A Weekly View from the Foothills of Appalachia
June 18, 2000 #186
by: Doug Fiedor
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Copyright © 2000 by Doug Fiedor, all rights reserved
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It's interesting to hear that a few of the Hollywood mannequins and their directors were actually surprised at scenes in a new movie. But, the most interesting point was the utter hypocrisy of it all.
It was Hollywood, after all, that put out films about students shooting up high schools. Hollywood also thought that a long series of bloody slasher films were great entertainment. So too, with a couple hundred urban, suburban and country shoot 'em ups. In fact, it wasn't long ago that Hollywood seemed to think that the more human blood and guts splattered throughout a film the better it would do at the box office.
These violence oriented films were, of course, targeted at children and young teens. Many of them received an "R" rating, but that has seldom stopped kids from seeing them. All of the films are also played often on television.
So it was interesting to see that Matt Drudge reported:
A loud "gasp" was heard in the screening room as the camera zoomed in for a closeup of the kids. Shots are fired. Blood splatters on Redcoats. They go into woods and ambush the Redcoats, killing around 15 men. "One son is around 13 years old, the other is 10," says an insider.
The film was the "Patriot," of course, and the protagonist is shown taking up arms against those in authority who would confiscate personal arms. The offending part to those on the far left is when the hero reaches into a chest and gives his sons rifles. The kids then go out into the woods and ambush Redcoats, killing a few.
So, let's examine this prevailing Hollywood mindset here: Shooting up people in high schools and slashing people to death at summer camps is fine entertainment, apparently. Protecting ones family, home and neighborhood, on the other hand, is not. Interesting!
There were a couple other shoot 'em up films about real American heroes a few years back. Lest we forget, perhaps it is time to remember a more modern reason that children should be taught to safely use firearms accurately.
An article in the June 14, 1919 issue of The Literary Digest, describes a big bashful, red headed mountain boy from the village of Pall Mall, in Fentress County, Tennessee. This boy grew up where good shooting is the rule, not the exception. However, he was also from a strict religious sect, so when drafted into the Army for World War I, the young man entered as a conscientious objector.
It was said that part of the heroism of this young man was his honesty in changing his convictions when he was convinced that he was wrong. Maybe. But, on October 8, 1918, in the Argonne Forest of France, their came a time when war was all around him and his friends were dying. That was when this young conscientious objector from Tennessee, an excellent rifle and pistol shot from boyhood, blended his civilian and military training into action. As the story goes, he killed twenty or twenty- five of the German enemy, captured 132 others - including a major and three lieutenants - and put thirty-five machine guns out of action, all in very short order.
That is, of course, part of the saga of Sergeant Alvin C. York, a true American hero. Read more about Sergeant York at: http://ac.acusd.edu/History/text/ww1/sgtyork.html
A few years after Sergeant Alvin C. York returned home, a son was born to poor Texas sharecroppers, one of nine children. That put this young man in the proper age group to fight in World War II. And, herein developed another story of yet another American who learned to shoot at an early age.
By age 12, this Texas boy was already a great shot with a rifle. At that time, his family was very poor, so he quit school to work for a neighboring farmer. When the war started, the 17 year old boy enlisted.
This young man rose to national fame as the most decorated U.S. combat soldier of World War II. Among his 33 awards and decorations was the Medal of Honor, the highest military award for bravery that can be given to any individual in the United States, for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty." He also received every decoration for valor that his country had to offer, some of them more than once, including 5 decorations by France and Belgium. Credited with killing over 240 of the enemy while wounding and capturing many others, he soon became a legend within the 3rd Infantry Division.
Beginning his service as an Army Private, this young man quickly rose in the enlisted ranks to Staff Sergeant, then was given a "battlefield" commission as 2nd Lieutenant, was wounded three times, fought in 9 major campaigns across the European Theater, and survived the war.
Throughout 1944 and 1945, this man continued to stalk and kill snipers. He would not allow snipers to kill his men without revenge. As the story goes, this excellent sharpshooter "out dueled snipers with little or no fanfare." No matter that the snipers had high powered scopes while the boy from Texas usually used a carbine.
That young man's name was Audie Leon Murphy, of course.
On Jan 26, 1945, Audie Murphy climbed aboard a burning tank and fought off six Tiger tanks and two reinforced rifle companies, earning what is still considered today as the most famous Medal of Honor act in World War II. <http://www.audiemurphy.com/news1.htm> .
For even more information about Audie Murphy, go to <http://www.audiemurphy.com/congress1.htm> , and please pay close attention to a poem by Audie Murphy at the bottom of the page. Because, as we speak of great American Patriots this coming Independence Day, that last verse says it all.
