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Friday, March 17, 2023

Is the U.S. Government Willfully Trying To Destroy Our Reserve Currency Status?

 It would appear so.

Many years ago now, I named this blog "Frankenstein Government." I did that as the United States Government, Hank Paulson, and a host of other cowardly government banker types helped themselves to a one trillion dollar taxpayer funded bailout.

Only in America of the 2008 variety, could you commit all sorts of felonies and fraudulent acts and escape prosecution thanks to Barack Obama. The minions grumbled a bit and then went away. Like they always do. 

On this day, in 2008, we were nearly 10 trillion in debt.

Some 15 years later, we are now 32 trillion in debt.

That cumulative cash burn smoothed out over 15 years is pretty close to 1.5 trillion a year. An enormous amount of spending, deficits, and debt accumulation. Now I don't want to get sidetracked here with "where did that money go" because we can't do anything about that. 

If you are a real numbers geek, you can look here at the Congressional Budget Office historical view of debt accumulation presented on an excel spreadsheet.

So the question soon becomes, how did we land here? Was it an accident or was it purposeful?

I can't escape the possibility that our leadership, Yale grads, Harvard grads, and the current bottom of his class Syracuse numb skull, practice absolute indifference. Of course, you don't sign these bills in a vacuum, you must have some congressional support before they reach your desk like the Inflation Reduction Act- which will do precisely the opposite of it's stated intent. Slammed through before the new Republican majority in the house could get sworn in.

But what if it's worse than that? What happens when we replace indifference with willfully deliberate? Or intentional? What if our leadership is willfully trying to destroy the dollar's reserve currency status? 

What if one world currency has always been the goal?

I simply can't escape the possibility that destroying the dollar has always been the goal of the world's elite. It's a concept I was first introduced to in the late 80's. You can't replace the dollar unless you kill it first. There is no better way to kill the dollar than by spending profane amounts, piling on debt, raising stagflation and inflation concerns which results in default or bankruptcy. As things reach crisis proportions- then suddenly we are introduced to some new form of currency. Perhaps it will even be digital. Citizens will be left no choice but to accept this new currency as penitence for our government's willful spending depravity. So kill the dollar. That may have always been the plan.

Got gold?

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Man Gets 2 Years Prison for Sex With Dog, Says Dog Came On To Him

Warning. Sick and twisted content. Not the family blog I once was.

The jokes, they just write themselves. I took a little liberty with the dog part of this.

Man gets two years prison, judge left speechless, dog refuses to testify. Aren't we all guaranteed under the 5th amendment the right to cross examine our accusers?

I guess I could understand this whole thing if the dog was really cute. The suspect may have just been overcome, smitten, and couldn't help himself. Kind of like those women who used to throw their bras and panties at Elvis.

At any rate, this looked like a sex act between two consenting adults. I'm having a difficult time trying to figure out who the victim was. 

This story reminded me of one of the greatest defenses I have ever witnessed in a court of law.

It was the "Sodomy Dog Defense."

One night, several officers on a traffic stop requested the presence of our local drug dog, "Lucky." Lucky was quite adept at sniffing out drugs. Once Lucky found some dope, he would scratch the surface of the concealed place where drugs were kept. His handler had some little squeeze toy that he would hand to Lucky as a reward for doing all that successful drug sniffing. Officers would retrieve the drugs Lucky found.

Now Lucky, a golden retriever, was a great dog. He batted nearly one hundred percent. But I had noticed as the years wore on that Lucky just wasn't as good or as enthusiastic as he once was. Almost lazy.    

On this particular night, Lucky scratched and alerted on two different places within this car. No drugs were found. However, there was a whole lot of stolen property under one of the car's seats including about 25 stolen credit cards implicating the two occupants of this car with numerous thefts. They were arrested for possession of stolen property which was traced back to several car and home burglaries.

At the preliminary hearing, their lawyer presented the "Sodomy Dog Defense."

His claim was that Lucky had not found any drugs at all. He was not trained to detect stolen property.

The lawyer said thankfully, the police had not devised a method to train dogs to detect sodomy. That way the police could simply walk up and down in front of homes with their highly trained sodomy dogs. Once their dog alerted on a home, they could then enter the home. Finding no sodomy taking place, the police might uncover contraband or evidence of other crimes and arrest the home's occupants for something completely unrelated to sodomy.

I am laughing my ass off just thinking about that.

I should also tell you that I do not own any dogs. For obvious reasons. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Gold Remembers, So That You Can Forget

You will never, ever make money by owning gold because that's not the purpose of owning gold. 

In practical terms, you must sell the good currency (gold) to buy the bad currency (US dollar) before it can be used. Gresham's law in reverse. Whether that's 1200 an ounce or 2000 an ounce makes no difference. Gold simply represents how much the currency has been debauched. Gold holds steady while the US dollar flops around like a fish on the riverbank. As the dollar rises- as it has been doing recently because of rate hikes- gold's value goes down. When rates go down and money is sloshing around everywhere- the value of gold goes up. It has always been that way.

That's the way gold moves in the short term. Longer term...

Gold has a US dollar inverse relationship. It sniffs out dollar debauchery and moves accordingly. It is the perfect barometer. Gold was 35 bucks an oz in 1971. It is 1830 bucks in 2023. That 5000% rise over 52 years represents the lost buying power of a dollar via inflation and excess money printing. If you owned gold during that timeframe, you haven't gained anything, you have simply maintained your buying power relative to the collapsing value of a dollar.

Last week, out of the blue, an old friend of mine asked me how much gold I had. It wasn't the quantity part of the question that intrigued me, it was the purpose of the question in the first place.

The vast majority of people, and I am talking in the 98% range, have no idea where money comes from and are completely clueless as to why anyone would want to own gold. They simply don't understand.

People snicker because they haven't faced the disaster of being wiped out financially by a government working in concert with a central bank. Not only that, but they have normalcy bias. 

It has never happened before, therefore it can't happen. That's what they think.

Today I read a remarkable piece of writing that happens to mirror my thoughts with absolute precision. The author nails the heart of the matter. The FED will raise rates, which strengthens the dollar, until they can no longer raise rates trying to kill the "inflation" they caused. We refinance half of our debt annually. Can you imagine the interest expense of 17 trillion at 7%? About 1.2 trillion.

Oh yea, and that other 17 trillion financed long term at 4% or so? About 700 billion. Altogether and very quickly, we are going to pay about 1.9 trillion a year in interest expense. 

The CBO's best case is 1.4 trillion a year in interest expense. Experience has taught me two things about the CBO. They are always best case forward looking and they are never correct. They always underestimate (and get the drum roll please) new wars and new legislation which always occur on top of higher rates. Here's the latest from them and it ain't rosy. Remember, this is best case!

What is the world going to look like in 10 years?

It's going to suck. The IRS will be trying to steal everything they can get their grubby hands on. That's why they hired 87,000 new IRS agents. The politicians know what they have done. The hints are there. All you have to do is pay attention.

There will be a huge buying opportunity for gold and it will come soon. Gold will collapse as the economy collapses. People will rush out of markets as they are getting fleeced. They will dump their assets into anything safe with a return. Time deposits.

Commodities will collapse as demand collapses. At some point in that 2 year period gold will find new lows. I think sub 1180 is possible and maybe sub 1000. This will be a time when our GDP gears grind to a halt. Demand for goods and services will be gone. People will be out of work. They will not be paying taxes. Annual deficits will soar. Gold mining will cease because gold prices will have sunk and miners cannot effectively make money mining with low gold prices. Gold will be on sale. 

I think the government may try to steal individual retirement accounts. 

When things are so bleak- that's the moment to pounce. I cannot tell you when that will be- all I can assure you of- is that it will happen. I do not know the depths we will plumb this time as we try to spend our way into prosperity once again. I don't see anyone buying our debt. We are a terrible credit risk. If you fail to buy gold at that bottom- you will be priced out.

While people struggle to get by, you will know the future. The FED will restart the free money train all over again. They will slash rates to near zero, time deposits will evaporate, the U.S. will quite probably lose reserve currency status. The price of everything (inflation) will skyrocket. 

Demand for gold will also go supernova- to the extent that- you may not be able to get your hands on it. Dealer premiums will soar. If you didn't buy at the bottom you sure as hell can't buy at the top.

I can envision a day when a few ounces of gold may settle a mortgage debt. Gold remembers. The FOFOA blog.

