Gov. Dean Recognizes Abusive County Chair

Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean came to Berks County today to recognize County Chair Tom Herman, someone who has badly abused his power.  The DNC decided to send their charismatic leader to give a pat on the back to the man singularly responsible for undermining the Berks Democracy For America group, the successor to Dean For America, because he couldn’t control the organization.

Worse Chair Tom Herman abused his power as Chair to pursue a personal vendetta against me.  Unhappy with my choice of Democrats to support in a State House primary in 2006 he suspended me as an elected Committee man violating my civil rights under Pennsylvania election law.  The law stipulates that unless a County Committee endorses (Berks does not) Committee people are able to support the Party candidate of their choice.

Tom Herman didn’t like the fact I was on Michael Morrill’s campaign committee and went after his primary opponent for campaign finance irregularities.  The incumbent had filed a frivolous complaint (since dismissed) against Morrill’s campaign so I began sifting through Herman’s buddy’s files online.

Tom Herman suspended me with no legal basis for writing articles supporting my candidate.

Why is Howard Dean recognizing this abuse of power?

I may have to leave the Democratic Party following this event this morning.  It is only a three blocks to the County Elections Services office.

Update:  Following this event and being unable to gain entrance to the press interview room at the event I went to Berks County Elections Services and changed my voter registration.  I am no longer a member of the Democratic Party (I am unaffiliated).

Congressional Races Roundup

There are numerous news worthy things happening in the Congressional campaigns.  Bob Roggio has a new ad up in the 6th CD reminding voters that Jim Gerlach cheated on his FEC reports two years ago:

In the 7th CD Joe Sestak’s opponent is being exposed as an idiot.  Craig Williams doesn’t seem to understand the laws covering campaign laws either.  After being exposed for not paying market based rent for his campaign office he also ran a television ad without disclosing who paid for the spot.

Federal election laws are quite clear on these issues.  You must pay the local market rates for any office.  This prevents sweetheart deals between those who own space and the candidates.  Williams is claiming they only owe $500/month for their psace, even if they had paid the rent.  They didn’t.  Unfortunately it is impossible to find such space in Delaware County for such rates.

From T.J. Rooney:

“Even as questions remain over the Williams campaign’s failure to pay what

could amount to tens of thousands of dollars in rent for office space, new

questions emerged today when a television ad approved by Mr. Williams failed

to identify a sponsor,” said Rooney. “Williams has some explaining to do:

Who paid for this ad?

“This violation may mean Williams forfeits his entitlement to the ‘lowest

unit charge’ for the duration of the election cycle. Because he did not

identify a sponsor of the ad, his campaign may be required to pay the same

rate for broadcast time that non-political advertisers pay.

“Furthermore, questions remain over why the Williams campaign is not paying

fair market value for office space. In an interview Sunday on NBC News 10’s

‘Live @ Issue’ with Steve Highsmith, Williams claimed the fair market value

for rent at his campaign headquarters located in a suburban shopping center

totaled only $3,500 over a period of nine months. If that were true, it

would have to be the greatest bargain in the history of Delaware County.

In reality, the fair market value falls between $3,000 and $4,000 a month,

which means Williams still owes in the neighborhood of $30,000 on the rental

space.

“You would think a Republican lawyer who campaigns as a ‘law and order’

candidate and brags about ‘busting up drug gangs’ would place a higher

priority on following the rules,” said Rooney. “Unfortunately, this is

standard operation procedure for the Delaware County Republican Party. But

today, we held them to account,” Rooney added. “They must play by the rules.

They are not above the law.”

The fact Craig Williams ran ads without the legal disclosure is serious.  It makes me wonder if Gerlach’s record fine may fall when the FEC punishes Craig Williams.

Meanwhile in the 11th District Paul Kanjorski continues taking care of the District:

Today, Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) and Wilkes-Barre Mayor Thomas M. Leighton announced a $12 million investment to renovate Wilkes-Barre’s Coal Street Park.  The New Markets Tax Credit, an initiative on which Congressman Kanjorski worked closely with then President Bill Clinton to enact into law, created the mechanism to assemble the funding needed for the city to complete this important community renewal project.

“I am incredibly proud to announce the use of the New Markets Tax Credit to provide much needed funding for modernizing Coal Street Park,” said Congressman Kanjorski.  “Several years ago, President Clinton and I traveled extensively around the country to determine how to extend economic opportunity to communities in need.  Those investigations ultimately resulted in a bipartisan bill, which I worked to enact into law, to create the New Markets Tax Credit to help reduce the cost of financing community development projects.  Seeing this innovative program put to good use in Northeastern Pennsylvania reminds me of exactly why I fought so hard to make this initiative a reality.”

