Political Psychology Survey

Some of you may recall we ran a link last spring for a psychological survey being done at NYU.  They are researching how different things affect people’s choice of a candidate in this election.  Here’s more information from NYU:

“A research team from the Psychology Department at New York University, headed by Professor Yaacov Trope and supported by the National Science Foundation, is investigating the cognitive causes of voting behavior, political preferences, and candidate evaluations throughout the course of the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. This stage of the study focuses on the information people use to inform evaluations during the last few weeks before the election. They seek respondents of all political leanings from all over the country (and from the rest of the world) to complete a 15-minute questionnaire, the responses to which will be completely anonymous…”

I’ll be reposting this link every two weeks to provide them with some input for their research.  Please consider aiding them with this research.

An American Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there was a true American icon.  He grew up privileged in a family of admirals and lived off the public dime his entire life.  He returned that debt honorably if not sometimes, in a reckless, irresponsible and immature manner.  John McCain had it instilled in him that he had to achieve, that he had to outperform his father and grandfather.  For most of his adult life he was a figure wrapped in honor and integrity.

Life at the Naval Academy, while mostly a lark of seducing young women in and out of his dress whites, nonetheless a strong sense of honor was planted in the young man.   The Navy tradition of grooming young men to be officers and gentlemen mostly succeeded.  Though his hard partying and lack of interest in studies resulted in his graduating 894 out of 899 his strong family connections enabled him to obtain the commissions he desired.  That’s what happens when your father and grandfather were both admirals.

Young John McCain did have a strong sense of honor.  Honor to his country and honor to his service.  He fairy tale would end with his achieving the status of commander in chief, a rank over and above anything his paternal predecessors achieved.  It was his ultimate goal.

Unfortunately for young John McCain his reckless and irresponsible streak kept interfering with his path to success.  He kept crashing Navy jets due to poor judgment.  He finally wrangled a tour to Vietnam because his father was the Admiral in charge of that theater of operations for the Navy.

Unfortunately he was shot down for, again, flying too low.  This is where the fairy tale began going wrong for McCain.  The POW camp at the Hanoi Hilton wasn’t anything like the Naval Academy.  They weren’t impressed with his name, his rank, his dashing manner.  Two years of torture broke the man and he decided to make the best of a bad situation.  He told his captors who he was, who his father was in return for better treatment.

The fairy tale went off the rails when young John McCain, a POW, gave his captors a confession.  Honor went out the window in return for survival.  Now it is difficult to criticize anyone in such circumstances.  Who knows what any of us would do in a survival situation?  His campaign trail story of being a hero POW is not entirely accurate however.

The fairy tale went awry again when the POW returned home.  He discovered his statuesque wife had been badly disfigured in a car crash and was undergoing many surgical procedures.  John McCain went off to Hawaii and met another statuesque beauty, this one with the financial means to help him achieve his fairy tale.  The opportunistic young man traded wife and family number one for wife and family number two.  It might have been more successful long term had he not committed adultery and filed for a marriage license while still married to his first wife.  Oops.

Heck, we all make mistakes.  None of us is perfect so the religious right has forgiven John McCain for his youthful (42) indiscretions.  The fairy tale was back on track with aid from the Hensley millions.  John McCain, redefined as a war hero, ran for Congress and then the Senate.  He gained a reputation for not always going along with his party leaders.

Through it all he jealously guarded his reputation for honor and integrity.  Even after being caught in the largest banking scandal of the Eighties he turned it to his advantage by ratting out his fellow accomplices.  Mission successful, he got a dose of religion about honor.

Sen. John McCain desperately wanted to out achieve his father and grandfather and was well on his way.  In 2000 he ran for president and maintained his sense of honor in the face of a dishonorable campaign run by George W. Bush.  Maintaining his restored sense of honor and integrity John McCain ran well but lost.

That was the end of Sen. McCain’s honor and integrity and this is where this American fairy tale has a sorry ending.   Instead of remaining the man America knew and respected John McCain ran again in 2008 and threw every ounce of honor and integrity to the wind in one final, desperate, dishonorable and reckless campaign.

It began when he betrayed his religious principles and embraced the radical religious right.  Hugging the likes of Jerry Falwell and embracing the hate filled rhetoric of Focus on the Family McCain courted the base of his party with a zeal never before seen outside his bedroom exploits.

