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Response to PA Gov. Tom Ridge on Conservatives & the Environment

On April 22nd this year, Earth Day, The Atlantic published an opinion piece by former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, about conservatives and the environment (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/04/environment-gop-out-touch/610333/). The Atlantic solicited responses to Ridge’s essay, and so I submitted one to them, but received back no indication they would publish it. They did not publish it, because liberals like those at The Atlantic accept and publish only liberals, and reject conservatives.  So here it is, my response to Governor Ridge’s essay about conservatives and the environment.

I felt compelled to respond to Governor Ridge’s essay, in part because I worked in his administration, and in part because I have met few Republicans who can articulate a truly conservative view of environmental policy, which Governor Ridge failed to do. I was also afraid of being seen as attacking someone I hold in high esteem, and I need to say that while I may disagree with Governor Ridge’s essay and some of his recent public stances, like supporting PA governor Tom Wolf’s covid19 lockdown, I remain impressed by Governor Ridge’s high character. I am proud to have served in his distinctively excellent administration.

Governor Ridge’s  essay slightly opens a doorway that I am both pleased and also reluctant to push all the way open. But it needs to be opened, all the way, because for far too long establishment Republicans have claimed to be conservatives, while acting like liberals.

Governor Ridge writes his essay “as a conservative,” and despite boldly leading by example in placing highly competent gays, women, and minorities in senior government positions literally decades ago, long before most Democrats followed suit, Governor Ridge was, in fact, a true conservative. His achievements in conservative policy are legion, including Pennsylvania becoming a shall-issue concealed firearm carry state and his administration’s brownfield land recycling program.

Nonetheless, the emphasis today is on he “was.”

Governor Ridge was a conservative, and by today’s standard, he is not. This is not because Governor Ridge has changed, but because what now defines a conservative has changed so dramatically since the time he was governor. The same holds true for liberals, by the way, in their own way (we see the Democrat Party now a totally, openly, violent, racist, anti-America Marxist organization).

And like so many, if not all other political elites, especially Republicans, and most especially establishment Republicans from the hide-bound, bunker-mentality Pennsylvania GOP, Governor Ridge has not changed with the times. Governor Ridge was a conservative, and today he often speaks like a liberal, and sides with liberals on policy disputes. He is not alone in this, but each Republican who does so still causes pain to us conservatives in the political trenches. It is frustrating as hell to experience a former Republican appointee or elected official try to speak with authority as some sort of representative of conservativism, when in fact, they are simply liberals. Or RINOs for short (Republican In Name Only – not conservative).

Probably the biggest indication that Governor Ridge is out of synch with today’s conservatives is how he encourages us to adopt a laundry list of liberal environmental policies in his The Atlantic essay. This means that his solution for conservatives to succeed is for us to adopt liberalism. Even though most of the “environmental” groups are simply employment offices for Democrat Party operatives pushing Marxist, partisan policies. Very few environmental groups today are even seeking solutions, because they are busy dreaming up new problems.

Most of the policies pushed by environmental groups today are by definition Big Coercive Government, Small Defenseless Citizen, anti-Constitution, disregard for private property rights, mountains out of mole hills, and so on. These groups are not about the environment, they simply use the subject of the environment as another avenue to push Marxism and the Big Government necessary to force it down our throats. Governor Ridge should know this, of all people.

What Governor Ridge failed to address is: How can we conservatives embrace the very same failed and inferior liberal policies that drove us to becoming conservatives in the first place? If we adopt liberalism, then we are abandoning conservativism, and failing as conservatives.

Every single environmental policy recommendation that Governor Ridge lists in his essay directly contradicts core conservative principles, like small government, less intrusive government, less spendy government, less activist government, less regulatory government, accountable government and accountable taxpayer-funded government employees. Literally every single policy he lists requires the government to intervene in a big, coercive way, often over trifling differences or demonstrably false premises.

Governor Ridge’s environmental ideas are not conservativism; they are quintessential big government liberalism.

Perhaps the centerpiece of his essay is that conservatives must concede at least a bit on “climate change.” Yet, for conservatives, this particular issue, more than any other, highlights the distinction between us and liberals. For conservatives to agree with the Marxist, disproven, and notoriously phony climate change religion would be to abandon basic, solid, conservative principles altogether….like Capitalism 101, solid math and science, and transparency. Again, we are unpersuaded the climate warming-cooling-change-whatever issue even exists, let alone that a government solution consistent with America’s Constitution could be found.

Governor Ridge writes “The Republican Party has largely abandoned environmental issues.” To which I and a host of other conservatives would respond, No, but many Republicans have abandoned the citizen voters and the forgotten taxpayers of America. Many careerist Republicans have embraced popular culture and its feel-good-now bubblegum policies. For Republicans to respect openly partisan “environmental” groups and embrace liberal nonsense like so-called ‘climate change’ and similar policies would only be one more betrayal in a long line of policy and political betrayals committed by the Republican establishment. Conservatives have perfectly sound environmental policies based on perfectly sound, all-American principles. If you but ask us, we will explain them. We conservatives didn’t abandon environmental issues, nor did we leave the Republican Party. The Republican establishment abandoned us.

