Critz Cries Foul on Altmire Ad

Mark Critz, engaged in a rabid primary race against fellow Democratic Congressman Jason Altmire in the revamped 12th CD, called his opponent out today in a press conference call.  Altmire aired an ad criticizing Critz for voting “present” on the Ryan budget last year.  The plan, up again now, destroyed Medicare as we know it, privatizing the successful government health plan for seniors.  The Democratic strategy on that vote was to have everyone vote present to force Republicans into going on the record for or against Medicare.  Altmire was one of only 16 Democrats who stranded from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s efforts and voted No instead.  Congressman Bob Brady and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky spoke supporting Critz’s explanation of his vote.  Here’s the Altmire ad:

The Critz campaign issued this statement earlier today:

At the time of the April 2011 vote, Politico reported that “Democrats asked all their members to vote ‘present’ on the conservative Republican Study Committee’s budget – an attempt to force it through the House – but failed. And illustrating the unease with which some still view Democratic leadership’s plans, more conservative lawmakers in the minority – like Pennsylvania Rep. Jason Altmire, Georgia’s John Barrow and Oklahoma’s Dan Boren – bucked Pelosi and Hoyer.”

The Democrats planned to allow the ultra-conservative Republican Study Committee’s budget to go through in an attempt to sideline the less absurd (yet still draconian) Ryan Budget, which was more likely to pass. The thinking was that the Senate would never pass the fringe Republican Study Committee’s budget, but might pass Ryan’s, so the Democrats voted “present” to force the Republican Study Committee’s budget through the House in order to gain a tactical advantage and preserve Medicare as we know it.

The ultimate irony of Altmire’s ad is that by not playing along with Democratic leadership, Altmire actually worked to advance the Ryan Budget!

To claim that Democrats in the 12th District should vote against Critz for his procedural vote on the budget obscures the fact that Altmire was actually helping the Republicans pass the Ryan Budget by not voting with Critz and the rest of the Democratic Party.

At the time of the vote, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said he was “disappointed” in Altmire and the small handful of others who did not vote present, saying “I was disappointed that they did not follow what I think was a strategy to highlight the position of the Republican Party.”

“I am very disappointed that Jason Altmire would distort my record on this,” said Mark Critz in a statement. “I stood with my Democratic colleagues on this vote as a way to kill Congressman Ryan’s budget that ended Medicare.”

The most remarkable part of this story, aside from the extreme distortion itself, is that the ad is narrated entirely by Congressman Altmire. I say that this is remarkable because Altmire knows the exact circumstances of the procedural vote, and surely remembers the tactical nature of the Democratic leadership’s decision. Rarely are attack ads with such flagrant falsities narrated by the candidate themselves-these types of wild assertions are usually done by a deep, scary voice from an outside organization.

February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day!  My Mom and my Aunt were leap year twins and would have been 23 today.

Judge Jimmie Moore withdrew from the Congressional primary in PA-1 this morning.  I’m not sure why you’d step down from the bench to run then not stick it out.

Pennsylvania exports increased to $41 billion (from $34.9B) last year, a 17% increase.  Figures are from the International Trade Administration.

Thirty seven states have applied for waivers from NCLB but Pennsylvania remains a hold out.  The Bush era law requires public schools teach students a test rather than teach them to learn and think.

Rick Santorum claims his grades at Penn State were affected because of his political views.  I simply cannot imagine that professors would give him lesser grades because they didn’t like him.  Speaking on Charlie Langston’s Michigan radio show he said this:

“I’m very careful about the colleges and universities our children go to,” Santorum said. “There are schools, I went to one – Penn State – that’s one of the liberal icons, unfortunately it’s gotten a lot worse. I can tell you professor after professor who docked my grades because of the viewpoints I expressed and the papers that I wrote, there’s no question that happened.”

Rick and Mitt shared Michigan’s delegates last night while Romney won Arizona handily.  15% of Republicans in the border state are Mormons.

Maine’s Olympia Snowe announced she will retire from the Senate.  There are fewer and fewer moderate lawmakers left in Washington, not a good thing.

