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My impression of Paul Mango, candidate for PA Guv

Three weeks ago I spent half an hour on the phone with Paul Mango, newly declared candidate for Pennsylvania governor.

We talked about his candidacy, his background, political issues, economics, hopes and challenges, etc. We then followed up with several back and forth emails, each one of his expressing specific appreciation and thanks for how the exchange had benefited him in a certain way. He is a new candidate, new to politics (other than as a very generous donor to Republican candidates), and he is digesting a lot of new information and ideas, new ways of thinking.

Last week I met Mango at his formal campaign announcement at the Twin Ponds sports and fitness center in Camp Hill\Mechanicsburg.

Twin Ponds previously served as the region’s HQ for primary and general election candidate Donald Trump, who won Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes by a margin probably accounted for just by the simple dedication of Central PA’s “normal Americans” in both political parties. The big facility is run by a pretty, petite firebrand of a woman, Mrs. Patton aka General Patton.

Here are my impressions of Mango (and yes, I know, he’s just getting started):

He is impressive in several key ways: His family background and values, his education and military service, and his high level professional work experience.

Paul Mango is a very smart, confident, and empathetic man, who comes across as a reserved, reflective, nice person, and a responsive, good listener.  He is positive and genuine.

I questioned him in person about how he will compete against candidate Scott Wagner, who has spent years battling in the trenches with a lot of conservative voters and activists, against entrenched establishment political hacks in politics for personal financial gain, and who has thereby built up credibility with many politically active citizens who value bravery and honesty.

When I pointed out that Wagner has also alienated a lot of people (including many of his former supporters) in that process (because Wagner seems selfish, arrogant, and unappreciative), Mango responded that he will not say anything negative because he has never seen valuable leadership succeed except through “inspiring people.”

That is a very high bar to set for one’s self, much less one’s political competitors, but it is worthy because it says Mango has integrity. The Wagner campaign has already criticized Mango for supporting Cruz first, and then Trump later, though I got the impression that is what Scott Wagner did, too, like a lot of us did in last year’s Republican primary. Here we go, the mud is already flying!

Well, to start, if Mango is going to inspire voters, then he needs to increase his positive speaking energy, his intensity, his passion. The other night he came across as a little nervous, and definitely way too deliberative, almost plodding, at his formal announcement. His prepared speech was long and the delivery was very, very slow.

Recall that Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg is so hard hitting because it was not long and plodding, but brief and hard hitting.

Despite serving in the 82nd Airborne and actually being a warrior, Mango’s even-keeled demeanor does not seem warrior-like, while his main competitor, Wagner, did not do military service and yet is a proven culture and fiscal political warrior.

Though he wore jeans, work boots, and an Oxford shirt, Mango is the very definition and personification of “corporate,” which will probably look or smell like moderate RINO to the trench warfare grass roots conservatives. Time will tell if that first impression is accurate.

His approach to fixing government is his approach to fixing businesses, about which it is best to just quote my activist friend Ron:

The problem with these guys [corporate/business/ Chamber of Commerce GOP candidates who compare running government to running business] is they all have plans to fix government by running it like a business. This is not a unique viewpoint and it has never worked. This is politics, not business. Took me a while to accept that.  He can have the greatest plan ever but it won’t matter because politicians don’t care [about people, policy, economy etc.].  They care about themselves and getting re-elected.”

It is a fact that careerist politicians in BOTH PARTIES do not act like corporate employees, because there is almost no accountability in politics. The old quip about the only accountability in politics resulting from being “found in bed with a dead girl or a live boy” probably doesn’t even apply today.

Like him or not, candidate Scott Wagner goes right to the key policy battles: Corrupt blood-sucking unions, ridiculous regulations that violate our federal and state constitutions, wasted and stolen taxpayer money.

That is where the rubber meets the road in the culture war for America’s soul and the war for a middle-income economy.

This is the battle front between America as it was founded and as we knew it, and America as a bastion of totalitarian socialism and politically correct thought police, envisioned by the Left.

Candidate Mango will probably arrive here at the same battle front, eventually, because the leftists’ violent street battles across America tell us that nice words alone don’t work, and Trump’s improbable win says it all (JEB! was also the quintessential corporate nice guy, and GOP voters utterly rejected him).

Mango’s steady personality seems to avoid conflict, which though commendable and reassuring in so many other settings, can send the message to some voters that he may be like a zillion other mainstream RINOs who are unwilling to dive into the bar room brawl that needs to happen for America to be set right. These careerist RINOs don’t want to get their hands dirty waging political war, which tells voters that they really just don’t care very much about political or cultural outcomes.

Mango is smart enough to see these facts and voter trends. Whether he arrives at that messy policy battle front sooner or later is the question. If he finds a way to comfortably voice his quiet intensity, his passion, his compassion for working Pennsylvanians, then he will overcome the potential impression that he is another empty GOP suit (I was told that PA GOP kingmaker Bob Asher has NOT supported Mango, which appeals to the conservative, independent-minded base).

