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Is it time to recall PA AG Kane?

In 2012, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Kathleen Kane campaigned on being fresh, new, unconnected to party politics.  She challenged the ultimate Republican insider, and crushed him by a good 15%.  Kane became Pennsylvania’s first Democrat AG only because so many Republican voters defected from the GOP and voted for Kane.

Within six months into her four-year tenure, signs were evident that she was not this politically dispassionate, politically disconnected professional and fair-minded arbiter she represented herself to be.

Rather, it became clear that she was politically correct (dogmatically liberal) and willing to use the AG office to score partisan political points, going so far as to choose not to enforce or defend state laws with which she personally disagrees.  That right there is pretty much the end of democratic government, when elected officials stop enforcing laws they personally disagree with.  Democracy only works if everyone agrees that whatever the law is, it is, and it is the law of the land until it is changed.

Kane’s icing on the cake was to cold-stop an investigation of four Democrat elected officials in the Philadelphia area.  Kane does not deny that the four had been caught on tape or video taking bribes. One of the officials can be heard saying “Well, happy birthday to [me]!” as he pockets a wad of illegal cash.

In what stinks of political favoritism, Kane simply made up a lame excuse and stopped the ongoing investigation of obvious official corruption.

When Kane was called out about it by the Philadelphia Inquirer, a newspaper unused to criticizing Democrats, she showed up to a meeting with the paper’s board with her libel lawyer in tow.  A subsequent show of legal force and more open threats of a lawsuit against her critics, by Kane, has only made things worse for her.  But she is not backing down.  Mind you, the Inquirer merely reported the facts; the paper did not ascribe motive or allege that Kane herself was part of the cash scandal.  So it is hard to see what kind of libel suit this elected official thought she was going to actually win.  Intimidation was her first and last approach, however, which tells you all you need to know about her very low quality as an elected official.

Additionally, Philadelphia City DA Seth Williams, a Democrat, has criticized Kane for ending the investigation.  Seth and I were close friends while students at Penn State, and yes, he is an active Democrat, and he is also a straight shooter.

Now, Kane says she supports another newspaper’s open records effort to get the documents about the terminated investigation.  Well, actually, after opposing it, Kane only now supports releasing “certain” documents; you know, the documents that support her position.  The investigation’s documents that will cast her political activism in a bad light, well, they should remain sealed, she says.

Governor Tom Corbett may well be a one-term governor, which presently it appears is his sad destiny, if the polling data is even close to accurate.  Well, folks, let’s make this Kathleen Kane a half-term AG.  She is incompetent, she is politicizing Pennsylvania’s established laws, and she is using blunt force legal intimidation to blunt honest criticism of her official job performance.  Let’s start a recall of AG Kane, and get someone in that office who is a plain vanilla enforcer of The Law, as that role is supposed to be.

In an ideal world, party affiliation should not matter in the AG office.  I myself am partial to the potential AG candidacy of Ed Marsico, Dauphin County’s present District Attorney.  Marsico is an honest guy, a hard working guy, and has shown few partisan inclinations in his day to day work of making Dauphin County a safe place to live and work.  Marsico would be a big enough improvement over Kane to warrant a recall effort against her.  Surely there are other professional-grade DAs out there, too, who also would qualify to fill out the remainder Kane’s term.

Let’s get that recall effort started and Pennsylvania’s law enforcement back on track.

UPDATE: How on earth could I forget? Kane is having some difficulty investigating the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, where cash gifts and other toxic ethics violations have occurred recently.  Now….why would Kane have such a tough time bringing to bear her full weight on such obviously corrupt violations of Pennsylvania laws?  Why, it would not perhaps happen to be the presence of KANE TRUCKING contracts with the PLCB, right?  The KANE TRUCKING contracts with the PLCB are worth millions of dollars to Kathleen Kane, personally.  Got it.  Fox guarding the henhouse here.  Good old fashioned corruption, at least on the face of it.  Time to end this sick experiment, and send Mrs. Moneybags Kane home.


