Rules Committee

The DNC Rules Committee meets today amid rallies supporting Hillary Clinton which were organized by her campaign.  The idea is to put pressure on members of the Rules Committee to ignore the fact Florida and Michigan violated the Party’s rules.

What are for anyway?  If anyone can choose to ignore rules what do we end up with?  Let me remind you:  George W. Bush.

The President violated rules and laws to get elected in 2000 and has chosen to put himself and his top advisors above the law.  Congress, of course, has allowed them to do so by refusing to impeach.What we have now is an all powerful Chief Executive who thinks he can completely pervert the constitution, and has.

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I support Hillary Clinton and believe she would be the stronger candidate and a very good President.  I have serious reservations about Barack Obama after covering the Pennsylvania primary.  Yesterday’s video footage showing more outrageous conduct inside his church makes me concerned voters won’t support him in November.

The mean spirited, intolerant mocking of Hillary Clinton by a Roman Catholic priest whose parish has been the recipient of Obama largesse undermines his claims to end politics as usual.  It continues to raise the specter of Rev. Wright.

Regardless rules are rules.  Florida and Michigan’s state legislators disenfranchised their voters by moving their elections in violation of the rules.  I don’t think voters in these two states are so stupid as to blame the Democratic nominee for these mistakes come November.  If they do it is our fault for not reminding them exactly what transpired.

The argument about disenfranchising primary voters is ridiculous.  Every four years millions of primary voters are disenfranchised when a nominee clinches early.  In fact this is why the rush was on to move primaries this year.  People in these states were fed up with not having a say in the nominating process.

Hillary Clinton thought she’d have the nomination sewed up on February 5th.  Had that happened we wouldn’t be hearing all this new talk about the need to not disenfranchise primary voters.  She’s have been all too happy to do so.  This discussion is demeaning and disingenuous.  It’s politics however.

What this really points out is the need to reorganize our primary process and have four monthly primaries which rotate every presidential election year.  I don’t really care if Iowa and New Hampshire get their knickers out of kilter because the country is more important than two small, white, rural bailiwicks which have provided us with loser after loser every four years.

The threat to take this fight to the convention demeans Hillary Clinton and the valiant and impressive effort she has sustained for the nomination.  I grew to like and respect her while covering her events and working with her staff (all but one local organizer who shall remain nameless).  Millions of Americans, especially women, have been empowered and inspired by Hillary.  Don’t risk it all with a quixotic quest to the Credentials Committee and a floor fight.  The Party and the country cannot afford that at this crucial juncture.

Hillary, you fought the good fight and waged a good campaign.  It’s time to leave with grace.

Anti-Gerrymandering Bill In Danger

A bill in the state House to reform the drawing of state House and Senate (it doesn’t affect Congress) districts is dying due to the inability of a bureaucrat to do his job.  In a column in today’s Inquirer Chris Satullo outlines the bill and it’s potential.

Steve Samuelson introduced HB 2420 and it was assigned to the State Government Committee.  Babette Josephs (Committee Chair) then asked the Legislative Reference Bureau for comment and they refused.  After some discussion over the meaning of the term “community of interest” the bill is being redrafted.

Now, admittedly, that term is vague and could be defined any way a nefarious person may want but this is a critically important bill which must be passed.

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Of course getting any bill through the constitutional process in Pennsylvania is difficult and convincing legislators to jeopardize their safely drawn districts is nigh on impossible.  Recognizing this Satullo is urging citizens to contact their lawmakers and apply pressure for passage of the bill.

Legislators in Harrisburg only react to several stimuli:  lobbyists with money and/or influence, the orders from their Party Majority Leaders who fund their offices and staffs, strong challengers for their seats, and the threat from voters back home to kick them out of office.  These are in their order of importance.

A concerted effort of citizen lobbying is something they pay attention to where they know their voters are upset or concerned in large numbers.  Contacting your Representative and Senator on these bills is important.  Please do so.

PA Supremes Punish Payday Lender

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has decreed that payday lender Advance America Cash Advance violated usury limits by imposing fees and interest which exceed state law.  

Payday loans such as Advance America provides leech funds from the poor at outrageously high rates.  Theirs impose a $150 fee and 6% interest for a $500 loan.  Former Philadelphia Mayoral candidate Tom Knox made his fortune preying on the poor with such usurious and immoral business practices.  Knox briefly toyed with the idea of running for State Treasurer last year and has his sights set on the Governor’s mansion in 2010.

NYU’s Brennan Center Supports Congressional Subpoenas

Citing the critical importance of separation of powers NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice has filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief in support of Congress’ authority to subpoena Harriet Miers and Josh Bolton.

The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed both former White House officials in its investigation og GonzalesGate, the political manipulation of Justice by the Bush Administration.  Miers and Bolten have refused to comply with the orders to appear and are claiming all White House officials are above the law.

The Brennan Center brief argues that if the Court dismisses the action, as requested by Bolten’s and Miers’ attorneys, it could deal a significant blow to the Constitution’s separation of powers and “would signal to future presidents that they could hide behind executive privilege regardless of whether their legal claim was weak or strong–or even baseless.”

pull quote “The Committee is investigating allegations that partisan operatives commandeered Congress’s criminal laws and the machinery of the Department of Justice for improper purposes,” said Emily Berman, the Katz Fellow in the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center and one of the co-authors of the brief. “Information supplied by federal officials has been riddled with gaps and inconsistencies, raising the possibility that the Committee and the public have been misled. Congress can obtain these missing facts only from executive officials allegedly implicated in misconduct.”

