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Wildlife conservation, trophy hunting, and poaching

I am getting a bit tired of seeing posts that disparage trophy hunting as negative to the overall goal of sensible and sustainable wildlife conservation, while ignoring the main cause of endangerment of those same animals… POACHING!!

In terms of percentage alone, it is arguable that trophy hunting kills barely register on the spectrum when compared to the scourge of poaching, worldwide. Add to that, the fact that these trophy hunts provide revenue to a number of entities… the professional hunter and staff… the local economy by virtue of the stays in local resorts, patronage of restaurants, stores, etc… and to the wildlife conservation efforts through fees paid for the hunt.

Poaching, on the other hand, provides no fees, no resort stays, and virtually no economic effect to the local community, and depletes the wildlife quickly, often with significant waste. The money in poaching is made overseas in the black markets of the far east, where those who buy the ivory, pelts, rhino horns, etc. have no idea that an animal dies to get those things, and the poachers don’t care how many they take, and how it affects the local ecosystem. Poaching flourishes when governments and conservation groups seek to ban controlled, licensed hunting, and, in many cases, where those governments are complicit in the poaching… a sad fact in much of Africa where tin-pot dictators hold absolute power, or where the people don’t get involved in changing.

So, NO, I don’t think trophy hunting needs to stop. I don’t, personally, wish to trophy hunt… I prefer only to hunt for the meat… but that doesn’t make it wrong or counter to my interest in wildlife conservation. The US and Canada have done well with the integration of licensed hunting with wildlife conservation, and many other countries around the world have done well with similar models.

The Midterms

What the heck is wrong with people??? When loonie lefties like the deranged governor of Oregon are re-elected… and other leftie loons like Gavin Newsome are elected to Governorships (CA in his case)… and anti-semitics are elected to state and federal offices in Minnesota… and completely brain dead so-called economists win an election in New York (the “Valley Girl” Ocasio-Cortez)… and, probably worst of all, a corrupt criminal like Menendez is re-elected in New Jersey… it makes you wonder a few things.

1) Does the average American voter really have the slightest idea of the history of the Democratic Party and its sordid history of defending slavery and racism (KKK anyone?).

2) Does the average American voter really know what a total failure Socialism is?

3) How widespread is the voter fraud in the states that don’t require Voter ID?

4) What happened to the idea of American exceptionalism, and patriotism?

It has been proven time and time again that a strong America is the best possible situation for the World and peace. We are the only country to consistently champion the idea of individual freedom and representative government, and back it up with action.

One of the takeaways from the results, last night, is that people voted for two things. 1) On the Republican side, the candidates that supported President Trump’s agenda and had records to back it up, were successful in their candidacies. Those who distanced themselves from Trump, lost. Also, the number of true conservatives was increased, and several mushy “RINO’s” were replaced (Corker, Flake, and others who retired). 2) With one or two exceptions, the Democrats who were successful were either bona fide moderates or talked a good line about being moderates. The furthest left candidates like O’Rourke and the lady running for Georgia governor were not successful.

I am heartened by the increased conservative majority in the Senate, which is crucial to keeping the Supreme Court constitutional, and also by the smaller margin of the change of control of the House than historically happens in a midterm election against the incumbent administration.

I think the best takeaway is that 2 years from now, Trump/Pence have an increased chance of re-election because the House will prove just how ineffective and worthless the Democrats currently in office are. It will descend into a morass of frivolous investigations into made up perceived offenses by the Trump administration. That’s only going to help the Conservative argument.

Motorhome Woes and Triumphs

As many of you know, my motorhome made it 3400 miles of my 3600 mile vacation trip in July and August to the Northwest and back. It spent exactly 68 days at a truck shop just outside of Clovis, NM, with a blown power steering hose (deep in the guts where it is virtually impossible to get at).

So… eventually, the shop manager got some good information on how to run new hoses in a more accessible manner, and in a way that didn’t compromise safety. New chassis batteries were installed. Then… when they went to “start ‘er up”, found an issue with a fuel pressure/temperature sensor. Another 2 weeks to get the right parts and install them… et voila! Drove it home with no issues.

