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Gosnell’s Abortuary and the Limits of Media Shaming

I see at least a passing resemblance between the media’s treatment of the 2012 Benghazi quasi-coverup scandal and their lack of interest in Kermit Gosnell’s Abortuary*.

(* – Indications are that Chris Lilik coined this term.  I submit that it should be part of the PAWatercooler Official Style Guide.)

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After a prolonged period of virtual media blackout and attempts to shame the media into covering what is obviously a significant story, we are starting to see trickles of interest from major media outlets.

Of course, as with Benghazi, they’re covering the story mostly on their own terms, which in this case is a lack of government oversight.  Nothing to do with the horrors inherent in the practice of late term abortion itself.  In the Benghazi case, media reports ignored the politically motivated misdirection from the Obama administration and focused narrowly on procedural issues.  They covered it, but they really didn’t cover it.  (“What does it matter!?”)

This is the limit that shaming the major media will produce – the possibility of half-coverage, and on the wrong terms.  Scream bloody murder all you want (-literally), news outlets will not listen.

My metric for whether a major story has been covered in any meaningful sense is whether it appears on the 6:30 national news.  I watch a network news broadcast almost always five nights a week, rarely less than four nights, (-usually CBS, and always against my will), and I have yet to see the Gosnell story mentioned.

I use the “nightly news” metric in an attempt to separate completely disconnected low-information voters (and non-voters) from those folks who are low-information by no tremendous fault of their own.  It ought to be the case that a person could read a national paper and watch the evening news every day and have some sense of what’s going on in the world.  Sadly, this has not been the case for quite some time.

Conservatives will continue to have a difficult time at the ballot box until this information gap is addressed.

 

April 14, 2013 at 3:26 pm Comments (0)

A Cutting Edge Idea: Slash TSA Knife Policy!

If the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) could compete for an Emmy, it would definitely be a winner.  Its “Security Theatre” has become a cutting-edge soap opera, replete with comedy, drama and ultimately, tragedy.

And the latest episode is making the biggest headlines yet.

The TSA has sliced and diced a prior position, and is now permitting passengers to carry knives onto planes.

Yes. Knives. Those sharp, pointy things that can puncture a pilot’s jugular in a heartbeat, make flight attendants talk like Stephen Hawking, and create total pandemonium at 35,000 feet.

If so many people’s lives, not to mention the entire economy, were not jeopardized by this warped decision, it would be funny.  But this is definitely no joke.

However, you can take solace.  The TSA has shown great sensitivity to the 9/11 attacks by keeping box-cutters banned, despite the steely fact that their blades are but a fraction of those on the permissible knives. Another oxymoron we call “TSA Consistency.”

Even more comical is the TSA’s criteria for the knives. If the blade is no more than 2.36” long and a half-inch wide, it will fly the (un)friendly skies. The blade must also be one that folds away, which is, presumably, because the TSA thinks a 2.36” folded blade (which is locked when opened) can’t kill someone. More reassuring, the knife cannot have a molded handle, which should be a huge relief to everyone — except those who actually fly.

Why the monumental shift in TSA policy? In addition to wanting to be more in-line with Europe (honest to God, that’s no joke), it says security lines are congested because TSA screeners are confiscating thousands of such knives, and these items don’t pose a 9/11-type threat anyway.

Oh. So because druggies and shoplifters create logjams in our courts, we should just give in and make their actions legal?

And how exactly will lines be shortened with TSA screeners now using tape measures to ensure that 2.37” knives don’t slip by? Although, truth be told, they could all just emulate the Philadelphia Airport, where everything seems to get through.

The TSA is convinced that a 9/11 hijacking can never occur again because so much has changed: steel cockpit doors, a vigilant flying public, air marshals and better intelligence.  And there you have it: TSA’s  “risk-based” security plan. Which is really great, except the parts about the steel cockpit doors, a vigilant flying public, air marshals and better intelligence.

Let’s review:

1) Yes, cockpit doors are strengthened, but since there aren’t self-contained bathrooms in the cockpit, pilots are absolutely vulnerable every time nature calls.

2) Is the TSA expecting passengers to work “fight-the-knife-freak” duty? And how many people are the TSA willing to sacrifice? It’s not just the doped up or drunk passenger who stabs the flight attendant because he hated the in-flight movie. It’s a handful of Mohammed Attas coordinating a vicious attack, each wielding several legal weapons. Sound familiar? It should, since box-cutters were legal on 9/11.  Once the attack commences, then what? Maybe they gain entrance to the cockpit, and maybe not. But when you’re dealing with fanatics who can’t wait to meet Allah and all those supposed virgins, it’s going to be a bloodbath. And since sophisticated terrorists always utilize surprise, they will gain the upper hand immediately.

Can’t wait for the TSA press conference after an aircraft lands with 300 dead passengers and crew. “Yeah, they all got stabbed to death. But hey! We didn’t lose the plane!”

And guess what? The economy would collapse anyway.

