Saturday, September 29, 2007

My Career Firearms

Yes the thought just hit me (after being up for over an hour and a half already and trying to think of something about which to write) that it might be interesting (at least for myself) if I was to list the firearms that I have carried so far throughout my career in federal law enforcement.

I started my career as a Border Patrol Agent, in that garden spot of the world: Calexico, California. That was back in 1979. The first thing I was offered as an issue revolver was a Smith and Wesson model 19 with 4" barrel, blued steel. I did not like it. I wanted one of those wonderfully heavy revolvers I had shot at the academy, a Colt Border Patrol. The guy handing out the guns gave me the hairy eyeball, and probably thought I was crazy, but I got just what I had wanted. (Sorry I don't know which one that is in the pic. My goodness was I ever really that thin, and that young - I guess I was, a long time ago.) The piece was a lot heavier than the Smith, and its trigger pull a lot stiffer, but I liked it. Why? Well because the cylinder rotated along the natural pull of the thumb so as to make reloading more efficient. More efficient because as you loaded, if only part way through and you had to slam the cylinder shut and fire, the next click would likely go bang. Smith cylinders move in the opposite direction. If you look at a Smith & Wesson revolver from the rear, as you would when holding it to fire it, and then operate it so the cylinder turns, you will note the cylinder moving in a counter-clockwise direction. The natural movement of your thumb, when reloading, is to pull the cylinder in a counterclockwise direction. This means that if you close the cylinder before being fully reloaded, as you might in a combat situation, the rounds are likely not going to come up immediately under the firing pin. Instead empty chambers will first pass the firing pin. Not good tactically speaking when a split second could be of the essence to your winning a gunfight. Now when you load a colt, this does not happen. You see the action of the Colt revolver is such that the cylinder moves in a clockwise direction. So when your thumb pulls it counterclockwise as you reload, and you then have to quickly close a partially loaded gun, the first chamber to fall under the hammer would likely be one that you have just loaded. That is good.

Another reason I liked the Colt was that if I ever ran out of bullets, I could use it as a more effective club than I could the Smith & Wesson. Man it sure felt a lot heavier. It was built to last for sure; and at the time, or within a year or two of that time, I discovered that Smiths were not being built that well. One thing not so great abut the Colt, beside the heavy trigger, was the fact that it was unforgiving if you decided that you were going to do something like take it apart and give it a really good cleaning in paces no one had looked at since it was manufactured. I soon found out that putting it back together was nowhere as easy as was reassembling a Smith Wesson. In fact, my first and only attempt to do this resulted in my sheepishly going to see our armorer (or the agent who passed for such) and begging him to make it new again. After he replaced one of the springs I had mangled it was just that good. That was quite embarrassking, as Popeye would have said.

Somewhere along the way, my Colt Border patrol was replaced by a S&W model 19. If I recall correctly, they collected all the Colts to get rid of them, too old or so I remember. The thing was, those Colts would have lasted another 50 years. The S&W 19 turned out okay for me. I actually got to shoot better with it than I did with the Colt, and I could actually take it apart to clean out its innards, and then get it back together and it still worked. I wound up buying a couple S&W model 66's when they came out with a Border Patrol commemorative. I got one with a 4' barrel and one with a 2 1/2" barrel. This was when I discovered that S&W quality control was not all it was made up to be. These revolvers actually clinked when you dry fired them. I took mine and shook them, and pieces of metal shavings fell out of them. What a sorry state for a brand new gun. I sold them quickly.

As for long guns, I was not issued one while in the BP except on a requested daily basis. In other words, I had to ask for one if I wanted it, and had to ask each day then return it at the end of my shift. We had Remington 870 shotguns in 12 gauge. I liked them a lot. I had quite some fun with them at the academy, and when we shot trap (or was it skeet) I hit every clay, even when they did doubles, and I sure don't shoot that well today (ah the adeptness of youth). We also had Remington model 760 rifles in .308 caliber, they were a pump action. They were fun rifles. I took one out now and then, but I preferred the shotgun for the type of work we mostly did, though I will say while out of town in the desert those rifles were my choice. It was sort of a nice thing to see they had the same basic action type as did our issue shotguns. No chance to forget, while under stress, which one you had, and therefore operate it incorrectly.

Now while I was in the Border Patrol, I was not allowed to carry a back-up handgun. I would never intentionally break the rules, so I was sometimes quite upset with myself when I reached into my pocket only to find a Beretta Jetfire in .25 Auto. I guess that happened now and then because I was a gun sort of a guy, but as I said, never intentionally! The slingshot I carried, a wrist-rocket or something with a similar name, now that I carried intentionally, but only for use on animals like sunks or stray dogs that would have otherwise interfered with my duties while out on patrol.

After 4 years in hell Calexico, the garden spot of the world, I was able to land a job with the U.S. Customs Service as a Customs Patrol Officer in new York City. Yes I am a New Yorker, and I wanted to get home, so badly in fact, that I took a job for which by then I was over qualified. In fact I never even looked into becoming a Customs Special Agent at the time, thinking instead the patrol officer job would be my foot in the door so to speak. Well the door slammed on my foot, and it took me many years to become an agent, but that is another story. As for my sidearms when I was a Customs patrol officer, I was issued a Smith & Wesson model 19 for uniform carry. I also got issued a S&W model 36, a 2" snub nose revolver in blue steel. Only a 5 shot, but that was okay by me, a back up piece that was issued was a big change from the Border Patrol. At sometime in my career with Customs I was issued a Colt detective Special, in .38 special, with a 6 shot cylinder. I liked having that extra shot, but that piece was not long lived, it was too old and worn to be shot as much as I liked to practice, so it was back to a S&W, this time a model 60 in stainless steel.