However… comma… in the meantime, my already questionable house batteries pretty much crapped out… and, to add insult to injury, the transfer switch in my inverter/charger stopped working. So… no AC power. So, I have a replacement inverter/charger ordered… but have had some issues with shipping addresses, etc. I also replaced the house batteries with good solid Interstate deep cycle batteries.

So… this morning I decided it was time to figure a workaround, however temporary, for getting AC power in the coach. I decided to hard wire the “shore power” directly to the AC breaker box inside the coach, bypassing the inverter system. I also kept the inverter system powered, since it still performs its battery charging function. So now I’m back in business.

The Circus in the Senate this week

I have been totally disgusted with the complete circus that has characterized the Senate “hearing” in the case of the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Completely uncorroborated accusations from 35 plus years ago, where the accuser cannot remember place, time, or even who was there, other than saying she is “100%” sure that one of the perpetrators was a 17 year old Kavanaugh… accusations that have been denied by the others named as “witnesses”, and by Kavanaugh himself.

They keep calling for FBI investigation. No, the FBI doesn’t have jurisdiction as this supposed assault was not a federal crime. And, Judge Kavanaugh has undergone a number of FBI led background checks for his previous federal judge appointments. None of these allegations were ever brought up at any other time.

It is patently obvious that this whole fiasco has nothing whatsoever to do with finding out truth, and is merely a political stunt by the left to delay confirmation of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, short term to prevent him from joining the new court season on October 1, and long term, hoping that the ridiculous “blue wave” will result in the Democrats taking control of the Senate, and then to vote against confirming an eminently qualified judge to the top court in the country. They don’t like the fact that he is a Constitutionalist, and that his confirmation will ensure that the Supreme Court is a Constitutionalist court for many years to come… because they don’t like to adhere to the Constitution.

It’s time to CONFIRM JUDGE KAVANAUGH!!!!

Borders, laws, kids

I’ve gotten heartily tired of hearing the left’s mantra “they’re ripping kids from their parents’ arms at the border”. It’s an overstatement of what’s really going on, and is only an attempt to fuel a false narrative that the media and the left have been pushing.

So, here’s the thing. If someone is arrested for a crime, in any city, and in any state of our country, and particularly if their family (kids, spouse, whatever) is with them, you don’t arrest the whole family and “keep them together”. If both parents are arrested, the children usually go into Child Protective Services custody, unless a grandparent or other relative is available.

Translate that to a family crossing the border ILLEGALLY… which is a crime (first time, misdemeanor… subsequent times, felony). The parents are arrested, and the children are sent to the CBP version of Child Protective Services.

So, if you don’t want to be separated from your children, AND you want to apply for asylum, cross the border LEGALLY at a border crossing. OR, particularly if you are in Mexico, go to one of the multitude of US Consulates, or the US Embassy, and apply for asylum there… LEGALLY.

Another aspect that is being falsely portrayed is that this is somehow a new policy at the border. Actually, it has been around for a long time. I think it was instituted during Bill Clinton’s time as president.

It is also a misconception that most of the kids coming across the border are with their parents, or even with ANY family members. Many are being passed off as family by human traffickers who are physically abusing them, sexually and otherwise. I’ve heard that of roughly 20000 kids that have been held in protective custody in recent years, only 2000 of them actually came with family. The rest were with stranger adults, and the majority were being trafficked.

The fact that this is suddenly a major issue to liberals is because there is a mindless hatred of our current president. It’s called Trump Derangement Syndrome. It dictates that everything the President Trump does, says, stands for, must be hated and thwarted. It’s pretty much the textbook definition of mental illness!

While I wasn’t particularly behind Trump when he started his presidential campaign, he has proven to be an effective president, who has actually had the gall to fulfill as many of his campaign promises as possible. We now have record low unemployment, an economy that is being freed from the restraints of the ridiculous regulations imposed by liberals over the years, and is positively booming, and a return to the idea of American exceptionalism!

The EU

Well, the toothless and ignorant EU parliament has decided that it trusts the completely untrustworthy regime in Iran, and will continue to support the complete rag of an “agreement” with Iran that was “negotiated” by the single worst Secretary of State in US history, John “Lurch” Kerry. Frankly, who cares? The EU has never, and will never, dictate anything to us, and we should always take their views with a grain of salt. We should be dealing individually with the separate countries within the EU, not all of whom are so woefully deluded as to the realities in the Middle East.

