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“The Civil War is Here”

Occasionally someone else’s writing is posted here. This below is outstanding analysis plus brave words. If you love America as it was founded- constitutional, focused on individual liberty and freedom, freedom from government, freedom of religion, etc, then this essay from the Freedom Center is for you. And if you are curious about an alternative perspective than what the Hollywood – Media Industrial Complex serve up every day, this is for you, too.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266197/civil-war-here-daniel-greenfield

THE CIVIL WAR IS HERE
The left doesn’t want to secede. It wants to rule.

March 27, 2017

By Daniel Greenfield

A civil war has begun.

This civil war is very different than the last one. There are no cannons or cavalry charges. The left doesn’t want to secede. It wants to rule. Political conflicts become civil wars when one side refuses to accept the existing authority. The left has rejected all forms of authority that it doesn’t control.

The left has rejected the outcome of the last two presidential elections won by Republicans. It has rejected the judicial authority of the Supreme Court when it decisions don’t accord with its agenda. It rejects the legislative authority of Congress when it is not dominated by the left.

It rejected the Constitution so long ago that it hardly bears mentioning.

It was for total unilateral executive authority under Obama. And now it’s for states unilaterally deciding what laws they will follow. (As long as that involves defying immigration laws under Trump, not following them under Obama.) It was for the sacrosanct authority of the Senate when it held the majority. Then it decried the Senate as an outmoded institution when the Republicans took it over.

It was for Obama defying the orders of Federal judges, no matter how well grounded in existing law, and it is for Federal judges overriding any order by Trump on any grounds whatsoever. It was for Obama penalizing whistleblowers, but now undermining the government from within has become “patriotic”.

There is no form of legal authority that the left accepts as a permanent institution. It only utilizes forms of authority selectively when it controls them. But when government officials refuse the orders of the duly elected government because their allegiance is to an ideology whose agenda is in conflict with the President and Congress, that’s not activism, protest, politics or civil disobedience; it’s treason.

After losing Congress, the left consolidated its authority in the White House. After losing the White House, the left shifted its center of authority to Federal judges and unelected government officials. Each defeat led the radicalized Democrats to relocate from more democratic to less democratic institutions.

This isn’t just hypocrisy. That’s a common political sin. Hypocrites maneuver within the system. The left has no allegiance to the system. It accepts no laws other than those dictated by its ideology.

Democrats have become radicalized by the left. This doesn’t just mean that they pursue all sorts of bad policies. It means that their first and foremost allegiance is to an ideology, not the Constitution, not our country or our system of government. All of those are only to be used as vehicles for their ideology.

That’s why compromise has become impossible.

Our system of government was designed to allow different groups to negotiate their differences. But those differences were supposed to be based around finding shared interests. The most profound of these shared interests was that of a common country based around certain civilizational values. The left has replaced these Founding ideas with radically different notions and principles. It has rejected the primary importance of the country. As a result it shares little in the way of interests or values.

Instead it has retreated to cultural urban and suburban enclaves where it has centralized tremendous amounts of power while disregarding the interests and values of most of the country. If it considers them at all, it is convinced that they will shortly disappear to be replaced by compliant immigrants and college indoctrinated leftists who will form a permanent demographic majority for its agenda.

But it couldn’t wait that long because it is animated by the conviction that enforcing its ideas is urgent and inevitable. And so it turned what had been a hidden transition into an open break.

In the hidden transition, its authority figures had hijacked the law and every political office they held to pursue their ideological agenda. The left had used its vast cultural power to manufacture a consensus that was slowly transitioning the country from American values to its values and agendas. The right had proven largely impotent in the face of a program which corrupted and subverted from within.

The left was enormously successful in this regard. It was so successful that it lost all sense of proportion and decided to be open about its views and to launch a political power struggle after losing an election.

The Democrats were no longer being slowly injected with leftist ideology. Instead the left openly took over and demanded allegiance to open borders, identity politics and environmental fanaticism. The exodus of voters wiped out the Democrats across much of what the left deemed flyover country.

