Logging Camp Society

Here is the third in the four-part Alaska vacation series. Thought it was three, didn’t you? Last week was the mechanics, or workings of logging camp. Now, the people.


Holy cow, this is 38 years ago. Forgive me if you were there and find my facts don’t ring true.


It rains most of the time in Southeast Alaska and we learned to work in it (now it feels like I never left). Our tin hats had brims all the way around so the rain didn’t go down our necks. Our jeans had the hems cut off and were “high water” so they didn’t get snagged when we ran to safety as the logs were pulled away. We all wore suspenders on our baggy pants for freedom of movement. These sorts of things evolved over the years. OSHA, you are not needed.


There were seven “sides” at the camp and we had a friendly competition in production. Our side was made up of misfits (as if there was something else in Southeast Alaska), a la the old Oakland Raiders.


The hook tender was a guy named Warren. He was a drunk but managed to show up for work. He flew to town every weekend. I don’t imagine he saved up a dime. He called me “the snail.” I wasn’t really all that slow but I helped new guys be more efficient to learn the finer points, and that took some time. The hook tender sets up the routes for the lines (cables). Warren did that alright, then he’d sit on a stump at the back of the show and smoke cigarettes, yelling at us to hustle. I punched him in the nose and everybody cheered when he fell over backwards off that five-foot stump.


I guess Warren didn’t fit in with the misfits. He was fired the next day. His replacement was Chuck Saxton, who became a good friend. Chuck was from a logging family in Roseburg, Oregon. He knew my roommate, Ron, from down there. Ron had some pretty good cassette tapes. He would go out in the narrow hallway in the middle of the night and spew a mouthful of Everclear, lighting it with his Zippo. It made a huge flame and the smoke alarm would go off, causing some irritation to the neighbors.


As soon as Chuck had the sheaves (don’t call them pulleys!) tied to the stumps for the haulback, he would pitch in until we got to the end of that road. We became a well-oiled machine, each with his specialty; tight logs, tall logs, logs that required complicated sets to get around obstacles. We ran, we jumped. It was like football with purpose. My knees hurt. They called us the screwball crew, as a negative version of the usual highball, which meant fast and productive. Eventually the screwball crew outproduced every crew in camp. We whistled “Whistle While You Work” as we left the mess hall every morning.


Gus worked the landing. He would unfasten the chokers so the dragline could load trucks and trim some pieces that the cutters couldn’t reach out in the woods. He was a great little guy that looked like Will Rogers. He got a letter from a friend in the lower 48 telling him of his wife’s infidelity. It ate at him for a couple days but then he stole the crummy (short bus) and drove to camp. He was off on a plane before we got off work. I had worked the landing with the helicopters so I was nominated to fill in for Gus. Ever since then I sing that old Paul Simon song when I think of poor Gus; “Hop on the bus, Gus.”


There is not enough room for what needs to be said here so the story will continue next week. But since this is the week of Independence Day, there are some points that need to be mentioned because the voices who speak the truth are, so often, marginalized as fringe or nutty.


The Revolutionary War was fought for the colonies to secede from their own overarching government that redistributed wealth from the productive citizens to the aristocracy. This war was not unique. The so-called Civil War (six to eight hundred thousand dead is hardly civil) began as the agrarian South was seeing the Yanks doing the same that King George did to the original colonies. The same is happening in Ukraine today. Hong Kong has a burgeoning “democracy” movement as they find the wealth created by an economy once much freer than ours, is increasingly tapped by the Beijing government to supplement their wasteful central planners.


Remember this Fourth of July that our Revolutionary War was fought against our own government, not a foreign power. Presenting King George’s England as a foreign power has a purpose: To make us think only foreigners can be our enemies so we will be obedient to our government and accept such plunder as The Affordable Care Act and Environmental Protection Agency, like it is the patriotic thing to do.


Remember the extreme sacrifice the colonists made for us by upholding the principles for which they fought instead of bowing down to the state that pretends to uphold those principles as it focuses on symbols and slogans.