Josh First is president of Appalachian Land & Conservation Services, LLC. He has worked at the US EPA in Washington, DC, The Conservation Fund, the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy, and was Director of Environmental Education and Information at the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources in the Governor Tom Ridge administration.

American Liberals: From Thoughtful Intellectuals to Parrot Puppets

Recent conversations with a number of liberals have me writing this essay. Because “shocking” is the only word capturing the breadth and depth of loss liberals have plunged since my youth.

In my youth, which is like a thousand years ago, liberals were the free thinkers, the unconventional open -minded intellectuals. Their willingness to think outside of the box on some issues helped America improve in a variety of ways on some key public policy areas.

For example, liberals led the way on environmental quality, understanding mental health and disability, and understanding and tolerating homosexuals. These subjects may have been taken to crazy lengths since their inception (e.g. demanding that everyone not just tolerate homosexuals and treat them with dignity, but be forced to accept homosexual behavior in place of religious belief or personal discomfort; or to force environmental quality to literally the trillionth part to the point where America has no economy).

Liberals were thoughtful intellectuals on a bunch of public policy issues, and they helped America become a more tolerant, comfortable place to live as a result.

What has happened since then, let’s say then being 1976, liberalism’s high water mark, is an increasingly faster rush to the bottom of intellectual rigor, honesty, consistency, and meaningfulness. Today’s liberals are by and large politically correct to the point where they adhere to the latest and strangest notion, no matter how out of bounds, dishonest, double standard-ed, inconsistent, or how high the price they and America must pay. The list of their self-destructive PC issues is a thousand miles long, but let’s just say that supporting BlacKKK Lives Matter violent cultural destruction, using official government offices to promote and implement unofficial policies that voters have not approved, etc.

Today, liberals are parrot puppets. Many are like the walking dead zombies in horror movies. They simply parrot platitudes and certifiably false claims they are fed by the politically partisan mainstream media, turning them into puppets.

A long time dear friend living in the heart of New York City made it clear to me the other day that she hates President Trump so much that she will endure having her businesses looted and destroyed, her neighborhood gutted, her livelihood set back twenty years. Donald Trump never did anything to her. He has done none of the things she says that she hates about him. She actually supports some of his domestic policies. When I pointed out that her visceral hatred for him is the result of her constantly imbibing mainstream media fake news that is designed to fill its readers and watchers with hate, and that she might consider reading or watching some different information sources, she responded that she only watches and reads those outlets “that are in line with my values.”

In other words, my dear liberal friend will only encounter information outlets that reinforce what she already thinks. So her mind is a closed loop. She is now a parrot puppet. And she is not alone.

The exact same formula is at work on a host of other liberals I encountered and spoke with over the past week.  Information outlets that do not directly and strongly reinforce what they already believe, or what they want to believe, are forbidden. Because their minds are so tightly closed, they cannot think of anything but hate and disrespect for people who disagree with them.

Talking with liberals is like watching crack addicts shoot up, snort, and smoke a toxic drug all at once. They start out knowing it is bad for them, but they willfully engage in self-destructive behavior because their high is so good. The high being that false sense of floating enlightenment and perfection of being totally correct about all things, always. And this hard drug analogy would seem to explain why liberals are now going so far as to embrace self-destructive policies that are so clearly going to damage their own personal lives, and their children. Like accepting the false outrage of BLM and begging forgiveness for crimes committed by different people hundreds of years ago.

If I were confronted by a BLM loon and told to get on my knees, I would turn the table and demand the same of him, maybe even have him get on all fours and give me twenty five push-ups, because his cannibal ancestors enslaved and ate a bunch of white AND black people just a couple hundred years ago. Oh, the racism! Oh the injustice! Oh the horror! The shame that BLM jerk should feel for his cannibal, slave-owning ancestors should just crush him flat, and shut him up. It really is his fault. All of it. Including the indigestion that followed his ancestors’ unholy meals.

I digress.

It is sad to see so many people with native critical thinking capability toss it overboard. America is losing some of our best and brightest to liberal political correctness. An entire generation or two of Americans cannot think their way out of a wet paper bag because of PC and being parrot puppets.

In case you have any inkling of open mindedness left, you are encouraged to take a walk on the wild side, to cross the DMZ, to go to no-man’s land, to put your very life in jeopardy and read through some of the articles posted at www.thegatewaypundit.com, or www.breitbart.com. Just try it. It might be like trying mint chip ice cream for the first time, when all your life you thought you just always wanted plain vanilla. Maybe you will discover something new and rewarding.

Maybe you will become an intellectual once again.

Earth Day: Protect What Matters

Today is Earth Day, a day annually marked for environmental protection. Good, we need it. We all need to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and eat clean food.

All kinds of organizations run advertisements today promoting a clean environment, a protected environment, wildlife habitat conservation, and so on. Most of the ideas we will see promoted today are worthy of attention and worthwhile policy efforts, while some of the more heavily marketed ideas are Marxist anti-capitalism dingbat stuff.

The two biggest challenges we have on Earth Day are overcoming the fake issue of human-caused “climate change,” and protecting the American economy. Achieving both of these goals will actually maximally protect the environment.