A day that will live in infamy? We will live through it

Seeing US Senator Pat Toomey cave in on gun control is a painful thing indeed. The man was elected to lead on tough issues and bring the Constitution to bear on policy and legislation. He is obviously failing on this most important count.

With his Democrat co-sponsored bill promoting universal background checks and hugely increased roles for doctors, and reportedly teachers, in unilaterally determining if a citizen is sufficiently mentally competent to enjoy their Constitutional freedoms, Toomey has entered a freak zone that no one could have imagined.
However, we have been here before. Last year it was US Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts who allowed ObamaCare to stand on the most bizarre reasoning possible. Recall that, like Toomey, Roberts was supposed to be a conservative.
If you go back far enough in other places, you’ll find similar hard left turns, like when Israel Prime Minister Menachem Begin gave up the Sinai Peninsula for a worthless scrap of paper from Egypt, or when Israel Prime Minster Yitzchak Rabin entered into the disastrous Oslo Accords, or when Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza Strip, this time not for a worthless piece of paper, but for a never-ending rain of missiles.
FDR dropped the ball at the Yalta Conference, giving Stalin free rein to run amok, setting the stage for decades of nuclear stand-off that could have been averted had FDR been a strong man.
Such is the mindset of humans, that desire to be liked, to be thought well of. Especially when momentous events are upon them, so many in leadership roles are called upon to compromise as a sign of their maturity and clear thinking.
Yet, few but the strongest can resist this siren’s call. Lincoln comes to mind. Thus he earned the best monument on the National Mall. Principled all the way. Admiration from all corners.
Seeing Senator Pat Toomey’s face in the news associated with this big flop of a bill hurts. Hearing Toomey say that background checks and all of the government database that does with them isn’t gun control is like entering some weird, surreal deep-sleep dreaming phase.
And yet, Toomey has revealed himself as a mere mortal, not some great man who had the principles and the strength of character to stand tall when needed.
He is not a bad guy, but Toomey is a failure on this one count alone, and he is not the first nor the last. The Second Amendment is the greatest right of all the Constitutional rights granted to American citizens, and seeing it so badly eroded by one person who should know better is a painful reminder that we cannot stop working.
Yes, the Tea Party folks will probably primary Toomey, and he may well lose that race on the basis of this vote alone. And yes, that could possibly lead to a Democrat filling his seat, which I would not be happy about. But it will be a lesson to other Republicans: Stand with us, or quit calling yourself a Republican.

The ugly face of “gun control”

The ugly face of “gun control”…

NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg is the ugly face of “gun control.”
“Gun control” has zero to do with crime control. Rather, it is about controlling the citizenry and making government their master.
Bloomberg wants to lock away infant formula in hospitals to force new mothers to nurse their newborn infants, he wants to deprive free citizens of the soda size of their choice, he wants to outlaw a certain circumcision procedure, limit salt in food, etc. And, he wants to take away your guns or make them so difficult to get that, in effect, you really cannot have them at all. Yesterday Bloomberg said that the government “can infringe on your rights because we sometimes do know better.” This tyrannical attitude towards governance is exactly what America was designed to defy and stop. Power to the people, Mike!

State Representative Calls Police Twice Over Inquisitive Citizen Opposing Gun Vote

By Josh First
March 7, 2013

Just over a week ago, newly minted New York State Representative Didi Barrett (NY-106th) twice called police in a thinly veiled attempt to have an inquisitive citizen intimidated by Red Hook police for exercising his Constitutional right to petition the government. Nope, this is not made up, folks; it is real and it is real-time. It illustrates that the gun control debate is not about guns. It is not even about crime. It is about controlling citizens; that is its purpose and the goal of its proponents. When the police show up at your door or pull you over because someone in an official position said something about you, anything could happen.

