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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.

It’s official: Sunday hunting in VA

Two weeks ago the Virginia state House passed a Sunday hunting bill out of a committee that had bottled up similar bills for decades before. It was a surprising statement that it actually got through committee.  Then it passed the full state House, which surprised even its most ardent sponsors.

Well, today the Virginia state Senate passed the companion bill.  It allows hunting on private land on Sunday, a private property rights win if there ever was one. If you pay property taxes, say on a remote mountainside property, and you are deprived of 14.2% of your full use of that property for some vague reason, you might get frustrated.  It is your property.  You can shoot 1,000 bullets at a target on Sunday, but you cannot shoot just one at a squirrel.  Laws like this are by their definition arbitrary, the bane of democracy.

Virginia’s governor says he will sign the bill into law.

Welcome to the modern era, Virginia! We are envious of you.

Kudos to Kathy Davis of PA-based Hunters United for Sunday Hunting (www.huntsunday.org), who has devoted the past two years of her life to this issue, and who helped a great deal with getting the Virginia law passed and the lawsuit filed there.  The lawsuit compelled the state legislature to act, before a judge ruled against the state and the entire state was opened up.  While I would like to see public land open for Sunday hunting, I am satisfied with private land as a start to implementing it state-wide.  This really is an issue of the most basic American rights.

The end of 215 years of American tradition

Early in America’s youth, a rule in the US Senate was established that recognized minority rights.

By setting a higher threshold for confirming federal judges, US senators had a chance to seriously consider judicial candidates, who serve for life and can only be impeached for serious crimes.

Today, the US Senate majority changed that 215-year-old rule, no longer allowing filibusters for extreme candidates. Now, judges will be voted for confirmation by a simple majority.

When the other party had control of the senate, and the present majority engaged in filibusters, it was business as usual. Now, the majority wants absolute control. No forced debate.

Now what happens when this majority is in the minority? Will they whine, moan, and cry about not having the filibuster at hand to stop or slow down judicial nominees they strongly oppose? Probably. And the sense of irony will be ignored.

Their friends in the mainstream press will take their side, and it’s up to us citizen journalists to get the word out about how serious this is.

A political tradition lasting 215 years must have been worthy. Now we see a huge power grab by one party. What will you do about it?

NRA? All the way!

The National Rifle Association has agreed to run the former Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, now to be called the Great American Outdoor Show.

Dauphin County commissioner Jeff Haste led the effort to find a suitable vendor for the huge PA Farm Show complex. The ESOS has been worth anywhere from $45 million to $88 million annually to the local economy, and losing it was a huge impact on the region.

The fact that yours truly played the key role in blowing the whistle is both happy and sad. I’ve been blamed for ruining the show and praised for calling attention to the former promoter, Reed Exhibitions, and getting them knocked out. Alex Cameron, Jr., was the vendor who tipped me off.

My friend and custom knife maker/supplier is John Johnson, and he took a financial beating because the show wasn’t held. Now he has confidence that the 2014 show will be better than several of the prior ones put together, and he can plan accordingly.

The NRA has invited all five million of its members to visit the 2014 show, so you know it’s going to be crowded, fun, and full of exciting gear and trips. And you can be sure that modern sporting rifles will be present and accounted for, in force….

Thank you to Commissioner Haste, the Corbett Administration, and the NRA for getting the show re-established. And thank you to all of the patriotic Americans who decided to take a hit to stop the British – based Reed Exhibitions this past February.

See you all next February at the Great American Outdoor Show!

UPDATE: As if you haven’t already read this elsewhere, the US Senate voted down the unconstitutional ‘background check’ federal database gun confiscation bill proposed shamefully by senators Manchin (WV) and Toomey (PA). Let’s get these two buffoons out of office post-haste. You cannot be a US senator, attack the US Constitution this way, and then be taken seriously by those of us in favor of maximum freedom for citizens.

A day that will live in infamy? We will live through it

Seeing US Senator Pat Toomey cave in on gun control is a painful thing indeed. The man was elected to lead on tough issues and bring the Constitution to bear on policy and legislation. He is obviously failing on this most important count.

