How can there be so little leadership in government today?

September 8 — With State Senator Doug Mastriano taken off the forensic audit investigation and stripped of his chairmanship, and no real clear plan moving forward, how is it all these leaders seem to be getting away with not leading?

Colonel Mastriano joined Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen this morning on First News to discuss the uncertainty and chaos that seems prevalent everywhere today.

A hearing about the forensic audit in Pennsylvania has been scheduled for tomorrow.

Jake Corman, president pro tempore of the PA Senate, assigned Cris Dush to head up the investigation.

Jansen pointed out, “It looks like they’re just going to do exactly what you were planning to do. So I don’t know what they really accomplished with this big switch up.”

Mastriano said, “He (Corman) promised swift action and actually he’s not doing anything that I wanted to do. Almost three weeks on and there’s still no subpoenas and all there is is talk of hearings and we don’t even have a lot of details on that. So much for moving ahead decisively. I don’t know what the game was for him. For me it was no game. It’s very clear that we need to do a forensic investigation. An audit. The plan was to move the subpoenas out of my committee as quickly as I could get Jake to unlock the hearing rooms for me so I could actually have a vote. The game is afoot I guess for him. He’s renowned for dragging out time and burning out the clock so that’s what we’re seeing here.”

Mastriano is going over the memos that were sent out over the last year and early this year. Corman didn’t sign any of Mastriano’s memos going out.

Mastriano pointed out, “The fact that he would say that he’s always been for this here it just belies the fact that I don’t see evidence of that. Do remember we had the election on the 3rd of November. On the 5th of November, I called for Boockvar’s resignation. Our failed secretary of state who has since been resigning in shame. Two days after I issued that letter and calling for Boockvar to resign because of her awful handling of the election in Pennsylvania, Jake Corman undercut me, together with Kerry Benninghoff, on the steps of the capitol outside when he had a press conference where he said basically, ‘I’m not aware of any fraud and it was a fine election.’ I mean the video is out there. I don’t know where this transformation suddenly comes from where he wants to have an audit.”

Pennsylvania Department of State officials are invited to testify at a hearing tomorrow regarding last minute guidance provided to counties and its impact on the 2020 general election. It’s part of the committee’s broader investigation into Pennsylvania’s election system.

Jansen said, “I don’t see a whole lot of detail there or a lot of urgency. I’m not seeing it.”

Ryan asked, “Is the public invited to make any comment on it? Is this an open hearing? Can we go and question Jake? Hey Jake, why did you pull this off in the first place? Hey where are your promises? Where are the empty promises? Why is this happening? Was it just because you didn’t get enough TV time? Was the attention being drawn someplace else? Was somebody actually doing something and you have been called out on decades of just hanging around and going along to get along?”

“There will be no public comment,” Mastriano said. “It will be a regular hearing where the members will be asked questions. I don’t know what that has to do with an audit. We’ve had 15 hearings since my hearing that started it all off in Gettysburg on the 25th of November. I don’t know what the point is and for any legislator or bureaucrat to say well we need to establish that the committee has purview over this audit. It’s ridiculous as well because he have the authority in the Constitution, Article 1.41 and it’s very clear in the US Constitution that we have authority on the legislative side on the manner and conduct of elections.”

Mastriano will be at the hearing, as will Corman.

Ryan said, “Stop right there just for a hot second. That has all the makings of a very interesting meeting, don’t you think, Doug? So you and Jake in the same room? He isn’t returning your calls. All he did was show you the door. He hasn’t manned up and said why or what, has he?”

“No, I haven’t heard from him at all,” Mastriano confirmed. “I read about my removal as committee chair on Pennlive, ironically. That’s not the way you lead. That’s not leadership. The theme of this show is lack of leadership. We see that in the Senate and we see that with the governor where he comes out with mask mandates without establishing his authority to do that. The governor, several weeks ago, when he came out with his latest edict, once again a walk down memory lane where he’s pretending to be king. He was asked by a reporter will you enforce these and he said no he won’t. I think it’s not he won’t, I don’t think he can. If he imagines that he can just issue statements without establishing his authority, there’s no threat of legal force behind it. For instance, he’s coming out saying okay we’re still in this crisis here and we need to establish masks going forth and he’s hiding behind the 1955 Disease Control Act. And that Disease Control Act is about sick people. Actually in that case there, it was for gonorrhea, a venereal disease. It was about containing the spread of the virus within a group that was already infected. Now that he would come out and hiding behind a 1955 disease act saying that he has the authority to mandate masks for kids, the most resilient in the population against this COVID, there’s no established power that he can do that. And the only way that I believe that he could do that would be establishing an emergency order, which the people of Pennsylvania reigned in his power on that, so if he did that under an emergency order, it would only be three weeks long. So he’s trying to walk on this fine gray line between the emergency order and the 1955 Disease Act and has no threat of force behind it. It’s because of this that school boards willing to take a stand and try to implement what the parents want — several school boards, not a lot, but several school boards across the state are leaving it up to the parents, despite the governor’s very wordy position on this here trying to mandate the masks.”