3) Air marshals? Sorry, they’ve been sequestrationed, and only fly on a small percentage of flights anyway. For the record, they vehemently oppose the TSA knife policy. Next.

4) Better intelligence. Really? Where? Like in New York in 2010, when the Muslim fundamentalist Times Square bomber was caught by Lady Luck? You may remember him. After fleeing Manhattan, he went to the airport, bought a one-way ticket to the Middle East — in cash —, boarded the plane, and almost almost took off. And best of all, he was on the No-Fly List!

Or the 2009 Christmas Day underwear bomber who, only through sheer ineptness, didn’t bring down a jumbo jet over the U.S. He was also on our watch lists, and his own father repeatedly warned our intelligence communities of his son’s intentions, yet he too almost succeeded.

Out of curiosity, does that “better intelligence” include the countless alphabet-soup agencies that still wage turf wars with each other and don’t share information? Just wondering.

*****

Of course, there is a much better solution. It’s called profiling, and it works really, really well.  Just ask the Israelis, who know a thing or two about terrorists. (El Al has only been hijacked once).

But out of deference to possible hurt feelings, we refuse. In fact, because of our affinity for political correctness, we do the opposite. The TSA actually announces who doesn’t have to take off their shoes (all children under 12), and who won’t be subject to pat-downs (children, the wheelchair-bound, and pretty much anyone who complains). Which is all well and good except that the Brotherhood of Mohammed Atta has no problem sacrificing their kids, so guess on whom they will hide their explosives?

*****

In 2007, the then-TSA chief lifted the ban on lighters and matches, admitting that policy was “security theatre.” Nothing has changed, as the TSA continues with policies that not only aren’t keeping the skies safe, but actually make them more dangerous.

Unfortunately, Security Theatre has become an all-too-true reality show, playing out every day at thousands of airports. And it’s only a matter of time before it crashes and burns.

 

But in the meantime, in the hope that Security Theatre can jump to the big screen, the least we could do is suggest some appropriate movie titles. Not sure if the copyrights have expired on these, but here’s taking a stab at it:

Jagged Edge, Blade Runner, Con Air, Fight Club, Skyfall, Airport ’13, and, in honor of when TSA officials fly, Snakes On A Plane.

 

Chris Freind is an independent commentator who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

 

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March 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm Comments (0)

Pope Resigning Is Miracle — Cardinals, Choose Wisely

Thank God for small miracles. Or, in this case, huge ones.

The decision of Pope Benedict XVI to step down — the first resignation in 600 years and only the fourth in history — has given the Catholic Church an unprecedented opportunity to save itself. And since the eleventh hour is upon the Church, the Pope’s action could not have come at a better time.

Whether the conclave of Cardinals takes advantage of this blessing or blows it all to hell remains to be seen.

As one of the Catholic faithful, I desperately want to believe it will choose the right path.

I want to believe the Church, without hesitation, will do whatever is necessary to rebuild the greatest, most benevolent institution the world has ever known.

I want to believe the Church will admit and address, head-on, that its hard times — the scandal, corruption and genuflecting at the wrong altar (that of political correctness) — are sins of its own making.

I want to believe the Church has finally learned to practice what it preaches, that humbleness will replace arrogance, and that it fully appreciates the value of not just forgiveness, but asking to be forgiven.

I want to believe that the new Pope will inherently understand that, in order for the Church to survive, it must adapt — not in ways that undermine the pillars of its divine theology, but by approaching its critical “earthly” issues with an honest, fresh perspective.

I want to believe that the Church will strive to better understand the value of perhaps the most powerful tool in the 21st century: public relations.

And I want to believe that the Catholic Church, once and for all, will cease being a paper tiger, resurrecting its once mighty political power.

But at the risk of sounding like Thomas, I have my doubts.

Given its recent history, the Church does not exactly inspire confidence that it has learned from its mistakes and gained the wisdom (and will) to embark on the path to growth. A gambling man would wager on the next Pope being Business-As-Usual, radiating the status quo and reluctant to make waves.

That would be a good bet, but it would be a losing hand for the Church, relegating it to a house of cards.

*****

So what should the Cardinals do to ensure the survivability of the Church?

1) For starters, choose the right-looking leader. Honorable as he may be, Pope Benedict makes John McCain look downright boyish, so picking another frail, gray-haired/white-haired/no-haired Pontiff is a surefire way to completely lose the middle-aged-and-younger generations. Like it or not, appearance matters. And that is infallible.

Proof? FDR could have never won in the television age because America would not elect a man in a wheelchair. JFK’s youth and good looks gave him a substantial advantage over Nixon in the debates. Bob Dole versus Bill Clinton? Not even divine intervention could have helped Dole in that matchup. And since the death of European Christianity has largely occurred under older pontiffs, maybe it’s time to go younger.

However, choosing a pope on ethnic appearance would be a huge mistake. Sure, a black pope helps bolster Africa (the new battleground in the vicious Christian-Muslim wars), as a Latino does for Central and South America.  But that vision is short-sighted, as it wouldn’t actually address, let alone solve, the Church’s problems.