For the second consecutive year Gov. Corbett’s budget severely impacts services for the disabled.  A budget is the Governor’s list of priorities so what does Gasbag have against the handicapped?

PAHouseDems say Corbett has security at each elevator in the Capitol to keep disabled citizens away from his office during their protest today.  Nothing says democracy like a host of guards posted against a few dozen mentally and physically disabled people.  They provided this photo:

I love listening to Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman when I’m in Santa Fe and wish it were broadcast locally.  This is a segment about WikiLeaks’ expose of Stratfor, a shadow CIA which says Julian Assange has been secretly indicted.  He has not committed any crime in this country.

Rep. Bill DeWeese will remain on the ballot despite being convicted of felonies.  Under law he doesn’t have to resign until his sentencing which is also April 24th.  He’s trashing what remains of his reputation with his stubbornness.

Judge Moore Challenging Bob Brady

Former Municipal Court Judge Jimmie Moore is challenging Bob Brady to represent Pennsylvania’s First District in Congress.  The area runs along the east side of Philadelphia, out into West Philadelphia and parts of Delaware County, including the City of Chester.  It is 42% African-American and the recent redistricting added white voters to the demographics.  For this reason Brady, also Chair of the machine controlled Philadelphia City Committee, ordered State House Representatives to cross the aisle and vote for the GOP plan.  This put a lot of them in a bad position because the rest of the Commonwealth’s Democrats nosw see them as traitors.

Judge Moore had to step down from the bench to run for this office, a legal requirement in Pennsylvania.  He was on the bench for over 11 years and has a law degree.  Originally from the projects of Hartford, Connecticut he went to law school at Rutgers-Camden and remained in the area.

In a District plagued with crime and poverty Congressman Brady has done little to alleviate the burdens on these people.  Judge Moore intends to address those issues by focusing first on the issue of hunger. When Gov. Gasbag restricted access to food stamps last week Moore slammed him with this statement:

Each year the federal government allocates money for

food stamps to aid Americans who need help feeding their families.

The families who benefit from this money are people who face enormous

hurdles every day, searching for jobs, coordinating child-care, and

making tough decisions about where their hard earned money should be

spent.   Governor Corbett is fortunate enough not to have to make

those hard decisions; if his car breaks down, the state provides

another.  If he ends up in the ER, he gets first class treatment and

the bill is taken care of.   Apparently he cannot even comprehend what

it might mean for a family to have to choose between preparing for an

emergency, and preventing one’s children from going hungry.  This week

he announced that beginning in May people under the age of 60 who have

over $2,000 in savings and other assets, and people over 60 with more

than $3,250, would no longer be eligible for food stamps.

This deplorable action not only punishes Pennsylvanians for being

poor, it also punishes them for being responsible.  Truly, it is a

blessed person who can put away money in the bank, whether to help pay

for their kid’s college, prepare for unforeseen medical or auto repair

bills, or the distant hope of someday retiring. These families on the

edge of poverty are exactly people that federal programs like food

stamps are intended to help.  But Governor Corbett’s imposition of

this asset test is counterproductive to the federal government’s goal

of lifting families out of poverty and into the middle class.  That is

why I call on all the elected officials in Pennsylvania, particularly

those elected to federal office, and especially those whose districts

encompass the hungriest residents of our state, to urge Governor

Corbett to reconsider his decision.

When I am elected to serve Pennsylvania’s First District in Congress,

I will not hesitate to stand up for my constituents, even when that

means confronting the most powerful man in the state.  I refuse to

stand idly by certain officials abuse their power to use federal

dollars to help those in need.   I am committed to helping every

eligible resident obtain the help they deserve.    That is why my

staff and I will be available, now in our campaign office, and later

in my Congressional District office, to personally help anyone who is

eligible to apply for food stamps.   With these steps we can help

transform the First District from the second hungriest in the nation

to a healthy, safe community free from want.

