The lies that kill

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times @mikemcgannpa

The lies are killing people.

Thankfully, the open deception about COVID-19 has been of limited impact here in Chester County, save the odd spittle-flecked angry email or comment claiming the virus is fake, masking is a plot against freedom, the election was rigged and that Donald Trump would be reinstated on Aug. 13.

None of that is true, of course, but it doesn’t stop people from spouting this crap.

I’ll deal with the pathetic, collapsing election “fraud” scheme later in this column, because the COVID stuff is what could kill people hereabouts.

First, the good news: a large majority of the residents of Chester County above the age of 12 have been fully vaccinated. This single fact probably guarantees we will not see the unfolding disaster going on in the southern United States. It means less people will get sick and in turn less people will die. It means our hospitals will not get overwhelmed.

Still, the Delta variant of the COVID virus is scary. It spreads much more easily and, worryingly, children, who can’t yet be vaccinated, seem much more susceptible to this version of the virus, despite the lies of some politicians.

For their sake and that of the small number of adults who are immunocompromised, it’s time to mask up again.

Understand, Gov. Tom Wolf is unlikely to institute a new mask mandate (his hands are tied with a legislature full of toddlers), so it comes down to a personal choice. Are you going to choose to protect our kids or are you going to be a selfish jerk? That’s really what it comes down to.

A number of Chester County school districts have determined that everyone must wear masks when school resumes later this month — colleges are doing it, too, Temple University announced all students attending in person classes must be vaccinated, based on City of Philadelphia rules. Hopefully, every district in the county follows suit. Additionally, although probably unrealistic, I’d like to see vaccines required to work in our public schools.

Kids are getting sick from this — unlike the original version of COVID.

Of course, that fact and the fact that Pediatric ICUs are filling up across the south, didn’t stop state Sen. Doug Mastriano and Judy Ward from introducing a bill to prevent local school boards from mandating masks in schools in the commonwealth.

Mastriano — he of the “aiding and abetting an attempt coup against the government of the United States” — doesn’t much care your kid dies, he just wants the love, adulation, money and votes of the “COVID is a myth” crowd, a crowd slowly dying in hospitals around the country these days. He cynically figures enough of them will survive for him to win the GOP nomination for governor. Thankfully, we have a governor, Tom Wolf who will veto this asinine legislation if it ever reaches his desk.

Don’t forget that Mastriano doesn’t get away with this crap without being enabled by our local GOP State Representatives, John Lawrence, Tim Hennessey and Craig Williams. Their silence — when they know better — is damning.

To be clear: Mastriano isn’t just a disloyal creep, he is actively working to kill your children and some of our local legislators are afraid to say anything.

Which brings me to another topic: some businesses are requiring vaccination of patrons over age 12.


They have every right to do so and I hope restaurants, bars, stores and other public locations where crowds gather do the same thing. It keeps their employees safer and their customers safer, clearly good for business.

You’re free not to get your vaccine. I’m free to tell you not to enter my office without one. Deal with it.

It comes down to personal responsibility — something shown to great effect by the people of this county. We masked, we kept our distance and when shots were available, we lined up to get them. As a result, Delta is concerning but not the full-blown disaster it is in places such as Florida, where few wore masks and few have been vaccinated out of some vague freedom argument.

Regardless of the behavior of these idiots, we need to wear masks in indoor, crowded locations. If you’re one of the few in Chester County who hasn’t gotten vaccinated and can, please do so. If it turns out we need booster shots this fall, please go get them. This is the only way we can contain — and ultimately beat back — this virus.

It stinks, but if you’re mad about your kid needing to wear a mask to school, don’t get mad at your local school board, get mad at those who claimed COVID was “the flu” (it’s not, obviously) and let this virus once again spread wildly.


The election “fraud” scam is now a zombie – dead, but still staggering around.

It would be funny, were it not so dangerous to our democracy.

