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Fairy Forts: Being Truly Green, and Emerald

On a really neat hike around Howth, Ireland, guided by a really neat guy named Mark, I was introduced to the weird world of Irish politics two weeks ago.

Just two weeks before I had an even stranger introduction to Irish politics, when at the Yuengling beer plant tour in Pottsville, PA, a little Irishman with a big Brogue said to me “Yer nawt Oirish, becauz yew doon’t leev ‘n Ireland, and I’m nawt Oirish becauz ah leev ‘n Northr’n Ireland.”

The little master was quite assertive in his girly long shorts (thankfully these have not yet arrived in America) and me, for the first time in my life not knowing what to say and how to not say it, I simply said “Brother, you need another beer.”

And yes, he did drink another beer. Guess that meant he’s not really Irish…

So two weeks later on Howth, I described this encounter to our guide Mark, himself of Belfast like the non-Irish Irishman in the girly pants, but Catholic, and he responded like a PhD historian.

To wit: After 750 years of English occupation, colonization, violence, repression, uprisings, death, mayhem, chaos, cultural suppression, etc., the Irish are still sorting a few things out now that the English are mostly out.

The idea that an Irishman from Belfast is not really an Irishman is to me, like, I don’t know, let me think of something incongruous, well, it is like finding out something so incredibly outlandish that your whole world view goes topsy turvy for a week. That was the effect.

But Mark said matter of factly “Oh yeah, that is the mentality and attitude up there [Belfast], and that is why I left to come down here [Dublin].”

You would probably have to live there over a few lifetimes to figure it all out, because just as I was starting to comprehend the political and cultural dynamic of Northern Ireland, Mark then went on to describe Irish MP Danny Healy-Rae in the way someone from some deep urban ghetto cloister in New York City or Los Angeles would describe a rural NRA member farmer in flyover country.

It was not pretty, but hey, who am I to judge, and I just sat and nodded along. Mark was an excellent guide and passionate about his homeland and his happy life there. I can relate, and so like I said, I just nodded along.

Danny Healy-Rae is probably all alone in his singular rural style of political representation the world-over. Despite having a lot of rural areas and a lot of fired-up rural people, I do not think America has anyone like him in politics. Danny Healy-Rae is both principled and colorful, with a straight face.

The incredible irony of Danny Boy’s place on the political spectrum was totally lost on Mark, who only moments before was explaining Irish politics very cogently, and advocating for new roads in the deepest rural areas as “progress.”

See, Danny Boy objects to new roads being built through really rural areas, especially those places that have “fairy forts.”

Yes, fairy forts. Wonder if you will, laugh if you must, but the man is indeed worried about how new roads will destroy or impact ancient fairy forts. Setting aside the rural traditions and folklore about fairies and fairy forts (and I do tend to side with both Native American Indians and Native Irish on their spiritual sensitivities to real things in the natural world that city folk aka Town Mice completely miss), fairy forts are real.

A week after Mark had explained Irish politics so clearly to me, we visited Stonehenge.

Have you gone there? Stonehenge is literally surrounded by fairy forts. Lots of hill forts and burial mounds and mystery places clearly built by the ancients for mysterious purposes that were really important to them and unattainable to us desensitized moderns. I was not expecting this side of Stonehenge, and it turns out it’s the presence of all those hill forts and mounds that make the big Stonehenge rocks so important.

After seeing this unexpected oddity in person, I looked up “fairy forts” and read most carefully this one (of several) reference. Naturally the Irish ones came to mind first, because of the footage of Danny Boy talking about Fairy Forts in Ireland’s parliament.

Archaeologically a “fairy fort” is a fascinating historic remain, and it’s evident why the ‘hick’ locals in all these places both revere and fear them. The English seemed to have plowed theirs extensively, which is very bad from the view of the historian, archaeologist, or Druid.

Turns out that Danny Boy is not only concerned about new roads destroying Fairy Forts, but he is also publicly concerned about the explosion of rhododendron in rural Ireland.