The New Markets Tax Credit is a $19.5 billion federal initiative that provides incentives to attract private investment for business growth and community development opportunities in underserved neighborhoods.  Congressman Kanjorski joined then President Clinton on Air Force One for two different trips around the country in 1999 and 2000 to learn more about the need for the program.  Congressman Kanjorski also spearheaded efforts in the House to draft the bill and enact it into law.

“These $12 million in tax credits are especially important because they are providing money to a project that might not have otherwise received funding during these turbulent times,” added Congressman Kanjorski.  “Many states and municipalities, like Wilkes-Barre, have recently encountered difficulties in issuing bonds at affordable rates to fund roads, bridges, schools, and sewer projects, because of the economic downturn.  Fortunately, we have the New Markets Tax Credit to help fill this void and ensure the completion of needed projects, like the Coal Street Park renewal.”

The redevelopment project is a $13.7 million initiative that will convert Wilkes-Barre’s Coal Street Park into Northeastern Pennsylvania’s premier recreation facility.  Located along a major gateway to the city’s downtown, a renovated Coal Street Park will transform a blighted parcel into an attractive public facility that will spur further economic growth.  A nonprofit formed by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, operated as the investment fund manager between the federal government and the City of Wilkes-Barre to facilitate the transfer of tax credits for the project.

“The renovation of Coal Street Park is a great example of how municipalities like Wilkes-Barre, working in cooperation with county, state and federal levels of government and the private sector can provide outstanding offerings for their residents.  Without Congressman Kanjorski’s assistance in creating this law and obtaining this New Market Tax Credit allocation, this project would not be feasible given its magnitude,” said Mayor Leighton.

The $150,000 Wardrobe Matters

Sarah Palin is lying about her expensive wardrobe while Elizabeth Hasselbeck asks why we’re talking about this issue?  Hmm, I don’t recall The View mouthpiece asking that about Bill Ayers, Rev. Wright or a myriad of other sundry, minor issues.  The fact is this does matter, partly because Palin doesn’t seem to comprehend what was done was illegal.

Federal campaign finance law prohibits the use of contributions to purchase clothing.  It doesn’t prohibit the use of these funds for sound and lighting at events as Ms. Palin equates.  The $150,000 spent on her personal clothing and clothes for her husband and child are ILLEGAL.  That’s what makes this significant.

While I admit the sexism in our society forces women candidates to a different fashion standard I don’t recall Hillary Clinton charging her clothes to the people.  Sarah Palin advertises herself as the epitome of the average hockey Mom but hockey moms don’t spend $75,000 per month on clothes.  While identifying with Joe the Plumbers everywhere all Gov. Palin’s words bespeak is a return to the White House Plumber’s corruption.

Palin-Stevens Ties Run Deep

Sarah Palin and Ted Stevens are political allies in Alaska.  Now that the Senator has been convicted of political corruption it is time to examine their close ties.  He supported and endorsed Palin in her run for Governor:

Interestingly she scrubbed that ad off her website after being named John McCain’s running mate.  

Gov. Palin praised Stevens just this past July.  While calling herself a maverick for bucking her Party elders she embraced Stevens, the longtime leader of the Alaskan GOP.  The Palins might have done better continuing to embrace the secessionist AIP instead of palling around with crooks like Stevens.

Sarah Palin even sat on the Board of Sen. Stevens’ 527 organization.  While he brought huge amounts of pork barrel spending to their state we don’t hear any criticism of that from Palin do we?  While we listen to her condemn Stevens and his scandalous connections with VECO Sarah Palin also took their money.

No wonder the Anchrorage newspaper has endorsed her opponent.

McCain Supporter Threatens Obama

Republicans once again showed their ugly, racist sides outside a rally in Pottsville.  One threatened Barack Obama by repeatedly yelling “Bomb Obama” then making a gun with his hand.

These people are disgracing Pennsylvania with their behavior.  Saying you’d never vote for a Black man says more about you than him.  Unfortunately it reminds everyone that Pennsylvania is a hotbed of white supremacism and bigotry.  This is no way to attract businesses and investment.

World Series Flooded Out

The Phillies and Rays had their World Series game suspended last evening after playing five and a half innings in deplorable conditions.  Why would Major League Baseball even begin one of their keynote games in a cold downpour?  This was not the way to showcase their sport.  It’s bad enough they begin the games so late kids cannot watch but last night was hard to watch for anyone.

The players and especially the pitchers, were at a severe penalty trying to pitch, catch and throw in conditions so poor it appeared to be a Little League game.

Now the game must be resumed and the Phils will not be able to put their ace back on the mound.  I think everyone assumed Cole Hamels would go seven innings then Brad Lidge would come in and close out the Rays.  Now, under horrid conditions which seemed to make it impossible for Hamels to throw his classic change up, the game is tied and a new pitcher will have to take the mound.

