News & Notes August 16, 2012

The silliness of a presidential campaign season is in full swing.  The VP references a term used by Republican leaders and gets slammed for it from…Republican leaders.  Romney screams for an end to negative campaigning while issuing ad after ad which are proven to be false and misleading.  We have two and a half months of this nonsense to go before the election and it’ll only get worse.  My advice?  Turn off your TV.

A new Franklin & Marshall poll has Obama up by 6 points, about half what it was.  With over a million voters disenfranchised and a 620,000 vote margin in 2008 Pennsylvania is in play.  Polls will mean nothing this year because we have no idea of those surveyed can actually vote because of ID.

State Rep. Joe Brennan got busted for alcohol abuse again yesterday.  Police arrested him for beating his wife then driving off drunk.  He’s in the Lehigh/Northampton District once represented by T.J. Rooney, former State Democratic Chair.  Brennan and Sen. Lisa Boscola from the Lehigh Valley both have had problems with alcohol.

The Institute for Policy Studies released a report claiming that 26 large corporations paid their CEO’s more than they paid in taxes.  Conservatives are always claiming we have the highest corporate tax rate around but neglect to tell you how many businesses actually pay that rate.  Corporations share of federal tax revenue is down from 30% to 9% because of all the loopholes and other measures taken to reduce their taxes.  Many of the top 100 corporations pay no federal taxes whatsoever.  I don’t consider that a high tax rate.

New videos:

The reductions in Medicare are offset by closing the donut hole and providing more covered services such as colonoscopies.  The Ryan Budget cuts the same amount but those funds go to tax cuts for the rich.

An ACORN worker fired after James O’Keefe illegally recorded him and manipulated a video to destroy ACORN is suing the video artist.  Juan Carlos Vera actually reported O’Keefe to police for his supposed child prostitution ring but I bet you never heard that part of the story.  Every video James O’Keefe has produced has been riddled with editing lies and he has gotten into repeated legal trouble for his actions.  Let’s hope accountability results in this liar being held responsible for his actions.

Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin is fighting to keep her salary as she fights corruption charges.  Her suspension has the PA Supreme Court deadlocked in a 3-3 partisan divide.  Her sister, former State Sen. Jane Orie is now in prison for using state offices, resources and staffers to run Melvin’s Supreme Court campaigns.  A third sister Janine Orie is also charged with operating those campaigns from then Superior Court Judge Melvin’s office.  Does she deserve to get paid while in court?  Her sister used state and campaign funds to fund her defense so it is likely Melvin will also.  Hasn’t she scammed taxpayers enough?

Sen. Pat Toomey is a strong supporter of Paul “Ayn” Ryan.  Not only do they go way back they once lived together.  Gee, does that make them gay?

According to State Rep. and Auditor General candidate Eugene DePasquale Gov. Corbett’s administration is training state workers on how to get around the Open Records Law.  I wonder what they want to hide from us?

Great Britain is threatening to invade Ecuadoran territory in London to seize WikiLeaks hero Julian Assange.  Embassies and consulates are officially the sovereign territory of those nations and doing so would constitute an act of war.  All this to arrest a man who Obama wants to send to Gitmo for revealing damaging secrets the U.S. government didn’t want out.  Assange is a hero and this morning Ecuador announced it is granting him asylum.

Florida Congressman Cliff Stearns lost a primary yesterday and his 12 terms in Congress are done.  he is infamous for efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.

Rachel Maddow did a piece on our Voter ID election rigging scandal yesterday.  Obama is going to have to focus his efforts here on helping voters get ID’s instead of regular campaign activities.  He’s lost a lot of support since 2008 among Pennsylvania liberals, especially young voters, and must overcome this huge obstacle.

Aichele Cites Discredited O’Keefe Video For Voter ID

Pennsylvania Sec. of State Carol Aichele today cited a debunked James O’Keefe video during a Q&A with me.  She held a press conference following today’s NAACP Voter ID rally on the steps of our Capitol.  When she maintained there haven’t been any voter fraud prosecutions because county District Attorneys are limited by budgetary restraints and must focus on rapes and murders I pointed out that President George W. Bush made prosecuting voter fraud a national priority and still couldn’t find any cases.  AG Alberto Gonzales even fired nine US Attorneys when they couldn’t find any cases to prosecute.