Now as much as Mark mocked Danny Boy’s unpersuaded opinions about man-made “climate change” (like Danny Boy, I too am unpersuaded by the heavily politicized, faked data behind the mere statistical models purported to be and shouted to be irrefutable “science”), Mark admitted he did not know the flora and fauna subjects along our beautiful walk on Howth. Nonetheless, he mocked Danny Boy over the rhododendron thing, too.

That flora issue includes the tidal wave of invasive plants moving in on the beautiful Irish countryside. That would also include rhododendron, and you will not find a bigger faunal representation of imperial Victorian England (something Mark is very much opposed to) than the various copses of rhododendron planted and quickly spreading from one end of the Empire to the other.

In other words, Danny Boy is objecting to invasive rhododendron for environmental and cultural reasons, things that his detractors say they care about, and his supposedly proud Irish compatriots are mocking him about it. They mock him simply because he comes across as a hick, not because they actually know better than he or care more for the environment than he.

I think this hillbilly Irishman MP, Danny Healy-Rae, should get a lot more credit from his fellow countrymen than he has thus far received. At first I thought he was just an aggressive environmentalist trying to keep roads and invasive plants out of undeveloped Paradise. Now I think he’s also a keen historian!

We will return to Ireland. Several other friends and friendly couple friends of ours were simultaneously touring Ireland when we were there, and between us all we all pretty much covered the whole country by car, bike, kayak, and foot. The collective photos we all took showed Ireland in all its splendor. What a beautiful, unspoiled, undeveloped, magical place is Ireland.

Turns out that Ireland, the whole entire place, is one big beautiful, magical  fairy fort!

We are coming back, and we hope that Danny Boy has succeeded in diverting the roads, protecting the fairy forts, and uprooting the rhododendron. Mark, you will have to come with us, because I think you should see Ireland through our eyes. It might help you better appreciate the incredible natural beauty you have.

And this next trip might help us all better figure out Irish politics, because as we can see with Danny Boy vs. the liberal Irish, Irish politics are a complete mess where up is down and left is right. When you have liberals advocating for environmental destruction and keeping the symbols of imperial England, and the conservatives opposing them are the greens, things are just not yet sorted out.

That’s the best way to put Ireland. It just isn’t yet sorted out. But it is beautiful, thanks to the fairy forts.

Howth and the “Eye of Ireland”:

Vote for the Boy Scouts tomorrow

While the Boy Scouts are not actually running for office in tomorrow’s primary election, the principles of that venerable American institution are certainly being voted on.

Voted on in the sense that there are candidates who are go-along get-along types, for whom holding elected office is a career, a business opportunity, an ego boost (let’s call all these types “swamp dwellers”).

And then there are candidates for whom holding elected office is a sacred duty of service to one’s fellow citizens. These candidates stand on the bedrock principles that founded America and which make it great. These principles are bound up in the fabric of our institutions, like the Boy Scouts, which taught those values and ideas (self-reliance, accountability, community).

Last week about eight people on the national board of the Boy Scouts of America voted once again to give in to extremist demands aimed at gutting everything the Boy Scouts stand for.

This time this small handful of people voted to change the name of the Boy Scouts to just “Scouts,” paving the way for an undefined, politically correct, genderless soup standing for vague good feelings. Maybe. At the cost of boyhood.

As one might expect, those Americans with the greatest connection to the Boy Scouts as founded have now begun to officially withdraw from the “new” organization. The Mormons were right up front in their abandonment of the sinking ship. Good for them. My own son just found out about it last night. After seven happy years in the Boy Scouts, he said “I do not want to do this, I do not want to participate in this. This is not what I signed up for.”

How incredibly painful.

The gutting of the Boy Scouts is symbolic of the leftist ailment we are experiencing across America and the liberal civil war being forced upon all normal and good Americans.

Those representatives who are supposed to be on the front line, defending us from constant assaults, are actually AWOL or worse, whether they are elected in politics or sitting on non-profit boards.