Military recruiting

An interesting article in today’s War Street Journal stated that 71% of 17 to 24 year olds were not qualified to serve in the military. Reasons given were obesity, prescription drug use of the kind that makes teachers’ jobs easier because the children are numb, tattoos, lack of education and many others.

I’ve posted a related story below.


Former Navy SEAL Chris Beck chronicles the transformation to a woman, Kristin Beck, in her new book "Warrior Princess." Former Navy SEAL Chris Beck chronicles the transformation to a woman, Kristin Beck, in her new book “Warrior Princess.” 

A former member of SEAL Team 6 has become the poster girl for a Pentagon effort to include transgenders — people who have undergone sex-change operations — in the ranks.

Kristin Beck, formerly Senior Chief Petty Officer Christopher Beck, spoke recently at several high-profile events at intelligence agencies and the Pentagon to promote the integration of transgenders.

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“Transgender service in the armed forces, yes it will happen soon,” she said on Twitter.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, among the most politically correct Pentagon chiefs of the past several decades, fueled the effort within the Pentagon to integrate transgenders in May when he said the policy of banning transgenders should be reviewed continually. The transgender drive is the latest element of the Obama administration’s social engineering within the U.S. military.

The Pentagon currently defines transgenders as sexual deviants.

Among Ms. Beck’s recent appearances were speeches at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office and at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, according to the DIA and her Twitter feed.

She also was scheduled to speak to the Multicultural Heritage Committee at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, although one defense official said it is not clear how transgenderism fits within the multicultural spectrum.

Ms. Beck, author of “Warrior Princess,” spoke to the DIA on June 18 as part of the intelligence agency’s annual Pride Month — formerly Gay Pride Month but now expanded to include a host of sexually related terms, including transgenders. She received an award from DIA Director Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn at the event.

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According to DIA’s newsletter, Ms. Beck, in her remarks, pushed for allowing transgenders in uniform. She said the Pentagon should stop defining people by external appearances and accept what they say they are on the inside.

“We are all, all of us, created equal, and we all deserve equal justice,” she said, explaining how she hid her true sexual identity during her military career.

As a man, Ms. Beck was part of SEAL Teams 1, 5 and 6 and was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.

Since sex reassignment last year, Ms. Beck has sought to promote gay, bisexual and transgender acceptance in the military.

“The world is looking at us,” Ms. Beck told the DIA. “You can change the wallpaper, but I’m still right here. I can still do the job I was doing in uniform.”

The DIA said its event was designed to promote education and diversity in the workplace.

Pentagon official critical of the sexual-diversity campaign said it was a waste of money.

“Who’s paying for this?” the official asked. “Especially in these trying fiscal times with reduction-in-force boards, selective early retirement boards and early terminations for our enlisted ranks, someone is wasting money by mainstreaming a transgendered veteran?”

Ms. Beck said she is not “pushing” for transgender integration in the military. “I am speaking about being a ‘human’ and the value of people in the armed forces,” she stated in an email.

The military is looking at allowing transgenders in the military and “I am giving them correct information instead of stereotypes and misguided information of the past,” Ms. Beck said, adding that 13 nations permit transgenders in their armed forces.

Many of the speeches were not paid appearances, although travel expenses were reimbursed, Ms. Beck said.

Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, said the Pentagon’s push to promote transgenders in the military is the latest effort by President Obama to delivery on political promises to special interest groups.

“Before President Obama imposes another extreme element of LGBT law, he should consider the consequences for the majority of men and women in uniform,” Ms. Donnelly said. “They should not be forced to participate in an unprecedented social experiment that does nothing to strengthen our military.”

Read more:http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jun/26/seal-tem-sixs-kristin-beck-transgender-recruiting-/#ixzz35z6ylQZD
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Letter to War Street Journal about Dan Henninger’s Rand Paul column

Dear Editor,   (Henninger’s column is posted below my letter)

I was disappointed in Rand Paul’s Reagan reference as well. But not
for the same reasons as Daniel Henninger (Rand Paul’s Reagan,
Thursday, June 26, WSJ).

