This is a story I wrote awhile back, before Donald Trump and his Interior Department head, Ryan Zinke, filled Wildlife Protection Board with animal murderers, the only possible description of people who kill animals for enjoyment and trophies.
It was a small clearing in a not very large valley in a medium-sized forest. A trifling stream ran through it on one side, not quite in the middle. The setting sun calmed some of the sounds of the forest, awakened others. The residents began to settle in for the night. A bird trilled from the branch of an oak, saying goodnight perhaps. Another answered. The waters of the modest stream flowed quietly, gently bubbling around a large rock here and there without disturbing the fish that swam lazily just beneath the surface. The peaceful clearing in the forest preserve could have inspired a Disney film.
Hunting was illegal, forbidden within this place. The life here had no need to fear man. But there were always humans who did not concern themselves with such things as laws and rules, those who considered hunting a God given right and the laws an “…unfair infringement” on their fondness of hunting and killing.
At this twilight, the hunters blended into their surroundings on the small hill, watching. They wore camouflage fatigues, moved slowly and quietly, all but impossible to see or hear in the deepening twilight. The taller one lay nearly motionless, watching the small clearing a hundred meters away. The shorter one crouched easily, a meter to his right.
The night vision scopes on their rifles didn’t quite turn the deepening darkness into daylight, but brightened the sleeping forest enough for the two to see easily. The newest generation of scopes showed the scene in color instead of monochromatic shades of green and black.
“Got something.” the tall one whispered. into his throat mic. “Three o’clock. one buck, one doe. Wait one, got a third one, fawn following the mom. ”
“Copy,” the shorter one replied. “I have them too.”
The hunters watched as the three deer paused just inside the clearing, stood very still and looked around, the buck in the lead. Through his scope the hunters lying prone watched them listen and sniff the air. The adults exchanged a look. Then, satisfied there was no threat, the family moved forward, toward the stream. The two adults kept the fawn between them. Smart, thought the tall hunter. But the animals’ caution would prove defenseless against the killing technology the hunters possessed.
“Our two friends are stirring,” the shorter hunter whispered. ”
The tall one lifted the barrel of his rifle minutely to reacquire the area on the opposite hill. His scope showed him the other two hunters clearly. He and his partner had watched them arrive, prepare their position, and settle in to watch. The small, peaceful, supposedly safe clearing had since been under the observation of all four predators. The others also wore camouflage, and made little movement. They were practiced, experienced. Now they were carefully, quietly changing their positions slightly, excited at the arrival of the prey but disciplined.
“They’re anxious,” the tall one whispered. “They’re going to take their shots when Bambi and his folks are drinking.”
“We’ll beat them to it. Early bird gets the worms.”
The family of deer moved to the stream, unaware of the human killers on either side of them. Though the deer were accustomed to the safety within this forest, the male might have sensed something. He paused again, raised his head to listen and sniff the air. Whatever had made him cautious was insufficient to create flight. He bent to drink from the cool, flowing water. The female and fawn followed suit.
Now all three of the animals were drinking. The muted music of the stream and the act of drinking kept them unaware of the minor movements of the hunters. The four predators took a breath and let it out slowly, adjusting their rifles to settle the crosshairs of their powerful scopes on their targets. The buck and doe would die first, then the fawn.
The male and female deer looked up suddenly at the sound of two sharp coughs on the hillside above them. They examined the forest, listening intently. For a long moment they stood like that, then looked at each other, before turning back to the stream. The fawn had raised his head only briefly.
Just as the deer examined their surroundings, so did the hunters. They kept their scopes centered on their targets longer than the deer had taken to examine the slopes. They knew they didn’t have to look at the bodies on the far hillside that long. Both shots had been clean, precision shots through the exposed foreheads. But the Guardians were professionals. They left nothing to chance. They watched through their scopes for a full sixty seconds before turning to look at each other for the first time in over an hour. The taller one sat up carefully so as not to spook the deer. His shorter partner sat beside him.
“You’d think they would learn,” the man said quietly. The woman shook her head.
“I doubt it. I don’t think we’ll ever run out of people who get their thrills from killing animals that can’t fight back. Makes them feel like they’re some kind of big stuff, important somehow. That’s why we have the program. Fines and jail time do no good. Someone always thinks they won’t get caught.”
The man nodded.
“Well, nobody can say they weren’t warned. Signs all over the place. Media announcements. No hunting, no warnings, deadly force, the whole nine yards.”
The two of them sat quietly with their thoughts for several moments. The family of deer turned and left the clearing the same way they had entered. The hunters watched them go.
” Did those shots sound a little on the loud side to you?” the man asked.
“Yeah, they did,” the woman said. We need to ask for a couple of the newer silencers.”
“Good idea,” the man said. He picked up his radio to report the kills..
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I didn’t watch Wednesday night’s debate until last night. Absolutely disaster.