Across America we see people get elected to office, and they have no intention of doing anything except holding that office. Or worse, using it for self-enrichment or cultural destruction. What is happening on the Boy Scouts board is exactly what is happening across America.

Tomorrow I will be working a voting poll, helping two candidates I like, for the simple reason I believe they are tough enough to stop our bleeding, stop our cultural deflation, good enough to use public office for public benefit. They are Paul Mango and Andrew Lewis.

Locally, here is who I will be or would be voting for:

Paul Mango for governor. Paul is a good guy, a US Army veteran, rated more conservative than his two opponents. Laura Ellsworth is rated as “Liberal,” and moderate state senator Scott Wagner has become the very swamp creature he said he was against.

Peg Luksik for Lieutenant Governor.

Andrew Lewis for state house. Andrew is a fine young man, a US Army veteran, with strong character. His opponent, liberal Adam Klein, is the very essence of the political establishment swamp destroying Pennsylvanians’ hopes, dreams, and rightful expectations.

Either George Halcovage or Scott Uehlinger for Congress, over Dan Meuser. Dan has so many issues, some of which have been listed on this blog, his candidacy is an example of why diligent citizen action is required to hold on to our government. Meuser is DC swamp through and through.

Both Lou Barletta and Jim Christiana are rated as “somewhat conservative,” and neither one impresses very much through some particular distinction. On the one hand, Barletta has earned a good name for himself on illegal immigration (i.e. protecting US taxpayers’ and citizens’ rights), while Christiana is a young go-getter. Either one will be superior to political careerist disaster Bob Casey.

Tomorrow, while I am voting for and supporting particular candidates as a volunteer poll watcher, I am inwardly doing it for the old Boy Scouts and everything they stood for.

I want my America back. I want the old-fashioned values  on which America was founded. I want the Boy Scouts back. Voting for these people above helps us move Pennsylvania and America in that positive direction.

 

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.

Some reflections on yesterday’s Election Day results

Yesterday was Primary Election Day here in Pennsylvania, and I was up to my eyeballs in electioneering/ volunteering.

Setting aside politics yesterday after lunch time, I helped bury in the ground a beautiful and perfect 21-year-old young lady who was killed the day after graduating from the University of Miami. Her name is Elizabeth Goldenberg, and she was from nearby Hummelstown, practically a suburb of Harrisburg these days. As her sobbing parents and siblings stood by, a large and far-flung community gathered around to give support, caring, and sympathy.

Young Elizabeth was killed in a boating accident while touring the Everglades with her family. She went from award-winning sky-is-the-limit talent to snuffed out like a light switch had been pushed. She was a hugely positive force surrounded by affectionate people who basked in her glow.

In moments like this I question my faith, I question God, because I can think of plenty of bad people who deserve to die, and yet this perfect young person is prematurely cut down. It is the essence of makes no sense and unfair.

It is hard to shake that feeling, and so that is also my thinking about the politics results: a lot of it makes no sense and is patently unfair.

While it is true that all my candidates but one prevailed yesterday, three issues nag at my mind:

