Poverty, Uninsured Rates Keep Rising

Rates of poverty in America keep rising as the amount of wealth controlled by the wealthy elite continue to skyrocket.  The wealth gap is destroying what remains of the middle class and the “American Dream” exists only as a fantasy.  Now that 14.3% of the people are existing (one cannot call it “living”) under the official poverty line we are witnessing the results of concerted policies designed to do just this.  Under George W. Bush programs for the poor were gutted, tax rates for the rich slashed and everything possible was done to destroy the middle class.  Wall Street runs this nation for the ultimate greed of a select few and no one dares actually regulate them imprison them for their crimes or do anything serious about the situation.  The only attempt to rein them in was done by Al Qaeda on 9/11 for the crimes Wall Street has perpetrated on the Third World.

At the same time health care costs continue rising as Blue Cross of California announced rate hikes of another 20% next year.  Rates around here are averaging 9% because health care reform got twisted into becoming health insurance reform and the industry was the recipient of a massive government welfare program.  As certain good reforms from the bill begin being phased in, for example 1 million Medicare Part D doughnut hole checks have been issued, insurers are responding by dropping some plans leaving even more folks uninsured.  

There are now 50.4 million Americans without health care.  Mike Huckabee says this is as it should be, that no one with a pre-existing condition should get insurance.  I understand Republicans have no empathy for anything but their bank accounts but this is totally heartless.  This is the GOP telling the sick and injured “tough shit” (in Sen. Bunning’s parlance).  Huck compared it to someone trying to get fire insurance after their house has burned down, a false analogy.  Losing your house doesn’t lead directly to your death.  Houses can be replaced, lives cannot.

This nation was established with the goal of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ as our standard.  The first of these is life and people who claim to be pro life should take it seriously.

The relationship between the rate if uninsured people and the rate of poverty is direct.  As people lose health care they drop into lives of poverty.  Even with the cost of health insurance people who desperately need care wind up being poor.  At an average of $1200/year many folks have to decide between their medical care or food and shelter.  The spiking rate of poverty is directly tied to the number of uninsured Americans.

The American Dream died for most Americans and there’s no bringing it back until you vote.

News & Notes September 22, 2010

Pat Toomey is up by either 4 or 7 points in the latest polls.  I tend to rely on Quninnipiac the most and they have the race as seven.  That means Joe Sestak has his opponent right where he wants him.  I’m betting his powerful biography boosts him over someone who has spent his life shilling for Wall Street.  If Pennsylvania voters opt for Toomey after losing their jobs, homes and retirements to Wall Street they get what they deserve.

In the Governor’s race Tom Corbett is pulling away with a 15 point spread and has a decided cash on hand advantage.  Dan Onorato was a bad candidate from the start but got a jump on everyone and raised enough cash to saturate TV last spring.  No personality, no charisma, no record…  I’ll also bet the AGG is a one term Guv.  Next year’s budget battle is going to be historic because cowardly legislators refused to raise taxes in an election year.  With Corbett’s vow for no new taxes he has George Herbert Walker Bush tattooed on his forehead.

The 15 CD race is also over.  John Callahan self immolated at last week’s debate, or, rather, Q&A session.  I’m not sure I’ve ever watched a worse performance.  The Morning Call has that race at 11 points.  Why vote for the Bethlehem Mayor who wouldn’t even make an impassioned plea for someone who has moved 372 bills through the House this session?  He also failed at go after any of Dent’s lies.

Pat Meehan and Bryan Lentz had a debate last evening in the 7th CD but since Gov. Dean’s office has shut me out of tonight’s event in Wayne I passed on their debate last night.  If you want coverage you have to be more open than this folks.  This isn’t the first time I’ve been dissed by Howard Dean and I’m assembling all my old DFA stuff to burn in the BBQ when I return from New Mexico.  