I like the guy and I am looking forward to seeing him develop over the next six months, because, again, he is new to politics and just getting started.

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.

 

Josh’s Veteran’s Day presentation in Catawissa

Hello. My name is Josh First.

I am a political activist and small business owner from Harrisburg, and a dad and husband.

What an honor it is for me to stand with you today, recognizing our past and present military Veterans.

Thank you for your service!

Thank you to Jared Valeski and the other volunteers for all of your hard work on the field gun dedication, and for the invitation to be here with you today.

If you go to Ironmen Arms here in town, Jared and Tom might sell you a French army gun from World War One. It is in great shape, because it has never been fired and was only dropped once.

Hey, don’t forget the French army knife, either.

We all know what a Swiss Army knife looks like, right?

Lots and lots of tools in it, lots of uses.

You can fix your car with a Swiss Army Knife.

Well, maybe you’ve seen the French Army knife.

It has just two tools: A corkscrew, and a little white flag that flips up.

Hey, we can pick on the French a little bit, because American military veterans have been saving their behinds time after time, right?

Lots of ultimate sacrifice by our boys for the French, and for the other Europeans, to be free.

American military veterans are beacons of freedom and hope, each and every one of you, and the world knows it.

Who does the world call when freedom is on the line?

You. Each one of you.

We are going to talk about one of your fellow military veterans today, a young man named Herb McCarty, who defended the French from being turned into Germans back in World War One.

The question is: Will America be able to produce in the future more patriots like you, more heroes like McCarty?

A big thank you to Steve Campbell of the Catawissa Valley Historical Study Group.

Steve did the historical research on Herb McCarty, a real local American hero, and one of America’s best known combat veterans.

History is critical to civilization’s success, because without understanding history, we are doomed to repeat past mistakes.

Civilization only progresses if people learn from their successes and mistakes.

McCarty was a farm boy born here in Catawissa, in 1893, and like many Americans who loved liberty, he dutifully, almost happily went off to fight the Kaiser’s army in Europe in World War One, which threatened the cradle of Western civilization, that being France and western Europe.

During 1918, the end of World War One and also the year when most Americans fought and died then, McCarty covered a lot of territory over there, notably at the Argonne Forest front, where over 26,000 American patriots died for freedom in a matter of just days.

The Western Front there has been memorialized in many films, because the fighting was especially fierce, the weather was especially cold, the conditions were awful, and many wonderful young men did not come home to their families.

McCarty’s heroism there included leading men in an up-the-middle charge into entrenched German positions, after their captain fell, right into the teeth of thick furious fire, deadly combat, and

–carrying his wounded comrades off the field of battle while under intense fire, and

–being shot multiple times from a strafing German airplane, and

–then blown up by an artillery round, and

–then being merely wounded badly by another shell, and

–then he was left for dead on the zero-degree ground for 46 hours, before he was carried off.

All of this just three days before Germany surrendered and the armistice was signed.

But McCarty’s will to live was powerful, and while recuperating in Europe and during the following four years back home, he underwent just shy of fifty, yes fifty surgeries, 16 of which were done without any anesthesia at all, none, but involved young Herb simply lying there and screaming into a clenched wooden dowel while the surgeons sliced away at his wounds to heal his body for hours at a time.

In just one surgery, four bullets were removed from various parts of his body. Two bullets eventually became attached to his jugular vein with scar tissue, and McCarty took them to his grave.

Shrapnel was constantly being found throughout his body, and removed.

Some wounds just would not heal, and required frequent invasive attention, and that is what eventually killed him, four years after the war ended.

This is why McCarty is known as “America’s Most Wounded Veteran.”

92 years ago, at McCarty’s July 1st, 1922 funeral here in Catawissa, the Reverend Doctor Ulysses Myers said “This army never had a better or a braver man…We give thanks to God for him and feel that now he has been promoted.”

Reverend Lau said “For McCarty to live was God, country, and justice to all, and it was for this cause that he finally gave his life.”

McCarty’s incredible strength of will to survive, his powerful character, his grace and ability to bear such tremendous pain, are representative of Central Pennsylvania’s good people, long ago and still today.

And McCarty was motivated by much bigger ideas than just himself. He wanted everyone to be free.

I was thinking, if Catawissa meant “pure waters” in either Shawnee or Delaware Indian back in the early 1700s, then to its native boys in 1918, it must have meant “pure spirit,” because that is what McCarty represented to the world, pure American spirit.

For his many acts of heroism on the field of battle McCarty was awarded many medals, most notably the American Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, and the Croix d’Guerre (that’s the War Cross in English) by the French government.

You know, it’s amazing the French didn’t make McCarty their prime minister!