The left responded to democratic defeats by retreating deeper into undemocratic institutions, whether it was the bureaucracy or the corporate media, while doubling down on its political radicalism. It is now openly defying the outcome of a national election using a coalition of bureaucrats, corporations, unelected officials, celebrities and reporters that are based out of its cultural and political enclaves.

It has responded to a lost election by constructing sanctuary cities and states thereby turning a cultural and ideological secession into a legal secession. But while secessionists want to be left alone authoritarians want everyone to follow their laws. The left is an authoritarian movement that wants total compliance with its dictates with severe punishments for those who disobey.

The left describes its actions as principled. But more accurately they are ideological. Officials at various levels of government have rejected the authority of the President of the United States, of Congress and of the Constitution because those are at odds with their radical ideology. Judges have cloaked this rejection in law. Mayors and governors are not even pretending that their actions are lawful.

The choices of this civil war are painfully clear.

We can have a system of government based around the Constitution with democratically elected representatives. Or we can have one based on the ideological principles of the left in which all laws and processes, including elections and the Constitution, are fig leaves for enforcing social justice.

But we cannot have both.

Some civil wars happen when a political conflict can’t be resolved at the political level. The really bad ones happen when an irresolvable political conflict combines with an irresolvable cultural conflict.

That is what we have now.

The left has made it clear that it will not accept the lawful authority of our system of government. It will not accept the outcome of elections. It will not accept these things because they are at odds with its ideology and because they represent the will of large portions of the country whom they despise.

The question is what comes next.

The last time around growing tensions began to explode in violent confrontations between extremists on both sides. These extremists were lauded by moderates who mainstreamed their views. The first Republican president was elected and rejected. The political tensions led to conflict and then civil war.

The left doesn’t believe in secession. It’s an authoritarian political movement that has lost democratic authority. There is now a political power struggle underway between the democratically elected officials and the undemocratic machinery of government aided by a handful of judges and local elected officials.

What this really means is that there are two competing governments; the legal government and a treasonous anti-government of the left. If this political conflict progresses, agencies and individuals at every level of government will be asked to demonstrate their allegiance to these two competing governments. And that can swiftly and explosively transform into an actual civil war.

There is no sign that the left understands or is troubled by the implications of the conflict it has initiated. And there are few signs that Democrats properly understand the dangerous road that the radical left is drawing them toward. The left assumes that the winners of a democratic election will back down rather than stand on their authority. It is unprepared for the possibility that democracy won’t die in darkness.

Civil wars end when one side is forced to accept the authority of the other. The left expects everyone to accept its ideological authority. Conservatives expect the left to accept Constitutional authority. The conflict is still political and cultural. It’s being fought in the media and within the government. But if neither side backs down, then it will go beyond words as both sides give contradictory orders.

The left is a treasonous movement. The Democrats became a treasonous organization when they fell under the sway of a movement that rejects our system of government, its laws and its elections. Now their treason is coming to a head. They are engaged in a struggle for power against the government. That’s not protest. It’s not activism. The old treason of the sixties has come of age. A civil war has begun.

This is a primal conflict between a totalitarian system and a democratic system. Its outcome will determine whether we will be a free nation or a nation of slaves.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
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Dangerous RINOs Ahead

Around the world, both the leading and moderately successful democracies  are unsustainably absorbing huge numbers of illegal immigrants who both refuse to integrate and probably could not integrate, even if they wanted.

In most places they show no signs of integrating, and are instead associated with lawlessness and chaos.

Europe, Israel, and America are where this is happening.

The faux “victim” status of the invaders has given them access to publicly funded health and education benefits, against the will of the people paying for them.

This invasion-in-fact puts increasing economic and social pressure on existing populations, the people who built their societies from the ground up. You know, the “natives.”

