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Second Letter to Candidate Josh Feldman

Dear Josh,

Congratulations, you did maintain your position on the ballot after our challenge. But you have traded away your credibility and integrity in the process.

I read the courtroom transcript of your March 17, 2017 testimony, and on page five you stated under oath that you consciously falsely signed two affidavits. Even though you have only been an active attorney for a grand total of 78 days, surely you know that affidavits are the bedrock of our legal system. A falsified affidavit undermines everything our legal system stands on and stands for. The person who falsifies an affidavit is obviously unqualified to fill a judicial role. You are unqualified, Josh. Your own court testimony impeached your own credibility.

Additionally, you have run for this magisterial seat on the representation of being “the only attorney” among the candidates. But you only became an active licensed attorney on March 2, 2017, the day before you filed your first set of ballot petitions. On page three of your court testimony, you admit that you do not actually practice law and have no court room experience, having become “inactive” just one month after bar admission and having been “retired” from 2010 until this March 2nd.

Your attorney information page on the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court says “I do not maintain professional liability insurance because I do not have private clients and have no possible exposure to possible malpractice actions.”

So your biggest selling point is actually flim-flam, a faint technicality. What is the point of electing an attorney who has no experience actually being an attorney, and who right out of the gate violates the most important election laws to try to get ahead?

Josh, how on earth could your lawyer have allowed you to take the stand in your own defense at the ballot petition hearing?  Do you not realize the self-damning testimony you gave in court?

Perhaps no one should be surprised, as your incompetent goofball lawyer Adam Klein now has yet one more loss to his credit.  You have learned an expensive but important lesson: Just because a lawyer is smug and arrogant does not mean he is seriously up to the task of effectively representing you.

Josh, I pledged $250 toward the outcome not as some sort of silly bet or wager, but as a principled statement about my belief in personal accountability.  My philosophy of government requires me to do this: I had put my name out there as a plaintiff in a formal complaint about your ballot petitions, and you stayed on the ballot. In that process we learned that you have poor character, your word means nothing, and you have greatly over-represented your qualifications.

So, Josh, you do get the enclosed $250 check, but you will get no apology from me, because when you took the stand in court you admitted to filing false affidavits on your ballot petitions. You impeached your own credibility.  If you cannot be trusted to file basic honest paperwork, then what do the voters expect of you if you become a magistrate and sit in judgment of us?  Your petitions were flawed, Josh, and remain so, even though they technically contained enough signatures to keep you cross-filed and on the ballot.

This whole experience is sad to me. You have hurt yourself through your own over-reach, and then you were further injured by poor legal counsel. I like the fact that you are a fellow small business owner, and I wish that you had earnestly run for office on that good qualification alone. People could respect you for that.

Sincerely,

Josh

Josh First

Harrisburg City, PA

May 12, 2017

Marsico, Rozman and Morris for Dauphin County Judge

If you consider experience and qualifications alone when selecting a county judge, then there are only three logical people to get your vote on May 16th, 2017:

Ed Marsico

Michael Rozman

Royce Morris

Ed Marsico has been Dauphin County’s district attorney for a long time, so long that I have lost count of the years. During his time as the chief law enforcement official for Dauphin County, Ed has always struck a balance of fairness and restraint, when lesser people would have given in to anger over some of the heinous crimes committed in the Harrisburg area. That always struck me as the sign of a well developed personality, because man, I did not feel that way about some of the scumbag criminals he prosecuted. I wanted a public stoning. Ed pursued justice. Without any stain on his long career as a visible and scrutinized public servant, Ed Marsico is the most qualified candidate for county judge in this race and one of the most qualified we have ever had. He has earned your vote. (Ed has done a great job as DA, and I and many others would have liked to have had him run for Pennsylvania Attorney General, but Ed is devoted to Dauphin County).

Michael Rozman has served as deputy district attorney under Marsico for a long time. Often laboring away out of the limelight, Rozman has racked up some of the greatest experience any lawyer can have. Rozman’s mastery of forensics, crime scene investigations, police interviews and interrogations, and knowing how to distinguish a bad boy from a true bad guy puts him head and shoulders above any of the other candidates, except for his boss, Ed Marsico. Again, if experience and outstanding qualification matters to you, if you want justice and not politics in the court room, and if you want to be judged by someone who has had decades of experience dealing with courts, criminal matters, justice, and police work, then Michael Rozman has earned your vote.

