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Did America have a Stzroke?

With his brazenly arrogant personality and his private corruption, FBI agent Peter Stzrok has now made a name for himself in so many ways.

Unbeknownst to the American people, Stzrok started out making a power-abusing political insider name for himself at least in 2015 by disabling a serious criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton. He then went on to try to frame candidate Trump and his political allies, and bury evidence of incredibly illegal activity by staff and leaders at the FBI and DOJ.

Stzrok’s damning emails, text messages and memos leave no question that the man is a corrupt partisan political warrior, using his awesome official law enforcement position to advance a partisan political cause that is contrary to how the American people voted in 2016.

Everything Stzrok has done has been illegal and totally un-American, from the fake search warrants to the wiretaps and domestic spying, to the use of federal law enforcement powers to re-write interview notes that bear no resemblance to what really took place, to colluding with Fusion GPS and the Perkins, Coie law firm, and the Hillary Clinton for President campaign.

This past week Stzrok testified before Congress and provided a view into how distant the Washington, DC insiders have become from the American people. Stzrok’s arrogant, contemptuous, smug lying and dismissive attitude struck everyone as the essence of what has gone wrong in Washington, DC.

Stzrok’s damning testimony increasingly revealed how out of touch he and his FBI and DOJ colleagues are, how insulated and unaccountable to the rule of law they are, and how corrupt the past administration was.

So we must ask, Did America just have a Stzroke?

Is America now paralyzed or disabled by this one criminal FBI agent?

We ask, because everything that American has ever stood for is hanging in mid-air. The rule of law is hanging suspended. If Stzrok gets away with his criminality, then what?

Elected Democrats were actually applauding Stzrok’s testimony real-time, because they are so deeply opposed to those holding the elected majority that they will side with anyone who has done anything, like Stzrok, so long as their own party’s narrow political interests are advanced or protected.

To those who recall their seventh grade civics classes, this is not how America works. The good of the nation always comes first, before political party or person.

It is now unclear if America is still a nation of laws, or if official lawlessness and political willpower are the new standard for running government.

Stzrok is not acting alone. He has many known criminal compatriots in the FBI and DOJ; despite his and their known crimes, he and they still work there; and no legal accountability has been brought to bear on any of them, many of whom actually brazenly continue to act in political ways in what are supposed to be purely professional jobs.

It is as if there are two sets of rules, two legal standards in America now: A lenient standard for one political party allied with the mainstream media, and then another impossible standard for the other party and its political allies. Stzrok is clearly being protected from being held accountable, as was Clinton, Loretta Lynch, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and many others in the past administration.

On the other hand, American military personnel are serving jail time right now for having done a smidgeon of what Stzrok et al did. Trump and everyone around him are being falsely investigated for fake reasons.

So what happens now?

Does Stzrok get the last word in, and thereby pound a stake into America’s heart?

When I left the US EPA in DC in 1998, several of my colleagues asked me in disbelief “Josh, are you really willing to give up all this power you have as a federal bureaucrat?”

Folks, public service has never been about amassing personal power. It is supposed to be service to our fellow citizens, who pay all those federal paychecks. Personal politics and private values have no place in those federal jobs (or any other government job, be it township, county, or state level), where decision making must be about the good of the nation.

Unfortunately, like the FBI, the EPA also developed an insular and unaccountable staff culture, where personal politics override science and everything else. I hated it, and I could not in good conscience be a part of that corruption. So I removed myself from it.

I hope America has not just had a Stzroke, and that we are not paralyzed. If the rule of law has been suspended, and there is no accountability, and political willpower to amass political i.e. coercive power overrides everything, then our nation is over. The great experiment has ended, and now it is merely a political slugfest that inevitably becomes an armed slugfest that will eventually determine who ends up holding power.

 

My impression of Paul Mango, candidate for PA Guv

Three weeks ago I spent half an hour on the phone with Paul Mango, newly declared candidate for Pennsylvania governor.