These European natives live in the very places against which the invaders are entitled to “resist occupation.” Why and how it is “occupation” when Europeans and Americans move to other countries, but it is a morally required population shift when everyone moves to Europe and America, is one of those mysteries that can probably only be explained by being steeped in the ‘deep thinking’ of Marxism.

This presently unarmed invasion is made possible by ruling elites who either benefit financially from the cheap labor influx, or who personally enjoy signalling their great virtues and thus willfully ignore the huge problems descending upon the natives.

While you would think leaders from opposite sides of the aisle would collide on this civilization-ending invasion, the truth is that huge collaboration between left and right party establishments is what has enabled this in the first place. Most of the left and the right are run by ruling class elites.

Among the world’s ruling class elite, the RINO is the most dangerous animal. This is because the RINO says it is a watch dog, when in fact it is a guide dog for the invaders while the American family lies asleep inside the cozy home.

Living in its own cushy, posh, comfy little corner, insulated from the reality around it, the careerist RINO just has to successfully pretend to be a watch dog and occasionally bark like a watch dog. That keeps most of the rabble away. Never mind that the rabble are the citizens the RINO is supposed to be watching.

Aside from a small group of conservatives in Congress and in state houses, the GOPe is not protecting America. The GOPe is not standing guard. Sure some of the GOPe members make a few noises about standing up for the citizens they represent, but just like with the GOPe recent unwillingness to eliminate ObamaCare, these RINOs cannot bring themselves to make a principled stand when the time has arrived. It might upset someone and threaten their cozy elected job.

Around here in central Pennsylvania, career congressman Charlie Dent is probably the greatest example of the most worthless of RINOs in Congress, and state senator Jake Corman is the best example in the PA legislature.  Won’t a couple patriots please challenge Dent and Corman in their upcoming primaries?

It is time to make these RINOs an endangered species. Otherwise, America will become an endangered specie itself.

Weekend with the PA sportsmen

Though being involved with the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs since about 2000, maybe 1999, I have never spent an entire weekend at one of the group’s annual conventions.

Founded in the 1920s, PFSC is one of America’s oldest conservation groups. Back in 1954, the group started what is now the Great American Outdoor Show, now run by NRA.

PFSC has been at the forefront of every major environmental issue (sometimes with the greens, sometimes not), conservation initiative, and gun rights fight since the 1920s. It is a group worth giving to in any way you can, and it seems to attract the most selfless, generous, interesting people.

This past weekend was my first full PFSC convention, and I enjoyed it a lot. It was eye-opening and heart warming. My new role as Perry County Delegate gave me a whole new view.

Here are some observations:

First, the group is politically, ethnically, genderly, and religiously diverse. Not just a bunch of “white guys with guns,” the group is administratively and professionally run mostly by three kind, patient, and bossy women, with an impressive second vice president on her way up to being president in the new few years. Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Atheists, Deists, and probably a couple Druids. Republicans, Independents, Democrats, liberals, moderates, conservatives, and knuckle-draggers. Financially successful business people, blue collar workers with dirt under their nails, retired state, federal, and private industry workers. It is a rich and neat mix of very different people from across Pennsylvania, who share a few passions: Wildlife conservation, habitat conservation, passing on the outdoor heritage (hunting, trapping, fishing, hiking, camping, canoeing etc), and Second Amendment rights. But ageism reigns supreme, with not many young people showing up.

Second, the group is overwhelmingly in the “Oldster” category, with a few truly young people. There’s a lot of white hair and white beards. I am 52 and I am considered one of the “young guys.” But there are some active 20- and 30-somethings. Why lots of younger people are absent is probably attributable to these reasons: a) Like many other Americans, young sportsmen take a lot for granted, b) Like many other Americans, young sportsmen are happy to let someone else carry their weight, c) Americans are scattered all over the place with family and work obligations, and people raising young families are programmed from Friday at 4:00 until Sunday at 9:00 every weekend.