“Climate change” on its face is a factual thing, because Planet Earth has had constant climate change since its creation. Glaciers have come and gone on their own, sea levels have risen and fallen on their own, and plants and animals have come and gone as the greater environmental forces around them directly shape their habitat, the salinity of the water they live in, and the air they breathe. All of this dynamism has happened without any human intervention. In fact, most of it has happened without any humans existing at all.

Climate change continues on today just as it always has since the Earth was born, and though human actions might contribute to it in some minuscule way, the fact is that humans have a far greater and more measurable impact on more important environmental issues.

The problem with the current human-caused climate change hoax is that it sucks all of the air out of the room, leaving no oxygen for other real, actual, measurable and documented issues like lost wildlife habitat, farmland loss, water quality, forest fragmentation, and controlling the invasive plants and animals that are literally destroying our native environments and species.

All of the “climate change” policy bandied about is a result of bad modeling using flawed data, junk science, topped off with deliberate fraud and public shaming of heretics. The fake but well-heeled climate change industry is fueled by juicy foundation and government grants, making all kinds of financial incentives for people to continue this fakery. Fake climate change junk science can be a hell of a good business for a few private bank accounts!

Normal people see this obvious policy fraud and end up writing off the entire quest for environmental quality as just a bunch of “environmentalist wackos” trying to destroy Western Civilization. And indeed, a great many of the climate change advocates are in fact America-hating Marxists, whose suspect opinions aren’t worth spit. But it is not fair to roll all environmental quality efforts in with the climate change nonsense. Leftists include the real issues together with fake climate change to give climate change unwarranted credibility, while magical-thinking meatheads on the right also do it to discredit all environmental quality issues.

If there is one thing we have all witnessed over the past month of China Flu coronavirus here in America, it is that in addition to weakening America by sending our technology and jobs there, for decades Americans have exploited Chinese slave labor and the Chinese environment so that we could have more cheap junk available to play with at home. It is an undeniable fact that like the Russians before them, Chinese Marxism has destroyed the Chinese environment, while American capitalism has created the high living conditions here necessary for our citizens to expect environmental protection.

Capitalism protects the environment, while Marxism and communism destroy it through unbridled industrialism to buoy up their ruling elites.

Today, on Earth Day, the best thing we can do is to re-open the American economy and create the kinds of high quality living conditions here that incentivize environmental protection. Protect the world’s environment by repatriating American jobs from their thirty-year hiatus in China. Demonstrate to Americans that we can all enjoy high quality environmental protection without sacrificing our economy on the false altar of human caused climate change..or a Chinese virus whose effects are felt locally but whose costs are being applied equally everywhere across the United States.

Rural & Urban People Experience the Virus Differently

Rural and urban people are experiencing the covid19 CCP virus differently. And this means they each experience the various governors’ approaches to it differently, too. Chinese Flu policies impact rural and urban people differently.

In rural America, like Clinton County and Lycoming County here in Pennsylvania, life is still pretty much going on, not quite like normal, but fairly close to normal. The perceived risk from Wuhan covid19 Flu is low. This is because the rural peoples’ observations are not squaring up with what they are being told from their state capital. Rural people are not seeing up close and personal the disruptive chaos and death that is so pervasive in places like New York City and Philadelphia. So their behavior is different.

For weeks the Lowes in Mill Hall, PA, has been standing-room-only parking on the weekends, as local people shop for gardening supplies. Likewise the other nearby big box stores and small hardware stores are also full of people attending to their needs. Life is going on, albeit with some face masks and people clearly trying to steer clear of one another in shopping aisles. The Wegmans in Williamsport, PA, was full of shoppers the last time I was there, and the shelves were mostly well stocked. Notes about limits per customer are placed in all the usual places – TP, canned tuna, milk, bread. Ladies at the checkout are quite tough and firm about shoppers abiding by these limits, and everyone seems to be getting along just fine.

Elsewhere in rural PA are drive-in church services, food takeout, maybe some bonfires with chairs set apart, but still lots of chairs, nonetheless.

Actual Risk vs. Perceived Risk vs. Government Policy

At the heart of this lifestyle difference between rural and urban people is the difference they have over perceived risk, actual risk, and what the government policy says.

When rural people look around and see none of the catastrophic chaos engulfing New York City, they begin to ask simple and necessary questions about the actual risk of the China Flu to them. The actual risk, not the suggested hype or irrational fear stay-the-f#k-at-home perceived risk that is being breathlessly communicated by the cable outlets every minute. Without bodies stacked high, without lots of people becoming obviously sick from the CCP Chinese Flu, and with local health providers like hospitals and clinics operating as normal, rural people begin to question the value and necessity of the government policy that tells them their Constitutional rights must be suspended.

They then begin to question the value and purpose of their own government.

When we hear about the over-reach in places like Kentucky and Michigan, whose governors are literally demanding that people cower in their homes or else face huge overwhelming coercive force and jail time, it is natural for Americans to ask not just what is the value of these policies, but why can’t we have real policies that are tailored to the realities that each community faces. The potential risks of Wuhan Flu are just not the same everywhere.

Rural areas have more room and space between people, fewer people, less congestion, and a lot lot lot less exposure AND a lot less actual risk. Government policies need to reflect these realities. Blanket one-size-does-not-fit-all policies serve no real health purpose. Instead, no matter how well intentioned the governor may be, these blanket policies that are the same in Philadelphia as they are in Lock Haven, PA, make everyone equally miserable, damage all businesses equally, regardless of the health outcomes.

