Guv Race Update

The incumbent Governor seems poised to win a second term in spite of her repeated mis-steps, scandals and Tea Party backing.  Her?  Yes, since Pennsylvania’s race has been over for some time and since I’ve been in New Mexico for the last month we’re discussing The land of Enchantment and Susana Martinez.  

Spoken about in GOP circles as a possible 2016 VP candidate it’s important for us to get to know who she is and why she’s cruising to re-election.  Her Administration is under federal investigation for a Racino scandal which should derail any chance of federal office but as always in politics, timing is everything.

The First Husband of New Mexico is creating enough scandal for locals to (almost) forget the last man who resided in the Governor’s Mansion and kept getting in trouble (he has a serious zipper problem).  Often traveling out of state Mr. Martinez keeps a large contingent of escorts along-State Police who stay with him in high end hotels at taxpayer expense.  All this in one of the poorest states in America.  From CREW:

the FBI appears to be examining whether the state improperly awarded a 25-year lease to the Downs at Albuquerque racino, a major donor to Gov. Martinez’s campaign and PAC, to continue operating the state fair despite past performance problems. Leaked emails revealed communications between the governor’s staff and lawyers for the Downs during the selection process.

She has also used private emails to conduct official business, an often used ploy to keep secret communications officials don’t want subject to public disclosure.  The only reason to do so is to hide corruption.  She also cut education and tried to make public the names and addresses of all of New Mexico’s public school teachers.

Susana then had the gall to complain about a former staffer “stealing” her emails.  There is a serious pay to play aspect to this state’s governance under her leadership so I understand why she’s upset about this stuff getting out.

So why is she cruising to re-election?  Democrats have been unable to mount an effective challenge, that’s why.  Gary King is the unimpressive candidate running as her opposition.  After a month in Santa Fe I can’t say I’ve seen him do anything except put up a couple billboards on I-25.  Martinez is all over television lying about their records.  King was able to get an article in The New Mexican telling voters she’s lying but how does that counter a commercial being run ad nauseum statewide?

Susana Martinez has enough baggage to mount a world vacation tour but New Mexico Democrats are either unable or unwilling to bury her with all of it.  Not that statewide TV is terribly expensive here.  The Albuquerque stations essentially broadcast statewide and their rates are nowhere near what Philadelphia’s are.  Susana will cruise in November because the Democratic Party here couldn’t recruit a powerful candidate or raise the money to get their message to voters.

News & Notes June 19, 2012

I mentioned a few days ago that New Mexico Governor (I’m a frequent visitor to Santa Fe) Susana Martinez was in hot water over state employees circumventing official email accounts on state business.  This was significant because private, personal email accounts are not accessed for record keeping and do not have to be archived.  If corruption is going on, for example, one can conceal it by using non-governmental email accounts.  She has now ordered that all state business be conducted by using official state email accounts.  She certainly got a black eye over this scandal as she is being mentioned by some as VP material.

Legislation continues to sit dormant in Harrisburg which would extend the rights of juvenile sex abuse victims.  It continues to be buried in the House Judiciary Committee where Rep. Thomas Caltagirone let it die before.  He represents the Catholic Archdiocese in Harrisburg and is more concerned with protecting pedophile priests than kids.

As Congressman Lou Barletta condemned the Obama immigration policy a federal appeals court upheld the hate crime convictions in the infamous beating murder of a Mexican in Shenandoah.  Barletta’s hate speech against immigrants while Mayor of nearby Hazleton was seen as motivating such attacks.  Three high school football players beat Luis Ramiriz to death for the crime of being a Mexican.

The Pennsylvania health department has given probationary certificates to 14 women’s health clinics performing abortions.  Senate Bill 732 was set to go into effect today requiring onerous and unnecessary regulations.  These include full time registered nurses, 400 square foot operating rooms, elevators capable of handling hospital gurneys, parking for ambulances and other nonsensical requirements which are not needed for performing abortions.  Since general anesthesia is not used for these procedures requiring women’s clinics to adhere to the same regulations as outpatient surgical centers was a back door way to ban abortions.  I have a question for these legislators:  why don’t oral surgical centers, which do use general anesthesia, have to adhere to them?  I had a wisdom tooth extracted recently and that facility had none of these requirements.  The provisional licenses are for 3-6 months each.  Most abortion clinics cannot retrofit to adhere tot he new regulations and even if they could the cost would make getting an abortion only available to the rich.

This catering to the rich and to corporations by conservatives is ridiculous.  The war on everyone else has escalated to the point where a U.S. Senate candidate thinks insurers shouldn’t have to cover cancer.  First businesses can sell you cigarettes, dump toxic chemicals in the air, water and ground, pollute our waterways, put lead in our toys and who knows what else, then be exempt from covering the cancers?

Democrats are hammering Indiana GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock over his statement that employers should not have to cover cancer in their insurance plans if they don’t want to.

Indiana voters don’t have to support Mr. Mourdock if they don’t want to either.  I think it’s time for single payer, let’s get rid of health insurers once and for all with Medicare for all.