He then ran a presidential campaign based on fears and smears.  No level was too low for him to sink, no rumor too horrible to float, no fact he was willing to ignore, no lie he was unwilling to tell, he ran his reputation into the gutter of hardball politics.

This was an American fairy tale with a very bad ending.  The voting public witnessed the self destruction of a once honorable man.  The world witnessed the decimation of a reputation for honor built for decades.  The media watched him transform himself into a nasty, vile and miserable caricature of himself.  In this fairy tale the goon unmasked himself and revealed that the reckless, irresponsible youth was still hidden inside the craggy, cancer stricken face of the old man.

The fairy tale does have a happy ending however.  His opponent, with a message of hope, defeated the old troll and saved the republic.  It is an American fairy tale with a happy ending.

Final Round

Tomorrow is finally election day. After nearly 2 years of campaigning, mud slinging, picking nits, splitting hairs and outright lies we FINALLY get to the final round.

You won’t be able to watch television tonight and tomorrow without seeing a political commercial unless you watch a pay movie channel like HBO or Showtime.

While we all have our own selections for the myriad of offices up for grabs I think the most Progressive stance I can take is to urge all of our readers to please go out tomorrow and vote for the candidate of your choice.

Naturally I hope you to vote for the candidates I support but I think it’s far more important to be part of the process and vote.

So Tomorrow….PLEASE VOTE!

And for the stimulating political debate over the last two years…Thanks!

My state candidate endorsements

( – promoted by John Morgan)

The following are my endorsements for state political candidates for the election to be held on Tuesday November 4th, 2008:

For State Treassurer: Rob McCord

Rob not only has the backing of former Treasurers of both parties, but has ample experience and ability to take on this large and critical agency that has seen its share of corruption and problems in the past.  In these tight economic times and with state investments being a hallmark of normally a safe haven for people, it is even more important to have someone who understands the business climate in this state and in the country at the helm leading the direction of this critical agency.  I hope you will join me in voting for Rob McCord

For Auditor General:  Jack Wagner

I do not know much of the GOP candidate Chet Beiler, but Jack Wagner has already served a term as Auditor General and has done a fine job in keeping government honest in its financial and ethical dealings and should be relied upon to carry forth these efforts again for another term in office.  At such a critical time as this for our state, it is important to not only have someone in this position who can stand up and fight government waste and curtail ethical issues by our public officials, but not to have someone new in this position, unless the person in office has clearly shown that he or she cannot be trusted.  Jack Wagner has demonstrated the trust of his office and I believe will continue to do so for another term.  Please join me in supporting Jack Wagner with your vote for him for State Auditor General.

State Attorney General:  John Morganelli

While the claims by Tom Corbett’s campaign have been someone who is unbiased and who has gone after Child Predators and assails his opponent for at one time defending someone who was charged with a crime against children.  

Well, let’s look at the facts.  Corbett has aggressively gone after the Bonusgate people and former state reps Veon and LaGrotta (whom I actually interned for many years ago)  but has been woefully slow and I believe deliberately stalling his aggressive investigation of GOP members and staffers for the same types of schemes and illegal activities.  This DOES NOT sound like an unbiased person to me, for someone who is supposed to let the laws and justice be his main guideposts.  This is why we have an independently elected Attorney General in this state so that we would not have such partisan bias or the threat of being “bought” by special interests or those who help fund their campaign.  

Secondly, as Tom Corbett knows, in our system of law and the courts, an accused person has a right to a defense, even if the crimes for which they have been accused may be considered by most people to be heinous or of a highly sensational and infamous nature that would rile up people’s passions and cries for swift justice and severe punishment, even before being proven guilty of such charges.  John Morganelli was doing his job, as much as Tom Corbett would have had to do his, had he been the one to be the defender of that accused person.  You may not like that criminals get a defense attorney, and think them all to be guilty right off the bat, but if you are ever unfortunate enough to find yourself at the cross-hairs of a prosecution, I hope you have the best possible defense attorney to make sure that you are not railroaded for something that perhaps you did not do.  In my opinion, Tom Corbett’s campaign has taken a cheap shot at Morganelli with the notion in his commercial that somehow Morganelli has been soft on prosecuting child predators.  