How much more does our air need to be cleaned? If the environmental whackos at EPA have their way, we'll be "cleaning" the air in some areas of the country to a point that far exceeds how nature had it before man even lived on this continent. Is this possible? Is it even wise to try?
When Mount St. Helens erupted on 18 May 1980, the top 1,300 ft. disappeared within minutes. The blast area covered an area of more than 150 sq. miles and sent thousands of tons of ash into the upper atmosphere. The eruption put more gasses and particles in the air than all industry and vehicles in the country combined did in the preceding decade. <http://volcano.und.edu/vwdocs/msh/msh.html>
Not said is the fact that the event also triggered between one-third and one-half of all the EPA's air quality control monitors for weeks thereafter. And, interestingly enough, the following weeks were the only time some areas in the country were ever out of compliance with EPA air quality control standards.
No matter, said EPA. Many areas of the country were out of compliance. The people must be punished. So, harsher air quality control regulations were written. And the Democrat-Socialists controlling Congress loved it.
Other volcanoes (Mexico) also erupted and many more are expected to explode into action someday. One need only check the World Volcano Index at <http://volcano.und.edu/vwdocs/volc_images/sorted_by_country.html> for an indication of how often this could happen -- and how futile these world-wide attempts at maintaining spic and span air quality can be.
No matter, though. EPA plans to browbeat us into submission, no matter what it takes. Now they're even regulating lawnmowers and thinking again about writing rules controlling the average barbecue.
Meanwhile, EPA is also intentionally polluting our water supply.
This administration knows it was wrong for mandating reformulated gasoline containing Methyl Tertiary- Butyl Ether (MTBE). A number of good scientists told EPA that it was stupid to add MTBE to gasoline before anybody knew anything about the stuff. But, EPA mandated that MTBE be used anyway. Consequently, MTBE is now polluting drinking water around the country.
One does not need to be a rocket scientist to map the impact. In California and other States where there is a high correlation between urban land use, motor vehicle traffic and population density, the frequency of water concentrations of MTBE is high. And gasoline, of course, is the only source of MTBE. Some areas of the country already have alarming amounts of the stuff in ground water.
In 1998, the California Department of Health Services issued a secondary drinking water standard at 5 parts per billion (ppb), or 5 ug/l. We must add here that PPB means parts per billion, and because the metric system is used, there is a direct correlation between "PPB" and contaminant weight in grams per liter. The terms are interchangable.
The federal EPA, however, has established a draft "taste and odor threshold" for drinking water at 20-40 micrograms per liter (ug/l). Still, the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) reports that some consumers can detect MTBE at levels as low as 2 ppb (2 ug/l). One scientist reports that as little as one ounce of MTBE added to a ton of water is enough to keep most people from drinking the water. Some say that MTBE smells like turpentine or paint thinner. Actually, it is what the name implies: ether.
Gasoline reformulated with MTBE causes a number of problems with automobile engines. It also lowers fuel economy significantly. And, of course, reformulated gasoline costs more that untreated gasoline.
MTBE gets into the ground water in at least three ways. It is persistent in getting there. According to a report by the International Programe on Chemical Safety (<http://www.who.int/pcs/docs/ehc_206.htm>), after discharge into air, MTBE will largely remain in the air, with smaller amounts entering soil and water. In the atmosphere, MTBE can partition into rain. When MTBE is discharged into water, a significant amount is dissolved, with some partitioning into air. When MTBE is released to the soil, it is transported to the air through volatilization, to surface water through run-off and to groundwater as a result of leaching. MTBE then accumulates in groundwater.
In laboratory experiments, MTBE caused significant changes in liver and kidneys. Exposure to MTBE also results in central nervous system effects including sedation, hypoactivity, ataxia and anesthesia at higher concentrations and biphasic effects on motor activity at lower concentrations.
All that is expected, of course. MTBE is ether, after all. The stuff is not only a great solvent, it is also an unsafe grade of anesthesia.
Executive Order D-5-99 issued by Governor Gray Davis on the 25th of March, 1999 declared that, "on balance, there is significant risk to the environment from using Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether (MTBE) in gasoline. . . ." <http://www.calepa.ca.gov/programs/mtbe/EOTasks.htm> .
The UC Davis Health and Environmental report leading to that action can be found at: <http://tsrtp.ucdavis.edu/mtberpt/homepage.html> . For investigations by other states, go to <http://www.epa.gov/swerust1/mtbe/mtbestat.htm> .