An Historic Day!

Today, the acknowledgment of what has been true for 5000 years, that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish State, is truly historic. Queue the lefties’ handwringing and denunciation of the Trump administration as rash and impulsive (even though the US Congress passed a bill in the 90’s declaring our recognition of Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv, as Israel’s true capital) for daring to do such a thing.

What the left, in the US, doesn’t understand, or acknowledge, is that the only way any semblance of peace around the world will happen is for the US to be strong, both in military capability, and in credibility in following through with what we say we will do.

Europe, for the most part, is filled with anti-semitic bigots that mindlessly blame Jews for any of their own difficulties or failures. A few countries like Hungary and the Czech Republic stood against the EU governing body, blocking their attempt to condemn the US’s decision to put the US Embassy in Jerusalem. The rest of the EU showed just how clueless and bigoted they were. The UN has continuously tried to paint Israel as a human rights violator. Complete BS! Especially considering the treatment of women in ALL of the Islamic countries that surround Israel!

The straw man argument that says that Zionism is the reason for whatever the beef du jour is… is why Hitler and the Nazis were able to take power in WWII. In spite of the fact that the rest of Europe fought against the Nazis, they were almost as anti-semitic as Hitler, when it comes right down to it. I am constantly surprised at British people’s anti-semitism. We encountered it in Kenya, when many of the settlers lumped Christian missionaries in with the Jews as being Zionist infiltrators!

The notion that the Palestinians, or more correctly, Iran backed Hamas, are interested in peace anytime soon is pure fantasy! The fact of the matter is, that if the Palestinians stopped attacking Israel, the conflict would end. And if Israel did not defend itself, it would be wiped off the face of the earth. And that is precisely what Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, Al Quaeda, and any other militant Islamic group around the world have stated as their goal.

Another way of putting it… “If the Palestinians wanted peace, there would be peace. If Israel wanted war, the Palestinians would not exist.” (from a Facebook Meme)

No, it’s not racist

I’ve been a bit disappointed by some of my friends and acquaintances and their posts on social media calling President Trump racist for his remarks about where immigrants are coming from.  Calling an economically and politically devastated country like Haiti a “sh%^hole” is not remotely racist!  It’s just stating simple truth.  It doesn’t disparage those who have immigrated from there, nor does it disparage those who still live there.  Stop it with the self righteous posturing and faux outrage!  The narrative that is being put forth in the media is, quite simply, dead wrong.  President Trump did NOT say that people from those countries should be deported.  Just because he speaks in irreverent and slightly vulgar terms doesn’t change the truth of the statement.

Just because I’ve lived, worked with and prayed for the people of third world countries with rampant poverty and ugly dictatorships keeping them poor, doesn’t mean that I can’t call those places what they are… sh%^holes!  I still hope for and work for their betterment, and would never consider the people living there as anything other than God’s children, made in His image, just like me.

Europe’s not so great history with Jews

Seeing some disturbing news about France targeting Jews for tax investigations and many similar things in other European countries gives a new perspective on World War II.  The fact of the matter is, most Europeans blame Jews for all their woes… because the Jews were unbelievably successful in business, and by extension (in the perpetually blaming others mindset) responsible for other peoples’ lack of success.

Outside of Christian circles, secular Europeans have essentially grown up Anti-Semitic.  I have heard more BS about how Israel doesn’t have the right to exist from British and other European acquaintances in the last few years than I care to mention.  It’s complete and total BS, but it is the prevailing sentiment in Europe, and puts the recent vote in the UN, for a resolution condemning the US for planning to move our embassy to the true capital of Israel, Jerusalem, into perspective.  It also brings to light the prophecies of the Bible about how the people of Israel will be persecuted in the latter days.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

In the wake of the rather disappointing result in the Alabama special election, last night, it is becoming clearer and clearer that our society has changed from the idea that one is innocent until proven guilty, to the unconstitutional idea that the mere accusation of wrongdoing makes one guilty.

