Leak Says Kane to be Indicted

According to press accounts a leak from a secret grand jury says Attorney General Kathleen Kane will be indicted for leaking secret grand jury proceedings to the Philadelphia Daily News to attack an enemy.  It’s ironic that the news comes via a leak.  It makes one wonder if it’s really a crime after all if the PA Supreme Court grand jury, begun by former Republican Chief Justice Ronald Castille and run by GOP District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman of Montgomery County leaked this information.  Who will now investigate this leak?

If it feels like a merry-go-round it is.  Of course my issues with Kane go back to the Pennsylvania Democratic primary for AG when Kane ran false claims against her opponent Patrick Murphy.  Her campaign made blatantly false assertions about him to damage his credibility with voters.  When I called them out on it they lied about giving me the information (it was given to me in a telephone call by her campaign communications director).  Kane then lied about it on PCN when a viewer called in questioning her veracity.

Since then Kathleen Kane has been in a downward spiral due to her penchants for attacking her political foes and for lying.  She made numerous assertions about why she wouldn’t prosecute numerous public officials caught on tape accepting bribes.  Philadelphia DA Seth Williams then took the case and, so far, has obtained three convictions.  Not only was the case prosecutable but Williams held a press conference and proved that Kane’s assertions about the cases were all lies.

Oh what a tangled web we weave…

Kane’s political carreer has been like a meteor:  up quickly and then burned out in flames.  Mentioned just last year as a possible contender for the U.S. Senate seat held by Tea Bagger Pat Toomey (up for re-election next year) she now is facing disgrace and a possible criminal conviction.

Ferman has now to decide when and whether to arrest the state’s sitting Attorney General.  She is not running for re-election so isn’t facing dire political consequences thus she can make this decision free of that baggage.  Current MontCo Commissioner and former DA Bruce Castor (a good man) has announced his candidacy to seek his old job.  He is the minority Commissioner and being DA would give him much more job satisfaction.

PA Supreme Court: Delay Voter ID

In a victory for democracy the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered the lawsuit attacking Voter ID to be remanded back to Superior Court to render a new verdict delaying implementation of the requirement disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of eligible voters.  Now perhaps we can go to federal court and get it declared unconstitutional.

Supreme Court Hears Voter ID Arguments

PCN telecast the Supreme Court arguments on Voter ID this morning saving me a trip to Philadelphia.  Watching and Tweeting the event I have some hope this terrible law, Act 18, will be, at least, stayed.  Lawyers for the plaintiffs argued for an injunction saying there isn’t enough preparation and time to  implement the law.  They made no argument the law is unconstitutional because it appears to be so under Pennsylvania law.  Since this is a case of state law being argued in a state court only state law applies.  Whether or not the law is constitutional under federal law is a case for the federal courts.  Federal courts have knocked down similar laws elsewhere.  This morning’s arguments have no bearing on federal issues of equal protection for instance.

Cases where legal, eligible voters are denied their fundamental right to vote can not be made until that actually happens.  Unfortunately irreparable harm will already have occurred where votes were not cast and counted that were legal in a federal election.  I didn’t hear much argument about such irreparable harm this morning.   The appellants case sounded weak to me, they simply want an injunction based on the fact the Commonwealth is unable to produce ID’s for voters.

Arguments began about whether the right to vote is fundamental.  The State argued it is not, that the legislature can apply limits on it.  They also went on to try and deny the state’s stipulation that no verifiable case of voter fraud has ever happened either here or elsewhere.  This got so ridiculous Justice Debra Todd finally read the entire stipulation to the Governor’s clueless lawyer.

Justices Todd and Seamus McCaffery asked pointed questions throughout supporting the implementation of an injunction.  Interestingly Republican Thomas Saylor had some very intriguing queries to the state’s lawyers.  His vote may be in play here or he might have been playing devil’s advocate.  One never really knows.  I found arguments that PennDOT is implementing the law specious.  There have numerous reports of the agency charging people $13.50 for the ID’s making this a poll tax.  Others say they’ve taken acceptable forms of identification only to be rebuffed by untrained PennDOT employees and have made repeated trips trying to secure an ID.  If someone has to make five trips to get an ID this law is wrong and unjustifiable.  That imposes an undue burden on voters.