Beginning in early January and extending into late February, Chris Stehling, a plumber from Red Hook, NY, visited Barrett’s local office several times to explain his opposition to her position on New York’s anti-gun SAFE Act, and then her recent vote in support of that law. This new law is so restrictive that even most on-duty police officers are non-compliant and potential felons. The heavily rushed and highly defective law must now be “fixed,” and it is already going through a new amendment process, facts that in Stehling’s view indicated a flawed legislative process begging a few more changes.

Stehling tells me that he was respectful and professional when he first visited Barrett’s office, requesting a meeting with her. Asked by staff what the subject was that he wished to discuss, Stehling explained his opposition to his state representative’s vote for the flawed law. Barrett was unavailable, he was told, and “Don’t call us, we will call you” was their parting response.

Several days after he left, a town detective, Tom D’Amicantonio, knocked on Stehling’s door, saying that Barrett had called the police because her office “had concerns” about him.

“I asked Tom ‘What concerns?’, says Stehling, who is a steady, jovial, and articulate guy on the phone, and on a friendly first-name basis with the small-town local police.

After a forty-minute “amicable” conversation, and taking a statement from Stehling, who wanted to see his representative face-to-face, the detective departed, and left Stehling with a feeling of now being victimized twice by Representative Barrett: Once by her careless vote for the poorly written law, and now by her attempt to persecute and intimidate him for daring to ask her about it.

Stehling called a friend, and they returned to Barrett’s office the next morning, calmly seeking both to schedule a meeting and requesting an explanation about why the detective had been called. In addition, Stehling had a friend on the phone who could hear the conversation in the office. Apparently while they were talking to a staffer, someone else in the office was on the phone, calling the police again, because when Stehling returned to his car outside and began to drive away, the town’s police sergeant, Patrick Hildenbrand, pulled him over.

“The sergeant came over to my truck, and he asked me what was going on with Representative Barrett, and we explained our experiences visiting her office, including my First Amendment right to talk to my elected officials,” says Stehling.

After talking with Stehling and taking statements from both of his friends, Sergeant Hildenbrand reportedly later called Barrett’s office, explaining that Stehling was well within his Constitutional rights to petition his elected officials, to visit their offices, and request a meeting with his representative. Is that not the role of an elected official in a representative democracy, after all? The US Constitution’s First Amendment gives citizens the right to petition their government, and to speak freely.

Eventually Stehling was granted a meeting with NY Representative Barrett at her distant Albany office, which he conveniently visited after a pro-Constitutional rights rally at the NY state capitol that same day.

“She was dismissive about our concerns, even when we presented the fact that the new law criminalizes most on-duty police officers [because of their higher capacity guns] and it punishes law-abiding citizens but not criminals,” says Stehling.

Three weeks ago I debated Shira Goodman of CeaseFirePA (http://video.witf.org/video/2335658815), a gun prohibitionist group, on a WITF live call-in TV show. Several times during the debate Shira earnestly exclaimed her avid support for Second Amendment rights, which she is working overtime to destroy. It is now a common tactic to proclaim support for something you obviously despise and undermine. And thus America spawns people like Representative Didi Barrett, the Cuomo-endorsed New York State “Assemblyperson” who believes in getting elected to office, but not in being accountable to the citizens whose consent places her there; in fact, she evidently believes in using the police to intimidate or jail her political opponents.

Gun rights advocates have long worried that their opponents were seeking domination and control of the citizenry, and not control of crime. Representative Didi Barrett’s actions just showed us that concern is valid and true. But Didi Barrett tilted her hand too soon, though, because this kind of heavy-handed response from government should be more common only after Americans have been disarmed, and not before. Those citizens on the fence about this issue can now make an even more informed choice about which way to vote. Vote for freedom, folks, not for the un-American abuse of power that motivates people like Didi Barrett.

Listen to Chris Stehling’s other interview, on Sheryl Thomas’s radio program, at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sherylthomas/2013/02/28/ny-gun-owner-harassed-by-assemblywomans-office

Stay involved in the conversation at www.joshfirst.com and on our Facebook page

Will CeaseFirePA Join the Militia, Please?