Royce Morris is also exceptionally qualified to be judge, and he is the Yin to the Yang of Marsico and Rozman. Morris has been one of Central Pennsylvania’s leading criminal defense lawyers for a long, long time. His view of criminal law is seasoned with the understanding of the behavior and reasons why certain bad things happen and how people either purposefully or mistakenly end up in the criminal justice system. Royce has received accolades from judges, jurors, prosecutors, defendants and police officers for the careful way he has handled some of the region’s toughest defense cases. Again, if experience is what you care about, and you want to be judged by someone who is not a party hack or a devotee of political climbing, then Royce Morris earns your vote.

It is true that there are other candidates for the three vacant seats on the Dauphin County court. But none of those candidates has anywhere near the hard-bitten experience dealing with tough crimes and careful analysis like Marsico, Rozman, and Morris have had.

The quality difference between the top three candidates and the others is measured in light years, which is to say an enormous gap, not even close.

Yes, it is true that a Republican political endorsement was made for this seat, which benefited one of the other candidates, and while I am no fan of political endorsements in general, if there is one place where a political endorsement does not belong, where it actually indicates weakness and not strength, it is during the selection of a judge. Politics has no business entering the court room or the judge selection process, and only you, the informed voter can stop it.

About eight years ago now-Judge Andrew Dowling was not endorsed by the Dauphin GOP, and he was told not to run, and yet he went on to win his seat on the court, overcoming what is obviously a very shallow and judicially meaningless political process. A better process would be to rank judicial candidates by a letter system, or by gradations of qualification (e.g. Highly Qualified, Qualified, Not Qualified). That election, when Dowling overcame the political hackery, was a refreshing reminder of the wisdom and power of the citizen voter.

Three years ago outstanding judicial candidate Bill Tully was passed over by the Dauphin GOP, and another, very young and less qualified candidate was endorsed. He was closer to the political establishment. The voters rejected that set-up, too, and sent Tully to be the next Dauphin County judge. That election, when Tully overcame the political hackery, was a refreshing reminder of the wisdom and power of the citizen voter.

Readers may ask why I write these essays about candidates and politics, and I will tell you it is simply because I have always had a passion for good government and fairness. Believe me, I make no friends writing these things, I receive no money and actually have lost business because of my opinions. And I have garnered some enemies along the way, too. But if Americans are not brave enough to stand up for what they deserve, then they get really bad government filled with political hacks who care nothing for the welfare of their fellow citizens. Maybe I am brave, maybe I am foolish, but I stand up nonetheless, and I tell it like I see it, and I tell it from the perspective of the person in the street.

Vote for Marsico, Rozman, and Morris, and you will get judges we can be proud of. That is my opinion.

Ooh-ooh, that smell

Dedicated readers of this site might wonder why we are not commenting about the lameness of a political party that filibusters everything in the US Senate, used “the nuclear option” themselves to advance the most radical and extreme federal judges and political appointees from 2010 to 2015, but which now is screaming bloody murder that the other political party followed their lead, did exactly what they did with the Senate rules, and allowed a simple majority vote to confirm the next US Supreme Court justice (Gorsuch) yesterday.

Why would a normal, healthy person spend time on that issue? It is obviously quite insane. One political party is dominated by people with an agenda that does not fit in with America’s political model. Would you normal people please stop supporting the Democrat Party, until its leadership is replaced with normal, mainstream Americans?

Instead, this essay here takes a line from a Lynyrd Skynyrd song about drug abuse, “Oooh-ooh that smell.”

This is about a daily personal health issue that seems to be unknown and unaddressed, despite having a real effect on Americans across the country. If you care about your health, read on.

We Americans are so addicted to cheap Chinese junk (tools, food, clothing, furniture, shoes, tires) that we shop ever more in big box stores filled to the brim with that cheap Chinese junk.  Or buy from Amazon, which imports from China by the shipful.

And when you enter the doorway of these big box stores, you are confronted with an odd, sickly sweet smell associated with the vast majority of Chinese manufacturing: Formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is used to pickle human remains for wakes and open casket funerals. It is used to stash scientific specimens in glass containers, so they will not rot, so they can be viewed and studied.

Formaldehyde is dangerous, toxic, and both acutely and chronically dangerous. And yet Americans work around hugely elevated amounts of formaldehyde in these ubiquitous big box stores, and Americans shop daily in these same places, all blissfully unaware that they are inhaling a significant amount of nasty chemical.