Within a few years, my job with Customs had changed to that of a Customs Investigator, basically the same job as a Customs Special Agent, but at lower pay that the high grade for an agent (later this job as found to be an illegal position by the OPM and all of the CI's had a position change to special agent). I was issued a S&W model 459. It was, in my opinion, apiece of junk, they all were. Later on (maybe when I became an agent) we were issued S&W model 6906's. (My backup with those was a S&W model 60, and the primary was the S&W, that is until they allowed us to carry personally owned firearms.) The 6906's were an improvement, but not by much as far as I am concerned. We had catastrophic failures with those that likely would have gotten you killed in a shootout.
Somewhere in there, I think when I was a Customs Investigator, they allowed us to carry our personally owned firearms at work. I decided it was time to take out the Beretta 92SB in 9mm. This was the precursor to the 92F series later used by our military. It was and is one heck of a great firearm. In fact, I owe my life to it. It is the only pistol with which I ever shot someone, and that guy was someone trying to mug me when I was off duty (again that is another story, and if you want to read it, go to the links on the right side of my page, for the article about Ballseye - What is in a Name (or just click on this link). Later on, while still authorized to carry personally owned firearms, I bought a brace of Beretta 92F's. I carried both of them for awhile, then decided to carry only one, and preserve the other for my retirement gun.

Of course my love for the Remington 870 was not abated by the fact I now worked for the Customs Service. I shot one at every qualification, and I shot one whenever I had a chance as range officer. Yes Customs sent me to an NRA Firearms Instructor school and gave me those duties as collateral duties. I was a firearms instructor for about 14 years, and enjoyed the heck out of it, until they punished me for something and told me not to report back to the range. Nothing to do with the range as far as I am aware, but they will not tell me what it was for which I was being punished, so I think it was my big mouth with a boss. Oh well, I again digress, so let's get back to the long guns I used while in Customs. As to the 870s, I often carried one from work, but I also was able to carry my personally owned one for quite a few years before they changed the firearms policy. (The pic is of my son shooting the personally owned one I used to carry at work, yes we still have it and shoot it frequently.) It was nice to be able to carry my own since I knew my own gun was in excellent repair, and shooting it as much as I did kept me in good shape for the hunting season.

The other long guns I shot while in Customs were the Colt Ar15, the Ruger Mini14, and H&K MP5. As to the rifles, I much preferred the Ruger. It was a simpler rifle, much more reliable than the AR15, easier to disassemble and reassemble, and therefore easier to clean and maintain. Don't get me wrong though, I liked both of them very much. Now I cannot recall if it was while I was a customs investigator or as a special agent, that I was invited to attend H&K MP5 training; and after which I was immediately issued an MP5 sub-machine gun. I also became certified as an MP5 instructor. What a fun gun, and it is one heck of a weapon.

Sooner or later, Customs decided that personally owned firearms were not a good thing. I was then issued an 870 shotgun, and I was issued a Glock model 19, and later a backup of a Glock model 26. Of course I had to give up my issued S&W model 60 for the Glock 26, but it was well worth the change. The Glocks were much easier to shoot with more accuracy that any issue revolver I ever shot. Those extra rounds were also a plus. I wound up turning in the Glock 26. To this day I do not know why I turned it in and just held onto the model 19, but at least I do have the MP5 or shotgun if I am going out on an operation.

When I was transferred to ICE (Customs Agents and Immigration agents were all brought under DHS when that department was created, and they were combined into one agency under Immigration and Customs Enforcement - egad what a mess), I brought my assigned weapons from Customs with me. As for the MP5, I still carry that - well sort of anyway. I had the original issue they gave me for several years, turned it in after I was in ICE, then missed it so much that I had another issued to me. The shotgun I had under Customs was traded in a few years ago for a newer model 870. The newest Remington 870 I was issued has ghost ring sights. Man they are sweet. I do love the 870, but I think I said that already. I would have a rifle too, except you cannot be issued 2 long guns at the same time under current ICE firearms policy. For some reason, the MP5 is not within that restriction, and that is good for me. I would hate to have to decide between having only an 870 or an MP5 for a long gun. I still carry the Glock 19, I guess I've had that over 10 years now, maybe 12 or more. I do not carry a back-up handgun nowadays, but as I said, when I go out on an op, I can take either the MP5 or 870 in addition to my sidearm. That is a comfort to me.

Where does that leave me right now; well the pic at the left shows what I carry on a daily basis right now. The shot includes my issued Glock 19. I am also left at the point where the issued firearms I have now are probably the last firearms that I will be issued as a government agent. We are due to start being issued Sigs sometime in the future, but that could be as far as two years away. I doubt very much I will still be in government service in 2 years as I plan to retire in January 2009. I think I have covered all the firearms they have issued me in my 28 years and one day (so far) in government service, and all the firearms that were personally owned which they allowed me to carry. Of course, I have owned and shot many other types in all that time, but I'll save those for another rant.

