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PA wildlife: damned if we do, damned if we don’t

Like every other state in the Union, Pennsylvania protects, conserves, and manages its wildlife through a combination of user-pays fees like hunting and fishing licenses on the one hand, and a helping of federal funding collected from user-self-imposed federal taxes on hunting and fishing equipment like boats, guns, ammunition, fishing rods etc on the other hand (the same people who buy the hunting and fishing licenses).

Yes, 100% of the nation’s citizenry benefits from the self-imposed taxes and fees paid by just 1% of the population: the hunters, trappers, and fishermen.  Yes, you read that right: just 1% of the population is carrying 100% of the public burden.

And yes, as you are correctly about to say out loud, you and I will not see this bizarre and totally unsustainable arrangement in any other area of public policy. Not in roads, not in schools, not in airports, not in museums, not in anything else official and run for public benefit. And so, yes, it is a fact that wildlife agencies across America are perennially underfunded, and have been for so long that it’s now accepted as the way America does its wildlife business. Here in Pennsylvania, despite endless rising costs and endlessly more expensive public pensions, both houses of the PA legislature have long blocked the PA Game Commission from getting a hunting license increase in decades. So the PGC is even more behind the financial Eight Ball than most other state wildlife agencies. Hunters and wildlife managers in other states look at Pennsylvania and shake their heads. It doesn’t have to be this way, but it is.

Despite the obvious imbalance and weakness inherent in such a unique and faulty funding arrangement, for fifty years this approach worked pretty well, nationally and in Pennsylvania, with some states occasionally putting new money into holes that opened up in the regular wildlife funding support. Those states with significantly increasing human populations tend to be forced into dealing with inevitable wildlife-human conflicts more than other states, and when Mr. and Mrs. America are increasingly hitting deer with their cars, you can bet that they will demand their home state do something about it. So more money is found.

So along comes the Pennsylvania Auditor General, to investigate the management and expenditure of money at the PGC. And why not, right? The PGC is a public agency, and hunting license revenue is a public trust. So sure, go ahead, look into it, audit the agency. And so it was done, and some interesting things emerged just a bit over a week ago.

In the “Atta boy” column is the fact that there appears to be no corruption, graft, or misuse of scarce sportsmen’s dollars at the PGC. By all accounts, PGC is transparent and well run. Given how much the sportsmen are always scrutinizing the agency, we all figured as much. But it is nice to have our beliefs and trust confirmed like this. We love the PGC even more today than before the audit.

In the “Aww shucks” column is the revelation that PGC staff do not immediately deposit oil and gas royalty checks when they are received, nor does the PGC ascertain for itself if those royalty payments are accurate in the first place, instead trusting the oil and gas companies to do what is right on their own. Hmmmm….This is a potential problem area, and we are all glad the auditors found it.  Anyone who knows the PGC can bet money on the fact that PGC staff are right now doing all of this payment followup with a vengeance. Look out, oil and gas companies!

But then there is the big weird issue, the biggest issue of all, where the auditors “discover” that the PGC is sitting on $72 million in the bank. And accordingly, the auditors immediately and erroneously ascribe this to bad money management. After all, they say, public money is meant to be spent. “If you got ’em, smoke ’em,” goes the ancient and totally irresponsible government approach to managing public dollars. After all, under normal budgeting culture, agencies that do not spend the money budgeted to them risk losing those dollars in the next budget cycle. Failure to spend money is correlated with a failure to implement an agency’s mission, and for senior agency managers, there is the usual ego factor; the bigger the budget, the bigger the…you know. This is the old approach to managing government funds, and it is wrong, and it certainly does not fit the PGC’s reality or targeted way of doing business.

Let’s ask you a question: If you knew your family was going to be receiving less and less money going forward, and yet your family costs would be held steady, wouldn’t you begin to bank any extra money you had, in preparation for lean times ahead? If your family is responsible, then yes, this is what you do, it is what we all do. And it is what the PGC has done, thankfully.

But as a result of the audit, this single fact is being used to beat on the agency, to coerce the PGC to adopt unsustainable policies and irresponsible money management, despite the agency sailing through ever less sustainable funding waters every day. Seems like now every elected official and every Monday morning quarterback sportsman has some variation on the foolish theme that PGC has more money than it knows what to do with. Wrong!