Came away thinking Biden is past his time. His checkered past doesn’t help. His stuttering a couple of times didn’t bother me. His mind was sending information to his mouth faster than his mouth could organize it and spit it out. It happens with a lot of people. Trust me on this. It’s sort of an area of expertise.
Harris didn’t help herself at all. Gabbard was impressive, as was Gillibrand. But as a group they primarily did a good job of showing Trump how to go after any one of them. Pool of little sharks in a frenzy, showing the megashark how to eat them. He might not even need the Russians.
Now I’m thinking Warren-Inslee. Or Sanders-Inslee. Jay Inslee was the ONLY candidate out of the twenty who passionately maintained that the environment MUST BE the no. 1 priority. Otherwise nothing else counts. He came back to it at every opportunity, and he is absolutely right. A Vice-President is seldom used well. Jay Inslee as VP could be the sledge-hammer Warren will need to beat climate-positive change into heads around the world.
Yang’s $1000 a month isn’t well-thought-out. As an entrepreneur, he ought to know that the first result of that will be corporations jumping at the opportunity to lower their pay scales “…because people already have this $1000 monthly coming in.” That, as Baretta would say, is ‘da name a ‘dat tune.
I loved DeBlasio preaching to tax the hell out of the wealthy. I imagine the wealthy are already figuring it would be worth a couple of billion dollars to buy away enough of his voters to make it academic.
Nobody else made a big impression on me, one way or the other. But you can take Jay Inslee’s passion about the climate change issue to Baretta’s bank. The clock is ticking on that one, and we only have, maybe, ten years before it is simply too late. I forget whether it was Yang or Castro said we’re already ten years too late and implied that therefore it’s all over. If we think that way, we might as well all light up our bbq’s, sit in our gas guzzlers with the motor running while we eat, and wait to die. That is pointless.
And that’s the reason we all probably WILL just do the above. Because America MUST take the lead on this, but our system is geared against that kind of unity on the part of our politicians and our populace. We had to almost lose WWII before we even got our asses in gear to fight it.
Americans will continue to play political games while hoping that Trump is right about there being no environmental crises. That is a malaise that stretches across both party lines, and it is virtually a death warrant for our children and their children, as well as most life on the planet. It is what it is. But those of us who see it, have to do our damndest to wake people up. For the sake of my children and grandchildren, your children and grandchildren; For the sake of every living thing on this planet that we’re killing, I will keep harping, keep sending out the message.
Warren/Inslee for me.
One of the more perplexing irritations a writer suffers is the ubiquitous one-page summary. Regardless of how long your novel may be—two hundred pages, three hundred or more—or how complex and riveting. every publisher and agent seems to require this three hundred word ‘pitch’ in representation. I’ve been tempted to merely grab the most interesting word from each page, toss in a suitable sprinkling of random punctuation, and toddle the thing along.
I wonder. Did Mark Twain have to deal with this one-page wonder? Did Dickens, or Hardy? Stevenson? Shakespeare? I wonder what a one-page summary of, say, HAMLET, might have been spun by the bard? I decided it might have looked like the following.
By William Shakespeare
A single page summary
Alas, poor Hamlet. The youth doth toil in trauma, deranged by distress, embroiled in confusion. He finds himself bereaved and bereft, besieged on all fronts by loss and remorse, attacked by angst, haunted by indecision, more so by the ghost of his dead father, also of name Hamlet.
The lad’s dad, alas, has been killed by Hamlet’s own uncle, Claudius, now the king, that he may have the poor boy’s mother, Gertrude. Evil abounds, while the father’s ghost roams the grounds, terrifying the simple minded—most likely evangelical Baptists—as he beseeches, implores, nay, demands his son avenge him.
Torn ‘tween hate and reason, fear and vengeance, yon young Hamlet, never the most stable stone in the palace garden, succumbs to madness. Or does he, for here, dear publisher, is the pointed pebble in the proceedings. Is Hamlet really, truly, genuinely insane as he plots to kill the king even as he courts and confounds the nubile Ophelia (also both more and less than she seems)? Or is it all an act, a mere theatric with which to cloak himself in the appearance of an energetic but harmless cuckoo while he summons the courage and the means to act on his dead father’s behalf, that he might at last get a decent night’s sleep?
Intrigue lies everywhere. Will Hamlet act? Will he dispose Claudius before he is himself erased by the King? Is his mother victim or conspirator in the elder Hamlet’s end? What, exactly, is Ophelia about? What “great” actors will expose themselves as mediocre imposters trying to portray the young Hamlet in the coming generations?
This is the stuff of heart-rending sorrow, with episodes of toe-tingling suspense, moments of stunning violence and murder, sure to mesmerize viewers of all classes. This, then, is HAMLET!
I await most humbly, the pleasure of your acceptance.
Ps. Speaking of Kings and Queens, did I omit to mention our Queen is a personal friend? I wish thee a most bounteous day.
