Both the United States Constitution and the Pennsylvania Constitution make plain that American and Pennsylvania state governments derive their power from the People.
But my, oh my, have we not seen a tremendous erosion of privacy and basic individual rights and liberties over the years as government power to regulate and surveil expands. Much of this starts with local law enforcement.
Over and over again we read with amazement how some official government regulatory or law enforcement arm commits another over-reach deep into some poor citizen’s life. And then with even greater amazement we read how some judge, especially federal judges, uphold what would appear on its face to violate the US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. Here are some headlines:
“Ohio Court upholds police forced entry into private home over failure to signal at traffic light…”
“New Jersey Federal Court Upholds The FTC’s Authority To Regulate Data Security”
“Judge Upholds Police ‘Code of Silence’ Ruling…U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve decided Thursday decided not to toss out part of a jury’s decision that found Chicago police operated under a “code of silence,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
Last month, a jury found the police department obstructed the investigation into the beating death of bartender Karolina Obrycka at the hands of off-duty police officer Anthony Abbate in 2007.
U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve decided Thursday decided not to toss out part of a jury’s decision that found Chicago police operated under a “code of silence,” according to the Chicago Tribune.”
“Police can forcibly take DNA samples during arrests, judge rules”
“Federal Judge Upholds Warrantless Hidden Surveillance Cameras On Private Property”
“Court upholds dismissal of ticket quota lawsuit”
“Utah Cops Arrest Teen for Recording, Judge then Orders Teen to Admit Guilt before Trial”
Federal judges aren’t supposed to hear cases in which they have a financial stake. Dozens do it anyway.”
And the granddaddy of them all, a truly unbelievable case in which a federal judge recently decided the police can simply take over your home and eat your food without any reason whatsoever:
“The Nevada case of Mitchell v. City of Henderson still slogs through the Nevada Federal District Court. This case has one unusual feature. It accuses police in two cities of quartering themselves in two private houses without the consent of their owners. This would breach the Third Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which deals with quartering of soldiers. The defendant city officials say police officers are not soldiers. But the Mitchells actually have a thirty-two-year-old precedent on their side. That case says one need not be an active-duty U.S. armed service member to be a “soldier” under the Constitution………………….the police in Henderson wanted to “stake out” the Mitchells’ neighbor. They forced the Mitchells (and Anthony Mitchell’s parents) out of their homes, moved in for the time of their stakeout, and helped themselves to whatever was in their refrigerators and pantries. They even arrested Anthony and Michael for obstructing the police. Those charges could not possibly stick, so the city dropped them. But the Mitchells are still suing, on every ground they could possibly cite.
The Third Amendment portion of the Mitchell complaint has been dismissed as of February 2015. The judge held that police officers are not soldiers for the purposes of the Third Amendment; he also expressed doubt that occupying the property for less than 24 hours would constitute ‘quartering’, although he did not specifically rule on that aspect.”
And so on. You can do your own Internet search on this subject and read the stories behind these headlines and many more. The purpose here is to call attention to the problem of judges who clearly allow unconstitutional government behavior to proceed.
And what is to be done with US Supreme Court justices who lie under oath in their nomination and confirmation hearings, in order to be confirmed, and then begin ruling exactly the opposite of what they testified to in the US Senate?
In all these instances, the People – us, the voters, taxpayers, and citizens of America – should take the necessary steps to legally remove these failed public servants from their benches. These are no longer judges in the essential sense of the term, and they certainly no longer look out for the basic rights and liberties of the People.
So they must be impeached or recalled.
The following op-ed was published at www.pennlive.com, which is the new digital version of the former Patriot News newspaper. What I submitted was edited a bit by the staff there, and they mis-spelled attorney Josh Prince’s name, among other mistakes or omissions. If you are interested in seeing the difference of thinking between liberals and conservatives, you are encouraged to read the comments section following the letter. The conservatives keep on repeating the same basic, accurate facts, the same simple logic, and the liberals keep talking about their feelings, going off-topic, mocking and commenting on physical appearance. This is one of those moments where taxpayers can get a glimpse of the failure of America’s educational system, where critical thinking has been thrown overboard in favor of teaching students to be politically correct on issues, like government overreach on gun ownership.