At the end of the day, government action must both balance risks with costs and benefits, while also safeguarding the citizenry’s sacred Constitutional rights. To date, very few states have done this. Instead, almost every state has treated low-risk rural areas the same as high-risk congested urban areas, and hit them all with the same heavy hammer. This makes the whole covid19 reaction thing seem awfully fishy.

100 years of Liberalism = mass shootings

Since the 1917 violent triumph of Socialism in Russia, communists have more aggressively spread their efforts world-wide. There is no secret about this. Lots of official information outlets of openly socialist and communist organizations precisely describe their goals and targets, past and present. Cambodia, China, Vietnam, Cuba, now Venezuela, all fell victim to socialism.

Where socialists have failed to openly gain control in democracies, like America and Britain, because their intended victims have more say through voting, they have mostly gone vague. Vagueness allows socialists to talk in circles and in generalities, avoiding the unpleasant hard realities their policies will truly mean for hard working Americans and Britons.

In that vein, for decades the Democrat Party purveyed a more palatable-sounding ideology than socialism or communism. They became Liberals. Liberalism, now called “progressivism” and its advocates “progressives,” is still the same old evil socialism; it is just more incremental than the overtly revolutionary form of the 1917 Soviet Union’s tyranny.

And so for one hundred years, liberals in American government have steadily introduced policy after policy, regulation after regulation, textbook after textbook, slowly changing American culture from the inside. For one hundred years liberals have used America’s democratic form of government (technically America is a republic, but loosely speaking we are governed by democratic principles) to achieve non-democratic outcomes. That is, liberals have used America’s freedoms and government to implement anti-freedom and anti-America policies and changes to our national fabric.

In general, American liberals have sought greater government power over the citizenry, a diminishment of individual rights, a lessening of the individual ability to stand up to and prevail against the kind of overwhelming government power America was originally founded to prevent. Their assault on America has at its core a determined corrosion of American identity and norms; that makes it easier to sell their anti-America, anti-freedom laws, regulations, and policies.

So, for example, by inverting the First Amendment, liberals have removed God from the public square. To liberals, any practice of religion in public is officially establishing religion. By gaining control of public schools through teacher’s unions, and then removing God’s values from those schools, liberals removed the ancient barriers and social mores that glued Americans together.

We can go down a list of liberal laws and policies that have been inflicted on America, and we can talk about how liberals have captured institutions like media, entertainment (Hollywood’s violent movies and ultra-violent video games), and academia, but let’s just say that after one hundred years of liberals tearing away at America’s social fabric, they have succeeded in destroying a great deal of what held America together.

Hearing liberals talk about more gun control is like watching people remove the wheels from my car, and then tell me how dangerous it will be to drive it and how I need to just give them the car keys.

I grew up in a rural community that had more guns, and more cows, than people. We all owned guns from an early age, and we suffered no gun crime. No mass shootings, no individual shootings. My 7th grade biology teacher reloaded my 7×57 Mauser rounds for me. In 7th and 8th grades I took my deer rifle on the school bus from home to Park Forest Junior High School in State College. The gun was placed inside my locker, and at the end of the school day, we students who had brought our rifles joined together to go deer hunting at some local farm or forest. Someone’s parent was in charge of picking us up and taking us to the hunt, and someone else’s parent was in charge of picking us up and taking us all back home at dark. It worked just fine.

Fast forward 40 years and America is a different place. School kids are shooting each other, unlike any previous time. The wheels have come off!

What changed is the American culture that supported responsible gun ownership was weakened by liberals, who have sought to eliminate private gun ownership. The founding American culture that created and reinforced values like self-reliance, personal responsibility, deferring immediate pleasure and gratification in lieu of future success, and making good choices was all tossed away in liberal-controlled public schools and colleges.

Instead of good solid time-proven American values, liberals taught bozo ideas like “challenge authority” — meaning disrespect your parents, having babies out of wedlock is fun, killing babies at will is freedom, who needs Home Economics and a hard work ethic when the government will just give you taxpayer-funded welfare money, and so on. So the culture of America changed, and now many of our youngest seem incapable of living up to basic American norms while still being presented with basic American freedoms, like gun ownership.

Liberals created this failed culture in which young Americans shoot each other. Just look at every major American city: They are nearly all run by liberals, home to the latest and best liberal ideas, and yet they suffer the greatest social failure, financial failure, and violence.

Liberalism is not the solution, but the cause of all that ails America today, especially the mass shootings in liberal-controlled schools.

And so liberals now demand gun confiscation, and phony “universal background checks” that are designed to create lists of who has what guns, to make gun confiscation easier.

Liberals created all these problems in the first place, and more liberal policy ideas like “gun control” are simply adding fuel to the fire.

Many years ago I worked with a woman who specialized in creating problems and crises in our office, and once the interpersonal conflicts were going hot, she would then swoop in and aggressively demand to “solve” the very problems she had created. Her proposed solutions always left her with more authority and direct control over everyone around her. This is what the liberals and the Democrat Party are doing with guns. They created all this mass shooting business, and now they want to exploit the violence crisis they created to further their assault on the rights of law-abiding gun owners, who have no connection to crime but who stand between liberals and their dream of absolute tyrannical control over everyone in America, like their socialist brethren everywhere else.