The formaldehyde you smell in the store is off-gassing from the consumer items sitting in cardboard boxes on the store shelves. This chemical permeates everything made in China, and there is so much of it that for years it keeps leaking out of the plastics, fabrics, and woods sent here, which we then put in our homes and garages as furniture and tools.

You are worried about ambient cigarette smoke? Cut us a break! Exposure to air-borne formaldehyde in these amounts is far worse for the human body, far riskier than the occasional cigarette, as is standing on a street corner in down town Manhattan, waiting for a street light to change, for that matter, because of all the ozone, particulates, and sulfur/ carbon dioxide/monoxide smog.

But nothing is being done about ambient formaldehyde risk, because it is associated with too much money and economic activity. And it is invisible, except to the nose.

There are no sexy prohibitionist crusades about ambient formaldehyde like there is with tobacco use (an upcoming subject here).  And yet take a good whiff the next time you go to a big box store. That weird sickly sweet smell is formaldehyde. Your lungs are getting a free embalming when you enter.

Note: If we bought American products, made in USA facilities where formaldehyde is not allowed to be used, then we would not be exposed to it when we went shopping. But we are like drug addicts, addicted to cheap Chinese junk, to our own detriment.

Coach Joe Paterno Vindicated

While there is a lot to learn from the Penn State – Jerry Sandusky debacle, such as adults should do common sense things, and adults should not rush to judgment, etc., there is one thing that has emerged from the recent trials involving former PSU president Graham Spanier and former assistant football coach Mike McQueary (who just hours ago won yet more millions of dollars from Penn State): Coach Joe Paterno was totally innocent.

Recall that legendary head football coach Joe Paterno was wrongly blamed for the actions and then results of past assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s mass child molesting ways. The whole thing was correctly a shock, but everyone who was around Sandusky was blamed. Hell, I think the board of trustees even tried to blame a janitor, no lie. The infamous Louis Freeh report was issued, one of the great works of bad fiction, and Joe Paterno was summarily fired.

The man had devoted himself to Penn State, to the improvement of college sports, to the improvement of college athaletics, to the novel idea that a gifted college athlete could also receive a quality education and go on to have a meaningful and successful career after college football, including (gasp) those athletes who did not make it into the NFL.

This is novel, because 99.8% of college football teams are like puppy mills, where young men are used up in a short term quest for wonderful ratings and glamour. It’s a pile of crap and it is wrong. Only Coach Joe Paterno and a couple others (Coach Lou from Notre Dame, of course) stood against that sick tide.

And that is why Coach Joe Paterno was pilloried in the wake of the Sandusky scandal.

Not because Paterno had done anything wrong, by act or by omission, but because he stood so far above everyone else around him. As college sports standards sank lower and lower, Joe stood for old fashioned values like hard work, earning your way, mentorship, patriotism, community, and all the other quaint values and ideas that are passe when so much money and fame are to be made.

So Paterno was fired early into the Sandusky scandal, by a spineless PSU board of trustees scared of its own shadow and lacking in the bravery and honesty that had marked Joe’s entire life, when he answered his front door on a weekend morning.

The results of this week’s trials are a kind of trial of Joe Paterno in absentia. Had Spanier been found guilty of certain charges, then one might have been able to ascribe the same guilt to Joe. And had PSU prevailed against Coach McQueary, and not lost for the umpteenth time, each time costing PSU millions of dollars, then one might have been able to say that PSU was right in firing Joe because he had failed to act when learning that Sandusky was a monster.

But none of that happened. Yes, this week Spanier was found guilty of the misdemeanor of child endangerment. Given that everyone on Planet Earth now knows the facts surrounding this, this makes sense.

What does not make sense is how Paterno’s great name has not been cleared.

Fact: Paterno called Spanier on a Sunday morning, having heard from McQueary the night before that Sandusky was seen raping a little boy in the football locker room.

Fact: Spanier then went on to hush it all up because of his fear of bad press. Fact: Spanier is a slime; hell, we could tell that just by his appearance and demeanor. But it is now official.

And it is also official that McQueary was a good guy and did what he was supposed to do.

What has not yet been made official is that Coach Joe Paterno remains one of the best human beings to have ever played a role in American sports, and he was wrongly accused, wrongly persecuted, wrongly terminated, and wrongly maligned even after his death.

This week’s court results vindicate Coach Joe Paterno’s good name and reputation.

Now put his damned statue back up and name Old Main after him.