So the real outcome of the audit is that Pennsylvania wildlife are damned either way, because the PGC is the useful straw man whipping boy for every aspiring demagogue in Pennsylvania politics. No matter what the PGC does, our wildlife resources are going to suffer. If PGC carefully, frugally husbands its limited resources, preparing for rainy days and needy wildlife, then the agency’s critics say the agency is miserly and hoarding, and they seek to punish the agency. And on the other hand, if the PGC immediately spends every dime it has, and has no money left over to deal with yet more unfunded mandates like Chronic Wasting Disease, then critics say the agency is wasteful and ineffective, and they seek to punish the agency.

And either way, the net result is the PGC’s critics damn and condemn our wildlife. Because that is the true result of all this second-guessing and monkeying about with the PGC budget and funding streams. Plenty of elected officials use their criticism of the PGC to artificially burnish their “good government” credentials, when in fact they are demanding the worst sort of government, and a total disservice to the sportsmen and wildlife everyone enjoys.

Many years ago, sportsmen were organized enough to react strongly to political demagogues who threatened our wildlife resource (and PA’s $1.6 billion annual hunting economy) with their petty politics. This latest iteration of the politics of wildlife management indicates that we need to get back to the old days, where sportsmen were unified and forceful, even vengeful, in their expectation that their elected officials would not politicize or hurt our commonly held wildlife resource.

If I were a Bernie voter, I would vote for Trump

Bernie Sanders has a lot more in common with President Trump than you’d think, and if I were a dedicated Bernie voter, I would vote for President Trump in 2020, because only with Trump will Bernie’s biggest ideas become political reality.

What do Bernie and Trump have in common? Two key things that speak across political and cultural boundaries:

One: Both Bernie and Trump are victims of Hillary Clinton’s cheating and lying and conniving. Bernie was cheated out of the 2016 Democrat nomination because of Hillary’s cheating with Democrat establishment fixer Donna Brazile. Remember Hillary getting the hidden notes, getting the debate questions and answers ahead of time from Brazile, the debate moderators coddling her and attacking Bernie? Yeah, that was real fair! Remember the 2016 primary election Democrat super delegates who were bought and paid for by the Clinton political machine, who were dedicated to Hillary over and above Bernie’s high votes in their districts? Yeah, wasn’t that super fair!

Now think about Trump, and how badly he has been victimized by Hillary, before, during, and after the November 2016 election. The whole BS “Russia collusion” thing was dreamt up and implemented by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and supporters inside the Obama Administration. We now know that the 100% fake “Steele Dossier” is a 100% product of Hillary’s campaign, and it is central to the whole Mueller political witch hunt against Trump, said witch hunt being 100% staffed by Hillary Clinton donors and active supporters. After nearly three years, Trump is still being falsely accused by Hillary and her chums, who want fifty bites at the fake collusion thing…fake fake fake evil Hillary!

Two: Both Bernie and Trump speak plainly and honestly about how both Democrat and Republican political establishments are stacking the US government against working people, against the citizenry, against our interests. Both Bernie and Trump have different policy solutions to this hijacking of the American government by the two main political parties, but both guys are saying the same thing. Who else are you going to hear this from? Will you hear it from political establishment hack Hillary, who in a hissy fit of sore loser spite and spoiled brattedness is this week blasting Bernie at every turn?

It is true that both Bernie and Trump have a lot of different policy positions, and why not? Bernie has held paid public office positions his entire career, while Trump has been a businessman taking risks and making sacrifices. Naturally their different backgrounds are going to result in mostly different takes on public policies.

But, if you are looking for someone to carry Bernie’s biggest message, which is the failure of the federal government to actually serve We, The People, then you should give your vote to Trump. Because Trump is the US President and he is going to be re-elected in 2020, actually implementing big ideas, while Bernie is only going to continue the speaking circuit with a handful of people in the audience.

Trump is the best use of your one vote, and if it bothers you to vote for a Republican, consider your vote a protest vote against BOTH political establishments.

Britannia, Rule Britannia

Any institution that disregards a substantial native resource that is accessible and usable is shooting itself in the foot. Plenty of companies and governments make the mistake of missing out on key resources – human, material, or other – and are the poorer for it. They also know they must constantly be on the watch for it, and correct it.

When it happens to a private company, the company is less competitive than it could be, less profitable than it should be. The profit motive keeps companies sharp and on the lookout.

