Gingrich Stiffed Pennsylvania Taxpayers

Presidential aspirant Newt Gingrich failed to pay Pennsylvania taxes on income from his activities as a speaker and author it was reported by the AP.  A tax lien from 2002 was finally paid just before his announcement last week he will seek election to the White House.  Gingrich also owed taxes in other states and Indiana had levied 43 liens against his company Gingrich Holdings Inc.  Newt was CEO of the firm which managed his professional life which had him traveling across the country promoting himself and his books.  You might recall the ethical imbroglio over his using public resources to write a book while sitting as Speaker of the House.

The fact Newt Gingrich failed to pay taxes on speaking fees or failed to complete paperwork properly goes directly to his qualifications to run the country.  If one cannot run a small business and handle paperwork how would they run the country?  Attention to detail is critical in a President as we saw when George W. Bush failed to note the title of a PDB in August 2001.  It said “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”  What would Newt miss?

The Politics of Hate and the Sixties Backlash

There’s an old saying that youth is wasted on the young.  The older I get the more truth I see in the cliche.  When we were young, growing up in the 60’s we thought we had all the answers.  It was a time of extremism, opposition to a failed war in Indochina, a President who lied to the nation, wholesale violations of civil rights by the FBI and “The Man.”  Race riots over segregation and assassinations of our leaders fueled anger and created a huge schism between the young and those over 50.

The youth rebellion made for a tumultuous time.  The result was a serious conservative backlash against the hippies, war protesters, Blacks who demanded their rights and women who also wanted equal rights.  The Woodstock generation has somewhat of a foggy memory of those days, fogged somewhat by all the drugs.  The Sixties were a decade of sex, drugs and rock and roll and our elders either resented us, hated us or simply tried bashing in our brains.  The Chicago 7, Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Gene McCarthy, George McGovern existed to the soundtrack of our lives, the folk song protests and the anti-war music defined our lives growing up.  You didn’t trust anyone over 30.

The result was the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 as conservative Democrats, mostly middle aged white men, crossed over to the GOP and led a conservative movement which held the White House for most of the next thirty years.  The price paid by the Sixties generation has been steep because we had everything but wisdom.  Wisdom only comes with age and many times, even not then.  I watched “The Last Lecture” by the late professor Randy Pausch and something he said stuck with me:  “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”  

We didn’t get what we wanted in the Sixties.  We wanted an end to the Vietnam War (it went until 1975), free love, deregulation of soft drugs, an end to the Lyndon Johnson Administration and its credibility gap, honesty in politics and government, leaders with character and charisma, great music, and equality for all.  Young and idealistic it was a magical time in which to come of age because the goals were lofty.  Unattainable but worthy, goals, most of which, we continue to seek today.  Was it worth the price we paid for repressive Republican Presidents?  No.

Today we’re witnessing those same white, middle aged men doing the same outrageous things to turn off the mainstream voters.  The Politics of Hate has overcome people for whom the Sixties passed by, who sold out once they got over 30, were left out because of a lack of education, or who blame minorities and women for their personal failings.  It’s still the hippie’s fault, still those wild, rebellious youngsters who started the sexual revolution, still everyone else’s fault.  Once again we find ourselves in an unpopular war, one which we entered because of a President who lied to the country, a government which represses our rights, an uncertain future and a lack of accountability.  Today these people are organizing themselves not to protest an unjust war, not to protest the massive debts run up by their chosen GOP leaders, not to protest the shredding of our constitution by George W. Bush, not to protest the torture of human beings, not to protest continued inequality for every citizen, every person, but to protest their own failures.

Where were these people the last ten years?  They were Nixon’s Silent Majority as long as it was someone else’s ox being gored.  It wasn’t their sons and daughters being sent to Iraq under false pretenses to be blown up by IED’s, it wasn’t their taxes going up to pay for Bush’s Folly, it wasn’t their fault outsourcing took their jobs to Asia while they shopped at Wal-Mart, it wasn’t their fault Fox News lied to them about it all.  No they aren’t responsible for anything, especially falling silent when voices needed to be raised most of all.