Take note that Columbia County also produced other World War One combat heroes, two of whom were also Distinguished Service Cross recipients: a young Mister Monahan, and Michael Chyko, who fought in McCarty’s unit and who was one of his pall bearers.

For those who may be wondering, the Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military award that can be given to a member of the United States Army, for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force.

Only the Medal of Honor outranks it.

You know, if the first European settlers of the Catawissa Valley were English Quakers, opposed to warfare, then I am here today, as a former Quaker myself, to say that in these modern times we still need the Private Herb McCarty’s.

We need them in our own generation.

We need to absorb McCarty’s strong character, his gallantry, his willingness to take the ultimate risk, and apply it here, at home. His quintessential American spirit.

Without that attitude, America fails.

There are some who claim the American spirit is bad, that we are a bad nation. They claim that we are too war-like.

Of course, they say nothing of the people who started wars with us in the first place, so you have to wonder whose side they are really on, and what they are doing here in America…

But we are gathered here today to honor long-dead heroes like Herb McCarty because they still inspire us so many years later, and we want them to inspire future generations, too.

As we are not presently at war abroad, we must ask, To what present purpose are we inspired by heroes like McCarty and their patriotic sacrifice?

More succinctly, what relevance do Herb McCarty’s actions from 1918 through 1922 have for our own actions today, 92 years later, or even as recently as this past Election Day?

We have been hovering about this question and it is time we took a shot at answering it.

Although there is certainly a serious conflict looming ahead of us between Islam and Western civilization, our biggest war right now is at home, here in America, not abroad, and we must recognize that we are fighting on our own home front.

This is a war not of bullets and bombs, but of ballots, hearts, and minds.

To that end, we must draw inspiration from Herb McCarty’s dedication to the American principles he passionately believed in, the American flag, our Constitution, and each of us must become a warrior-in-spirit for our nation on the home front, wielding a pen, a vote, not a sword….yet.

A majority of Americans and certainly most Veterans are awakening to the reality that our own federal government is presently at war with the very citizens who lend the central government its legitimacy.

Using federal agencies like the IRS, ICE, Homeland Security, NSA and others, our individual liberties, our free speech rights, our Second Amendment rights, our rights of assembly and petitioning our government, our privacy rights, our voting rights, our religious rights have all been “transformed” for the past six years in an unprecedented assault on the core of American democracy.

There is today in Washington a man who believes he is a “government of one,” a man who believes that Congress either rubber stamps his policies and his anti-America nominees, or it gets the hell out of his way so he can do whatever he wants.

There is a man in Washington whose tyrannical actions are greater in number, scope, and gravity than those in our Declaration of Independence’s list of grievances against King George in 1776.

No, his behavior is not democratic, and Yes, that man was soundly and absolutely repudiated by the American people last week at the voting booth.

That still feels pretty good, doesn’t it?

The citizens of our Constitutional Republic spoke out against his usurpation of power.

He has been repudiated in historic terms.

But the problem we face in recapturing the America of liberty, equality, and opportunity as it was founded, is that our votes only matter to those who believe in the American system.

We can vote, win at the ballot box, and go home feeling like we succeeded.

But we may still be defeated in the long run, if we forget to recapture our traditional culture and values, the qualities that made us Americans to begin with, the values that motivated Herb McCarty.

We risk becoming slaves to an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-doing central government.

And the problem with that is, The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

In America, we are all about the citizen, not the government.

This is the real battle, the real war: To maintain our freedom at home, not on European battlefields.

This is a culture war, a contest either for an America as it was founded, or an America that looks like the old Soviet State, with no liberty, our Constitution rendered meaningless.

Like McCarty’s long battle to stay alive, this is not going to be settled with a single decisive battle.

Rather, it is a long-running war from which there is no retreat and no easy resolution.

It is not just about that one man in Washington.

It is about the anti-America movement that put him in Washington.

Our politically correct opponents’ tentacles have penetrated every fiber of our nation, every major institution, including churches, academia, charitable foundations, the Boy Scouts, the military, the media…you name it.

Sorry. Digression here, I just need to ask a simple question – with all due respect to the professional journalists with us today, may we ask if you are truly an objective, dispassionate arbiter of facts and accuracy, or are you an agenda-driven political activist hiding behind a false mask of fairness, like so many journalists appear to be?

Back to today. Today we face politically correct opponents not on an active combat battlefield like those on which Herb McCarty fought.

Rather, we are battling with ideas, information, and taxpayer-funded giveaways of great wealth.

Our opponents are not necessarily swayed by elections, nor dissuaded by individual electoral defeats.

They view these as merely temporary set-backs, individual lost battles while the bigger war continues behind the scenes, where McCarty’s strength of character and a sense of duty – YOUR strength of character and sense of duty — can be quietly erased from entire generations of Americans through control of groups like the Boy Scouts and educational institutions.

