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Kook supreme Eric Frein caught. I’ve got a rope

Cop killer Eric Frein was caught earlier this evening. Alive, dammit.

Frein ambushed two state troopers at their barracks, shooting both, leaving one dead and one critically injured. Both men have families.

Instead of spending millions of taxpayer dollars to house, feed, prosecute, defend, and entertain Frein, I’ve got a stout rope and a big oak tree in the back yard.  He deserves no better, and much worse.

Tom Wolf….you’ve got to tell us your plans

Tom Wolf may be a heckuva nice guy, and an ethical boss. By all accounts these are true.

But he has cruised to a lead for Pennsylvania governor on these two assets alone, and they’re insufficient.

On nearly every other political issue he is evasive, or committed to regressive actions that will harm Pennsylvania. Taxes is one of his evasive issues, and I’m not alone saying we are all taxed enough.

I’d like to hear Wolf make concrete commitments to lower business taxes equally if he seeks to raise a five percent gas drilling tax. Otherwise, he’s trying to kill the golden goose instead of patiently waiting for her to lay one golden egg at a time. Gas drilling has saved our economy, hands down.

My suspicion is that Wolf will remain evasive until the very end, and voters will move toward Corbett as a result. The election is likely to be a three point spread: Corbett by 1% or Wolf by 2%. The “Dewey beats Truman” mindset has already taken hold among Wolf’s supporters, and a huge upset is likely in the making if that continues.

Why deer hunting is good for the environment

This past week was the early muzzleloader season in Pennsylvania. Instead of the modern inline muzzleloaders, I use an old fashioned flintlock. It is more challenging, and honestly, it’s just plain beautiful to look at.

Up at a relatively small piece of land I’ve been cultivating for twelve years, this fall marked the first time I’ve seen young oak seedlings survive deer browsing. Across the forest  floor a plethora of oak seedlings – white, red, chestnut – create a carpet effect that indicates a future of young oak trees….if they can avoid being eaten by deer.

While I was casually walking through the forest, I saw a young doe looking at me. I raised the gun and fired. I will take any opportunity to help the little oaks become big oaks. They do, after all, produce the acorns necessary to feed deer, bears, turkeys and many other wild animals.

Then as if on cue, one of my very next steps was right into an enormous pile of bear poop. Colored brown from all the acorns, this fresh pile represents a great modern conservation success story, Pennsylvania’s population of huge black bears.

How ironic that deer can eat the trees needed to feed both themselves and their predators, the bears. How ironic that humans, who have dramatically shaped our planet over the past 20,000 years, do all we can to help an animal that might want to eat us (the bear), due to our recreational desires, and in doing so eat the deer sought by the bear.

Life is intertwined. Our futures are intertwined, humans and wildlife. Deer hunting is good, and good for the environment.

 

If you want freedom, you are going to have to fight for it

Nevada senator Harry Reid changed the US Senate rules last year, which may not sound like a big deal.  But those rules had been in place for about 215 years, a significant portion of America’s existence.

The former senate rules ensured that a slim majority of senators could not win important votes by a slim majority of votes.  Important votes like confirming federal judges, whose stamp on the nation’s character lasts for decades.  Some federal judge nominees are extremists, nakedly partisan political activists who only wear the black robes for effect, not because they are truly dignified and above the political fray.  The former rules prevented those extremists from being confirmed to the bench unless a super-majority of US senators agreed.

Harry Reid’s rule changes allowed his party to ramrod through a whole freak show of kooks, anti-American anarchists, and other assorted wing nuts.  These are not people dedicated to serving American citizens; these people are at war with the America we grew up with.  They think that Communism only failed because the Soviets didn’t implement it correctly, not that Marxism is a bad idea.

Last week I sat about ten feet away from where US Senator Pat Toomey was speaking at the Perry County Republican Committee Fall Dinner (kudos to county chairman Don McClure for getting Toomey to speak to us).  Sure, Toomey said a lot of good stuff.  But then he dropped a bombshell, even worse than his ill-fated anti-gun legislation last year: If the Republicans regain the US Senate in two weeks, they will return the Senate rules back to the old set.