The Pennsylvania ACLU is suing Pittsburgh for its police state tactics during the G20 summit last year.  Police rounded up peaceful protesters, forced them onto the grounds of the Cathedral of Oppression at Pitt, surrounded them so they couldn’t leave then arrested them for failure to disperse.  This is so Orwellian as to be scary.  Dan Onorato was Allegheny County Dictator at the time.

Jim Powers, the head of the state’s domestic terrorism unit, the one which terrorizes activists, remains in office.  

Pittsburghers are complaining about rising parking rates.  This is one reason, along with traffic, why I have stopped covering events in Philadelphia.  I even skipped President Obama’s event for Joe Sestak yesterday.  Sen. Specter, apparently still playing the sore loser’s role, met Obama at the airport then skipped out on reporter’s questions about why he skipped the event at the Convention Center for the Admiral.

Speaking of dissing the press (again, never a good idea) Pat Toomey is refusing to take time to respond to reporters on his campaign trail.  This is a guaranteed method for getting bad press.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell failed in a Senate cloture vote yesterday as both Arkansas Senators joined Republicans to filibuster the bill.  This means we have no Defense Appropriations bill as yet.  With troops on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan and hundreds of other countries, the Pentagon has no funds.  All this because 43 Senators think its moral and right to destroy the integrity of our armed forces by forcing people to lie about who they are.  Hopefully either the courts will remedy this travesty or the President will finally act by Executive Order.

This is horrible news for Democrats who desperately needed something to close the “enthusiasm gap.  Now liberals and progressives are even angrier at the Party following Obama’s dissing and ridicule in Connecticut last week.  Just when the President needed to say something to motivate progressives to go to the polls he, instead, insulted us.  Again.  Is he tone deaf or just stupid?

The Tea Party announced a $1 million anonymous contribution.  We’ll never know who kicked that insane amount of money (but we can guess) since it isn’t being disclosed.  Karl Rove, meanwhile, is collecting another $50 million to rule the airwaves with propaganda next month.  Thank the Supreme Court and its activist Justices Thomas, Alito, Scalia and Roberts.

Larry Summers is leaving the White House so there is one sigh of relief for liberals.  The appointments of him and Geithner sounded the first alarms to the left wing of the Democratic Party that they’d been snookered by their candidate.  That was the onset of the enthusiasm gap.

Lisa Murkowski announced she will run for re-election tot he Senate in Alaska as a write-in candidate.  Good-bye Joe Miller.

The reaction in Delaware to Christine O’Donnell is so severe rank and file Democrats are actually talking about voting.  This is radical!  Republicans, more and more, are coming out of the closet and proclaiming they want to repeal the New Deal including Social Security and they want to begin executing gays and lesbians.  In the past they only intimated these positions.  

ITRR Upset With Reports Online

The Post-Gazette says ITRR the organization which engaged in domestic spying of peaceful activist organizations, is upset that Gov. Rendell put their terrorism reports online.  I suppose this was the danger they risked when they decided to lump anti-war and anti-gas drilling protesters in with anarchists and terrorists.  Perhaps if these morons had been wiser about how and whom they were reporting upon their work wouldn’t now be accessed by anyone with an internet connection.

I have no sympathy for the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response.  They got a no bid contract and Jim Powers, Pennsylvania Homeland Security Chief gave those reports to Marcellus Shale energy companies to use against citizens opposed to having their water supplies poisoned.  Who, exactly, are the terrorists here?  The drillers are spending tons of money buying politicians so they can escape being taxed and are dumping toxic, radioactive fluids directly into our rivers and streams but we’re the terrorists?

As the legislature debates a drilling tax of between 1.5% and 5%, both rather low considering surrounding states levies, the Republican State Senate wants to allow most of the gas extracted to be free from most taxation.  Extracting Marcellus Shale gas is somewhat like squeezing a sponge.  Most of the water in a sponge comes out in those initial squeezes.  90% of natural gas extracted from fracking comes out in the beginning.  The drillers then keep fracking until they get the remainder of the gas but the vast majority is secured in the first five years of a well being drilled.  The GOP Senators want to exempt the first five years from most taxation by levying a 1.5% tax during that time period.  Its a clever ploy to create a huge loophole.