The very next day after an electoral defeat, our opponents return to the same battlefield with wing-nut activist Federal judges whose hatred for a Constitutional America is exceeded only by their pursuit of Socialism and big government micromanagement of We, the Peons.

They have Dumb and Dumber educational programs like Common Core.

Our opponents want to take America, the world’s most vibrant economy, and turn it into another French socialist democracy, at the least.

And that is why France has not fared so well in my presentation.

Because let’s be honest: France stinks. It is a mess in every way.

France hasn’t produced any Herb McCartys in a long time, and if America becomes like France, then we won’t produce many more quintessential American heroes, either.

The result of France’s socialism is that everyone with money and potential is fleeing the country.

Demographically, culturally, France will never be the same as it was 92 years ago.

But that’s where the politically correct Left wants to take us, despite history telling us that experiments in socialism and multiculturalism always fail.

And mind you, the France that Herb McCarty fought for had a military that invented Poudre B, or Powder B, the precursor to modern smokeless gunpowder used by all modern militaries.

That was a different France then.

But now, in France and their allies here in America, advocates of Big Government have spawned the rise of the entrenched, unelected, unaccountable, demanding Big Government bureaucrat.

The bureaucrat and his enormous pension have deeply eroded our individual freedoms.

The bureaucrat is a huge threat to liberty not anticipated by our otherwise brilliant Founding Fathers, who envisioned a limited government, not a big government.

But the bureaucrat outlives all elections. His ever-bigger government makes citizens ever smaller.

He is not balanced by the other branches of government.

We must elect politicians who are brave and strong enough to tackle this tough challenge.

So, if we are to follow in the footsteps of Herb McCarty, and if we are to translate his actions into actions today, and similarly serve our nation personally 92 years later, without necessarily fighting abroad or at home in a military combat unit, and if we are to be inspired to live for America the way Herb did, then here are four specific suggestions for winning the political fight for our traditional liberties and values here at home:

1) Be as politically active as possible. Go door-to-door, make phone calls, etc. for causes and candidates.

Support and work for good political candidates every year, in primaries and general elections.

America runs on political activity like a heart needs blood. Without you, the process is run by people who do not have your interests at heart.

2) Elect only those public servants who will voluntarily term-limit out, who do not seek a career in elected office, and who rely first and foremost on the Federal and State Constitutions for limited government.

Tell candidates that you will only vote for them if they pledge to voluntarily term-limit out.

And for state house and senate seats, elect people who will stick to the Pennsylvania Constitution and take only a salary and mileage as compensation.

That is what Article 2, Section 8 says is allowed, not the laundry list of taxpayer-funded benefits, like a pension, health care, car and per-diem costs.

Elected officials who term limit themselves are more able and willing to take risks and make sacrifices than those career politicians who will sell their soul just to stay in office.

Representative government, politics, should be about service, not self-enrichment.

And if there is a theme today, if Herb McCarty means anything today, it is about taking risks and making sacrifices in the service of our fellow citizens.

3) Bypass the political parties, and donate directly to political candidates and organizations like Gun Owners of America, Firearms Owners Against Crime, the NRA, and others.

Recognize that political parties are self-interested. Individual citizens do not interest them.

The political parties are full of bureaucrats and self-important functionaries who are modeled on government bureaucrats and functionaries.

Political parties were supposed to be vehicles for ideas, but nationally and especially in states like Pennsylvania, they are privately run business enterprises, whose goal is self-perpetuation.

They rarely serve the forgotten taxpayer, citizen, and voter. Rather, they simply re-divide the political spoils between each other every two to four years.

And do not fool yourself that “your” political party is better than the other.

I am a Republican because I am a conservative, traditional American, but believe me, the Republican Party establishment fights activists like me harder than they fight the Democrats.

Why? Because establishment Republicans know how to deal with the liberal Democrats: They each get a slice of the taxpayer pie; sometimes it’s less, sometimes it’s more, but they always get a slice.

Both parties agree on that, even though how big their slice of pie is may change year to year.

But good government activists can’t be bought, we stand on principle, and we want the taxpayers to eat their own pie, not politicians, and not the bureaucrats.

So we pose a greater threat to the bipartisan exploitation of government than if the parties merely temporarily lose to one another.

Our good government movement needs your support. Look for our candidates, like Scott Wagner in York County, who became a state senator on a write-in vote against his own party this year.

And finally, number 4) Reassemble the militias, out of love for our nation, Constitution, and our individual liberties, not out of hate for anyone.

Organized militias with muster rolls meet the “well regulated” clause in the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

Militias formed the basis of our nation, the basis of our military, and they are as American as apple pie, so long as they are focused on protecting communities and the Constitution.

And yes, that can include protecting American citizens from their own federal government, which is not some kooky idea from out of the blue, but in fact was a long discussion among our Founding Fathers and is the basis of the Second Amendment.