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, September 28, 2007

28 Years - Where Have They All Gone?

It has been 28 years now (as of yesterday the 28th) since I started my career as an LEO in government service. Wow time sure flies, when you're having fun on the job, and even when the job sucks. Of course, that is time seems to have flown by when you look back on it if only because memory is so quick in going through or grasping the past. As for my remaining time before I retire, and I intend to retire in January 2009, my bet is the next year and 3 months seemingly will take forever.

All the best,
Glenn B

There I was...

...talking about a lack of blogging, and I neglected to do a rant yesterday. I got home from work at about 7:30PM, and was asleep by about 9PM. Just woke up, and figured I had ought to write something. This is it, albeit small.

All the best,

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Is It The Blooging Blues...

...that causes a lot of people who blog to not blog that frequently? Or maybe I should ask is it the blues that makes them not blog as frequently as they once did. Now maybe it is just my imagination, but I would have sworn that some of my favorite bloggers used to blog a lot more than they have as of late. Some of them have not entered a word into their blogs in weeks! What gives?

I fall into it sometimes myself, that is into a slump where I cannot get myself inspired to write about something; but when that happens I try my darnedest to get at least a little spark fired up over something, and then write about it. Of course I also miss days when I am just too tired because it was a long one at work, or because other obligations or things kept me from the computer; but I almost feel an obligation to blog as often as I am able to. Besides that I like doing it, I like writing, and I like having my stuff read by folks who seem to enjoy it (that gives one a nice feeling of a job well done). I guess that helps keep me at it pretty regularly. So if any of you are out there, just feeling the blogging blues, and therefore not blogging, let me give you at least one reason to get back to it: Your readers miss your stuff. Sure we can live without your blogs, but life is much more interesting with them; so please start tapping away on those keyboards again, it is always nice to hear from old friends again.

All the best,
Glenn B

Democratic Flip-Flop...

...continues to slap us in the face, but yet somehow not manage to make liberals see the reality about their candidates. See: Dems Discuss Iraq Withdrawal at New Hampshire Debate.

From Hillary Clinton's overwhelming support of the invasion of, and war in, Iraq to her vehement dennunciations of those who support the war efforts, to her and Obama's, and Edwards' saying we should get the troops out NOW, to them all of a suddenly saying they don't know if they could accomplish a troop withdrawal by 2013. Simply amazing is the amount of doule talk they spew out to plactate each an every member of the Democratic Party, and to tryb to satisfy Independeants, and even more amazing still that people buy into all the double talk. I guess it is much the same on the Republican side, such as Romney's and Giuliani's stance on the Right To Keep And Bear Arms; but I see the Democrats as truly being the masters of the flip-flop.

Hopefully we will awaken to find out we as a nation became smart enough to nominate those who shoot the straighest when it comes to what comes out of their mouths; and therefore we will be left with pretty decent candidates on each side for whom to vote.

All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Digital Photography...

...frustrates the heck out of me. I can take a pretty decent to excellent photograph with a 35mm SLR film camera; I know the basics of how to use f stop, shutter speed, film speed and so forth; I know the basics of how to use lighting with and without and filters, how to use backgrounds, how to use fill flash, how to use reflected light and so forth. The thing is, I cannot figure out the gosh darned Canon Power Shot 520 that I bought for my wife a few years back. I figured it would be our entry into digital photography. She hardly ever uses it, I try again and again, and I get some good shots - snapshots that is. I have no clue how to do anything with this camera that would require a level of digital photography know-how or skill. When I use manual focus it comes out blurry, when I use auto focus it sometimes comes out blurry (as when through glass), so I go back to manual, it looks sharp in the view finder, then comes out blurry anyhow. The pic accompanying this rant is a fine example of how badly I screw up. The Gray tree Frog, the focus of the shot, came out rather burred, while the flowers and the cork bark came out fairly sharp. I think I'll just go back to my Nikon FM2 and film, that is until they do away with film processing altogether. As it is now I can hardly find a lab to do color slides, or custom prints. All they do, for the most part, is 1 hour photo crap, and they ruin a lot of good film with the set-up they use. Still though, I am better at that than this digital stuff which just confounds the heck out of me.
All the best,
Glenn B

Turban Bomb

Thanks to the folks at Four Right Wing Wackos I have been introduced, in a round about way, to Turban Bomb - Reports From The Danish Frontline another blog that looks like it will be well worth a read on a frequent basis. The guys at 4RWWS linked to this: To Whom it May Concern over at The Ghost of a Flea. The rant To Whom It may Concern was based on, or was a copied part of, a rant Surrender? Up Yours! at Turban Bomb. I was quite interested and amused by that one, so I read some more of the rants at Turban Bomb. Quite interesting, and very eye opening indeed to see how it is on the front lines of a European country in which the Muslims are attempting a religious and national takeover of power as they spread the insidious cancer of Islamic rule across the world. It may be too late for the Danes, but maybe not, they are fighting back to some extent; and hopefully it will be enough for them to persevere and to maintain Danish sovereignty, culture and nationality. It is becoming apparent that those who believe there really are no other ways to combat the Islamo Fascist than to throw all Muslims out of a country may be correct because it seems if you allow them in, and then to remain, the cancer spreads - slowly at first - heck slowly for years, then suddenly it rages out of control. Hopefully the Danes will have the smarts to remove it surgically before it is too late.