Just recently, Morganelli closed the case of Keriann Brekne, a woman who was a teacher in New Jersey who took a female student home with her on several occasions and had sexual contact with the student.  Both New Jersey and Northhampton County, under Morganelli’s leadership sought out justice and got it.  Ms. Brekne will be an old old woman before she ever sets foot out of jail again as a free person, thanks to John Morganelli’s office prosecuting the case.  

It is time to put the Office of the State Attorney General into the hands of someone who is not the pawn of a once convicted and politically minded master in Bob Asher and someone who will not play favorites to either party or anybody who breaks the state’s laws or harms the state’s citizens as reckless companies have done.  We need John Morganelli and we need to remove the taint of bias that has come to mark the halls of law and justice in this Commonwealth’s highest elected law enforcement office.  

Please join me in supporting John Morganelli for State Attorney General.

Removing Gerlach’s False Teeth

Jim Gerlach’s main attack against his opponent Bob Roggio, in recent commercials that I’ve observed seems to focus upon 3 issues, which are nothing more than false teeth.  

They are outright fabrications or ignore Gerlach’s own responsibility for the same things he assails Roggio for having done or alleging that Roggio would do, if elected.

#1: If Roggio is elected he’ll raise taxes on Pennsylvanians an average of $2,000 per household.  THIS IS A LIE.

The taxes in question were tax cuts put in place by President Bush and Congress several years ago.  Not everyone got a tax cut, as most of the tax breaks affected rather wealthy taxpayers.  Likewise, if the laws that made these tax cuts lapsed or were overturned with new laws to return the taxes to levels they were, it would likewise ONLY really impact the wealthier tax payers of this state or the country.  Most of the “Joe the Plumbers” and other “Average Joe’s”, including me, would not see any tax increase.  This is a deliberate statistical fabrication by Gerlach to make you think that your taxes would definitely be going up as a result of undoing the tax breaks that gave to the rich and not the middle class or poor.  Using the notion of an average is simply a tricky way to take the entire state of Pennsylvania’s population, use the total figure of what the total additional taxes that would be owed if the tax cuts are eliminated and then divide the total tax amount by the total population.  However, as I said, the taxes don’t affect the entire state of Pennsylvania’s population and therefore, it is wrong to apply something that would not affect everyone to everyone, in order to make you believe that your taxes will be going up because of this.  Shame on you Jim Gerlach!!!

#2) Bob Roggio was owner of a company that spilled 245,000 pounds of pollution into the atmosphere.  NOT SO FAST JIM!

First, let us break this down, because the figure of 245,000 lbs. is actually 245,368, and this TOTAL is over a period of 8 YEARS!!!  Yes, this number is a total where an average would help us understand of just how many pounds of pollution that that is per day.  245,368 pounds divided by 8 years is 30,671 pounds on average, per year.  Then, you take 30,671 pounds and divide that by 365 days, assuming his factories worked everyday, and you get about 85 pounds per day of pollution.  Yes, that is still pollution and it is not good, but given how much toxic pollution pours out from the countless factories that Gerlach has helped to operate without any additional regulation to reduce pollution and the “cap and trade” system that is a joke and should make any sane person angry and 85 pounds a day between 12 and 19 years ago seems a bit slanted the way Gerlach tells it.  Gerlach has helped to deregulate industries by weakening the laws of environmental protection and by passing legislation that was “pro-business” written by oil company and other lobbying groups that have had the net effect of allowing MILLIONS of TONS of pollution into the air each year with increasing amounts since you’ve been in Congress.  While nobody really loves pollution and it is a truly a “dirty” topic, it is a DELIBERATE omission on Jim Gerlach’s part to fail to mention that his votes on economic, pro-business, and regulations of environmental rules have led to even more pollution being dumped into the atmosphere as a means of making sure that the big oil companies that line his pockets with campaign cash keep getting their way.  I hope none of you good people out there who might vote for Gerlach have any respiratory conditions, because his past actions and lack of actions have not helped you or your health one bit.  Shame on you Jim Gerlach for the HYPOCRISY you have for assailing others for their environmental issues, when you’ve helped to create many more.

#3) Bob Roggio moved 500 jobs out of Pennsylvania while pocketing millions.  WOAH! JIM AREN’T YOU FORGETTING SOMETHING???