The fact a Democratic Governor is in bed with the energy companies after collecting $84,000 from them in campaign coing.  Anyone can be bought off and Ed Rendell was no exception.  His pretend outrage about discovering his people were in bed with the industry is unseemly.  If Donna Cooper knew what was going on so did the Governor.  It is time for Ed Rendell to do the proper thing as resign.  He broke the trust between himself and the people when he sided with gas drillers while hundreds of Pennsylvania families saw their water supplies ruined and their property values reduced to nothing.

Tom Corbett, at least, is being honest that he’s been bought off.  The $372,000 he’s taken combined with his stern “no new taxes” pledge shows the voters exactly what he intends to do as Governor.  We thought somewhat better of Ed Rendell even though he’s a corporate Democrat in bed with business interests.  Calling a press conference to apologize that you spied on education activists, gays upset with the Catholic Church, people who don’t like Army recruiting tactics which are designed to convince our youth that war is just like a video game, peace groups upset with the way our military industrial complex is running our foreign policy, grassroots activists exercising their constitutional civil right to dissent being called anarchists and terrorists is a bit beyond the pale.  Posting the reports online only made things worse.  I grew angrier and angrier reading these as I saw friends and people I respect lumped in with real threats, real terrorists and repeatedly referred to as anarchists.

You are not an anarchist because you want a good education for your children.  You are not a terrorist because you oppose an illegal, unjust war based on lies.  To be called one or both by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania means someone has to be fired and someone has to resign.  To oppose unregulated drilling of your land with the real possibility you’ll be able to light your well water on fire then have your civil right to oppose this given to the industry along with your planned activities so they can threaten to kill you means Gov. Rendell has to pay the price.  The buck stops with the Governor, all of this is on his head and there’s no way to make it right.  No apology that your efforts to stop being poisoned were provided to your enemies, no public feigned shock will correct what happened to an activist who went to Clearfield County and was threatened by energy company security goons.  We have learned who the terror elements are in Pennsylvania and who is protecting them from us.  James Powers must come out of seclusion and answer questions.  He then must be fired and the Governor must resign.  It may be near the end of his term but the symbolism is what matters here.  No Governor can do something like this and remain in office as it was a massive abuse of trust.

Religious Tolerance…only if…

…you practice certain faiths and are in the “correct’ political affiliation while doing so.  

I gotta admit I’m a bit appalled and a little upset with some of the “progressive” people on the blog here this morning.  

I can’t believe I’m defending her, but Christine O’Donnell, has a right to be whatever faith she wants to be or has been.  While it may be reasonable to call into question her motivations and ability to govern, regarding her seemingly flip-flopped positions including changes in her faith or her past life activities, I find it discomforting and upsetting that some commenters here are not just making whimsy but in my view, cheapening the idea of witchcraft/paganism/wicca as a spiritual practice, in light of Ms. O’Donnell’s self-declaration that Bill Mahar has been playing and released from a previous interview.  

My feeling is, why is religious tolerance of faiths, other than those we feel comfortable with, limited to your particular political affiliations?  Why must we be so mould-happy and so compartmentalized into analyzing everyone into types, sub-types, and what’s “normal” from “abnormal”?  

Yes, she’s a fringe person when it comes to political views, most all of which I completely disagree with, but alas I am not content to look the other way, when it comes to beating on a person’s religious convictions, current or past.  It may raise questions and without proper information from the person to explain them, it does make for some serious questions, but in making whimsy over one person’s faith, we’re both degrading those of the same faith and our own.  

There are those faiths whose actual practices and following of teachings in a manner inconsistent with the spirit of the original tenets of faith have lead and do lead to suffering for others that is wrong and condemnable as such, but such cases should be considered fully and where there is no true harm to others by the spiritual practice of another, we need to leave it well enough alone.  

