News & Notes December 17, 2011

Lowes is in trouble after caving to a fringe religious group and pulling its ads from “All American Muslim.”  Here’s the ad they pulled:

The Philadelphia Inquirer published this editorial about SB 732 and it’s attack on women’s reproductive rights.

In the “this is getting old” category yet another GOP elected official who was all for “family values” turns out to be gay.

Any gay man will tell you the most virulent anti-gay people tend to be self loathing closet cases.  Is Rick Perry another one?  This new ebook says yes.

While Congress is spending $662 billion for war this year it’s cutting heating assistance for the poor.  These are immoral decisions.

Tea Party Patriot Mark Meckler, arrested in New York for trying to take a Glock pistol on a flight to LA, fled from reporters like a deer a searchlight.

Congress caved to the hostage takers once again passing a two month extension of payroll tax cuts in exchange for the Keystone XL pipeline.  Another extremely bad decision for only a 2 month extension?  I hope they aren’t wondering why the public gives them only a 13% approval rating.

State Rep. Josh Shapiro was elected as Montgomery County Commissioner and is leaving the State House.  We’ll miss him greatly there but he was frustrated at the toxic atmosphere there and the inability to achieve real reform.  Here is his farewell address to that body:

With Christmas just a week away why not give the gift of life and love to a shelter pet?

In the age of the internet and the world’s information at your fingertips it’s inexcusable not to research things.  Andrew Breitbart, he of the doctored video attacks on progressive institutions, used an old Nazi image this week.  It isn’t like he didn’t know where it came from since he doctored it too.

Just in case you thought I was kidding about the return of debtor’s prisons the other day here’s more about the issue.

I’ve held off writing about the downed super secret drone captured by Iran until more information was available.  One of two scenarios seemed possible:  we violated Iranian sovereignty with a spy mission and got caught or Iran hacked into the software and took the drone.  Now it seems the second scenario is what happened.  It’s very bad either way.

Tom Corbett’s involvement in the Penn State scandal isn’t going away.  Interestingly he and former President Graham Spanier battled earlier this year over the Governor’s massive budget cuts to higher education.   Corbett was gleeful when Spanier went down but he may be following closely behind.  The bad press for Corbett is growing.  Buzz Bissinger, a common sports pundit appearing frequently on TV since the Sandusky scandal erupted, has this new analysis.

Rick Perry is copying the corrupt Philly pols and their DROP pension giveaway.  He’s now collecting his pension ($90,000/year) while still serving as Governor.  It’s called double dipping at the public trough.  So much for his fiscal credentials.

The NYPD storm troopers rioting against peaceful OWS protesters were really stupid too.  One posted his feelings on facebook.

Here’s a discussion by Chris Hedges and Michael Moore for your perusal:

News & Notes June 1, 2011

U.S. military intervention in Libya has been illegal now for more than a week because the 60 day War Powers Act authorization expired.  President Obama didn’t even ask Congress for express permission to continue operations in that theater until after the 60 days.  

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is rumored to be considering joing the GOP presidential field because he thinks all the current crop is saddled with serious baggage.  Hmmm, like embracing secessionism?

Congresswoman Hochul was sworn in today to represent New York’s 26th District.

In Wisconsin recall elections will be held against six Tea Party State Senators.  They illegally voted to remove collective bargaining rights from state workers.

In various LGBT news President Obama recognized June as Gay Pride month and the San Francisco Giants released a “It Gets Better” video:

Illinois became the eleventh state to authorize civil unions.

New York’s Attorney General is suing the federal government over shale drilling:

The federal government should conduct a full environmental review that weighs potential damage to the welfare of people in the Delaware River watershed and the drinking water quality for millions of New Yorkers before allowing natural gas drilling in the region, the state’s attorney general said in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

A domestic terrorist was arrested in Wisconsin for trying to assassinate a Planned parenthood doctor in Madison.

A private citizen running around in a bus has been dangling the media like puppets and they insist on playing along.  I won’t fall for her tricks and give her any publicity.  The moronic former Governor known for her sinister vengeful streak visited Philadelphia and Gettysburg.  She isn’t the first secessionist to leave that town a loser.