Halfway through the interview, I ask him where does he see the price of gold reaching in the days to come. “Well, I don’t see gold’s trajectory being typical of what you’d expect to see in a bull market… And I expect that physical gold will be repriced somewhere around $55,000 per ounce in today’s purchasing power. I have to add that purchasing power part because it will likely be concurrent with currency devaluation,” he replies.

Meet FOFOA, an anonymous blogger whose writings on, have taken the world by storm over the last few years. In a rare interview – one of his preconditions was he’ll not be photographed — he talks about paper money, the fall of the dollar, the coming hyperinflation and the rise of ‘physical’ gold.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Guilty Until Proven Innocent, the George Kelly Story

 George Alan Kelly is a rancher who lives just north of the Mexico border on a ranch. 

Now you might wonder, why would anyone buy a ranch on the Mexican border? Well, Mr Kelly bought the ranch back in 1997 when we protected the border. It wasn't a free for all until President Biden and his illegal immigration handlers turned it into a drug running, human trafficking, do whatever you want, war zone. 

Perhaps Biden and friends should be charged with aiding and abetting illegal immigration. That'll be the day.

At any rate, Mr Kelly is eating lunch at his home and hears a single gunshot and sees a number of men, likely Mexican nationals, on his property armed with guns that he believes were AK 47s. He arms himself, fires a few warning shots, and the aliens eventually disburse. He calls police. The police come out, take the report and leave.

Hours later while searching his ranch, Mr. Kelly finds a dead body- shot thru the chest or back- depending on the entrance wound. He calls police again.

The deceased is a Mexican national who has been deported multiple times. Drug runner, maybe. Trespasser, obviously. Who shot him is anyone's guess but I'm betting it ain't George Kelly.

Mr. Kelly is arrested. His bond is set at 1 million dollars.

In America, you will hear this bullshit about being innocent until proven guilty. And for 25 years, every dangerous felon I ever locked up and wanted held in jail, got me the standard prosecutorial response. 

"Bail is only set to guarantee the defendants appearance in court." Blah, blah, blah.

Now just where in the hell is Mr. Kelly going to flee to? Mexico? Is he going to drive down to Argentina? How about you just take his passport and let him go. George Kelly ain't going anywhere. He has no rap sheet or prior arrests that anyone knows of. 

His crime was reporting a dead man on his ranch. He would have been better off just burying the body.

The American shitshow rolls on. We'll know more on the 22nd when the prosecution has to lay out a case. They better have one.

Here's a link to the story:

Another one:

Here's a link to Mr. Kelly's GiveSendGo account. I donated.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Please Stop Spending Your Money on Mindless Shit- Go On Strike With Me

I should rename the blog the "Strike Bulletin." I'm going to be swearing a lot here, so if that ain't your thing, please move onto some family blog or new cooking recipes.

Last week, Nikki Haley announced her candidacy for President. Sometime thereafter, Ms. Haley informed the idiot masses that the reason the government was broke and bloated- was because of Social Security.

For some 35 years, I gave 6-7% of my salary to the government. My employer matched that amount. I did not elect to do this. I was forced in via some shitty legislation FDR signed over 80 years ago. 

The government then set about the task of stealing this money and spending it. It is gone. Now I'm told this "entitlement spending" is the cause of all that ails us. It wasn't the endless trillions we have wasted around the globe fighting shitty wars. It isn't the 110 billion we gave to the Ukraine. It isn't the 600 billion a year we waste on debt interest which is going up. It isn't all those mindless and poorly administered programs and shit bureaucracies, like student loans, or the Department of Education or Department of Energy. 

It turns out- now that they have stolen 35 years' worth of my money- that I am the problem. Thank God Nikki Haley set me straight. That was divine intervention. Switching gears just a bit....

This year, after 2 years' worth of gut-wrenching inflation with soaring energy costs and taxes, my retirement fund gave us a 1% cost of living increase. Really. After two years of killer inflation approaching 14 or 15% in total- my retirement fund gave us 4.5%. So in just two years time, I have lost 10% of my buying power at a time when the state of Utah (surplus funded) wants an additional 1,000 dollars tax money from me.

These fuckers are shameless. 

Now I've never needed anyone to tell me how to live or how to save- or when I am being sodomized. It is something that just comes naturally to me. 

I am not in control of the USG or the State of Utah. I clearly have no say with the State of Idaho which cheer leads about their great PERSI fund and it's willingness to give out 6% cost of living adjustments when retirees need them- except when we need them- then fuck you, we're giving you 1%.

Prepare Yourself

I used to read a few web writers and authors who regurgitate the same stuff, doom and gloom, every week, every month, for years. At least since 2008. I look for their names and skip them. I already received that recurring memo.

This country is bankrupt. They are going to raise the debt ceiling for the 78th time. Tax expenditures are currently running 700 billion beyond tax revenue- so we're in for yet another year of an additional 1.5 trillion deficit which should put us close to 34 trillion in debt.

With inflation raging at the same time, that Central Bank of ours will incrementally continue to raise rates until it dawns on everyone that shit is getting bad fast. The stock market will dry up. So will your retirement. Interest expense will continue to rise.

That is what we are really talking about here. What are you going to do when the federal government or the state tell you- we can't continue to pay you what we used to pay you?

What is your plan B for this?

I'm not talking guns, ammo, and survival prepping. I am talking about financial prepping.

Last week I read an article that our country's credit card debt has now eclipsed 930 billion. Iraq, after taking a trillion or so from us, has declared they will no longer use the dollar to settle debts. They are going to use China's yuan. That should open a few eyes.

I have been shoveling everything I can- hacking away at my debt. This is not a time to be wasting money on new cars, clothing racks, and 200 bucks a month worth of TV programming and maybe an 800 dollar cellphone. 

Get yourself out of debt as quickly as you can. I shitcanned Amazon, You Tube, and the only thing I am wasting money on is NetFlix which is also subject to change. In fact, my TVs may become clothes hangers soon.

If you can take additional work on, look for cash jobs before they figure out a way to do away with cash and steal that money from you. Use cash income to pay down debt, stash it, or use it to buy gold. Gold is the money of last resort. 

Prepare yourself. It ain't just Nikki Haley, or Utah, or Idaho. Or 87,000 new IRS agents. Or these idiot liberals that think government will save them. Your leaders are sending you a message. They are coming after your money and they are coming fast.

Think about what is going on now and then think about Gavin Newsome as your next president. That ought to be enough to strike fear in a bulletproof heart.

Please join me here at the Strike Bulletin. Just wait until people quit paying taxes, Uncle Sugar won't be able to fund someone else's war. Wouldn't that be some shit?


Sunday, February 12, 2023

Probably Homicide, The Edward Morrissey Story, Epilogue

I have been back to Butte more times than I can count. I have visited the Granite Mountain Memorial and gazed to the southeast where the Granite Mountain/Speculator headframes used to stand. I have scoured Walkerville and the Alice Mine area- now overgrown with weeds. I have stood in front of the boardinghouse where Frank Little was kidnapped. It is gone, replaced with some hideous motel. I have been in the Hennessey Building as a child but never up on the Company's top floor. I have stood in the entryway where Jere Murphy was killed, and I've been in the ballroom at the Finlen Hotel where Murphy and other armed men were seen discussing something about 12 hours before Frank was murdered.

And no matter what I do or what I read, I simply can't escape Edward Morrissey. What a piece of work. Violent, mean, ill tempered, and drunk. How does a guy like that become Chief of Detectives?

He was in that position because that is where Jere Murphy wanted him to be. Two Irish born sons. The solid and stoic Chief, protecting this maniac.

Right after Frank Little was killed, Morrissey who spent every night in the Crown Bar, could be heard mumbling about killing someone. A couple of years later, Morrissey's wife was found dead in her home. I read the autopsy. They assembled 5 doctors to perform that autopsy because everyone assumed Morrissey had killed his wife and Jere apparently wanted to avoid some more bad press. The doctors unanimously agreed she had died as a result of intoxication and falling down the stairs. I don't even believe that anymore- and I read the report page for page in the archives. It seems compelling but there is a part of me that says to keep Morrissey silent about the Little murder- you better not let him get squeezed for his wife's killing. He might come clean. There was plenty of motive to protect Morrissey from any further interrogations.

Mrs. Morrissey's death was only a couple of years after Frank Little's death.

I believe that the Frank Little hit squad was comprised mostly of cops. Morrissey was the ringleader. I think the Prlja brothers(police) and here... 