As I sat watching this debacle I wondered whether anyone in baseball had the cojones to end the World Series on a rain shortened game.  Obviously that would have been a travesty for the Tampa fans.  Beginning this game in conditions they knew to be bad reflects on the continued poor judgment of baseball’s officials.  Both teams were penalized and, most of all, fans were shortchanged.

Sen. Stevens Convicted

Alaska Senator Ted Stevens was convicted yesterday of all seven counts against him for corruption.  Though done in by his own words the feisty Alaskan insists he was railroaded.  This man’s own worst enemy is himself.

Arrogance and hubris are epidemic in Washington and after forty years serving pork to his home state he couldn’t help but give himself a nice thick slice.  This is a story about how powerful energy companies are in Alaskan politics.

John McCain Must Apologize to Pennsylvania

John McCain’s campaign in Pennsylvania began with his point person at Kutztown University outed for writing vile, racist statements about Barack Obama on Facebook.  That was the high point.  Since then Col. Tom Moe, a fellow POW in Vietnam with the GOP candidate, invoked the holocaust.  Then a paid McCain organizer Ashley Todd, another College Republican operative, faked a racist attack.  The the Pennsylvania Republican Party sent a letter to 75,000 Jews invoking the holocaust…again.

John McCain owes Pennsylvania an apology.  His campaign has fueled lies, smears, racist rants and hatred in our Commonwealth.  They have smeared our good state with an image of blithering idiots spouting lies and smears with no basis in truth.

Not every Pennsylvanian is an idiot though it may appear so from the videos we shoot at McCain-Palin events.  Of course it is obvious that many of our neighbors are blithering idiots.  They regurgitate the Fox News talking points without any attempt to check their veracity.

John McCain is responsible for the dishonorable campaign, the hate mailings, the hate rhetoric and the hoax perpetrated on the Obama campaign by one of their paid staffers.

While he is spending so much of his time here this week let’s demand our apology.

The Real Facts on Health Care

Outside The Forum last week McCain-Palin supporters showed some frighteningly bad knowledge about the state of health care in America.  The somments heard included “no one in America is uninsured,” “all you have to do is go to a hospital and you’ll get treated,” and “once you have a life threatening illness a hospital will treat you.”

The attitude that anyone can go to an ER and get routine medical care is actually costing lives.  Once we get past the notion that ER treatment is twice costs double that of normal doctor’s office or clinical treatment, let’s get to the point of overcrowded emergency centers.

In fact let’s take Glenn Beck, one of the right wing’s favorite talking heads, as an example.  In an ER for a potential life threatening emergency he almost died because it was jammed with non emergency visitors.  This is a fundamental failure of our broken system.  Because people cannot afford primary care they go to emergency rooms.  This clogs these facilities and causes hours long waits for people with conditions more suited for the ER.  I’ve had to wit eight hours with family members who had real emergencies.

Many of those at the ER have real emergencies because they put off getting medical care until it is life threatening.  This makes their treatment multiple times more expensive and results in 18,000 people a year die due to lack of access to medical care.  It could be your mother or father next month.

Hospitals DO NOT have to treat people who come through their doors.  They turn sick people away every day.  There is no mandate that forces them to give chemotherapy to cancer patients for example.  There is no requirement they operate on anyone who needs an operation.

This is a lie and is dangerous misinformation.  I refer you to this article in last week’s Philadelphia Inquirer as an example.  Ruby Spencer has a tumor and cannot get an operation anywhere.  Her abdominal tumor is the size of a football and she was turned away from the emergency room at Temple Hospital.

“We got turned down from everybody I tried,” she said this week, in her Logan home, six weeks after learning about the tumor inside her. “I can’t wait till I’m 65 to get Medicare. I’ll probably be dead by then.”

So much for that myth.

Another comment I heard last week was that all children qualify for SCHIP.  These morons seem to forget President Bush vetoed an expansion of the program for children earlier this year.  No, it is not true that all families can simply put their children on SCHIP.  You Republicans blocked efforts to expand that coverage.

Perhaps these misinformed people need to sit down for two hours and watch “Sicko” and get some actual facts before spouting off their stupidity for the cameras.  It’s bad enough to be woefully misinformed but then to expose it for the world to see on video is really, really stupid.

Justice Newman: Sorry For the Hate Mail

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Schultz Newman says she is sorry for sending a hate letter to Jewish voters.  The letter, paid for by the Pennsylvania Republican Party, said electing Barack Obama would lead to a new holocaust for Jews.  She neglected to mention Sarah Palin’s attendance at a Jews for Jesus lecture at her radical Pentacostal church however.  

She’s just sorry she got caught.

It’s easy to be sorry after the damage has been done.  The damage here, though backfired and discredited and disgraced every Pennsylvanian.  Why is so much vile and virulent hatred emanating from the Pennsylvania Republican Party?