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Is it time to recall PA AG Kane?

In 2012, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Kathleen Kane campaigned on being fresh, new, unconnected to party politics.  She challenged the ultimate Republican insider, and crushed him by a good 15%.  Kane became Pennsylvania’s first Democrat AG only because so many Republican voters defected from the GOP and voted for Kane.

Within six months into her four-year tenure, signs were evident that she was not this politically dispassionate, politically disconnected professional and fair-minded arbiter she represented herself to be.

Rather, it became clear that she was politically correct (dogmatically liberal) and willing to use the AG office to score partisan political points, going so far as to choose not to enforce or defend state laws with which she personally disagrees.  That right there is pretty much the end of democratic government, when elected officials stop enforcing laws they personally disagree with.  Democracy only works if everyone agrees that whatever the law is, it is, and it is the law of the land until it is changed.

Kane’s icing on the cake was to cold-stop an investigation of four Democrat elected officials in the Philadelphia area.  Kane does not deny that the four had been caught on tape or video taking bribes. One of the officials can be heard saying “Well, happy birthday to [me]!” as he pockets a wad of illegal cash.

In what stinks of political favoritism, Kane simply made up a lame excuse and stopped the ongoing investigation of obvious official corruption.

When Kane was called out about it by the Philadelphia Inquirer, a newspaper unused to criticizing Democrats, she showed up to a meeting with the paper’s board with her libel lawyer in tow.  A subsequent show of legal force and more open threats of a lawsuit against her critics, by Kane, has only made things worse for her.  But she is not backing down.  Mind you, the Inquirer merely reported the facts; the paper did not ascribe motive or allege that Kane herself was part of the cash scandal.  So it is hard to see what kind of libel suit this elected official thought she was going to actually win.  Intimidation was her first and last approach, however, which tells you all you need to know about her very low quality as an elected official.

Additionally, Philadelphia City DA Seth Williams, a Democrat, has criticized Kane for ending the investigation.  Seth and I were close friends while students at Penn State, and yes, he is an active Democrat, and he is also a straight shooter.

Now, Kane says she supports another newspaper’s open records effort to get the documents about the terminated investigation.  Well, actually, after opposing it, Kane only now supports releasing “certain” documents; you know, the documents that support her position.  The investigation’s documents that will cast her political activism in a bad light, well, they should remain sealed, she says.

Governor Tom Corbett may well be a one-term governor, which presently it appears is his sad destiny, if the polling data is even close to accurate.  Well, folks, let’s make this Kathleen Kane a half-term AG.  She is incompetent, she is politicizing Pennsylvania’s established laws, and she is using blunt force legal intimidation to blunt honest criticism of her official job performance.  Let’s start a recall of AG Kane, and get someone in that office who is a plain vanilla enforcer of The Law, as that role is supposed to be.

In an ideal world, party affiliation should not matter in the AG office.  I myself am partial to the potential AG candidacy of Ed Marsico, Dauphin County’s present District Attorney.  Marsico is an honest guy, a hard working guy, and has shown few partisan inclinations in his day to day work of making Dauphin County a safe place to live and work.  Marsico would be a big enough improvement over Kane to warrant a recall effort against her.  Surely there are other professional-grade DAs out there, too, who also would qualify to fill out the remainder Kane’s term.

Let’s get that recall effort started and Pennsylvania’s law enforcement back on track.

UPDATE: How on earth could I forget? Kane is having some difficulty investigating the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, where cash gifts and other toxic ethics violations have occurred recently.  Now….why would Kane have such a tough time bringing to bear her full weight on such obviously corrupt violations of Pennsylvania laws?  Why, it would not perhaps happen to be the presence of KANE TRUCKING contracts with the PLCB, right?  The KANE TRUCKING contracts with the PLCB are worth millions of dollars to Kathleen Kane, personally.  Got it.  Fox guarding the henhouse here.  Good old fashioned corruption, at least on the face of it.  Time to end this sick experiment, and send Mrs. Moneybags Kane home.


Senate ceding its role to president: Chaos

The US Senate has recently changed rules that have helped maintain America’s checks-and-balances system of government for over 150 years.

In the interest of bolstering the executive branch’s incredible reaches for off-limits power, the senate has ceded its role as being a legislative check.  The senate is now an adjunct of the executive branch.