The fact Tom Corbett’s lawyer Mr. Putnam began arguing in court that voter fraud exists was laughable and it destroyed any credibility he had before the Court.  When Justice Todd publicly embarrassed him by reading Corbett’s own stipulation saying otherwise I almost felt sorry for the bastard.  Almost…

NAACP Calls VoterID Election Fraud

The NAACP held a two hour rally on the Capitol steps today (Tuesday) against VoterID.  The heat was oppressive but several hundred people braved the conditions to make their voices heard.  I finally gave up on getting pictures and video as people crowded the podium and blocked my access.  It was a good thing though as I needed to get inside and cool down, get something cold to drink and prepare for the Aichele press conference.  The video:

News & Notes October 22, 2010

Several controversies are distracting from the upcoming election as racism issues take over the national discourse.  Last week conservative NPR news analyst Juan Williams appeared on Fox News, his other gig, to help Bill O’Reilly defend his comments on The View that Muslims attacked us on 9/11 and, therefore, all Muslims are terrorists.  I sure am glad I’m not a Christian considering all the atrocities, genocides and other crimes committed by those of that religion!  Stereotyping everyone of a class, race or group is dangerous and Williams joined O’Reilly in defending such demagoguery.  He was summarily fired by NPR for the ethics violation.  This followed several warnings that his Fox work compromised his work for NPR.

The right wing noise machine geared up in outrage over this issue and Fox gave him a $2 million contract.  It sure is profitable to be a bigot these days.  Where was all this conservative outrage when Helen Thomas and Rick Sanchez got fired?  Sanchez was one of the few reasons to watch CNN though what he said was wrong and offensive.  Still, I miss his show.  Its all much ado about nothing.

The other racial controversy surrounds Ginny Thomas, wife of SCOTUS Jurist Clarence Thomas.  She left a mysterious message for Anita Hill asking for an apology for her husband’s inexcusable sexual harassment of his aide and her subsequent testimony about it 19 years ago.  Isn’t it Justice Thomas who owes the apology?

Speaking of Thomas, it seems he and Justice Scalia attended a political organizational meeting sponsored by the Koch brothers of Tea Party fame.  The Kochs have funded most of the ultra right wing operations for years and have pumped millions into the Tea Party and various front groups.  Is it really proper for sitting Justices to engage in blatant partisan activity outside of Bush v Gore?

Meanwhile the NAACP has issued a report detailing racism inside the Tea Party.  This also is getting pushback by the right wing who doesn’t want to confuse voters about its agenda directly before the election.  Of course the fact white supremacists are documented to be involved in the fringe groups doesn’t seem to count as racism.  I suppose this is simply more evidence that tea baggers live in some parallel universe where reality doesn’t exist.

Jim Gerlach got caught lying about support he’s getting.  It seems he lied to a reporter asking about an $85,000 effort done for him and reported in public documents.  The Congressman should realize lying about something easily verifiable makes him appear stupid.  It also shows his true side:  someone wiling to say or do anything to win re-election.

State Senate candidate Ruth Damsker (12th) has a neat animated ad about her opponent Stewart Greenleaf.  The incumbent used to be the kind of moderate Republican who worked across the aisle and got things done.  Not lately.  Greenleaf has become a radical extremist unwilling to compromise.  The GOP controlled state Senate has blocked budgets and just killed a severance tax on shale drilling for natural gas.  Pennsylvania, starved for revenue resources, is already out $100 million while energy companies remove a precious resource belonging to Pennsylvanians.  They aren’t paying a dime while destroying local infrastructure, polluting water supplies and paying off politicians to allow them to continue unregulated.  Stewart Greenleaf has become part of the problem in Harrisburg.

Republican State Representative candidate Justin Simmons is under investigation for accepting help from groups who haven’t reported their financial involvement in his race unseating Karen Beyer last May.  The race in Allentown saw two organizations, Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania and Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania spend money on Simmons’ behalf.  In fact they spent tens of thousands of dollars influencing the primary election and have not reported those or the sources of those funds as required by state law.  How does Justin think he can be a lawmaker when he doesn’t respect or obey the law?