Thanks to the hard work of Lowman Henry, Dan Mosel and others, the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference was a resounding success.
Scott Davis did the straw poll (I have not been emailed the results; I voted for Cruz and Ben Carson), and despite running around on a million errands, he managed to keep a chipper air.
Chris Liliks was center stage Mister Organization, and USMC Col. Frank Ryan gave the most convincing Pledge of Allegiance ever. Frank and I were opponents in the 2009-2010 four-way congressional race for the then-Tim Holden seat, now gerrymandered into something unrecognizable. Frank is a great guy and it brought me a lot of pleasure to see him again and shake his hand.
Dauphin County Commissioner Jeff Haste had endless patience discussing with me the dynamics and aggravations of the establishment versus the grass roots, and although he was dead wrong on every single thing, he still kindly sat with me and provided great company (as well as thereby serving as the genesis of some great political rumors…).
Business guru Fred Anton provided opening remarks that impressed everyone at our table, as he succinctly hit on every hot political and economic issue in a Spartan speech that artfully blended politics and economy without sounding so dullingly or partisanly political. Vote for PA Supreme Court candidates who are going to fill out their full ten-year terms, Fred told us. That’s not bad advice. But remember that the legislature is considering raising the mandatory retirement age for judges, so candidates who might only serve for two years now could get on the court and then serve seven years, which is plenty long enough.
Rick Santorum gave a heartfelt, moving, extemporaneous speech about Iran that brought inspired tears to the eyes of many audience members. It was a stellar performance that reminded everyone in the packed ballroom why Santorum is still in the political leadership mix – he operates from the heart and from principle, not from from some shallow, meaningless political calculation. Iran’s danger to Western civilization was the topic of Santorum’s speech, where he pointed out that both Republicans and Democrats are failing to lead on this critical security issue. He also hit the Republican Party hard for not incorporating working people into their mantra of money and prosperity, suggesting that if the R’s miss this much more, then maybe it is time for everyone to become Independent or some other third party. Ouch! And he is 100% right, as can be seen from the machinations in the PA 15th Senate District, where yet another super-rich businessman with the articulate capabilities of a junk yard dog is the “chosen one.” If you ask me, and who am I to criticize (;-D), this looks like another one-dimensional effort to lose the seat to the Dems once again.
Senator Pat Toomey gave one of his trademark understated policy speeches where you’re half-way into it and falling asleep before you realize “Oh My God this is serious stuff.” Although I do not agree with Toomey that the senate Democrats should have been allowed to exploit all of the procedural niceties they did not allow the Republicans for five years. Recall that as US Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid conducted “the nuclear option” and dismantled 150 years of Senate procedural rules designed to let the minority have some say and have some votes. Recall that for five years there were something like a total of 16 actual votes on the Senate floor, a historic embarrassment and indication that American democracy was held hostage by the Senate Democrats. Despite suffering under Reid’s mismanagement, Toomey believes in being “nice” now with his Republican majority, somehow proving that the Republicans are nicer than the mean ol’ Democrats. I think he is mistaken. But I am not a US Senator, so I have little to say about it but what I write here. Let us not take away here from Senator Toomey his outstanding and laser-like focus on Iran’s nuclear threat to America.
Everything went as smoothly as possible, with the only unusual thing the large walk-out by a significant portion of the audience when Grover Norquist took the stage. A couple things struck me about Mister Jihadi Norquist. One, he is remarkably small in stature and frame, almost child-size with a squeaky high voice, like the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. This may explain his need for a larger-than-life personality and desire to dominate everyone. The second unusual thing I noticed was how Norquist required all kinds of security guys, and a big limo, and superstar treatment, in contrast to Santorum, Toomey, and other well-known speakers who just walked right in to the Radisson with a “Hey How are Ya?” attitude and hallos and handshakes and other casual chit-chat on their way to the podium.