Recent senate rules change allowed radical, far out of the mainstream federal judges to be confirmed.  They in turn go on to help the executive branch implement its unconstitutional actions.

Assuming we get through this crisis without a civil war, what happens if a new president is elected from the other party, and he or she wants to correct the damage done to America, liberty, and democracy over the past five years? When that president employs the same exact methods, will the current party cede the field, acknowledge that politics is a two-way street, and relinquish their rights?

No, they won’t.  They will fight like hell, use their media allies to bolster them in the public eye, and accuse the new party in power of all kinds of contraventions.  Hypocrisy? Yes.  It is the norm in politics, apparently.

If amnesty is granted to 8-10 million illegal immigrants, and they become voters, then the two-party system is over.  America will become artificially dominated by a single party bent on controlling the citizenry through gun confiscation, NSA spying, and more onerous socialism designed to end our capitalistic system.

I, for one, will go down fighting, if necessary.  I hope you, too, will join your liberty-loving fellow citizens and either prevent the country from descending into chaos through successful political work, or prepare to meet that chaos in an organized way.

Pete Seeger – gone

Pete Seeger died yesterday. I met Pete several times in the mid-1980s, when I worked for his brother, John, who was also a remarkable and influential person.  Although most of Pete Seeger’s politics were like his brother John’s — mostly vexing and at best confusing to me, he was a very gentle and nice man who made audiences laugh, sing from their hearts, and feel better by the end of the day. Planet Earth is now a little poorer. Fair sailing, Pete!

PS Pete Seeger was related to Alan Seeger, the namesake of a 90-acre patch of old-growth hemlock and pine on Seven Mountains, on the border of Mifflin and Centre counties.  This little patch of forest cathedral Heaven has been one of my favorite hideaways since my earliest childhood memories.  That a small brook running through it holds sparkly brook trout makes it magic, and not just Heavenly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You call this global warming?

Not only is the northern hemisphere in a deep freeze, a bunch of “climate change scientists” looking for evidence to support their religion … Oops … I mean their theory, got frozen in the Antarctic ice. Their ship is immobilized because so much ice is not only not melting, but actually increasing. Rescue ships also got frozen.
Members of the crew said it was the most ice they’d seen in years.
Guess what? Planet Earth is a dynamic place, with dynamic weather patterns and a multitude of factors simultaneously influencing climate.
Trying to ascribe cause-and-effect to these factors, or even worse, claiming to know what’s really happening with all these factors, is not science.
It’s politics, for sure. We know how clean that is.
Its adherents behave as though they’re in a cult, or at least in some charismatic religion.
Too many environmental groups use crisis to whip up support for their causes and to fund raise. Climate change appears to be one more scare tactic. The evidence just isn’t there to support the claims. Today’s zero temperature is classic.
But if you want to talk about overfishing the oceans, loss of farmland, loss of critical wildlife habitat, good wildlife management, why then reasonable people are interested.
In the mean time, I’m shoveling loads of carbon…oops, sorry, I mean firewood, into our wood stove as we trade yesterday’s carbon for today’s heat. Seems like a good and sustainable trade to me.

The excitement never ends

So a quiet little Friday morning in sleepy Central Pennsylvania erupts as parent Josh Barry attempts to defend his opposition to being called a “Neo Nazi” in public by a teacher. Said teacher objected to Barry’s inquiries after Barry’s little girl came home with all kinds of left wing propaganda masquerading as education.

Now “teacher” Cydnee Cohen has turned loose the teacher’s union thugs to smear Barry more and make him into the perpetrator and not the victim.

If there is one more example of why teacher’s unions must be illegal, this is it.

and then there is that political aftermath…

Well, ya win some and ya lose some, right?
My hope is that Harrisburg mayor-elect Eric Papenfuse will deliver on his promises, although the gun control stuff is a waste of time. I am no fan of Harrisburg losing its assets and still not being out of debt. My opinion is that Harrisburg’s investors made a bad investment, they were sold a bill of goods by the bondsmen, and the accountability for rectifying that goes back to the guys who issued the bad bonds. Taxpayers should not be on the hook for the municipal debt debacle. This race was marked by the impact of tons of cash, artificial legal shenanigans, and the purposeful delay of justice so that the one candidate standing in Eric’s way could not get his footing, until just weeks before Election Day.
That’s not good for democracy.
In Susquehanna Township, one again hopes that outcomes will not be as bad as they appear to be. Voters who vote against their interests intrigue me. The township school district appears headed toward even worse infighting and more losses of good staff. Property values correlate with public schools, so….. Good luck!
And finally, congratulations to judge-elect Bill Tully, a highly qualified, hard working, earnest man who will be an outstanding judge for all citizens of Dauphin County.
Vic Stabile won his seat on the PA Superior Court, congratulations!
And I am so pleased that the election season is now behind us, so I can get out and do some more hunting and fishing.