When this disregard occurs happens to a nation with its leadership, it is criminal, and unfortunately, there is no built-in measure or quantifiable yard stick. While many people will keep going and going as a nation ails until they and it go over a cliff, there are others who have long, old, and wise vision, and who would sail the ship of state into calmer, better waters. To ignore their leadership qualities is to waste the best resource a nation has. Democracy is the constant battle between these forces of cold comfort and patriotic ambition.

Take England as a bright and shining example of a great nation that is self-destructing by deliberately excluding its best leadership.

By any measure, material or intellectual, England is one of the world’s greatest civilizations ever achieved.

Begun and long run as a monarchy (like every other part of the world), a might-makes-right social structure with barons, dukes, counts, and attendant aristocrats to whom power and wealth naturally flowed (like every other part of the world), and a large underclass of poorly educated laborers barely able to survive (like every other part of the world), England today is in some ways a good example of meritocracy. More opportunity exists for more people. Democracy has largely worked.

The monarchy’s political wings have been clipped, the aristocracy was purposefully driven from the public square, and the most Marxist punitive measures possible were instituted to steal generational wealth so that any semblance of monarchical or aristocratic England would be eliminated.

As a result of these artificial policies, the National Trust now owns more castles and great halls than do private families, and some of England’s best natural landscapes (the natural environment) have been permanently damaged. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot!

One can argue that England is more of a meritocracy now than it was, but that is really difficult to prove, because the government is the new monarch. Isn’t it?

England’s bureaucracy is nothing short of an unassailable, unaccountable, unchangeable, singular power.

Few entrepreneurs really get ahead in England, because the regulations and taxes are so damning; holding on to generational wealth is nigh impossible, due to the death taxes designed to strip successful people of their rewards. A universally low-income population is the new goal of the English bureaucracy.

Even worse, some of England’s greatest personalities, strongest patriots, most well educated and biggest thinkers have been purposefully marginalized. These people are the residual aristocrats, the heirs to the dregs of the monarchical system that actually produced England’s greatest generations in WWI and WWII.

Can anyone imagine an Admiral Jacky Fisher or Admiral Roger Keyes rising to lead England, today?

My grandmother is rolling over in her grave as I write this, but MomMom, times change.  Nations change. Needs change. My  grandmother (MomMom) Jane was a true-blue Daughter of the American Revolution, a fierce advocate for meritocracy and a fierce opponent of monarchy or aristocracy.  She raised us all on stories of the American revolution, its just response to the unfairness of aristocratic England, and the cruelty of King George.

But today, things have really changed. Those old symmetries and forces no longer exist, and in their place have arisen other forms of monarchy and repression. England today is wracked by a lack of social structure or universal national standards, by anarchy masquerading as government. A huge vacuum space has opened up, and the entire nation could implode.

Today in the place of King George is a cruel and tyrannical English bureaucracy and judiciary, that rules the English citizens as though they were serfs. Very little due process, no free speech, and ambiguous political correctness as the new unattainable measure. Say the wrong the thing, write the wrong thing online? Off with your head!

It is time for England to return to its greatness. To do so, she must draw upon one of her greatest and most ignored human resources, to resurrect many of her finest patriots, her most committed citizens, and employ them in leading the nation away from the brink on which it stands, and back to greatness. This would involve tapping into the aging aristocrats who remember a truly Great Britain, and who would Make Britain Great Again.

We have all learned over the past 250 years that monarchy is not such a good thing, and we have also learned that politically correct Marxism is just as arbitrary and anti-freedom as any monarch. The solution to what ails England today lies in the collective wisdom and patriotism of England’s best elders, the last connection to a truly Great Britain (not necessarily a Greater Britain); its aristocrats who care the most about the most English.

It is time Britannia, it is time for Britannia to rule Britannia once again.

Or put it this way.

Irony is not necessarily an important part of a person’s diet, but here, have some

I will take some irony, please, with a heaping side of steaming crow.

Oh, not for me!

I am going to serve it up to those Americans who believe that a Christian baker MUST be coerced by government force to bake a cake for someone he disagrees with politically, but that the owner of the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, has every right, even a duty, to expel and not serve people (Sarah Sanders of the White House staff) she disagrees with politically.