NJ Gov. Chris Christie used a $12 million state helicopter to fly to Bergen County (my birthplace) so he could watch five innings of his son’s baseball game.  A limo drove him the 100 yards from the copter to the field.  Is it just me or do others think the exercise might have done him good?

The Obama Administration is getting tough on health insurance executives whose decisions on Medicare and Medicaid patients flouts the law.  They’re going after them personally not just the companies.  

Now, on top of fines paid by a company, senior executives can face criminal charges even if they weren’t involved in the scheme but could have stopped it had they known. Furthermore, they can also be banned from doing business with government health programs, a career-ending consequence.

Rep. Anthony Weiner won’t answer queries about a lewd picture Tweeted to a college student.  He claims someone hacked his account as a prank.  Andrew Breitbart is attempting to slander him by publishing the underwear picture though it is obvious it was a hack job.  The Congressman could end all of the media hype simply by answering the simple questions.  Not doing so makes him appear guilty.

Isn’t it hypocrisy when Tea Party people keep clinging to the constitution then turning around and trashing it?  Sen. Rand Paul complained bitterly, correctly, about the civil liberty infringements authorized by the USA PATRIOT Act then turned around and claimed Americans shouldn’t have their First Amendment right to free assembly and free speech:

PAUL: I’m not for profiling people on the color of their skin, or on their religion, but I would take into account where they’ve been traveling and perhaps, you might have to indirectly take into account whether or not they’ve been going to radical political speeches by religious leaders. It wouldn’t be that they are Islamic. But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that’s really an offense that we should be going after – they should be deported or put in prison.

What is it tea baggers, do you support the entire constitution or merely parts?

The Center For American Progress has an excellent list of Pentagon items ripe for elimination.  If we’re going to slash spending everyone has to bear the brunt:

While we must always adequately fund the military and honor our servicemen and women, Congress can save up to $1.4 trillion over the next 12 years by eliminating overbudget and unnecessary defense programs, revamping military health care, and consolidating and capping spending across the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and State. None of these actions will compromise national security.

In a new CNN poll 58% of Americans don’t agree with the Ryan Plan to dismantle Medicare.

“Half of those we questioned say that the country would be worse off under the GOP Medicare proposals and 56 percent think that GOP plan would be bad for the elderly,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Opposition is highest among senior citizens, at 74 percent, suggesting that seniors are most worried about changes to Medicare even if those changes are presented as ones that would not affect existing Medicare recipients.”

News & Notes May 27, 2011

Memorial Day weekend is here so enjoy the nice weather (finally!) and remember to thank a veteran.

Hopefully everyone avoided the strong storm which hit central PA yesterday.  A lot of trees came down from Carlisle to Harrisburg.  Fortunately we don’t get as severe weather as some other places though tropical storms and those old nor’easters cause a lot of damage.  Following the ravages of recent weeks and swaths of devastated towns the Republicans cut disaster preparedness in the federal budget by $1.5 billion.  So the next time a tornado is headed your way and your notification decreases remember whom to blame.

Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota have filed suit against a new law in SD which severely limits women’s reproductive rights.  One thing it requires is that women consult a “crisis pregnancy center” before having an abortion.  These are religious organizations whose mission is to convince women not to exercise their health care choices and brainwash them with lies.  Why would we use tax dollars to mandate religious indoctrination?  (I’m a Board member of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, Federation and PAC).

In Kansas a state lawmaker compared getting raped with having a flat tire.  thus far over 1,000 anti-abortion bills have been introduced nationally by Republicans after campaigning on job creation.  The main thing getting raped is women’s rights.

This is delicious:  Andrew Breitbart and Glenn Beck are attacking each other and laying blame for their predicament after attempting to destroy the public service career of Dept. of Agriculture manager Shirley Sherrod last year.  She is now suing Breitbart.  His pro bono attorney is providing terrible representation for Breitbart.  He’s getting what he’s paying for…  I’m loving this.

Easton City Council passed same sex partner benefits in a unanimous vote.  This follows a recent move by Bethlehem to do the same.  Absent any state wide bill being able to be passed various municipalities are taking action themselves.