Even the French once knew the danger of big government, except they didn’t have the militia.

Instead, they used mobs and the guillotine.

Americans are just a wee bit more civilized than that, right?

It’s like Europe was the imperfect prototype, and America is the finely finished product.

It’s like Europe was the cradle of democracy, and America is the kid that got up out of the cradle and walked away, and grew up into an independent, strong young man.

That’s why young men like Herb McCarty have had to return several times to save the Europeans from themselves, and demonstrate each time how great we Americans are, at great cost.

Americans are exceptional, we have always been exceptional, not because we simply think we are better than everyone else.

It is because we humbly demonstrate our greatness time after time.

We get the toughest jobs done, because we are asked to.

High-falutin’ Europeans pretend they are exceptional by living hedonistic lifestyles and tossing their traditional values out the window.

Let’s not follow Europe’s lead, and let’s not allow young Herb McCarty and the many other vets buried here to have died in vain.

Let us learn from history, and let’s not make mistakes we know can end our civilization.

Last week’s election results were a small step in the right direction, and the real work is just beginning to re-create a traditional American culture.

Please be part of that movement.

In conclusion, thank you very much for having me here with you today, and…

Again, a big Thank You to our military Veterans here: Each and every one of you sacrificed and contributed toward my own personal liberties, like my ability to speak honestly with you here.

I would like to thank our audience for listening so patiently.

In Herb McCarty’s memory, I want to thank God the All-Mighty for having founded America on the Bible, the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, so that law, justice, fortitude, service, mercy, charity, liberty and love forever inspire and bind us together in American brotherhood.

Thank you!

My take on tonight’s Corbett – Wolf Debate, and Tom Brokaw’s Plea for Control of Our Lives

Like a few thousand other attendees at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce dinner tonight, I sat in the audience and watched Governor Tom Corbett and Democrat nominee Tom Wolf debate each other, with reporter Dennis Owens moderating.  Dennis was outstanding.  I also stayed for the Tom Brokaw speech afterwards.

Here are the highlights as I see them:

1) Corbett beat Wolf hands-down, in substance, poise, accuracy, and humility.  And damned if I am not still surprised.  Given how insipid the Corbett campaign has been to date, I expected the worst performance from him tonight.  That did not materialize.

2) While overall the debate was Dull vs Duller, and neither man was exciting or inspiring, the amazing fact is that Tom Corbett found his voice tonight.  Tom Wolf talked in circles, kept stating that he is a businessman (six, seven times), mis-spoke (“the vast majority of married Pennsylvanians file separate tax reports”), spoke in vague generalities bordering on fluffy clouds and flying unicorns, and addressed none of the substantive issues pegged by moderator Dennis Owens or by Corbett.

3) Wolf seemed to play it safe, venturing nothing new, nothing specific.  He did not even respond the to the Delaware Loophole questions posed to him.  He simply ignored them.  If he persists in this evasiveness, Corbett can catch up and beat him.  Voters can now see it, and it ain’t pretty.  Corbett may be The Most Boring Man in the World, but Wolf looked completely unprepared to be governor.

4) Wolf’s “I’ll-know-it-when-I-see-it” response to policy and finance questions is not acceptable for a candidate to run a state government.

5) Corbett actually ate some humble pie, admitting that he is not a good communicator.  Understatement, yes, but he is not a guy who likes to admit he’s wrong.  So that was big.  Again, expectations for Corbett were super low, and he started out looking and sounding defeated.  But even he recognized that he was beating Wolf, and his performance picked up as the debate went on.

Brokaw:

1) Ancient establishment reporter Tom Brokaw has a great voice, and lots of stage presence.  He’s good looking for a guy that old.  He wrote a book about The Greatest Generation, so he must be a pretty great guy.  That is the marketing, anyhow.  His ideas run the gamut from standard liberal to downright contradictory and mutually-exclusive confused, to pathetic control freak.

2) Although Brokaw started talking about the Tea Party, and he complimented its members for getting involved in the political process (which he said is necessary), he never said or recognized the American Constitution as core to tea party’s goals, values, principles, or guiding role. So although he talked about it, it didn’t seem evident that he understands or has thought about the Tea Party much.

3) Brokaw said “I leave it to you determine if the Tea Party is good for America. I’m just a reporter, I just report the facts. You have to come to your own conclusions.”  As if he was not passing judgment on the Tea Party.  Yet, he asked the question and obviously thinks the Tea Party is bad for America; that is his hint.  Given that Brokaw is a liberal at war with America, this is a big cue to conservative activists: Keep it up, the liberal media establishment is scared of you.