To date, the only effective way to remove MTBE from drinking water is by Carbon adsorption. Granulated activated carbon devices seem to do the job, but at a cost to consumers of about $2.50 per 1,000 gallons treated.
For more on the health factors caused by the MTBE fiasco, see "More Harm by the EPA" in issue 147.
Because it is a lame-duck administration, or maybe because it is just mean, this administration refuses to do anything to correct this major reformulated gasoline blunder. This means, of course, that if our country's drinking water is to be protected, the next administration will start out next year with a very serious problem on its hands.
So Bluetooth, the technology named after a Viking, has finally launched. Well, sort of launched, anyway. From a technical point of view it has. It's just not in any products yet.
For many of us, Bluetooth will be about like a cordless telephone. That is, it will allow people to do things without being hardwired to the device we wish to use. For instance, if one were to buy a new printer containing the Bluetooth technology, any computer in the room that also has the Bluetooth technology in it could use that printer with no cable attachment being necessary.
The Bluetooth technology is actually little more than a fancy transceiver (a transmitter and receiver) built on a chip. Well, a transceiver with a few extra bells and whistles, actually.
In fact, any electronic devices -- mobile telephones, computers, printers, radios, automobiles, televisions, refrigerators -- fitted with a Bluetooth transceiver will be able to swap data effortlessly with other similarly equipped devices. Some notebook computer manufacturers are planning to use it. Most cell phones will soon have it. And, many appliance manufacturers are also considering the technology.
"Bluetooth" is actually the name given a specification for the wireless technology. It is a global standard for secure radio frequency communication between any number of devices using the technology. Bluetooth supports both voice and data communications, so one of the first uses will be for hands-free voice communications for wireless phones in vehicles. The technology uses the 2.4-GHz radio band, which is unlicensed in the United States. It will be fast enough for most uses, too. The technology supports data speeds of up to 721K bit/sec. The Bluetooth devices hop 1,600 times per second over 79 different channels, which should be sufficient to keep pranksters from causing problems.
One of the first accessory products to use the technology will be a handsfree, cordless, cellular telephone headset. The Bluetooth headset will connect to a mobile phone by a radio link instead of a cable. So, as long as the user is somewhere around their telephone, they can talk on it. Which means, the telephone can be in a briefcase or purse and still be answered.
Manufacturers say the new cell phone will also function as a portable phone at home. Near the house, it will connect to the regular telephone service. While on the move, it will function as a mobile phone, with standard cellular charges. But, when the phone comes within range of another mobile phone with built-in Bluetooth wireless technology, it will function as a walkie-talkie, so there will be no telephone charge.
Now here's where things get a bit complicated: The Bluetooth wireless technology supports both point-to- point and point-to-multipoint connections. What's that mean? Well, with the current specification, up to seven "slave" devices can be set to communicate with the "master" radio transceiver in one device. Then, several of these "piconets" can be established and linked together in ad hoc "scatternets" to allow communication among continually flexible configurations.
For those who cannot yet program your VCR, that's about the time you will need to call in some high school kids to help. Anyway, for the engineering types, all devices in the same piconet have priority synchronization, but other devices can be set to enter at any time. They call that a "flexible, multiple piconet structure."
There are obviously some very interesting possibilities with this new technology. The problem is, one of the handiest possibilities is also one of the least comfortable for those interested in personal liberty.
For instance, the FBI has already ordered a tracking system for cell phone users. The new Bluetooth technology will make tracking easier yet. Because, remember the walkie-talkie part? The cell phone tracking system will tell police which cell a person is in. Now, when police arrive on the scene, the Bluetooth system will all but point the person out -- or at least tell police they are within 30 feet of whoever they want.
We will explore the potential for use and misuse of this new technology for medical and personal identification purposes at some other time. Regardless, this is a very useful new technology and we expect it to be incorporated into most electronic equipment within the next couple years.
For a little background reading, visit the links listed below.
Congress is about to violate the Constitution, the supreme law of the land, again. That's no great surprise, unfortunately. But, it does deserve comment.
This time it's HR 701, which has already passed the House. The Senate companion bill is S 25. The title is misnamed the "Conservation and Reinvestment Act", or CARA. In truth, it is but another method for the federal government to gobble up more land and keep it out of human use.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) calls for the federal government to sell off many of its real property holdings. Paul, like most of us, believes that the federal government owns far too much real property. In fact, looking at a State by State Government Land Ownership chart gives an indication of just how bad this problem actually is. (<http://www.nwi.org/Maps/LandChart.html>)
The Constitution charges the federal government with defending our country's borders against invasion, protecting against insurrection and riots and insuring the safety of trade between the states and with foreign countries. That is, the federal government is set up to be, to a limited extent, a cop protecting our property rights.