Pennsylvania’s leading spreader of The Big Lie, Mastriano, got slapped down and hard by the Commissioners of Tioga County this week.

Mastriano, with at best questionable authority (read: none), demanded access to all of Tioga, York and Philadelphia counties election materials and machines. All three counties told him to get lost.

The three Tioga commissioners — two of whom are Republican — made it clear they’ve had enough of the lies and stupidity:

We wanted to take this opportunity to address the unnecessary chaos created by Senator Mastriano.

“The Senator began his one-man quest with a false accusation, saying that if Tioga County did not give him what he wanted, it was because we “had something to hide.” The people of this county have nothing to hide, and Mr. Mastriano knows it. In fact, the only one who has made himself scarce since he made this blunder without the authority of his committee or the Senate, is Doug Mastriano.

“Senator Mastriano knew he would need subpoenas for the information he wants because of how the elections laws work, including the law that allowed millions to vote by mail, Act 77, which Senator Mastriano proudly voted for and supported. Now he is just piling one mistake on top of another.

“A thoughtful process where other Republican senators worked together to allow counties to grant access to election information may have been possible, but Senator Mastriano likely squandered any such opportunity by acting alone, with no support from anyone else and no authority from his committee or the Senate. That set the table for the Secretary of State to threaten to decertify the voting machines of any county who cooperated; thereby jeopardizing the ability for Tioga County voters to vote in the November 2021 General Election.

“Senator Mastriano makes a lot of noise about auditing the elections, but his actual contributions have been to vastly expand mail in voting, and to ensure no county can provide access to its voting machines. Other Republicans are now scrambling to clean up his mess. Again.

“It is time for Senator Mastriano to withdraw his demands, and to let responsible Republicans get back to work on subjects such as: recovering from COVID-19; addressing the opioid crisis; and the “help wanted” issue.

Mastriano thought he could ride this to the governor’s mansion. It’s not happening. Arguably, because of his aiding and abetting those who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, you could argue Mastriano shouldn’t be allowed to remain in the state Senate.

But Pennsylvania’s mini Joe McCarthy’s 15 minutes are up, he’s been discredited and he should just go away.


If Conor Lamb wins the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, he will be an extremely formidable general election candidate. The Congressman is a veteran, former prosecutor and the kind of moderate candidate who does very well in Pennsylvania.

But…I don’t see a path to that nomination for Lamb.

Where is he going to pull votes from? John Fetterman has a strong natural base in metro-Pittsburgh and has built up massive name ID in the southeast, as Lt. Governor, appearing on cable TV defending Pennsylvania’s election over the past year — earned media worth millions of dollars. He has a mountain of money and seems to be the early favorite, despite some issues in his past (the stories about him pulling a shotgun on a Black man in Braddock — albeit one who is now supporting him — continues to draw questions)

Val Arkoosh, a Montgomery County Commissioner, is very well known in the southeast, but you have to wonder whether she can raise enough money to win the nomination. Also, she is largely unknown outside of the region.

State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta also has fairly high name ID, thanks to his multiple cable TV appearances. I suspect he will do very well in his native Philadelphia, but I’m not sure how he plays in the collar counties. Complicating matters, state Sen. Sharif Street is also running, meaning money and votes out of Philadelphia will be split.

Other long-shot candidates include Kevin Baumlin, John McGuigan, Alexandria Khalil, Brandaun Dean, Eric Orts, Kyle Norton, Larry Johnson, Alan Shank and Llewellyn Tapera. None, at this time, seem to be able to raise the money or name ID needed to run a statewide race.

Lamb brings a lot as a candidate, I just don’t see a path here. Both he and the commonwealth would likely have been better served if he had opted to run for reelection to Congress — even if reapportionment means he would likely have to battle an incumbent Republican to keep his seat.

If Fetterman stumbles — or some really awful thing comes out in opposition research — then Lamb is a real player for the nomination. But right now, I don’t see where his vote comes from in the primary.


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