“This case raises questions of fundamental importance to our Constitution’s system of Separation of Powers,” said Berman. “Congress’s constitutional obligation to ensure that the Executive acts within the bounds of the law requires that it complete this important investigation. Should the court deny it the power to do so, Congress’s oversight authority will be compromised, and with it our constitutional balance of power.

Dog and Pony Shows

John McCain is reminding voters that his likely opponent Barack Obama hasn’t visited Iraq in quite some time.  The Republican warmonger even is reciting the exact number of days it’s been-871 or something.

All the trips John McCain and other lawmakers have taken have done nothing to make us or the Iraqi people safer.  In fact they endanger our troops because they are diverted from real missions to provide security for these dog and pony shows produced and orchestrated by The Pentagon.

McCain, Obama and all the other officials spirited into the Green Zone are given glimpses only of what the White House and its sycophant generals wish them to see.  These are dog and pony shows which even those involved with have so described.

Why this political posturing by John McCain?  This is the fool who actually tried to visit a Baghdad market without wearing body armor.  It took 100 soldiers, several helicopter gunships and other heavy security to afford him one stupid photo opportunity.

We don’t need more stupid, counterproductive visits to Iraq by candidates.

Scott McClellan Gets Religion

Former White House mouthpiece Scott McClellan has written a book which is causing great angst among neoconservatives because he outed their propaganda campaign against the American people.  There is nothing new in this book, nothing many of us didn’t already know.  We’ve been writing about all the lies perpetrated by the Bush Administration for years.  This is why Karl Rove accused McClellan of “being a left wing blogger.”

The only news here is that Scott McClellan has “gotten religion.”  Being subjected to the treachery of his own colleagues in the Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson scandal, whatever shred of credibility he had left with the media corps disappeared and he resigned.

I wrote an article back then reminding everyone about Scott McClellan’s being a serial liar.  He lied about this war and much else from the White House podium.  He lied without regard to ethics, consequences or ethics.  His lies cost lives.

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I do not welcome his sudden conversion to “truth.”  he was one of those deeply involved in the propaganda campaign he now condemns.  He was a central figure conveying the lies he now exposes.  In fact, that was his job.

He did it so badly a diarist at Daily Kos called karateexplosions mocked his daily press conferences.  We all knew Scott McClellan was lying his arse off so why didn’t he?  Of course he did.  No one is that stupid.  Scott McClellan was a willing and full participant in the effort to lie America into war.

I will not buy his book just because he’s suddenly awakened and realized the consequences of his actions.

Meanwhile the lies continue.  I watched John McCain say that every intelligence agency in the world thought Saddam Hussein had wmd’s.  That is a bald faced lie.  It is one of the oft repeated untruths made over and over in an attempt to convince Americans it is true.  It is not.  This is a much more serious misstatement than saying one was open to sniper fire in Bosnia or that one’s uncle liberated Auschwitz.  This lie has cost tens of thousands of lives and its perpetuation will cost more.

John McCain, if you wish to become President it is time to stop lying to America about weapons of mass destruction.

Progress

We’ve been making progress towards a grand new relaunching of the blog.  I still have to import the old content from Typepad and get the header (being designed) and footers.  The blogrolls are done (let me know if any of the links aren’t working) and the site traffic reporting is transferred.  I have some pages written for “contact us” and “FAQ” but they aren’t uploaded yet so bear with us while we complete the site.

There will be gradual improvements as we go along but the writers seem hungry to get going again.

It’s been a long hiatus for all of us, about six weeks so far.  A lot has happened, a lot of articles not written and a lot of comments and feedback missed to those articles.  We missed you too.

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It’ll be impossible to cover everything that’s happened while we were away so I won’t even try.  We’ll pick up where we are and reference events from these weeks as we go along.

Congratulations go out to Keystone Politics, selected as the credentialed bloggers to be embedded with the Pennsylvania delegation to the Democratic National Convention in August.  I had also applied but having the blog shut down four days before the selection day doomed our chances.  This was of the really unfortunate consequences of the action taken against me.

I very much missed writing.  My routine is to spend my morning reading the newspaper then writing until noonish.  It’s been very strange not writing every morning.  I have done some reading and I’ll do a few book reviews as we gear back up.  I also got some kayaking but missed covering numerous campaign events.  Please put us back on your press release lists if you removed us.

Also, please update your links and blogrolls if you have been linking to The Pennsylvania Progressive.  One advantage to our new site is that ThePennsylvaniaProgressive.com is now our OFFICIAL domain name.  Before it was set up as a silent forward to the Typepad blog.

Welcome To Our New Home

As our older readers know The Pennsylvania Progressive is moving due to our being a casualty of the Democratic presidential primary season.  Soapblox is our new home and I am working diligently to build a new blog which will be much nicer, safer, and interactive than our previous incarnations.

I am a writer though, not a programmer.  This is going to take some time as I learn much more html than I ever expected and css along the way.  I hope our new home is finished by the end of the summer.

Feel free to register as a user while you’re here and stop back to check on our progress.