Ps. Speaking of Kings and Queens, did I omit to mention our Queen is a personal friend? I wish thee a most bounteous day.
Dems and progressive Americans need to move on from Biden. With him, they are trying to beat Trump with a man who is, at best, a C+ centrist. He promises too much “business as usual,” minus only the worst of Trump. He is weak on environment. He will fail to take/support the serious steps needed to forestall an environmental Armageddon. He is either tolerant of white supremacists, or a coatroom supporter. He is either uninclined or afraid to ruffle the feathers of the wealthy oligarchs. The more we hear from him, the more we learn about him, the stronger grows my belief that while he is not a ‘bad’ guy, he is certainly no beacon of progress. Underlining perhaps all of the above, the more we see of Joe, the more we realize he is no intellectual, no great thinker. He is the kind of man who may be qualified to follow the lead established by such a person, but not qualified to be such a one.
Joe Biden is in no way fit to lead America down the path it must follow post-Trump. With Joe Biden as President, America will spend four or eight years failing to gather any momentum on environmental salvation (if that is even possible at this point), equal rights, the destruction of the middle class, or beating back the surge of racists and extreme religious cultists empowered by Trump. He was effective as Barack Obama’s Sancho. He is, himself, no Don Quixote.
Joe Biden offers America neither a Kennedy nor a Johnson, an FDR nor an Obama. He represents a centrist compromise that tends to teeter toward the right. His history is too shady with too many questionable comments and stances, and “…no longer that person” goes only so far. He is in no way the strong progressive leader our country needs at this point in history.
I recently saw an opinion piece musing whether Americans know how much trouble they’re in. Read on. This is how much. I read this morning that Nancy Pelosi, who is reluctant to impeach, appears all-in on issuing contempt citations to Trump’s people who do not comply with subpoenas. Sounds good, right? Yay. Go, Nancy. Rah rah rah.
But wait a minute. I managed to control my enthusiasm and stop doing cartwheels long enough to look up just how that whole contempt of Congress thing works. I needed to read this article about contempt of Congress in Wikipedia twice to be sure I understood it.
How the House enforces a contempt citation, From Wikipedia:
“Following a contempt citation, the presiding officer of the chamber is instructed to refer the matter to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia; according to the law it is the “duty” of the U.S. Attorney to refer the matter to a grand jury for action. However, while the law places the duty on the U.S. Attorney to impanel a grand jury for action, some proponents of the unitary executive theory argue that the Congress cannot properly compel the U.S. Attorney to take this action against the Executive Branch, asserting that the U.S. Attorney is a member of the Executive Branch who ultimately reports only to the President and that compelling the U.S. Attorney amounts to compelling the President. They argue that to allow Congress to force the President to take action against a subordinate following his directives would be a violation of the separation of powers and infringe on the power of the Executive branch. The legal basis for this position, they contend, can be found in Federalist 49, in which James Madison wrote “The several departments being perfectly co-ordinate by the terms of their common commission, none of them, it is evident, can pretend to an exclusive or superior right of settling the boundaries between their respective powers.” This approach to government is commonly known as “departmentalism” or “coordinate construction”.
Others argue that Article II of the Constitution requires the President to execute the law, such law being what the lawmaker (e.g. Congress, in the case of statutory contempt) says it is (per Article I). The Executive Branch cannot either define the meaning of the law (such powers of legislation being reserved to Congress) or interpret the law (such powers being reserved to the several Federal Courts). They argue that any attempt by the Executive to define or interpret the law would be a violation of the separation of powers; the Executive may only—and is obligated to—execute the law consistent with its definition and interpretation; and if the law specifies a duty on one of the President’s subordinates, then the President must “take care” to see that the duty specified in the law is executed. To avoid or neglect the performance of this duty would not be faithful execution of the law, and would thus be a violation of the separation of powers, which the Congress and the Courts have several options to remedy.
The criminal offense of “contempt of Congress” sets the penalty at not less than one month nor more than twelve months in jail and a fine of not more than $100,000.”
So the bottom line is that if Congress holds any of these people in contempt, they must instruct the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to convene a Grand Jury.
*Guess who the U.S. Attorney works for? Righhht.
*Guess who is ultimately responsible for making the U.S. Attorney do this? Righhht again.
So the House tells the U.S. Attorney to convene a Grand Jury. But that individual works for Donald Trump. The task of making it happen, or not happen, ultimately rests with Donald Trump.
The further we are dragged down this road into full fledged fascism—and extreme lunatic theocracy—the more I realize that the founding fathers, in twisting themselves into pretzels trying to ensure that no branch of the government trilogy ‘had an unfair advantage’ over the other two, created instead an almost perfect recipe for a person exactly like Donald Trump, with the Senate in his pocket, to become a dictator while the House dithers and scrambles about mice in a maze without an exit.
In order to get the money to build their houses, the three little pigs had to float a loan from the wolf.
How much trouble are we in? As many of us have long been saying, one whole hell of a lot.
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