  1. Republican Establishment is still inflicting self-damage by protecting poor candidates who are weak go-along get-along types, while stopping strong candidates from getting ahead. We saw that with the county judicial endorsement. The Dauphin GOP continues to artificially undermine the strongest Republicans and thereby alienate conservative grass roots voters, which the party needs. Unfair and self-defeating.
  2. I feel bad for Josh Feldman, candidate for the Uptown Harrisburg magistrate position, held by Barb Pianka. Feldman is a recent transplant to this area, with no roots, and had done no work related to the job, and yet he threw himself into the fray at the urging of other people. You might say he was used to try and settle a political score. If you read this blog, then you know I played a role in that race. It still brings me no pleasure to have played that role, and now more than ever I feel bad for Mr. Feldman. Hopefully he is able to get over the hard work and big expenditures he invested and get back to his pet service business in one piece. Whoever encouraged you to run was not your friend, Josh. Unfair to the unsuspecting.
  3. All the mainstream media’s anti-Trump fake news and fake leaks and fake analysis and fake issues and fake chaos are aimed at one thing: Obfuscation and diversion, hindering President Trump from digging into the morass and removing the cancer. For fifty years the anti-America left (which is in many ways lead by the mainstream media) has quietly infiltrated and taken over a great deal of American government. Had Hillary Clinton been elected, those bureaucrats were all poised to get it over the goal line, a line of no return, and fully take control of America. If Trump is able to “drain the swamp,” then all of that effort will have been for naught. Impeachment? After 100 days in office? For what? How? After Hillary Clinton’s lying and cheating and sale of emails with secret classified information, and sale of key uranium stockpiles to the Russian government, no one is more due for a trial and jail than she. The US media has become a partisan machine disconnected from real journalism, and so they treat Trump and his supporters unfairly.

While shoveling dirt on sweet Elizabeth’s coffin yesterday, miserable at the unfairness of her death, I was also struck by how meaningless so much of our material life is, how much we Americans take for granted, how relatively easy our lives are, compared to how most other humans live, and how we so easily fill up our lives with stupid, shallow things.

What is most important are relationships: Relationships between old friends, family members who respect one another, business colleagues, neighbors, and so on. Appreciate what we have. Hold our loved ones tight. In the end, it’s all ya got.

 

PA Office of Open Records – the battle for control

Erik Arneson is never going to win awards for public relations savvy, but he does deserve to hold on to the job of director of the Office of Open Records he was appointed to by outgoing governor Tom Corbett back in December, 2014.

Incoming governor Tom Wolf immediately “fired” Arneson and sought to put someone else in his role.

Arneson and the PA senate Republicans sued Wolf, claiming that the job holds a six-year term and that’s it.  It is not a political appointment to serve at the whim of whichever governor is in office at the time.  To do so would place the office squarely in the middle of politics it is supposed to be above.

Showing up to his January lawsuit press event in a Green Bay Packers-marked ski cap and satin jacket, Arneson alienated every Steelers and Eagles fan around, not to mention us PSU Nittany Lions fanatics.  Plus, he did not look real professional, either, dressed up like he was going to a November football game, and not into a high stakes legal battle.

Maybe his rumpled look and out-of-synch team clothing choice represent a kind of idiot-savant mentality, which I would find refreshing.  You know, a guy who is so focused on doing his job so utterly professionally that he walks around with his zipper open, his hair touseled, his head involved in important things, not mundanities.

More likely is that Arneson has spent so long in the ultra-insulated world of the professional party functionary system (Republicans and Democrats alike have this alternate dimension), that he is unaware that his appearance in public matters to the public.   He may not even care.  Accountability in that party functionary world is non-existent, and professionalism is not always what taxpayers would or should expect from the people they pay.

But the fact is that Arneson was duly appointed to a six-year term, which itself strongly indicates an independent position above the whims of politics, such as incoming new governors wishing to make government in their image.

Nearly all of Pennsylvania’s commissions and boards involve six or even eight year terms; some are four years, but they tend to be the ones where the governor alone makes the selection.  At least that is my sense of things, having been involved in the selection process for the PA Game Commission and the PA Fish & Boat Commission.  Both of those commissions had eight-year terms until last year, when they were changed to six years, which is still sufficient time for a board member to ride out political changes that might corrupt their otherwise professional and detached judgment.

For those people complaining about Arneson’s politically partisan credentials, ahem, we did not hear your voice when the first occupant of the office was selected, Terri Mutchler.

Terri Mutchler is a very nice person whom I knew a bit when we were students at Penn State, way back in the 1980s.  She was professional and diligent, way back then, and again during her tenure as the first director of the Office of Open Records.  And in that new role she feuded just enough with then-Governor Rendell to lend credibility to her claim of being above partisanship.