With his Democrat co-sponsored bill promoting universal background checks and hugely increased roles for doctors, and reportedly teachers, in unilaterally determining if a citizen is sufficiently mentally competent to enjoy their Constitutional freedoms, Toomey has entered a freak zone that no one could have imagined.
However, we have been here before. Last year it was US Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts who allowed ObamaCare to stand on the most bizarre reasoning possible. Recall that, like Toomey, Roberts was supposed to be a conservative.
If you go back far enough in other places, you’ll find similar hard left turns, like when Israel Prime Minister Menachem Begin gave up the Sinai Peninsula for a worthless scrap of paper from Egypt, or when Israel Prime Minster Yitzchak Rabin entered into the disastrous Oslo Accords, or when Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza Strip, this time not for a worthless piece of paper, but for a never-ending rain of missiles.
FDR dropped the ball at the Yalta Conference, giving Stalin free rein to run amok, setting the stage for decades of nuclear stand-off that could have been averted had FDR been a strong man.
Such is the mindset of humans, that desire to be liked, to be thought well of. Especially when momentous events are upon them, so many in leadership roles are called upon to compromise as a sign of their maturity and clear thinking.
Yet, few but the strongest can resist this siren’s call. Lincoln comes to mind. Thus he earned the best monument on the National Mall. Principled all the way. Admiration from all corners.
Seeing Senator Pat Toomey’s face in the news associated with this big flop of a bill hurts. Hearing Toomey say that background checks and all of the government database that does with them isn’t gun control is like entering some weird, surreal deep-sleep dreaming phase.
And yet, Toomey has revealed himself as a mere mortal, not some great man who had the principles and the strength of character to stand tall when needed.
He is not a bad guy, but Toomey is a failure on this one count alone, and he is not the first nor the last. The Second Amendment is the greatest right of all the Constitutional rights granted to American citizens, and seeing it so badly eroded by one person who should know better is a painful reminder that we cannot stop working.
Yes, the Tea Party folks will probably primary Toomey, and he may well lose that race on the basis of this vote alone. And yes, that could possibly lead to a Democrat filling his seat, which I would not be happy about. But it will be a lesson to other Republicans: Stand with us, or quit calling yourself a Republican.

It Takes a Democrat Strategist & a Conservative Republican to Say What the GOP Establishment Can’t & Won’t Say

CPAC is going on now and through the weekend. CPAC is the annual conservative gathering held around America that pressures the GOP establishment to make sounds of conservativism.

Political strategist Pat Caddell sat on a panel at CPAC yesterday and chided the Republican Party for not fighting to win. Caddell said that the Democrats fight to win, and win they do, and he laughed at how gentlemanly Republicans and conservatives like to be, even at the cost of winning. He listed many examples that I will not reproduce here.

Caddell is a Democrat.

Slip over to the US Capitol around the same time, where US Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) was being asked simple questions about her view of the US Constitution by US Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). You can easily look up the exchange. Cruz asked Feinstein if her approach to gutting the Second Amendment would apply to the First and Fourth Amendments to the US Constitution, where, by her kind of legislation the US citizens could be told which books they could read and which parts of their homes were open to warrantless searches.

Feinstein had a snit and “took offense” to the question, instead of answering it. Liberals always, always, always take offense to anything that they don’t agree with. Being offended is silly, and is no grounds for dismissing an issue. If someone is offended, so what…keep going.

Recall that until very recently, Cruz was the outsider Republican, excluded by the GOP establishment and undermined by them at every turn in his quest for elected office. Conservatives like Cruz are always on the outs with the GOP establishment, because they say things that aren’t considered polite by GOP moderates.

In a nutshell, Thursday, March 14, 2013, was a significant milestone in the internal reformation of the GOP. A Democrat laughed openly in the faces of the GOP for being such weenies that they willfully lose races, and a conservative Republican asked a simple question not asked by any establishment R’s, highlighting the gulf between traditional conservatives and moderate Republicans.