Phillip actually shot a couple guys in the leg over the course of his career. He was the brother who was murdered on Park and Main- by one of those guys he shot.

Billy Oates gunman, JF Taylor or John Berkin rounded out the entry team. I think Alix Loiselle was the limo driver. ( Loiselle was also mentioned in the Nevada car accident that killed several occupants.  I might have a couple wrong but I am willing to bet I have 4 out of 6 correct. There is no doubt in my mind that Jere Murphy and Lt Dwyer knew about everything that happened.

Then there are the Company ringleaders. They guys that would have tabbed the police department contacts for the hit. Percy Rockefeller, John Ryan, DeGay Stivers, Roy Alley. L.O Evans, the attorney who made one last plea to Burton Wheeler to arrest Frank Little, the day before he was killed. It was the last three, Stivers, Alley, and Evans that would have been communicating directly with Morrissey and the goon squad. They would have protected Rockefeller and Ryan in the event they suffered blowback.

All in all, we've got about 15 people who were most likely in on this. Many of them died violent deaths as a result of the violent things they did. 

In 2017, on the 100th year anniversary of the slaying, I was prepared to communicate my findings with Jane Little Botkin, grandniece and biographer of Frank Little. I was sure she would want to know who I thought had killed Frank Little. I have read Jane's book. I have used it many times, including the writing of this. So I must give credit here.

Jane didn't react the way that I thought she would. Through some blend of her intelligently recognizing that we would never know for sure who was responsible for what, she saw a larger picture. A picture where Frank Little stood against all of the wicked power that opposed him, unwavering and courageous, and died doing what he did best. Organizing workers by utilizing the rights guaranteed to all people in the First Amendment.

I get that now.

The Prlja brothers were both killed. Phillip, the sergeant was killed at Park and Main St., shot in the head by a man he shot in the butt. I have always wondered on which corner that happened. The "all knowing" Jere Murphy was killed during a struggle on a marble floor many years later in the Montana Power building. News accounts never named his killer.

Edward Morrissey got drunk one last time in the Crown Bar. Sources said he was in another bar fight. He staggered home, just a block or two away.  His body was found 10 days later in his home on Idaho Street. He was frozen stiff. Originally, they thought he had suffered a heart attack. When his body thawed out, they realized he had some very serious wounds and blunt force trauma to the head. Like Frank Little had. Sometimes the world just drips with irony.

The coroner listed his death as "probably homicide."

Nobody investigated. No one was ever held accountable for his death.

The 1985 Jon Axline thesis detailing Butte police corruption with the Anaconda Company.

Probably Homicide, The Edward Morrissey Story, Part 3

 I have been furiously writing for 3 days now. A friend asked me to post a podcast link which I gave her and now I will post that link here. This podcast is 10 episodes long and it is focused on all of the characters in the Frank Little murder.

After listening to this a bit, you can see how easy it is to become distracted by all of the theories, the allegations, the false leads, conjecture, and gossip. I call this white noise. I first encountered these distractions while reading newspaper accounts wherein newspapers actually named suspects as though they had direct access to the best witnesses and knew for a fact- who the bad guys were. Today they would be sued for defamation.

The biographer of Frank Little, is Frank Little's great grandniece, Jane Botkin Little. In addition to being a fantastic writer and researcher, Jane probably knows more about Frank Little than anyone on the planet. In 2016, Jane and I had mutual friends in Butte that introduced her to me and told me that she would be in Butte the following year. Jane they told me, would be in town for the 100th anniversary of Frank Little's murder. I could not wait to meet her. I was not disappointed. I went to a book reading of Jane's. We attended a graveside service at Frank's grave on August 1 where the UWW or Wobblies read and sang a bit.

While talking to Jane in 2017, I realized something I had never considered. Jane wasn't really interested in identifying Frank's killers. This gave me great pause and baffled me a bit. Her explanation for that can be found in the opening lines of podcast number 10. It is perfectly rational.  

I am in podcast number 8 at the 32-minute mark. I had been somewhat reluctant to turn over all of the evidence that I had found. Of course, it is all circumstantial, but it was the body of all my work. Eventually, I emailed the podcast about the car. I found the car that was used in the kidnapping to be quite fascinating, all by itself. The podcast investigators turned that stone for me and we struck gold.

I would like to say that I am no Columbo. I am not the best detective. All I came to this party with is a morbid fascination with the crime from the moment I stood on that black and white floor where Jere Murphy was killed. What I do have is police insight. I would like to use that here.

Today, I am confident that Frank Little's murder would have been solved in 48 hours or less by honest cops that weren't involved in the killing. There always was an overwhelming amount of evidentiary leads to sift through even back in 1917.  

Searching for the Best Evidence

Montana began registering automobiles around 1912. Two witnesses across the street from the boarding house that night identified the suspect's car as a late model, black Cadillac. The suspects wore costume masks. The driver stayed with the car which remained running. How many Cadillacs were registered in Butte at that time? The old records were stored in Deer Lodge. 

The podcast folks uncovered 100 of them. Most importantly, a total of 5 of them were registered to either the Anaconda Company, the Company's head of security, Degay Stivers and Roy Alley. The last Cadillac was registered to Alex Wazell. Alex was a limo driver by trade. These 3 "persons of interest" were all included in my suspect pool.

L.O. Evans was a company attorney who met with Montana Attorney General, Burton K Wheeler. That face to face meeting occurred less than 24 hours before Frank Little was killed. In that meeting at the Anaconda Company Office in the Hennessey Building, Evans implored Wheeler to arrest Frank Little. Wheeler told Evans that Little had not broken the law and that he would not seek Little's arrest.

Also on the day of the murder, armed men including Jere Murphy were seen at a meeting in the Finlen Hotel. The Finlen Hotel was located 1 block south from Frank Little's boarding house at Broadway and Wyoming St.

We have two other huge leads to pursue. Norah Byrne saw 5 men with costume masks on. One fitting the description of Morrissey brandishing a police revolver. Morrissey was either serving a suspension from the Butte Police Department and had taken several weeks off just after the murder. No statement was ever taken from Morrissey who was in all likelihood, working for the Company.

Lastly, where do you buy 6 costume masks? How come nobody in the Butte Police Department ever contacted area merchants to find out whether 6 masks had recently been purchased? July in Butte is not exactly the heart of masquerade season.

I needed to see the work that had been done by Butte PD. I put in a call to the Silver Bow Sheriff who now polices Butte. He never returned the call.

The Coroner's Inquest/Jury

In the days after the murder, some 17 witnesses were called to a Coroner's Jury or Magistrate's Inquiry. I am not sure of the exact term in Montana. But the purpose is the same. The collection of eyewitness testimony and evidence.

This particular proceeding included three jurors who evaluated the evidence. Unbelievable as it may seem, one of the jurors was a Butte detective who worked with Edward Morrissey. He was sitting in on the proceedings. His name was Lt. Dwyer. 

Suddenly all of the witnesses called in this case developed amnesia. One by one, the evidence they had given to police initially before any of them suspected the police, suddenly became murky and forgotten. They could not remember details.

Not only was Dwyer seated on that jury, but I believe he showed up at the boardinghouse and later at the hanging scene. He is listed in the Butte archives which has a cover sheet of witnesses and jurors that served on that jury. He would have worked directly under Edward Morrissey.

It was an accident that I uncovered him at all. Butte police had their hands into everything Frank Little.

The transcript of the proceedings went missing from the courthouse. They were transcribed by hand.

It should be interesting to note, that when I started policing in the early 80s, we had keys to virtually every business and school. We had keys to the courthouse, and we had the codes to disable the alarms. It's not a stretch of the imagination by any means, that the police may have accessed the courthouse days after the proceedings, stole the transcript, and destroyed it.

I had always wondered if the transcript might have been copied and given to Burton Wheeler in Helena. Wheeler demanded an investigation into this. Wouldn't it be funny to find the transcript in some old courthouse basement in Helena? Maybe in Burton Wheeler's things inherited by some grandchild of his.

I have always considered that transcript- the holy grail of this case. What I wouldn't give to read it.

The Trestle, Body, Note, and Evidence Left at the Scene

I often wonder why Frank Little was killed the way that he was killed. We know the ringleader of the goon squad had a revolver. Why didn't they just shoot him?

There are two very good reasons for this. If you just shoot Frank Little, nothing really comes of it. No purpose is served. He's just another assassinated murder victim.