Toomey said that this would be done to “prove” that Republicans are “better” than Democrats.

Well, what the hell, Patrick?  The liberals are playing to win, to win everything, to win all the power, to take over the entire nation, and the Republican party establishment is engaged in a game of checkers.

In Houston we got to see what Liberals-Gone-Wild really looks like, as the new mayor there served subpoenas on many of the pastors in the city, who had dared to exercise their First Amendment rights and oppose the mayor’s policies.  In other words, the only free speech under liberals is speech that they approve of, using the full force of government coercion to achieve their goal.  In other words, we are in a fight for survival, for the basic core of American democracy.  We have to win this fight, because if people like the Houston mayor win, if people like Barack Hussein Obama win, every citizen loses.

Here’s the thing that people like US Senator Pat Toomey just do not understand, that they will never understand: A gentlemanly duel with the liberals will not succeed.

Instead, a bar room brawl is what is needed, and frankly, it is what is desired by the disaffected grass roots activists who otherwise fuel the Republican party.

If you want to hold onto your freedoms, you’d better fight like hell to hold onto them, fight at least as hard as your opponent, if not harder.  That means letting the people who changed the US Senate rules learn to live with that change under Republican administration.  The Republicans should run the US Senate for at least one year, maybe two years, under Harry Reid’s new rules.

Any Republican senator who cannot support this stance is not really committed to winning back the America that the liberals have dramatically damaged over the past six years.  Republican senators who are only committed to the meaningless game of checkers, to the effete gentlemanly duel, what are they doing there?

Step aside, Patrick.  The rest of us are rolling up our sleeves and grabbing something solid and heavy to set this situation right.  That’s right, that heavy lifting is always left to the grass roots activists, isn’t it….

A win for the little guy

Government’s role is to serve the people.  America is a people with a government, not a government with a people.  The people – their needs, their interests, their rights – come first in all things.  Our Constitution prohibits government behavior that is arbitrary, capricious, abusive, or uncompensated taking of private property, among others.

Any American who loses sight of these limitations has fallen into the easy trap of promoting government over the people.  People in both main political parties fall into this trap, because both main parties have largely lost touch with the US Constitution (and the Pennsylvania Constitution) and its daily meaning for American citizens.

Last night the Pennsylvania state senate passed HB 1565, which amended through law a procedural environmental rule issued in the last days of the former Governor Ed Rendell administration, in 2010. The rule created 150-foot buffers along streams designated High Quality and Exceptional Value, and removed that buffer land from nearly all uses.  No compensation to the landowner was provided.  Allowing the landowner to claim a charitable donation for public benefit was not allowed.  Higher building density on the balance of the property was not allowed. The buffer land was simply taken by government fiat, by administrative dictate, totally at odds with the way American government is supposed to work.

And the appeal process afforded to landowners under the rule was onerous, extremely expensive, and lengthy.  It was not real due process, but rather a series of high hurdles designed to chase away landowners from their property rights.  Everything about this rule was designed to make the government’s job as easy as possible, and the private property owner’s rights and abilities as watered down as possible.

The 150-foot buffer rule represented the worst sort of government, because it did not serve the people, it quite simply took from the people.  The 150-foot buffer rule was blunt force trauma in the name of environmental quality, which can easily be achieved to the same level myriad other ways.  The rule was the easy way out, and it represented a throwback to the old days of the environmental movement and environmental quality management when big government, top-down, command-and-control dictates were standard fare for arresting environmental degradation.

That approach made sense when polluted American rivers were catching fire, nearly fifty years ago.  Today, a scalpel and set of screwdrivers can achieve the environmental goal much better, and fairly.  Supporters of the rule claimed that voting for HB 1565 was voting against environmental quality, which made no sense.  Environmental quality along HQ and EV stream corridors could have easily been achieved with a similar, but innately fairer, 150-foot buffer rule.  It saddens me that my fellow Americans could not see that simple fact, and instead sought to stay with a deeply flawed government process until the bitter end.

I know the people who both created and then championed the rule.  Some of them are friends and acquaintances of mine.  Their motives and intentions were good.  I won’t say that they are bad people.  Yes, they are mostly Democrats, but there were also plenty of Republicans involved in designing it and defending it, including former high level Republican government appointees.