It seems that Mister Muslim Brotherhood Secret Operative Blow Up America From The Inside Grover Norquist requires lots of marching band accompaniment to look and feel good. I was happy when I looked around and saw the steady stream of audience members heading for the doors with me, while my colleague remained behind at our front-and-center table “so I can say I got to hear Grover lie in person to a whole room of people.” In other words, it does not appear that Mister Ollie Snackbar Nukem Norquist enjoys much political cover any longer. He was asked to suspend himself from the NRA board of directors four days ago, an indication that his weaseling ways and sneaky days are numbered.
So that is my brief round-up and I could write so much more, but why should I? Really, you should come to next year’s PLC and see how grand it is for yourself.
When I tell some people how aggressively we try to manage standing timber (forests), they often recoil. It sounds so destructive, so environmentally wrong.
It is not environmentally damaging, but I will be the first to admit that the weeks and months after a logging operation often look like hell on the landscape: Tops everywhere, exposed dirt, skid trails, a tangled mess where an open woods had stood for the past sixty to eighty years just weeks before. No question, it is not the serene scene we all enjoyed beforehand.
This “clearcutting” gets a bad name from poor forestry practices out West and because of urban and suburban lawn aesthetics being misapplied to dynamic natural forests.
However, if we do not aggressively manage the forest, and the tree canopy above it, then we end up with tree species like black birch and red maple as the dominant trees in what should be, what otherwise would be a diverse and food-producing environment. Non-native and fire-sensitive species like ailanthus are quickly becoming a problem, as well.
When natural forest fires swept through our northeastern forests up until 100 years ago, these fire-sensitive species (black birch, red maple) were killed off, and nut trees like oaks, hickories, and chestnuts thrived. Animals like bears, deer, turkey, Allegheny woodrats, and every other critter under the sun survived on those nut crops every fall.
Without natural fire, which is obviously potentially destructive and scary, we must either set small prescribed fires, or aggressively remove the overhead tree canopy to get sufficient sunlight onto the forest floor to pop, open, and regenerate the next generation of native trees. Deer enjoy browsing young tree sprouts, so those tasty oaks, hickories, etc that lack sufficient sunlight to grow quickly usually become stunted shrubs, at best, due to constant deer nibbling. Sunlight is the key here.
And there is no way to get enough sunlight onto the forest floor and its natural seed bed without opening up the tree canopy above it. And that requires aggressive tree removal.
Northeastern forests typically have deep enough soils, sufficient rainfall, and gentle enough slopes to handle aggressive timber management. Where my disbelieving eyes have seen aggressive management go awry is out west, in the steep Rockies, where 1980s “regeneration cuts” on ancient forests had produced zero trees 25 years later. In fact, deep ravines had resulted from the flash-flooding that region is known for, and soil was being eroded into pristine waterways. So, aggressive timber management is not appropriate for all regions, all topography, or all soils.
But here in the northeast, we go out of our way to leave a huge mess behind after we log. Why? Because how things appear on their surface has nothing to do with how they perform natural functions. Those tangled tree tops provide cover for the next generation of trees and wildflowers, turtles and snakes, and help prevent soil erosion by blocking water and making it move slowly across the landscape.
Indeed, a correctly managed northeastern forest is no place for urban or suburban landscape aesthetics, which often dictate bad “select cut” methods that work against the long term health and diversity of the forest, as well as against the tax-paying landowner.
So the next time you see a forest coming down, cheer on the landowner, because they are receiving needed money to pay for the land. Cheer on the loggers and the timber buyers, the mills and manufacturing plants, and the retailers of furniture, flooring, and kitchen cabinets, because they all are part of a great chain of necessary economic activity that at its core is sustainable, renewable, natural, and quintessentially good.
Governor Tom Wolf’s support for PA AG Kathleen Kane is a political mistake. Commitment to party more than the people causes these types of errors. Tom Wolf campaigned as a non partisan leader, above politics, solely at the service of the citizenry. Kane is obviously a lawless, corrupt politician who abandoned the pursuit of justice the minute she walked into the AG’s office. What a shame Wolf is expending his political capital on such a waste. I had much higher hopes for him.
Taking breathers from political screeds may be rare here, but this is an oddball necessity. One cannot see bloodthirsty fakery and sit silently.