By the way, if this offends any Muslims who may read it, then why are you not offended by the Islamo Fascists who try to conquer the world in the name of Islam. If you do nothing to deter them, then you support them as I see it, and you yourself are an offense to your own god and your own faith. If you think otherwise, then maybe it is true that the true goal of Islam is to conquer the world. What say you?

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Check Is In The Mail...

...and on its way to the taxidermist in Eustis, Maine. After just over a year, the taxidermist shop called us to let us know that the rug and skull mount from the bear that Brendan shot last year (on his first ever big game trip) was ready to be shipped to us. With me having been ill for a while, and also with me being the great procrastinator, it took about another few weeks before I got the check in the mail; but I did get that done today. I am anxious to see the finished product, something I hope will have been prepared well enough to last a lifetime or longer, it sure costs enough. I think though the cost will have been well worth it, what with all the good memories that the rug will invoke over the years to come.

Once we get it, we will post pics of it.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Maybe No Blogging Tomorrow...

...since I have to be at work at 0430 hours. At least it is not the middle of the winter, with cold temps, and driven snow; but it still stinks.

All the best,

Ballseye's Firearms Tactics and Training - Selection of a Holster

When you carry a handgun, for defense purposes, you want need it to be readily accessible to you at virtually all times. Not only do you need it to be accessible to you, but you need it to be defensible by you, or in other words - it need be difficult for the bad guy to take it away from you by taking it out of your holster - it need be secure. It also has to be inherently safe to use. I find only one general type of holster fits the bill, and while I may be putting myself out in front of the firing line as far as the great gun gurus go, I will stand fast on that point once the shooting starts.

The type of holster about which I am speaking is a strong side hip holster with at least one retention device. Inside or outside the belt does not matter, that is so long as you can easily draw the weapon with one hand (either one regardless of on which side you keep the holster) for firing, and you can easily re-holster the sidearm with one hand (either one regardless of on which side you keep the holster), and then engage the retention device (if not automatic) with that same hand. So what does that mean in holster selection. Well first of all it means quality. Don't by a cheap nylon or leather holster and expect it to remain good as new after using it for awhile. Do buy a quality leather, nylon, or plastic holster made by a reliable manufacturer. The specific traits you want to look for in a holster are as follow:

1) Quality - stick with a good name brand of holster, one that is fair to higher priced. Don't go bargain basement shopping when your life may depend upon the quality of your holster.

2) Material - leather, or ballistic nylon, or plastic (possibly polymer). I prefer a leather holster. From what I have seen in based on holster I and others have used, a quality leather holster is king. Nylon is okay, but ones I have had always wear out before a good leather holster. Plastic holsters are the latest thing I guess, but I do not like em at all. They are noisy and can click on things when you are trying to move with stealth. They are also noisy on the draw, and you may just want to be quiet sometimes when you draw a gun. Some of them, even ones believed to be of the highest quality, have been shown to be easily torn from a belt. A leather holster, with proper construction, is something that will last many years. With proper belt loops it is almost impossible to take a gun away from a shooter by ripping off the holster. It needs some care as in cleaning, and conditioning over the years, but leather is well worth the small task of doing such. They are also repairable.

3) Design -

a) As I said, I prefer a strong side (right side if right handed, left side if left handed) hip holster. When you draw from a strong sided holster, with your regular shooting, or strong side hand, you do not cross your body in any manner, you do not cross a field of fire that need not be crossed with the muzzle of the gun; you pull it out, and if facing your adversary, you have it on target almost as soon as it clears the holster.

b) I also prefer it to have at least one retention device. The retention device that I prefer is a thumb break/snap (not Velcro), although I will readily admit there are other holsters that have more secure retention devices. My reasoning is this: I want the gun to remain in the holster is I run, jump, climb, fall, grapple and so on. I want something to prevent immediate removal by a bad guy who tries to take my gun from my holster, something that gives me enough time to make a defensive retention move, but not something that slows down my draw. This is a thumb break holster.

c) I want a holster that remains in an open position after I have drawn the firearm from it. In other words, I do not want a worn out old holster in which the slides sort of close, or collapse inward, once the gun is out of the holster; nor do I want a new holster that does the same thing. Cheap nylon holsters are notorious for this. My reasoning here is that I want to be able to re-holster my sidearm with one hand, and then secure it with the same hand. Why - well because it keeps the other hand free for close in defensive moves if needed; and another thing is that is one hand is disabled, you can still secure your weapon with the other hand. Now mind you, I do not want a loose fitting holster, I want one with a snug fit, that is form fitted to the model of gun I am carrying, but it must be one in which it is easy to re-holster one handed.

d) Angle of the holster - I want a holster that rides high on my hip/belt, and wherein the firearm sits in an almost perpendicular position to the ground when I am standing up erect on level ground. I do not want a holster that tilts to the front, or to the back. Such holsters are not as defensible during gun retention moves. I can also draw from just about any position in which I find myself with such a holster. This includes prone on my belly or back, lying on either side, standing, sitting (even while seat belted into a car), or standing on my head if need be.

e) Belt Loops - these should be large enough to accommodate the type of belt you will be wearing. In addition they must be strong enough to withstand the gun take away efforts of a really big guy who grabs the whole holster, with pistol in it, and then tries to tear it off of you. Don't think it can happen, well then think again. I have witnessed this more than once. While on this subject, think too of the belt on which you secure your holster. Use a good quality belt, nothing fancy, but one that is made well and strong, with a secure buckle.