4) He called for “filtration” and a “filter” of the internet, and talked about the “simple people” who manage his Montana ranch and get news from the Internet, which he disavowed and sees as unworthy.  This is the kind of intellectual region where Brokaw makes no sense.  On the one hand, the big establishment media is all over the Internet, so if people get their news from the Internet, and not TV chatterheads or fishwrap newspapers, then there’s no real problem with the Internet as a news source.  What Brokaw seemed to be challenged by is the fact that Breitbart and citizen reporters (think Watchdogwire, or my own blog) are circumventing the establishment media.  He does not understand or care that the ‘simple’ masses are hungry for unfiltered news, for real news, for facts and not liberal agenda.  How his imagined filters jibe, square, or conflict with the First Amendment was not mentioned; I am unsure it even occurred to Brokaw that purposefully filtering information is censorship.  But he is a guy who believes in sixty years of past liberal censorship, so I guess he has to stay consistent today.

5) Brokaw implied that the establishment media are the source of accurate information and “big ideas,” and that alternative news and opinion sources are not.  He said he doesn’t believe what he reads on the internet.  He is clearly bothered there’s now no difference between establishment media and bloggers and citizen reporters in terms of equal accessibility. He’s having a tough time letting go of controlling the message Americans receive, which is really his objection: Liberal media elites are losing the propaganda war because they no longer have a choke hold on the information flow; ergo, the Internet is full of bad information.

An indication of just how undeveloped his thinking is: Richard Nixon, Richard Nixon, Richard Nixon…for Liberals, Nixon was the High Priest of Done Bad in Government.  It does not seem to occur to Brokaw that Nixon’s crimes pale in comparison to the lawless tyranny Obama has inflicted upon American citizens. E.g. NSA spying and IRS crushing of political dissent.

6) On the other hand, he’s into high tech and the future of technology.  Very impressed by Google staff and all of the “big minds” gathered at tech conventions.  Brokaw doesn’t reconcile his adulation with his view of information flow on the net.  I am guessing here that he’d be OK if Google ran all the news on the Internet, because Google is made of liberals who share his political agenda.  “Good” liberals and “bad” conservatives is what he is after.

7) Annoyingly, Brokaw dropped names all over the place, as if to impress us with how important he is: Jon Stewart, the NFL commissioner, et al. “I was emailing with ____ _____, and he says ‘Tom..’.” “My books.” “I’m on the board of…..” This seemed self-conscious and actually undermined his standing, because truly great people never look at themselves this way.  They simply Are Great.

8) Finally, he called for a new form of foreign service corps, some hybrid of the Peace Corps, Americorps, and the military.  It was terribly confused, but it was also the kind of Big Idea he admires others for having, so evidently he must have one, too, even of it makes no practical sense.

Ken Matthews, local reporter extraordinaire

WHP580 AM radio has long been a source of news for those hungry for accurate reporting outside of the establishment media liberal agenda.

Bob Durgin was the lovable, garrulous, crotchety, cowboy hat wearing local man-on-the-street news guy from 3:00 to 6:00 daily, and his news items shaped a good deal of local, regional, and state politics.  Because Durgin worked in the state capital region, he was listened to by a population of political activists.  So when the PA state legislature midnight pay raise happened, Durgin was on the soap box, giving vent to his frustration.  He inspired an entire movement and generation of political activists; existing activists like Gene Stilp, Russ Diamond, and Eric Epstein were bolstered by having weekly access to his show as guests, and often sitting in for Durgin when he went on vacation.

After Durgin retired, Ken Matthews was hired by RJ Harris to run the 3-6 slot.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure if Ken was going to make it during his first couple of months at the microphone.  His listeners missed Durgin’s style, and they missed Durgin’s local content.  It is a tough place to be, following three hours of Rush Limbaugh, and the natural inclination is to talk about national and international issues.  After all, these big issues best reflect the great principles and ideas that guide government, both good and bad.

So Ken’s callers were hostile towards him.  They didn’t like his style, his voice, or his views.  It was a rough transition, and it came through the radio like a sharp thumb in the eye.

But to Ken’s credit, he dove into the Central PA culture and took a crash course in our ways and our people.  There is a reason that this region is the most politically and culturally conservative area in America.  Our people here will always fight the good fight, and they want to be knowledgeable about politics.

Ken Matthews has now mastered the audience’s interests and passions, and he has really hit his stride.  Last week Ken reported on the frivolous but dangerous lawsuit against Perry County Sheriff Nace, by liberal county auditors seeking concealed carry permit holders’ information. Did the Patriot News report on it up front? No.  But, surprisingly, that liberal activist newspaper had an incredible interview with citizen activist Jim Lucas, after the fact.  So Ken is having an impact.

Ken’s reporting awakened a sleeping giant in otherwise pastoral, tranquil Perry County.  Ken is a hero.