So she lied and I caught her.  It was a national priority under George W. Bush and even that didn’t find cases of voter fraud.  She then cited this James O’Keefe video about this year’s New Hampshire primary and told me to watch it.  I did when the disgraced video scam artist made it and saw every case in it debunked.  When I pointed out that fact her press guy cut me off.

Let’s remember one point:  O’Keefe actually tried to commit voter fraud in New Hampshire when he made this video.  He was arrested in Louisiana for trying to bug the office of a U.S. Senator.  No one in their right mind cites James O’Keefe as a source.

Here’s where his claims were debunked, and here.  Here’s one of his “dead” voters:

Media Matters found him:

I recall one of his alleged voter fraud incidents involved an elderly woman who voted by absentee ballot and subsequently died before election day.  By law her ballot was completely legal.

Yet Carol Aichele cited these as evidence of voter fraud.

The full video of her press conference and the Democratic response afterwards.  The battery on my Bloggie expired during the Senator’s comments, sorry for the sudden demise of the coverage.

 

News & Notes April 19, 2011

I had a funeral to attend this morning so I’m a bit tardy getting to the blog.  I’m glad I’ve been working getting my boats in shape for the season since it appears I might need them for routine navigation.  Perhaps I really need to be building an ark.

There’s an old saying that everyone complains about the weather but no one does anything.  As more and more extreme and violent storms rage across the world and more people are killed isn’t it time we awakened and realized there IS something we can do to reverse global climate change?

Harrisburg shut down for two days over water main breaks.  The Capitol complex was left without water and staffers were sent home to work both yesterday and today.  This may be the best strategy possible to derail the extreme fringe agenda being enacted by Republicans.  Maybe someone simply thought the water mains were attacking them and used the Castle doctrine to destroy them?

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed two controversial bills yesterday, the Birther Bill and one allowing students to carry guns on campus.  I suppose the potential legal liability for taxpayers is finally getting the attention of some of these folks.  Arizona is already in court defending its law requiring everyone to carry “papers.”  

James O’Keefe, the Breitbart “reporter who selectively edits videos to slander and destroy people and organizations, is again, refusing to do interviews on video.  He denied a Media Matters interview at a Tea Party event he attended.  What are you afraid of James, the same fraudulent treatment you give others?

Standard and Poors downgraded American debt yesterday after being responsible for destroying the global economy by fraudulently grading junk mortgage securities as AAA.   One pundit noted this is like the tailor telling the public the emperor has no clothes after selling the imaginary suit to him.

Secret memos are telling the tale about how oil firms such as BP discussed exploiting Iraq’s oil wealth before the invasion.  U.S. and Great Britain denied vehemently they were invading Iraq for its oil and now these documents refute that assertion.  Smart people weren’t fooled however and these revelations simply provide evidence whereof.

Republicans spent the past thirty years wildly spending the country into huge debt.   In 1981 when Ronald Reagan was sworn into office American debt totaled about $2 trillion.  This was after 200+ years.  By 2009 when Barack Obama was inaugurated with a Bush budget projected at $1.3 trillion for a single year the total debt was at $12 trillion.  Most of that was the result of GW Bush’s tax cuts for the rich, two unfunded wars and the global recession caused by deregulation of financial markets.  All the causes of the massive deficit were the fault of Republicans and now these same principles are saying they will refuse to raise the debt ceiling to cover their irresponsible policies.  How do you extort a further tax cut for the rich then refuse to vote to pay for it? The Washington Post has a story today about the consequences of a federal default.

AlterNet has published a gas industry talking points memo for its employees seeking to get homeowners to sign leases.  The document tells them, basically, to hoodwink property owners by not revealing important information.  An example:  “Denial is a river in drilling country: “Some might ask how many wells will be in a square mile. Don’t answer that question. Most landowners will not realize that 10-20 wells can be placed in a square mile.”