That's not what this crew was after. They wanted a public display. They wanted to kill Frank Little in the most tortured, painful, public way possible. They wanted to stop union organizing, they wanted to put an end to strike meetings, and they wanted to let people know that they might be next.

So why not just hang him? Why drag his body over the rough hewn granite streets? Why beat him in the head? 

To me, this suggests that this murder was personal. They hated Little. They wanted to inflict as much cruelty and pain as they possibly could. Frank Little caused fights, arguments, swollen crowds of angry miners, he threatened anyone who owned stock in the Company. The Butte Police were already proven to be Company stooges in a revolving Company, Butte Police, Company revolving door. They saw Frank as a criminal, largely responsible for the riots, fights, and arrest reports they must have had to do. They saw Frank as a seditious outlaw and traitor. In fact, I think that some of them believed killing Frank was the right thing to do. 

There was so much evidence. There were tire tracks and footprints. The rope and the knots. Bloody clothing. The cast on Frank's leg had been tore off and was laying on the ground.

But the biggest piece of evidence, without a doubt, was the note pinned on Frank's leg. 

In 1917, collecting and evaluating forensic evidence was in it's infancy. Photography was also. Cops could sketch or cast footprints and tire tracks. That was a huge deal all by itself. Quite possibly, had the cops began looking at all the tires on black Cadillacs- they would probably have found a match. 

Shoes might have helped identify a driver or someone at the scene.

But the handwriting on that note is unique and bizarre. The reference to the Vigilantes was a huge deal. Did these guys really think they had to take the law into their own hands just as the Vigilantes had some 50 years earlier? Perhaps. With no other way to stop Frank, and the Montana Attorney General refusing to prosecute him, they were forced to use the last resort. 

It is a ridiculous idea that Frank was on some par with the likes of robber and road agent, Henry Plummer and his gang. But Frank's killers chose to kill him in similar fashion complete with advance warning notices.

A couple of years later I stumbled onto another connection. The Montana Vigilantes had their roots in Virginia City and Bannack. That was where Henry Plummer did most of his dirty work. There was a subsequent faction of Vigilantes working in Helena. Both venues are only 60-70 miles away. One of the mine superintendents in Butte was a man named John Berkin. Berkin's father was one of the pioneers of the state of Montana and he had been involved to some extent with the Vigilantes. John Berkin of Butte had connections with many of the police officers and was very active in a local gun club that many of them frequented.

Was Berkin involved in the killing? I don't know. But the Berkin connection is a very interesting one and might have been where Frank's killers got the idea of using Vigilante justice. Perhaps they developed it on their own. It's a rabbit hole I have never fully explored but I do believe there is a connection.


There was a tremendous amount of evidence and investigatory leads available to the Butte Police Department that were never followed or acted upon.

You simply can't escape it. It is what they didn't do that screams out to me.

This is a police department, clearly corrupted and compromised by the Anaconda Company, from the top clear on down to the patrolmen. 

The officers in any police department do not operate in an isolated vacuum. Most police officers are fully aware of everything taking place within the department. Cops gossip. That's what they do. To survive in that sort of compromised environment means you either join them, shut up, or leave. 

Jere Murphy became the Chief of Police and stayed the Chief of Police because he knew where the power was. It was the Company. If you wanted to continue to be the Chief of Police then you were going to have to do what the Company wanted you to do. Jere chose his side. I believe Murphy's presence in the Finlen Hotel, three hundred feet from Frank's boardinghouse on the same day/night that he was murdered, speaks volumes.

Epilogue to follow.


Saturday, February 11, 2023

Probably Homicide, The Edward Morrissey Story, Part 2

 One of the hardest parts of solving a 99-year-old murder is trying to stay focused. The murder of Frank Little wasn't a robbery. It wasn't an angry husband or spouse. It was a very deliberate killing. It was meant to send a message. Let this be a message to anyone who comes to Butte and talks about mineworker's rights and strikes. You are going to be killed just like Frank was. So, a thorough examination of Frank Little was where I started back in 2016.

I knew the history. I knew that Frank was a union organizer. I knew that his employer sent him from a mine in Bisbee, Az to Butte. I knew that the United Workers of the World or the Wobblies, were commonly viewed as socialists although I think that is inaccurate. I couldn't grasp the threat level. What did Frank do that was so bad that persons unknown would kidnap him in the middle of the night and brutally murder him?

This is where we need context. We need to paint that picture to fully understand why Frank Little was murdered. 

The Miners

People from all over the world came to America. They came for freedom. They came for opportunity. There was no greater example of this than Butte, Montana. The miners came from everywhere but mostly, eastern and western Europe and Scandinavia. Most were uneducated in the formal sense. Many could not speak English. But the Irish could. The Irish, of all the nationalities in Butte, were vastly overrepresented. This was due mostly to the efforts of the great copper king and Irish immigrant, Marcus Daly. Marcus Daly came to Butte, bought the Alice mine property in Walkerville, and discovered copper in it. The ore body was enormous. Daly sold the Alice and moved his operations to the absolute center of the ore body. The Anaconda mine on the Anaconda Road. Underground mining required huge amounts of physical labor. Soon there were claims and mines all over the hill. Hundreds of them.

Thousands upon thousands of miners came to Butte looking for the American dream. They slapped tiny little houses together all over the hill and walked to work at the mines. They worked 12-hour days, 6 days a week. It was horrible, dangerous work, with little oxygen a mile underground. Safety concerns were routinely ignored. Miners died by the hundreds and soon, by the thousands. They died in cave-ins, accidents, and falls. They died in fires. They died of black lung. Butte cemeteries are vast.

So miners had to fight. They had to fight for safety. They had to fight for reduced hours and increasing wages. They shared great adversity and they fought back. They fought the Company with unions. They fought with strikes. 

By the time the Copper Kings sold out, the miners found themselves with a whole new adversary. The Anaconda Company was vicious and ruthless. They were capitalists and robber barons of the first order. Killing miners simply meant hiring new ones. If Marcus Daly was loved, the Anaconda Company was feared and hated.

By the time World War I had started in 1914, Butte miners were up in arms. Not only were they angry with the Company over a litany of issues but they detested the war in Europe. The Irish had fled Ireland to escape British rule. Many immigrants had fled for similar issues. They weren't about to support a war among countries they disliked and cared little about. Many were angry when the United States chose to enter the war in March of 1917. The miners were already pissed.

And then something really bad happened.

The Granite Mountain/Speculator Mine Disaster

On Jun 8th, 1917, a fire broke out in the Granite Mountain Mine after a cable had been dropped in the shaft. Workers were sent to retrieve the cable some 2500 feet underground. The cable was encased in  flammable grease and when they found it, it was all tangled up. As Ernest Sullau attempted to wrestle the damaged cable free, his carbide lamp lit the cable grease which touched the timbers in the mine. 

The Granite Mountain mine was connected to the Speculator Mine. Their shafts were parallel to each other. Both mine shafts began filling with smoke. Miners were quite literally choking to death, scrambling for clean air in various tunnels, and building bulkheads in dead end drifts. They could not get out.

Horns sounded all over the hill. The citizens of Butte knew something horrible had happened. By the time it was all over, 168 miners had been killed in the worst hard rock mining disaster the world had ever known.

If killing 168 miners at once were not bad enough, the Company bore no responsibility. They didn't help with the cost of funerals. They didn't reach out to widows and children. They offered no financial support to the families that found themselves without husbands and fathers, without money or support, without groceries and rent. This while the Anaconda Company made a million dollars a day.

It was a callous, horrible response. Butte miners had become combustible. Into this sweeping anger and hatred for the Company, amidst union fights and strikes, all hell was breaking loose. Frank Little, labor organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World, was about to step into purgatory. It was July 12th, 1917. Frank Little was about to take his eternal walk. He had less than 3 weeks to live.

(I have read two fantastic books on the Granite Mountain/Speculator disaster. The latest is called "A Darkness Lit By Heroes." It is a fantastic body of work, very well written. I could not put it down. The other book is called Fire and Brimstone, also very good)

Frank Little

In the summer of 2016, I wanted to capture the emotions that Frank Little would encounter when he stepped off that train in July, some 99 years ago. Clearly that would be impossible, but I had to understand the context that existed back then. What kind of charged atmosphere leads to such a cruel and desperate act? 

