Joe Sestak Endorses Matt Cartwright

I can boil this race down to one sentence:  Matt Cartwright is a good man and Tim Holden isn’t.

We saw the real Tim Holden last week when he made a huge mistake.  In an ad created by Joe Trippi Associates Holden accused Cartwright of buying a trial verdict through a campaign contribution to a Judge.  It showed how low he was willing to go to smear an opponent and also showed his laziness in ascertaining facts.  None of this is new for Holden.

When the media uncovered the facts here’s what they found:  Cartwright, a frequent and generous contributor to Democrats for many years, gave a campaign contribution to a Judge, in later years convicted of corruption, four years before a jury decided a case for one of his clients.  The woman had been misdiagnosed with cancer, something a simple urine test would have revealed, and underwent seven months of chemotherapy.  A jury awarded her $3 million.

The case underscored Cartwright’s work for the people, those being hurt by other’s mistakes.  Holden has supported tort reform which would have prevented this victim from seeking justice.  Then he tried using guilt by association to smear Cartwright.  Had he done just a bit of research he would have discovered it was a jury verdict which had nothing to do with the judge presiding over the case.  He would have discovered the contribution was four years before the trial.

Tim Holden has a sorry record of mis-stating facts.  He continues to insist, for example, that he voted against ObamaCare because it cut Medicare.  It did not.  He lives in his own fantasy world where voting with George W. Bush 60% of the time means you’re a Democrat.    I know a woman (That Woman! a nickname she got for standing up against Holden) who, as a former constituent, got a phone call from the Congressman over her stand against his vote for the Iraq War.  He screamed at her on the call calling her “That Woman!

This controversy told us all we need to know about the two men running for the 17th Congressional seat.  Matt Cartwright is a good man and Tim Holden isn’t.

I got a glimpse of who Cartwright is yesterday at his rally in Easton.  A marching band drum section, for some strange reason, took up playing their instruments in the middle of his speech.  (They were there for a rally following his)  Matt didn’t go ballistic, he simply stood there quietly while they were silenced by people in his crowd then made a joke about it.  Watch it on the video.

Desperate Holden Pulls Deceptive Ad

Congressman Tim Holden, desperate to hold onto his seat after twenty years of screwing his fellow Democrats, was forced to pull a deceptive ad he was running.  In the commercial he accused his opponent, attorney Matt Cartwright, of buying a verdict.  One problem:  the campaign contribution tot he Judge in the personal injury case was four years prior to the case.  Either Cartwright was psychic or he’d been using a Ouja Board.

The legal case involved a client of Munley, Munley and Cartwright who was forced to undergo eight months of chemotherapy and a hysterectomy for cancer a simple urine test would have established she didn’t have.  The malpractice case made national news and is proof of the fallacy of “tort reform” which Holden supports.  Tort reform means preventing people from suing for nefarious decisions made by doctors, some of which ruin people’s lives or, worse, end them.

Tim Holden didn’t allow facts to get in the way of what he thought was a good story however and his team created and ran the deceptive ad.  To what lengths won’t this desperate man go to hold onto his seat in Congress?  This is simply more evidence that it is time for Tim Holden to go.

CD 17 Endorsement

Tim Holden was my Congressman for many years.  I know this man and his record very well, so well I never voted for him as a Democrat, even when I was a Committee person.  A Blue Dog Democrat who voted more often with George W. Bush than not, he disgraced the ground upon which he trod as a Democrat.  Rumor in Berks County has long been that he used to be a Republican but switched when he got Democratic Berks in his District.  I don’t know if it is true but he has long voted that way.

On the other hand Matt Cartwright is a real progressive.  I wish he supported women better but then he is a Catholic.  The important point is that he doesn’t feel he should legislate his moral beliefs on the issue which actually makes him a supporter of individual choice.

On every issue Matt is right there.  He has gone after Holden hard on his voting record, exposing his true nature to the new constituents of this drastically redrawn District.