2) Select an articulate, charismatic pontiff who, in both perception and reality, can effectively communicate that he is in touch with the true heart and soul of the Church — the rank-and-file. The new pope cannot afford to be aloof or insulated, since these are the very qualities that contributed so mightily to the Church’s decline. How bad has it become? One in ten Americans is an ex-Catholic, and the 30 million who have left the Church, if counted as their own religious group, would be the third-largest denomination in the country. Vocations are a fraction of what they once were, and the obvious stigma associated with entering the seminary keeps even more away. And the stark reality is that, within a decade, Catholic education will be largely gone, leaving churches that much emptier.

3) Ensure the new pope apologizes in an unprecedented upfront, straightforward manner, not just for the scandals but the cover-ups. And that apology should extend down to every parish. Countless Catholics are still waiting for a genuine apology, and many parents feel that they are being put through the ringer because of priests’ sins. Praying in mass for the pedophile clergy, and those who covered up their salacious activities, is one thing. But the many priests who still view the scandals as overblown makes the sin mortal, as the continuing Catholic exodus and dwindling coffers attest.

4) Start talking about the positive aspects of the Church, restoring the credibility that has been shattered by years of sex scandals, shredded documents and cover-ups. The Roman Catholic Church is the largest provider of social services in the entire world (second in America behind only the U.S. government) and administers the world’s largest nonpublic school system, yet most people are unaware of those phenomenal achievements — a massive failure in public relations. It’s time to tell that magnificent story and educate the world — again — on what it really means to be Catholic. Unequivocally, pride in Catholic identity leads to fuller schools.

5) Flex political muscle. From keeping its schools open (which saves billions in taxpayer money) to fighting government healthcare insurance mandates for abortion and birth control, success in the public arena only occurs when muscle is flexed It’s time for Catholics to take their rightful place at the political table, as all other religions do (despite having far fewer members). But that means playing hardball, unabashedly making its issues front and center in primary and general elections. The power of a newly awakened tiger — one that has shed its paper skin — would be an unmatched political force. But that power will only exist if people once again believe in their Church.

6) Allow priests to marry.  And yes, consider allowing women to enter the priesthood.  This would ease the resentment felt by many women towards a Church that treats them like second-class citizens. Even more important, women and married priests are the only measures that can ensure the Church’s survival. We can play with the numbers, pretending that seminary vocations are up, but the stark reality is that if nothing changes, there soon won’t be a Catholic Church in the traditional sense. The cock has been crowing a lot more than three times — more like 30 years — and yet the denials from Church leaders continue. The clock is ticking.

An all-male, celibate clergy has its origins in human, not divine, history. Forget Dan Brown theories as to whether Jesus was actually married. Priests were married (and possibly even a Pope or two), and were for centuries, with some historians placing that practice at over 1,000 years. While it was abolished for “religious” reasons, the real impetus was rooted in property rights. But since God invented annuities and life insurance in the 20th century, that problem has been solved. Married clergy certainly seems to be working in the other religions (who don’t have nearly the old age and pedophile problems), so the Church needs to get with the times.

*****

Keep the faith but fight the corruption.  That should be the ultimate factor in choosing the next pope.  It doesn’t get any simpler, or more poignant, than that.

If such a leader can preach a positive message, modernize without compromise, and wield a political sledgehammer, then prayers for a reinvigorated flock will be answered, keeping Christ’s Church alive far into the future.

As printed in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

http://articles.philly.com/2013-03-11/news/37626443_1_new-pope-pope-benedict-xvi-charismatic-pope

 

 

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

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March 12, 2013 at 12:15 pm Comments (0)

Michigan Passes Right-to-Work

Can somebody please explain to me how this can happen in Michigan but not in Pennsylvania?

Republicans rushed right-to-work legislation through the Michigan Legislature Thursday, drawing raucous protests from hundreds of union supporters, some of whom were pepper-sprayed by police when they tried to storm the Senate chamber.

With six-vote margins in both chambers, the House and Senate approved measures prohibiting private unions from requiring that nonunion employees pay fees. The Senate was debating a similar bill, with Democrats denouncing it as an attack on worker rights and the GOP sponsor insisting it would boost the economy and jobs. Separate legislation dealing with public-sector unions was expected to come later.

Because of rules requiring a five-day delay between votes in the two chambers on the same legislation, final enactment appears unlikely until next week. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who previously had said repeatedly that right-to-work was “not on my agenda,” told reporters Thursday he would sign the measures.

Please?

December 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm Comments (0)

Will Sandusky And Corbett Defeat Romney?

The Governor’s mishandling of the Sandusky investigation may doom the GOP

Ohio, Ohio, Ohio. It’s all about Ohio. Win the Buckeye state — win the White House.

Very true, especially for Mitt Romney, since no Republican has won without it.

But the monumental point is being overlooked.

Ohio is only kingmaker by default.  Its 18 electoral votes would not be needed if Romney wins Ohio’s larger neighbor — Pennsylvania and its 20 electors.