The Wall Street Journal highlights high income earners who aren’t paying any taxes.  Since you just finished ponying up your fair share here’s a bit of outrage for you as if you needed one more example.

DEP issued guidelines today asking gas drillers to stop dumping fracking fluid into sewage treatment plants.  These municipal systems aren’t designed or equipped to process toxic chemicals and radiation from water being released into rivers and streams.  The DEP action is not an order and companies aren’t legally required to abide by its recommendations.  Basically, it has no teeth.  Gov. Corbett pledged just yesterday to protect Pennsylvania’s water then today his DEP did this?  Don’t drink the water in Pennsylvania.

Speaker John Boner has hired a private individual at a cost of 500,000 tax dollars to defend DOMA.  What a wonderful use of your tax dollars since the lawyers in a similar case couldn’t muster a defense of Proposition 8 in California.

HuffPo and Breitbart

Andrew Breitbart is now writing for The Huffington Post.  This shocking news that a vanguard of the Left has hired a yellow journalist who specializes in publishing fraudulent videos which destroy people’s lives and ruin progressive organizations serving the poor is a disgrace.  Is this a decision which came from HuffPo’s new owners at AOL?  Whatever and whoever this is bad.  I have stopped reading HuffPo and I will no longer write for a publication which has lowered its standards to the gutter.

News & Notes March 21, 2011

James O’Keefe, beset by lawsuits against him for all of his fraudulent videos destroying people’s lives and careers, doesn’t like being videotaped himself.  What’s he afraid of?

GOP Congressman Dave Camp doesn’t think the federal deficit is big enough or that rich people are rich enough so he’s advocating additional tax cuts for the richest Americans:  25% for the top bracket.  This is the Republican agenda:  tax cuts for the rich and budget cuts for the poor.

The Little Theatre of Mechanicsburg is doing “The Laramie Project” the next two weekends.  It is the story of Matthew Shepard’s brutal murder in Laramie, Wyoming at the hands of homophobes and how the community responded to shield mourners from Fred Phelps and his clan.

A judge has told an Amish community they cannot deal with an alleged Ponzi schemer themselves.  Good thing too, I can say that such torture would be truly cruel.  Dressing someone like that and tormenting them with an endless barrage of Pennsylvania Dutch, feeding them fastnachts and making him clean out barn stalls makes what Obama is doing to Bradley manning seem like a vacation.

The City of Reading was sued in federal court for using excessive force against a prisoner.  I understand this incident also involves the Berks County Sheriffs Department.  The use of excessive force in the county courthouse is becoming a serious issue.  I now have multiple sources revealing information about Eric Weaknecht’s violations of his oath to uphold the law.

Did I miss Congress’ declaration of war against Libya?

While cutting funds for important programs every cruise missile fired against Libya represents the salaries for twenty teachers.

Congressman Chaka Fattah Tweeted this morning that he was conducting a telephone conference call with reporters.  No bloggers though.  I’m good enough to be on White House conference calls all the time but not for members of our Congressional delegation?

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty announced the formation of his presidential exploratory committee.  Unfortunately members of the press fell asleep halfway through his announcement.

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party will hold its next meeting June 3,4 in Somerset County at some posh resort.  You won’t find the info on their new website (pretty bad) though.  The event is being held at a spot where there are no rooms available for press attending.  As usual there probably won’t be any wifi either or a press room.  I always wonder why any of the state press bothers covering the Party since they do everything possible to make it as difficult as possible.  I’ll likely need to find a place somewhere else in Somerset County and commute to the venue.  It’s bad enough I have to cover these costs out of my own pocket, you’d think they’d at least try and help us out with wireless.  I finally gave up a couple years ago and bought my own personal wifi gadget.  The experience certainly doesn’t lend itself to providing positive coverage for the Democratic Party.

Mike Huckabee’s group continues its ads on CNN and elsewhere attacking “ObamaCare.”  How about if we all begin calling their number and leaving our recorded message:  We welcome a government takeover of healthcare and agree the Affordable Care Act isn’t the answer.  Please support expanded Medicare for all.”  Let’s turn his effort to our advantage.