Tyranny by Ten

This Tuesday, two and a half days ago, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals created a new law about guns and gun ownership in America out of thin air and completely contradicting recent US Supreme Court decisions the lower courts are bound to follow

If you want to see why citizens’ faith in the judiciary branch has declined, this bizarre decision is the best latest example.

It is gross over-reach far exceeding the court’s authority, and nullifying all of the judicial precedent litigated and decided before by the highest court.

Recall that judges cannot make up law.

They are fully bound by precedent.

They cannot make up policies.

They cannot come to a conclusion that is outside the subject of what has been litigated in front of them.

They cannot second-guess Congress.

They cannot ask what personal motives were behind a president’s executive order.

It does not matter what a judge personally thinks. None of this is supposed to enter into a judge’s ruling. When it does, the ruling is meaningless garbage.

Judges can only interpret the laws that are passed by Congress and signed by the President, or the state equivalent. That is it. That is their sole scope and ability.

At their most precise and honest moment, judges simply determine if a law is Constitutional, or not, or if it needs to go back to the state or federal legislative branch for re-work.

Brazen activism like this week’s decision serves only to undermine the judiciary, not strengthen it, because people will either utterly ignore these wayward judges, or they will seek to have them removed from their office, for good cause. Or both.

I myself do not feel bound by this illegal decision, and I will not comply with it no matter who says I must. These ten judges-gone-wild do not outweigh the collective decisions of the populace. If this court wants my guns, the authors of this decision can come to my home and try to take them away.

Come and (try to) take them!

In this particular instance of judicial malfeasance, ten of the court’s fourteen judges decided on their own that a new legal test was needed, a test that had never been used before by Congress, by the framers, the Constitution, or prior courts.

These ten judges decided to call it the “weapons of war” test, and they simply state that the Second Amendment never intended for American citizens to possess “weapons of war,” which according to these judges include the basic AR-15 rifles that are commonly used to hunt coyotes every week across the nation. Never mind that this new test would have eliminated from their personal possession the very military grade guns the American Patriots used to defeat the British.

But obviously logic is not of concern to these judges. The language of the majority decision and supporting decision is florid, full of political and emotional hyperbole, uses sophomoric logic and impolitic language (“the American people deserve a break”), and is simply disconnected from Constitutional text or legal precedent.

It is the equivalent of my kids saying “So, there!” in an argument.

But wait, there’s more!

Beyond being merely political, the majority bizarrely state that the decision is consistent with the US Supreme Court’s Heller decision, when it is in fact completely contradictory. Talk about shades of Orwell’s “1884,” where up is down, black is white, etc.

This is not a legal decision, it is a political decision.  It is a bold, defiant “I dare ya!” act by ten radical politicians wearing sombre black robes. And it is not just about guns. This decision is about rogue, out-of-control judges destroying the fabric of our Republic, which was not designed to turn over all issues to the judiciary, as if they make our every decision for us. This court throws the whole delicate machine of democracy out of kilter.

These judges are anti-democracy, plain and simple. They want a certain policy outcome, and because they cannot get it legitimately, legally, through the established legislative process, they simply want to wave a magic wand and make it so.

As much as this illegal decision shocks me, I do have to thank these judges, because they have outed themselves. By engaging in such egregious over-reach, illegally reaching deep into the realms of policy and law, they have willingly exposed themselves as frauds deserving of the most serious correction our system of government allows for – removal from the bench.

Now it is up to those American citizens who want to ‘drain the swamp’ and reclaim American government so that it serves We The People, to remove these anti-democracy activists from their sacred judicial roles. We can push to have them impeached or removed administratively.

Either way will do. Tyranny by ten cannot stand. We the People demand our rights.

 

Risk & Sacrifice separate grass roots activists from insulated party professionals

In 2009, like many other citizens shocked at the sudden, dramatic changes and corruption re-shaping America, I greatly increased my political activity.

Part of a grass-roots wave of citizen activists that year, I ran in a four-way US Congressional primary.  It’s a long story, and in short I ended up liking one of my opponents so much I hoped he would win.  Along the way, several people closely affiliated with the Republican Party tried to dissuade me from running, assuring me that a certain sitting state senator would beat the incumbent Democrat, congressman Tim Holden.

Our campaign still netted about 25% of the vote in a four-way race, which is solid performance, especially considering that one of the candidates had run before, one was a sitting state senator, one was a well-known political activist, and we had gotten a late start and spent little money.