His reaction to the redistricting which screwed the people in the five counties now encompassing the meandering 7th CD and the now divided Lehigh Valley is evident in this statement:

Evidence of an increasingly disenchanted electorate is abundant, as evidenced by Congress’ all-time low approval rating of 9%. One obvious explanation for this phenomenon is Americans’ frustration over politicians putting their own interests above those of their constituents. Your recent intervention to ensure passage of the Republican-dominated Pennsylvania redistricting plan is precisely the sort of self-serving backroom maneuver that is destroying confidence in our political process.

Pennsylvania recently adopted new congressional districts that reflect the loss of one congressional seat as a consequence of the 2010 census. Given Republican control of Pennsylvania’s General Assembly, Senate, and governorship, it is not surprising that the Republicans came out ahead in this process; rather, the surprise lies in the magnitude of the Republican Party’s victory.  The Republican Party’s effort here in Pennsylvania has been called by state political observer G. Terry Madonna of Franklin & Marshall College “the worst gerrymander in modern Pennsylvania history.”

Despite the new map’s overwhelming favorability to the GOP, it seemed that Republicans in the General Assembly would not have enough votes to pass the redistricting plan- that was, until you stepped up and started rounding votes in support of the GOP plan. It has been widely reported that Republican leaders in the General Assembly turned to you to secure the necessary votes for passage. Some speculate that you agreed to do this in exchange for a favorable re-drawing of your own congressional district. While the Democratic party as a whole was the big loser in the redistricting process, you were among the biggest winners.

For your part, you have acknowledged that you secured Democratic votes for the plan, despite it being so brazenly skewed in favor of the GOP.  As you have personally recognized, “Republicans were in charge of this.” Having no control over the redistricting process Democrats had no role here other than to not help the Republicans pass their first-choice map. But you were only too happy to bail out the Republicans by throwing your own party and constituents under the bus, all to protect yourself, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Watching you sell out your party for your own benefit, I felt as I imagine Eagles fans would feel if Michael Vick,  in his Eagles uniform, was caught in the back of a bar sharing game plans with Eli Manning.  The people who rely on you expect you to be in the game not for your own self-interest but rather for the interest of the Democratic Party and the constituents that back you.  Your actions are those of a free agent who changes teams according to what serves you best.

The Democrats of this city, state and country deserve better and more. Accordingly, I challenge you to four (4) debates throughout the First Congressional District:  Temple University, in North Philadelphia, Widener University in Chester, Swarthmore College in Swarthmore and the Constitution Center in Center City, to debate your decision to spearhead the new redistricting plan as well as the challenges which face the First Congressional District.

I sat down with Judge Moore Saturday at a hotel in King of Prussia and we talked about his background, the issues and the primary this April.  You can find out more about him and support his candidacy at his website.

Who Will Primary Bob Brady?

Now that Congressman Bob Brady has screwed all the other Democrats in Pennsylvania who will step up and make him pay?  The man who controls Philadelphia Dems with an iron fist forced most of them to vote for a Republican gerrymandered redistricting because he liked what it did for him.  Brady didn’t give a damn about either other Democratic Congressional candidates or those people living in the Commonwealth stuck with an extreme GOP radical delegation.

It’s time for a reformer in Philly to step up to this bully and bring him down.  No Democrat in Pennsylvania can now legitimately criticize or challenge the crazy scheme because 36 House Democrats voted for it under orders (threats?) from Brady making it a bipartisan piece of crap.  Can you imagine the joy and glee in the Republican caucus when all of these supposedly “progressive” Democrats voted to enshrine a solid GOP majority in the state Congressional delegation?

If these Representatives will sell us out this easily what won’t they do?  Someone needs to make Brady pay.  Who will step up?  Neighborhood Networks sprang up to challenge the corrupt machine politics in Philadelphia and some serious minded reformers have run for office.  Stan Shapiro and Marc Stier need to recruit someone to atone for this travesty.

Update:  Brady does have a primary challenger.  I’d forgotten that Judge Jimmie Moore stepped down from the bench to run for the seat.  Go show him love ($$$).