“When the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually…. I ask, who are the militia. They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers. But I cannot say who will be the militia of the future day. If that paper on the table [the Constitution] gets no alteration, the militia of the future day may not consist of all classes, high and low, and rich and poor….”
–George Mason, Founder of America, 1788

Patriot News Article on Eastern Outdoors Show Cancellation

“The British didn’t understand Americans in 1776, and they don’t understand us in 2013″…my favorite quote ever.

Why I am against “gun control” in a nutshell

I am against “gun control” because it has no correlation with crime control.
Police are not required to protect individual citizens from harm, but rather to provide for the general peace.
So now we have government officials who want to remove my ability to defend myself. But they will not provide for my defense, nor will they be accountable for either failing to protect me, or for eliminating my ability to protect myself.
This is the definition of failed government. It is all about control, and nothing about serving the citizens that give it legitimacy.
This is the situation in England, where law-abiding citizens are disarmed, and self-defense is punishable and is actually often punished more harshly than the criminal act that initiated the defense.
British activist Piers Morgan pretends to be a journalist, but he is an advocate for policies that clearly violate America’s Constitution, a document created to protect Americans against people like Mr. Morgan.
That’s why I am against “gun control.”

Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show CANCELLED

Reed Expo (or Exhibitions) just announced that the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show is being “postponed,” which means it is effectively cancelled.

Reed Expo is canceling because of the enormous boycott of the show over their new anti-Second Amendment policy. That boycott started with a call to me from one of the show’s vendors over ten days ago. I sent a statement which was rapidly shared across the sporting community, and the sportsmen’s community (PFSC, HUSH, WFE Foundation, NWTF) leapt into action. Before you knew it, Reed Expos was getting kicked in the teeth by hurt, angry American citizens. The betrayal was too much to bear.

Reed Expos is a British company. Britain was once a great nation, and the British were once a great people, but they have decided to disarm themselves and to criminalize self-defense. Failed gun control of every sort is de rigeur in England, and Reed Expos took the dubious but very British position of banning from the show the one gun that most symbolizes the Second Amendment: The AR-15.

That upset their core audience. That core audience just fought back. And wait until the breach-of-contract lawsuits start flying against Reed Expos. The company will probably lose tens of millions of dollars. They may go bankrupt. That would be their own fault, however, because at every step over the past two weeks, they were asked to reconsider their policy change. Neither vendors nor paying visitors wanted to miss the show. Reed Expos stuck to their guns, and has suffered the consequences.

Message to businesses: If you stand with us, we will stand with you. And if you stand against us, we will stand against you.

Next stop: Hollywood, the least principled, most hypocritical, most destructive location on Earth. It’s like that one place is the epicenter of a continual tidal wave of crap that splashes all over the planet. It’s time to financially punish empty-headed actors like Danny Glover, who profited enormously from using guns in his movies, but who now says that the Second Amendment was designed to protect slavery.

Three cheers to the American sportsman: You did it. You united. You had an effect. You should be proud of yourselves.

Josh’s Comments to Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show Promoter

Over the past ten days a brouhaha in the most unlikely place has been gathering force.

Ten days ago, Reed Expos, the promoter of the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show, abruptly announced that “tactical firearms” would not be permitted at the 2013 ESOS.

The ESOS is held annually at the Pennsylvania Farm Show. It is the largest outdoor show in the country, and draws a million participants from around the nation. Hunting and fishing guides, ATV – trailer – and firearms manufacturers, clothing dealers, ammunition experts, trappers, land conservationists all gather for a week to promote, sell, entertain, teach, and transact on every aspect of the outdoors. If you hunt, fish or enjoy the outdoors, this is your show.

Reed Expos is reportedly not the easiest company to deal with in the best of times. “A one-way street” is how several vendors described them to me, emphasizing that the promoter’s short-term profits seem to trump all other considerations year after year.