I realize Paul needs to drop the Reagan name in order to gain the
attention of conservatives. But those of us who see a glimmer of hope
in Paul as a limited government guy should be suspicious of this tact
because Reagan (although constantly trotted out as such) was not. He
raised taxes several times including a record corporate tax increase
and to fund the socialistic programs, Social Security and Medicare.

The myth that Reagan ended the cold war persists in Henninger’s mind
as well. The problem with that idea is that the Soviet Empire fell
because socialism doesn’t work and military adventurism put them over
the top. To claim that Reagan was the one who defeated the evil empire
is to endorse excessive executive power and socialism at the same
time, while ignoring the fact that capital taken for war is also taken
from productive use.

The clincher, though, is Henninger’s reference to Reagan’s constant
use of the words “freedom” and “democracy.” Individual freedom cannot
exist in a democracy.

We should aim higher than a Ronald Reagan clone, however politically
incorrect that may sound. Unfortunately, any such person is busy doing
something productive and prefers to stay that way. And a broad range
of special interests will effectively marginalize him if he chooses to


Love, Frtitz



Rand Paul’s Reagan

How much of Reagan’s foreign policy would Rand Paul have supported?

June 25, 2014 7:14 p.m. ET

Senator Rand Paul wrote an essay for The Wall Street Journal last week, “America Shouldn’t Choose Sides in Iraq’s Civil War,” in which he associated his attitude toward overseas interventions with the foreign-policy principles of Ronald Reagan. “Though many claim the mantle of Ronald Reagan on foreign policy,” Sen. Paul wrote, “too few look at how he really conducted it.” Essentially what this means, Sen. Paul continued, is that “Like Reagan . . . we should never be eager to go to war.”

The Kentucky Republican doubts that Reagan would have committed U.S. troops to driving out Saddam Hussein, as President George W. Bush did. And he strongly implies that Ronald Reagan, like the senator, would not want to involve the U.S. in Iraq’s current catastrophe.

To support the similarity between his views and Reagan’s, Sen. Paul cites the Weinberger Doctrine as a summary of the 40th president’s views on foreign interventions. Caspar Weinberger, Reagan’s secretary of defense, articulated what came to be known as the Weinberger Doctrine in a November 1984 speech at the National Press Club.

President Reagan with foreign-policy advisers, including George H.W. Bush (foreground), George Shultz and Caspar Weinberger (right). Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

As accurately summarized by Sen. Paul, Weinberger said the U.S. shouldn’t commit combat forces unless America’s vital interests are involved, should do so only if we intend to win, have clear political and military goals, the capacity to achieve them, the support of Congress and the U.S. public, and act only as a last resort. Sen. Paul wants his readers to believe that Weinberger’s view was Reagan’s view.

As he prepares for his all-but-certain presidential run in 2016, Sen. Paul seems to have decided that he needs to refine his—and his father’s—reputation for non-interventionist absolutism. A Washington Post-ABC poll this week suggests that U.S. attitudes toward intervention are in flux, and a center may be re-forming over how much global disintegration the public is willing to accept.

Though most oppose ground troops, about 54% of men want the U.S. to bomb ISIS, the al Qaeda affiliate overrunning much of Iraq. More striking, 44% of Democrats want to hit them. Women are opposed by a slim 52%. Let us posit that Ronald Reagan did not wake up each day from 1981 through 1988 and read opinion polls before figuring out what to do about the world’s realities.

As to the Gipper’s principles, Sen. Paul overstates reality when he suggests that the Weinberger Doctrine was Reagan’s doctrine. The Weinberger Doctrine described in Mr. Paul’s piece was Caspar Weinberger’s personal opinion. His speech occurred amid an internal Reagan administration debate about how to deal with a new and murderous global threat: terrorism flowing out of the Middle East.