The charges against Judge Roy Moore have been vehemently and repeatedly denied by him, and, for the most part, have been debunked by the application of mere common sense and by the facts not meeting the accusation.  My personal opinion on the matter is that anything that Gloria Allred is involved in has absolutely ZERO CREDIBILITY from the outset!  The so-called evidence presented is very obviously a forgery, that it should be laughed at by any even marginally intelligent observer!

And then we have the Republican “leadership” in Congress joining the vilification of Roy Moore bandwagon, which resulted in an extreme left wing looney being elected to fill now Attorney General Jeff Sessions Senate seat for the remainder of his term.  This guy is pro-abortion, pro-gay “marriage”, pro-big government dictating every aspect of our lives… and the list continues ad nauseam.  We have a bunch of idiots in leadership, squandering the capital given to them by President Trump’s election, by scuttling things like repealing ObamaCare, and by turning against Judge Roy Moore.  They are playing right into the looney left’s game plan.  This is really getting old!

The “Iran Deal” is not a treaty.

I’m getting sick of hearing from the “talking heads” on TV that the Iran Deal is something that we must abide by… i.e. has the force of a treaty.

Wrong!  The Iran Deal was never agreed to by Congress as a treaty.  The president (Obama, at the time) does not have the power to agree to a treaty, it must be voted on by Congress.  That was never done by them, and thus the “agreement” is nothing more than words (BS words) on a paper.

Not to mention, Iran has not in the past, nor will they in the future, abide by any agreement with the rest of the world.  In a nutshell, they don’t care what anybody says to them, nor will they ever, until and unless the Mullahs are taken out of power, and the people of Iran can regain power from the religious zealots whose stated aim is the obliteration of Israel and the setting up of a worldwide caliphate of their brand of militant Islam.

So it won’t be a surprise to you that I agree, wholeheartedly, with President Trump’s refusal to recertify the disastrous “agreement” made by the single worst Secretary of State in recent memory, John Kerry.

Style Over Substance

In the weeks and months since January 20th, I’ve seen a very alarming trend in the discussions about our President and how he comes across in his unique, and somewhat inartful way.  People are concentrating much more on what he SAYS or how he says it, rather than what he DOES.  And then many will say that comparisons to President Obama are meaningless to the discussion.

Well, let me tell you why the comparisons are valid and important.  Those policy and regulation changes rolled back many of the multitude of crippling, and head scratchingly strange, regulations that sucked the life out of primarily small businesses.  These businesses are the backbone of our economy.

Many will say, because the repeal and replace for Obamacare failed by one vote in the Senate, President Trump hasn’t accomplished anything, other than to rile people’s passions, positively and negatively, by what he says and how he says it… or when he says it.  But they don’t seem to grasp the many significant accomplishments that have been made, by direct policy changes, or because of the reduction in red tape for businesses to be profitable, adding significantly to our economy, directly, and through the record high numbers in the Stock Market.

Our foreign policy shows another stark comparison between the Obama and Trump administrations.  During President Obama’s tenure, our influence in the world was steadily undermined by weak policies of appeasement and apology for being an economic and military success.  Our hasty and well telegraphed withdrawal from Iraq, coupled with the total lack of real support to the Iraqi government, gave rise to the ascendency of ISIS in the region, and only now, after an aggressive change in our level of support, has that been rolled back.  The infamous “Red Line” in Syria, which was not enforced, shows that words, without action to enforce those words, are meaningless.  In Afghanistan, we are seeing positive results from tactics that are designed by those who are there, and know the situation first hand, rather than in a room in the White House.  The disastrous policies of the Viet Nam War, where all the tactical decisions were made for purely political reasons, by President Johnson, rather than to trust those tactical decisions to those in the field, should have precluded making the same mistake in the 21st century.  But they didn’t.  As they say, “Those who forget history, are bound to repeat it”.