I believe that sentiment is the essence of the spirit of the 1st amendment regarding exercising and abridging of religious expression and establishments thereof.  

If we are going to be “progressive” people, then we shouldn’t regress to use mud-slinging techniques that erode progress.  Christine O’Donnell is still a bad candidate, but I have a serious problem with those who want to use her past choice of faith to poke more holes in her already-deflated balloon.  

It also strikes me, that effectively some are implying that one cannot change their faith over time and that they’d only consider a person competent for elected office if they were the same person, in the same way, throughout all their life.  Now, honestly, who of us here or most anywhere, can really say with faultless truth that we’ve been so unchanged throughout our lives?  Hell, if I hadn’t changed, I’d’ve never come onto this site ever to begin with, let alone support the things I do.  

All in all, I am left with a bad taste in my mouth this morning, at people, whom I normally equate as my allies and comrades in the struggle for truth and understanding.  

News & Notes September 18, 2010

Joe Sestak has a new ad up comparing his life of service to Pat Toomey’s.  This commercial should prove to be very decisive in the Senate race.  

Delaware’s newest Tea bagger phenom Christine O’Donnell once “dabbled in witchcraft.”  That might explain her position that we’re trying to put human brains in mice.  At first I thought she’d just been watching too much Tom and Jerry but now I understand.  This woman also doesn’t believe anyone should masturbate.  If you ever masturbated this is reason enough to vote against this extremist.  How many voters does that leave?

President Obama has appointed former Steeler Hines Ward to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.  Another nice reception.

The President also lauded the Senate for passing the latest START Treaty.  The amazing thing is that the Senate actually voted on something.  There are 372 bills which have passed the House and not come up for a vote by Senators due to GOP holds and filibusters.  Forty four of them passed the House unanimously.  Our government is broken by Republican obstructionism and is grinding to a halt and people are blaming Democrats.  This is what you call a complete failure of communications by a President for whom communicating with the public was an art form as a candidate.

I saw a Tweet yesterday which was on the mark:  President Obama should be charged with political malpractice because he gave 95% of Americans a tax cut and none of them know it.

Meanwhile Republicans who created the economic crisis by voting for Bush tax cuts, unpaid for wars, deregulation of markets and such are now running on platforms of blaming Democrats for their own misdeeds and Democrats aren’t calling them out for it except Patrick Murphy:

Lack of access to credit has been strangling small businesses since the Bush Recession began and the White House bill seeking to ease these stresses and make money more available was being blocked by supposedly pro-business Republicans until last week.  These people will even vote against one of their core constituencies and against all job creation efforts then go on the campaign trail and cry about the lack of jobs being created.  The bad news?  Gullible, ignorant voters eat it up.

State Representative Jennifer Mann was named as the “other woman” in a divorce action filed in Lehigh County.

Some progressive activists are getting serious, credible threats from Tea Party members and other extremists to the point where some have had to move and others gone into hiding.  This country is quickly descending into literal class warfare and its folks like Glenn Beck fomenting the violence.  These attacks began after he said “progressives are a cancer.”  I know of at least one online group which was disbanded in order to protect its members.  I have a bumper sticker on my car now which says “Pennsylvania Progressive” and since I got it I’ve noticed much more aggressive driving by men in pick-up trucks and such, typical Tea Party profiles.

Lentz, Meehan Petition Fights Go to Corbett

The struggle to succeed Joe Sestak in Congress has been getting nasty since Tea Party candidate Jim Schneller got into the race and questions about petitions began going to Attorney General Tom Corbett.  This all began last winter when Delaware County Republicans, long the power in Delco, were accused of widespread fraud circulating fellow Republican Pat Meehan’s petitions.  The Delco GOP machine has long enjoyed a sort of monopoly in local politics.  Joe Sestak began creating cracks in it as he defeated Crazy Curt Weldon then essentially ran unopposed in 2008.  Meehan, the former U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia, was embarrassed by the charges of fraud surrounding his candidacy and referred the matter to Corbett.  Tom Corbett, of course, is also running for Governor and has been embedded in a highly political prosecution of his own against Pennsylvania House Democrats.