Then there’s a big serving of the same irony and crow for those who believe it’s just fine for public employee unions to force union dues from public employees who do not support the unions’ political activism, but it is just terrible to allow people to contribute their own money to political campaign PACs.

Democrat congresswoman Maxine Waters has become a radical firebrand for angry Socialists across America. She has said some real irony-laden doozies, like “We are sending a message to every Trump-supporting American that you are not welcome here!”

Followed by “We must welcome everyone who crosses our borders, whether they are illegal or not.”

For whatever reason having to do with artificially inflating the voter rolls, Waters and her supporters value illegal invaders over American citizen taxpayers. A lot of Black Americans wonder what that’s all about. But Waters is going to have a big heaping serving of irony n’ crow, too.

Then there’s a plate of irony and crow for Rob Cox, the loose-lipped, itchy trigger finger Reuters editor who late today directly blamed President Trump for a shooting at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, but who has never said a word about the mass shootings and massive amounts of shootings in Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia, and other “gun-free” zones. Now the most very politically partisan and fact-challenged Mr. Cox’s integrity and credibility as a “reporter” are shot, as zero facts were available to him at his moment of big mouthed fame, and those facts beginning to subsequently dribble out don’t put Trump or his words at the scene of the crime.

See the symmetry here?

Hypocrisy has a way of catching up with people. That is called irony.

The crow is extra, gratis, on the house, served up by a host of recent US Supreme Court decisions contrary to what the once-irony-deficient here believed.

Two big plates. Hope you enjoy your meal. If you don’t enjoy it, then quit being a hypocrite and stop using double standards.

From Venezuela, with love

Recently I had the educational opportunity to have lunch with a refugee couple from Venezuela.

For safety reasons their names and location cannot be divulged. If it is any indication how insecure and unsafe America has become, this pair of humble, poor, well educated, fairly young EVIL capitalists (sarcasm) could not take refuge among their fellow countrymen in Florida. Should they be recognized, there are enough Venezuelan government -affiliated henchman there that they could easily be gunned down in what would be seen as a mere robbery.

We listened in shocked awe at the detailed and personal stories they told us of life in Venezuela’s socialist paradise. The absence of food or medical care, the absence of freedom or liberty, the absence of personal security. The absence of personal choice, the complete lack of free speech. The packs of government militia thugs on the prowl everywhere, spreading terror and forced obeisance.

Doors kicked in, people dragged from their homes.

Latin America has a long history of repression, violence, and autocracy. When a capitalist tyrant is in power somewhere there, the American press reports daily on his malfeasance. When a socialist tyrant is in power, there is practically a news blackout.

When I asked the husband what he thought of America so far, he said he liked our freedoms the best.

“Which one do you like the most?,” I asked him.

“Although I have never shot a gun in my life, I like that everyone here has a gun, if they want one,” he said.

Continuing in his halting, broken English, he said “When the new, illegitimate government [Maduro] wanted to really control the population, they rounded up every private gun they could find. As a result, the Venezuelan people were unable to fight back.”

Looking at me across the table, he said almost shyly, quietly, “Do not give up your guns.”

Do you drink wine from a human skull?

Jakob-Creutzfelt Disease in Europe was traced back to a self-styled secret society in Italy, where members filed solemnly down into ancient burial crypts and drank local wine from the skull of a deceased past master.

No lie. Look it up if you like. Yes, people do strange things.

Even hundreds of years later, after the past master had died, the JCD ‘bug’ was still infesting that old skull of his, and the wine swilled from it carried the bug down the gullets of the secret society members and into their bodies. A lot of these secret society members died bizarre, horrible deaths, prompting health officials to investigate what was going on.

To date this is likely the only investigation in Italy’s history that was both scientific and professional. And that is because it involved drinking wine.

JCD basically eats your brain and leaves you a drooling, deficient, dying husk of a human being. You die pretty quickly, and it is an ugly death.

“Spongiform disease” is also how this kind of prion-based attack is known, because the person’s brain looks like a sponge, riddled through with holes where brain matter ought to be. Survival is not an option.

There is no cure, and the cancer-like prions use their protein shells to fully resist fire, cold, desiccation, Hollywood, and high cholesterol. Once a prion is present, it cannot be destroyed by anything human. Prions seem to live forever in the dirt under your feet, and possibly in food grown in that dirt, like corn and soybeans.