I realize that President Trump is a highly polarizing figure.  He has a brash, and unfiltered, way of speaking (and Tweeting), and has a colorful past that has some distasteful elements.  I was not a supporter of his candidacy, in the beginning, and still think Senator Ted Cruz would have made a much better candidate and president in many ways.  But, after Trump was nominated, and began to lay out his policies, I began to slowly swing to backing him for several reasons.  First, and foremost, his opponent, Hillary Clinton.  No candidate in recent history has ever had so many aspects of her policy statements, and arguably criminal past, that were, in my opinion, completely anti-American, anti-Constitution, and pro-Socialism.  Secondly, his commitment to nominating strict Constitutional constructionists to the Supreme Court, which was borne out in his nomination of Justice Gorsuch, who has been a phenomenal voice on the court.  Thirdly, his commitment to American exceptionalism, through advocacy for policies in trade and diplomacy that project our strength and standing as an economic and military leader in the world, benefitting our own citizens first, but being compassionate to a hurting world.

So, I’ll take the substance, and pay less attention to the style.

2 months on

I’ve been here in Midland for roughly 2 months, now, getting settled into the “routine” at work, which isn’t particularly routine.  Right now, I average 3 trips in each 2 week period, with a few overnight trips in the mix.  I fly 3 different King Airs, an F90, a ’97 B200, and now a brand new King Air 250, with Proline Fusion avionics.  I also fly a ’78 Cheyenne I with upgraded engines to the PT-6A-135, which means I can maintain full torque without “temping” out on the climb.  I vastly prefer the handling and avionics packages in the King Airs (the F90 and B200 have panel mounted Garmin 750’s, and the B200 has a G600 for attitude/altitude, and of course, the 250 has the Proline Fusion).  The Cheyenne has a Garmin 430, so it’s not bad, as far as that goes.  I’ve also flown a C182 that we manage, which has a full Garmin stack, and an autopilot!  At some point, I may be asked to get qualified in the Lear 45, but I’m happy just doing King Air work, for now.

We fly them all single pilot (not the Lears), which, at my older, curmudgeonly age, is a welcome change from my last couple of jobs.  It’s nice to be answerable to myself, only, rather than being second guessed by a pilot with half or less of my experience!

I’m still living in my motorhome, parked in a no-frills RV park in the middle of the Midland tank farm.  One of my 2 rooftop air conditioners needs a new fan motor, so the other one is doing double duty in the extreme heat of the Southwest!  So far it’s doing alright, so long as it doesn’t quit on me, as well!  On the bright side, as soon as I find the parts I need, it won’t take long to switch them out, and get the busted one going again.

I’ve been attending a big Southern Baptist Church, here in Midland, on those weekends that I’m not on the road.  I wouldn’t call it a church home, just yet, but that shouldn’t take too long.

A lot of water under the bridge

Well, my last post was soon after arrival in Afghanistan, back in February.  Now it’s June, and I completed one rotation over there mid-April, and decided not to return.

I have taken a job with a friend from my time flying Beech 1900’s in Mali, West Africa, in Midland, TX.  I’m one of 6 pilots who manage a number of privately owned aircraft, flying for the owners, and providing maintenance support, and administrative support for things like hangar space, fueling, etc.

It doesn’t pay as well, but I’m thinking I may have found a place that fits my approach to flying, and life!

Getting settled in…

I’ve been in the mountain sandbox for 3 weeks, now…

I’m getting settled into the routine of fly/eat/sleep/fly, and will be here until early April.  I intend to do some traveling in my motorhome in April and/or may, once I’m stateside.  It’s nice to be making money again, after about 9 months waiting for security clearances and the like. 🙂

The “Women’s March” in Washington DC.

The “Women’s March” in Washington DC.

A bit disappointed in a few people I know mistakenly thinking that today’s so-called women’s march was about anything other than a few narrow things… LGBTQIA, Pro-infanticide, sour grapes because the person they voted for didn’t win, and mainly just anti-men.

I’ve got news for you… 1. Trump is not now, nor has he ever been a misogynist, 2. Trump is not now, nor has he ever been a racist, and 3. The likes of Madonna and Ashley Judd are very foul mouthed and very poor standard bearers for women in any way shape or form!

That being said, have at it… so long as it is a peaceful protest, I’ll defend your right to protest to the death. But try using violence, you should be in jail with the rest of the thugs.

The latest on deployment

So, the latest is…

I’m scheduled for the pre-deployment training (called CRC) at Ft Bliss, TX, starting on January 29th. It lasts for a week, then I’m off to the mountain sandbox.

Happy 2017!