In Wisconisn http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/06/18/businessman-and-wisconsin-gop-senate-candidate-thinks-media-making-too-much-fuss-about-the-poor/”>their Senate candidate thinks the media should stop doing sob stories about the poor.  Yes, let’s stop reminding everyone how Wall Street fraud cost them 40% of their assets, dramatically increased the number of those living in poverty, slashed the programs for the poor then put all of these press accounts about them in front of us!  How dare we all see the fruits of their inhumanity!

You know these policies are bad enough but when you have major candidates spouting this sort of extremism it makes you wonder why anyone votes Republican.

Still, several hundred working people turned out to see Mitt Romney in Quakertown Saturday.  Clueless folks too stupid for their own good, they’d vote themselves into concentration camps if Fox News told them to.  Meanwhile Mitt showed how totally out of touch he is by calling touch screen ordering terminals amazing:

Normal, working people have been using these for years.  The Romneys took a $77,000 tax credit for the care of their equestrian horse last year.  That one credit is more than the median income for an American family.  No wonder he never orders hoagies from Wawa.  His horse eats better than I do.

News & Notes September 13, 2010

Manan Trivedi challenged Congressman Jim Gerlach to a series of six debates this morning.  He wants them open to the public and to the press, something has been reluctant to do in past campaigns.  With three counties in the District this might mean two apiece.  That would provide voters with a clear look at both men’s positions and allow Gerlach to defend his votes in Washington.

At Saturday’s memorial event in Shanksville a moment of silence was done for the memory of late Congressman John P. Murhta in whose District Shanksville lies.  His widow Joyce Murtha was in attendance.  Interestingly it didn’t appear that the current Congressman Mark Critz was there.

The Republicans are busy feeding misinformation concerning tax cuts into the mainstream media.  John Boehner keeps pulling a boner by claiming half of small businesses will pay more taxes if the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire.  This is a lie.  The vast majority of those cuts went to the upper 2% of Americans and very few of them are small business people.  President Obama, however, has already signed into law eight small business tax cuts:

  1. A New Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

  2. A New Tax Credit for Hiring Unemployed Workers

  3. Bonus Depreciation Tax Incentives to Support New Investment

  4. 75% Exclusion of Small Business Capital Gains

  5. Expansion of Limits on Small Business Expensing

  6. Five-Year Carryback of Net Operating Losses

  7. Reduction of the Built-In Gains Holding Period for Small Businesses from 10 to 7 Years to Allow Small Business Greater Flexibility in Their Investments  

  8. Temporary Small Business Estimated Tax Payment Relief to Allow Small Businesses to Keep Needed Cash on Hand

Its time for these businesspeople to wake up and realize the GOP is only for big business.

I’ll be in Santa Fe once again in a couple weeks and the Gubernatorial race there is getting interesting.  GOP candidate Susana Martinez is embroiled in a scandal where she used border security funds to reward her staff with huge bonuses and no bid contracts:

Speaking of flawed Republican candidates tomorrow’s primary in Delaware has Congressman Mike Castle, a former Governor, in a dead heat against Tea bagger Christine O’Donnell.  The Tea Partier has been caught with lies about her past and resume.  It seems the more the press digs into her history the more they find as has been the case with most of these fringe lunatics.  Meanwhile In Maine the Tea Party Republican running for Governor has been caught cheating on her taxes.  It seems she claimed primary residential status for both houses, one in Maine and one in Florida.  Let’s see…its OK to not pay your taxes or to cheat on them as long as you’re a Tea Partier because these folks don’t believe in taxes in the first place?  Unfortunately for them most Americans realize government has important functions beyond civil defense and they’re willing to invest in the country and our communities.  They also don’t like those who don’t.

In Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the secessionist running for re-election is embroiled in an ad scandal.  He used small businesses in television ads without first getting the owner’s permission.  It seems neither one supports him and say he isn’t even a customer.

DEP Secretary John Hanger sounds like a lobbyist for the Marcellus Shale gas companies.  Its time for the Governor to fire Hanger.  While he’s at it he must fire Homeland Security Director James Powers.  In a private email he told energy drillers this:  

“We want to continue providing this support to the Marcellus Shale Formation natural gas stakeholders while not feeding those groups fomenting dissent against those same companies.”

Pennsylvania’s Department of Homeland Security is providing confidential information to gas drilling companies about those of us opposing Marcellus Shale drilling in the Commonwealth.  This utterly outrageous.  Powers mistakenly included an anti-drilling activist in his email distribution list.

Speaking of gas drilling I am reminded that we still don’t have a legal budget passed as yet.  Since our state constitution requires a balanced budget Pennsylvania is actually late passing one again this year.  There are three huge holes in the bill passed last summer:  the shortfall in funding state pensions, a $450 million shortfall in transportation funding and the absence, as yet, of a gas drilling severance tax.  Without these three difficult issues addressed we don’t have a budget.  Don’t let your state legislators lie to you:  they have yet to pass a balanced budget for the year.  That means we don’t have one.