At a certain point normal Americans have to wake up to this obvious situation, and stop voting for liberals and their deceptive ideas. Liberalism is not good for America. Turn it back, restore our founding principles as America’s norms, take back our government and our institutions from destructive liberalism.

Here (below) is retired US Army Col. David Grossman talking about why children are now killing each other. Grossman was the guy who taught American special forces troops how to overcome their natural human inhibitions in order to quickly kill their opponents, and who then witnessed an alarming generational change in how American youth perceived killing. If you care about what causes mass shootings, watch Grossman’s fascinating videos.

 

If I were a Bernie voter, I would vote for Trump

Bernie Sanders has a lot more in common with President Trump than you’d think, and if I were a dedicated Bernie voter, I would vote for President Trump in 2020, because only with Trump will Bernie’s biggest ideas become political reality.

What do Bernie and Trump have in common? Two key things that speak across political and cultural boundaries:

One: Both Bernie and Trump are victims of Hillary Clinton’s cheating and lying and conniving. Bernie was cheated out of the 2016 Democrat nomination because of Hillary’s cheating with Democrat establishment fixer Donna Brazile. Remember Hillary getting the hidden notes, getting the debate questions and answers ahead of time from Brazile, the debate moderators coddling her and attacking Bernie? Yeah, that was real fair! Remember the 2016 primary election Democrat super delegates who were bought and paid for by the Clinton political machine, who were dedicated to Hillary over and above Bernie’s high votes in their districts? Yeah, wasn’t that super fair!

Now think about Trump, and how badly he has been victimized by Hillary, before, during, and after the November 2016 election. The whole BS “Russia collusion” thing was dreamt up and implemented by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and supporters inside the Obama Administration. We now know that the 100% fake “Steele Dossier” is a 100% product of Hillary’s campaign, and it is central to the whole Mueller political witch hunt against Trump, said witch hunt being 100% staffed by Hillary Clinton donors and active supporters. After nearly three years, Trump is still being falsely accused by Hillary and her chums, who want fifty bites at the fake collusion thing…fake fake fake evil Hillary!

Two: Both Bernie and Trump speak plainly and honestly about how both Democrat and Republican political establishments are stacking the US government against working people, against the citizenry, against our interests. Both Bernie and Trump have different policy solutions to this hijacking of the American government by the two main political parties, but both guys are saying the same thing. Who else are you going to hear this from? Will you hear it from political establishment hack Hillary, who in a hissy fit of sore loser spite and spoiled brattedness is this week blasting Bernie at every turn?

It is true that both Bernie and Trump have a lot of different policy positions, and why not? Bernie has held paid public office positions his entire career, while Trump has been a businessman taking risks and making sacrifices. Naturally their different backgrounds are going to result in mostly different takes on public policies.

But, if you are looking for someone to carry Bernie’s biggest message, which is the failure of the federal government to actually serve We, The People, then you should give your vote to Trump. Because Trump is the US President and he is going to be re-elected in 2020, actually implementing big ideas, while Bernie is only going to continue the speaking circuit with a handful of people in the audience.

Trump is the best use of your one vote, and if it bothers you to vote for a Republican, consider your vote a protest vote against BOTH political establishments.

John Arway gone away, but not forgotten

Beyond nailing down and putting the finishing touches on some epic large land conservation transactions, my summer and Fall of 2003 were spent politicking and angling for the executive director position at the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission. After ten years, the last ED had recently left as most EDs leave these posts – everyone involved all too happy to not see one another again.

The door was wide open for a fresh newcomer, someone not from within the agency, for the first time in as long as anyone could recall. I knew I had a shot, and so did my supporters. I was excited.

As I met with elected officials and conservation leaders, presenting my own “impressive” credentials and qualifications for the job, and trying to amass my support from people who mattered, a single name kept coming up: John Arway.

Who was this faceless John Arway guy, who so many of the active conservationists mentioned? I had never seen him at a meeting, or at a land dedication ceremony, nor had we testified at the same legislative hearing. But many in-the-know conservationists knew him, or of him, and they were quietly supporting him for the ED job, increasingly so as we got closer to the interview process in December.

Many other ED candidates were emerging, some really impressive, and some less so. My own self-promotion continued up to the beginning of deer season, and then I sat back for the following couple of weeks to see how it would all play out.

I was granted an interview with the PFBC board of commissioners, and in fact I ended up being the very last one interviewed out of six candidates. But as soon as the interview process began the back channel scuttlebutt was that the real contest was already well under way, the board split evenly between wanting Arway, or the agency’s long-time legal counsel, Dennis Guise, as the alternative.

Raging through and beneath the calm surface of the rote, officially procedural, professional interview process, the two main candidates fought each other tooth and nail, each calling up bigger, better, more powerful allies. In the end, it was not a question of qualifications, but of ….well, one of those simple things guys fall back on when measuring up an opponent. “Size.”

So to say. Because both guys were equally competent, just  each differently endowed with important skills the agency needed. It was an impossible choice between the two of them.

This battle royale ended the day before I was interviewed, with the board hopelessly deadlocked between the policy weenie Arway, and lawyer Guise. With the two accomplished men set aside, the board was now looking for a “dark horse” candidate without war baggage, who could salvage the situation and bring peace and unity unto the bruised agency’s divided ranks and leadership factions.

