News & Notes May 15, 2012

The State Senate has approved a budget with $517 million more than Gov. Gasbag sought.  Will he sign such a budget or insist on his austerity measures hurting the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians?  Half the Senate is up for re-election this year and they must face angry voters.

My new Congressman is Rep. Joe (He’s The) Pitts.  A prominent member of The Family and one of the most right wing members of Congress.  For some reason though he doesn’t seem to understand that the problems in the Middle East cannot be solved by a dead man and another in a coma.  Maybe he has “connections” through The Family that belie reality?  A better guess is that Pitts is a moron.

Backlash over Tom Corbett receiving recognition for his education policies continues in Pittsburgh.  The Governor who is trying to demolish all public education in Pennsylvania getting an award for education?  It seems to me someone doesn’t know how to read budgets.  

The latest Obama ad:

Ron Paul is as big a crook as there is.  He has this habit of double dipping while preaching about fiscal austerity.

Privacy rights continue being eroded across the country.  When will people step up and revolt against these practices?  Now in Arizona (just one more reason to stay away from there) employers can quiz you about contraception use.  Isn’t it time to turn the tables on men?  At your next interview bring a tape measure…  It probably doesn’t have to be very long.

A reminder of some reality from the late great George Carlin:

The controversy about President Obama’s position on marriage equality died down pretty quickly.  It shows how far the country has come about civil rights for everyone.  Still, dinosaurs like Tony Perkins appeared on once reputable networks like CNN touting lies.  Homosexuality is found in hundreds of species so saying it is “not natural” is a bold faced lie.  The arguments about “traditional marriage” being compromised are also nonsense.  A little reminder is needed for those who forget how the Bible defined “traditional marriage.”

Phil Sheridan of says Phillies fans are engaging in wishful thinking.  The biggest wishful thinkers though are those who keep saying Chase Utley will return.  No one familiar with his knee situation thinks so.  Those knees of his will never heal and Utley will never return to being the superstar he was.

Rebekah Brooks was arrested for the Murdoch phone hacking scandal.  The real scandal here is that News Corporation actually was searching for news instead of just making it up.

A Pennsylvanian killed in Southeast Asia in 1969 will be awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously:

On May 16, President Barack Obama will award Specialist Leslie H. Sabo, Jr., U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.

Specialist Sabo will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroic actions in combat on May 10, 1970, while serving as a rifleman in Company B, 3d Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division in Se San, Cambodia.

On that day, when he and his platoon were ambushed by a large enemy force, Specialist Sabo immediately charged the enemy position, killing several enemy soldiers.  He then assaulted an enemy flanking force, successfully drawing their fire away from friendly soldiers and ultimately forcing the enemy to retreat.  While securing a re-supply of ammunition, an enemy grenade landed nearby.  Specialist Sabo picked it up, threw it, and shielded a wounded comrade with his own body – absorbing the brunt of the blast and saving his comrade’s life.  Although wounded by the grenade blast, he continued to charge the enemy’s bunker.  After receiving several serious wounds from automatic weapons fire, he crawled towards the enemy emplacement and, when in position, threw a grenade into the bunker.  The resulting explosion silenced the enemy fire, but also ended Specialist Sabo’s life.  His indomitable courage and complete disregard for his own safety saved the lives of many of his platoon members.

Specialist Sabo’s widow, Rose Mary Sabo-Brown and his brother, George Sabo, will join the President at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service and sacrifice.

Patrick Murphy has endorsed Kathleen Kane for Attorney General.  Don’t hold your breath waiting for mine.

Video 101

It’s primary season and the GOP candidates have arrived in our fair state.  We’re a big place so it’s impossible for me to cover every event so if one’s near you feel welcome to shoot some pictures, talk to some people, and, of course, get it all on video.

Video has become a major part of The Pennsylvania Progressive over the years.  It’s far more powerful and compelling than just me sitting here at the keyboard.  It isn’t difficult to do a few interviews with wing nuts but there are some things you need to know before venturing out there so this is Video 101.

First of all you need to know where Mitt, Rick, Newt and Ron will be.  There are various methods for this, one is an open thread at PoliticsPA for their events.  You can also sign up at the candidates websites and follow your local news.  I’ll try and list the ones I know of.  Don’t worry about being on the right wing email lists, you can unsubscribe after the primary or use an email address that isn’t your primary one.

Next you need to follow a few rules.  If the event is on private property e.g. a business, private school or other such venue, you may be asked to leave.  If so do so without fuss.  If it is on public property you have a right to be there as long as you aren’t creating a disturbance.  Please be polite (it drives the Tea baggers nuts so it’s worth the effort).  Pennsylvania is a “two party state” for recordings so don’t start your video before getting permission.  Simply ask people waiting in line to enter the event if they have a few minutes to talk on camera.  This is all you have to do to satisfy the legal requirement.  Introduce yourself and ask them an open ended question.  I always begin with “what brings you here today?”  Other good queries are “what issues are most important to you?” or “what is it you like about (name the candidate at that event)?”