Something needs to change here, though, and young people must get involved with PFSC. There are a lot of forces out there quietly working against the interests of sportsmen, and if the guard is weakened or dropped, then the negative changes will happen fast and furious. Think your shooting range is grandfathered in, and protected from all of the new housing that suddenly surrounded it? Guess what, someone could challenge your range’s status in court for the 29th time, and finally get a lousy judge who decides to be the creator of law, not the arbiter. Only PFSC stands ready.

Third, these are the most generous, community-spirited people you will ever meet. They are devoted and happily spend their own money to protect what they love. Unlike the popular but nevertheless wrong method of demanding that everyone bend to some individual’s wishes, the sportsmen just keep giving and giving, and hoping that eventually everyone else will realize the trails, pretty birds, farms, and public lands they take for granted did not just happen because. Rather, sportsmen were there at the beginning, working hard to protect these resources for decades. Simply because they are visionary, passionate, dedicated and hard working.

Would you please lend a hand?

Buy a three-dollar raffle ticket?

Come out and work a Youth Field Day?

Join a club and pay a little money to keep the ranges looking spotless?

Join the PFSC as an individual, or simply donate five or ten bucks, to help pay for the FULL TIME lobbyist on Capitol Hill?

You don’t like lobbyists, you say. OK, who then is going to head off bad legislation aimed at destroying your Second Amendment rights, stealing your public lands, fouling the public waters, or allowing wildlife to only become roadkill?

Only the PFSC protects the interests of all Pennsylvania sportsmen. They have been doing it since the 1920s, and they are doing it today.

Join this small but spirited and accomplished crowd, be the best you can be, or just send them five bucks and help a worthy cause. It is your own cause, after all. http://www.pfsc.org/

The things that make life fun

Music, family, food, friendship, art derived from craftsmanship, Nature, aesthetics, and so on are things that make life fun.

The best things in life are free, and aren’t really things: Love, friendship, trust, integrity, honesty. We can have as much of these as we want, and very often they only require giving a little to get a lot in return.

I am not Italian, but when I used to hang out with Italians, I finally learned what “food” really, truly is. Restaurateur Andy Zangrilli of State College trained me in two of his restaurants as a line chef, from salads to sautee, when I was fresh out of high school. Andy owns Gullifty’s and other landmark restaurants around Pennsylvania, and prided himself on making all of his food from scratch, including pickling and smoking his own pastrami and corned beef, as well as making his own prosciutto and some cheeses. It had to be done just right, or not done at all. And when the food was done right, it was like hearing angels sing. As a dad and husband who enjoys cooking, I try to bring some of Andy’s amazing recipes to life in our own home. No complaints yet!

Today’s news was just filled with all kinds of rich targets: RyanCare vs ObamaCare, news that an Israeli teenager has been arrested for committing the lion’s share of the email and phone threats made against Jewish institutions across America over the past months (and NOT “white supremacists”), my old Penn State chum and good friend Seth Williams being indicted for bribery as DA of Philadelphia, and so on.

Never at a loss for words or strong opinions, I would naturally have more to say on these subjects than I should. And you know what, this is also the PA Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs spring conference, too, and I will be going to that. So I guess that is where I am going to let the mind and written word go next.

Wildlife biologist Ben Jones of the PA Game Commission will be speaking tomorrow night, a can’t-miss opportunity for those of us who love nature, wildlife, and conservation. I will be joining a lot of friends and colleagues this weekend at this gathering, and that’s what I am going to focus on here:

Enjoy your friends and family, my friends. Life is so precious and yet so tenuous. At my age, we all too often see good people gone in a blink of an eye. People who brought us smiles, and laughter, joy and love, warmth and companionship. These are treasures, though we cannot weigh them out or count them. Yes, there is a time for ego, debate, values, culture, and possessiveness, and anger, and hurt, and revenge, and so on, but this weekend….for me it’s about friendship.

It is one of those “things” that make life worth living. For a tiny price, it can be had in truckloads.