But recently Mutchler has come forward and admitted that she was a tool, literally, for partisan politics in past jobs, even in one of her most sensitive jobs as a senior reporter and news editor.  [those of us already long ago jaded by the mainstream media are unsurprised by her admission; we just wish current political activists posing as news reporters at NBC CBS ABC NPR NYT etc. would be as honest]

In other words, Mutchler was a nakedly partisan Democrat, perhaps like Arneson would be a partisan Republican.

But if you don’t like Arneson for this reason now, where were you for the same reason back then, when Mutchler was appointed?  Critics of Arneson cannot have it both ways – happy to have Mutchler’s partisan role back then, but opposed to Arneson’s presumed partisan role now.  That is inconsistent, and therefore undeserving of respect.

Inconsistency is the hobgoblin of good government,and if there are two words that define what Americans expect from their government, it is good government: Professional, a-political, non-partisan.

So, Arneson must stay on, despite his frumpy appearance, his poor taste in football teams, his deafness to Lion Country’s football preferences, and despite the nakedly partisan calls for him to step aside for a Wolf Administration selection.

But I will say this: His beard, that damned scraggly beard, it looks incredibly unprofessional and unkempt; if he keeps that for one more day, then he does deserve to be fired immediately.  And tie your shoes, Erik, dammit.

Hallelujah, fur is back in style

A wonderful evening stroll down Fifth Avenue reveals that among the world’s top fashion professionals, natural fur has made a 100% comeback.

Clothing that even I recognize and admire as stunningly beautiful is covered, trimmed, made of, and surrounded by natural furs from many species of animals.

Recall that animal fur was denigrated as cruelly gotten, and bored activists would scream at people wearing fur, sometimes throwing red dye on them. The shallow activists never addressed how their leather shoes and belts and purses and car seats squared up with their public opposition to people wearing other sorts of animal skins.

If hypocrisy is a hallmark of screechy activists, fur was the best example.

Fur is, after all, natural, biodegradable, renewable, and under modern wildlife laws, sustainable. Those are all rare qualities in a world filled with cheap plastic junk manufactured in an enormous prison camp called China.

The luxurious furs I looked at represented incredible skill. From the trappers who artfully snared the critters without damaging the pelt, to the tanners who carefully turned them into soft leather capable of being worked, to the cutters and seamstresses who took the supple leather (with the hair on, like a cow hide) and turned them into gorgeous clothes, throws, and warm accoutrements, the entire process is a long chain of long-enduring skills and appreciation of natural beauty and utility.

If fur was long politically incorrect, but now it is acceptable among the PC elites who run the fashion industry, what does this say about the philosophical leanings of the individuals behind this surge? One cannot help but think that the many gay men in the fashion industry, once emancipated in general society, would eventually hew to a more pragmatic view of life and politics.

After all, once you own a home and work for people willing to spend thousands of dollars on a single garment, you really do have a stake in the capitalist enterprise.

Perhaps the fur on display at Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, and other stores I looked at is a social statement by a bunch of quiet pragmatists, who have also had it with the faux anger and the overwrought hostility and the ubiquitous unhappiness that characterize Leftist politics.

Well done, chums.

And as a pretty bad but committed trapper myself, thank you.

Obama’s Ebola gift to the nation

Obama’s administration has actively opened the borders and suppressed efforts to curb illegal aliens.

His administration has released hundreds of violent criminals into American communities, because they were illegal aliens.

His administration has allowed illegal aliens to bring typhus and other dangerous diseases into America, and now his gift to us is Ebola, the kill-you-now disease from Africa.

This list of Obama’s malfeasance reads like the list of indictments of King George in our Declaration of Independence, but it may be worse.

Obama’s War On America is designed to create as many new welfare voters as possible.  Legal immigrants are not what he wants, but rather people who have no stake in America, no contributions to America, and no commitment to America, other than what they can get for free from our taxpayers and then demand more.