That’s not wishful thinking, but eminently achievable. Or at least it was, until two men severely diminished hope for delivering the Keystone State: Jerry Sandusky and Republican Governor Tom Corbett.

*****

Make no mistake. Pennsylvania should have been a lock for the GOP.  The fact that it has not voted Republican for president since 1988 is misleading. When there is a solid candidate, Pennsylvania is always in play, where a small vote swing changes the election result (George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004).  Conversely, bad candidates lose handily (Bush I in ‘92, Dole in ’96, and McCain in 2008). And remember that Ronald Reagan won it twice, and George H.W. Bush in ’88.

In 1994, it became the most Republican state in the country in terms of elected officials, with the GOP claiming both U.S. Senate seats, the governorship, total control of the state legislature, a majority in its congressional delegation, and two of three statewide row offices.

Fast forward to 2010, when GOP Governor Tom Corbett rode to victory with a massive ten-point margin.  Conservative Pat Toomey was elected U.S. Senator, and Republicans gained control of the State House in historic fashion, smashing the Democrats and taking a ten-seat majority.  The State Senate remained solidly Republican — as it has for three decades.

So why is it likely that Romney will lose the Pennsylvania Prize?

Enter Corbett and Sandusky.

*****

The most worthless commodities in politics are endorsements. Party leaders endorsing their own is expected, swaying no one.  And celebrities choosing sides only makes for good cocktail talk.  Romney doesn’t benefit from Clint Eastwood, nor Obama from Bruce Springsteen.

But while endorsements don’t sell, popularity does. And they are distinctively different.

If a leader possesses a bold vision — and the ability to articulate ideas in a common sense, bipartisan way — he will have followers from the entire political spectrum. New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie is the best example, having achieved monumental victories despite both legislative chambers being heavily Democratic.

While no single Republican could swing Jersey to Romney, that feat should have been in the bag in much more Republican Pennsylvania. If Christie could rack up wins in The People’s Republic of New Jersey, gaining immense popularity, how could Corbett not deliver Pennsylvania?

Because he is an MIA governor.

After the first year of his Administration, when virtually nothing was accomplished, Corbett’s own legislators nicknamed him “Christie-lite.” But after the second year, with an even more startling lack of achievements, the nicknames became unprintable.

We’re not talking about a failed extreme right-wing agenda, but common sense ideas Corbett promised but didn’t come close to delivering, despite holding all the cards.

-Was the nation’s largest state-controlled liquor system dismantled — a move overwhelmingly supported by most Pennsylvanians? Nope. Zero action.

-Was any effort made to 1) solve the state’s massive pension crisis, 2)lower the job-killing, corporate net income tax (second-highest in the nation), or 3) reform the nation’s most hostile legal climate? All drive businesses away, but no action was taken. The can was kicked down the road.

-Did state union workers receive a contract in line with private sector employees? No.  Instead, Corbett gave them guaranteed raises, no increases in health care premiums, and eliminated layoffs for economic reasons. At the same time, he raised salaries of his inner circle, aides who apparently couldn’t get by on $135,000.

While his inaction sunk the Governor’s favorable ratings, it was his handling of sexual predator Jerry Sandusky that really put him in the toilet, flushing away whatever attractiveness he had left.

Corbett’s attempt to steal the national limelight at Penn State news conferences by portraying himself as the savior who took down Sandusky rapidly backfired. Instead, his decisions in that case (he was the investigating Attorney General) grew into a firestorm that continues to explode.

No one is buying Corbett’s claims that he didn’t play politics with the Sandusky investigation. A whopping 69 percent of Pennsylvanians don’t view Corbett favorably, making him the nation’s least popular governor.  And a miniscule 17 percent think he handled the Sandusky investigation well.

Why? Maybe because:

-It took three years to get Sandusky off the street. Within the law enforcement community, it’s almost unanimous that Sandusky should have been nailed much, much earlier. Ten cases weren’t needed, as Corbett maintains, but only two or three to make an arrest while continuing to build the case.

-Corbett ordered a narcotics agent to lead a whopping team of two to investigate Sandusky, while scores of agents — including child predator units — prosecuted a political corruption case.

Because of Corbett’s colossal inconsistencies, Republican leaders were forced to abruptly end a legislative session, killing a motion requesting a federal investigation of Corbett’s handling of the case.

As a result, Corbett’s numbers have stayed in the basement. The erosion of his popularity, transcending Party lines, stems from the nagging feeling that Corbett placed politics above the protection of innocent children.

*****

The most far-reaching result of the Governor’s failures will be the political earthquake that never was. If Corbett had been just a fraction of Chris Christie, and had run the Sandusky investigation properly, Mitt Romney wins Pennsylvania hands down.

Instead, because of Corbett’s toxicity, Romney was forced to focus on Ohio, which he will likely lose, and with it, the White House.