To wit: A lot of guys collect old militaria. Swords, bayonets, guns, helmets, etc. Cool stuff. Inspiring. Evocative of sacrifice and bravery.
Most of this rusty old junk is tough to fake, and even more to the point, pointless to fake, as the rip-off scheme costs more than the item is worth.
Except in the world of old Japanese swords.
The iconic katana and wakizashi have been sought after for decades as both extremely appealing for a red-blooded man to look at, and as artwork; refined craftsmanship that’ll easily cut off an arm. What normal guy wouldn’t be attracted to such art?!
For the past ten years or a bit more, a certain well known, popular, big auction site on the internet has been filled with many obviously faked Japanese swords and daggers. There were and still are some for sale in the past week and presently, hawked as “gendaito” in shingunto mounts. These would be valuable hand-made art blades holstered in relatively rudimentary war-time (WWII) scabbards that saw service in the field. If they were actually old and authentic.
But these are not authentic, historic blades. They were made recently and are being sold as old.
So sad to see such obviously faked signatures, and faked blades, set into authentic WWII mounts and carriers, with blazingly brand-new shirasaya! It’s an obviously winning combination, as buyers pay thousands of dollars for something worth a few hundred at most.
C’mon guys. Use your heads. Do your research. How many gendaito blades really made it out, after WWII? So many that individual sellers seem to constantly, endlessly pull them out like white rabbits from black hats?
Alarm bells not going off?
If your hearts weren’t telling you Yes, your eyes would be telling you “FAKE!”
Run. Run away fast from these too-good-to-be-true bargains with new handles, purposeful minor scuffs, and signatures so clearly punched in by a modern Chinaman, not a Nipon-To maker sitting cross legged eighty years ago.
If nothing else, demand NHTK papers with each sword. Or consider your investment wasted. Sorry to say.
This Public Service Announcement has been brought to you by a fellow dude.
Wishing everyone a meaningful Passover or Easter this weekend.
These holidays bring joy, hope and happiness amidst a modern sea of constant bad news on the wings of digital media and handheld devices.
Just goes to show that God takes care of us, or gives us the ability to care for ourselves, even if humans are our own worst enemies at times.
Nothing is tougher to accept than a corrupt public official, and the higher the office the harder it is to accept. So it is with Kathleen Kane, PA’s Attorney General.
Now the Philly Inquirer has published a significant investigative report on AG Kathleen Kane and her constant intercessions on behalf of known, convicted, and or suspected crooks from the moment she took office.
The first one the public learned about was Kane’s shielding of ultra corrupt politicians from the Philadelphia area. Philly DA Seth Williams took issue with Kane’s dropping of cases against the bad guys, and he battled her for control of the cases. Williams resurrected the charges and successfully implemented his n her job: People paid big fines, went to jail etc.
Now it turns out that Kane has been using her position to drop or stop investigations right and left across the Pennsylvania landscape. Again, these cases were against wealthy, politically connected people. Her staff at the AG’s office strongly disagreed with her. Some left their careers there because of Kane’s ….questionable….decisions.
Last week Kane lost a case at the PA Supreme Court, which allowed a special prosecutor to continue investigating Kane for her obviously corrupt and illegal behavior on OTHER issues.
In the totality, Kane is surrounded by her own bad judgment, bad decisions, illegal decisions, stupid decisions, corruption, really, over which she will now be charged, in addition to lots of petty politics like hiring her own sister into the AG’s office.
It is time for this catastrophe of a human being to do us taxpayers a favor, and resign. Save her and us from even more shame and pain and public expenditure to follow through on the obvious need for justice. Kane is corrupt. Please leave public life, Un-Citizen Kane.
Thank you to Professor Andrea Leiber, among others, at Dickinson College, just about every year I am invited to come speak to a class about environmental issues.
Usually it is more enjoyable to go right into the Question & Answer period, because it’s there that we get the most essential points. Usually stuff like “Statistically, most of you will get married and about half of you will become divorced. Many of you will get fired from a job. Don’t fight with your boss. Pursue things that make you happy,” and so on.
These are college students who may not have ever heard facts and ideas like this before.
