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PA AG Kane: The Breck Girl

Pennsylvania’s attorney general is Kathleen Kane.

Pennsylvania citizens deserve much better than Kane.  We deserve more than what she brings to her public job.

Kane acts like the silky models who showed off their long hair with pirouettes and head tosses for Breck Shampoo.  One is reminded of the song “I’m Too Sexy.”

Based on her carefully groomed public appearances that coincide with an honest-to-goodness inability to grasp or articulate the issues of her office and the public, she is henceforth dubbed “The Breck Girl.”

Kane’s flippant, vacuous approach to serious public policy and legal issues, emphasized by a physical appearance crutch, complete with slow-motion hair tosses and giraffe-like Cheshire Cat radioactive radiant grins, have earned her this nickname.

Breck Girl, you are not up to the job.  You are incompetent.  If Pennsylvania had a recall provision in our constitution, you’d be recalled by now.

Hopefully, you will be impeached soon.  If Pennsylvania must have a Democrat as AG, I personally know several men and women attorneys in that party who would qualify much better than you, Breck Girl.

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

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

The lawsuit is being ably reported in the Patriot News.

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

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

Here’s the thing: Rendell is a Democrat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

BLM giving open land a black eye

The Bureau of Land Management was established as a temporary holding entity, dealing more with water management than common natural resources and the plants and animals living on the land under its care.

Now, BLM has become the poster child of Big Government Gone Wild, using armed force and the threat of lethal force, let alone more prosaic forms of terrifying government coercion, to achieve dubious policy goals.  Many of these policy goals grate on the public, who perceive them as being at best ancillary to BLM’s mission, if not at odds with the multiple-use land management models the agency is supposed to implement.

Citizens, who own their American government, chafe at official signs that say “No Trespassing – BLM Property,” as though the very taxpayers underwriting BLM are alien invaders upon that government-managed ground.

Job #1 would be to actually communicate with the citizenry about the agency’s policy goals, the underpinnings and purpose of its policies, the reasons for protecting some landscapes from vehicles.  Certainly, BLM can achieve better ways to manage environmentally sensitive land, and perhaps asking the citizenry for ideas would take the agency into new, good places.  Many users of federally-managed lands are actually savvy about Leave No Trace, and most others at least care, even if they do not yet know how to minimally impact an area.

BLM’s heavy hand in the supposed name of environmental quality is giving all open land a black eye.  As a result of BLM’s foolish behavior, all kinds of questions are being asked about public land, not just about how it is managed, but why it even exists.  Perhaps it is a good discussion to have, and I certainly stand on the side of having those public spaces, but so far the BLM is just pouring gasoline on the fire, which threatens to overtake all public lands.

Part of any discussion should include What Next about BLM.  The agency has clearly outlived its established purpose.  My instinctive thinking is to divide up its lands among the agencies best suited to manage each piece – National Park Service for this heavily used area, National Forest for this timbered area, and so on.  And no, conveying some of these lands to states is not a bad thing, so long as the deeds carry perpetual stipulations that the lands cannot be sold to private owners or converted to some other use.  Mining, timbering, preservation of historic artifacts, water management, passive and active recreation, scenic beauty, ecological purposes…states can do many of these as well as a federal agency, and all without having snipers in fatigues pointing guns at citizens.

If nothing else, getting rid of BLM to get rid of its ridiculous snipers and armed thug culture is a worthy step.  Not only is that insane behavior unworthy of a representative government, it is unrelated to the purpose of protecting open land in the first place.

Tom Wolf, you confuse me

Tom Wolf is a candidate for Pennsylvania governor.

He appears to be the front-runner in his party’s primary race.  For a number of reasons, he has the greatest amount of voter name recognition and support.

Why candidate Katie McGinty is not taking off, I don’t know.  Katie is charismatic, maintains a million-dollar smile, and knows how to effectively communicate with people.  She is both infuriatingly liberal and also, in my direct experience, surprisingly capable of being pragmatic and non-ideological.  McGinty’s A-rating from the anti-freedom group CeaseFirePA hurts her; Wolf got a C from them, which helps in freedom-friendly Pennsylvania. Why he didn’t get a D, and then really strut his individual liberty credentials, is confusing.

Wolf lacks charisma, but seems to make up for it with his honest-to-goodness aw-shucks folksy way.

Here’s what really confuses me about Wolf: He is a business man who advocates for policies that are bad for business, like an additional tax on over-taxed natural gas.

Tom Wolf, you will probably challenge Tom Corbett for governor.  I am a small business owner and I want to see more from you that is business friendly.  Otherwise, I remain confused by you.

No “severance tax,” unless

A “severance tax” on deep shale gas would be on top of, in addition to, the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax, an astronomical Corporate Net Income Tax, and the Act 13 Impact Fee that is collected from wells and distributed to hosting counties.

Adding an additional tax, no matter what you call it, is stupid. It’s bad public policy, it’s bad government. Tax-and-spend officials always like spending other people’s money. That’s the worst sort of government.

A severance tax could make sense if one or all of the other taxes and fees were eliminated. Then there’d be balance. That’s good public policy, good government.

If you want higher prices in your own house for many food items, grill gas, heating gas, etc. and you want to open up your own wallet, take out more money than you need to pay, and just donate it, OK. But don’t demand that everyone else also dig deeper into their wallets for their money to cover your bad ideas. The severance tax will be passed on to the public with higher costs for lots of things.

Just leave it alone.