But many voters are awakening to what this really means.  When Ebola arrived from illegal aliens and from foreign travelers who should have never been allowed into America, more and more Americans now recognize that Grievance Politics is dangerous.  It’s not just vote dilution.  Now it is public health threats on a massive scale, and Obama is purposefully introducing a toxic cocktail of diseases that threatens everyone.  He hates America that much.

Let us hope that our collective love for our nation is stronger than his executive-action hate.

In Harrisburg as in Washington, NYC, extremists parade as mainstream

This past weekend saw various political marches around the US.  Washington, DC, New York City, and elsewhere, largely groups of openly avowed communists, socialists, anti-capitalism activists, and other fringe extremists.

Claims of “Climate change” unified them.

If you had any questions about human-caused “climate change,” these marches should answer them. It is an utterly politicized, polarized issue from which science is having a tough time extracting itself. To these extremists, anything that happens on any given day anywhere in the world is evidence of their cause.

Blue skies in September? Climate change!

Rainy skies in September? Climate change!

Cold or hot weather in September, each is “evidence” of human-caused climate change.

Undoubtedly humans are having an impact on our planet, including the cell phone using and car driving socialists who advocate that the rest of us give up our cell phones and cars.

The question is how we can be dispassionate and calculating about identifying these impacts, and then fixing them in a way that does not require everyone to become a communist, wear a grass skirt, and live in a driftwood hut eating whole grains and dried fruit.

Similarly, here in Harrisburg we have another political group that takes the opposite approach to the socialists and communists.  Instead of openly avowing socialism and anti-capitalism, “Harrisburg Hope” misrepresents itself as a non-partisan, objective, aloof, dispassionate gathering for all interested political interests.

Of course that is not the truth about Harrisburg Hope, as the group has been deeply involved in the most partisan campaigns and was used as a vehicle to help Harrisburg’s present mayor get elected.  When other mayoral candidates wanted equal opportunity at Harrisburg Hope forums, they were denied.  Other political events hosted by Harrisburg Hope have been gaggingly partisan and faux civil rights.

Clearly Harrisburg Hope is a bare-knuckle political machine, designed to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Everywhere you turn, the Left has some organization designed to misrepresent itself in the interest of not alarming citizens about its true, radical, extreme goals.

The question a lot of people have is, Will the conservative movement fight back?

People ask me why

For some people, politics and political activism are their bread and butter.  Politics pays their bills.  With the right clients, they can make millions of dollars out of politics as a business model.

For me, politics is about personal liberty, freedom, opportunity and many other inspiring principles behind the founding of America.  It is also about the little freedoms we have that emanate from the bigger ideas:  The freedom to drive or walk somewhere without having to prove that you belong there, the freedom to choose where to live, the ability to select from a wide assembly of fresh food, to name a few popular ones.

Call it an innate sense of justice and right and wrong, which family and friends have said I’ve had since I was a little kid, or call it a lack of patience, an inability to watch, participate in, listen to, or tolerate BS/fluff/empty slogans/lies/self-interest, whatever it is that motivates me, I am passionate about good government.

Good government has been a passion of mine since I was a teenager, when I first got involved in political campaigns.  Back then, I was horrified at the way abortion-on-demand was changing our culture, I was against gun control, and nuclear missiles scared me.  Later on, watching police beat non-violent pro-democracy marchers in South Africa motivated me to put my voice behind change there (note that now the monumentally corrupt and un-just African National Congress government there is hardly better than the overtly racist apartheid government it replaced).  Age, paying taxes, and work experience have a way of shaping political views for normal people, and I was no exception.

So here I am, living a life that has meaning for me, trying to shape Pennsylvania and American politics in ways I believe are healthy, necessary, and just.  The citizens and taxpayers who are supposed to be served well by their government (of the people, by the people, for the people) are not being well served today.  This is why I am involved in politics.  That is why I will not go away, at least not until things are fixed to my satisfaction.

Perry County Ground Zero, Round II

Perry County Ground Zero, Round II

By Josh First

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The court room was about 85% full.

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

Here is my take-away:

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

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

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