In the general election, Holden crushed the Republican state senator who won that primary race by 400 votes.

Fast forward to January 2012, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejects a new, heavily gerrymandered Republican redistricting plan.  At the heart of the court’s decision was the “egregious” and grossly unnatural shape of the 15th state senate district, where I happened to then reside, and still do now, too.

The PA Supreme Court called the new district “the iron cross,” and indeed it looked like a cross shape and was iron clad against upstart citizens asserting themselves in political races reserved for establishment members only.

(My current congressional district is the same, with only about ten blocks of Harrisburg City included in what is otherwise a large, rural district reaching the Maryland state line. Guess who lives in that ten-block area. Yes. Me. )

Given my previous public interest in running for the 15th senate seat, it was obvious that excluding our family’s home from that district was purposeful: It was an attempt by political bosses to artificially silence and thwart an otherwise good candidate who does not see his job as serving political bosses.

The court’s ruling allowed a handful of us to wage a tremendous grass roots 11th hour campaign for that senate seat, getting our start two days into the three-week ballot petition process.

Although we did not win, we did give the political bosses a hell of a challenge by winning a huge number of votes with only pennies spent.

A year later, York businessman Scott Wagner beat those same political bosses for his state senate seat, in a historic write-in campaign against a million dollars of party money. The race, and its remarkable result, drew national attention.  Clearly the voters responded to Wagner’s grass roots campaign in the face of a party juggernaut.

This evening I spent some time speaking with an NRA staffer.  We met at the Great American Outdoor Show, which is the former Eastern Outdoors Show and now NRA-run at the PA Farm Show complex, and he gave me an opportunity to vent a bit and explain my frustration with the NRA.

To wit: An increasing number of grass roots activists now perceive the NRA as merely an arm of the Republican Party establishment political bosses.  The same bosses who oppose conservative/ independent candidates like me and Wagner.

See, back in 2012, I was the only NRA member in that three-way primary race (to be fair, one candidate had been an NRA member for several months, which could never, ever be construed as a political move, even though he was the candidate selected by the same political bosses who created a safe district for him to run in), but the NRA refused to get involved.

If there was any endorsement that was deserved in that race, it would have been the NRA endorsing their one and only member, and a decades-long member at that – Me. (Firearm Owners Against Crime did endorse the one pro-Second Amendment candidate, thank you very much, Kim Stolfer)

And then tonight it dawned on me on the way home from the Farm Show complex…two basic but defining experiences separate grass roots activists and candidates from the party establishment: Risk taking and making sacrifices.

By definition, grass roots candidates take many risks and make many sacrifices, both of which are seen as signs of weakness by the establishment.

Self-starters motivated by principle and passion for good government, the grass roots candidates and activists have to reach into their own pockets to get any traction, and they often risk their jobs and businesses in challenging the establishment power structure.  To get invitations to events, they have to reach out and ask, knock on doors, make phone calls.  They have to cobble together campaigns made of volunteers and pennies, and they usually are grossly under-funded now matter how successful they are.

On the other hand, party establishment candidates have the ready-made party machine in their sails from the get-go.  Money, experienced volunteers, paid staffers, refined walking lists, the establishment can muster a tremendous force in a relatively short time.  Establishment candidates also enjoy artificial party endorsements (formal or informal) that give them access to huge pots of party campaign funds or a leg-up in other ways.

Establishment groups like NRA view grass roots candidates the same way as the party establishment views them- trouble makers.

In short, few if any establishment candidates put in their own money to drive their campaigns, take risks, or make sacrifices in their pursuit of elected office. Everything is done for them by other people.

So long as party establishment staff and officials and groups like NRA maintain this artificial lifestyle and view, this alternate reality, this disconnect between the grass roots voters and the party that needs their votes will continue and deepen.

So long as the voters see grass roots activists and candidates struggling against an unfair arrangement that is created solely for the preservation of political power and profit, they will continue to migrate away from the party and support people they can relate to the most.

An elder in my family once told me that taking risks and making sacrifices build character and lead to success, and although a 26-year career full of both risks and sacrifices has often left me wondering at the truth of that claim, I increasingly see it bearing out in electoral politics.

The voters are not dumb; they can see the pure American earnestness in their fellow citizen fighting City Hall.  They respect risk-taking and sacrifices made in the pursuit of saving America.  That is a strong character which no establishment candidate can or ever will have.