Fortunately, Pennsylvania has US Senator Pat Toomey, a real American with basic American values representing our views in Washington. How sad it was and remains today that the PA GOP tried to promote Steve Welch as the GOP alternative to Bob Casey, instead of staying out of the primary race and letting the candidates contend among themselves. We might today have Tom Smith as our second US Senator, instead of the leftwing Bob Casey.

Finally, A Sign of Life in Harrisburg

Finally, there’s a sign of life in Harrisburg.

Tonight I attended the candidates debate between Democrat Rob Teplitz and Republican John McNally. It was held at the MidTown Bookstore, owned by leftist activist Eric Papenfuse. While his business can’t be hurt by hosting these debates (a bunch have been held there in the past), Eric still gets kudos for opening his doors to the community as a common gathering place. Thank you, Eric.

Kudos also go to Alan Kennedy-Shaffer, the founder of Harrisburg Hope, the convening organization. Alan puts a significant amount of his own time into these efforts, and the community benefits. Way to go, Alan, thank you.

As a former candidate, the format allowed me to ask a question of each candidate, and I did. Alvin Q. Taylor, also a former state senate candidate for the Democratic Party, was also allowed to ask a question, but he got in about ten questions each for McNally and Teplitz. Maybe they were more accusations than questions.

My question for Rob Teplitz: “Knowing that our individual Second Amendment civil rights are a big part of Central Pennsylvania’s culture, including both Democrats and Republicans, do you support more gun control efforts, or more crime control efforts?”

Teplitz disavowed knowing much about guns, because he has had little exposure to them, he said. He said the question posed a false set of choices, because the correct answer is both, not necessarily gun control versus crime control. Teplitz said that he supports hunting and the hunting culture, and that guns should not be in the hands of felons, domestic abusers, or children.

Liberals always mistakenly equate the Second Amendment with “hunting,” and they mistakenly equate gun control with crime control, but that last group he listed caught me by surprise. Like me and like a huge number of the children in Dauphin County, my own kids have been raised with a gun in their hands. Each of my three children has been shooting guns off the cabin porch since they were three or four years old. Nina asked for and received a rifle for her 12th birthday, and when she turned 14, she asked for a handgun. With an arsenal of knives already in his responsible possession, 9-year-old Isaac is almost ready to get his own gun. That kid can shoot.

To say that guns don’t belong in the hands of children is foolish. That is exactly where guns belong so that kids can learn how to use them properly. Like sex education before it, we need mandatory gun safety education in all schools.

To say that the beloved Second Amendment is about hunting is also silly. The Right to Bear Arms is enshrined in all of the state constitutions as well. It is about individual liberty, not duck hunting. Teplitz should take a page out of the Casey or Holden play books, answer his NRA questionnaire, and seek out an NRA A rating, but I doubt he will.

My question for John McNally was, ” As immediate past-chairman of the Dauphin County Republican Party and a quintessential Party insider, you received unprecedented financial and logistical support from the Republican Party and elected officials in your primary campaign against two other fellow Republican candidates this spring. Knowing that you owe your success to their intervention, just how much will you actually be able to maintain independence from party leaders, as you say you will in your ads?”

Thinking quickly on his feet while turning beet red, McNally said that it was me who had sent him an email right after the April 24th election “thanking” him for splitting the vote, as though I had somehow magically won the primary. McNally got it all wrong factually, but give that guy credit for both thinking on his feet and trying to turn back around the pointed question. He just might be a politician yet.

[My April 24, 2012 email to John McNally was sent at 10:33 PM and says “John, Congrats. You owe me for splitting the vote! Good luck against Taylor.”]

I gave him a raised fist pump, which he acknowledged, and he was then off to the races, accusing Teplitz of being a bigger insider and of taking more special interest money, etc etc etc. Give McNally credit for not answering the question, too. Most candidates who duck the question look foolish, but McNally attacked his opponent with such gusto that the audience was carried along with it. I like to think it was me he was really thinking about as he vented real frustration on poor bewildered Rob Teplitz. And while we are pitying people, pity the poor bewildered Republicans who voted for “the conservative outsider” John McNally (the consummate liberal Republican insider), whose campaign literature set new records for blatant horse hooey. Hand it to him, he sold himself as right, left, up down, green, red, blue and yellow all at the same time to the same people, and he got away with it. Talent like that, lying or not, requires earnest recognition. You got it goin’ on, John!