The BonusGate scandal erupted when legislative staffers were found to be receiving bonuses tied to their illegal political work on campaigns.  Corbett, acting as Attorney General, conducted official searches and investigations of House Dems while allowing House Republicans two years to hit the delete buttons on their legislative computers.  Now he is supposed to be investigating Delaware County Republicans for wholesale fraud on Meehan’s petitions.  As that effort wouldn’t affect his eligibility for the ballot (he still had enough signatures) the third man running for the seat from Meehan’s right did present a threat.

Jim Schneller unknowingly received considerable assistance from Democrat Bryan Lentz’s volunteers who circulated petitions for the third party effort to siphon November votes from the Republican.  It takes many more petition signatures for third party candidates in Pennsylvania so they get until August to amass them and when it was revealed that Schneller got help from Democrats Meehan called foul.  It doesn’t matter who circulates petitions for independent candidates as long as they reside in the district which these folks did.  Pat Meehan went to court to attempt to throw Schneller off the ballot as happened to almost every other candidate, Tea Party or Green, in the Commonwealth.  Jim Schneller won the fight but, again, an investigation has been referred to the AG.  

This means the Republican Attorney General, who is running for Governor, has been charged with investigating petitions for both Pat Meehan (R) and Jim Schneller (TP) while also being charged with political favoritism in his BonusGate prosecutions.  Corbett cannot win in this battle and his dormant investigation of the Meehan petitions is now receiving more media attention.

The real issue here is ballot access where both major parties have raised the bar for third party and independent candidates so high it is difficult for challengers to get on the ballot.  Even then they routinely must hire legal counsel to defend their petitions in court from challenges.  Schneller is the only such candidate to survive to November and only because the Lentz effort was so effective.  Will Corbett perform his official duties before the election or allow the whole affair to die a quiet death?  No one seems to be betting on the former.

Marino, Caught in Bed With Alleged Mobster, Caught Lying About It

Former Loyal Bushie Tom Marino, now running for Congress against Chris Carney has been caught lying about his involvement with alleged mobster Louie DeNaples.  The Associated Press is reporting that a document Marino insisted which authorized him to be a reference for the owner of Mount Airy Lodge in his casino gaming license doesn’t exist.  Marino’s U.S. Attorney’s Office was investigating DeNaples at the time.  He has been connected and associated with the Mafia according to various reports for decades and Marino’s office in Wilkes-Barre would have been remiss if it hadn’t been investigating the man.  The fact that he, as U.S. Attorney, acted as a personal reference on DeNaples’ application for a casino license was a clear conflict of interest and a major ethical violation.  Marino claimed last spring that he had permission to do so from his superiors at the Justice Department.  No such document exists according to an AP report meaning Tom Marino lied to voters about his corruption.  Following his tenure as USA he went to work for Mount Airy Casino.  DeNaples wound up being investigated for his alleged mob ties by the state and was forced to surrender the license which was taken over by his daughter.

Marino’s involvement with DeNaples is a huge issue in the Congressional campaign.  The fact a sitting U.S. Attorney acted personally on behalf of someone with questionable character was, in itself, an eye opener.  Since he then went to work for the man after leaving office and beginning his political campaign raised more eyebrows.  Now the fact he lied in his explanation about the unseemly relationship means he is unfit for office.  While there are many areas in which I disagree with Blue Dog Democrat Carney I do know he is an honest man, not something I can say about Tom Marino.  We shouldn’t be surprised that a Loyal Bushie, someone enmeshed in a hugely corrupt Bush Justice Department ruled by Alberto Gonzales and Karl Rove, is corrupt.