In the end, Doug Austen, PhD, was selected over me to run the agency. The chairman and several of my advocates on the board took me aside and explained that Doug had beaten me by 3/100’s of a point, and that the ED decision had come down to that: How many points did the next best candidate have. It was a very close decision, as close as any decision could ever be.

Austen went on to run PFBC for about four years, and as he has a PhD in fisheries biology, he eventually begged off for less political drama and more biology and went on to his next neat job with the US Fish & Widlife Service. Today Doug happily runs the American Fisheries Society, I happily run my own small conservation-driven small business, and boy, did John Arway end up running PFBC.

When Austen left PFBC, Arway was better positioned to take the helm, and immediately take it by storm did he ever. From deep within the agency’s rubber-meets-the-road programs, Arway brought to light and into implementation long simmering policy addressing natural gas fracking, combined sewage overflows from too much rain overrunning sewage plants, trout stocking, non-native invasive plants and fish, the sustainable economics of fishing, and many many more big and important policy questions that had sat dormant for way too long.

Arway’s personal style is easy, smiling, genuine, with a natural affability that helps him slide the medicine in. The medicine being those long-put-off policies that no one had the balls to deal with, and which John knew to be too important to ignore any longer.

Fact is, the Pennsylvania legislature is full of career politicians who refuse to make difficult decisions, for fear of upsetting the voters and possibly losing their artificially cushy jobs. And so Arway made those tough and necessary decisions for them.

The legislature did not like that.

True to form, the careerist politicians wanted to both hinder Arway and second-guess him, without ever providing alternative decisions that would save or protect our state’s incredible natural resources. At the end of all this bad government on full display to we taxpayers who underwrite it, Arway was ironically held up by the dithering careerist politicians as an example of a careerist bureaucrat long past his own use-by date. And so the legislature began to ever increasingly squeeze PFBC, financially, politically.

John Arway fought as only the honestly passionate can fight, with everything he had, without regard for his own personal longevity. Like Neo, the hero in The Matrix movie, John magically dodged every bullet fired at him, every knife stabbed at his back, and every rug pulled out from under his feet. And through it all he maintained that affable personality and firm determination to “do the right thing.”

If you didn’t know John Arway before he became PFBC ED, you knew soon after that he was one of the last of the conservation warriors cut from an old die that has long corroded and may now be broken and long lost. It is tough to imagine that any Pennsylvania resource agency will find and also choose again a tough leader and fearless resource advocate like Arway.

John recently retired from PFBC. Though he had every right to do so, he did not whine, he did not take shots at his enemies or opponents, he did not complain. Rather, ever the real pro, he listed the many natural resource conservation achievements he wished he had time to win and which he hopes the next generation will pick up and carry over the goal line.

The board was loathe to let him go. His many, many supporters are sad to see him step down. If you like to fish or drink clean water, you are sad to see John go. Both Austen and I talk about what might have happened had Arway simply been selected as ED back in 2003 and gotten his conservation agenda under way earlier. I do not always agree with John Arway on policy, but I will always agree that John Arway should be in the policy driver’s seat.

We will miss you, John. Thank you for your service and for being the champion for the voiceless fish and the splashing mountain streams whose language we hear but do not understand.

 

Do you drink wine from a human skull?

Jakob-Creutzfelt Disease in Europe was traced back to a self-styled secret society in Italy, where members filed solemnly down into ancient burial crypts and drank local wine from the skull of a deceased past master.

No lie. Look it up if you like. Yes, people do strange things.

Even hundreds of years later, after the past master had died, the JCD ‘bug’ was still infesting that old skull of his, and the wine swilled from it carried the bug down the gullets of the secret society members and into their bodies. A lot of these secret society members died bizarre, horrible deaths, prompting health officials to investigate what was going on.

To date this is likely the only investigation in Italy’s history that was both scientific and professional. And that is because it involved drinking wine.

JCD basically eats your brain and leaves you a drooling, deficient, dying husk of a human being. You die pretty quickly, and it is an ugly death.

“Spongiform disease” is also how this kind of prion-based attack is known, because the person’s brain looks like a sponge, riddled through with holes where brain matter ought to be. Survival is not an option.

There is no cure, and the cancer-like prions use their protein shells to fully resist fire, cold, desiccation, Hollywood, and high cholesterol. Once a prion is present, it cannot be destroyed by anything human. Prions seem to live forever in the dirt under your feet, and possibly in food grown in that dirt, like corn and soybeans.

JCD is known as Mad Cow Disease among bovines, Scrapie among sheep, and Chronic Wasting Disease among cervids, like deer, here in America. In other words, there is a prion out there for every mammal, though this is a new science we are just beginning to understand.

For a long time the guy who discovered prions was said to be a fake. And then his work was replicated, and he became a celebrated scientist. The politics of “climate change science” do not apply to prions and human health, thankfully.

One thing is clear: Prions develop most among wild animals that are new to being domesticated, like deer. It is their bodies’ reaction to being unnaturally cooped up. Something in the wild animals’ artificially confined body is misfiring, going haywire, and imploding.