f) Lined or Unlined - this is a question that arises only in regard to leather holsters as far as I am aware. I prefer lined holsters as they are easier on the finish of the gun, and they are a bit thicker than unlined holsters that would otherwise be the same. This extra thickness seemingly adds to the durability of the holster over the years, and helps keep the holster open when the gun is removed.

g) Trigger covering - any holster should cover the trigger and trigger guard when the gun in in the holster.

h) Open or Closed Bottom - I prefer an open bottom holster. This is mainly because I do not want foreign material building up inside a closed bottom holster which could eventually plug the muzzle. Things like dust and lint (lint is a bad little booger in winter months when you wear sweaters). I am the forgetful type at times, and while I usualy check my equipment, one thing I would likely be to forget is to see if a closed bottom holster had debris init each time I put it on. With my open bottom holtser, I see if it is clear each time I pick it up because light comes right on through. Just simpler, closer to foolproof.

Holsters such as shoulder rigs, ankle holsters, thigh holsters, all may have one or two advantages over a strong side hip holster. For example an ankle holster may be more easily concealed. A shoulder holster rig also may be more easily concealed, and a thigh holster may give you a speedier draw. The thing is, that each of them falls short in more than one way or another. Ankle holsters are very difficult from which to draw while running or even walking fast towards something like cover, they are also the lest defensible when it comes to weapons retention. How do you hold onto a gun in an ankle holster if someone grabs your leg and tries to take it away. Sure you may do it, but you are much less likely to retain it than would you be had the firearm been in a strong side hip holster. A shoulder holster rig can be a blessing, especially if traveling in a plane in those tight seats for an LEO. The thing is though, when you draw from a should holster, you telegraph that you are reaching for a weapon. You also are performing a cross draw, drawing from weak side, and bringing the gun across to the strong side. It is a slower draw than from strong side, and such a draw causes the muzzle to cover things it quite possibly should not be covering. As for a thigh holster, you know the ones I mean, the ones SWAT guys wear. They are just about useless from what I can tell except they add speed to the draw in most cases. The thing is though, they are not as defensible as is a strong side hip holster, and they apparently often cause guns to go flying. I have seen guns routinely come out of these (several brands) while LEOs were training in tactical shooting that required running. If you feel it start to go, and this often happens, chances are you likely will not reach it in time to retain it on your thigh. if you feel a hip holster open, the body often keeps the gun retained, and just putting your arm against your body can do the rest.


The following paragraph was added on October 9, 2007: I did not mention carry in a pocket holster, but I will say here I do not like the form of carry because of how long it takes to draw, and how inaccesible is the firearm if you are in certain positions such as seated. Pocket carry without a holster is even less preferable than with one because of the potential for forgotten foreign objects in the pocket to interfere, jam or plug up the firearm, or to possibly even cause it to fire.


There may be more that I will add later on, but for now that it is. Whether you carry openly or concealed, this is the type of holster I recommend. About the only consideration that I would go beyond on suggestion I made above is if you might want a holster with additional retention devices, or with a different retention method. Of course, whatever you get is up to you, take my opinion or leave it, it does not matter to me. Just do yourself a favor, carry safely and practically.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ah The Last Days...

...of summer are upon us, and the tension in the air over the coming of the fall is shall I say almost deafening. The songs of some of the visiting summertime birds have flown off to other climes, the crickets and other songsters of the night have cut back markedly on their incessant but pleasant chirping. So too are the approach of cooler temps mixed with the shorter days crippling in their own natural way. The tomato plants are beginning to yellow, and I am afraid the last tomatoes of the season are on the vines, same for the pepper plants, and the squash. I think too, I have sensed the last of the heavenly aroma of the Honey Suckle until next year (this year we had a treat and about a week or so ago it bloomed again - a first for us that late in the year). The rose bush has let its stem arch over, and last of the rose petals have fallen to ground. It is a time to start preparing for what is inevitably to come, and that probably has no better example than my Hermann's Tortoise which has already found some spot into which to dig itself in during the chilly nights, still coming out though to sun itself when it warms up enough. No it is not Fall yet, but the signs are that it is imminent. In fact, the last full day of Summer is today, and the new season begins tomorrow, though to me it seems as if, for the garden, it started weeks ago.

I must say, I love the fall and all it brings. The festive times and holidays that we will celebrate such as Halloween and Thanksgiving. The harvest of the last of the year's crops is almost upon us. There will be squash, tomatoes and peppers still to come from what is left in my garden. There will be apples a plenty in the markets from upstate NY, some of the finest Macintosh apples I have ever eaten come from NYS. There will be turkey, not a common meal until the fall or winter. There will be some baking of apple pie, and maybe apple strudel, and even some homemade bread by yours truly. There will be things of another nature like extra work raking leaves, but I guess that is part of the harvest too, for the compost pile. of course, there will also be the hunt. The deer season, squirrel season, and most other hunting seasons in NYS are soon to open (gray squirrel is already open). All part of the harvest, all part of living in touch with something people the world around have lost touch with. The harvest time is a good one indeed. When it is upon us through its end, I will enjoy some of the fine brands of brew that offer and Oktoberfest Beer; and I'll be sure to enjoy 1 or three as I watch the leaves lose their green, and display their other vibrant colors that have been hidden throughout the growing season. Yes Autumn is my favorite season, I hope you all enjoy it too.