Democrats Screwing Their Own On Redistricting

The GOP plan to redistrict Congressional districts is being supported by key Democrats.  The 7th CD in particular is crazy and the Dems own redrawing of the districts is as bad the other way.  Congressmen Bob Brady and Mike Doyle are supporting the Republican plan however because they see it as beneficial to themselves.  Therefore they’re trying to screw their fellow Democrats and the people of Pennsylvania by being selfish.  This is yet another example of the undemocratic Democratic Party here in Pennsylvania.

Several Harrisburg Dems are now supporting this effort including Frank Dermody along with well known traitor Sen. Anthony Williams.  We’ve watched Williams sell out before so his defection isn’t news.  He may as well change his registration to Republican.

Update:  I’m told that Rep. Dermody voted against the redistricting.  The bill passed the House today without his vote.  I regret the error.

Update II:  State House Democrats who voted for the Republican Congressional map:

Louise Bishop

Vanessa Brown

Michelle Brownlee

Mark Cohen

Angel Cruz

Margo Davidson

Maria Donatucci

Kenyatta Johnson

William Keller

Thaddeus Kirkland

John Myers

Cherelle Parker

James Roebuck

John Sabatina

Curtis Thomas

Ron Waters

Jewell Williams

Rosita Youngblood

Tina Tartaglione’s vote allowed it out of committee

Eugene DePasquale

Mike Gerber

Michael Carroll

Neal Goodman

Sid Michaels Kavulich

Ken Smith

Ed Staback

Bryan Barbin

John Galloway

Judge Jimmie Moore To Challenge Brady

Judge Jimmie Moore of Philadelphia stepped down from his Municipal Court position June 3rd to challenge Congressman Bob Brady for the 1st Congressional District seat held by the head of the Philadelphia Democratic Party since 1998.  The District includes eastern portions of the City plus some Delco suburbs and the City of Chester.  Pennsylvania law prohibits sitting Judges from engaging in political activity so Judge Moore was forced to relinquish his seat to run for this office.

PHILADELPHIA, PA- On Monday, June 6, Judge Jimmie Moore filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to begin the process of his candidacy to represent Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.

“Over the coming weeks, I will continue to build my team and travel around the district talking to residents about the issues they find most pressing, and in July, I will formally announce my campaign for Congress to bring the change that our district desperately needs,” Moore said. “Washington is out of touch with what’s happening to our families and communities. Special interests have more power than the people. Just like a young community organizer from Chicago, I have hope, a vision, and a belief in giving back and helping others.”

Growing up in federal housing projects and living on welfare, Moore learned firsthand about the struggles of inner-city life. After becoming the first person in his family to graduate from college he earned a master’s degree in Urban Education and a subsequent J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law. Since then, Moore has lived in the Philadelphia area, raising his two children and practicing law for almost four decades.

For the past 12 years, Judge Jimmie Moore has served on Philadelphia’s Municipal Court. He founded and directed a community-based diploma program to give underemployed people and ex-offenders a chance to become legal secretaries and paralegals, turning tax-takers into taxpayers. Judge Moore is committed to developing “green-collar,” environmentally friendly, sustainable jobs for the residents of PA-01.

Law Repealing DOMA Introduced

The Respect of Marriage Act of 2009 would fully repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act and provide all Americans free and equal treatment under the law.  As more states legalize same sex marriage DOMA prohibits them from filing federal tax returns or having the over 1,000 rights bequeathed to married couples under federal law.  This creates a system of sexual apartheid with two separate, distinct classes of citizens.

DOMA was passed by a reactionary Congress and signed into law by Bill Clinton.  In fact that hurt Hillary’s presidential campaign as many gay and lesbian activists refused to support her because of DOMA.

Four Pennsylvania Members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors:  Bob Brady, Chaka Fattah, Joe Sestak and Mike Doyle.  Why the others have not is a serious question.  The 14th Amendment guarantees all Americans equal justice under law and DOMA is clearly discriminatory legislation.  Do our other Members of Congress not support equality under the law?