Comey must go

The FBI is supposed to be above politics.

Steadfastly professional, uncorrupted, uncorruptable, the FBI is supposed to be the impartial, non-partisan steady hand on our nation’s law enforcement.

So when FBI director James Comey blatantly stuck it to Republicans last Fall, then stuck it to Democrats days before the election, in an apparent effort to curry favor with an incoming Republican administration, and then stuck it to Congress and President Trump days ago with blatantly false testimony and open contempt for a directive to cooperate with other law enforcement personnel, it wasn’t a sign that the guy is an equal opportunity jerk.

The guy is just an unprofessional jerk.

Comey is enjoying playing politics, in the center of politics, for his own ego trip and personal sense of power, and that simply is not acceptable. The costs this imposes on our fragile nation are too high.

The guy is openly wallowing in a personal power trip. His arrogance is on full display, right down to his smug face while giving patently false testimony before Congress.  That is, denying there was an investigation of Trump, or a recent corruption of the government’s investigative powers, when there are now handfuls of evidence that Trump and other private Americans with no foreign security value were wiretapped and surveilled by the Obama administration. And they then leaked that information out to the press, an avowed opponent of Trump.

Even Washington Post partisan activist Bob Woodward now concedes that Obama administration officials may end up going to jail over this.

Fire Comey. He is simply a public servant like any other public servant, with a bigger burden to prove his restraint and professionalism than anyone else. He is not up to that task. We The People deserve better and it is time for him to go.

President Trump, please do America a favor and let Mr. Comey go join the private sector.

 

 

Why are there syllables in my bread?

The other day I made the mistake of looking at the the ingredients label on the bag containing a loaf of sliced bread I brought home from the Giant store on Linglestown Road.

Can you believe the chemicals and additives and preservatives that are in that loaf of bread, according to the label? These are seriously long, serious-sounding, polysyllabic words that I have trouble pronouncing, no matter how long I have to spell them out slowly.

Words this long do not belong in the human body.

It made me wonder, Why are all these syllables in my bread?

Shouldn’t bread just be something like flour, water, salt, sugar, eggs, baking powder, maybe some fresh yeast, plus fire? For the past five thousand years, bread has been successfully made with slight variations on this theme of basic ingredients.

One of my kids has a health issue, and for most of her life it was treated with scary chemicals.

One by one, the chemicals stopped working. We were left with few options.

Then a researcher in Israel began a study, where kids with this health issue would go on a basic diet: No processed food, no canned food, no frozen food except what you freeze yourself. Everything fresh. No soda, no powdered drink mixes. Etc.

Guess what? She went into remission. It was attributable solely to the lack of processed food and the attendant polysyllabic chemicals she was otherwise ingesting when she ate “food.”

Today our friend Roberta came over, delivering Girl Scout cookies that only our boy can eat (well, I could easily eat them, but my body needs no extra calories or fat). We caught up in the kitchen over fresh coffee. Turns out she has changed her diet, and is feeling a lot better than before, plus she is lean and feeling energized.

What is her diet? No processed food.

Seeing that bread label got me thinking. Seeing my beloved child get better from a serious health issue got me thinking. Talking with our family friend of nearly twenty years got me thinking. Here is what I am thinking:

Syllables and food do not go together, unless it’s Italian. Certainly not in English.

Chemicals and food should not go together.

Chemicals are not food.

Chemicals and body health probably do not go together, except as a treatment for a serious health issue.

I just ate a pile of fresh carrot sticks. They were not nearly as satisfying to me, as they don’t taste great, as something processed. But it’s the beginning of something good. And it reminds me to start preparing seeds for the summer garden.

And one more thing: Giant also sells freshly baked bread. This bread lacks the preservatives of the bagged bread. It’s my new go-to bread, and as I do most of the food shopping for our family, it is what we are going to have going forward.

Maple syrup thoughts

Yes, I enjoy metaphors, and no, this is no metaphor.