We talked about his candidacy, his background, political issues, economics, hopes and challenges, etc. We then followed up with several back and forth emails, each one of his expressing specific appreciation and thanks for how the exchange had benefited him in a certain way. He is a new candidate, new to politics (other than as a very generous donor to Republican candidates), and he is digesting a lot of new information and ideas, new ways of thinking.

Last week I met Mango at his formal campaign announcement at the Twin Ponds sports and fitness center in Camp Hill\Mechanicsburg.

Twin Ponds previously served as the region’s HQ for primary and general election candidate Donald Trump, who won Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes by a margin probably accounted for just by the simple dedication of Central PA’s “normal Americans” in both political parties. The big facility is run by a pretty, petite firebrand of a woman, Mrs. Patton aka General Patton.

Here are my impressions of Mango (and yes, I know, he’s just getting started):

He is impressive in several key ways: His family background and values, his education and military service, and his high level professional work experience.

Paul Mango is a very smart, confident, and empathetic man, who comes across as a reserved, reflective, nice person, and a responsive, good listener.  He is positive and genuine.

I questioned him in person about how he will compete against candidate Scott Wagner, who has spent years battling in the trenches with a lot of conservative voters and activists, against entrenched establishment political hacks in politics for personal financial gain, and who has thereby built up credibility with many politically active citizens who value bravery and honesty.

When I pointed out that Wagner has also alienated a lot of people (including many of his former supporters) in that process (because Wagner seems selfish, arrogant, and unappreciative), Mango responded that he will not say anything negative because he has never seen valuable leadership succeed except through “inspiring people.”

That is a very high bar to set for one’s self, much less one’s political competitors, but it is worthy because it says Mango has integrity. The Wagner campaign has already criticized Mango for supporting Cruz first, and then Trump later, though I got the impression that is what Scott Wagner did, too, like a lot of us did in last year’s Republican primary. Here we go, the mud is already flying!

Well, to start, if Mango is going to inspire voters, then he needs to increase his positive speaking energy, his intensity, his passion. The other night he came across as a little nervous, and definitely way too deliberative, almost plodding, at his formal announcement. His prepared speech was long and the delivery was very, very slow.

Recall that Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg is so hard hitting because it was not long and plodding, but brief and hard hitting.

Despite serving in the 82nd Airborne and actually being a warrior, Mango’s even-keeled demeanor does not seem warrior-like, while his main competitor, Wagner, did not do military service and yet is a proven culture and fiscal political warrior.

Though he wore jeans, work boots, and an Oxford shirt, Mango is the very definition and personification of “corporate,” which will probably look or smell like moderate RINO to the trench warfare grass roots conservatives. Time will tell if that first impression is accurate.

His approach to fixing government is his approach to fixing businesses, about which it is best to just quote my activist friend Ron:

The problem with these guys [corporate/business/ Chamber of Commerce GOP candidates who compare running government to running business] is they all have plans to fix government by running it like a business. This is not a unique viewpoint and it has never worked. This is politics, not business. Took me a while to accept that.  He can have the greatest plan ever but it won’t matter because politicians don’t care [about people, policy, economy etc.].  They care about themselves and getting re-elected.”

It is a fact that careerist politicians in BOTH PARTIES do not act like corporate employees, because there is almost no accountability in politics. The old quip about the only accountability in politics resulting from being “found in bed with a dead girl or a live boy” probably doesn’t even apply today.

Like him or not, candidate Scott Wagner goes right to the key policy battles: Corrupt blood-sucking unions, ridiculous regulations that violate our federal and state constitutions, wasted and stolen taxpayer money.

That is where the rubber meets the road in the culture war for America’s soul and the war for a middle-income economy.

This is the battle front between America as it was founded and as we knew it, and America as a bastion of totalitarian socialism and politically correct thought police, envisioned by the Left.