JCD is known as Mad Cow Disease among bovines, Scrapie among sheep, and Chronic Wasting Disease among cervids, like deer, here in America. In other words, there is a prion out there for every mammal, though this is a new science we are just beginning to understand.

For a long time the guy who discovered prions was said to be a fake. And then his work was replicated, and he became a celebrated scientist. The politics of “climate change science” do not apply to prions and human health, thankfully.

One thing is clear: Prions develop most among wild animals that are new to being domesticated, like deer. It is their bodies’ reaction to being unnaturally cooped up. Something in the wild animals’ artificially confined body is misfiring, going haywire, and imploding.

CWD has its genesis in the wildlife management equivalent of drinking wine from a human skull: In most states, including Pennsylvania, deer farms are not required to have two strands of metal fencing separating the confined deer from wild deer. Deer are not yet a domesticated species (if cows, sheep and goats are any indication, it will take another 3,000 years to domesticate deer), they are still wild, and they herd up for protection, as do all social animals.

As a result, wild deer approach the deer inside the deer farm enclosure, touch noses through the fence, exchange body fluids, and get CWD. The wild deer then leave and go off into the wild deer populations and spread CWD among otherwise healthy deer across the landscape.

As a result of this madness, CWD is spreading through Pennsylvania like wildfire, except no one is paying attention. Not really. Only the Pennsylvania Game Commission is trying to solve this crisis, and the agency is being stonewalled at every turn.

You know why?

Because the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is protecting a nascent $16 million annual deer farm business sector from having to install double fencing.

Do you know what hunting is worth annually in Pennsylvania? It is worth $1.6 BILLION, and a great deal of that is from deer hunting.

So here in Pennsylvania, we have a state agency, the PA Dept. of Agriculture, essentially preferring the complete shielding of deer farms from a necessary and responsible practice, and thereby sacrificing Pennsylvania’s wild deer herd and the huge sustainable, renewable economy built on managing those wild deer.

This poor policy from the PA Dept. of Ag is really bad government on display. This is Bad Government 101. Actually, this is failed government.

You cannot make this stuff up, and the CWD situation here highlights why political involvement in a democracy is so important. If you sit back and wait for someone else to solve problems, most often no one else will get involved. You have to lead the charge yourself, and thereby attract fellow supporters.

If you want to get involved, call the PA Dept. of Ag at this number, 717 -772-2853, and tell the nice person who answers the phone that you want DOUBLE FENCING at all deer farms. It is as simple as this.

And if you don’t give a whit about hunting or deer management, consider the impacts CWD will have on other wildlife beyond wild deer. It is an earthquake building under our feet, and we can stop it, if we want to.

Bullies with Salami Slicers

Matyas Rakosi was “Stalin’s man in Hungary” in the 1930s-1950s.

Although his Hungarian Communist Party and its allied Socialists earned positions in only about 20% of the Hungarian government in the 1930s through election results, despite making their case to the Hungarian people in election after election, the Communists slowly bullied their way into controlling more positions of societal control, like the Hungarian police and the courts.

And yes, they literally bullied their way into these powerful positions by publicly whining, and complaining, and feigning hurt when rejected, with real displays of petulance and foot-stomping, and crying how unfair it was that they could not fully participate in public life, even though their views were repudiated over and over at the ballot box.

They falsely appealed to good people’s sense of fairness, and lied about their true intentions. Slowly they gained traction.

Technically their police and judicial roles were just twenty percent of the government functions, but in reality, they were critical choke and control points, where legal matters met criminal punishment matters, and where people’s careers and lives could summarily end.

Mind you, the people in these police and judicial roles were Communists and Socialists. Thus, due process, human rights, fairness, facts, the rule of law, etc. did not matter to them. What did matter to them was control, absolute iron-fisted control of everything, and especially of the government, but also the things that make a government run well, like citizens’ free speech rights, the right to peaceably assemble, etc.

From those police and judicial roles, the Hungarian Communists and Socialists picked off their political opponents, one by one. By creating fake accusations based on mere hearsay and insinuations, they frog-marched innocent people into court rooms where honest and fair justice was the very last thing anyone could expect to encounter.