Each spring I and my willing victim family members undertake a ritual that might just be the most labor-intensive goal you will ever take here in modern America.

We make maple syrup.

We tap the maple trees in mid January, using traditional buckets, and now also using the plastic spiles and tubing. Then we gather the sap into a big tank in the back of a pickup truck. When we reach about 15-20 gallons of sap, we boil it. It takes a long time, a lot of energy, a lot of propane.

Here are some season-end thoughts, as the last batch evaporates outside in a shed right now:

  1. Sap production can be erratic, and there is no explanation. Mostly driven by nighttime temperatures, some trees can be just pumping out sap like gangbusters for two to four weeks, and then kind of go dead, or nearly dead. Our late-season taps are the biggest producers right now, while the early taps have mostly dried up. I don’t know why this is, but it is frustrating. We did not get a lot of sap this year, and though I felt uncertain about beginning to tap so early, I am glad we did, because we would not have gathered enough had we not started back in mid January this year. Rumors are Pennsylvania’s maple producers are having a bad sap season, too.
  2. Cans and plastic tubing each have advantages and disadvantages. Cans get bugs galore, and the lids can get beat up by high winds. The plastic tubing drips down into a container, which can attract curious deer, raccoons, etc, and they can mess with the stuff. Next year we will continue to do both types. One thing, though, we do need bigger containers for the tubing and plastic spiles; they can easily produce a gallon of sap overnight. I hate to see sap spill out on the ground. Almost a Biblical thing…
  3. From what I read, a lot of syrup producers will not use cloudy sap. Well, we use everything we get, cloudy, clear, bugs swimming about, and we eventually filter out the bugs, wood bits, etc. Regardless of how cloudy it is, when it evaporates down to syrup, it tastes amazing.
  4. Finally, less is more. Used to be we’d wait until we got 30-35 gallons of sap in the tank to start boiling it, enough to make over half a gallon of syrup. Problem with that is it’s a lot of sap to boil, the way we boil it. We use two large outdoor propane burners under the stainless steel evaporator pan. If we used firewood, it might get hotter or evaporate faster. But then I’d have to cut more firewood, and because we already burn between two and four cords of wood a season in our wood stove, I don’t want to cut and split any more than we really need. So, now when we hit 15 to 20 gallons of sap, we start boiling. It takes about ten to twelve hours, so start as early as possible. This is a manageable amount of time for us.

OK, those are the thoughts for now. Surely as we go forward more will come and go. Here are some photos from the other day, above and below. The sap is boiled and evaporated in a big stainless steel pan, then the condensed syrup is moved inside to the stove top, where we carefully finish it off and pour it into old whisky bottles.

A mighty wind

Astute followers of weather may have noticed the past few years have been marked by strong winds, each and every year. Usually around seasonal changes. Really strong winds. Howling.

Silly people will jump to the conclusion that this is yet more evidence of “global warming,” or “climate change,” because God knows, everything that happens is “evidence” for these theories, no matter what.

But the truth is actually much more interesting and compelling. The cause of these winds is Planet Earth’s changing polarity.

Our planet’s magnetic polarity switches every 100,000 years, or so, give or take.

This means that what is now the North Pole becomes the South Pole, and vice versa.

The magnetic field surrounding our planet is responsible for our existence here, because it provides a shield against cosmic rays and radiation, including from our own sun. Mars was once a watery oasis, a lot like Earth, but when its magnetic shield weakened, solar radiation stripped the planet’s surface of water and everything else needed for life. Including its atmosphere.

Because Earth’s magnetic shield is so strong, we survive. However, our magnetic shield is weakest when the polarity shifts. It’s like trying to walk when you’ve bent over with your pants around your ankles…you can kind of shuffle forward, but you won’t be winning any running or walking competitions.

As a result of our weakened magnetic shield, it is kind of like Star Wars ship-to-ship fighting scenes, where some of the laser bolts get through and kind of rock the ship. It is alarming, but not really damaging.