Open ended questions are designed to get the person speaking.  If they’re carrying outrageous, racist or misspelled signs (very common at these events) be sure to get those on video or take pictures.  As they spout their Faux News or Limbaugh talking points its fun to point out facts.  These make their eyes glaze over which is always fun to watch.  At some point they become baffled and will turn away.  At that point find a new moron to talk with.

In 2008 we began having trouble finding enough lunatics willing to talk on camera because we exposed them so well.  Don’t give up someone will always be willing to speak with you.  The folks around them will chip in as your interview proceeds.  Include them as much as possible, you never know what pearls will escape from their lips.

I used a Flip camera for years, they’re easy to operate, take good video and can be held with one hand.  Mine finally gave up the ghost and I have a Sony Bloggie now.  You can use any camera which takes video however, even your smart phone.  Upload your video to YouTube, Vimeo, Google Video or other website and share it with us.  You can, if you’re a registered user, post it here in the diary section.  If its good I’ll front page it.

This election season is a golden chance to get out there with our wits and cameras and expose these idiots for what they are.  We can illustrate how selfish they are and show the extremes of their rhetoric.  In PA here we have lots of outright racists who aren’t bashful about exhibiting their prejudices.  Let’s get it all on tape.

The Late Great Commonwealth: Catching Up to the Republican Primary

by Walter  Brasch

It’s the beginning of April, and that means I just finished celebrating New Year’s Eve, and will soon begin shopping for Valentine’s gifts. In a month or two, I may even get around to toasting St. Patrick.

It’s not procrastination, it’s just that I’m a Pennsylvanian, and the state encourages me to be behind the times. At one time, Pennsylvania was first in just about everything–and then Ben Franklin died. Since then, we’ve been first in ridiculous license plate slogans.

When other states, including those settled by Puritans, got rid of their “blue laws,” Pennsylvania still bans the sale of cars on Sundays. By archaic practices, it still allows municipal governments and school districts to raise taxes and create more buildings without giving the people the right of a vote, common in most states. It is also the only state that still taxes people for income, property, and their occupation. Forty-nine other states have ruled pigeon shoots to be animal cruelty; we proudly proclaim our state as the last bastion of the right to “bear arms and blast birds.” And, we don’t allow Independents to vote in our primaries.

Iowa, with anomalies known as a straw poll and a caucus, is the first major battleground in presidential races, having usurped New Hampshire, which thought having the official primary was a birthright dating to when granite first showed up in the state. Nevertheless, whether Iowa or New Hampshire, Americans understand that the people need something to break them out of their Winter funk when snow covers what will eventually become cornfields in Iowa and the ski lifts of New Hampshire will no longer be inoperable because of blizzards.

With nothing else to do in January, the media schussed into the Hawkeye State-just as soon as they could find enough chauffeurs to drive them to wherever Iowa is. With megawatt lights and dimly-lit minds, they infiltrated the state so that the voters not only had their own individualized politicians, they also had their own puppy-dog reporters prancing brightly behind them to the coffee shop, factory, and bathroom.

Surrounded by the media who smugly said they were only telling the public what they needed to know to defend and preserve democracy-and millions in advertising revenue-the candidates played to the press, attacking each other rather than attacking the issues. In neatly-packaged seven-second sound bites, politicians and the media sliced, diced, and crunched the campaign to fit onto a 21-inch screen.

Because of an inner need to believe they matter, the media predict who will win the nomination, changing their predictions as quickly as a fashionista changes shoes. For what seemed to be decades, the ink-stained bandwagon has pulled voters and campaign dollars, and left Pennsylvania voters waiting at the altar for candidates who don’t care anymore, abandoned by the media who have found other “stories of the month.”

For all practical purposes, the Pennsylvania primaries, with large slates of uncontested local and state races, is about as useless as a Department of Ethnic Studies at Bob Jones University. By the time the 2000 primary rolled into Pennsylvania, Al Gore and George W. Bush each had 65 percent of the delegate vote needed for their parties’ nomination. In 2004, Bush and John Kerry had already locked up the nominations. In 2008, Pennsylvania became a pivotal state for the Democrats for the first time since 1976, with Hillary Clinton defeating Barack Obama before losing the nomination by June. For the Republicans, it was “business as usual,” with John McCain having already sewn up the nomination.

A Republican needs 1,144 delegate votes to get the nomination. Mitt Romney, America’s best runner-up, has 568; two-term senator Rick Santorum, recovering from a blistering loss to a moderate Democrat in Pennsylvania’s 2006 Senate campaign, has 273; Ron Paul, who may or may not be a Republican, has 50. Newt Gingrich has 135 delegates; however, this week he announced he downsized his staff and campaign, and is layin’ low-except, of course, for the times he can get free TV time to lambaste Romney and Santorum who are engaged in a vicious personal battle that has bubbled out of the TV ad cauldron.

The April 3 primaries will add a maximum of 98 delegates. And that brings Super Northeast Tuesday, April 24. The Republican leftovers and their never-ending TV ads will blitz Pennsylvania, which might even become relevant.