Those political parties and groups that ignore that strong American character do so at their own risk, because they will lose the supporters they need to be successful.

 

Perry County Ground Zero, Round II

Perry County Ground Zero, Round II

By Josh First

Perry County, Pennsylvania, may be a deeply rural and tranquil place with just two traffic lights, but it is Ground Zero for the latest battle over your Constitutional gun rights.

The results of this battle have enormous implications for all Pennsylvanians, irrespective of where they live, because any legal holding will eventually apply not just to one county, but all counties and all citizens.

Unquestionably acting on political goals, the three county auditors recently sued the county sheriff, Carl Nace, demanding that he provide the names and addresses of concealed carry permit applicants his office processes. Nace refused, citing state law which seems crystal clear on the subject.

Much has been written here and elsewhere about this lawsuit and its genesis, so I will not re-trace those steps, but it is valuable to report back on where things stand as of yesterday.

Yesterday a hearing was held in New Bloomfield, Perry County’s seat of local government, on the auditors’ lawsuit against Nace. The hearing was intended to give both parties an opportunity to argue their case before a judge. The three county auditors are the plaintiff, and Sheriff Nace is the defendant.

I sat literally front and center in the court room, accompanied by Carl Fox and Jim Lucas, among many other wonderful citizens, activists, and concerned citizens. Carl Fox is president of the Duncannon Sportsman’s Association, and Jim Lucas is an engineer and well known political activist. Both Carl and Jim are involved in supporting Sheriff Nace and determining the background to the lawsuit. Both men believe the lawsuit has political purposes and goals, and is not some innocent procedural cause in the interest of perfect auditing everywhere.

Attorney Joshua Prince represented Nace, and attorney Craig Staudenmaier represented the three county auditors. The auditors were not present, either at the court house, nor at the hearing. Nace sat with his attorney in the court room.

Judge George Zanic sat directly in front of me with a clear line of sight between us, and I hope he wasn’t put off by my large prescription sunglasses, which I wear to keep summertime migraine headaches at bay, even inside. With my new, white, grizzled beard, wrap-around sunglasses, and unkempt end-of-summer hair, several people I already know approached me to learn who I was. One asked me if I was there for “the opposition,” and then laughed out loud when he realized who I was. That beard is coming off today! And yes, this is an indication that I am having a hard time letting go of the fantastic, if exhausting, summer I spent with my wife, kids, and friends.

Judge Zanic boiled down the entire argument to two points, one in each set of motions filed by each party. Zanic appeared most curious and skeptical about attorney Craig Staudenmaier’s assertions and claims about the need for the information, and the deficiency he says the county audit suffers from without the applicants’ names and addresses. More questions were asked of Staudenmaier than of Prince, and those questions for Staudenmaier were more pointed than those posed by the judge to Prince.

The judge was clearly having trouble understanding the plaintiff’s demand, or the need for the demand in the first place.

Citing general auditing standards, Judge Zanic referred to his own experience as a professional and as a former district attorney. Zanic disagreed with Staudenmaier about what information is necessary for any audit, let alone a county audit that was successfully completed by another firm when the auditors failed to do their own.

Prince did an excellent job in all respects, demonstrating a clear and quick knowledge of the governing statute, related laws, and the facts. Prince was articulate, clearly well prepared, and he stayed with Nace after the judge departed; both men answered questions from citizens and reporters.

Staudenmaier was often halting in his explanations, seemingly confused at times, and he argued in circles, often failing to directly answer the judge’s pointed questions. Some of his answers were rudimentary and elicited grumpy mutters from the audience. As soon as the judge left, Staudenmaier shot out of his seat, grabbed his papers, and fled out the back of the court house, through a hallway and door off limits to the audience. He took no questions from anyone in the court room, nor from anyone outside the court house.

Channels 43 and 27 were there, as was the Patriot News. Kudos to reporter Dennis Owens for pointing out that the auditors were not present at their own hearing, which is unnecessarily costing the county taxpayers a lot of money.  Their absence raises questions about just how seriously they take all this mess they have created.

Uniformed sheriffs and deputies from at least 15 counties were in attendance, in support of Sheriff Nace.

The court room was about 85% full.

“I hope to have a decision for you very soon,” said Judge Zanic.