At a school board meeting within Mastriano’s district, one member was exasperated because people were quoting from the facts that Mastriano put out there. The fact is the governor has to establish an emergency order and it can only be three weeks long.

Mastriano said, “Him and his acting secretly of health, they’re infuriated they no longer have the power to actually mandate things without any accountability to the people.”

Jansen said, “They’re using this law and it’s very vague and squishy that they could do a one size fits all for the whole state. It’s supposed to be based on a real threat of an outbreak and a location that they have to take some power to contain. That’s not what we have here. And they’re really thrown the districts into a horrible position. I’m actually very sympathetic with the administrators trying to figure this out because on the one hand they tell them, you can’t remove students from the school and you can’t force them to wear masks, but you better make sure they’re all wearing masks or we might take away your sovereign immunity and make you personally liable if, God forbid, anything bad should happen from not wearing these masks. I’m almost apoplectic about this. This is not leadership. This is fear and intimidation and uncertainty and the last thing people need to live under under this whole COVID thing which added a whole bunch of uncertainty in our lives is more uncertainty from our leaders and then the threat that something could happen if you don’t do things just right and then giving them no real tools to do it. This is atrocious.”

Mastriano said, “That’s that political ambiguity that the governor’s been operating in for the past year and a half. We’re assuming that he has these powers. He has as much power basically at this point as the people of the state allow him to have. That’s why before this came out when I had the hearing, when I participated in the hearing with the secretary of education and the acting secretary of health, I asked all those pointed questions about litigation, responsibility, who do school districts have with the last word. The answer on all that was yes, the school districts have the last word and he knew of no litigation against the school districts, but if the schools are afraid, if the solicitors of the schools are concerned about that, then have the parents sign a waiver that they assume responsibility of their kids. But that we would mask up and deprive kids of the right of fresh air like this here when there’s no scientific reason to do that, it’s fallacious.”

Mastriano asked the Secretary of Health how many people under 20 have died from COVID, she didn’t know.

Mastriano continued, “And a few minutes later when her staff was like texting her the information, she said 14, between ages 15 and 20. I said okay, how big is our school population? The acting secretary of education didn’t know that either off the top of his head. He had to get help, but he said 1.3 million. I think it’s actually higher than that. So okay, 14 precious kids out of 1.3 million. And then I asked about can you give me the numbers statistically from the Swine Flu and Bird Flu and of course, they couldn’t, but I told them the numbers statistically are about the same and did we mask up then? We did not.”

Jansen pointed out, “Here’s my fear. He could have actually gone down the road of doing the emergency and then, like you said, there would have been three weeks, that would have maybe gotten us through the spike in this variant which is their whole reason for doing this and it would have been more clear cut. People would have understood it and it wouldn’t have put us all into this flux of some school boards like Mifflinburg putting police outside the school, unbelievably, to monitor kids as they’re coming in to school districts where they’re saying well here, here’s a medical exemption form, just sign it and we’ll be fine. So the districts are all in flux and handling this very very differently. Is the reason he did it this way is because he wants it perpetual? People are saying…this leaves it so open-ended. They could just keep going on and on and on if they can get away with this, if the legal challenge doesn’t stop it. Is that about they just want the perpetual control over this situation to keep everybody locked up?”

“I do,” Mastriano said, “And the problem, which was very clear to me when acting secretary beam in the hearing several weeks ago was very indignant and had an attitude when I was asking her about the mask mandates and the science behind it and I gave her that study from Germany where 25,000 kids, 70 percent suffered some kind of adverse psychological or medical effect as a result of this and in that 70 percent, they said none of them had previous health conditions in that study group that would be perpetuated because of the masks. When she was like, ‘well, Senator, I’d like to know what you and your colleagues are going to do about this since we no longer have the emergency powers.’ That’s the crux of the problem. So the governor is trying to operate within this gray zone, this ambiguity, hoping that the threat and fear for these school boards and others will operate within this edict to try to control us. We’re not even in cold and flu season yet. Wait until October and November comes. So there’s going to be no end to this if we continuously just comply. I would say that look, it’s a tough decision. I was with several school board members this weekend here and I get it. Many of them have to stand alone. But listen to the parents for whom you work and then look at the science. The governor’s not perpetuating or putting out any good scientific data. The number of sick people or hospitalizations is just a sampling and then you have to look number of people on respirators. We’re not at capacity as they would want us to believe here. The news coming out of Harrisburg is continuously bad. The bottom line it needs to be left up to the school boards as the governor had rightly said about two months ago.”