One ethical question hovering over Holden may be his use of Congressional funds to hold town halls in the areas he won’t be officially representing until January.  I have requested information about this from his Washington office but have not received a response.  If Holden is spending taxpayer money outside his current District it is for purely political reasons and unethical if not illegal.

I heartily endorse Matt Cartwright for Congress.

Cartwright Slams Holden For Koch Money

The PA-17 race heated up yesterday when Matt Cartwright leveled an attack on Tim Holden for accepting campaign contributions from the infamous Koch Brothers.  The two billionaires finance much of the right wing infrastructure (Cato Institute, ALEC, Heritage Foundation, etc) along with campaigns against science and for extreme candidates.  You can learn about them in the new Robert Greenwald film Koch Brothers Exposed.

There are no bigger skeletons to have on your contributor list, if you’re a Democrat, than Charles and David Koch.  People avoid buying products made by their companies, among them Georgia-Pacific (paper products like toilet paper and paper plates) in order to avoid doing business with these folks.  The Cartwright disclosure is toxic for Holden, I don’t understand why he’d accept their money or how he explains this to fellow Democrats.

Of course therein lies the problem:  Tim Holden isn’t really a Democrat.  He’s an elephant in a donkey suit pretending to be a Democrat.  I was told by someone in Schuylkill County that when he was the County Sheriff he was a registered Republican but switched to run for Congress because Berks County (Democratic) was in the District.  He’s always voted like a Republican so I don’t doubt this report though I’ve seen verification of it.  No matter, I judge someone’s party affiliation by their actions, not their words.  Tim Holden can claim all he wants that he’s a Democrat but his voting record in Washington says he’s a Republican.  Cartwright went after him in this press release:

Holden Takes Money from the Worst of the Worst

He Simply Must Send the Money Back

For Immediate Release: April 11, 2012

MOOSIC, PA – As if we needed more proof.  As if his voting record didn’t say it all.  As if Tim Holden didn’t spend his entire 2010 campaign touting his conservative credentials, he made it crystal clear in 2000 ways written on a small piece of paper.  Yes, Tim Holden actually took money from the Koch Brothers.

Five minutes on Google, and any American who doesn’t want our environment destroyed, all labor laws eliminated, no limits on Wall Street traders, our judicial system in chains, and the federal government out of business so the age of robber barons can return would tell Tim Holden, “Give that money back.”

“Tim Holden has said he will begin voting more like a Democrat,” Matt Cartwright recounts from statements Mr. Holden has made since beginning his 2012 campaign.  “Well, this is his first chance to prove it.  Give the money back.  It’s that simple.  These guys want nothing less than to destroy the Democratic Party, so they can help turn the USA into their own China with no regulations, no labor laws and no legal system.  Give the money back.  And then stand before the people you seek to represent and debate the issues.”

Last week, a documentary on the Koch brothers was released a few hours after a Wisconsin newspaper exposed an FBI investigation involving the two billionaires.  The video can be seen here:  http://www.kochbrothersexposed…  Some facts:

·        Koch Industries began in the Soviet Union with engineering contracts under Joseph Stalin, and today they are worth more than $50 billion, a fortune exceeded only in America by Bill Gates.

·        Their business is among the top ten polluters in the United States.  One product they produce that has received little attention is formaldehyde.  They produced 2.2 billion pounds last year while working to keep it from being classified as a carcinogen.  (Sounds like the Halliburton loophole.  No need to wonder where they came down on that.  The same as Tim Holden.)

·        They have pledged $60 million to defeat Obama, after they began the American Energy Alliance, which is already spending millions on the same cause and after spending tens of millions trying to defeat health care reform.  (Can anyone recall which Democrat from Pennsylvania opposed this core Democratic initiative?)