CWD has its genesis in the wildlife management equivalent of drinking wine from a human skull: In most states, including Pennsylvania, deer farms are not required to have two strands of metal fencing separating the confined deer from wild deer. Deer are not yet a domesticated species (if cows, sheep and goats are any indication, it will take another 3,000 years to domesticate deer), they are still wild, and they herd up for protection, as do all social animals.

As a result, wild deer approach the deer inside the deer farm enclosure, touch noses through the fence, exchange body fluids, and get CWD. The wild deer then leave and go off into the wild deer populations and spread CWD among otherwise healthy deer across the landscape.

As a result of this madness, CWD is spreading through Pennsylvania like wildfire, except no one is paying attention. Not really. Only the Pennsylvania Game Commission is trying to solve this crisis, and the agency is being stonewalled at every turn.

You know why?

Because the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is protecting a nascent $16 million annual deer farm business sector from having to install double fencing.

Do you know what hunting is worth annually in Pennsylvania? It is worth $1.6 BILLION, and a great deal of that is from deer hunting.

So here in Pennsylvania, we have a state agency, the PA Dept. of Agriculture, essentially preferring the complete shielding of deer farms from a necessary and responsible practice, and thereby sacrificing Pennsylvania’s wild deer herd and the huge sustainable, renewable economy built on managing those wild deer.

This poor policy from the PA Dept. of Ag is really bad government on display. This is Bad Government 101. Actually, this is failed government.

You cannot make this stuff up, and the CWD situation here highlights why political involvement in a democracy is so important. If you sit back and wait for someone else to solve problems, most often no one else will get involved. You have to lead the charge yourself, and thereby attract fellow supporters.

If you want to get involved, call the PA Dept. of Ag at this number, 717 -772-2853, and tell the nice person who answers the phone that you want DOUBLE FENCING at all deer farms. It is as simple as this.

And if you don’t give a whit about hunting or deer management, consider the impacts CWD will have on other wildlife beyond wild deer. It is an earthquake building under our feet, and we can stop it, if we want to.

2017 Year in Review

Looking back on 2017, it is tempting to list all of great accomplishments, and the few failures, of the new administration in DC.

One could spend a week discussing them all, but for the sake of time, here is one person’s opinion about what we have gained, and what we have yet to gain, from the new administration.

Gains

Where haven’t the citizens of America gained under the policies of the new administration?

From tax reform to ending executive policies designed to bully American citizens through the illegal use of government coercion, President Trump is daily deleting prior executive orders, and often substituting his own pro-freedom policies in their stead.

One gain has been the reining in of the US EPA, a place at which I used to work as a policy and legislative staffer, and which has long had an unprofessional staff culture of political activism substituting for careful reasoned decisions, shaped by law, in the interest of the American People. Fundamental transformation of USEPA was long overdue. The same can be said for NOAA, a huge source for fake climate change junk science, which is now getting a new chief who actually is a meteorologist and who does actually know a thing or two or three about Earth’s climate. How refreshing.

Another gain has been the moving of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. No, this decision is not about Israel, it is about Western Civilization, of which tiny outpost Israel is the canary in the coal mine.  Trump made this decision in the face of United Nations opposition, the same corrupt UN that is run by the biggest tyrannies in the world. He made this decision in the face of violence and threats of violence pouring forth from literally every single Muslim nation. The embassy move draws a stark contrast between a Christendom determined to survive, and everyone else. Sorry, the Jews are just the foil here, not the cause celebre.

Failures

If there is one friction point of real consequence in Washington, DC, it is that surface where the federal judiciary meets the executive branch.

Populated with political radicals, the federal judiciary has rogue judges who routinely use their positions to legislate from the bench, not adjudicate within the constitutional confines of their actual duties. They try to implement specific policies, instead of determining whether or not the question before them is simply constitutional, or not. They continually usurp powers from the executive branch, to the point where these judges have set themselves up as the actual bureaucrats running America.

Got a grievance? Bring it before the right federal judge, and you could get a very detailed, specific holding directing the executive branch of government to implement a certain policy in a certain way under a certain time frame.

The first problem here is that the judiciary rarely has actual jurisdiction in these subjects, because they are wholly functions of the executive branch. Immigration is one such area. Immigration and borders are clearly left to the executive branch to run. And yet America has federal judges who routinely issue holdings they believe will block the implementation of the executive branch’s functions. And these same federal judges will do the same things repeatedly, defiantly, even after the US Supreme Court has struck down their previous decision. These rogue judges are using their official positions to advance social justice causes.

A similar policy subject is gun regulation.

Despite the US Supreme Court’s Heller decision and others like it, lower courts routinely issue holdings on gun regulation that are in direct, clear conflict with US Supreme Court decisions.

A third policy subject is transgenders in the military. Recently a federal judge held that the US military must accept transgenders, ignoring the clear separation of constitutional powers between the executive branch and the judiciary. The executive branch has sole discretion over who it allows into the warfighting military, and civilian courts have zero jurisdiction. For a federal judge to insert himself into military matters is a clear violation of the US Constitution.

The second problem with this is, this is not the way the court system works.