But that may be the least of Corbett’s troubles. Kathleen Kane is poised to become the first elected Democratic Attorney General in Pennsylvania history.  Should that occur, the political embarrassment for Corbett would be immense, since he would be seen as the main contributor to a Kane victory.

If elected, Kane promises an intense review of the Sandusky investigation, with no hesitation to charge anyone —including the Governor — should improprieties be uncovered.

And who thought politics wouldn’t be interesting after this election?

As published in Daily County Daily Times:
http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2012/11/05/opinion/doc50979500780a2499235935.txt

Philadelphia Magazine:
http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2012/11/05/sandusky-corbett-defeat-romney/

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

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November 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm Comments (0)

Times Herald Columnist “Can’t Duck the Obvious”

I absolutely love the metaphor in Gordon Glantz’s Times Herald column this week:

So what is it?
The difference between Democrats and Republicans.

Liberals and conservatives.
Lefties and righties.

The Occupy Movement and The Tea Party.

It is seemingly a question left for only thieves of paychecks — whether it be political science professors, think-tank sharks, talk-radio blowhards, television blowhards in love with the sound of their own voices and know-it-all Sunday columnists.

But I learned it in a much simpler way last weekend — when we took advantage of Christopher Columbus discovering something that was already here, and inhabited, making the claim seemingly moot — and went on a two-night excursion to Cape May, N.J.

On the road home, we stopped off at the Cape May Zoo. It was a tad raw outside, and we lacked the proper outerwear, but Sofia — Miss Daisy to my Hoke — already pre-submitted her itinerary.

It was there that I put in a quarter to get some cracked corn for Sofia to feed to some ducks.
As I held her aloft above the fence, the seemingly innocent act of a 5-year-old struck me.

She is clearly not on the fence, politically.

The ducks were like America’s proletariat — and no, not just because the letter “d” could be swapped with another to accurately describe the way 99 percent of us exist in “their” world — and the corn was the nation’s abundant wealth.

Sofia could have been like some of the other kids, who spotted one or two favorite ducks and fed them to the exclusion of the rest.

But not my baby.
No way.
Although my middle-aged back ached from holding her up for an extended period of time, I took pride as she made sure each duck she saw got something to eat.

You could argue that this made her a communist, socialist or a social democrat.

Or, you could say I’m reading too much into her kindhearted nature; that it was just a little girl feeding some ducks.
Some of you might want to play along with this analogy — and thanks for playing — and you could argue her method leaves all the ducks (or 99 percent of them) hungry and at least 47 percent wanting more of a “handout,” proving that the right has it right.

But riddle me this: What if all the kids did the same thing and spread their raw corn out evenly to all the ducks?

None would have been hungry, and all would have waddled away happy.

As satisfied citizens, they might just say “no thanks” when an attempt is made to deceive them into an unfunded war that sent the economy off a cliff.

Here we have Sophia as the benevolent arm of the government, equitably distributing food that someone else paid for to a captive populace, much like the Michelle Obama school lunch program. The ducks are so dulled by the consistent handouts, they have probably forgotten that they were once free creatures, fully capable of providing food and shelter for themselves, according to their own desires and capabilities. 

No.  You certainly can’t duck the obvious.

October 14, 2012 at 9:45 am Comments (0)

Gov. Corbett Still Refuses To Answer Sandusky Questions!

 

In a speech before the world’s press, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett said, “We must keep in mind that when it comes to the safety of children, there can be no margin for error, no hesitation to act.” It was the same authoritative tone he took when chastising Joe Paterno for not doing more to stop Jerry Sandusky.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

It is Tom Corbett himself who is most guilty of hesitating. Hesitating to appropriately staff the Sandusky investigation, and hesitating for years to make an arrest — both of which jeopardized the safety of children. That hesitation, and the stonewalling that Corbett has now employed, has created an intense firestorm around the Governor.

 

Given the unprecedented nature of the Penn State scandal, this issue is not going away. In fact, if Corbett doesn’t come forward with answers, it promises to be the Number One issue in his 2014 re-election campaign.

 

*****

 

Last week, the Governor responded to Freindly Fire’s Open Letter, which had requested specifics on key issues.  But rather than answering any questions, the Corbett response raised even more red flags.

 

The Corbett response stated, “Grand juries take time. Evidence in decades old molestations must be reassembled. A moral certainty of conviction must be reached… Where does Mr. Freind think that decade’s worth of evidence came from? It had to be gathered, reluctant witness-by-reluctant witness, with accompanying corroborating evidence.”

 

Absolutely correct — and precisely Freindly Fire’s point. Corbett is admitting that this high-profile case required a tremendous amount of work. So why were so few investigating it?

 

Here’s the bottom line.  The Sandusky investigation took three years, was reportedly staffed by a single investigator at the outset, and later spearheaded by two narcotics agents, neither of whom had any experience in child molestation cases. Compare to this to the army of investigators Corbett used in the Bonusgate political corruption probe, including, sources say, agents from child predator units.