When Reed Expos suddenly announced that AR-15s and similar firearms could not be displayed, most vendors felt not only betrayed in a time of political weakness, but that their own vendor contract had been unilaterally breached. When one of the bigger vendors approached me for help getting through to Reed Expos and trying to get them to change their new policy, I in turn reached out to Pennsylvania’s sporting leadership (below are the comments I sent to Reed Expo, eight days ago). The Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, WIld Turkey Federation, Hunters for Sunday Hunting, and the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation all leapt into action. For those political watchers wondering if the hunting community still has clout, feast your eyes on this: In just eight days, over 80 vendors have pulled out of the ESOS, including powerhouse Cabela’s.

Not many visitors are going to hand over ten dollars for entrance to a hall that is largely empty. The whole ESOS is now looking like a bust, sad to say. Every year my kids come with me to shop, talk, and talk shop with many vendors who have become personal friends. For example, John R. Johnson of Perry County is my custom knife maker, and every year I go to see him and his lovely wife, and pick up a beautiful, rugged new knife. One hall over is Cody Calls, makers of state-of-the-art turkey calls, a family-owned business. I get to talk with the Cody founders and the next generation, listening to their take on the changing world of outdoor sports. Cody Calls has given me expensive calls to give to new turkey hunters, who in turn take them home and become consummate woodsmen. These are all good, good people. The thought of missing all of them this year feels like losing an aunt or uncle; it’s just a little painful.

But boycotting the ESOS is the right thing to do. Reed Expos, if you won’t stand with us, then why should we stand with you?

January 13, 2013

Mr. Chris O’Hara, Public Outreach Coordinator
Reed Expos

Dear Mr. O’Hara,

Thank you for your time on the phone today. I am opposed to Reed Expo’s new policy of excluding semiautomatic rifles from the 2013 Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show here in Harrisburg, PA, scheduled for next month. As you requested, here is a recapitulation of our conversation:

1) Semi-automatic rifles are sporting arms by any standard or definition. AR-15s dominate the organized high-power target competitions across the nation. In many states AR-style rifles are legal for hunting small and large game. The same goes for other semi-automatic long arms and in some cases, semi-automatic pistols, like the .50 Caliber Desert Eagle. Semi-automatic shotguns are legal in all states for waterfowl. Gun prohibitionists make no distinction between semi-automatic rifles and semi-automatic shotguns; today they are trying to eliminate the rifles. If they are successful with those, they will next go for the shotguns. Reed Expos is buying into a false definition.

2) The Second Amendment to the Constitution has zero to do with hunting or target arms. Like all of the other rights in the Bill of Rights, it confers an individual right. Its intention in 1787 was, and remains today, to guarantee that citizens can belong to state-based militias to off-set the military power of the Federal government and that they can personally own the military-grade firearms necessary to make those militias effective. Today’s AR-15 and other similar semi-automatic rifles are basically the civilian version of the full automatic arms used by the military. Hunting and target shooting arms are naturally included in the Second Amendment, but they are not at its core, or its purpose. Civilians have owned military grade long arms and pistols since the beginning of our nation. We will continue to do so.

3) The Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show is and has been all about outdoor sports, including hunting and shooting. Your audience does not make the artificial distinction that you are making between one long arm and another long arm.

4) By excluding semi-automatic long arms at this desperate hour, when the enemies of liberty are doing everything possible to eradicate the Second Amendment, Reed Expos is abandoning its core consumers. Reed Expos is caving in on a symbolically powerful issue. Let me ask you: Who pays to enter the ESOS? Gun prohibitionists, or gun rights enthusiasts? Reed Expos is shooting itself in the foot, and damaging its relationship with its audience (not to mention the SHOT Show). If you do not stand with us, then why should we stand with you?