Lower courts are always bound by the holdings of higher courts and by the duties and roles clearly spelled out in the US Constitution. Judges who disregard the higher courts and the Constitution, and instead issue their own politically motivated holdings, are destroying the rule of law in America. They are far overstepping their boundaries, and trying to make law and policy instead of deciding law or remanding a decision back to the political process. In essence setting themselves up as dictators who make all legislative, policy, and legal decisions.

If these rogue judges are successful, America’s court system will become meaningless. It will be a random assortment of competing political decisions governing hundreds of millions of citizens, made by a small handful of unelected people in black robes. These are decisions that are supposed to be hashed out through the political process by elected officials, accountable to the American People through elections and votes.

So, the failure here for the Trump Administration has been an unwillingness to simply disregard these rogue judges, and then move ahead with the administration’s immigration policy, foreign policy, and military decisions. Moreover, Trump’s administration should be openly calling for the impeachment and removal of these rogue judges. Official abuse of power is the most serious threat to American representative government, it must be confronted head-on, and that is not happening. Why is a mystery, because if there is one hallmark of this presidency, it is this president’s willingness to and enjoyment of directly communicating with the American People in the clearest terms.

Conclusion

The rogue judges issue highlights a scary fact that most establishment Republicans are loathe to address, and that is how liberals will do absolutely anything to impose their will on the American People.

The liberal lust for power and control, as marketed through “social justice” causes, means that their ends always justify their methods. It means that all officials with liberal opinions have to do is claim a higher moral ground, higher than existing law, and implement their views through their official role, no matter if it clearly contradicts established law, procedure, and policy.

This of course is not how any democracy or republic works. It is politically unsustainable (it is patently illegal), but it is evidence that liberals will burn down America in order to wrest control of it from the American People, or to prevent their political opponents from running it as the result of elections that liberals are unhappy with. It is also evidence that establishment Republicans have zero fight in them, because they do not believe in anything more than making more money than a person has use for.

If there is a need for a new political group in America, it is one that is focused on documenting official abuses by federal judges, and then working to hold them accountable. Impeachment and removal from the bench is what is needed.

So, in conclusion, 2017 was a very good year, an exciting year, and we can hope for more of the same in 2018.

 

9-11, still happening in slow motion

“Nine Eleven” evokes images of smoky towers in lower Manhattan, and still photos of planes rocketing toward the towers, and people throwing themselves from the windows to escape the flames, heat, and toxic black smoke.

Finally, the twin towers fell, or rather collapsed, not long after the Muslim hijackers from Saudi Arabia had sacrificed themselves and the passengers on the planes.

Their goal was to attack America, as did their fellow hijackers on other planes that day. Flight 93 went down here in Pennsylvania, and it was my role to try to purchase or protect with conservation easements that landscape around the crash site. Working with staff from the National Park Service was mostly fun, sometimes frustrating, but in the end, the site was secured and the area set aside as a memorial.

Other memorials have been established at the Pentagon and in Manhattan.

But what is a memorial worth if the lesson it memorializes is lost?

After 9-11, our mainstream media did everything it could to cast Muslims as the actual victims of 9-11, not the perpetrators. Certainly not all Muslims can be painted with that hijacker’s brush that day, but it is a fact that throughout the Muslim world the day’s fiery images were greeted with shouts of joy and celebration. Including here in America.

Jihad groups like CAIR quickly went on offense, playing to defensive notions. CAIR and other groups played upon big-hearted Americans’ sense of fairness and justice. And so they demanded that we not only forget that 9-11 was by and for Muslims, but that we actually embrace Islam so that we could come to understand that it is actually a great belief system. Anti-Christian groups like CAIR actually used 9-11 to achieve greater inroads against Christians in America and against Christianity globally.

So far their approach has kind of worked. For example, the mainstream media refuses to report how the Muslim Students Association at a major university is actually holding a big celebratory bake sale today. You have to go one or two layers down into media sources to find this infuriating fact. Another example is that key Trump administration appointees are still cozying up with CAIR and other jihadist groups, in the hopes of makey-nicey public appearances translating into a protection scam on the ground, like the mafia used to do.

“Nice country you got here. Shame it’s so…Islamophobic. We’d hate for some Muslims to take all this Islamophobia stuff the wrong way and start cutting off American heads here…” goes the CAIR sales pitch. And so the State Department and Homeland Security Department are continuing the failed Obama policies, which allowed civilizational jihad to continue.

A new report shows that the government of Saudi Arabia funded a dry-run of the 9-11 events, helping its jihadists perfect their hijacking methods. Why we have not occupied Saudi Arabia and confiscated their oil reserves as punishment and reparations for the damage they caused America is a mystery. Any other self-respecting nation would do that. Like it or not, Russia does that kind of response. And it works.

So here we are, 16 years after 9-11, and the net result is that we are still under attack, just as we were that day. Except this attack is slower, quieter, and playing on our silly notions of fairness and justice, which are being bent and used back against us.

To millions of Americans, the 9-11 memorials are a huge red flag. They are a “WAKE THE HELL UP, AMERICA, YOU ARE UNDER ATTACK” sign, neon on a dark night. As any national memorial should be.

But do Americans have elected leaders who understand what it takes to remember 9-11 in a meaningful way, learn the lesson from that day, and apply that lesson to our laws and policies; that is the question.

Until that question is affirmatively answered in a way that protects and supports America, the answer is that 9-11 continues in slow motion.