All the best,
Glenn B

I Hate It When...

...I see error messages like this come up on my screen. I especially get all wound up when it is one of my favoite blogs that I cannot visit. So - Hey Greybeard - if you are unaware, I think maybe your site is down - I don't get this when I vist any other blog.

Error establishing a database connection
This either means that the username and password
information in your wp-config.php file is incorrect or we can't contact the database server at This could mean your host's database server is down.

Are you sure you have the correct username and password?

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All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Jena 6, and Crys of racism...

...have gotten me to the point where I must ask something, but first let me make a few observations:

6 black youths allegedly beat a white youth.

The white youth allegedly is beaten unconscious, and from what I understand the beating allegedly continues, after the white youth is unconscious, with stomping on his head with, I believe, a shod foot, by at least one of the black youths if not more.

The white youth is hospitalized with badly bruised and swollen face. He remains unconscious for three hours or more. Yes unconscious due to the beating for over 3 hours!

That night, partially recovered, he attends some sort of festive affair.

The black youths are charged as adults with attempted murder or other crimes of violence.

One black youth was convicted, but charges were overturned by the state's highest court in his case because he was tried as an adult and was 16 (I believe) at the time of his arrest. (I firmly believe a kid is a kid and should never be tried as an adult, bit I do not agree that a child should only be forced to remain in jail until the young 20's, so I understand this decision, but now what?)

On CNN yesterday, two black commentators talk about this. One says, in essence, how can this be attempted murder if it was only a fight? He also says that how can a court in Louisiana charge them with attempted murder, when a court in Virginia (a completely different state with different state laws) did not charge a group of whites with attempted murder of a black woman when they allegedly poured boiling water on her. It was another state, after all, with different laws, but could he see that? He also says it was unfair for the 6 in Jena to be charged as adults, and to be charged with attempted murder, apparently because it was all based on white against black racism. The other commentator seemingly agrees. The one doing all the accusing of the BIG R as they called it (N word meet the BIG R) also asks, isn't there any outrage in the white community, isn't at least one white person outraged that this has happened.

I will answer his last question. There are at least 2 outraged whites, one being Hillary Clinton, but as I see it for all the wrong reasons. She is on the BIG R (racism by whites against blacks) as a seemingly politically rallying cry to get the black vote. As for the other person, he is not running, and is unlikely to ever run, for political office. Yes, I am that other person, and I am outraged but not for the same reasons as Hillary Rodham (middle initial BIG R) Clinton.

I am enraged because yesterday I heard that trash talk on CNN. I am enraged because today thousand marched to support the so called Jena 6, the alleged criminals who allegedly beat a white youth into unconsciousness then reportedly kept beating him. I am enraged because today, a secretary or aid in my office, a black woman, had a telephone conservation with someone, and she kept lowering her big mouthed voice (but not low enough not to be overheard) whenever she in essence said things like: 'It is about time THEY (yes the big T) started to get it back at them', 'They cannot bring us down with racism, THEY are racist, but We (the big W had to appear) are now united against them and have to get back at them", Those poor boys are innocent, and only charged because of white against black racism, and WE need to support them'. As she was near the end of her conversation, or at least just before she ended it maybe rather abruptly, I said in a loud and clear voice, 'It sounds like you are the real racist here' or something very like that. I guess he got the point, there was even lower muffled taking for a moment then a hang up. Nothing followed except the noise of the steam shooting out of my ears, and the curtain of blood rushing to obscure my sight (all figurative of course).

I also asked a question, clearly, and out loud, and proud just as the telephone conversation was seemingly ending: Do you think there was even a hint of racism in the fact that 6 blacks allegedly beat a white? Could that have been racist on the part of the blacks? Is there even one black person in America who thinks just that? Is there any black person who thinks these 6 so called black youths are evil mother fuckers who did harm to a white person because they are violent anti-white racists themselves? I sure think there is a darned rooting tootin good chance that such is exactly the case. So to all the charlatans like Al NotToSharpton, Sharpton, to and Jesse Jackassson Jackson, and to Hilary BIG R Rodham Clinton, and to the CNN mudslingers commentators who did not understand that attempted murder charges means just that they attempted murder, not that they were successful, or not that they were even good at trying to commit murder, and to all the race baiting ass wipes good intentioned but not to brainy people who marched in Jena thinking that racism is one sided only - do you guys even have the ability for once in your lifetimes to admit that racism works both ways. If not then remember this, it was the court of the same state who overturned the one black guy's conviction based upon a technicality, not upon the facts of the case as to whether or not he beat the whiter guy into unconsciousness for over 3 hours. Hmm, whom is that court racist against? I wonder if maybe that shows the state was not racist in this case! Was that racism, or was it just an injustice against a victim, the white guy, with no regard for the fact he was white and the alleged bad guys were black? By the way, to all of you black folks who are screaming racism, do you have even the least thought about the outcome for the beaten white youth, do you have sympathy for him at all, do you think that justice should be served and served harshly against anyone who is convicted of having beaten him into over a 3 hour period of unconsciousness, can even one among you realize that someone was brutalized, that someone did the brutalizing, that it was very possibly the 6 accused who did so? Can you, and if not, does that make you guilty of the BIG R (racism) yourselves?