5) Every year our family goes to the ESOS. Living in Harrisburg makes it easy for us, and we also volunteer for some of the non-profit groups who have booths there. My three children have grown up with the ESOS. It is a big part of their year, marking the end of most hunting seasons and the beginning of fishing season. They buy new clothes and hats, see old friends, view equipment, etc. So, it is both upsetting and kind of edifying to hear that vendors are now discussing a boycott of the event, in order to communicate their displeasure with Reed Expos. To miss the ESOS would be my family’s personal loss; but to see your poor decision rewarded with the justified financial punishment of a boycott would be mighty rewarding.

Thank you for considering my comments,

Josh First
Harrisburg, PA

No Empty Words, Please

Talking with a gun-owning Democrat friend and then a gun-owning Republican friend on Friday, the subject in both phone calls centered on just how far this anti-Second Amendment effort is aimed.

My Democrat friend said that the Democrats don’t really want all of our guns and that they are already backing away from many of their toughest positions staked out two to three weeks ago. My Republican friend said not to count on the many non-voting gun owners for political support or actual resistance. Why, he asked, would a guy who has never voted in his life, freeloaded off the NRA and his local gun club to stand up for his interests, and rarely does anything for his community suddenly get politically active now? And just how far will that same guy go to resist unconstitutional gun bans and door-to-door confiscation?

Interesting stuff. A year ago this was the purview of the far right and conspiracy theorists. Now it is as real as the air that greets your lungs when you awaken in bed in the morning. And these two guys are both wrong.

First, I am convinced that most Democrats want every single gun taken away from private citizens. For example, a few years ago a local congressman, Joe Hoeffel (SP?), wrote legislation to aggressively control muzzleloading guns. You know, the kinds of guns your great-great-grandfather used in the Civil War and which pose their greatest threat to toes when these heavy art pieces are dropped from the unsuspecting hands that have foolishly removed them from their ancient mountings above the fireplace. Not exactly a public threat. But lots of people react against that greatest symbol of American freedom, and in fact, Congressman Hoeffel had plenty of support.

Second, I am convinced that my Republican friend is wrong, because I grew up in an extremely rural place, where everyone had guns, few people were politically active, and where a healthy suspicion of the government was endemic (and thus, not much time was invested in anything government). A lot of my neighbors, the closest being about half a mile away in any direction, were descended from those Scots-Irish tribesmen who had fled imperial Britain to find enough room to run a still and live unhampered in the 1700s New World. Their anti-government attitudes have always resulted in the toughest fighters, even if that isn’t evident at first or second glance.

Pushed hard enough, they too will be shooting out of their second story windows at government goon squads coming to confiscate their guns. Yes, yes, I know, I sound like a ‘fringe lunatic’ here.

Which brings me back to my Democrat friend. My response to him and to other Democrats who have perhaps foolishly engaged me in discussion about this topic in the past few weeks, including an avowedly liberal reporter from New York City, is this: You are not taking our guns. You’re just not. Anti gun laws have zero to do with crime control, and everything to do with government control.

Most people know me as a passionate conservationist, a birds-n-bunnies guy, a hunter who cares for the green woods, and that’s all true. I am a peaceful guy who just cannot shake certain aspects of my Quaker upbringing, no matter how hard I try. And if I am pushed hard enough, I will meet gun confiscation with armed resistance. Because to do anything else is an abdication of my Constitutional duties.

See, the Second Amendment guarantees the individual right to belong to an armed militia. Necessary to a free state, those local, grass roots, citizen-led militias were intended from the founding of our nation to be an active counterbalance to a centralized, national, federal army. Because political rights are only as good as the citizens’ ability to force change or resist tyranny, the Second Amendment is the one right that guarantees all the other rights in the Bill of Rights.

So go ahead, call me a radical, a nut, a whacko, an alarmist. I wear such appellations with pride in times like these. Someone once said something cute, like, extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice; by backing up the Second Amendment, we are backing up the entire Constitution, and if that is a vice in the eyes of a particular political party, then so be it.

I am standing my ground, proud, unwavering, no matter what illegal law is passed in America. I will not abide by it. I will dissent and I will resist. This love of liberty is a so-called vice that many otherwise quiet Americans will join. Trust me. I am an American, and I know.