Rather, this rule was a prime example of how simply out of touch many government decision makers have become with what American government is supposed to be, and it adds fuel to my own quest to help reintroduce the US and Pennsylvania constitutions back into policy discussions and government decision making so that we don’t have more HB 1565 moments in the future.

 

An open letter to Patrick Henderson

Dear Patrick,

Years ago, you were a sweet kid from Western Pennsylvania, beginning your career in the state legislature.  Working for state senator Mary Jo White and the senate environmental resources committee gave you lots of opportunity and exposure to political issues, outside issue groups, and the overall political process, including the executive branch.  You were smart, interested, thoughtful, and principled, and although we occasionally disagreed I really enjoyed working with you….. way back then.

But something changed.  You changed.  You seem angry, hateful, even.  Even towards people who have done nothing to you, at least that they are aware of; although I write this for myself, I write knowing that many other individuals have experienced the same unfair, undeserved treatment from you.

Your role in the Governor’s Office the past few years seems to have been largely dedicated to using state government to settle old scores with real or imagined “enemies” of yours (they were not Tom Corbett’s enemies, that’s for sure, although after you alienated them they aren’t up for helping Tom now), or to create new vendettas as you demonstrate that you have influence over government functions.  For now.

At Governor Tom Corbett’s inaugural back in early 2011, you treated my wife Vivian rudely, to her face, despite her sweet nature and she having never met you before.  She did not deserve that.  Was it your way of getting at me, trying to  hurt me, one more time?  Whatever your purpose, it was petty behavior unbecoming someone in your senior, public role.

It is difficult to accept that you have become this way, but it has become a universal truth in Harrisburg that you are, in fact, angry at the world and determined to get even with everyone in it, whether they are guilty (of what?!) or innocent.

I suspect a lot of this negative change is a result of your cocoon-like experience inside the Republican Party, where you have been sheltered from the real world for your entire career.  Like all of the other professional staff on the Hill, in both parties, you merely must meet a technical standard, not a performance standard.

Meeting a technical standard means that you, and other professional party people paid by the taxpayers, must merely show up for work and stay out of trouble with your elected boss.  If you were held to a performance standard, then you’d be in a world of trouble.  Other than using your public position to hammer away at “enemies,” what performance for the public have you achieved on the taxpayer’s dime these past three and a half years?

Taking risks, making sacrifices, meeting real deadlines, making personally uncomfortable decisions — none of these are part of the professional life on the Hill, although I am confident that you or others in those roles (even friends of mine) would disagree.  We taxpayers who underwrite your salary see it differently.

As a public servant, Patrick, you are subject to writing like this.  You may hire an attorney to try to get this off the web, and I sarcastically wish you good luck with that.  I stand behind everything written here, as you well know, and if I am pushed to do so, I can certainly provide any necessary evidence to support it.

Good luck with your career, Patrick.  Unless you are recycled back into the Republican Party, and God knows I really hope you are not, because I think you are a huge liability to our party, you are destined to work in the private sector.  Here is some valuable advice: Don’t treat people in the private sector the way you treated them when you were in the public sector.  You won’t last five minutes.  Other than that, I hope you enjoy your family and show humble appreciation for all of the good things that God has bestowed upon you.

–Josh

Am I off the radar screen? Pardon me while I follow the migrations

Across the Atlantic seaboard and throughout the eastern US interior, fish and animals are migrating, or following mating instincts as they prepare to mate or compete for mating rights.

Those of us who are hunter-gatherer-naturalists are following these natural pulses of animal life, as this is the best time of year to intersect with our prey.  These movements and motions of our prey naturally lead us out into the ocean, onto river banks, hunkered down on field edges, along the beaches, or into the woods with a bow and arrow.

Striped bass, blue fish, deer, doves, and geese are all moving.  Their calls may often be distant, or mostly silent, but they pull me nonetheless.  If given the choice between writing about politics and culture, or hunting and fishing (and running a business and family), the blog always comes in last.