Perry County’s tranquility is often seen as being simple and backwards by outsiders.  As a guy who grew up in very rural farm country, I can tell you that the outward tranquility masks a soul of steel and resolute commitment to American liberties.  City slickers do not understand that.  Here comes the political surprise, folks!  The hornet’s nest was knocked down with a broom handle, kicked, and then a swarm of angry hornets poured forth.  The implications for the 2016 state senate race in the 15th PA senate district are huge.  Perry County voters are now riled up.

Thank you to Ken Matthews, a friend of our Second Amendment rights, and a fantastic local reporter.  We are pleased to have you wearing Bob Durgin’s big cowboy boots.

AG Kane exonerates Corbett with backhanded, ironic report

PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane “exonerated” Governor Tom Corbett with the most back-handed investigative report seen in a long time.

While acknowledging that Corbett, previously as AG himself, investigating Jerry Sandusky, did not politicize the Sandusky investigation, Kane still called Corbett’s choices in that investigation “inexcusable” and “inexplicable.”

Without question Penn Staters like me, who have followed the Sandusky debacle from beginning to end, we tend to feel like Penn State’s reputation never was considered by anyone involved.  Well, it was the paramount consideration by former PSU president Graham Spanier, at a time when the school’s reputation should not have mattered at all, and the kid victims’s interests should have been advanced immediately and at any cost.

So, too little, too late for Penn State by everyone, including a majority of the PSU trustees, Louis Freeh, and state officials everywhere.  If Corbett was guilty of failing to jump to Penn State’s defense, he was in damned good company.  Pissed at Corbett? OK, then be pissed at many of the sitting trustees.

But what irks me is to see the most politicized AG in Pennsylvania’s history use the words “inexcusable” and “inexplicable.”

Kane’s behavior in the AG office has been both of those words and much much more.

My favorite misdeed is how she refused to pursue the unethical PA Liquor Control Board members, whose financial misdeeds have been widely reported.

What has not been reported is how her family, Kane Trucking, holds PLCB contracts worth millions of dollars.  Kane’s failure to apply the law here could be due to a large financial incentive for her to not rock the PLCB gravy boat.  Is anyone investigating THAT?

No.  In fact, the establishment media has circled the wagons around Kane, with not one word yet mentioned in print about this ethical lapse of hers.  In fact, a fawning, fluffy, cheerful, supportive interview with Kane was posted by the Patriot News two weeks ago, and worse yet, by reporter Charles Thompson, a writer I have long considered one of the last real investigative reporters in Harrisburg.  Thompson made no mention of any of Kane’s lapses, or of her pending impeachment, in that unpaid advertising piece run by the Patriot News.  She was even photographed laughing away, her head held high, her artificially white teeth flashing for the camera.

While people are still asking if Kane’s report on Corbett’s role as AG has any salience for the governor’s race, what informed citizens want to know, is: Why does it appear that Kathleen Kane is protecting Kane Trucking’s PLCB contracts?  Now that is a real public policy question worth asking.

York County senate race is a sad state of affairs

Scott Wagner is an upstart York County businessman who wants to be elected to the PA state senate. He’s not a fan of the Republican establishment, and they’re no fan of him.

What Wagner has done to attract the negative radio ads the PA Republican Senate Election Committee is running against him, is anyone’s guess. His political independence is most likely the great crime.

Voters overwhelmingly embrace independent minded candidates. Free of special interests, or of tepid blah political stances designed to offend no one, candidates like Wagner are a threat to a plain vanilla political orthodoxy that often stands for basic business issues and not a lot else.  Candidates like Wagner have the potential to propose and support strong laws that threaten to upset the delicate balance of power the establishment has cultivated with Big Labor, Mainstream Media, etc.

Wagner is a breath of fresh air, necessarily running against his own political party because his party is afraid of him. Very sad state of affairs. And an indication that political parties often have their own interests well beyond those interests of the party members.

You call that a scandal? I’ll show you a scandal

New Jersey governor Chris Christie is rightly under fire for shutting down eastbound traffic lanes across the George Washington Bridge into NYC.

Emails, texts, and other sources used by Christie’s senior staff paint an unflattering picture of a guy using every means possible to punish politicians, and citizens, who don’t do what he wants. Like endorse him for reelection. It’s criminal behavior on its face and also because at least one person died due to traffic backups and slow ambulance service.

Amazing now how the American media is buzzing with this scandal, but the deadly Benghazi scandal (abandonment of US personnel and subsequent coverup of their cruel deaths) and the criminal IRS political scandal (destruction of elementary Constitutional principles in government behavior) are nearly off the media’s radar. Where’s the buzz about these huge scandals? Where are the public demands for justice, the mocking, the sneers, the tongue-clucking among network news anchors that they now employ against Christie?

On one hand, we have a scandal about traffic. On the other hand, we have multiple scandals about earth-shaking abuse of power, criminal negligence, undermining of the Constitution that holds America together and guarantees citizen rights. It’s impossible to justify reporting on the bridge, but not on Benghazi, IRS, US Dept. of Justice malfeasance, etc.