The Butte papers painted that picture for me. They had the microfiche and the readers in the Butte Library and I am grateful for that. I spent a few days in the library reading old newspapers and a few days up in the Butte Archives. 

It is worth remembering that virtually all newspapers were owned by the Anaconda Company at the time except for William Dunn's, "Strike Bulletin."  Therefore, you are reading somewhat filtered propaganda, just the way the Company wanted you to read it. I was highly dismissive of the suspect names and theories they espoused. Completely untrustworthy and meant to confuse readers.

This is what I can tell you about Frank Little. He arrived in Butte with a broken leg. He rented a room in a boarding house on N Wyoming, just south of the Anaconda Road. He gave passionate speeches to the miners. He did this every day and hobbled home. He was gaining serious traction among the miners, most of whom were all doing a slow burn over the way the Company was treating them. They hated the war. Frank hated the war too. 

The Company goons tried to paint Frank Little as a communist sympathizer. They tried to chip away at the credibility he was gaining. And they were losing.

The more Frank spoke, the more the miners liked him. People began to worry about Frank. A local barber, Con Lowney, warned Frank that he was going to be killed. Frank shrugged it off. He had heard this all before.

It was about 3 a.m. on the morning of August 1, that a black Cadillac chugged up the steep grade of Wyoming Street. It had seating for six people. The car stopped in front of Frank's boarding house. Five men in masks went into the boarding house, one stayed with the car. After kicking one door open, they were confronted by the boarding house owner and her son. They demanded to know where Frank Little was sleeping. They said they had a warrant for him. The man doing all the talking was short and stocky. He was waving a police revolver. They rousted Frank Little, beat him up and dragged him out of the boarding house and into the waiting car. The seven of them proceeded up the hill to the intersection of the Anaconda Road, about 300 feet away. They tied Frank to the back bumper with a length of rope. They dragged him away.

This was witnessed by two men standing outside O'Briens Bar across the street from the boarding house. O'Briens is long gone. 

Frank Little was found about 3 hours later. He had been hanged from a train trestle west of Montana Street, a little over a mile away. He had a cryptic note attached to his body with a numeric reference attributed to the Montana Vigilantes.  His body was discovered by a man walking to work. 

Frank's body was taken down.  His kneecaps had been nearly scraped off as he was being dragged through the streets. 

Norah Byrne, the owner of the boarding house, did not immediately report the crime believing the men to be police officers. It was only after discussing the masks they wore (with her son) that she decided to report the incident to police. As it turns out, in the days and weeks that followed, the Butte cops didn't seem too concerned about it.

This was the note found on Little's body. The reference to 3-7-77 is a number the Montana Vigilantes used. The Montana Highway Patrol have those numbers on their patch. The exact meaning of those numbers has been debated over the years. I was not that concerned about what the numbers meant. What was important to me was why they were used. There had to be a connection and there was. I stumbled onto it years later. The bottom line on the note represents the last initials of other union organizers. The "L" for Little has been circled. Next up, "D" for William Dunn.

Little's funeral was the biggest in Montana history. Some say there were 7,000 people in attendance.

The grave is several miles away. Note the street surface. Granite Street.

Frank Little was killed because he threatened the Anaconda Company. They were making a million dollars a day. Frank Little was gaining traction and credibility with miners. The Company had already weathered the Granite Mountain disaster, they had weathered a partial strike which was continuing, and they certainly weren't going to tolerate a full scale, citywide strike instigated by Little. You couldn't reason with or intimidate Frank. He wasn't going to stop. So the only thing you could do was kill him and use his death to intimidate anyone else thinking of stepping up and taking his place. 

It became pretty clear to me that the Company had him killed. They had tremendous motive. So if you wanted someone killed, who would order that and who would carry it out? 



Friday, February 10, 2023

Probably Homicide, The Edward Morrissey Story, Part 1

This story is mostly true. It's really the story of three murders, all of them unsolved, more or less.

The Butte, Montana I knew was a town like no other. I had never seen a city with a giant, gaping hole in the middle of it. Black iron skyscrapers, many over 15 stories high, dotted the mountain above the Berkeley Pit. They called them Gallus frames or just headframes. They hoisted precious ore out of the ground, mostly copper, which was in high demand after the turn of the 20th century. 

Butte was insanely busy. I was 8 years old when we arrived. It was the summer of 1969. Coming from a little sleepy farming town on flat earth in eastern Montana, Butte looked absolutely cosmopolitan. There were storefronts of almost every variety. Famous stores like Hennessey's. Bakeries like Gamer's and Town Talk. Bars and taverns were everywhere, The Board of Trade, The M and M, The Terminal Bar. People were out and about, walking everywhere at all hours of the day and night. It was a two-block stroll from the bars on Park St to the whorehouses on Mercury St. Butte miners did a lot of strolling. The booze poured 24 hours a day. Gambling, which was allegedly illegal in Montana, was done out in the open in Butte bars. I watched poker games and even punched a few punchboards as a child. Law enforcement was nowhere to be found. This was all part of the tapestry. It was by design.

The Anaconda Company owned everything. They owned the hill, all the mines, the railways and smelter, they owned virtually every Montana newspaper, they owned the politicians, they owned the judges, they owned the Butte cops, and they even owned the miners. In the old days, the Company used "rustling cards" to identify union sympathizers and to prevent them from being employed.

Two other items of note before we move on. 

Virtually all of the newspapers in Montana were owned by the Anaconda Copper Company. This monopolistic effect had a huge impact on everything. People obtained their news through only one source. There was no other way of influencing people. No radio, no television, no cellphones, no computers. No public discourse. In 1917, you were fed the propaganda that the Company and Percy Rockefeller wanted you to hear. The Company, which we called it, ruled everything. If you didn't carry their water, they'd crush you. 

The antagonist in this story were the unions. The only way to fight the Company was to unionize. The Company hated the unions. They even planted spies amongst the union members at union halls and meetings to identify the biggest antagonists. It was the Company v the miners. It was an epic David v Goliath story only David wasn't going to win this battle.

Thus, the story of Edward Morrissey begins here. The year is 1917. World War One has begun. Copper is in huge demand. The price had never been higher. The Company was virtually in control of world copper supply with a huge, dominant share of the market.

The Company exploited miners. Miner's unions were largely responsible for reducing a workday from 12 hours to 8.  Mining was all done underground in 1917. The Company is making one million dollars a day which is an absolutely unheard of amount of money in those days. While the Company and it's officers are becoming obscenely rich, they are also attempting to cut the wages of thousands of miners from 3.50 a day to 3.00. It is a powder keg waiting to explode.

Edward Morrissey

Edward Morrissey was born in Ireland on Christmas Day, 1874. He immigrated to America. It is known that Edward Morrissey fought for America in the Spanish American War. It is also believed that he shot himself in the arm to escape the conflict. He was 24 in 1898. Like many Irish American immigrants, he landed in Butte at the turn of the century or slightly thereafter.

Morrissey went to work for the Company in the early 1900's. It is unknown where and what he did for the Company but it is very likely that during this time, he formed all of the contacts and business associates he needed to eventually become employed by the Butte Police Department. This probably occurred around 1907-1908. 

Morrissey was a short, compact man. He was quick tempered and violent. He was also an alcoholic. By all accounts he was just a mean, angry man who enjoyed fighting. The accounts of Morrissey that I've read don't use the term "asshole", but I think you get the gist of it.

Morrissey was a fixture in the Crown Bar on West Park.

The Butte Police Chief was also an immigrant from Ireland. He had worked for Marcus Daly and the Company. Jeremiah Murphy, or "Jere the Wise" bounced back and forth amongst Butte Mayors but finally landed a permanent role as Chief in 1909. He enjoyed a strong reputation and was credible. It was probably Murphy's reputation and credibility that enabled Edward Morrissey not only to survive but to become Chief of Detectives for the Butte Police Department.

Murphy worked for the Butte Police Department for 40 years. He died in the line of duty while wrestling with a suspect in 1935. He fell and cracked his skull on a marble floor. I have stood on that floor. Like so many Butte stories, Jeremiah Murphy left more questions than answers. How good of friends were Murphy and Morrissey? Who was Murphy wrestling with in 1935? What happened to that guy? His name is never mentioned. He was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and sentenced to 30 days in jail according to the Montana Peace Officer Memorial. Still, why the mystery?