Candidate Mango will probably arrive here at the same battle front, eventually, because the leftists’ violent street battles across America tell us that nice words alone don’t work, and Trump’s improbable win says it all (JEB! was also the quintessential corporate nice guy, and GOP voters utterly rejected him).

Mango’s steady personality seems to avoid conflict, which though commendable and reassuring in so many other settings, can send the message to some voters that he may be like a zillion other mainstream RINOs who are unwilling to dive into the bar room brawl that needs to happen for America to be set right. These careerist RINOs don’t want to get their hands dirty waging political war, which tells voters that they really just don’t care very much about political or cultural outcomes.

Mango is smart enough to see these facts and voter trends. Whether he arrives at that messy policy battle front sooner or later is the question. If he finds a way to comfortably voice his quiet intensity, his passion, his compassion for working Pennsylvanians, then he will overcome the potential impression that he is another empty GOP suit (I was told that PA GOP kingmaker Bob Asher has NOT supported Mango, which appeals to the conservative, independent-minded base).

I like the guy and I am looking forward to seeing him develop over the next six months, because, again, he is new to politics and just getting started.

Second Letter to Candidate Josh Feldman

Dear Josh,

Congratulations, you did maintain your position on the ballot after our challenge. But you have traded away your credibility and integrity in the process.

I read the courtroom transcript of your March 17, 2017 testimony, and on page five you stated under oath that you consciously falsely signed two affidavits. Even though you have only been an active attorney for a grand total of 78 days, surely you know that affidavits are the bedrock of our legal system. A falsified affidavit undermines everything our legal system stands on and stands for. The person who falsifies an affidavit is obviously unqualified to fill a judicial role. You are unqualified, Josh. Your own court testimony impeached your own credibility.

Additionally, you have run for this magisterial seat on the representation of being “the only attorney” among the candidates. But you only became an active licensed attorney on March 2, 2017, the day before you filed your first set of ballot petitions. On page three of your court testimony, you admit that you do not actually practice law and have no court room experience, having become “inactive” just one month after bar admission and having been “retired” from 2010 until this March 2nd.

Your attorney information page on the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court says “I do not maintain professional liability insurance because I do not have private clients and have no possible exposure to possible malpractice actions.”

So your biggest selling point is actually flim-flam, a faint technicality. What is the point of electing an attorney who has no experience actually being an attorney, and who right out of the gate violates the most important election laws to try to get ahead?

Josh, how on earth could your lawyer have allowed you to take the stand in your own defense at the ballot petition hearing?  Do you not realize the self-damning testimony you gave in court?

Perhaps no one should be surprised, as your incompetent goofball lawyer Adam Klein now has yet one more loss to his credit.  You have learned an expensive but important lesson: Just because a lawyer is smug and arrogant does not mean he is seriously up to the task of effectively representing you.

Josh, I pledged $250 toward the outcome not as some sort of silly bet or wager, but as a principled statement about my belief in personal accountability.  My philosophy of government requires me to do this: I had put my name out there as a plaintiff in a formal complaint about your ballot petitions, and you stayed on the ballot. In that process we learned that you have poor character, your word means nothing, and you have greatly over-represented your qualifications.

So, Josh, you do get the enclosed $250 check, but you will get no apology from me, because when you took the stand in court you admitted to filing false affidavits on your ballot petitions. You impeached your own credibility.  If you cannot be trusted to file basic honest paperwork, then what do the voters expect of you if you become a magistrate and sit in judgment of us?  Your petitions were flawed, Josh, and remain so, even though they technically contained enough signatures to keep you cross-filed and on the ballot.

This whole experience is sad to me. You have hurt yourself through your own over-reach, and then you were further injured by poor legal counsel. I like the fact that you are a fellow small business owner, and I wish that you had earnestly run for office on that good qualification alone. People could respect you for that.

Sincerely,

Josh

Josh First

Harrisburg City, PA

May 12, 2017