With $500 million additional revenues already in state coffers the GOP House refused to replace any budget cuts this week.  Projections are that an additional $1 billion should be available by the end of this next fiscal year in June 2012.  That $1.5 billion could replace almost all of the education funding cuts.  This tells us it isn’t about the money.  Republicans want to eviscerate all public education in Pennsylvania. There is no other explanation for their actions.

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 February 15, 2011

Remember Shirley Sherrod?  She was the Department of Agriculture official whom Andrew Breitbart slandered via a heavily edited video last year.  She lost her job before the entire video aired showing the context of her remarks.  She served Breitbart with a lawsuit last weekend at CPAC.  This is how we fight back against smear campaigns and those without ethics like Breitbart.  What he did was a crime and he cannot hide behind bogus First Amendment claims.  Free speech does have its limits, especially when one sets out to destroy a person or organization through fraud and slander.

Jane Orie’s trial resumed in Pittsburgh yesterday amidst numerous aides and former staffers testifying about their sometimes extensive political work done on taxpayer time.  Are there any Orie staffers who aren’t testifying in this case?  It sounds very bad for the corrupt State Senator.

Meanwhile in Wilkes-Barre the Kids for Cash trial of former Judge Mark Ciavarella also is resuming.  Yesterday a woman testified about seeing a prominent lawmaker accept two envelopes filled with cash from one of the men involved in the case.  While not mentioning any names we do know former Sen. Musto is under indictment in the case.

Harrisburg residents took to the street yesterday calling for Mayor Linda Thompson’s resignation.  The combative Chief Exec has angered the populace with anti-semitic and anti-gay remarks.  Chuck Ardo, Gov. Rendell’s spokesperson for most of eight years didn’t last more than a few months on her staff.  She can’t seem to keep any staff people as Harrisburg nears bankruptcy.

Uprisings in Algeria, Bahrain and Iran remind us how easy it can be to topple governments who cater only to the rich and powerful.  When will Americans see the light?  This government serves only the ultra rich on Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce.  The income divide in the U.S. is extreme and the new proposed budgets continue to cut programs and services for the poor and working people in favor of the rich and powerful.  We should take a cue from our friends in the Middle East, keep it peaceful and non violent but get our message across.

CBS News correspondent Lara Logan was sexually assaulted while covering the events in Egypt.  We wish her well and hope the perpetrator/s are caught and tried.

Gov. Corbett came out of hiding and spoke today about the clinical atrocities of Dr. Kermit Gosnell.  Now we know why he hasn’t been seeing the press:  he was waiting on a brand new podium emblazoned with his name.  This man’s ego will be his downfall.  He did say abortion clinics will undergo surprise inspections in the future and that seven state employees were either fired or resigned over the Gosnell affair.

Here’s yet another example of how extreme these new Republicans are:  in South Dakota a bill has been introduced making it legal to murder abortion doctors.  Will they put limits on the number of kills or designate a certain time of year for the “season?”  Why does anyone ever vote Republican?  Will anyone next year after all this?

Congressional Republicans have finally adopted a jobs bill.  Their proposed $100 billion in budget cuts would result in mass layoffs of federal workers.  Weren’t they elected to create jobs?

Breitbart Wannabes Target Planned Parenthood

Andrew Breitbart and his cohorts in crime (fraud is a criminal offense) went after ACORN and pretty much destroyed that dedicated non profit using fraudulent videos which Fox News played endlessly.  Now we know they were fabricated frauds and we know his operatives tried infiltrating federal offices to do more of the same.  Now they have fabricated videos purporting to claim that Planned Parenthood facilities treated victims of an “underage sex trafficking ring.”  No such thing happened.  These people went to 12 different Planned Parenthood facilities trying to entrap our employees into doing something illegal for the purpose of pulling another ACORN scam.  Planned Parenthood, as I told you last week, reported them to local and federal authorities.

This is nothing but a scam to shut down Planned Parenthood.  The videos are a fraud and the perpetrators must be arrested and prosecuted.

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.