Now they are preaching the Politics of Hate because we had the temerity to elect a Black President.  The virulent racism was evident before the 2008 election and has now manifested itself in the Tea Party movement, rise of right wing militias, the lack of pretense of the GOP as anything but the Party of Hate, attacks upon anyone publicly identifying ourselves as liberals.  This too will pass but not before we expose every one of them for the foolish racists they are, not before we make sure the good American people understand exactly what the RNC and its Tea Party stand for, the hatred they engender and the violence they embrace.

The next generation must remember these lessons, remember what it is these people are doing, the America they wish to bring back, the hatred which would destroy America’s values.  The difference between then and now is that in the Sixties our goals were worthy, idealistic and worth fighting for.  Hate and violence are never worth fighting for.  I don’t apologize for the 60’s but I am sorry for the end result.  Today it is time to reorganize to fight the forces of hate and defeat them now that we’re older and wiser.

Republicans Obstructing Trade, Jobs, PA Needs Economic Accountability

Jim Bunning continues his personal obstructionism in the Senate, blocking important appointments.  I can see the GOP ads coming in 2012 already:  President Obama was ineffective in leading the nation because this agency or that entity didn’t govern.  What they’ll neglect to tell you is that this is because of their obstructionism.  Dozens of important appointments have been held up by Republicans.  The head of the TSA and many others.  Here is Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) speaking about Bunning and the issue of exports:

Exports and trade mean jobs for Americans.  We must find new markets and expand old ones to maintain momentum in turning around our economy and create jobs for Americans.  I always considered the Republican Party to be the party of business but, more and more, they are only the party of big business.  Statistics show businesses actually fare better under Democratic Administrations.  For example just in this century the stock market was flat under George W. Bush before collapsing as trillions of dollars in wealth disappeared due to failed economic policies.  Seven million Americans lost their homes and eight million lost their jobs.  Under Barack Obama the economy is back from the brink and growing once more.  We must have fair trade to protect our businesses, our workers, our economy and our environment.  Free trade is not fair trade.  Sen, Klobuchar (MI):

In times of severe economic recession businesses find it very difficult to create jobs.  In this climate where banks aren’t lending it is incumbent upon the government to be the catalyst for job creation.  It is a myth that government cannot create jobs.  That is one of the GOP’s great lies.  Funding infrastructure projects keeps businesses in business and keeps and saves millions of good jobs.  That is reality and no amount of obfuscation erases that reality.

Sen. Bob Menendez (NJ):

On our state level economic development continues though scaled back from previous years.  In a new study the Keystone Research Center calls for more transparency and accountability in this critical area:

The report found that the level of transparency in economic development programs is better in Pennsylvania than in most states. Still, it is not strong enough to answer such basic questions as do companies receiving subsidies actually create jobs, where do the subsidies go, what industries are subsidized, and what kind of wages do subsidized jobs pay?

The report also determined that the state’s economic development efforts rely too heavily on handing out checks to companies for locating or remaining in Pennsylvania. Instead, the state should rely more on helping create and expand homegrown businesses. Pennsylvania has been a leader in such “grow-your-own” programs since the 1980s, but their funding has been slashed nearly in half since 2008-2009.

“With the sharp economic downturn, now is the time to rethink how the state promotes economic development,” said Stephen Herzenberg, PhD, Keystone Research Center’s Executive Director and lead author of the report. “These investments should be focused on growing and developing innovative clusters of Pennsylvania businesses, rather than harvesting companies from other states.”

I’ve seen economic development money go to questionable projects.  Many do nothing more than create minimum wage jobs.  Why are we wasting precious tax dollars for projects which return so little?  Shouldn’t we be prioritizing this money to have the biggest impact, create good, family sustaining, middle class jobs?  Do we really need more hotels hiring maids, janitors and desk clerks?  Do we need more shopping centers in a time when commercial real estate is reeling?   I’ve also seen money wasted by supporting a dying industry like newspapers (The Reading Eagle) and statues (Albert Boscov) in addition to supporting Mr. Boscov’s repurchase of his department store chain.  These are low paying jobs or industries headed for the junk heap of history.