The ITRR Reports

The Office of the Governor has posted all of the controversial reports compiled by a Philadelphia terrorism monitoring company for the state Department of Homeland Security.  This effort is designed to reassure citizens about violations of their constitutional rights though, after reading all of the reports I’m angrier than ever.  This private company hired on a no bid contract by the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security did violate our constitutional rights by collecting intelligence on such dangerous, subversive and anarchist activities such as waving signs at motorist, distributing flyers and pledges, and marching in what they concede are peaceful protests.

The state has no business monitoring established, peaceful organizations such as the Brandywine Peace Community and reporting on their activities to the State Police and energy drilling companies.  The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania intercepted communications by known white supremacists who, apparently, were in frequent communications with Tea Party leaders to plan events.  They closely monitored grass roots organizations and seem to consider anyone who is against the war, against climate change, against the abuse of animals, for gay rights and other liberal causes as :anarchists.”  In fact the word “anarchist” appears so often in these reports I’m beginning to wonder if I’m a closet anarchist.

There are some names mentioned in the reports.  One was a man caught trying to board a plane with a handgun and another is an activist who, during the G20 summit in Pittsburgh reported police movements to protesters.  I imagine, though no reports are posted, that ITRR was instrumental in the G20 operations which have resulted in Pittsburgh being sued for massive civil rights violations.

Only a few real threats surfaced in the reports.  They identify John Kunkle, an Army of God anti-abortion activist who threatened to kill a Planned Parenthood doctor on his website and also obviously were closely monitoring white supremacists.  One report suspected potential violence during a Tea Party march in Philadelphia because the supremacists might get violent if they met Black Tea Party marchers at the protest.  African-American Tea Party members?  You’re more likely to find an intelligent analyst at ITRR.

Most of the information in these reports concerning Pennsylvania were probably gained by perusing various websites.  They reported anti-war marches, an effort to interrupt Catholic Church services by gay rights activists, animal rights protests against Land O’Lakes in Carlisle, protests at the Army Experience Center in Franklin Mills, Fur Free Friday events, environmentalists dressed as Santas objecting mountaintop removal by coal companies, and poor people protesting foreclosures in Philadelphia.  You can obviously see the essential threats to Pennsylvania by such groups and actions.  ITRR seems to consider all of these people as “anarchists.”

I believe a full investigation needs to be done by the legislature to discover the entire extent of the spying done by ITRR and the State Police.  These were mostly peaceful, legal, constitutional expressions of free speech and free assembly by citizens.  Were the events monitored and were people attending photographed and identified?  Just because few names are mentioned in the reports (there are several) doesn’t mean individual civil rights violations were not committed by Pennsylvania through ITRR.  The company was spying on people by the authority of the Commonwealth and acted as an agent of the state.  This scandal is not going away and the Governor, while credited with releasing these reports, must still fire everyone involved and with knowledge of this activity and allow further independent investigation.  

Rendell Must Fire All Involved in ITRR Scandal

Gov. Rendell condemned actions taken by his own Administration yesterday when he said it came to his attention via a newspaper story that the Pennsylvania Homeland Security bureau hired an outside contractor to spy on political activists and submit reports on their (our?) activities.  The Institute of Terrorism Research and Response in Philadelphia was paid over $100,000 to gather information on anti-war, education, animal rights, environmental and gay rights groups and activists.  They included lists of people who attended gay rights celebrations like Pride.  The shocking part of Rendell’s press conference was his refusal to fire anyone connected with the scandal which reaches into his own office.  Donna Cooper, the Governor’s right arm, is known to have been aware of the spying into citizen’s exercises of civil rights.  In Pennsylvania where the constitution was written, it is our right as people to say what we please, dissent when we please and to celebrate when we please with whomever we please.  Freedom of speech and freedom to assemble are not illegal under Ed Rendell so why did his people spy on us?  They all must be fired and terminated ASAP before the Commonwealth begins getting sued.

Who knows how many ordinary activists were targeted by this renegade group affiliated with Philadelphia University?  What role did the college play?  How were these lists compiled, through spies placed at events?  Who saw these reports and what, if any, action was taken in response?