 

Given those facts, it seems logical that there can be only one of two explanations:

 

1) Politics

It doesn’t take a genius to know that sullying the reputation of the state’s largest university and taking down its legendary football coach would be a monumental challenge to any candidate running for governor. This would have been particularly true in Corbett’s case, given that his opponent, Dan Onorato, was a Penn State alumnus.

And the might of Penn State’s massive alumni network was just illustrated, where 76,000 alumni donated much of the $208 million the university raised this year.

So was the understaffed investigation dragged out in such a fashion that the arrests were not made until after the 2010 gubernatorial election?

 

2) Priorities

 

Or was the Sandusky case mishandled because Tom Corbett did not prioritize catching child predators?

 

If politics played no role, then Tom Corbett clearly prioritized corrupt politicians, who we will always have, over taking a serial child rapist off the street.  One can only wonder how many more victims Sandusky molested while he was under investigation.

 

There are a number of quotes, some by Corbett himself, that are quite telling.

 

Randy Feathers, the head of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Office in State College who eventually headed the investigation, stated, “During the Bonusgate investigation, we had a shortage of investigators in Harrisburg.” (Altoona Mirror, June 24, 2012)

 

Corbett was obviously proud of the fact that he pulled no one from Bonusgate, stating, “We used a completely different unit from Bonusgate… (the agents working the Sandusky case) were pure narcotic investigators from up in that region.” (Corbett press conferences, July 12, 2012, and July 14, 2012).

And Corbett admitted worrying that Sandusky could still be victimizing boys during the lengthy investigation, stating, “It was a calculated risk.” (CBS Philadelphia/KYW New Radio, June 26, 2012)

So Corbett knew of the risk, and yet decided that investigating a child-victimizing monster was worthy of only two investigators.

 

What’s even more telling is the fact that, upon Corbett becoming governor, he immediately ordered state police resources to the case.  Why wasn’t that done before?  So again, the question has to be asked whether Corbett, as Attorney General, ever requested additional assistance from then-Governor Ed Rendell, himself a highly respected former prosecutor. It’s not a trick question, and only requires a Yes or No answer.

 

And did Corbett ask the Feds for assistance, especially if additional state police resources were denied by Rendell and no one could be pulled from Bonusgate?

 

If the answers are in the negative, as they appear to be, what were Corbett’s motives in choosing to stay with such a bare-boned investigative staff?

 

*****

No one has suggested that Sandusky should have been arrested before evidence was gathered. Common sense dictated that at least two or three solid cases be assembled before an arrest was made, and numerous prosecutors with no ax to grind have stated that strategy would have been a viable one.

But, as has been stated in the media, Corbett waited to have at least 10 cases before making an arrest, which just boggles the mind.

Once several victims were identified and an arrest was made, with the spotlight on Sandusky, more witnesses would come forward. More importantly, Sandusky would have been closely watched and children would have been safe. But that didn’t happen.

Instead, a predator was given three more years to victimize his prey.

No wonder the Governor doesn’t want to answer questions.

So the stonewalling continues.  There are still no answers as to why Bonusgate investigators were not ordered to work the Sandusky case, and why, sources say, Attorney General agents, including those in child predator units, were pulled from other cases to assist with that corruption probe.

*****

Governor Corbett also failed to answer the Open Letter’s other questions, including why he did not consider it a conflict of interest to serve on the Penn State Board of Trustees while simultaneously investigating it, and why he approved the $3 million taxpayer grant to Sandusky’s charity, The Second Mile, when he could have simply done nothing or vetoed it without raising one eyebrow.

The latter is particularly compelling since $640,000 in campaign contributions were made from Second Mile board members and affiliates to Corbett’s Attorney General and gubernatorial races.

*****

The Open Letter received an astounding response from across the political spectrum. It was Facebooked and Tweeted thousands of times, published in media outlets and websites across the nation, and was the hottest topic on talk radio, with Freindly Fire discussing it from coast to coast. Most telling is that 99.9 percent of that dialogue had one common theme: why was there so much hesitation to act by Attorney General Corbett?

 

Rather than invoking “space aliens,” as he did in his response, Governor Corbett would be better served by coming clean with the only thing that matters: the truth.

 

There is no such thing as “fair and balanced.” There is only truth and accuracy.  It is time for Tom Corbett to tell the whole truth — accurately — regarding the very troubling Jerry Sandusky investigation.

 

The best place to start? Answer the questions. And the truth shall set you free.

 

Read the column in the Delaware County Daily Times:

 http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2012/07/25/opinion/doc500ee47ae1559699997615.txt

Gov. Corbett Response to Freind

 http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2012/07/18/opinion/doc5006905ca4fe6470627721.txt

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

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July 25, 2012 at 7:56 am Comment (1)

Gov.Corbett Could Have Stopped Sandusky — But Didn’t

An open letter to Pennsylvania’s governor, who refuses to answer disturbing questions about his role investigating the Penn State sex scandal

 

Bursting with righteous indignation, his cheeks flushed with rage, the Governor banged the podium in disgust while berating a journalist — in fact, chastising the entire media — for the audacity to ask questions on the issue.