This is why we need transparency and accountability.  Keystone Research Center makes several recommendations:

  1. Target traditional business subsidies to companies with good jobs, in industries that make sense for Pennsylvania, and to places with existing infrastructure near areas with high unemployment.

  2. Improve transparency and public disclosure by making Pennsylvania’s online subsidy database – the “Investment Tracker” – a more complete and usable tool, with information on jobs created, wages and health care benefits provided, and the street address of business sites where subsidies are used.

  3. Create a unified development budget that provides an annual report to the state legislature cataloging and analyzing all state spending for economic development, including tax breaks.  

  4. Enact economic development accountability legislation to require better public disclosure, strengthen job quality standards, and recapture subsidies when companies don’t create jobs.

  5. Shift the state’s emphasis in economic development to growing its own businesses. Grow-your-own programs deliver a higher documented return on investment than subsidies to individual companies and are a more legitimate focus of public investment than one-company handouts.

  6. Change the business model and mindset of economic development organizations so that they do not depend on “doing the deal” to run their operations and instead have a stake in a 21st-century state economic development strategy.

Unfortunately politics trumps intelligent, smart choices for Pennsylvania taxpayers.  Boscov got millions because he wrote checks to Gov. Rendell at $50,000 increments.  Money talks in Harrisburg and those giving the money got the money.  These were very good investments for businessmen, not for the people.

The Death of Majority Rule

Once upon a time there was a concept known as “majority rule” in America.  While the Judiciary and constitution protected minority rights laws were passed by majorities of Congress and signed by the President.  The only time super majorities were necessary were when the President vetoed legislation.  Today super majorities are needed on every Senate vote.  Even innocuous procedural votes require two fifths of the members, or 60 votes.  The ideological purity which made the Republican Party a significant minority also has formed a Party which votes (and marches) in lockstep.

The death of majority rule means nothing of any significance can be passed in Washington.  The GOP obstructs every bit of work and this has forced Democrats to weaken every bill tot he extent they aren’t worth passing.  Last night’s cloture vote on health insurance reform is a classic example.  In order to get 60 votes a good bill achieving significant progress was gutted and shredded to the point it is no longer worth passing.  A good bill is now a bad bill.  Forcing every American to buy insurance coverage from criminal enterprises known as corporations with no public option is criminal itself.  While forced to buy insurance these companies can charge whatever they please and public subsidies, your tax dollars, will be funneled to their shareholders as profits.  To make matters even more insulting the GOP reduced the tax rates on these incomes.

Democrats don’t have any balls.  Republicans voted, in lockstep again, against legislation last week funding our troops and providing jobs for some of the 10% of Americans out of work.  When any Democrat voted to cut off funding for the wars they were immediately lambasted in the press and called traitors by the likes of Rush, Hannity, O’Reilly and Coulter.   Now they turn around and do the same thing, vote against the same thing they labeled as treason a few short years ago.  Of course they knew they could because they knew the DNC wouldn’t hold them accountable for their hypocrisy.  No wonder majority rule died in America.

GOP Laid Down With Dogs, Now Can’t Get Rid of the Fleas

It’s not that I don’t love dogs, I do.  Of course some have fleas so you must be careful when you see a stray.  The Republican Party courted and welcomed all sorts of extremist fringe elements into their Party and used hate, fear and social issues to inflame them against the rest of the country.  Now they’re not only stuck with them, but the fundamentalists, militia types and white supremacists own the GOP.  The seeds George W. Bush and Dick Cheney sowed for eight frightful years courting these elements have now come back to haunt them.  They are reaping what they sowed and the crop doesn’t appear to be healthy.  At least not healthy for a democracy.