Oh, people can be damaged by the unusually strong sun’s rays, if they are out without clothes. But we already know that is foolish behavior.

But more than anything is the effect on our climate, and the resulting winds. Though it is not totally understood, the increased heat and solar radiation on our planet’s surface definitely causes temperatures to rise, and it can cause what feels like rough weather, though it is probably relatively calm compared to other planets.

There is nothing we can do about this polarity shift, and the resulting mighty winds, other than batten down the hatches and try to adapt.

More than anything, watching this happen reminds us of how tenuous life on Planet Earth is, and what a narrow window it was that opened to permit us to move forward technologically and materially.  We have perhaps foolishly built high rise buildings and overhead power lines during a relatively narrow window of relative calm, but it is what it is. We cannot go back over all our infrastructure and rebuild it, though we are seeing the benefits of buying up private property along floodways to prevent further material destruction.

With these strong winds, we are just going to have to get used to them, and hope the polarity shift doesn’t poop out halfway through. Because then we’d all become Martians.

 

 

Letter to Candidate Josh Feldman

Dear Josh Feldman,

It brought me no pleasure of any sort when I became the plaintiff in a court challenge against your Republican ballot petitions for the local Magistrate job here in Uptown Harrisburg several days ago.

The magistrate seat is currently held by Judge Barb Pianka, and she is seeking re-election. You are a declared candidate seeking to unseat Pianka, as you have a right to do as an American citizen. In fact, as an aside, I am glad you are running, in the sense that I think more people ought to run for all elected offices. Additionally, I am totally opposed to the current ballot petition process, because it artificially and unfairly favors incumbents and establishment political parties and their political machines, which works against individual citizens and against the collective interest of We The People, the citizenry.

America needs fewer career politicians, fewer elected officials who are simply owned by special interests who use government for their own personal/ private enrichment, and we need more solid citizens who view elected office as a temporary public service to their fellow citizens, not as a taxpayer-funded career.

So, in that broad, philosophical sense, I support your run for office.

And, I must accept and work with the specific ballot petition process as it is now, not as I wish it were (not).

Josh, you are challenging a judge whom I and many others in this area hold in good regard. Judge Pianka has not only done a good job, she has also not done the bad things that normally earn a sitting official a strong challenge. For example, no one has accused Judge Pianka of taking bribes, falling asleep in the court room, abusing people in her court room, malpractice, erratic behavior, or other typically disqualifying actions. Had she done any of that, you would probably have my emphatic support, or at least my tacit support, depending on other candidates in the race.

Uptown Harrisburg is an oasis, and Midtown Harrisburg is becoming an oasis through continued investment and re-development. By oasis I mean these places are locations with bona fide residential taxpayers, businesses, relatively low crime, and a good quality of life, as opposed to a greater proportion of the city proper. Judge Barb Pianka is to a fair degree responsible for this status, because of her measured judicial approach in this district. So losing Judge Pianka could lead to a loss of stability and quality of life in these areas. Too many of us have homes and investments here to justify risking a change with a new, unproven magistrate.

Thus, I support Judge Pianka and will continue to support her until she develops a fatal flaw or faces a superior candidate. Neither of those conditions are in play now.

I am a Republican plaintiff complaining about your Republican (cross-filed) ballot petitions because as I have come to understand, those petitions are deeply flawed. I signed as a plaintiff with that understanding. If, in the course of the unfolding legal proceeding, your petitions are determined to be not faulty and are acceptable, then I will do the two following things: First, I will issue you a public apology. Though I am acting as plaintiff in good faith, I believe in taking responsibility for my mistakes. Second, I will contribute $250.00 toward your legal fees incurred while defending your petitions.