A brief, simple reminder

With the obvious flaws in the new religion of human-caused global warming/ global cooling/ climate change, way too many conservatives lump together all of the environmental issues and then dismiss them with equal carelessness.

Just a reminder: Clean air comes from nature’s natural processes, mostly from trees and other large plants that convert carbon dioxide to oxygen.

Another reminder: Clean fresh water comes from underground filtration through rock layers and sand, in undisturbed or otherwise healthy watersheds.

Both clean air and clean water are necessary for human life to continue as we know it. Both air and water are produced by free ecosystem services that nature perfected for a long time. Humans can kind of reproduce these processes mechanically, but they are energy-dependent and hard to maintain.

Yes, the whole global climate change religion thing is a political effort to shut down western civilization and transfer its wealth to authoritarian countries. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t real environmental quality problems. Fact is, humans pollute, and pollution needs to be resolved. Fouling our own nest is a sloppy, stupid thing to do. We don’t need to do it.

So quit lumping all environmental issues in with human – caused global climate change politics. Focus on the real, measurable problems and solve them. Ignoring them is foolish, and humans are not fools. Basic land and water conservation are necessary to keep people healthy.

The War on Women

I dunno…Eliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner, Bob Filner, all three past or present elected officials still in office or running for office, and all three serial abusers/ users/ objectifiers/ harassers of women on the job and off….and all three are NOT Republicans.

We heard all about the supposed Republican war on women last year, and it didn’t make any sense to me, but here we have three public officials with lengthy records of using women, and…the silence is deafening.

Filner won’t resign from his mayor job, and both Spitzer and Weiner have no shame running again. If a Republican tried to get away with anything close to what any of these guys have done, he’d be lynched in the street.

Double standard, anyone?

Framing the Issue, Defining the Person

Although I spend most of my work time with muddy boots out in the field, I obviously have a passion for government policy and issues. My college and graduate school degrees are in government (and economics, and statistics, and history, and…and…), so “big issues” have always motivated me. And thus, I write about them.

As a sound policy advocate, I am always wrestling with framing an issue or defining the person behind an issue, say, in a public race for office.

One of the aspects of this process I am getting better at is understanding what motivates someone else who sees it differently than I.

And here is my conclusion: Power, power, and more power over decisions, resources, and people is what motivates the vast majority of people who take a stand on something. Especially in politics.

Take, for example, last week’s decision at the Boy Scouts of America. In my mind, the decision to allow gay people is not an issue. After all, how would I know someone is gay unless they tell me? I could not care less about who is gay, or straight, and in fact I enjoy the presence of a number of gay people because they are funny, smart, and entertaining. I have nothing against gays. But what I do have an issue with is talking about sex with my kid, and who does it, and why.

And so, the political advocates of being gay say they have a right to talk about their sexual preferences any time they want, and I respond that now I know how women feel when meatheads make stupid comments that can be construed as sexist or come-ons. There is just zero room for discussing sexuality or sexual preferences in public or with kids not your own. And so I frame this issue naively, thinking it is about what is best for kids (knowing that adults who also object to having sexuality pressed upon them can take refuge in myriad anti-sexual harassment laws).

Every kid should have a sex-free zone drawn around them. And yes, talking about your sexual preferences is S-E-X-U-A-L.

And thus are parents like me unfairly defined as bad, bigoted, evil, cruel, etc. The issue has been framed in a way that automatically makes us “bigoted” if we disagree, thereby removing our ability (power) to defend our ideas. But I prefer to frame it in a way that protects kids, my kids, from being sexualized. And thus, I will stand my ground and say “leave the kids alone.”

Gay people who want to hang out at my house and debate this, or have dinner, or play cards, are welcome any time we know you are arriving.