The GOP cannot rid itself of these fleas because they’re mostly what’s left of the GOP.  One cannot scratch oneself to death and continue to be alive.  The Republican Party is dying and it has no one to blame but itself.  Moral, ethical, sensible voters are looking upon the likes of Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, John Ensign, Rush, Sean, O’Reilly and the rest of these kooks and running away as fast as possible.  The complete and open obstructionism against health care reform climate change, immigration, and economic stimulus have exposed them as fringe elements.  There is no hiding what the GOP stands for now because memories of those town hall meetings last summer and the slew of smear filled commercials funded by their front groups will remain in the memories of voters for many years.  All they can do now is buy a bunch of those flea bombs and blow themselves up.  Maybe they can reorganize as the Tories.

The GOP Hari Kari Routine

The GOP is committing suicide.  Now marginalized as a racist Southern Party of extremists and multinational corporations they continue digging the hari kari knife into themselves by voting against economic rescue programs.  The final thrust of their knife will be the homeowner rescue plan introduced yesterday.  Americans are fed up with the GOP putting themselves first and them last.  Now a plan to save the housing market is on the table and Republicans are already trashing the bill.

Homeowners have waited and waited for assistance and the President’s bill does what has to be done:  stem the bleeding without rewarding bad behavior by risk takers.  Yes, it doesn’t help everyone but that is impossible.  The program offers a lifeline to those in desperate need and this will save the economy money in the long run.  Continued foreclosures at this rate will further doom the economy.

The Republican hari kari act against this program will be their final suicidal action.  After this no sane voter will cast a vote for a Republican.  No one will support a member of a Party which screwed homeowners.  This will be the end of the Republican Party.  The funeral will be held on November 3, 2010.  In lieu of flowers send contributions to the Democratic National Committee.

Republican Threatens Liberal Donors

A Republican with deep pockets has mailed 11,000 letters to liberal contributors with a very clear threat:  continue giving money to liberal interest groups and he’ll out you in your local community and, perhaps, insure you face criminal charges.

Vote suppression doesn’t get any uglier than this folks.  Ben Smith broke the story at Politico:

Your name has been put in our database. We are monitoring all reports of a wide variety of leftist organizations. As your name appears in subsequent reports, it is our intent to publicize your involvement in your local community. Should any of these organizations be found to be engaged in illegal or questionable activity, it is our intent to publicize your involvement with those activities. You should know that instances of coordinated voter fraud are surfacing all across America and investigations into possible criminal coordination are underway.

The letter was signed by Howard Rich on behalf of Americans For Limited Government.

Note:  this is unacceptable from either side of the ideological divide.

Those Crazy Fundies Part 2

This is part 2 of my video series of State Representative Sam Rohrer and his extreme, religious based positions on government.  These were shot Tuesday evening at a fundamentalist religious community center in Morgantown.

Rohrer says he doesn’t believe government should do anything more than protect us.  By that he means defend the country and defend private property rights.  He doesn’t believe in any other government functions.

No clean air, water or environment.  No schools, roads, bridges, infrastructure, or services for the poor, the indigent or the elderly.  No food inspection, regulation of business from rapacious, greedy investors and crooked business people, no consumer rights, no rights to defend your human rights.

Aside from a military and a criminal justice system Sam Rohrer says all other government is evil.  The questions posed at this event are as disturbing as what Rohrer said in his remarks.  When confronted with factual information about Sarah Palin on television the pastor asks why such “unbalanced” coverage is allowed in the media.  He never once considers that it might be true and something the media has an obligation to report.  It is.

Another question goes to why godless people got control of the government.  Rohrer never considers countering the implication that all Democrats are “godless.”

Something which disturbed me greatly was the Republican leader’s diatribe against those infringing our constitution.  It is George W. Bush and Republicans in Congress and various state legislatures infringing our human and civil rights.  Bush has shredded the Fourth Amendment and many others with the willing cooperation of the GOP (and quite a few Democrats).  Where is his outrage against the PATRIOT Act, the Military Commissions Act and the Warner Defense Appropriations Act of 2007?