[we are seeing the same process play out in Washington, DC, where the security apparatus has been captured, politicized, and used to destroy political opposition]

In those courts, where the falsely accused defendants were frequently unable to defend themselves, and where clearly manufactured “evidence” was presented against them, the Communist judges handed down arbitrary and cruel sentences. Usually it was death by strangulation, but sometimes by firing squad. One way or another, people who had been Hungarian nationalists, patriots, leaders, good men and women all, were criminally ensnared by their political opponents.

One by one by one, political opponents of the Communists were literally eliminated, and the remaining fence-sitters were bullied into silence and acquiescence.

Person by person, office by office, Hungary’s Communists gained control of new parts of Hungary’s government, and one by one they bent those new offices into reaching their goal of complete political and social domination.

Eventually, Hungary went from one of Europe’s oldest, greatest, most creative, most successful nations, to one of darkness, where freedom and liberty were unimaginable. And where the cruelest physical tortures and public humiliations were not only imaginable, they were happening nearly daily across the nation.

What better way to bully a populace than to make public examples of people?

[here in central Pennsylvania we had one notable attempt at public shaming and modern public execution some years ago when the thugs at PennFuture tried to get a local meteorologist fired from his TV weather news job because he refused to publicly bow before their claim of man-made global warming…same old same old!]

From Soviet Russia, uber tyrant Josef Stalin smiled, as his minions in Hungary slowly dismantled a free nation and put it under the control of Soviet Communism. Stalin’s chief architect and implementer of Communism in Hungary was Matyas Rakosi.

Rakosi joked about slowly but surely eliminating his political opponents by “slicing them like salami,” one at a time, until the entire group opposing him was gone.

Exactly this is now happening in America. Right now. Under our feet and in front of our noses.

We don’t call it Communism here, but the Political Correctness now slowly taking over our nation is just as cruel, fascist, and intolerant as any Communist regime in Europe ever was. PC’s minions here in America are just as devoted to getting full control of everything as their European counterparts were just two generations ago.

It is worse in Europe now, where fascism is roaring back to life, reincarnated as PC. Two days ago a British court held a man guilty (of something vague and subjective) and DESTINED FOR JAIL for the awful crime of teaching his cute little dog to do the Hitler salute on YouTube. No lie. Meanwhile, England is disintegrating under the weight of petty crime, which cannot be punished, because the perpetrators are overwhelmingly “protected populations.”

America’s best institutions have been completely captured by PC: The media, the educational system from top to bottom, government, the military, communal institutions, even places like Chautauqua Institution. All turned into weapons, implementing PC and control, and the elimination of political opposition.

Nearly all of these places have routine public humiliations, shaming, and summary “executions” of political misfits. Chautauqua Institution fired one of its best vice presidents because she was too supportive of Israel’s right to exist. Universities routinely fire professors who exhibit any free thought beyond the arbitrary bounds set by PC.

This weekend we will see another Communist public bullying event in Washington, DC.

It is a fake march about nothing, though on the outside this march is against private gun ownership and the NRA. The march is not about the actual facts, actions, processes and programs (like “PROMISE”) that resulted in Nikolas Cruz shooting his fellow Parkland students.

Rather, the march is aimed at falsely accusing and publicly shaming America’s legal gun owners and their chosen private organization, the NRA, of having been complicit in Cruz’s massacre.

When in fact, it is the gun control groups and their political enablers who are the most responsible for that massacre.

We are seeing Rakosi’s old “salami tactics” right here in front of us, playing out again. Trial-by-media, false accusations, public shaming, bullied citizens slowly giving up more and more of their control of their government to tyrants, who really just “mean well.”

We have one political party aggressively acting as the official vehicle for PC, and the other political party pretending to put up a fight, while focused on its pensions, power, secret pay-offs, and crony capitalism.

The question is, will we be complacent and compliant, like the Hungarians, and watch our freedoms be slowly pried away from us by career politicians and unaccountable bureaucrats, under false pretenses?

Or will we fight back?

One way you can fight back is to not stand on the sideline while the salami slices are being made. When you see your neighbor, friend, colleague or fellow activist get picked up and picked off and spirited away for the kangaroo court event, you can and should intervene.

Pentagon Papers II receive a cold reception

What is the modern equivalent of the Pentagon Papers is receiving an unusually cold reception from the establishment media, from people who have not even seen or read it yet, and yet who already have talking points and criticisms of it, without actually knowing what is in it.

