly moving scenes of the Wolverines attacking the Soviets around town and the FLN attacking various points around Algiers were more than coincidental.

Worrying About Predators – A Visit From A Red Tailed Hawk


Chickens aren’t quite at the bottom of the food chain, but they aren’t exactly at the top either.   Lots of things will eat them if they get the chance and it’s something I kind of worry about.   Whenever I’m out at night walking and see a stray cat nearby or a pack of raccoons I always assume they’re milling around coveting my chickens.

I figured we’d lose some along the way.   That’s why we got eight, assuming we would end up with a manageable 4 or 5.   Turns out I have eight…and I like having eight…   and although I’ve told myself that they’re not pets and we wouldn’t give them names figuring that someday we would eat them, it’s really hard to not treat them like pets and have concern for their comfort and well-being in almost the same way you would look after a dog or a cat.

They’re not THAT personable, but personable enough.   A few of them have distinct personalities and at this point they’re comfortable enough with us that they come running when we come outside and every now and then one will jump up on my shoulder if I’m sitting down.   They’re not afraid of us and they look to us for their survival and something about that does endear the inferior creature to us.   Although it happens to every chicken owner, I’m dreading the day when something gets one of them…or the day *I* have to get to them…

Although I live in a city, I’m not far at all from wild areas.   It’s one of the things I like about this specific spot.   If I cross the street and go through the neighbor’s yard, there’s a several acres of forest and then the river.   Lots of wildlife and I always see birds of prey.   About a mile away as the crow flies is a great spot for viewing bald eagles and there’s always a red tailed hawk in the sky.

Anyways, the other day I heard a commotion outside and look out the window and see a bird sitting on the chicken coop.   It takes a split second to register and I focus in on the giant claws and determine that’s not a fucking chicken! I rush out the door to throw something at it (killing one of these things is a crime of some magnitude or other….and I wouldn’t want to kill him, just let him know he’s not welcome) and he flies off.   The chickens are hiding in a patch of Jerusalem artichokes all freaked out….and they stayed there for about 15 minutes.

In a way it’s kind of cool to see something like that up close and personal.  Red tailed hawks are remarkable birds and I appreciate their craft.   They’re always soaring up in the open sky and I hardly ever see them come down to even tree level around here.   As cool as it is to have some form of interaction with the bird, I’d rather they stay away from MY birds.

Today I saw one dive down from high in the sky and then circle my property at slightly above tree level – he saw something, but they must’ve taken cover because he didn’t commit.  I came out into the open (with my trusty hound, of course) to let him know that some bigger and badder creatures inhabit this little patch of land and he flew off.

I guess that’s a part of chicken ownership, dealing with the prospect that half of the animal kingdom is vying for your chickens.   I guess I can take some precautions, but they do free range virtually all day in my backyard.   They have plenty of places to hide out.  I suppose I could keep them in a run, but I think that in a way “those who give up freedom for security deserve neither” applies here.   I think part of the reason that I have gotten attached to them is because they’re really, really happy chickens.  My yard is a great place to be a chicken.   They spend all day running around eating bugs and plants, there’s lots of things to perch on, places to dustbathe, cool shady spots to get out of the sun, lots of fruits and veggies to forage on and people that take care of them and give them food.   I’d rather they have a bunch of good days and one bad day than a lot of shitty ones cooped up all the time.   I guess it’s the least I can do for some creatures that give me six or seven eggs a day.


Texas Nationalists Launch Campaign for Texas Secession



Recently Texas Nationalist Movement started a campaign to acquire enough signatures to get a referendum for Texas to secede from the Union on the March 2016 ballot.   They need 75,000 signatures and have been hitting the streets of 31 cities over the weekend to try to make it happen.

It’s not unreasonable for them to get the signatures.   I’m sure with a bit of legwork they can make it happen.   While I doubt the people of Texas would vote in favor of parting ways, it would be an interesting debate in the public discourse.    Some people would be in favor of it for various reasons, others of course wouldn’t.    Lots of people across the US would act indignant that these redneck goat-ropers down in Texas would actually want to leave and people like me wouldn’t even wonder why people in Texas would want to split from the rest of the country when they’re usually viewed in a backwards kind of way.

Since the 2012 election I figured that pretty much right after the 2016 elections we would start to see open talk of secession and maybe more so in the way of states and cities looking to break up (i.e. Southern Illinois and Chicago, Northern California and Southern California, Upstate NY and Long Island, etc.).   I don’t think it will be exactly a viable movement at that time, but it will start to hit the national dialogue and probably start picking up some steam and legitimacy for the 2020 and 2024 elections.

Texas SEEMS like the natural candidate for secession.   They have one of the most distinct cultures of the Americas, their own power grid, a sound economy and a kind of political swagger/bravado that makes them more likely to thumb their noses at Washington more often than other states.   Hell, they already have one of the most recognized flags int he world.

On the other hand, I wonder if the massive influx of non-Texas to the Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth area has altered that Texan independent streak over time?   In addition to the hipsters and yuppies, there’s also immigrants from all over the world in Houston and an increasing Latino population (the current slight majority) who might not feel the same kind of connection to Texas’ Anglo history and identity which would certainly be evoked in this kind of movement.  I’m definitely not saying there’s a Hispanic component to Texas’ character, I’m just saying that red-state angst and Latino populism might be a difficult bridge to gap to form a coherent nation-state.

If we made a pool for which political entity will leave the US first, I think a lot of people would go for Texas.   Now I’m not so sure that would be it…

At any rate, nothing is going to happen in the immediate future.   Some Texas are going to pass around a petition and maybe we’ll see a referendum.   It won’t pass, but if the results are ANYWHERE near close, we’ll really see some chatter about this idea.

The Way of Men by Jack Donovan



We’re Up To Six Eggs A Day.

Not bad for eight hens.   It’s been kind of cool seeing them go from one egg to two, three and so-on.   Although they’re completely throwing a wrench into my vegetable gardening by eating almost everything, we are starting to get an egg surplus.   It’s a little disheartening to see a beautiful eggplant, tomato or squash pecked into but it’s nice to have eggs.   I guess as a food product I’d rather have an egg than a tomato but ideally I’d like both…

Next year I’ll have to do something different to allow them to free range without eating all of MY vegetables.

You win some, you lose some….

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