Barack Obama attended the NAACP conference last night

Sen. Barack Obama attended the 2008 NAACP Conference in Cincinatti, OH last night. He went into detail about issues like personal responsibility, MLK, social/economic justice, opportunity, the American Dream, etc. He talked about opportunity and how that relates to the American Dream, health care, decent wages (how black women make only $0.62 of what their male counterparts make), how he worked towards all his life to help provide more opportunity because of his inspiration from the civil rights movement, and his bipartisan initiatives. He explained how there is more work to be done in general, how schools are failing our children, especially those who are poor, how there needs to be affordable health care and more accessible education, we need a system that supports the needs of our teachers, how CEOs are making more in ten minutes than average workers make in a year, about how families are losing their homes due to predatory lending, social mobility becoming increasingly unattainable for our young people, how personal responsibility is a collective responsibility, how workers need to be rewarded for helping in the accruing of wealth, and how there needs to be a refocus on rebuilding America’s infrastructure. The Illinois senator mentioned that the collective effort INCLUDES parental responsibility. He knows that most of the African American community has been doing the right thing, but we all have to work together, with more resiliency and collectively as a community, in keeping ourselves stronger together ny working for more of a common goal. Simply, we need to start caring a little bit more about ourselves as well as about each other with love. This will keep us stronger and more able to push for change more consistently and effectively than just waiting for government to take back up its role in keeping our infrastructure together. We need to be more active.

There is a concern in the African American community that Sen. Obama’s talk about personal responsibility may be another situation at throwing the black community in a negative light in the predominately white and denotative-biased media. Dr. Boyce Watkins, of the informative and very poignant African American issues info sites YourBlackWorld.com/boycewatkins.net, explained this concern stating, “I support Sen. Obama and endorse him completely and want him to be our president..but I think there is a huge concern in the black community…having a feeling like Sen. Obama is selling the wrench in order to get in the White House….how far do we go [in] denouncing our own people, in terms of embarrassing ourselves, engaging in humiliation, treating blackness as a form of criminality…how far do we go in order to get into the White House…the reality is that all human beings are fundamentally equal, that’s a fact…if you are somehow at any point implying that black males are somehow more morally deficient relative to everyone else, that we are somehow lazier than everyone else, or we are somehow more criminal than everyone else, or we are somehow more willing to engage in some form of delinquency than everyone else, that is wrong…he wants to be president of America, not black America..Why is he not giving equally condemning speeches in other venues? [African Americans are not the only group that should be criticized by our President]…There is a clear double standard…if you could go into one, tiny ethnic group and make those blanket condemnations and stereotypes and everything else, you should be able to go into any other group in America and make those same judgments….Rev. Jackson’s sentiment is not uncommon..with black leadership who truly care about the black community…let’s all make a personal decision, how far are we willing to go to get into that White House..nothing is worth sacrificing everything when you’re talking about your culture, and your love for your own people and your love for yourself.”

While I respect Dr. Boyce Watkins, who is an esteemed, great black speaker, whose extensively experienced in providing great information about the state of black progress has kept many focused and thoughtful and always spoke truth to power, I do not really support everything he’s saying. I see no wrong in mentioning that there is more work to do. It’s not like Sen. Obama is actively talking about it on FOX News and blasting black people like the Uncle Toms, Juan Williams and Jesse Lee Peterson, do often. I do believe that the Honorable and the long-serving Reverend Jesse Jackson got angry way too quickly at the mentioning of the word, ‘personal responsibility.’

Sen. Obama explained in graphic detail that personal responsibility means the community as a whole, in a bipartisan effort, has to work towards this cause of rebuilding our country in a more collective effort- not to “throw our hands up in frustration.” Many African Americans agree with the senator, unfortunately, the corporate media did not cover ANY of these issues or the conference at all. I mean, can we not talk about the problems that we have that aren’t helping us? What if we see apathy out there, can we not address it without having to go out of our way to include every other group just to be able to talk about it? Is there anything really wrong with that? I don’t think he’s alienating the black community and painting us in a derogatory light in front of whites in public. No, he’s not throwing black people “under a bus.” I mean, what’s wrong with saying that society, as a whole, has to start caring about each other a little more. That’s how we show that we really love our community and our country; by trying to change it through improving it by caring to point it out and work on it. He cannot go to every single place and do the same thing.

You have got to realize that he’s got a big task at hand and we have to be more patient with him. As progressives and as a diverse community, we not only trying to get him through a harsh and racist climate in a presidential general election and show solidarity and unity in front of a Far-Right adversity that basks and revels in the prospect of our social destruction. We have to defeat John McBush, and keep him from suppressing American progress. We, as a people, are not always going to hear what we want to hear from Barack and in the general election period things are way too fragile to care this much about this. He’s being attacked, like a circular firing squad, for everything he says and doesn’t say. Let’s relax a little right now and show solidarity. When he becomes president, that’s when we should ‘hold his clay feet to the fire.’