Tuesday, October 09, 2012
More and more powerful men and women in our community care less and less about what we think of them. That’s why fewer and fewer of them will appear on the air with me to answer questions about why they do the things they do.
But deep down inside their teetering psyches, they actually do care. Their absence marks their fear. Their unwillingness to defend their positions signals weak, self-absorbed egotism. Above all, their refusal to account for themselves shows a pathetic disregard for the people they claim to serve.
My list of timid public servants and corporate bullies is growing.
That list of those who run and duck and hide is embarrassing in a region that craves leadership and needs all the help we can get from those well-polished posers upon whose political and business connections we depend to get us where we need to be to succeed culturally, politically, economically and even socially.
But what truly cultured intellect wants to rub elbows with some of our “best and brightest”
Do you really believe that a roomful of board chairpersons who lead medical schools across the country really want to hang with Commonwealth Medical College chairman of the board Louis DeNaples? Do you really think good citizen chairs would marvel with respect over his criminal record, his federal felony conviction and his perjury charge for lying about his relationship with Mafia figures – a charge that mysteriously disappeared with no detailed explanation?
Congressman Tom “Casino” Marino, friend and former DeNaples lawyer, also refuses to answer my questions after I caught him in a huge lie on the air about his relationship with DeNaples when Marino was the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania that should have kept Mario from being elected in the 10th District.
Do you believe that the four unnamed state Senate staffers who once helped admitted criminal and longtime Senate “leader” Bob Mellow break the law would earn respect from professional public service peers nation-wide?
We can’t even find out the identities of those four devious staffers who might now work for state Sen. John Blake, Mellow’s hand-picked replacement who refuses to answer questions about whether he picked up those deceitful abusers of the public trusty.
Blake refuses to answer my question. One of his aides ever refused to tell me if he is, in fact, one of those treacherous government workers in whom we now are expected to place faith – including state Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich, who also refuses to answer my questions.
The treacherous timid are everywhere.
My congressman Lou Barletta refuses to come on the show and take calls from senior citizens who worry that Barletta will kill their life-saving Medicare and Social Security. Hazleton state Rep. Tara Toohill refuses to answer specific questions about her professional relationship with admitted felon and federal prisoner Mike Conahan or respond to questions about whether she has unpaid school loans.
Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton refuses to talk with me ever since I cornered him on Public Square and asked abut the letter of reference he wrote for admitted criminal and longtime Leighton friend Bill Brace before Brace headed off to a federal prison cell.
And, of course, admitted criminal and notorious banker in the “Kids for Cash” tragedy Rob Mericle refuses to respond to my calls about his continued success on the business scene as he awaits his own sentencing in federal court – a sentencing that has been delayed because the feds need Mericle as a rat in the case of former state Sen. Ray Musto, who did talk with me when I reached him at home some months ago to ask why if he is too sick to go to trial on federal corruption charges he showed up smiling and shaking hands at the local gambling casino with his wife.
I don’t expect Musto to take further calls from me, by the way.
Some of you claim that people won’t talk with me because it’s me.
If that’s true I’ll wear their refusal as a badge of honor in a corrupt place that needs aggressive question asked by aggressive word warriors. Who else is going to try to hold these nefarious chieftains of corruption accountable if not us? People depend on the press, as well we should. Media, in many ways, are all that’s left in a region where bad regularly wins over good and gangsters are forgiven no matter what their crimes.
I sometimes want to flip, to run amok and lay waste to evil like a wild Irish revolutionary with nothing left to lose. But we have much to lose if we ever lose focus or, worse, give up. So, I, like you, must pick my battles and do my best to work and fight within the system. I said it before and I’ll say it again. We likely won’t win. But we won’t lose, either, not as long as we continue to show up, to fight and show these powerful cowards that we are not afraid.
Honor comes to peasants when they make it clear that they cannot be bought or scared, that they are willing to go down fighting and would rather die on their feet than live on their knees.
Not everyone can do that.
People struggle daily as they worry about their jobs, their families and their lives.
But I’m willing to try to live by that code.
William Wallace would be proud.