So just what in Hades are you making complaints about? You all are only trying to stir the pot of racial unrest or so it seems to me, so long as only your own race is the victim (or so that it benefits you in some way like politically); and you seemingly are doing the only thing you know how to do - making trouble where there should be none, or at least you are only making trouble for the wrong people. The criminals are most likely the Jena 6 as I see it. They are probably, in my estimation, guilty of not only the BIG R, but of attempted murder, or at least attempted manslaughter, or at the very least of a brutal beating. Just because they did not do a good enough job of it to kill the white youth, does not mean they did not attempt to do so. They are charged with attempted murder, not with murder! Get with it, get with the facts, get with the truth of racism - anyone can exercise the BIG R, and in this case it is clear to me just who has done so. Yes at least one white person is outraged other than Hillary, and I am outraged that not all 6 of them are in jail for the next 25 years or so!

One last thing. What about those accused of killing the white couple several months ago, was that a racist act. They mutilated the white guy and killed him, and left his body lying about,. Then they tortured, brutally tortured the white woman, then had forced sex of all sorts with her, or so the allegations go. It is even alleged that they poured cleaning fluid down her throat as they raped her. Guess what, guess why you do not hear about it all over CNN, and on the television news and in the papers, and from Al Sharpton, and from Jesse Jackson, and from Hillary (Big R) Clinton - BECAUSE THE ALLEGED KILLERS WERE ALL BLACK, and these people whom I just mentioned by name will never call a black person a racist against whites. Why not, because racists usually cannot ever bad mouth there own, and political hacks like Hillary - would probably do anything for a vote.

Outraged, heck outraged is way to calm a word for what I am feeling, but I think you figured that out already. Racism is an ugly thing indeed, especially when the racists can not grasp the truth, not even for a moment, that they are being the perpetrators and are not the victims; and that racism works in all directions within all races, and even some of the members of the black race can be and are racists - especially in this particular case.

All the best,
Glenn B

Up and At Em...

...early in the morning is not my bag man! Yet I find myself up even before the crickets today, at least that is I don't hear them singing right now so either they are still asleep or it froze out last night. I don't think it got quite that cold yet, not here anyhow. It is going to be a long day at work if only because I am up this early to fulfill my duties as the alternate duty agent in my office today. Tomorrow I have the duty itself, but I only have to be in by 10Am for that. Man I hate being up this early with no chance of any further napping (YAWWWWWWWNNNNNNN). Oh well, off to the salt mines for me, and later for all of you.

All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Today In History - The Following Letter Appeared... several U.S. newspapers in September 1796. It had actually been written a few years earlier, then rewritten and polished up somewhat in September 1796. It was finished on September 17, 1796. It actually appeared in print, for the people of the United States to read, on September 19, 1796. It is truly powerful stuff, I recommend reading it all. The words below truly debunk many of the more progressive thoughts more liberal people have today about what our Founding Fathers believed America should be and become. Of course, Washington's words also support some of the current ideas, but instead of new so called progressive ideas, his words convey support ideals that were born within our Constitution and within the founding days of our great nation. Therefore, only if you are a patriot do his words, for the most part, support your ideals; and you and others before you have helped conserve these ideals throughout our history:


1 The period for a new election of a citizen, to administer the executive government of the United States, being not far distant, and the time actually arrived, when your thoughts must be employed designating the person, who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.

2 I beg you at the same time to do me the justice to be assured that this resolution has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

3 The acceptance of, and continuance hitherto in, the office to which your suffrages have twice called me, have been a uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty, and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped, that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives, which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement, from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this, previous to the last election, had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations, and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence impelled me to abandon the idea.

4 I rejoice, that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty, or propriety; and am persuaded, whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that, in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove my determination to retire.

5 The impressions, with which I first undertook the arduous trust, were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust, I will only say, that I have, with good intentions, contributed towards the organization and administration of the government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable. Not unconscious, in the outset, of the inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strengthened the motives to diffidence of myself; and every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more, that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome. Satisfied, that, if any circumstances have given peculiar value to my services, they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe, that, while choice and prudence invite me to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it.

6 In looking forward to the moment, which is intended to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude, which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me; still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me; and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise, and as an instructive example in our annals, that under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead, amidst appearances sometimes dubious, vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging, in situations in which not unfrequently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts, and a guarantee of the plans by which they were effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; than, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing, as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation, which is yet a stranger to it.

7 Here, perhaps I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel. Nor can I forget, as an encouragement to it, your indulgent reception of my sentiments on a former and not dissimilar occasion.

8 Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.

9 The unity of Government, which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquillity at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very Liberty, which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee, that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment, that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the Palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion, that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

10 For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of american, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the Independence and Liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

11 But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those, which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the Union of the whole.

12 The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, protected by the equal laws of a common government, finds, in the productions of the latter, great additional resources of maritime and commercial enterprise and precious materials of manufacturing industry. The South, in the same intercourse, benefiting by the agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand. Turning partly into its own channels the seamen of the North, it finds its particular navigation invigorated; and, while it contributes, in different ways, to nourish and increase the general mass of the national navigation, it looks forward to the protection of a maritime strength, to which itself is unequally adapted. The East, in a like intercourse with the West, already finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communications by land and water, will more and more find, a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings from abroad, or manufactures at home. The West derives from the East supplies requisite to its growth and comfort, and, what is perhaps of still greater consequence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyment of indispensable outlets for its own productions to the weight, influence, and the future maritime strength of the Atlantic side of the Union, directed by an indissoluble community of interest as one nation. Any other tenure by which the West can hold this essential advantage, whether derived from its own separate strength, or from an apostate and unnatural connexion with any foreign power, must be intrinsically precarious.