I come from a family of teachers, people who have dedicated their lives to helping young people learn.  My Mom taught special education and tutored learning disables kids through her retirement.  My sisters work tirelessly, well after what ignorant critics think is their quitting time.  They use their own funds to purchase classroom materials because there’s just not enough money to do so by their school districts, because they’re dedicated and because they want their students to learn.  Maybe they get two months of unpaid time off each summer, maybe just two weeks.  They are underpaid for their level of education and they love these young people.  What do teachers make?

Republicans trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act are coming to Harrisburg Wednesday to accept testimony about how horrible it is that Democrats are attempting to provide access to medical care for those in need.  How horrible!  Imagine being one of the nine million Americans who lost your health care since the financial crash (caused by these same Republicans) of 2008 and now these people want you to come to Harrisburg and tell them why trying to provide coverage for more people is evil?  Well you can go to Harrisburg and let them know how you feel:

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is coming Harrisburg on March 23, the anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act, to take testimony about why it should be repealed.

Governor Corbett is scheduled to testify. Some corporate CEOs are scheduled to testify. Some Republican state legislators are scheduled to testify.

You haven’t been invited to testify.

Nor have any of the people of Pennsylvania who will benefit so much from health care reform.

But we intend to be heard.

CITIZEN’S HEARING AND RALLY FOR THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

                            The Capitol         Harrisburg PA                  

March 23, 2011          10:30 am

From Wisconsin to Washington, DC, right wing extremists are trying to roll back the programs, policies, and protections that support working people and the middle class in America. The attack on the Affordable Care Act is just one more example.

On March 23, the right wing will bring their attack on working people and the middle class to Pennsylvania.

We need you to join us in fighting back.

Fairless Hills, Bucks County

920 Trenton Road

United Steelworkers Hal

Bus leaves at 6:30 am

Philadelphia

Arrive by 7:15 am

Bus leaves at 7:30 am from 17th and JFK Boulevard

Pittsburgh

Arrive at 5:00 am for a press conference with Congressman Mike Doyle

Bus leaves at 5:30 am

Pittston (between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton)

UFCW Local 1776

2007 Highway 315

Pittston, PA 18640

Arrive at 6:15 am

Bus leaves at 6:30 am

East Stroudsburg

CVS Parking Lot

250 South Courtland Street

Bus leaves at 7:45 am

Allentown

Lehigh Valley Central Labor Council

3360 Airport Road

Allentown, PA

Bus Leave at 8:30 am

 

Fraud Against ACORN Revealed

Remember those outrageous videos produced last year smearing ACORN?  Andrew Breitbart paid James O’Keefe for them and published them on his websites and Fox News played them endlessly.  ACORN was defunded by reactionary idiots in Washington who revealed their naivete and ignorance until a federal judge declared their action unconstitutional.  It was all quite an ugly spectacle.  Unfortunately the escapade destroyed a good organization.  The right wing has been trying to wreck ACORN because it registers voters, most of who wind up voting Democratic because they are minorities, and helping give voice to those who are without a voice in our system.  This is a threat to the right wing.

James O’Keefe, recently arrested trying to do something to the phones in a federal office, made the highly edited and misleading (fraudulent?) videos and sold them to Breitbart.  The most infamous one had him dressed as a pimp and getting advice from an ACORN employee in Baltimore about how to set up a child prostitution ring.  It was all a fraud.  O’Keefe, in reality, entered the ACORN office in normal attire and represented that his companion (Hannah Giles) was a prostitute being threatened by her pimp and needed help.  In the edited version showed on Fox News and elsewhere he was dressed as a pimp and claimed they needed advice on setting up a child prostitution ring.

It was all a fraud.  I said at the time the video appeared edited and I wanted to see the unedited video.  Andrew Breitbart has never produced those.  Mike Stark of Stark Reports and The Brad Blog caught up with Breitbart at CPAC and asked him about his fraud.  It’s a very interesting video:

When will Fox News apologize for airing fraudulent videos and making false claims about ACORN?  Don’t hold your breath because they got what they wanted:  the destruction of ACORN’s reputation.  Maybe it is Fox’s reputation which needs to be destroyed.