After all of this is settled one way or another, Josh, I hope that you will become more active in the city’s political and cultural landscape. Hopefully this first foray of yours is not your last. State representative Patty Kim has become far too comfortable, too partisan, too passive, and remains unproductive; we would all do well to see a change in that seat. Or perhaps city council would be a place to try out your political interests.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter, and good luck in all things but your pursuit of unseating Judge Pianka.

 

Josh First

Citizen

 

Conservation vs Environmentalism

After decades of environmentalism, many Americans are burnt out on the movement’s constant sky-is-falling hype and never-ending Defcon 5 emergency messaging. Environmentalists’ craving for full control of our every motion and breath understandably scares the daylights out of normal Americans.

Though environmentalism is sold as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition by its proponents, the truth is that it represents an unnecessarily confrontational and expensive approach to environmental and public health, with misplaced priorities and unmeasurable outcomes.

Simply put, Environmentalism is the over-reliance upon government coercive force, command-and-control, one-size-fits-all sledgehammer policies to problems that might require a screwdriver, if needing anything at all.

The premise behind environmentalism is that mere daily acts of human existence are pitted against a static natural environment that must be defended at all costs, in the face of change being this planet’s biggest constant. Un-anointed humans are vermin in environmentalism.

Oh, sure, pollution and environmental destruction from human activity do exist: Over-fishing of the shared oceans is resulting in catastrophic population reductions of the most valuable fish (tuna, sharks, some salmon). Low-density residential development and warehousing goes up on our flattest, best, most fertile farmlands while national food security is an ever growing concern. Where will we grow our own clean food, if not on our best farmland closest to our largest population centers? Preventing water pollution is a constant effort. And certain chemicals were not vetted properly, with the burden of proof placed on the hapless citizenry before they were discovered to pose unacceptable health risks.

Republican President Richard Nixon said it best: “What a strange creature is man, that he fouls his own nest.” This is just being honest, though the very people most radicalized about environmental issues are also and equally fouling our collective nest with their own reliance on cars, iPhones, and hip clothing. They aren’t special. In fact the most “special” among them have their own personal jets and huge cars and boats with daily carbon footprints the size of small towns. Hypocrisy has a way of passively degrading and delegitimizing people, and that has happened with environmentalism’s biggest messengers, like Al Gore, Leon DiCaprio, et al.

Each of the real environmental health issues we face can and will be tackled with all of our best Yankee ingenuity. Not every day needs to be the summer of 1968, and not every environmental issue is Love Canal or will result in Planet Earth’s extinction if we don’t implement drastic policies right now. At its worst, environmentalism is virtue signaling and fake moral outrage.

A more measured, more adult approach is needed.

America is hopefully about to see a blossoming of conservation.  Aldo Leopold called it a “conservation ethic,” where a sense of stewardship results in concrete steps to protect natural resources for future generations of Americans.

Yet, conservation is mostly boring as hell. It lacks the screaming and yelling, the gnashing of teeth, the drama of environmentalism. It lacks the big demands for dramatic lifestyle changes and income redistribution that falsely substitute for self-examination, introspection, personal change.

By relying on market forces and free choices by people inside those markets, conservation empowers the very people environmentalists despise.  Conservation involves a lot of actual heavy lifting among and by people who care: Raising private money and judiciously spending public taxpayer money on carefully ranked projects that are of both great symbolic and tangible meaning to the citizens.

It involves natural resource management and planning, which environmentalists decry while using more than their fair share of those same resources.

While land conservation is the best example of conservation, there are plenty of successful, subtle, fish and wildlife management models and even agricultural management models (with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fertilizer inputs). Back in 2002, I co-founded the Conestoga River Nutrient Management Project in Lancaster County, to use market forces to address waterway sedimentation finding its way to the Chesapeake Bay.

These are definitely not sexy policies. Conservation does not involve the glitzy rock star concerts, Hollywood celebrity interventions, and spectacular claims of imminent world-end that environmentalism has going for it.

Conservation is for adults, and now the adults are in charge. Hopefully the adults can teach the children to eat their vegetables, so to speak.