I regularly listen to NPR radio, and this double standard was especially strong there, as would be expected.

This double standard, or political activism masquerading as journalism, is just one more example of how the national media have abandoned their watchdog role and are now partisan cheerleaders.

According to the establishment media, Obama can’t do anything wrong; Republicans can’t do anything right. It’s shameful and all the more reason for new, additional fair and balanced news outlets. It’s why citizen reporters are the real journalists.

President George Washington said it best

George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation:

“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.
–George Washington”

Patriot News Editorial on Mindlin’s Toss from Ballot

“Infrequently” best describes how often an editorial by the local newspaper, The Patriot News, would appeal to me on logic, principle, or understanding of the facts. However, independent candidate Nevin Mindlin’s political assassination by both Democrats and Republicans is so notoriously egregious that the Patriot News stated the case pretty well, so here it is:

Commonwealth Court sides with mystery challengers to Mindlin’s candidacy: Editorial
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Patriot-News Editorial Board By Patriot-News Editorial Board
on October 07, 2013 at 10:59 AM, updated October 07, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Nevin Mindlin, the one-time independent candidate for Harrisburg mayor, is a candidate no more. He has been knocked off the November ballot by court rulings based on the mindlessly literal application of a nonsensical state law. With little time for an appeal to the state Supreme Court, he has decided against waging a write-in campaign.

Nevin Mindlin went to Commonwealth Court in September, seeking to get back on November’s mayoral ballot. Friday, the court turned him down.

Though Mindlin was an independent candidate, not affiliated with any party or organization, state law requires him to name a committee that would replace him should he leave the race. That requirement makes sense for a political party, but it makes no sense for an independent candidate. By definition, an independent candidate is independent of organizational structures that would be entitled to claim an independent’s slot on the ballot.

Knowing all that, Mindlin did not name that committee. The Dauphin County elections office accepted his petition, without any warning that his petition had any fatal defect.

None of that mattered to the lower court that knocked him off the ballot earlier this summer. And it didn’t matter to Commonwealth Court, which last Friday upheld the dubious ruling.

Commonwealth Court used a legal technicality to dodge the heart of Mindlin’s case. He said that the state law in question violates a right enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — freedom of association. In this case, the law forces Mindlin to associate with a “committee” empowered to choose some undetermined future candidate who could replace him, when the whole point of his candidacy is that he is independent of backroom-type arrangements like that.

Mindlin’s case is an example of the sleazy, insider political game-playing that fuels public disillusionment with elected officials and government.

The court’s hostility to Mindlin’s arguments also contradicts a well-established principle set by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in election cases. Courts in the commonwealth, when applying the election code, are supposed to construe the requirements liberally, “so as not to deprive an individual of his right to run for office, or voters of their right to elect a candidate of their choice.”

Again, the Commonwealth Court used a technicality to completely ignore those claims under the state Constitution.

Mindlin’s campaign is the latest casualty of ballot bounty hunters, ordinary citizens who mysteriously come forward, armed with expensive lawyers, to press a legal challenge to a candidate’s filing papers.

Hired guns parse signatures for the slimmest possible rationale to disqualify them: using a first initial instead of full name, women whose maiden name and married name are different, imperfect handwriting, stray marks in the signature block.

Even if the candidate survives the challenge, (as third-party Allegheny County council candidate Jim Barr did earlier this summer), he or she has to expend precious time and money fighting in court.

These often-shadowy court challenges to candidates’ paperwork have a corrosive effect on public confidence in the integrity of the election system.

In a comment on PennLive, one reader said Mindlin “must have stepped on the wrong toes.” Another announced, “I won’t be voting for anybody; the best candidate just got bounced.”

Many have wondered who paid the legal bills for challenging Mindlin. But without any public disclosure requirements, the mystery money can remain secret.

All in all, Mindlin’s case is an example of the sleazy, insider political game-playing that fuels public disillusionment with elected officials and government.

Pennsylvania’s legislature could rewrite election law to strike the nonsensical provision that kept Mindlin off the ballot. The legislature could require those filing challenges against candidates to identify how they are paying for all that expensive legal work. The Legislature could lower the unreasonably high barriers now imposed on third parties seeking to get on the state’s ballot.

But as with so many dysfunctional aspects of Pennsylvania’s laws affecting politicians, those who get to make the rules are content with the status quo. After all, they got there by playing by the rules as they are – why would legislators want to change them?

From their selfish perspective, it makes political sense. But from the perspective of the citizen whom elected officials are supposed to serve, allowing ballot bounty hunters so much room to squelch candidates is nonsense.
(from http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2013/10/mindlin_off_ballot_commonwealth_court_bad_ruling.html#comments)