Here is a delightful link that will give you an idea of how fondly Butte thought of Murphy. You'd think Murphy was some sort of super hero with secret powers. Realistically, I think a lot of these column inches are pure nonsense. But in those days, you didn't speak ill of the dead. (please ignore the obvious mistakes in the title)

These were the answers I was searching for in 2016. I had two weeks. I was back in Butte, my childhood home, to solve a murder. It had been 99 years since Frank Little was dragged behind a car, strung up on a train trestle west of town, and strangled. The killers left a cryptic note, a murderous warning, pinned to his body. 

A lot of bizarre and horrible events happened in Butte during the summer of 1917. The death of Frank Little might have been the last of them. It was the outcome the Company needed. 

This is a picture of N. Wyoming (316) and Norah Byrne's boardinghouse. Frank Little would be kidnapped and ultimately killed from here at 3 a.m., August 1, 1917. Across the street and just a little north is O'Briens Tavern. (two story brick, no longer standing) This is where two men watched the  whole event. They were in a great position, less than 100 feet away. Their statements regarding the Cadillac, the number of men, the direction of travel, and dragging Frank Little away- were absolutely key to solving this crime. Thanks to Jane Little Botkin, back cover photo, Frank Little and the IWW.



Thursday, February 2, 2023

Three More Great Gambling Stories

 In October I published my first installment of great gambling stories. Today I am going to tell you about three more. 

I have gambled for over 40 years, from Foxwoods near Mystic, Ct. to the Bicycle in Los Angeles. I have seen a lot of crazy things in my time. I am going to start with a bizarre story that didn't net us any money. I am including it here because it was so strange. It happened at the Desert Diamond in Tucson, Az.

Virtual Roulette

My wife and I had been playing blackjack and we were waiting for seats in the poker room. We stumbled on to one of those video roulette wheels. You insert your money, the machine credits it, and about every 15 seconds some cartoonish, virtual dealer with big boobs spins the wheel. Just before she spins the roulette wheel, she says "No more bets." Then she puts the pea in the roulette rail and spins the wheel. The key to this story is that as the pea is spinning in the rail before it drops, it makes a noise. The wheel also makes a clackety noise as it spins. These simultaneous sounds last about 15 seconds.

I think we may have each put a twenty in this thing and we are just killing time. No sooner had we made a couple bets than this kid at the end of the game, calls the number out and then the pea lands in that number. He does this a couple times before I start paying attention. Spin after spin, this kid calls out what number the pea is going to land in before it leaves the rail and drops onto the wheel. So now I am more interested in how the hell he is able to do this, spin after spin. He is never wrong.

I cannot tell you how many hours and days this kid must have sat there- listening to the sounds of the wheel, memorizing them, and calling out the correct number every time. Somehow, he had memorized the sounds of all 36 numbers and also the 0 and 00. Unfortunately, because the game shut all bets off just before the spin- there was no way to capitalize on this. That made it even more weird. I simply could not imagine how anyone could memorize the slight auditory distinctions each spin of the wheel made and how long this kid had been obsessed with that. I also did not understand why. There was no profit potential. Autistic I suppose.

The College Football Bet

For many years, I played poker every weekend. Maybe 15 years. In the fall, on Saturdays, I never missed a weekend. I loved to bet college and pro football. I would bet the games, tune to the proper channels, and watch the game while we played poker in the poker room. Very often, a crew from Montana would show up on higher limit weekends when we would play 10-20 limit.

So there was this guy, Jim, from Deer Lodge, Mt.  He and his friends from Deer Lodge and Anaconda would show up and play 10-20 limit Hold 'em. On this particular day, Jim decided to bet a college football game for 1500 bucks. The spread was -1.5 which meant Jim had to win by two points. (I made decent money back then and I always wondered where these guys found 1500 to piss off on a football game, my biggest bet is usually 500)

I wished I remembered who the two teams were who played that day but I don't. I do remember the score was 29-3 at the half. Jim's team was getting it's ass kicked so he quit watching the game and since 1500 is a lot of money, nobody teased him about it. One of the crazy aspects of this game is that the opposing team blocked a chip shot field goal and ran it back for a touchdown. They had missed two other extra points.

So when the game started after the half, I kept watching. Jim's team rallied. About the time they made 3 second half touchdowns, the score was 29-24. Everyone at the table was excited. Jim, who had written off the bet earlier, was glued to the television. Just as time expired, Jim's team scored a touchdown. The score was 30-29. We were all excited, slapping Jim on the back- whooping it up and hollering. All they had to do was kick the extra point and Jim would cash his ticket. Except that didn't happen. The coach decided to kneel the ball down instead rather than risk another blocked kick. We were all incredulous. That was the worst beat I ever saw- down for most of the game, came roaring back and gave Jim hope, and then crushed him with that kneel down. I can remember how sick I felt for Jim. I kind of get sick just re-telling this story.

The Good Karma, Bad Beat Jackpot

In 2016 I had bought a new house in Twin Falls and sold my house in Boise. I was homeless as I waited for the family to move out of the house in Twin Falls. I had a week to kill. I decided to go to Tucson. Tucson is one of my favorite places.

I had a crazy thing happen to me a few months before selling my house in Boise. I was in the alley pulling weeds. When the sun went down, I took my sunglasses off. Right after I did that, I pulled a weed out of the ground and one of the stalks in this weed stuck me right in the eye. I tore the macula in the right eye, it went dark, and eventually I had surgery. So, I was blind in that eye for about 6 weeks. During that time, I had a serious problem with depth perception and driving. I backed into my truck, I backed into the trash cans, I even ripped the passenger mirror off the car backing it out of the garage.

The rear bumper of my Elantra was pretty scuffed up and scarred. A new bumper cover was only a couple hundred bucks on E Bay.

So off to Tucson I went.

The second day I was there I decided to go play poker at Casino Del Sol. On the way there, I get struck from behind at a traffic signal. Not too hard, maybe 5 MPH or so. Mexican gal, 50s, gets out of her car. She looks at my beat-up bumper and starts crying. She had gouged a hole in the bumper cover, but I was going to get a new one anyway. I looked at her and said, "no damage."  It is fine. She is very apologetic and nice. She says thank you. We go about our separate ways.

At the casino, I landed a seat in a 4-8 game. They have a bad beat jackpot which is maxxed out at 50k. To win the bad beat jackpot, 20 dollars must be in the pot. Four of a kind must get beaten by four of a kind or better.

The game is full of solid players. There is a little old lady sitting two seats to my right. There is an old, grizzled player in the number one seat, on the left of the dealer. I am on the dealer's right, bullshitting with a guy next to me. After about 2 hours or so, the old, grizzled guy and grandma get in a raising war. I hadn't been paying attention and I look out at the board. There are two kings and two nines on the board. And neither one of these two will stop raising. I thought initially that each had a king full house but ol' grizzly won't stop raising. Grandma keeps raising back despite the fact she can see the two nines on board. They probably each put in 10 raises. I asked the guy next to me if he thought they had hit the jackpot. The guy "shushes" me. Grandma finally quits raising. She rolls over 4 kings. Ol grizzly rolls over 4 nines.

Ol grizzly wins 25,000. Grandma wins 12,500. The rest of us win about 1600 apiece. It takes the casino nearly 3 hours to pay us. We can't play while we wait, so everyone is bullshitting and grandma, hitting the white zin, is pretty much wasted and happy. She keeps drinking wine and kissing on me. It was kind of strange, but everybody seemed happy. I don't think her hubby cared too much for her kissing other players, but the 12 grand softened him up, I suppose.

While we were waiting to be paid, I won another 200 when the poker room calls my seat number in a random lottery.

It was a good karma day. I love Bob Seger and the casino had a band that played nothing but Bob Seger. I wish all days were like that but then I guess they wouldn't be so special.


Saturday, January 28, 2023

Money, Money, Money

I'm so fucking sick of advertising. It's an absolute bombardment. An intrusion into every conceivable space. I think of advertisers much like I think of cockroaches. Infiltrating my life through every conceivable crack. 

Monetize this, monetize that. Subscribe to this channel. We've detected you are using an adblocker, please disable your adblocker to continue. Spam blockers. Spam filters. The pricks even have my cellphone number and call that two or three times a day.

Tip jars, GoFundMe, GiveSendGo, Patreon, Google Adsense. Ads on my homepage, ads following my queries. Even ZeroHedge got into the act.

Pleas from blog producers. Please support this blog. Ads on social media.  

Some places make you subscribe to comment. Marketwatch does that. Naked capitalism. Like I can't live without their proprietary genius, therefore I must pay them to comment. 