Jim Gerlach helped President Bush get his wish and the wish of many large industrial firms and corporations that wanted tax breaks for moving jobs overseas, not just out of Pennsylvania.  Gerlach helped thousands of jobs that have not even been replaced and likely never will return to this state again.  As long as Jim Gerlach is there to help try to keep the status quo and the continued rewarding of those who want to take jobs overseas, it is a threat to all the people of Pennsylvania and his district.  Look, firms move from place to place, but what has Jim Gerlach done to help grow jobs here as opposed to shipping our jobs overseas.  Shame on you Jim Gerlach for showing us more HYPOCRISY and deliberately omitting your own responsibility for helping lead America’s decline in economic prosperity during your time in Congress.  The other thing to remember is, Bob Roggio isn’t in a position to affect anymore jobs being lost, but Jim Gerlach has been and is, and sadly the loss of good jobs continues on his watch, and with his help.

Fellow residents of the 6th district, I hope you will join me on Tuesday November 4th and send Jim Gerlach packing, the same way he’s helped to send jobs packing overseas and rid our district of his pollution of lies, hypocrisy, and shameless attempts to help keep him in office.  Vote for Bob Roggio and vote for change, because we cannot afford more of Gerlach’s games.  

News Flash: Obama Born in Hawaii

One of the most popular smears spread against Barack Obama is that he wasn’t born in the United States.  The vile and virulent lie is spread far and wide by Republicans and claims that Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle sealed his birth certificate because it shows he isn’t constitutionally qualified to run for president.

Of course he was born in Hawaii.  Why would a Republican Governor seal a false document about a Democrat?  She didn’t.  It is simply that birth certificates are not given out to just anyone.  I wouldn’t want mine handed to anyone who showed up and asked for it and have someone steal my identity.  Neither, I’m sure, would you.

Hawaii Health Department Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino has unequivocally stated, for the record, that Obama was born in that state.  She and the Registar of Vital Statistics have personally verified the original birth certificate.

So one more smear bites the dust, not that facts will deter McCain supporters from continuing to live in their fantasy land where Barack Obama is a Muslim terrorist, born in the Philipines, and is the antichrist.  No truth seems capable of bringing them to some semblance of sanity.

All Eyes On Pennsylvania

The nation’s eyes will be on Pennsylvania through Tuesday as John McCain makes our state his final stand.  As I wrote a couple weeks ago Pennsylvania is McCain’s firewall:  the state he must win if he is to have any chance of garnering the 270 electoral votes needed to win Tuesday.  Barack Obama seems confident he has the state sewn up.  Busloads of volunteers have been pouring into Pennsylvania, as in past elections, filled with volunteers knocking on doors.

McCain has closed many campaign offices around the country and has few volunteers in others as he concentrates on television advertising and Pennsylvania.  Joe Biden was here several times last week and Gov. Rendell is on a bus tour revving up supporters for the final few days.

The team with the best ground game will win the state Tuesday.  At this point it is all about GOTV:  getting out the vote.  Pennsylvania is used to being a key battleground state but many felt that polls showing Obama with a lead of up to 13 points would negate that.  John McCain, looking at too many losses in traditionally red states, looked at our 21 electoral votes and did the math:  he cannot win without PA.  

The makeup of the state’s voters is also a factor.  Millions of Pennsylvanians are conservative Catholic Democrats.  Northeast and southwest Pennsylvania are heavily populated with such voters.  Unfortunately these areas don’t decide the state.  Republicans must get a 100,000 vote majority from Lancaster and win heavily throughout the “T” to win statewide.  Democrats carry the state with heavy pluralities in southeastern PA, Pittsburgh and the Lehigh Valley.

Things aren’t looking good for the GOP in their strongholds.  The suburban Philadelphia ring counties have gone Democratic, mostly on the issue of choice, Lancaster County has seen a strong resurgence by Democrats and many in the “T” are supporting Obama this year.  The economy is swinging this election and voters are holding Republicans responsible.  I don’t see John McCain winning Pennsylvania Tuesday.

McCain is closing field offices throughout the country.  Many of the people he had manning phone banks and canvassing were paid and now he is shutting these down to concentrate on mass media advertising hoping to sway undecided and soft voters.  His focus is almost completely on two areas:  TV and Pennsylvania.  The nation’s eyes will be on our Keystone State Tuesday evening as polls close at 8 pm and returns come in.  If Obama wins here he wins the White House.