Today I brought a hand-out, below, that we went over before getting into the Q&A. The students, naturally, found these items tremendously provocative, which is good. That is the point. The goal is to challenge them and get them to think hard, outside their comfort zones. Kids, thank you for being so interested in our topics. I appreciate at least not being ignored.
Here is what was handed out:
Dickinson Five points:
1) your generation is becoming infantile. Don’t be offended. That’s a cop-out. Engage the world. Debate people on substantive issues. “You offend me” is bullsh*t. Don’t deal in bullsh*t. Be real.
2) listen to Rush Limbaugh. Or Hannity. Or Glen Beck. Add diverse thinking to your daily dose of diversity. Or, stop deceiving yourself that you truly embrace diversity. Listening to ideas you’re new to or unhappy about gets you outside the box. Think outside the box. Political correctness is a box.
3) climate change is not a religion, or a cult, or a science, so stop treating it that way. For 35 years we’ve been told a brand new, unproven, nascent science was already settled. Really? On what basis? By whom? Anthropogenic climate change is a corrupted political movement based on Marxism. It’s not science, yet.
4) Learn the American Constitution. It’s the basis of your life whether or not you presently understand it. It’s under assault. Eg 2nd amendment is fundamental to a free people and gun control has zero to do with crime control, FEC FCC regulation of internet, NSA spying, IRS political assault on political speech, Hillary’s private emails to conduct national security, loss of religious conscience.
5) Islam is at war with western civilization. America’s next big war will probably be with orthodox Muslims over individual liberty and freedom. Do not allow political correctness to stop you from asking questions and from saying what you believe.
Are you against Christianity but ok with Islam? Why?
Are you upset about the Israeli “occupation” but are ok with the Arab occupation of Jewish and Christian homes, farms and businesses? Why?
Be brave or kiss America and your iPhone goodbye.
Get off Facebook, have a beer [or soda] and grilled hotdogs with your real friends, instead.
Grow a small garden.
Camp out often.
Be self reliant.
Don’t let others’ expectations shape your future.
Get a gun and learn how to shoot it and store it.
Don’t smoke pot. Facebook is pot. It’s already killing your brain. Don’t add more.
Don’t be a hypocrite or have double standards. Be real.
Each day this past week I have waited for the other-other shoe to drop. And sure enough, each day some new incomprehensible surprise greeted us.
Obama’s most endearing trait is his public persona. His smoothness. His likeability. But what has come out more in the past week than in the past six years is how treacherous Obama is, how deliberately two-faced he is, how big of a blatant liar he is, how evil he is and how intent he is upon tearing down America and replacing it with…God knows what.
In his rapprochement with genocidal Iran and his war on Western Civilization Israel, Obama is dragging the United States into a place no Western human has ever gone before: Down.
Obama is dragging all of us into an abyss from which our nation will not climb out, if Iran gets to own nuclear bombs. And it is clear that Obama wants Iran to have them, just as it is clear that he resents Israel having them (note the release of Israel’s deepest nuclear secrets by Obama’s Pentagon this week).
Odd as it is, Obama’s supporters still include most American Jews, whose recent brushes with genocide would under normal circumstances remind them to place their sympathies elsewhere. However, political correctness is the new religion of the people formerly known as American Jews, and political correctness demands utter fealty to The Human One, whomever that may be at any given time, not The One who created Heaven and Earth. This is a sad development because so much of America’s intelligentsia is represented by the people formerly known as American Jews, such as academia and the media.
In going Down, instead of on the Upward trajectory Western Civilization has carried all of us over the past thousand years, minorities are most likely to suffer badly, one way or the other. One of the largest minorities in America today are Caucasians. How will they fare under the new America? Will there be a place for them? Will faux “White Guilt” force them to become willing slaves? Are they becoming that already, working as they do to support a tax-heavy government intent on wiping away their free speech and self-defense rights?
So many have placed their trust in a Muslim Marxist, whose mask is beginning to fall away, and yet they hope, in vain, that the dirty deeds he does now will not really exist later on. That’s the hope they voted for.
Just as surely as you can keep your doctor and your health plan, you can bet on everything working out just fine, folks. That’s the change we got.