Even the casino kiosk asks me to donate my change to charity. 

Television advertising. I pay 70 bucks a month to watch YouTube TV. You'd think my 70 bucks would entitle me to watch something ad free. Oh no. They take your 70 bucks and then force feed you ad after ad after ad. I swear to gawd they must invent diseases to give us the cure. Never ending ads about medications that you should tell your doctor about. In fact, I've often thought covid 19 might be a marketing tool. A disease that was invented and leaked to scare people into taking some over priced, untested, and experimental drug that doesn't work. 

Does Pfizer issue refunds?

Last week, I was binge watching "Murder in the Heartland." They embed advertising. You can't fast forward through. Instead, you are forced to watch the same 8 ads, over and over and over. All you can do is hit the mute button. 

Soon, I will see this on my TV. We have sensed that you have deployed your mute button, please unmute your TV to continue watching.

Ads on benches, ads on shuttles, ads on hockey team uniforms, ads on billboards, ads on stadiums. Ads on soccer players. Bicycle racers and auto racers. Stadiums named after corporations.

Next month, I'm gonna say fuck it. I am going to kill my TV. I am going to cancel YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. Not only am I going to save 100 bucks a month, but I am going to exterminate these TV cockroaches.

Many years ago when I started this blog, I decided that under no uncertain terms would I ever allow an ad on here. It's all about scale anyway. You don't make shit unless you become some highly relevant piece of writing that people can't live without. Then you have pricing power.

Well, the good news is, I ain't that good. 

Frankenstein Government. Still lousy, still free, and worth every penny.

Banksy, the original advertising hater. I loved him right from the beginning.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Monday, January 23, 2023

Please Carry Your Guns With You

 Many years ago, in a restaurant called Black Bear Diner, there was a group of older gentlemen that would come in each day and drink coffee. Each of them was carrying a firearm in full view or what we commonly call, "open carry."

In those days, Idaho still required concealed carry permits issued by the local Sheriff.

Most of the men in Idaho, native born that is, know a lot about firearms. So, what the concealed weapon permit law actually accomplished was that law abiding and knowledgeable citizens were deterred from carrying guns. This left Idahoans at a severe disadvantage because criminals don't care about concealed carry permits. The law actually kept criminals armed while disarming good citizens. 

So one day while having breakfast with a liberal gal at that particular restaurant, a bunch of those gun toting guys came in. My liberal friend asked me, "doesn't that bother you?"

I looked at her and said, "absolutely not. You are sitting in the safest restaurant in all of Boise." 

As an epilogue to that story, Idaho finally rid itself of the concealed carry weapon permit a few years later. No longer were citizens required to get a note from their government mommy to protect themselves. Before we continue, can we agree on two things?

1. Beyond the armed services and law enforcement, only mentally ill people intentionally kill other people. 2. You should know how to properly handle a gun safely, how to clear jams, and shoot straight. Practice and learn tactical advantages.

We Have a Mental Health Problem in America, Recognizing That Will Save Lives

I don't ever want to shoot or kill anyone. But right now we have two enemies. We have a serious mental health crisis wherein depressed and mentally ill people fantasize about killing others. That's not to say, I am not sympathetic to mental illness. I am a former N.A.M.I. board member. 

So that is our first potential enemy. Our second enemy is a government that ignores the actual illness and attempts to treat the symptoms. This is what some bad physicians do. They don't take the time to actually diagnose what is wrong with a patient, they just write a prescription for some drug that treats our symptoms.

We all know the difference between a good physician and a bad one. We get that. Why then is the public distracted from the real issue, mental illness, and focused on the idea that guns are bad? Because vilifying guns is easy and it gets podium pounding votes. Let's face it. Many people are stupid and buy into that rhetoric. Fixing mental illness is hard. Passing worthless gun legislation is always easy.

One last item that is not insignificant. Those same governments, state and federal, are the same governments who let these mentally ill assassins fall through the cracks. Give them early releases. Fail to provide mental health support and monthly checkups. Killers walk amongst us.

Poorly run government and the often untreated, mentally ill are the issue. But I can't solve that. Those are external issues, long ignored. But I do have dominion over my own life and the lives close to me. Unfortunately, I must practice civil disobedience to be a good citizen.

Guns Are Simply Tools, Like Tow Chains and Jumper Cables

In my car and truck, I carry all three items. The truth is, I don't want to have to use any of them. I have crawled under two vehicles and pulled them out of a snowbank and a muddy ditch. I have jump started a few cars with jumper cables. 

Nobody calls me a tow chain nut. Or a jumper cable fanatic. But they do say, thank you, after I provide the tools to help them. I have never shot a human being in my life. I hope I never do. But if I have to, I can and I will. That's the promise I make to myself, my family, and anyone nearby. That is part of the cost of being a good citizen.

A Few Examples of Items That Changed My Mind About Carrying Guns

In the small town I used to police in, we had a very angry and large human being named Howard. Howard was plagued with mental illness. Howard always carried a giant ax which he would sling over his shoulder. He carried that thing everywhere. Into banks, stores, and as he walked down the street. He scared the hell out of people. But carrying a giant ax is not illegal. Nor could I take it from him. All I could do was be nice to Howard and hope he did not cleave someone's head with that thing. I invited Howard into my office every week. Howard and I became good friends. He was funny as all hell. But I didn't let my guard down. Emotions can turn on a dime and I knew that.

Originally, I never made a big point of carrying a gun off-duty. I can think of one time that a .223 ranch rifle on my front seat stopped an entire car full of drunken idiots from beating me with a tire iron...but beyond that...all I had ever used a gun for was the killing of deer and elk struck by cars.

In 2007, after I retired, I was in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana had released a man who had killed two people. Once as a juvenile, the second as a young adult in what he described as a drug deal gone bad which was probably nothing more than a drug rip off. He had done 10 years for that manslaughter. At any rate, I was forced to co-exist in a situation with this man for a while and during that time- I would catch him staring at me. He knew I was retired police. The guy gave me the creeps. I began to start carrying guns with me, concealed and in my car. I didn't even bother to check what the law was- because it didn't matter to me. I was going to protect myself and quite honestly, I could care less about the law beyond 2A. 

From that point on, I began to carry guns. Usually concealed. I didn't want to attract attention.

By the way, New Orleans is a shooting gallery. I have never been to a scarier place.

I also carry guns in businesses that prohibit concealed carry. When I see a sign with a handgun and a slash through it- what the translation means to me is- "Hey if you want to come in here and kill a bunch of people, please go ahead. We have disarmed our customers."

The Hits Just Keep Coming 

Over the weekend, a deranged man killed 10 people and wounded many more in California. When caught, this 72 year old shot himself. A few months ago, a guy in Las Vegas stabbed 8 women, killing 2 on the strip. 

Could an armed bystander have intervened and stopped either of these two events? Yes. 

Have armed individuals stopped attacks? Yes. There are many instances of this. One of them occurred just north of me in the Salt Lake area when an armed gunman was shot and killed in a mall.

There are exceptions. The barricaded sniper in Las Vegas who shot concert goers. That was a horrible, savage, well planned attack. Pure evil. I doubt any intervention, save a few potshots from the ground, would have accomplished anything except given away your position with muzzle flash. No SWAT team could have been assembled in time. I doubt anyone in the initial attack had any idea where the shots were coming from. That shooter lived 60 miles from me. I undoubtedly crossed paths with him in a casino which has a handgun sign with a slash through it which reads, "No Firearms."

I could go on and on. But I want to leave you with this. The Luby's shooting in Killeen, Texas. Oct. of 1991. There was a woman who testified in front of Congress that she had left her gun in her pickup truck that day because she did not have a permit to carry it. Subsequent to that, she watched the suspect kill both of her parents. This first link recaps that day. The second vid is her testimony. Schumer has hair- that's how old this is.

 25 Years Later: Memories of Luby's shooting fade but don't die | Local News |

Perhaps the most powerful, compelling, 5 minutes of video that I have ever seen. I watched today via You Tube- I had not seen it back in the 90's. It sent chills up my spine just watching it.

Please Carry Your Guns With You

It's been 31 years since the Luby's murders in Killeen, Texas. That should be enough time for anyone to realize this murderous rage in our culture is not getting better and it's not going away any time soon.

In a place not too far away, I carry my gun into one of those places that says no firearms. The employees know that I carry guns. They do not tell anyone. They are glad that I do.