Furthermore, the Constitution mentions property authorized to be owned by the federal government. And, while the Constitution does not state exactly how much land the federal government may own, it is specific in listing the reasons the federal government may own land within a State. The second from the last paragraph of Article I, Section 8 instructs that the federal government shall "exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever" over the District of Columbia "and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards and other needful Buildings."
So, we see that the federal government may own property, as needed, within a State. However, the State Legislature must approve, and the property must then be needed for federal offices, forts, magazines, arsenals and/or dockyards.
Parks, green spaces, biospheres, wilderness areas, wetlands, national forests, ocean reefs, national monuments, and other such places, are not mentioned. These things were to be left to the States. They appear nowhere within the job description of the federal government. Therefore, the federal government took these activities upon itself unilaterally, with no Constitutional authority.
As stated above, the federal government was intended to be the overall cop, in certain circumstances, tasked to protect our property rights. But, over the years, the cop got greedy. Sure, the federal government has done things to protect private and State property. But, in the process, it also snatched some.
In fact, while "protecting" State and private property within the United States, the federal government cop ripped off over 30% of the land mass of the nation for itself.
Article IV, Section 3, paragraph 2 of the Constitution states that:
The Congress shall have the Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
Which means that Congress (the federal government) may do anything it wants with any Territory it owns until that Territory becomes a State. After a Territory becomes a State, the Constitution applies and all land within the State's boundaries then belongs to the people of the State or to the State to be held in trust for the people. Because, Article I, Section 8 then applies, as stated above.
So, how did the federal government come to own 31.1% of the land mass of the United States? Evidently, they just took it. Generally speaking, when a Territory wished to become a State, the federal government first looked around and staked out what land it wished to keep as federal lands. The would-be new State government, being intimidated and wanting statehood as soon as possible, usually just shut up and allowed the federal government to keep a chunk of their land. And, that is exactly why the original 13 States have little or no federal land within their borders but the newer States have millions of acres of federal land in their State. The federal property cop got greedy and ripped it off by whatever means it took.
For instance, the federal government claims deed to 49.9% of California, 55.5% of Oregon, 65.2% of Idaho, 67.0% of Alaska, 67.9% of Utah, and 87.6% of Nevada. Conversely, the federal government claims but 0.4% of New York, 0.6% of Connecticut, 0.6% of Rhode Island, 1.1% of Kansas, 1.2% of Maine, 1.7% of Massachusetts, and 2.1% of Iowa.
CARA sets up an off-budget trust fund from all lands the federal government says it owns (including the ocean floor). The plan is to allow mining and oil drilling on these "federal lands" on a share cropper basis. That is, the government will keep part of the profits from the labor of its serfs. Those funds will then be used for "environmental purposes," such as purchasing more land to be taken out of use by humans. All this will be off-budget and without the approval of Congress. Which, we might add, is totally unconstitutional.
According to Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX):
CARA not only necessitates the creation of a trust fund to engage in activities which are not authorized by the Constitution, it also promises to have a negative impact on property rights in general and on the environment Congress is claiming to protect. If we are truly interested in providing better land management and environmental stewardship, we should get the federal government out of the land management business. As the recent uncontrolled burns of Los Alamos show, there is literally no end to the possible ways the federal government can mismanage environmentally sensitive lands.
But, there's more yet. According to G. Ray Arnett -- past Director, California Department of Fish and Game under Governor Reagan and federal Interior Department Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks in the Reagan administration -- federal bureaucrats will force themselves on unsuspecting citizens and force them to sell their land cheap:
With the enormous riches of funds provided by CARA, agencies will have an unprecedented incentive to engage in the 'willing seller' charade. Every owner of a ranch, farm, woodlot, or game preserve will be at risk of being targeted by government agencies working in tandem with environmental, anti-hunting, animal rights pressure groups. Ironically, since they hold the most desirable properties, private landowners who have been the most diligent caretakers of their holdings will be on top of the land grab list for government takeover.
And so it goes with the federal government and their wacko environmentalist conspirators. The "Conservation and Reinvestment Act" is but another in the series of federal laws, rules and regulations designed to insure that government is master and the people mind their place as common serfs.
For more information, visit the American Land Rights Association at: <http://www.landrights.org>
Note: Doug tells it like it really is -- Frank and honest.
Forest Glen Durland
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