About 80% of the debate was about education, 5% about character flaws, and the remaining 15% was about other policy stuff, like abortion, racial politics, political funding, and who gets to own the fiery crash Harrisburg educational system and $350 million incinerator debt. It was a good debate.

Included in the follow-up policy wonk questions were angry denunciations, plaintive pleas, and weirdo whining for legalized pot from a yenta from Brooklyn wearing a tye-dyed tee-shirt and an explosive Jewfro. It was a really good debate.

Me? I enjoyed sitting with local coroner Graham Hetrick and sharing observations. I also really enjoyed asking McNally the one pointed question he will ever get in his career.

Because taking risks, making sacrifices, and facing adversity builds character, I really want to see the Republican Party stay the hell out of primary races, and let the candidates stand on their own two feet. I want to be able to vote for people who have strong character, chiseled out of hard work, taking bullets, and drinking buckets of crap. Sadly, this race does not include anyone meeting those criteria.

But Alvin Q. Taylor, running his uphill write-in campaign, he IS a character, and as with many other disenchanted Democrats and Republicans around here, he just might get my protest vote.

Patriot News publishes op-ed by First

http://www.pennlive.com/editorials/index.ssf/2011/12/new_state_senate_map_is_a_bad.html

BY JOSH FIRST

With the creation of the new state Senate seat in Dauphin County, presently held by Jeff Piccola but soon to take on a new shape, citizens of Pennsylvania’s capital city and the Republican Party have just been handed a defeat.

Harrisburg might be the capital of Pennsylvania. The city might be a significant part of Dauphin County, with which the city shares many business, tax, cultural and infrastructure relationships. City residents’ personal lives will be strongly influenced by the new state Senate seat that lies just across Vaughn Street in uptown Harrisburg. Yet despite these multiple bonds of steel, Harrisburg citizens are now cut off from that new district and have no voice in an elected position next door that is otherwise going to be a huge part of their lives.

The boundaries of this new district might be a problem simply for the artificially bifurcated relationship between the county and the city alone. But what is really irksome is that uptown Harrisburg is a demographically rich, heavily Republican area. In other words, it’s safe for Republicans.

The 14th Ward, specifically, is the most Republican precinct in the city, and it is home to many gay Republicans, lesbian Republicans, black Republicans and the largest group of Jewish Republicans between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

I know this because as a conservative Republican activist, I routinely collect ballot signatures for Republican candidates in this ward and am on a first-name basis with many of these neat people. On evening walks with my wife through uptown, I quietly mutter “Republican. Democrat. She’s Republican, and he’s a Democrat, Republican. Republican,” as we pass by each house.

Had the new Senate district included this area, then any or all of these Republicans could have been compelling candidates for the Senate position. Sadly, every one of them is now eliminated from consideration for the new seat, a rare opening in a state where elected officials camp out in seats for what feels like a lifetime.

Including uptown Harrisburg in the new Senate district would have included enough of Harrisburg to give city citizens representation while easily protecting the Republican character of the new district and creating opportunity for greater diversity in the Republican Party. An opportunity has been missed, and who knows how many decades will pass before another one occurs. To those of us who toil in the trenches of the Republican Party, it’s a self-inflicted wound in the foot, easily avoided.

Josh First is a businessman living in Harrisburg.

Josh First begins campaign for State Senate

With Tuesday’s historic decision by the Supreme Court to overturn the recent redistricting, the former PA – 15th senate district remains intact.  That means that I am now back in a district from which senator Jeff Piccola is retiring, and for which I can run.

The Pennsylvania 15th Senate District is a beautiful place, really the heartland of America. It also includes Harrisburg, the state capital and one of the major Underground Railroad thruways, with one of the nation’s most majestic public edifices, the capitol building.
It is an honor to declare my candidacy for the 15th Senate District.
Please let me know if you can volunteer to circulate petitions, which are due by February 15th.

Email: info@joshfirst.com, or call 717 232-8335.

Thank you!

–Josh

Josh First