I want responsible, trained, people to carry guns. I want caring people to remain in our society and culture. I want law abiding citizens to obey local laws if you can. Being well trained and responsible helps send the message that we aren't going to stand idly by and watch people get killed or be killed- begging for mercy that will not come. When bad guys start to worry about whether they will get killed, then we have a chance of slowing this down. A deterrent effect. 

I have to accept the reality. The mentally ill are growing in number. Bad laws, designed to disarm law abiding people are growing in number. We cannot rid ourselves of the mentally ill or the misguided politicians that abuse our emotions and intelligence while banging the anti-gun drum looking for campaign or party donations.

We have to rely on something that has always worked. A decent, well informed, and polite society. 

Please carry your guns. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Making the Universe Right

Thank God for you Jack.

I have reached that age where I cannot always tell the true from the false. I tend to think my younger years were kinder and gentler. But that is a lie. The world has always been a harsh place where one poor decision might spell disaster. Many of us escape a lot of bad decisions intact. We learn and we live. Mostly though, we remember what happened to us along the way. 

I had always been an explorer. Always going somewhere, always trying new things, some good and some bad. I think in the beginning, I wasn't fully aware of all of the judgement and evil in the world until I experienced it in those explorations. These are the things we don't talk about. The things that impact us and change us for the better and sometimes for the worse.

I felt the sting of many bad decisions, some my fault, some not. 

And during those explorations we call our lives, we have bastions or pillars of sanity we meet along the way. Guideposts. People who "get us" when most do not. Jack was one of the ones. One of the few.

Mrs. Webb in the 5th grade. Mr Winchell in the 11th. Doug D when I was 17. Jack S when I was 30. Jim A when I was 43. Des C when I was 47. My 2nd wife when I was 56. That's it.

The list of people who didn't "get me" is much longer. These are the people who judge us harshly. They can't believe we act the way we do. The proper way to act is a secret, discoverable only when you violate some script these judgers carry about in their heads. At their best, they keep their opinions to themselves. At their worst, they seek to actually damage us. The conflict is really about who they are- sometimes our mere presence is something they cannot tolerate.

I understood that at an early age. It took me a lot longer to accept it.

So when Jack S came to me by way of Mayoral edict, I was wary of him and he was wary of me. After a few months of long hours working together, I discovered that Jack was a tolerant, kind person with a large dose of patience. I think Jack discovered that I was a head strong but loyal person. I didn't quit until the job was over. I was always willing to fight for what I thought was right and it landed me in some trouble. Jack bailed me out a few times. I like to think I bailed him out a few times as well.

Many times in the eleven years we were together, I very often looked at Jack like he was a father of sorts. He was caring and tolerant. He was empathetic. He had all the skills he needed to deal with me. Skills my own father never had. Some call these people role models. I call them blessings, perhaps miracles.

For eleven years or so, Jack and I worked hard to make the universe right. We locked up murderers, pedophiles, thieves, and drunks. We suffered through refusals to prosecute, plea bargaining, chicken shit dismissals, and ridiculous sentences. We dodged a few scandals, attended meetings ad infinitum and then one day, Jack up and quit. He never really gave me the reason, but I suspected what it was. For me, the timing could not have been worse. 

So it was, I had another seven years left on my sentence. When you take hard stands or tell people truths they don't want to hear, you don't last very long in the upper echelons of small-town politics. The very best chiefs and city administrators master the art of ass kissing. They survive long stretches, through some combination of convincing folks they are irreplaceable coupled with a large dose of ass smoochery. I have a different script in my head that they don't get. That I made it seven years after Jack, was a miracle all by itself.   

I quit trying to make the universe right in 2007. By then Jack was out enjoying his life. I was certainly the better for having known him. 

So, when I heard Jack had cancer a while back, we talked on the phone after all those years. Same nice guy I had always known, offering hope and encouragement for his future and mine. Some thirty years had gone by, and I still remembered his phone number.

Jack fell ill and died January 5. The new Chief gave me the news. I felt sick to my stomach. The truth is, it has taken me nearly two weeks to come to terms with it. I tried to write a note on his chapel obituary but for some strange reason, it wouldn't publish. 

I loved Jack like a father. He was one of the good ones. I owe him a lot. Thank you for being such a decent, kind man. Jack Stoneback, 1941-2023.


Monday, January 2, 2023

You Can't Measure This Heart

Munith Fred Higbee. One of the very best. A cop story.

I met Fred in 1983. He was about 64 years old at the time. He was the process/civil order server for the Sheriff's Office in Blaine County Idaho. A uniformed position.  I was a newly hired jailer.

Fred had been a cook in the Navy. He was present in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. I always pictured him on the deck of some ship shooting at Zeroes. He retired from the Navy after the war. He began a second career as a cook for the Sun Valley Company ski resort. I don't know how many years he worked there. I do know that it would have been in the 50's and I think one of the railroads owned Sun Valley and that technically Fred worked for the railroad.

In 1981 or thereabouts, Fred wrapped up that career and decided to become a deputy sheriff. He was the oldest man at that time to graduate from the Idaho State police academy. He didn't finish near the bottom either. Mid pack as I recall, he was a 63 year old who could run 1.5 miles in 14 mins., do 20 pushups and 35 sit ups. I think the avg age in the academy was 29 at that time.

Fred had a great work ethic and always had a daily routine. I remember one day at the office, I had made the coffee that morning. Fred took one look at the finished pot and poured it into the sink. He then pulled out the carrier, filled the filter to the brim with coffee, and restarted the coffee maker. That coffee was black and thick. Fred looked at me and said, "that was real coffee."

My favorite thing about Fred was what a horrible driver he was. His driving was legendary, simply awful.

I am going to tell you a few stories about his driving, all of which I witnessed. I have many more.

Fred drove fast. All the time. He was the king of distracted drivers long before cell phones made it common.

I was following Fred up a county highway one day in my personal car. Fred was in his patrol car and obviously not paying attention. This was a two-lane highway at the time and people were constantly slowing and turning into subdivisions before they finally put in some turn lanes. Anyway, Fred looked up just in time to see that the car in front of him was stopping to turn left and there was oncoming traffic. With no time to stop, Fred jerked the wheel right to avoid a rear ender, slammed on the brakes, skid marks through the fog line, off the pavement and into the ditch. I watched as he traveled at 50 MPH or so about two hundred feet down the ditch, as the car was bouncing wildly. Fred brought 'er back up on the road, past the car that he nearly hit, and continued down the highway like nothing happened.

We used to have those barrels during hunting season where hunters would skin their deer and elk and donate the hide. I suppose some group tanned the hides and sold them. Anyway, every year during hunting season, they put one of those barrels on the corner, just one block from the sheriff's office. One snowy morning when the road was slick, I watched as Fred came down the hill in his car going way too fast. He tried to turn right but the front end was sliding. It suddenly caught the curb, jumped it, and he smacked that metal deer and elk hide barrel and sent it careening down Main. Spilling out a hide or two in the process. Fred simply kept going like it was nobody's business.

We had a jailer, Mike, and I don't think Fred was a big fan of Mike's. One day Mike had bought 6 snow shovels for the inmates to use as they cleared all the walks and driveways at the sheriff's office. Mike had placed all six of the shovels in the center bay, on the floor, and had spray painted some identifying marks on them. He was letting them dry. Pretty soon Fred came wheeling up, hit his garage door opener, and promptly ran over all six shovels snapping them in half and ruining them. Mike started yelling holy hell at Fred. Fred looked at Mike and said they shouldn't have been there. Mike looked at me, for sympathy, and said "Do you believe that shit?" I looked at Mike and said Fred was right.

I will not tell you how Fred shot out the rear window, front seat, and steering wheel of his patrol car with a 30-30 rifle I had sold him. I will just say, he told me before selling the gun back to me, that he had never fired it. About 30 seconds later, with one round still hanging in the chamber, Fred fired that gun for the very first time. The trustee who was in the garage was shell shocked. I remember it well. It was the hardest I ever laughed in my life. I could not quit laughing. Between Fred holding that gun in a state of shock and Terry the trustee standing their gaping- I tried, really, I did. But I couldn't hold it in. I was laughing hours later on a traffic stop and remember a motorist looking at me like I was nuts.

Fred retired after 20 years. Lived a couple more before leaving this plane for the next. One of the best, zaniest, characters that I have ever met. You can't measure that heart.