Things got a bit crazy there last week between preparing for my trip, changing the plans to drive instead of flying, having the lightning strike then spending four days on the road all the while campaigns and events were happening. There’s tons of stuff to get to so I might do more than one News & Notes today catching up.
While I’m here in New Mexico’s state capitol I might mosey over to the Roundhouse and rustle up some information on this state’s experience with shale gas drilling. The energy companies have been in some New Mexican areas fracking for gas for several years. I’ll see what I can dig up.
Meanwhile the Pennsylvania Budget & Policy Center has their latest report on Marcellus Shale severance tax rates and its interesting. The industry, through its bought and paid for mouths in the legislature, is claiming falsely that SB 1155 calls for a severance tax rate of 7.3% which puts it below that of western states which include property taxes on top of the gas tax to bring an effective rate of 7.9% The gas drillers haven’t left any of these states for “greener pastures” and New Mexico’s shale gas is a fraction of that in the Marcellus formation. These are scare tactics designed to let them exploit a non renewable resource belonging to Pennsylvanians.
President Obama was in Albuquerque yesterday before traveling to Wisconsin trying to motivate liberal Democrats to vote. He and VP Biden, who was at Penn State, are criticizing us for being “whiners.” The White House is so f*cking tone deaf it is beyond comprehension. Instead of castigating those it betrayed they should be apologizing and begging for understanding. I’m simply astounded by their cluelessness.
polls seem to be all the place this fall. I’m not sure, going forward, how accurate any polling is. More and more of us are going to cell phone only, especially the youth, and are outside the scope of traditional polling. I also think these samples are highly sensitive to whomever happened to be contacted and show a divergent electorate. I think anything can and will happen in November. For example last week an F&M poll showed Mike Fitzpatrick leading Patrick Murphy by double digits in PA-10, something I found hard to comprehend. Yesterday another poll puts Murphy ahead by 3. The only poll which counts will be the one on election day.
Veterans and labor are joining other groups to do canvassing and phone banking at a feverish pace. While organizations such as Karl Rove’s American Crossroads are pumping $50 million into ads this year the work on the ground remains the focal point of voter contact. The Citizens United decision is having a serious impact on this race as billionaires are dumping millions into anonymous contributions. You, the voter have a right to know who is funding these ads.
Manan Trivedi has a very effective ad attacking Jim Gerlach for his giant faux pas attacking his opponent for being out of the district for eight years. Manan explains why to the voters with this ad:
Commonwealth Court went after Big Pharma Bristol-Myers Squibb for gouging Pennsylvania taxpayers last week. They caught the company cheating us for drugs for the senior prescription program. Businesses are constantly crying about all the regulations they are forced to endure but if they weren’t all crooks these wouldn’t be necessary. Honest people don’t need someone holding them accountable, crooked ones do. This is but one more example. I’m fed up with Chamber of Commerces crying and whining about this through their elected representatives.
On my drive west through Pennsylvania Saturday I heard a radio ad by Pat Toomey touting his experience as a small business owner. Toomey’s family owned and operated several restaurants in the Lehigh Valley, presumably with the funds he earned on Wall Street. Pat co-owned the business but never managed or operated it, his brothers did that work. Pat Toomey was in Hong Kong then working for an Enron investor who was caught defrauding shareholders:
I’ve nailed down what Toomey did during that year: His campaign confirms to me that he did research on capital market formation in southeast Asia for a company owned by the billionaire Chan brothers, one of whom, Ronnie Chan, was a former Enron director who settled a massive $168 million lawsuit brought against the company by shareholders.
Toomey’s boss has been fighting democratic progress in China and is tied to China’s refusal to float their currency. That policy is costing millions of American jobs.