There are many questions to be answered and none of what former PEMA head Adrian King presented are foremost in my mind.  King is condemning the hiring of ITRR only, it seems, because he says the Pennsylvania State Police could have done it cheaper.  ITRR received a no bid contract from PEMA to violate our constitutional civil rights.  Let’s remember that this is the issue here, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania spied on us illegally and the Governor’s top aide knew about it and did nothing.  Everyone from Donna Cooper down must be held account so the state can mount, at least, the legal defense that the Governor dealt with the issue forcefully once aware.  That, of course, is assuming he is being truthful about not knowing about these actions.  I have to wonder about that since he has yet to dismiss any of those involved.

If you attended an education summit or seminar (I was at one earlier this year), any meeting about ending puppy mills or pigeon shoots, a march against the illegal war in Iraq (me again), environmental organizations opposing shale drilling (me again) or gay pride events (me again) ITRR may have spied on you and submitted your personal information to the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security as a possible threat.   How many activists will file Open records requests to discover if ITRR spied on them?  I hope you all do, we need to expose exactly what was done, how and why.  Then we need to file a class action lawsuit against the Commonwealth for violation of our civil rights.

If the Governor fails to take appropriate action I call on the state legislature to open hearings with the possibility of impeaching the Governor.

Update:  In a move towards transparency the Governor’s Office has posted all of ITRR’s reports online to reassure the public.  You can peruse them here.

Tea Party Claims Another Moderate Republican

Delaware tends to vote for moderates of both parties so yesterday’s ouster of Congressman Mike Castle from a lifetime of public service sent a jolt through the nation.  I lived in Delaware for 18 years and understand the political climate there well.  The Diamond State has a history of elevating dedicated public servants up the line from Lt. Governor, to Governor, to Congress and the Senate.  Joe Biden was an anomaly who went directly from New Castle County Council to the Senate.  Party affiliation isn’t the sole determining factor as Biden and Bill Roth, a Republican, were regularly re-elected tot he Senate with large pluralities.  Once Delawareans entrust someone with their representation they tend to stick with them for decades.  Mike Castle was the next in line for this succession.

Castle climbed the ladder of offices and the vacated Senate seat should have been his for the taking.  A moderate Republican, Congressman and former Governor, his loss to Tea Party fringe lunatic Christine O’Donnell last night was shocking.  O’Donnell has lied about her past, took a free ride using campaign contributions for her personal bills (against FEC rules by the way) and taking fringe positions on key issues.  A moderate electorate such as The First State’s will never elevate her to the U.S. Senate clearing the way for Chris Coons to win Biden’s old seat.  One has to wonder what Beau Biden is thinking this morning.  Speculation is he bowed out of the race thinking Castle was unbeatable.  Such are the vagaries of politics.

Is there any place in the modern GOP for moderates?  It appears not, especially in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.  Arlen Specter and Mike Castle are simply the latest examples.  More and more the Republican Party is a party of extremists with extreme positions.  How they imagine they can win with this slate of candidates is interesting.  Should rank and file Democrats awaken to the opportunity which awaits in November and vote against candidates openly saying they will repeal Social Security and the rest of the New Deal, who want to repeal several constitutional amendments including the Fourteenth, who want to reduce government to only a role in the nation’s defense, eliminate several Cabinet departments and return to the gold standard, a clean sweep and super majorities can be had.

Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, Pat Toomey, Paul LePage, Rand Paul and now Christine O’Donnell are all so outside the mainstream that they pose a serious risk to our freedoms and way of life.  Democrats must awaken to the threat from such fringe lunatics and turn out and insure their defeats.  Sending a message by remaining home and allowing our country to be hijacked by racist elements like these is foolish and irresponsible.  On the other hand handing them serious, lopsided defeats will send a message to the Tea baggers that they are simply a vocal minority.  Democrats have a chance hear against such extremists to solidify their majorities to the point where even the Ben Nelsons cannot derail progress.  This is a once in a lifetime chance to capture the electorate for several electoral cycles.  Vote.