Herr Slams Pitts for Honoring Alleged Wiretapper

Congressional candidate Lois Herr went after Joe “He’s the” Pitts today for his affection towards James O’Keefe.  This is the “journalist” claiming “the truth will set me free” after being arrested trying to wiretap the phones of Sen. Landrieu.  O’Keefe previously made undercover videos of various ACORN offices including one in Philadelphia where they threw him out.  Funny how that one never made Fox News.

I’m disappointed Mr. O’Keefe picked on the Senator’s office in New Orleans instead of ACORN headquarters.  Why go to the Crescent City and ignore his favorite people?  I can only imagine how the ACORN folks might have dealt with this man who pretended to be a pimp at their Baltimore office.  He may have discovered what happens to bad pimps…

Last November Congressman Pitts (PA-16), a long standing member of the subversive group The Family, co-sponsored a resolution honoring James O’Keefe.  Oops, in hindsight maybe that wasn’t a good idea.

Lois’ letter today to Mr. Pitts:

The Honorable Joseph Pitts

United States Congress

420 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Pitts:

Like almost all Americans, I was disturbed and appalled by the news yesterday that James O’Keefe and three others had been arrested by the FBI for attempting to wiretap Senator Mary Landrieu’s office in New Orleans.  Sen. Landrieu is a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

As you certainly know, O’Keefe was the mastermind behind salacious “hidden-camera” tapes made at affiliates of a community organization last year.  In the tapes, he posed as a pimp, accompanied by a woman posing as a prostitute, in attempts to entrap employees of ACORN.  It has since been revealed that Mr. O’Keefe’s released tapes of these encounters were heavily doctored, and that his activities have been underwritten by a shadowy group of ultra-conservative funders.

According to the FBI, O’Keefe and his confederates “told a member of Senator Landrieu’s staff that they were telephone repairmen, and they requested access to the main telephone at the reception desk.”  After being directed to the General Services Administration’s office in the same building, they attempted to gain access to the building’s phone closet.  The felony charges against O’Keefe carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

I am certain you are aware of Mr. O’Keefe, because two months ago, you co-sponsored a House resolution (H.Res 809, http://thomas.gov/cgi-bin/quer… honoring Mr. O’Keefe for displaying “exemplary actions” and stating that he was “owed a debt of gratitude by the people of the United States.”

At this point, it is important to the people of Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District that you clarify your position on Mr. O’Keefe and his activities by answering the following questions:

Do you agree with the sponsor of House Resolution 809, Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), who yesterday said yesterday that O’Keefe is still worthy of praise, despite the serious charges against him?

Do you believe H.Res 809 should be withdrawn?  Do you regret or repudiate your co-sponsorship of it?

Will you condemn those such as Andrew Breitbart, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, who raised money to further O’Keefe’s activities?

Do you agree that if these charges are borne out against Mr. O’Keefe and his confederates, they constitute no less a potential breach of national security than if the perpetrators were agents of a foreign power or terrorist group?

Do you agree that if these charges are borne out against Mr. O’Keefe and his confederates, they constitute no less an assault on democratic institutions than the Watergate activities of Richard Nixon’s Administration in the 1970s?

Rep. Pitts, I believe you are an honorable man and a patriot who loves his country.  Please join me in condemning in the strongest possible terms any attempt to subvert any part of our government.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Lois Herr, PA-16

I’m betting Lois doesn’t get a response.

Fox’s Undercover Videographer Caught Tapping Phones

Four men were caught trying to tap the telephones in Sen. Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans office.  One is James O’Keefe, famous for making the illegal undercover video of ACORN last year for Fox News.  It is a federal crime to attempt to tap a Senator’s telephones in an official Senate office. It is widely believed that O’Keefe was hired by Fox to make the undercover videos for the network which ran them ad nauseum and just about destroyed an organization doing amazingly good things for the poor.  Republicans don’t like ACORN because it is highly effective and registers thousands of African American voters.

If O’Keefe is tied to Fox News in this case it may well be the demise of the Republican propaganda channel.  This could be as bad as Watergate, a scandal which began similarly when a group of hapless “burglars” tried tapping the phones of the DNC.