We’re not talking about New Jersey’s Chris Christie, who gets away with such outbursts because of his stellar track record and pure gravitas.

No, this tantrum came from Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett after being queried about his incredibly long investigation of child predator Jerry Sandusky.

And it backfired in spectacular fashion. Why?

Because Tom Corbett is no Chris Christie.                      

*****

Since questions on this matter remain unanswered, it seems only fitting, on behalf of the media and public, to pen an Open Letter to Mr. Corbett.

For the record, no media commentator in Pennsylvania supported Corbett’s ideas more than Freindly Fire during the 2010 campaign, from increased Marcellus Shale drilling to school choice to liquor privatization. In fact, FF even backed Corbett’s decision to subpoena Twitter during the Bonusgate corruption probe — a highly unpopular position. Bottom line: this isn’t personal, and it’s not partisan.  It’s only about one thing: the truth.

*****

Dear Governor Corbett:

Since there are a number of questions which you have failed to answer concerning your investigation of Jerry Sandusky, on behalf of the media and the public, I respectfully ask for clarification in the following areas:

1) Based on a decade’s worth of evidence of Sandusky’s predatory activities, why did it take the Attorney General’s office three years to arrest him? I fully understand that it takes time to conduct an investigation, but as numerous prosecutors have stated, you could have arrested him quickly and continued building the case.

Tragically, it is probable that Sandusky continued to molest victims during your epic investigation, as predators do not stop preying unless forced to do so.  Had he been arrested early, (standard procedure in many cases with a lot less evidence), Sandusky would have had to post bail, had restrictions placed upon him, and, most important, been under an ultra-intense media and community spotlight — every minute of every day until his trial.

In short, children would finally have been safe. And contrary to your assessment, this would have created a much more favorable environment for additional witnesses to come forward, knowing their bigger-than-life demon could hurt them no more. Arresting Sandusky quickly would have in no way jeopardized the strength of the case.

One of two things seems to be true, as there is no third option. Either A) you were an incompetent attorney general, which virtually no one believes, or B) the investigation was deliberately understaffed and drawn out  because you did not wish to be the gubernatorial candidate who took down fabled Penn State — with its massive and intensely loyal alumni network — and the beloved Joe Paterno. Since doing so would have presented difficult campaign challenges, many are asking if politics was placed above children’s safety.  Which leads to the next question.

2) Why was the investigation so understaffed? Yes, you just now claimed — after eight months — that media reports are wrong that only one investigator was assigned the case for the first 15 months. The real number, as you now state, was a whopping two.  We know you were busy with Bonusgate, but political corruption never threatens anyone’s physical well-being, particularly defenseless children.

And the two investigators assigned were narcotics agents. While Sandusky’s heinous crimes were many, drug offenses were not among them.

Yes, they were former police officers. But wouldn’t the reasonable course have been to assign agents with experience in child molestation cases? Did their inexperience lengthen the investigation more than normal…say, past your election in November, 2010?

Additional resources were available. Upon becoming governor, you placed state police on the case. You could have made that same request to Governor Rendell, and, given the stakes, there is virtually no possibility he would have refused. And since you are a former United States Attorney, you undoubtedly realized that federal assistance was also available.

3) Do you believe ethical and moral lines were crossed when, after investigating Penn State as Attorney General, you then participated as a member of the Board of Trustees upon becoming Governor?  

In other words, knowing full well that the investigation was still in full swing, conducted by your handpicked Attorney General successor, you nonetheless chose to sit on the very Board you had been — and still were — investigating!

Did you ever consider recusing yourself from Board activities until the investigation was concluded? Since governors rarely attend Board meetings, this would have in no way raised suspicions.


4) As governor, why did you personally approve a $3 million taxpayer-funded grant to Sandusky’s Second Mile charity, given your knowledge that Sandusky was under investigation for multiple child rapes?

Your statement that blocking the grant would have tipped people off to the investigation is utterly disingenuous, particularly since the media reported on the investigation in March, and you did not approve the funds until July, 2011.  

Vetoing the charitable grant would have simply been viewed as another financial cutback in a budget full of slashed programs.

So one has to ask if the $640,000 in campaign donations from board members of the Second Mile, along with their businesses and families, had anything to do with your actions?

If not, fine.  But how did such a massively significant point slip your mind — until the media brought it up? And was that question also out of line?

Since these are matters of grave concern, I and many others look forward to your immediate response.

 

*****

 

The media talks about Penn State’s Big Four casualties: Joe Paterno, former President Graham Spanier, Senior Vice President Gary Schultz, and Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley. But perhaps they are missing the biggest: Tom Corbett.

He has always claimed to hold himself to a higher standard, and has roundly criticized Paterno and others for not doing more to stop Sandusky. But when it came down to it, when Corbett had the power to put a speedy end to Sandusky, he didn’t.  

If mistakes were made, fine. People can accept that.  But to stonewall reasonable questions on such an important matter, and then stalk off , is something that should not, and will not, be tolerated.