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Wonder Land Columnist Dan Henninger on the implications of the emerging bipartisan consensus on an isolationist foreign policy. Photo credit: Getty Images.

Reagan’s secretary of state, George Shultz, describes the disagreements with Weinberger over the use of force in his 1993 memoir, “Turmoil and Triumph.”

“Cap’s doctrine,” Sec. Shultz wrote, “bore relevance to a major, conventional war between adversarial armed forces. In the face of terrorism, or any of the wide variety of complex, unclear, gray-area dangers facing us in the contemporary world, however, his was a counsel of inaction bordering on paralysis.”

While there was never a formal Reagan Doctrine, Ronald Reagan himself said enough and did enough to know where he stood. In his 1985 State of the Union, Reagan said, “We cannot play innocents abroad in a world that’s not innocent.”

Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an “evil empire,” aligned his own policy toward Soviet Communism with the idea of “rollback,” stood at the Brandenburg Gate and cried, ” Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” increased U.S. defense spending, deployed Pershing 2 ballistic missiles and cruise missiles in Europe amid world-wide protests in 1983, invaded Grenada the same year, and gave U.S. support to anticommunist movements in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Angola and Latin America—with many congressional Democrats in a towering rage of eight-year opposition to nearly all of it. The words Reagan used most to support all this were “freedom” and “democracy.” He ended four decades of Cold War.

That is the Reagan mantle. Which parts of it would Rand Paul have taken on?

The experiences of the U.S. during the past five years with Barack Obama has led to one clear, nonpartisan conclusion: The risks of a rookie presidency are too big. Barack Obama created a wondrous presidential campaign machine. His experience to govern a nation was zero. More than any time in memory, whoever is president in January 2017 will have to hit the ground running with a plan—from day one.

Conservatives or candidates who think it should be possible to ride charisma or even ideology to victory, and then figure out the details of a great nation’s policies once in power should read Martin Anderson’s detailed 1988 account of Ronald Reagan’s path to the White House, “Revolution.” And specifically, the chapter “Reagan’s Advisers.” It is a blueprint for at least the chance of a successful presidency, which the U.S. desperately needs.

Reagan’s was a remarkable presidency. But Ronald Reagan was no rookie. And there is no such thing as a presidential prodigy. We know that now.

Write to henninger@wsj.com

EPA employees doing naughty stuff

Bosses at the EPA are urging a snitch to come forward and reveal who is pooping in the hallway. Maybe this employee is a crack investigator who takes to heart the old saying, “it takes one to know one.” Hard to tell. But Huffpo finds there are a lot of naughties going on at Nixon’s great accomplishment.  Read more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/25/epa-pooping-hallways_n_5530650.html.

No matter how disgusting the employees are, however, it is the agency and its rules and regulations that drain our economy that should get the most attention, not some idiot pooping in the hallway. Although this idiot is probably the best choice for a mascot for the agency.

At last, the business world actively promotes free trade


From the above article:  

“Two top U.S. business lobbies plan to publicly break with President Barack Obama over imposing more sanctions on Russia because of the crisis in Ukraine after the White House rebuffed their objections.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers are preparing to run newspaper advertisements tomorrow in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, warning that more sanctions risk harming U.S. workers and businesses, said a person familiar with the plans, who asked not to be identified to discuss private deliberations.”

It is way past time American business said no to the fascist state. From drug laws to limited output shower heads to the embargo of Cuba, this is not a free country and the Freedom isn’t free bumper stickers need to come off and be replaced with something like, “Real freedom will be ours when we don’t ask permission for ANYTHING.”

Eastern Ukrainians don’t want to be allied with the US puppet Ukrainian government in much the same way The South preferred not to be a colony of the Yanks or the 13 colonies wanted out from under the thumb of George III.

As always, sanctions only work on the network news. The truth comes out later that people suffer while government shifts the blame and comes out smelling like a rose. 