Matt Cartwright is a Democrat, running for Congress in the 17th Congressional District, which now includes parts of Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe and Northampton Counties, as well as all of Schuylkill County. Cartwright is running for Congress to bring jobs to Northeast Pennsylvania, and make sure that corporations and wealthy Americans pay their fair share of taxes.

Cartwright Leading Holden

An internal poll conducted by the Cartwright campaign has him leading Congressman Tim Holden 42-36%.  For a twenty year incumbent to be snaring only 36% of the vote in his own Party’s primary illustrates Holden’s Blue Dog credentials after voting in lockstep with George W. Bush.  Holden’s support for the Iraq War, the PATRIOT Act, FISA wiretapping, the Bush/Cheney Energy Task Force with its Halliburton Loophole and against homeowners, the Affordable Care Act and other family/worker friendly legislation has him targeted in this race.

The Cartwright campaign is blaming these poll numbers for the attack ads the Congressman has launched but this is really classic Tim Holden:  dirty, nefarious, gutter style politics.  This man is just mean as we saw two years ago when he openly threatened people’s jobs because they supported his opponent.  He’s ruthless and cutthroat and the new people in the redrawn District are getting to know the real Tim Holden.  These ads are simply his style.  This is someone who once called a constituent and began screaming at her over the wars.

The fact he is dodging debates is also nothing new.  He’ll say he’s busy in Washington even though Congress is on a two week Easter break.  He wouldn’t debate Sheila Dow-Ford either last time around and he’ll also avoid the lawyer from Scranton.  Why?  Tim Holden cannot defend his conservative, Republican voting record in a Democratic primary.  In the past his conservative District reflected his centrist positions but his new PA-17 doesn’t.  Matt Cartwright reflects a refreshing new sensibility of supporting working people and progressive values.  That’s why he’s leading.

Holden Ducks Debate…Again

For the second consecutive election campaign Tim Holden has a challenge from his left and, for the second consecutive time, he’s ducking debates.  In 2010 Sheila Dow Ford was forced to debate an empty chair:

Congressman Holden is, again, using a “busy schedule” as an excuse not to debate.  Now Congress is on a two week Easter recess and he has plenty of time.  His campaign promised to contact his opponent Matt Cartwright’s campaign to set them but but has failed to do so.  Now Cartwright is calling him out.


Matt Cartwright: “I’m From the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party”

Matt Cartwright borrowed that famous phrase from Paul Wellstone and Howard Dean to differentiate himself from incumbent Blue Dog Dem Tim Holden.  Indeed, the PA-17 Congressman’s voting record has been anything but Democratic over the years and he faces a tough challenge from the Scranton, Wilkes-Barre attorney.  The newly drawn 17th Congressional District, which Tim Holden like enough to pressure Democratic State House members to cross the aisle to support, may now be his nightmare.  Encompassing heavily Democratic areas like Luzerne, Lackawanna and Northhampton Counties he figured this was his ticket to several more (he’s had 19 so far) years in Washington.

Unfortunately for Holden Matt Cartwright is the hometown guy there and he’s very well known, very well supported and has 60% of the Democratic vote in the new PA-17 in his backyard.  PoliticsPA says he’s raised $600,000 in his brief campaign and he told me he’ll have enough money to get his message to the voters.  One of Holden’s weaknesses has been his inability to raise large amounts of campaign cash and that tends to draw challengers.  The fact his voting record is so bad I understand why many traditional Democratic organizations shy away from supporting him.  The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO said they’d never endorse him again after he voted against the Affordable care Act.