It has been a very strange year, to say the least…

1. We had 2 of the worst nominees for the two major parties in the US in history, but we ended up with a hopeful chance at a conservative administration, based on cabinet picks, so far.

2. It was the year that everyone was offended by just about everything, and standing on principle was discouraged.

3. It was a year when lots of the more famous pop icons died.

But we survived, and now we have an artificial chance to “start over”… for about a week, if we’re lucky… with those pesky resolutions that no one keeps.

Anyway, here’s to a fruitful, passionate, eventful and satisfying new year, dedicated to the endeavor of finding and following God’s perfect will for each of our lives!

If you disagree, it doesn’t make you less

In the aftermath, or whatever you might want to call it, of the election, a few days ago, there is one overarching thing I would like to get across to my very diverse group of very good friends. I will probably disagree with you often… some more sharply than others, and more often than others…
but your status as my very good friend will not change, simply because you have a different political view to mine. That difference may be slight, or it may be huge, but, contrary to a prevailing theme, these days, disagreement doesn’t equate to hate.
I am intentional in my desire and, for the most part, I am successful, in being able to state that I DON”T HATE ANYONE! I like to think that most of you who are my closest friends, and probably all of you who either view me as a friend, or I view you as a friend (hopefully simultaneously), have the same way of looking at the rest of the human race, and particularly those we interact with regularly.
When I was standing in line for early voting, last week, I spent the roughly 50 minutes talking to the lady right behind me. We discussed flying (happens whenever you’re around me, as many of you can attest), and Kenya, among other things. We didn’t really even broach the subject of politics, and it was a pleasant way to pass the time.
As we were both walking back to our cars after voting, I noticed that she went to a car with Hillary Clinton bumper stickers all over it. So I’m positive that she voted for Hillary. I voted for Trump. We got along, and our lives weren’t defined by our politics.
There have been many discussions going on after the election, some that I have participated in, and others that I intentionally avoided participating in. None of what those discussions revealed about what others think of the outcome have a bit of effect on my continued respect and affection for my entire group of friends that I have had the privilege of having in my life in the many circles of interaction I’ve been a part of, through work, play, or simply online.

This election and it’s real consequences if we get it wrong

I was a bit taken aback, recently, when someone who is socially conservative, pro life, and probably fiscally moderate, told me that if they were “holding their nose and voting” it would be Hillary over Trump. Now, I don’t care for Trump, but considering what would result from a Hillary presidency vs. a Trump presidency… well, there is no justification for that kind of thinking.

Here’s my take on why.

Firstly, while Trump continues to SAY things that aren’t all that great… usually when speaking off the cuff… Hillary has a long history of DOING things that are arguably criminal. Not the least of which is her continued pattern of lying, obfuscating, and misleading on just about every subject… many times under oath.

Secondly, Hillary was Secretary of State, and thus responsible for EVERY MEMBER OF EVERY STATE DEPARTMENT FACILITY around the world, when the consular staff, including Ambassador Stevens, repeatedly asked for extra security, and then, when attacked, were denied a timely rescue by the multitude of available assets in the region… and finally, she and her staff, even though knowing and telling others that it was an attack by terrorists, continued to characterize it as a “spontaneous response” to an obscure video that it is doubtful that anyone in the region had even seen, much less heard of. All of this amounts to treason!

Most importantly, as a leftist “progressive”, it is Hillary’s aim to rewrite our constitution, to deny us the protections afforded by the 1st and 2nd amendments (the second being there to protect the first). There are going to be several retirements from the Supreme Court, plus an appointment must be made to replace murdered Justice Scalia. I, for one, prefer someone who will appoint justices who will adhere to the constitutional concepts of separation of powers (i.e. strict constructionists) who realize that their job is not to make laws, nor to change laws, only to judge laws passed by the legislative branch (congress) as to their adherence to the constitution. Hillary will appoint more activist judges like Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Steven Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor who have repeatedly ruled against the constitution and believe it’s their job to make law.

There are many other reasons why Hillary Clinton should never be elected to ANY office, much less president, but the above 3 are the most important, in my opinion.

So, if I have to “hold my nose and vote” for anyone, it will be Donald Trump. As the campaign continues, and he begins to outline his policies, I am getting closer to being able to do that.