I can hardly wait to see federal agents stop a shipment of John Deeres and lay-offs help recruit radical free traders. Just like our drones help recruit terrorists.

Lucas Wooge

Talked to Lucas Wooge tonight. He bought 19 of our fine young cows. We sold them to lighten our load as I had hurt my back and my knee was pretty screwed-up. BTW, my back is better and my knee is too, though far from good.

Lucas is a young father of 6 kids, two to eleven. He says the cows are doing their job well, without human interference.

It might seem odd, but we are glad the sun was out and Lucas made it to the sale barn that day with only one competing bidder. We loved those girls, who we raised from newborns and it warms our hearts to see them helping a young farmer.

Lucas mentioned that not many people want to do what he (and we) are doing. I think that has more to do with the dwindling of the nation’s cow herd than it is given credit for. We can’t wait for better conditions to do our work. Rain or shine, cows that need attention, get it. Or the farmer goes broke.

Government schools and the parents taken in by the propaganda convince kids college is the only option and hard work will be for someone else if only they get good grades and go to college. I pity them for never having earned the rewards of caring for animals for profit.

Logging Camp

This column is a continuation of last week’s story of my trip to work in Alaska. I am writing this story to give background to the opinions expressed in The Alternative. There is no such thing as unbiased news. The messenger’s background is as important as the message itself. So as you read The Alternative be mindful of the basis of my opinions.


Last week we left off as I caught a float plane to logging camp at Rowan Bay on Kuiu Island. Kuiu is east of Baranof, on which Sitka is located. Ordinarily a plane would fly around the end of Baranof to get across the channel to Kuiu in order to stay below the clouds.


But, oh boy, we had a clear day. It was like threading a needle as we were off the water but under the McConnell Bridge on take-off. That little four-place Cessna felt like an amusement park ride as it raced to clear a craggy pass. I felt like I could reach out and touch the rocks and snow just beyond the wingtips. Soon we made a gradual decent across the channel and onto a glassy Rowan Bay.


The camp had a mess hall, a generator shed with a huge diesel generator, an office with commissary and bunk houses made out of mobile homes. The generator shed had a changing room attached so a big fan blew warm air through the room to dry our clothes overnight.


Machine operators could bring their families to live at camp. The kids went fishing while we were at work so we had salmon or halibut every other night for supper. It was pretty fun to see the little kids hauling these huge fish home as we rode in from work in the evening. The other nights we enjoyed New York strips. Loggers require huge amounts of calories. Vegetarians would whither and get hauled away. We could take a steak to work in foil and put it on the yarder’s intake manifold and the chaser would send them out on the rigging for lunch.


The type of logging we did was called high-lead. The yarder was a tower that folded down for transport, built on an old army tank. The tower served the same purpose as a topped tree used to; to gain elevation for dragging the logs. Roads were built with large crushed rock over the soft ground.


The rigging was attached to the mainline at one end and haulback at the other. It looked like a giant fishing swivel and had several places to attach chokers. The chokers had a bell that slid on the cable and a nubbin on the end that went around the log and fit in a keyhole shape in the bell to choke the log. The mainline was heavy cable to pull the logs to the landing. The haulback pulled the rigging back out to the words. It was lighter, so it was pretty dangerous when a log got stuck behind a stump and the yarder operator had to maneuver the log backwards around the stump. If the haulback snaps nothing in its path survives. There were various ways to set chokers so the logs would get a good start around obstacles. It was a time to celebrate, like finding a new calf, when a tricky set avoided a jam.


All this happened on steep mountainsides while climbing over brush and log piles up to twenty feet deep. There is no selective cutting in high-lead for a couple of reasons. It would be impossible to pull the logs through standing timber and all the trees depend on each other for support. The roots form a shallow network over rocks and clay and a wind would topple any tree left standing alone.


A forest is like our evolved civilization. There is nothing wrong with being dependent on each other. This dependence is at the root of the joy we feel as human beings.


Next week I will wrap up the Alaskan adventure with the human side of the story.