 

Fort Hood – A “Gun Free” Zone, Round II

If you want to see how effective “Gun Free” zones are, look at Fort Hood, now the scene of yet another massacre.  This time, a deranged Soldier took advantage of disarmed military staff, and killed them in cold blood.  He also wounded many more, before killing himself.  All of his victims were disarmed, by Pentagon policy.  Seems that the US military expects its staff to bear arms abroad, and to go unarmed at home.  Why a serviceman cannot carry a sidearm on base is beyond my understanding.  It makes no sense, and leaves our personnel at risk.

Gun Free zones are wishful thinking.  Without the ability to stand and fight, everyone in a Gun Free zone is a sitting duck.  Whoever came up with this idea is a fool.

Disconnect between Democrat chiefs and braves on gas drilling

Interesting wrinkle hasn’t really bubbled up yet into the governor campaign. That is the odd policy adopted a month ago among state Democratic leaders to embrace a gas drilling moratorium.

While to my knowledge none of the Democratic candidates for governor have embraced this policy, only one that I know of has strongly repudiated it. That’s John Hanger.

Hanger recently wrote that “if you support environmental quality, you support gas drilling.”

While Hanger’s polling numbers are on the radar but low among a field of candidates so large that it looks like a Hubble photo of some huge constellation, his prospects are looking better and better. By hewing to a moderate, common sense set of policy positions, Hanger is increasing gathering followers. My understanding is that Hanger does not support more gun control, which is my litmus test for a serious candidate in either party.

Natural gas is about the only thing going on in Pennsylvania right now. And for the future, too. Prospective leaders like John Hanger get my respect for acknowledging that and not playing to fake fears.

Division this close means widening social fractures

By Josh First

Legislating from the bench, a liberal majority on the US Supreme Court once again discards jurisprudence and picks up the hammer and saw of simple policy making.

Beginning their opinion with a personal attack on religious Americans and other traditionalists who thought that thousands of years of human history didn’t need to be tossed out a window, at least not by five people wearing ominous black robes, the Court said nothing about law or the basis of law in America. In fact, the majority opinion refers almost not at all to the Defense of Marriage Act which it overturned.

These are the same four or five Americans who do not believe that the Second Amendment to the Constitution means what it plainly says and always meant in practice among citizens since the nation’s founding. They are wildly out of touch with the law they are supposed to be upholding and protecting.

America is badly served by this sort of law-making. Why have a US Congress and an Executive branch if five unelected people can make something up themselves? And a lot of Americans aren’t impressed enough to start following this sort of top-down, Smarties-Know-Better-Than-You governance. Courts are supposed to be reluctant to toss out entire laws, because it demonstrates that the people, the citizenry, were just plain wrong. But in a Republic like America, government, and justices, operate only at the will of the governed.

That government that governs the least maintains the most credibility and fealty. Sweeping government decisions like today’s judicial legislation deeply alienate citizens from the government they believe is supposed to represent them. Remanding DOMA back to the states would have made the most sense, because marriage is a state issue.

But then again, Americans are locked in what is becoming a quiet civil war about what America is and how it is supposed to be, and the Court is becoming a friction point. These views are incompatible. One side wants adherence to the Constitution and founding principles easily obtained from the founding documents, while the other wants power through massive, intrusive, spying, monitoring, crushing, incarcerating, penalizing government. Apparently, some modern ideas are so good that they must be made mandatory…in other words, resistance to them is punishable, despite real, legitimate disagreement.

The biggest concern I have is how the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty is going to square up with this radical holding. Religious liberty is the hallmark of American freedoms. But can a Mormon minister be breaking some law if he declines to marry a same-sex couple? If it’s yes, and he is punished, will some states fight back by jailing the same-sex couples who wed out-of-state, but who then become incarcerated in states that criminalize same-sex marriage?

All it takes is for one governor to state that he will disregard this holding for the whole thing to boomerang back on the Court. American democracy requires little screwdrivers, but the alleged Great Brains on the Court have just used a sledgehammer. The shockwaves have only begun.

BSA Policy Should be Zero Tolerance for Sex

It hurt to send this to my son’s Boy Scouts troop leader today. Ben is a wonderful man and an important part of our son’s life:

“Hi Ben.

I don’t care who is gay.

And no one has a right to talk about sex with my son Isaac.

Sex has no place in the BSA.

The moment that a teenager or adult talks about sex with my son at a BSA event is the moment I file a lawsuit against BSA for sexual harassment and then withdraw from the troop.

The correct policy should have been a zero tolerance for sex, period. Talking about sexual behavior is innately sexual. It’s an innately private subject without any legitimate purpose around kids.

You are and have been a fantastic troop leader. I’m very sorry to send this to you. But I must protect my son. Isaac has a right to be free from sexualization by older kids and adults. The new BSA policy says that someone has a right to sexualize my son. That’s wrong, and the BSA is now looking like an unsafe place, the wrong place for my son.

Josh”

Pentagon Policy on Faith Turns American Armed Service Upside Down

Military chaplains are just as limited as rank and file service members by the new Pentagon policy on expressing a member’s faith to others.

Apparently, supposedly, it’s aimed at unwanted proselityzing. Mikey Weinstein is not someone I am familiar with, but he sounds like yet another fallen Jew on the warpath against anyone else having a religious belief. Mr. Weinstein and his organization is reportedly behind the new policy.

It’s one of those oddities of the left that assimilated Jews demand that no one else have religious views if they themselves do not have them. Inverting the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, they say that the mere practice of religion establishes religion, thus violating the Constitution. This is clever. And sad.

Service members are placed in harm’s way every day. Faith is often what inspires them to do it. Faith is often all they have when mortally injured. That service members and their chaplains will have their First Amendment rights muzzled is one more of many extreme policies emanating from the Obama Administration.