Here is my take-away:

1) A person can draw their own conclusions about the quality or necessity of elected officials who take taxpayer money, who initiate unnecessary and expensive litigation, and who then do not show up in public or even at their own hearing. You cannot kick the hornet’s nest without getting stung, and then complain about it, but that is what these three auditors are doing. What they have said, and what their spokesman attorney Craig Staudenmaier has said, is that these three feel unhappy about the negative reactions their citizens have had over this lawsuit. Some counties do not have auditors, and it seems that the three in Perry County have proven they are either unfit or not needed. Perry County should either eliminate the office of county auditor, or vote these three out of office.

2) Perry County should do everything it can to determine who is behind the auditors’ lawsuit, including determining who paid Staudenmaier. This should be done to determine what political forces are in play (CeaseFirePA? Bloomberg? Soros? The Democratic Party of Pennsylvania? A local elected official?), and why they are present, and also let’s see if the people who started this expensive mess can then be held accountable and pay for it out of their own pockets.

3) Perry County should prepare to recover any costs or legal fees associated with this lawsuit, whether from the three auditors or from someone else who may be accountable. I think that Joshua Prince is representing Sheriff Nace for free, but no one should have to spend time defending someone from a frivolous lawsuit at their sole expense.

 

 

Court testimony proves criticism of Corbett natural gas policy is partisan, unfair

If you have been following the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Fund lawsuit against the Commonwealth, over its natural gas policies on public lands, then you’ve no doubt been reading the testimony of former political appointees from the Pa Gov. Ed Rendell administration.

The lawsuit is being ably reported in the Patriot News.

Former DCNR secretaries DiBerardinis and Quigley have testified that their boss, Governor Ed Rendell, was the one who dropped the natural gas extraction bomb on the State Forests in his gluttonous rush to gain as much money as he could to fund his wild history-making over-spending.

I won’t bother to repeat their testimony here, but it is not pleasant.  They are not covering up for their former boss.  Instead, they are laying it all out there, describing how the public interest was subverted by greed and political malfeasance.  These are two good men, devoted to the public interest.  Kudos to them.

Here’s the thing: Rendell is a Democrat.

Here’s the thing: Then, and now, Rendell was not roundly criticized for his public land gas drilling policies by the very environmental groups who represent themselves to the public to be non-partisan, fair-minded, honest brokers on environmental policy and issues.

Instead, in extreme contrast, since even before his first day in office, Governor Tom Corbett has been vilified, excoriated, badmouthed, cussed, maligned, and blamed for everything that is wrong, and right, with the public policies he inherited from the Rendell Administration.

And this gets to the point here: A lot of the heat that is created around environmental policy issues is accompanied by very little light.  That is because most environmental issues are innately politicized, and partisan, before a valuable discussion about their merits can be had, in the public interest.

In other words, the by-now old narrative goes like this: Republicans always stink on green issues, and Democrats are always blameless little innocent blinking-eyed babes on environmental issues, even when they are wearing the red devil suit and sticking Satan’s trident deep into the public’s back.

In the interest of good policy, this partisanship must end.  The mainstream media, run by liberals, is only too happy to carry on this unfair, inaccurate narrative.  But conservatives can overcome that if only they will cease ceding the battlefield to the partisan groups who roam it at will.

Instead of cavalierly writing off everyone who cares about environmental quality as an “environmental whacko,” which is the standard conservative reaction, and it is wrong, recognize that environmental quality is important, but what is also important is how one goes about achieving that goal.  This critical policy nuance seems to be lost on most conservatives.

Also, call out the Statists/ Socialists who mis-use environmental policy as a means to achieve their larger Marxist goals of wealth redistribution.  These people are not ‘environmental whackos’, they are anti-American socialists who have hijacked an important issue and commandeered it to suit their larger purposes.

Want to win?  Want good government?  Want fair coverage of political issues?  Then fight back!  Meet these folks on their own battlefield, and defeat them using good policy that is grounded in science and public-interest goals.  The Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Fund lawsuit court room testimony is an excellent place to begin this fight.  It is loaded with ammunition in the interest of honesty, accuracy, and fairness.

 

PA GOP squashes buzzing gnat candidate with atomic bomb

Governor Tom Corbett’s campaign had nothing to fear from primary opponent Bob Guzzardi, a political activist, commentator, business owner, gadfly, and apparently super annoying buzzing gnat, too.