The only area in which I agree with Rohrer is the Real ID Act.  However Republicans are also passing voter ID acts across the country designed to deny the poor and elderly their voting rights.  He didn’t mention those, did he?

Watch the videos:

More Republicans Think Racism Is OK

It seems that racism is even more virulent among Republicans than I thought.  As my stories about Adam LaDuca are picked up by mainstream media outlets like the Associated Press other online outlets like blogs, Air America and Democratic Underground have carried the story.  

GrassrootsPA, probably the biggest Republican blog in Pennsylvania carried it today and has some eye opening comments:

Bitter Rural PA Ex-Pat | 2008-09-08 02:24:51  |  Add karma Subtract karma  +3

This reminds me of another comment that was made about a black politician or public figure not too long ago. Didn’t some white politician call the black person “articulate” and it was taken as a racial slur?

Either way, it seems to me the PC police are still alive and well on the college campus!

Reply to this comment

Card Carrying PSEA | 2008-09-08 02:43:28 |  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

I don’t know what to say other than to assume that the “race card” will be played hard in the next 60 days as a counterweight to McCain’s new found strength.

Feel guilty white people and vote for Barack Obama on November 4th…..

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Rich Talbert | 2008-09-08 07:10:11 |  Add karma Subtract karma  +2

I wonder if Mick Jagger and Stephen Tyler were offended…

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George Tomezsko | 2008-09-08 14:45:44 |  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

“A Kutztown University student who once begged fellow students to forgive the campus president of the College Republicans for making racially insensitive remarks has resigned…” In other words, he told the truth, something the PC crowd hates almost as much as it does the Pro-Life community.

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Ray Horvath | 2008-09-08 15:19:34 |  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

“If I were racist, I wouldn’t idolize Colin Powell and Condeleeza Rice.”

No, not a racist, but certainly an idiot RINO.

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yup | 2008-09-08 16:05:36 |  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

more info on exactly what he said

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thin-lipped African | 2008-09-08 17:02:33 |  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

This form of PC is outrageous.

So commenters at GrassrootsPA think I’m being overly PC for criticizing someone who writes about African Americans’ big lips and big genitalia.  They think I’m being PC because I condemned him for wanting to use the “N” word.  LaDuca posted today that he only uses racist statements when he’s “on a rant.”  

No wonder not one Republican has gone on record condemning LaDuca’s rants or his status as the Executive Director of the PA College Republicans when he made them.  The only obvious conclusion is that racism is rampant within the Republican Party, even more than we thought.

College Republicans Finally Comment on LaDuca

The Pennsylvania Federation of College Republicans has finally issued a statement about their former Executive Director Adam LaDuca.  We exposed LaDuca as a racist, sexist and gay basher the week of August 25th.  Five different articles exposed his extreme statements about Blacks, women and gays on Facebook and his blog.

Here is the official statement posted on the College Republicans website:

“Official Statement”

Posted by Michael Ubbens on September 5th, 2008

There have been several inquiries regarding our former executive director, Adam Laduca. After discussion with members of the board, Adam decided to step down from this organization. We will not be publishing Adam’s entire private letter to the board.

Adam’s remarks in other private blogs were the cause of his resignation. Adam apologized for these remarks, and to the board for any problems this may have caused anyone.

Upon his resignation, we removed him from the website, and from the blog. The PA Federation of College Republicans will continue to push for their Republican candidates and promote their ideals. We’ve encountered a small bump in the road, and we plan to move forward with tradition and integrity.

Sincerely,

Michael Ubbens

Co-Chairman

Tags: Mike Ubbens, PACR

Shockingly absent from this statement is any condemnation of Adam LaDuca’s statements or any apologies.  This follows the refusal of the Dent campaign from also issuing any statement disassociating themselves from a former staffer’s racism.

One must conclude Republicans have no shame when it comes to their own being racists.  The only conclusion I reach from the absence of any apologies is that these people condone what he said.