He has also voted anti-choice by supporting bans on abortions, family planning, gay adoption and for constitutional amendments against marriage equality.  He voted for the AUMF and funding for the wars while also voting for the USA PATRIOT Act, FISA surveillance, immunity for telecoms conducting warrantless wiretaps,and intelligence gathering without civil oversight.  A few more of his horrendous votes:

Bush/Cheney Energy Task Force

Star Wars

School prayer

Against funding for embryonic stem cell research

Against modifying bankruptcy laws protecting homeowners from mortgage foreclosures

For drilling on the continental shelf

Against regulating greenhouse gases

Against increased CAFE standards for vehicles (fuel economy)

Against endangered species

Against third world debt reduction

Supports the WTO

Against representation for DC

For tort reform

Supports restrictions on class action lawsuits

Supports limiting lawsuits against health plans and insurers

Against Medicare Part D (prescription plan)

Against section 8 housing

Supports the border fence

Against withdrawal from both Iraq and Afghanistan

It’s a sorry record and not one which will stand up to a serious challenge.  Cartwright intends to make that challenge.  We sat down this morning for a conversation:

Sheila Dow-Ford’s Last Pitch to PA-17 Voters

Its the day before the election and candidates are scrambling to get poll workers packets to them, signs organized to put at each precinct and a few final words to the voters.  I asked Sheila Dow Ford what message she wanted to convey to Democrats voting tomorrow in PA-17.  Tim Holden has run a totally despicable campaign and not all the stories about threats and intimidation have been told because people have been fired, jobs threatened, private dicks hired to intimidate others and a laundry list of thuggish behavior coming from Congressman Holden which disgraces the entire process.  Still Dow-Ford remains positive, focuses on the issues and makes one believe there’s still hope.

Sheila Dow Ford on the Issues

Congressional candidate Sheila Dow Ford came to Kutztown Wednesday evening willing to discuss the issues presented by people of the 17th Congressional District and did so even though Congressman Tim Holden was too cowardly to face an audience of constituents hostile to his votes, his conduct and his dismissal of our concerns.  Tim Holden has been AWOL from Democrats in Berks County so long now there have been resolutions introduced at the Party level condemning him.  When he does send a surrogate to these meetings all they say in his defense are things he has done for Schuylkill County.  Berks County Dems are concerned with what Holden has, or hasn’t, done for them.  As a result they have embraced his challenger Dow Ford.

The Kutztown University College Democrats and the Kutztown Area Democratic Club, organizers who spent time and effort planning this event should have put a live chicken in a cage in Holden’s place at the table.  A chicken would truly represent the Congressman’s cowardly behavior.  Instead Dow Ford took question after question with no let up since there was no opponent to provide her a bit of breathing space, thought and water between queries.  The audience asked serious questions about serious issues and she stood and answered every one of them.  Her closing remarks were exceptional and I’m going to lead off with that.  The remainder of the video clips are under the fold.

Sheila Dow-Ford: “The Game is Afoot”

Tim Holden has challenged Sheila Dow-Ford’s right to be on the May ballot through Yesenia Rosado who used to attend our Berks County Howard Dean meetings.  Yesenia used to be a progressive so this is a mystery to me.  Why would she support Tim Holden who thinks torturing human beings is good but providing them medical care is bad?

Tim Holden is playing very hardball politics in this struggle to keep his seat.  I am hearing from people, especially in Schuylkill County, being intimidated by Holden through his people and supporters for supporting Sheila.  I understand Tim is afraid of running on his sorry record but that’s how our system works.  He ought to be cognizant that everything he does in this primary will get back to me an dbe reported here.  If he isn’t quite sure what that means we’re now calling it “getting Critzed.”

One of Holden’s challenges to Dow-Ford are the petitions circulated by her husband Les Ford.  Les went door to door in Harrisburg amassing several hundred signatures.  Tim Holden doesn’t seem to think that’s plausible.  In 2006 I personally obtained 358 signatures for a candidate in my rural area.  I can only imagine how many Les can obtain in an urban area.  Memo to Tim:  your conduct is really motivating people to work against you.  Les compared this outrage to Mississippi style racial politics.  Is Holden’s conduct motivated by race?  His anti-immigrant rhetoric may be a strong clue that it is so.

I contacted Congressman Holden’s office a week ago and said I was working on some stories and had some questions for him.  He has not responded.  My question to Yesenia is this:  why are supporting this man?