Back in the early 1970s, what became known as the Pentagon Papers were leaked from secret government files to the Washington Post, a news-paper that used to operate in Washington DC.

Those Pentagon Papers helped build a public case against the politicization of official government duties, and they formed the basis for investigatory reporting by something called news reporters, an extinct animal that has not been seen since.

When the Pentagon Papers reporting was done, a sitting president was impeached and forced from office, because the public was disgusted by his obvious mis-use of public power.

Fast forward to February 1, 2018, and we have a similar situation unfolding in Washington, DC. Reams of text messages, emails, and document analysis have recently uncovered a clear conspiracy among FBI agents and DOJ officials to unfairly exonerate Hillary Clinton of obvious crimes, and to unfairly target for illegal spying and criminal prosecution a presidential candidate and then president-elect, Donald Trump.

None of this behavior by the FBI and DOJ staffs is legal. None of it is OK. None of it is acceptable. It is the very essence of corruption and misuse of government power.

The Mueller “investigation” is exposed as an open-ended political witch hunt and fishing expedition based on a fake “dossier” bought by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, illegally used to obtain a search warrant used to illegally spy on a political campaign and then the president-elect, all for political purposes.

Despite knowing this first-hand himself, Mueller continues with the only thing he has, fake “process crimes,” like alleged obstruction of justice. Evidence is clear that FBI agent Peter Strzok (and many others) used his official position for partisan political purposes, and Mueller removed him from his witch hunt because of it. But Mueller himself does not have the integrity to call off the entire farce, most of which is based on Agent Strzok’s previous activity.

Now there is a concise memo about this illegal government activity, by an obscure Congressman Nunes from California. This memo lists the data sources and how they were analyzed to uncover this criminal conspiracy, and it is being provided to the sitting president. This is standard protocol. This is how representative government works.

Instead of retrospection and respect for the rule of law, however, the opposition party and their communication arm AKA the media are in full out assault against the memo and its author.

Instead of taking the memo and reading it, sharing it with the American public, and shedding light on government abuse so the American people can make informed political choices and hold political officials accountable, the media are doing the opposite. They are doing everything they can to protect the prior administration, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and the current opposition party, despite knowing full well what illegal things they did. They take attacks by members of that opposition party and report them verbatim as fact. They ignore or denigrate the information in the memo.

Which makes one wonder about the whole Pentagon Papers thingy way back when.

Was that really news reporting in the public interest, or was it the first successful take-down of a sitting president by a partisan media?

After all, President John F. Kennedy had plenty of naughty, unethical, immoral and illegal behavior going on in his administration (as did his successor, LBJ), and yet the media treated Americans to nothing but close-ups of fake smiles by JFK’s long suffering wife and of his fakey white smile.

For the enterprising media watchdog, the JFK administration had lots to chew on, if the desire was but there. Obviously it was not. Lying, cheating JFK was promoted as a hero, and his misdeeds were swept under the rug for decades.

“Camelot” the charade was called. Oh golly, the shivers!

The press’s treatment of the Kennedy Administration became a model for how the media would subsequently treat the administrations of JFK’s political party: The president is always brilliant, kind, heroic. Never mind that he is selling our uranium stocks to our biggest enemy, and lots of private money is changing in public hands. On the other hand, the Republican presidents are always portrayed as evil, stupid, a foolish dullard, a tool of outside interests.

Looking back, it is now evident the Pentagon Papers served as the press’s first big political hit, a model which the media have tried to employ about every four years ever since. They never fail to have an “October surprise” for Republican candidates, and hardly vet or investigate Democrat candidates at all, always protecting them from public scrutiny.

A new movie about the Pentagon Papers is out starring serial sexual harassment enabler Meryl Streep and my once-favorite actor, Tom Hanks. This movie glorifies news reporting as a sacred duty and core function of a free republic, which it is. But it also puts the partisan news reporters of the Pentagon Papers on an unassailable pedestal. Judging by today’s openly politicized, partisan media, no such credibility or accolades are currently warranted, and now we realize they probably were not warranted back in the 1970s, either.

The subjects of this new movie, former Washington Post employees Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, remain openly and unrepentant political partisans to this day, their purportedly fair-minded views relied upon as though handed down by Moses on Mount Sinai by a fawning younger generation of partisan media communicators.

And this is how the entertainment-media industrial complex creates fake news, fake heroes, fake election results, and protects a government rotting from within, starting with the very people sworn to uphold the law.