So please forgive me if I am off the Internet radar screen right now, as I follow these magical migrations happening all around us.  Our ancestors did the same thing for tens of thousands of years, too.  I will return…

Life’s natural rhythms

Hunting and gathering have provided 95% of the sustenance for humans on Planet Earth, for most of our time as modern humans. These activities are a natural, seasonal rhythm outside of the equatorial region.

Usually more gathering is done during the summer months in temperate climates, when fruits, vegetables, and nuts would be ripening.  Hunting typically occurs all year ’round, but picks up in the Fall and Winter.

Our garden produced a constant supply of non-sprayed, healthy, fresh, naturally ripened food this summer.  As usual, some plants did really well, while others eventually failed long before their time.  Nevertheless, the garden produced more than we could keep up with, and is now coming to a close.  It was a pleasurable way to eat – walk into the back yard, pick some fresh vegetables, make a salad or sandwich inside, and then taste the sunlight.

Now, hunting and trapping seasons are upon us, and it’s as if a hidden switch was flicked ON in my body.  I suppose a hundred thousand years of hunting and gathering cannot be easily scrubbed from our DNA and body’s natural inclinations, although some people pretend they can (and should).

In a country awash in cheap, easily accessible food, growing a successful garden and harvesting wild meat for the table may seem silly, but the truth is these are skills being honed.  Anyone who thinks the food, electricity, water, and heat which define American life will always be easily available is fooling themselves.  Anything could happen to disrupt those supplies.  Could be something small, or something big, or something cataclysmic.  Either way, oscillating with nature’s natural rhythms is both, well, natural, and also healthy.  Ignoring those natural rhythms is like double-dog-daring something bad to happen to you, and it will, because in human history, change is the constant.

Enjoy the colorful Central Pennsylvania Fall, and Go Lions!

Muslims 4, Infidels 0

British aid worker Alan Henning is the latest innocent beheading victim.

Reports are in that British drones know where the ISIS captives are held, and where serial sadist and chief beheader “Jihad John” is located in Raqqa, Syria.

But Obama is dedicated to half-hearted efforts, symbols, really, of opposition to ISIS. His aerial bombing raids have killed more camels and civilians than Islamic bad guys.  A serious rescue mission could work, but it would require “boots on the ground,” which Obama opposes.

So far, sweet, generous Westerners are losing and the Muslims are winning. Radical Muslims want to cut off your head, and “moderate” Muslims want the radicals to cut off your head. There’s really no other way to confront this than to fight to win.

Two private property rights bills before PA legislature

Pennsylvania private property rights are under the gun right now.

HB1565 would provide a small fix to a patently unconstitutional regulation issued by PA DEP four years ago. That regulation takes 150 feet of buffer land from property owners adjoining Exceptional Value and High Quality streams.  Pretty much nothing can be done inside that buffer.  No compensation is paid, no tax write-offs are allowed, no charitable contributions are allowed or facilitated under this horrendous rule.

Smart Growth tools have long called for rewarding land owners who give up usage of private land for environmental purposes. Increased building density on the non-buffer land is a big reward and an incentive for landowners to contribute protected land to the greater good.

But the current regulation is not focused on working with landowners. Rather, it treats landowners like a piggy bank, which can be robbed whenever needed.

Protecting the environment is easy to do. Old fashioned top-down, command and control, big government, one size fits all regulations like the 150-foot buffer rule don’t protect the environment any better than carefully tailored rules. It’s not like this is a choice between environmental protection or none at all.

So encourage your state senator to vote for HB1565.

The other issue is SB76, which will provide relief to property owners who are being taxed out of their homes by teachers unions. Government school taxes account for about 80% of the annual property taxes paid, so dealing with government pensions and government unions bargaining positions should help alleviate the pressure on home owners and farmers.

Encourage your state representative to support SB76, which will lower private property taxes and reshape the way taxes are allocated.

Private property is supposed to be sacrosanct. I’d suggest anyone supporting the 150-foot buffer rule simply give up their front lawn to the neighborhood as a public play area. Put your money where your mouth is, or quit demanding that other people’s money get spent in ways you think are superior than the owner would spend it.