Tom Corbett has a choice, perhaps the biggest of his career.  He can either answer now — or in 2014.

 Link to column in Delaware County Daily Times:

http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2012/07/17/opinion/doc500484c4eef82305964009.txt

An accredited member of the medi\a, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

 

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July 17, 2012 at 7:59 am Comment (1)

Pennsylvania Democrats are a Problem for Obama

From PA Politics,

A significant portion of western and central Pennsylvania Democrats declined to vote for Barack Obama in the April primary, an analysis by PoliticsPA has found. The results there resemble those of Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia, where the President lost around 40 percent of the primary vote to no-name opponents or “undecided”.

A review of county-by-county vote totals show that the President underperformed historic trends, as well as other Democrats on the ballot this year.

Over 30 percent of voters left the presidential ballot blank rather than select Obama’s name in 27 counties. That’s compared to just 6 counties apiece for the two other unopposed statewide Democratic primary candidates, incumbent PA Treasurer Rob McCord and Auditor General hopeful (and first time statewide candidate) Eugene DePasquale.

In southwestern PA minus Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, Obama’s undervote was about 10 percent higher than that of Ed Rendell, who ran unopposed for re-election as Governor in 2006.

Read the whole thing here.

 

 

 

July 1, 2012 at 11:12 am Comments (0)

Use Your Brain — No Motorcycle Helmet Laws


 

No one ever accused the Philadelphia Inquirer’s editorial board of using their “heads” when opining, and last week was no exception.

 

Like Big Brother that thinks it — not the individual — knows best, that “brain” trust is arguing that the State should mandate how motorcyclists protect their brains. In their editorial, they argue that “Keystone State motorists would be safer if Harrisburg followed Trenton’s example by strengthening enforcement of seat-belt use and restoring the mandate that all motorcyclists wear helmets.”

 

Ok, first the most obvious point: Snooki aside, emulating anything from New Jersey is simply insane.

 

Second, when will folks realize that regulating everything under the sun in the name of “what’s good for us” (such as soda bans in New York and foie gras in California) never achieves the desired result. Instead, such legislation only serves to h the loss of freedoms for all Americans.

 

*****

 

My wife’s step-brother was killed while riding his motorcycle.  He was an avid and highly experienced rider.

 

He also wasn’t wearing a helmet.

 

Standing in line at his viewing, I overheard people commenting that Pennsylvania should have a law mandating motorcycle helmets.  Such a law might prevent deaths and mitigate the injuries that plague motorcyclists, so that line of thinking goes.

 

The theory, of course, has merit.  Common sense tells us that wearing a helmet while riding on top of an engine, with virtually no protection, will provide at least some measure of safety for the brain in case of an accident.

 

However, just because a concept makes sense doesn’t mean that it should become law. Mandating helmets crosses the line because it is government intrusion on personal freedoms of the individual, since it has yet to be shown that a helmet-less rider is a threat to the physical well-being of any person other than himself.

 

It is interesting to note, however, that even with no mandatory helmet law, many motorcyclists still wear helmets — proof that people, entrusted to their own good sense, will make intelligent decisions.

 

In the same way, laws mandating seat belts for drivers are misguided.  How is an adult’s failure to wear a seat belt in any way affecting other people? It doesn’t, so why is it illegal?  Such laws only open the door to more intrusive regulations, and fuels the “government knows best” mentality. (Of course, common sense dictates that children under eighteen should be required to wear restraints because their lives are in the driver’s hands, and they do not understand the consequences of not using seat belts).

 

*****

 

Interestingly, many people state their philosophical opposition to the mandatory helmet law, yet support efforts to institute such a law.  Why?  Because riders not wearing helmets cause our auto and health insurance costs to go up.

 

This is a fallacy, not to mention a dangerous line of thinking.

 

The number of motorcycle accidents is minuscule compared to car crashes, since there are exponentially more automobiles on the road.  Therefore, the jump in insurance rates is an unfounded myth due to the statistical insignificance of motorcycle injuries. Beyond that—and this will seem quite callous— there is a strong case to be made that helmet-less riders actually save the health care system money because, in catastrophic accidents, such riders are more likely to die from their head injuries.  Health care costs for the deceased are, for obvious reasons, nonexistent, while long-term medical care and rehabilitation for the injured rider are substantial.

 

And a point often lost in the debate is that many experienced riders feel that helmets are virtually worthless in accidents over 35 miles per hour due to the tremendous forces exerted upon the motorcyclists.

 

If anything should be mandated, it’s appropriate auto insurance coverage for motorcyclists, including adequate personal liability and major medical amounts.  That is simply the cost of doing business when riding a motorcycle.

 

*****

 

The greatest danger America faces is not from outside invasion or terrorist attack. Rather, it is the loss of freedoms…

Read the rest and join the discussion in the Delaware County Daily Times:

 

http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2012/06/05/opinion/doc4fce126e42c53676906068.txt

 

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         
 
 

 

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June 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm Comments (0)

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