Release the Nunes memo, Mister President, and let the accountability begin. This, not the hoarding of power, is the role of government.

Property Tax Accountability

Yesterday a majority of Pennsylvania voters passed a referendum, the first step in amending the Pennsylvania constitution to allow for a much fairer property tax situation.

The current Pennsylvania property tax arrangement is backwards, dating either from the 9th Century or the 1720s, either way fundamentally unfair to home owners.

Perhaps in the 9th Century or the 1720s owning a home or property was a big deal and unusual, indicating great wealth. Taxing the source of that great wealth may have made sense a thousand years ago or three hundred years ago, but today’s America bears no similarity to those bygone worlds.

In fact, one of the great things about America is that our form of capitalism distributes the greatest amount of wealth to the greatest number of people, based on one’s willingness to work hard. This is the heart of American meritocracy, and home ownership in a meritocracy is widespread, not unique. Owning your own home is an American standard, a basic goal of all Americans.

And so punitively taxing the very emblem of meritocracy is an artifact of the feudal society America rejected in 1776.

But Pennsylvania home taxes are now so high that people are essentially renting their homes from the government.

No matter if you buy your home with cash, build it yourself on property that has been in your family, or buy it with a mortgage that you eventually pay off, you still must pay incredibly burdensome property taxes that bear no relationship to the actual costs your home might (or might not) impose on the surrounding community.

Property taxes are now a form of rent. And if you run out of money to pay the government rent, the government can come and steal your home from you and sell it cheap to someone else.

The unpleasant truth is, your home is now a cash cow for others.

Teacher’s unions and their pet career politicians are the primary beneficiaries of the current property tax arrangement, rooted as it is in the government threat to steal your home if you don’t pay their crazy rent. Current property taxes are conveniently off the books, coerced from unwilling serfs, and paid to unaccountable government employees who by all standards are primarily failing.

Most government-run schools are disasters, failing to deliver on the most basic educational results, and yet the tax-paying public is constantly told that we must pay ever yet more money “for the kids.” And here in PA, the teachers automatically must pay the unions, and the unions then dump our own tax money into buying yet more career politicians to work against our interests.

Something has to give.

This is more about making government tax collection accountable to the people who pay the taxes, than it is about total tax reduction. Right now there is zero accountability for property tax expenditures or increases. Greedy unions control almost the entire process.

Unaccountable government schools continue to underperform and yet demand more and more money. The government schools oppose all forms of competition because they are committed more to holding onto their own power than they are to the success of the children they are supposed to educate. The way property taxes support this shameful situation serves everyone involved except the children and the taxpayers.

Something has to change.

The Pennsylvania of the 21st Century cannot continue to live under an ancient feudal arrangement. It is not fair, it is not sustainable, it is not good government.

We all deserve better.

Hurricane Harvey: Land Use, Not Climate Change

If there has been one big lesson from the sad devastation in the Texas Gulf, it is that poorly planned and poorly implemented land use more than anything is responsible for the catastrophic results.

“Climate change” may be a political science exercise more than a science exercise, but there is no debate about the actual facts on the ground in the Texas Gulf communities like Houston: Residential developments built downstream from watersheds are in the path of a watery bullet or bulldozer. And to think that undisturbed, those watersheds perform highly valued ecosystem services, for free, that no amount of channelizing, dyking, levies etc can come close to reproducing.

For two hundred years America has described any kind of residential and commercial development anywhere as “economic development,” and therefore desirable. And yet, here we have a classic example that some places should not have development. Unless the buildings there can withstand serious flooding. Even then the costs far outweigh the benefits.

I feel terrible for the flooding victims in Houston. Our own home in Harrisburg was built in 1939, in the flood zone along the Susquehanna River. It is a foolish place to build a house, and in 2011 our home had nearly six feet of water in the basement. It is a traumatic, disruptive experience.

To the extent they can help, state and the national governments should try to figure out how to buy out development rights in areas subject to floods, wildfires, and other natural disasters. That is a concrete response to a demonstrated problem. This would be the actual function of government, versus a lot of the silly peripheral “social” functions slowly accreted by government over the past decades.

And this is one of my objections to alleged human-caused “climate change.” It reduces our focus on actual, tangible environmental issues like land use, which we can actually fix.