13 While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in Union, all the parts combined cannot fail to find in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations; and, what is of inestimable value, they must derive from Union an exemption from those broils and wars between themselves, which so frequently afflict neighbouring countries not tied together by the same governments, which their own rivalships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and embitter. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty. In this sense it is, that your Union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.

14 These considerations speak a persuasive language to every reflecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the continuance of the union as a primary object of Patriotic desire. Is there a doubt, whether a common government can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it. To listen to mere speculation in such a case were criminal. We are authorized to hope, that a proper organization of the whole, with the auxiliary agency of governments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue to the experiment. It is well worth a fair and full experiment. With such powerful and obvious motives to Union, affecting all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those, who in any quarter may endeavour to weaken its bands.

15 In contemplating the causes, which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern, that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by Geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavour to excite a belief, that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heart-burnings, which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those, who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection. The inhabitants of our western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head; they have seen, in the negotiation by the Executive, and in the unanimous ratification by the Senate, of the treaty with Spain, and in the universal satisfaction at that event, throughout the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspicions propagated among them of a policy in the General Government and in the Atlantic States unfriendly to their interests in regard to the mississippi; they have been witnesses to the formation of two treaties, that with Great Britain, and that with Spain, which secure to them every thing they could desire, in respect to our foreign relations, towards confirming their prosperity. Will it not be their wisdom to rely for the preservation of these advantages on the union by which they were procured? Will they not henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there are, who would sever them from their brethren, and connect them with aliens?

16 To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a Government for the whole is indispensable. No alliances, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions, which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a Constitution of Government better calculated than your former for an intimate Union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This Government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true Liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish Government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established Government.

17 All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.

18 However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

19 Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the constitution, alterations, which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments, as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard, by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially, that, for the efficient management of our common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.

20 I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.

21 This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

22 The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.

23 Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

24 It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

25 There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

26 It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution, in those intrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the Guardian of the Public Weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way, which the constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for, though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.

27 Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

28 It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric ?

29 Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

30 As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is, to use it as sparingly as possible; avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts, which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen, which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should cooperate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind, that towards the payment of debts there must be Revenue; that to have Revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised, which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment, inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties), ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue, which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.

31 Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and Morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt, that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages, which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its Virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices ?

32 In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential, than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular Nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The Nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the Government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The Government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times, it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of Nations has been the victim.

33 So likewise, a passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite Nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite Nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the Nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens, (who devote themselves to the favorite nation,) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

34 As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent Patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practise the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the Public Councils! Such an attachment of a small or weak, towards a great and powerful nation, dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

35 Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens,) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove, that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defence against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

36 The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.

37 Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

38 Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off, when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality, we may at any time resolve upon, to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

39 Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?

40 It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

41 Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

42 Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing, with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them, conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view, that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

[43-50 omitted from some newspaper printings.]

43 In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course, which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself, that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.

44 How far in the discharge of my official duties, I have been guided by the principles which have been delineated, the public records and other evidences of my conduct must witness to you and to the world. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is, that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.

45 In relation to the still subsisting war in Europe, my Proclamation of the 22d of April 1793, is the index to my Plan. Sanctioned by your approving voice, and by that of your Representatives in both Houses of Congress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me, uninfluenced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it.

46 After deliberate examination, with the aid of the best lights I could obtain, I was well satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take, and was bound in duty and interest to take, a neutral position. Having taken it, I determined, as far as should depend upon me, to maintain it, with moderation, perseverance, and firmness.

47 The considerations, which respect the right to hold this conduct, it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. I will only observe, that, according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the Belligerent Powers, has been virtually admitted by all.

48 The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without any thing more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity towards other nations.

49 The inducements of interest for observing that conduct will best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me, a predominant motive has been to endeavour to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption to that degree of strength and consistency, which is necessary to give it, humanly
speaking, the command of its own fortunes.

50 Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope, that my Country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.

51 Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man, who views it in the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations; I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.

George Washington
United States - September 17, 1796

My source for this was Wikidepia, but I am assured it can be found elsewhere. It is an amazing piece, written by a true American Patriot, indeed one of the first of that breed. If a politicain was to run for the presidency today, and run on the issues discussed in this letter, and throw his or her support to the great majority of the points made therein, do you think you would vote for such a candidate? Do you think the majority of citizens of the United States of America would vote for such a candidate? I know where my vote would be cast, right to the person running with these ideals, principles and concerns.

It sure would be nice if each and every candidate running for the presidency this time around, were to meet in a deabte, the topic of which would be the exact principals expressed in this letter, and the meat of the discussion would be whether or not they support such. Maybe better yet, instead of a debate, would be if each candidate were required to prepare a written statement addressing each poiunt of Washington's farewell, wit indication as to how they felt about it professionally, politically, and from a standpoint of morality. My bet is that most of them would look like little more than pompous fools. Yet if but one or two came out well in their expressions of agreement or disagreement with these ideals and issues, they would at least present themselves as decent considerations, for the people, upon which to base the selection of the next man for the most important job in our nation.

All the best,
Glenn B