Let’s be blunt about it: Russ Diamond is a jerk

By Mike McGann, Editor The Times @mikemcgannpa

There are good people (lots, actually) and then — well, and unfortunately there’s no better way to put it — some people are reprehensible jerks (and yes, I wanted to use a more succinct expletive, but it seemed immature).

One of the biggest in Pennsylvania is a State Representative from Lebanon County, Russ Diamond.

After State Health Secretary Rachel Levine, who is transgender, put out a statement this condemning those harassing her and others in LGBTQ community, Diamond put out a juvenile “parody” defending those people who refuse to wear masks.

Levine has been targeted with such abuse repeatedly by small-brained opponents as part of their temper tantrums about Gov. Tom Wolf’s pandemic management.

While I have, at times disagreed with some of Levine’s decisions and her communications strategy — and said so in this space — the majority of her decisions have proven sound. By lowering themselves to such petty, thoughtless and discriminatory comments, some of Levine’s intolerant GOP critics, have shown themselves to be ignorant, transphobic twits. As Levine points out, these public comments can be hurtful to the greater LGBTQ community, especially young people, which was the point of her comments this week.

But in a “hold my beer” moment, Diamond decided to both mock those comments and dispute the need to wear a mask during a pandemic that has literally killed more than 150,000 Americans. I won’t quote his missive, released on Wednesday, because frankly, it is so juvenile and pathetic that it does not deserve inadvertent amplification.

Gov. Wolf replied on social media, Thursday: “Virtually no thinking person disputes mask-wearing as an effective means to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Proud non-mask-wearers such as Rep. Diamond are not displaying their freedom, but rather their ignorance and lack of respect for themselves and others.”

Pretty much sums it up.

People who refuse to wear masks are selfish jerks.


They don’t deserve special consideration or praise — they deserve wide condemnation and shunning. They are willing to make people sick and die to prove some wrongheaded, ignorant, non-scientific argument.

Fortunately, the vast majority of Pennsylvanians get it — new polling out this week shows large majorities supporting masks and the limited closures to fight COVID-19. Most people get it: wear a mask, keep socially distant and wash your hands. Avoid indoor gatherings, indoor bars and restaurants. No one likes it, but it is what responsible adults do to fight a pandemic.

Diamond’s missive represents conduct unbecoming a state legislator.

Although I don’t have confidence in the voters of Lebanon County, one would hope they would see this embarrassment and make a change.

In the near term, I would stress how important for your safety it is to avoid visiting or conducting business in Lebanon County — as its county government and local leaders do not take COVID-19 seriously. By visiting, you put yourself and your family at risk by having any interaction with its businesses and citizens who in the main ignore science and pander to people like Diamond. I wish it wasn’t true, but you need to protect yourself.


Republicans are spending a lot of time and effort to brand the Democrats as the party of #defundthepolice.

While there are arguments to redirect some police funding away from things like tanks toward community policing, Democrats have yet to take a single dollar away from police — unlike their Republican colleagues.

Yup, it’s true.

By failing to offer funding to states and municipalities hard hit by the tax impact of COVID-19, Republicans in Congress are effectively cutting funding to police. And firefighters. And teachers.

As states like Pennsylvania — which saw a $3.2 billion shortfall in the last fiscal year, ending June 30 — are looking at fiscal holes across the budget. It’s hard to imagine that the State Police — which is the only police in much of Chester County — won’t see budget cuts and manpower reductions. The same is true for the larger communities in the county with their own police departments, especially those that depend on Earned Income Taxes — they can’t spend money they don’t have.

If maintaining police funding were a priority, Republicans in Congress would have pushed for aid to states and municipalities. Instead, they oppose it. By their actions, the GOP is supporting police cuts.

You may want to ask them to explain that.


As a resident of Pennsylvania, you get to vote by mail, which in this year of the pandemic, is a really important thing.

Despite claims by President Donald Trump, mail-in voting fraud is extremely rare (rarer than that of in-person fraud, which is also rare). He and his GOP pals are lying because they know a big voter turnout will doom them.

Between bungling the COVID—19 response and the subsequent destruction of the economy, Republicans deserve to get wrecked at the polls — that’s how democracy works. Do a lousy job, lose it. But Trump — who floated the non-starter idea of delaying the election — wants to find a way to cheat the system, again.

Don’t fall for it. Mail-in voting is safe and has worked effectively since the 1860s.

Click here to request your mail in ballot. When you get it, make sure you mail it in well in advance of election day, as postal service is being intentionally slowed (how corporate America, which depends heavily on the U.S. Mail, is putting up with this mystifies me). Allow at least 10 days, if not more, for your vote to reach Voter Services.

You may or may not — depending on the outcome of a lawsuit brought by Trump and Republicans — also be able to drop your ballot off at Voter Services in Westtown. Don’t assume you will be able to do so — get your ballot as early as possible and return it as early as possible. We’ll keep you updated on the status of the drop boxes.

In a directly related matter, The Inquirer is reporting mail delays of up to two weeks thanks to the “cost cutting” moves of new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy (a major Trump fundraiser).

Just a reminder, the USPS is only losing money because Congress forced it to set aside pension funds for 75 years — literally for employees who are not yet born — something no other federal agency is required to do. The USPS uses no taxpayer money and operates entirely on its own revenue — but it is now struggling financially because of these burdens (it would be profitable, otherwise).

So now, DeJoy ordered all sorts of cuts, slowdowns and such to “save money.” Coincidently, it will make voting by mail harder during a pandemic. Why this isn’t being challenged in court — it would seem to violate Federal law regarding slowing the mails — is beyond me.

You may want to reach out to your U.S. Senator, Pat Toomey (U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr. and U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan are aware and fighting against it already) to see why your mail isn’t showing up and why he’s not doing anything about it.

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