Running on a minimalist platform of leaner and more transparent government, Guzzardi succinctly represents the “Tea Party” damn-the-torpedoes attitude in his $400.00 (yes, that was his campaign war chest) run up the middle against a hulking incumbent’s campaign.  Guzzardi had racked up just one Big Media interview that I know of.  He struggled for traction in political circles.  The likelihood of Guzzardi actually denting Corbett’s armor, much less beating him, was as high as your likelihood of winning the big jackpot lottery – zip.

But that did not stop the incumbent governor’s campaign from doing all it could to get Guzzardi removed from the primary ballot, using PA’s awful election laws.  The first attempt failed, as perhaps the only merciful judge on Commonwealth Court held weeks ago that Guzzardi’s purported bureaucratic red tape filing misdeed was de minimus, and that he would remain on the ballot.

Courts are statutorily directed to try to keep candidates on the ballot, because democracy is best served by voters having choices.  Disqualifying candidates should be a significant hurdle.  Well, as has been increasingly seen in Pennsylvania, knocking candidates from ballots is very easy, too easy.

Today the PA Supreme Court voted Guzzardi off the ballot in what sure looks like a politicized decision that relies on the de minimus crap the lower court did not take seriously.  For those who think Pennsylvania has truly independent courts, stop deluding yourself.

Critics of Guzzardi’s nomination papers mishap need to acquaint themselves personally with this deliberately arcane and completely politicized PA process.  PA’s election laws are a black hole spider web designed to keep people out of the political process.  Look no further than Harrisburg mayoral candidate Nevin Mindlin last year, whose entire candidacy was tossed on the most ridiculous, manufactured, and picayune of excuses.

Mindlin was an independent -minded Republican who had the audacity to buck bi-partisan parasitic politics, and thus was ensnared in faux Red Tape, as anyone in his role was bound to be under the current election laws.

I don’t know Guzzardi. But I do think he’s entitled to run if he wants, and many other states make it much easier to run for elected office, which is good for democracy.

Pennsylvania’s bipartisan establishment deliberately makes independents/ outcasts/ gadflies/ charismatics getting on the ballot either legally impossible or impossibly expensive (the high cost of successfully defending an otherwise legally sound filing).

What Pennsylvanians have now seen is that no matter what a “threatening” candidate does when filing – following the written rules or following the directives of the local elections staff – he is bound to be challenged by his party, and he will probably be DQ’d.  Worse, there’s no disincentive for this behavior (for example, challengers who lose, could be required to pay the candidate’s legal fees).

Ballot challenges delay fundraising, delay volunteers, delay interviews, and cast a shadow over a candidate, irrespective of how cheesy the challenge is. This is bad for the citizens, bad for democracy, and frankly, it is un-American. It is, however, good for insulated party establishments that have turned politics into a self-serving financial enterprise. This has to change.

If I am elected to the state senate in two years, better election law will be a priority. There – that just earned me a 2016 ballot challenge! :-D Bring it, boys! We will be ready and waiting for ya….

p.s. I do not know Bob Guzzardi, despite trying to meet him.  I do know people who know him, or who have met him. Some say he is a valuable muckraker who elevates key issues into the public square.  Others say he is a bored troublemaker who vents his personal dissatisfactions into the political arena.  Either way, I say politics should be “Bring All Comers, and may the best candidate win.”  Guzzardi should have stayed on the ballot; he was no threat to Gov. Tom Corbett.

409

Legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno won 409 genuine college games.  No one can take that away from him, the players, the team staff, or the proud PSU alumni, like me.

Child molester Jerry Sandusky is a scumbag, but the football program had zero to do with his crimes.  But it was the football program the NCAA punished, disproportionately to any other football program in American history.  Using Sandusky’s association (not employment) with the PSU football program, and Louis Freeh’s horrendously unprofessional report (analyzed in detail on this site) to support its blitzkrieg assault on Penn State, the NCAA coerced PSU trustees and incompetent, spineless top PSU staff to sign the consent decree that unfairly punished the football program.

Enter the courts, where facts actually can matter.  And thus we have courts that are correctly beginning to cast doubts on the entire NCAA punishment of PSU football.  This week a court held that further inquiry is necessary to determine if the NCAA not only operated consistent with its own charter, but also consistent with the facts of the Sandusky case vis-a-vis PSU football.

Daylight is seeping in, and I do not believe that the NCAA will survive the exposure, or the application of basic logic and rules of fairness.

Joe Paterno, my hero, had 409 Wins to his credit.  Those wins remain, no matter what, but hopefully they will soon be reinstated after basic due process for ALL of the victims of Sandusky’s crimes.