Even if Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island-and Pennsylvania with 72 of the 231 delegate votes-go for Romney, it won’t be enough to get him the nomination. However, it will be enough to cause major financial backers to pull their support for Santorum and what’s left of the Gingrich campaign, leaving Romney to flip-flop into the Republican nomination convention, Aug. 27, in Tampa, Fla.-which seems to be the Republicans’ destiny.

[Dr. Brasch has covered political campaigns for more than three decades. His latest book is the critically-acclaimed fast-paced mystery Before the First Snow, available at and his publisher, Greeley & Stone.]Within the next week, another nine states voted.


Walter M. Brasch, Ph.D.

Latest Book: Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution



Campaign 2012

Being a presidential election year I’ve decided to start a new column focusing on that election.  This way these items will be separate from the daily News & Notes.

A sneak peek at the new short film on Obama being released Thursday:

The Affordable Care Act is about a year old and you can discover how it is saving you money with these neat tool:

Two Governors, Bob McDonnell (VA) and Martin O’Malley (MD) tangled on ultrasound bills:

Santorum Spreads Through Midwest

Following his early withdrawal from Florida Rick Santorum spread the Midwest yesterday like…well, like the sludge farmers spread on their fields.  Of course we all know what sludge really is and from where it comes.  oops, I think I just used the wrong spelling for that last word.

The former Pennsylvania Senator, ousted in part because he lived in Virginia, won all three states last night driving the GOP presidential field into gridlock.  Rick has now won four states compared with Mitt’s three (NH, SC and Florida).  This race is anything but over and liberals are hoping it continues to go because the four contenders keep saying such terrible things driving independent voters screaming for sanctuary.

Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri voted yesterday and the man who lost his Senate by 18 points seemed invincible.  Hold onto your sperm because nothing is safe if Santorum gets momentum.  The Opus Dei Catholic cult member wants to replace democracy with a theocracy where his Big Brother government will enter your bedroom and dictate what sexual practices you and your wife (sorry, no LGBT sex would be allowed) can conduct.  Your sperm would have more rights than you under President Santorum.  He believes any wasted sperm is a crime against god.  Wasted means sperm not used to impregnate a woman and create a pregnancy.  Birth control, contraception, masturbation, oral sex, anal sex and anything else would be a violation of scripture and a crime.

Why would any sane and rational American vote for such an agenda?  Good question folks.  it reminds me where that sludge comes from and what’s in it.

Florida Votes

Mitt Romney snagged the few delegates remaining from Florida yesterday but his road to the GOP presidential nomination is not yet clear.  Newt Gingrich and his angry white man routine has garnered enough support from racists in South Carolina and elsewhere to be a potential problem.  Republicans have been searching for the anti-Mitt with no success thus far.  The candidate’s flip flopping on social issues combined with his Mormonism give pause to the Party base.  Newt challenged him successfully in SC by running an overtly racist campaign pandering to the South’s blatant racism.  

Florida is a different animal however because of all the snowbirds and senior citizens.  Interestingly no one in any of the debates there mentioned either Social Security or medicare, both key programs the GOP has sworn to abolish should they win in November.  Why the media refused to ask questions about such important programs in such an important state like Florida has many wondering about collusion with the conservative campaigns.  Given the number of senior citizens in the Sunshine State it does give me cause to wonder…

Rick Santorum gained but 13.4% of the vote compared with Mitt’s 46.4%, Newt’s 31.9% and Ron Paul’s miniscule 7%.  The former Pennsylvanian suffered from early withdrawal after pulling out early to deal with his youngest daughter’s medical issues.  Interestingly he lied to the media claiming she was at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) when in reality she was being treated in Virginia.  Is there nothing we can trust this man on?

Paul’s campaign is dead in the water though he has enough money to remain in the race and force his Party even further to the abyss of extremism at the convention.  His supporters are avid enough to contribute relentlessly.

Newt’s history of being the meanest, nastiest man in Washington is what keeps this contest interesting.  His campaign is reflecting th eman himself and his attacks on Romney are fueled with millions poured into the coffers of his super PAC by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.  The Zionist has pumped $10 million in so far and the effects of huge money is corrupting everything already.  Newt always was a pig but now he’s a whore.  When someone gives you $10 million they own you.  Mitt isn’t much better by taking huge sums himself funneled through his own PAC.  If anyone thinks there is no communication between the PAC’s and campaigns you’re fools.   The corruption ahead from the effect of these gigantic contributions will be mind boggling.  No one gives that much money without the expectation of something in return.

Ron Paul The Anarchist

Presidential candidate Ron Paul exposed his anarchist beliefs in a simple response in the latest debate when Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney argued over health care.  Paul said the fallacy of both arguments was in the premise that the two men were arguing about which government program was best.  According to Paul’s answer no government is best.  That’s an anarchist view and it underlines ALL of the Congressman’s beliefs.  It is a fallacy because good government is a powerful force for good in people’s lives.

Do you enjoy traveling from place to place.  Going to work means driving on good roads and stable bridges, buying gas and knowing you’re actually getting a gallon of fuel for your money instead of being cheated.  It means being able to travel safely knowing not everyone can run red lights, drive 90 mph, swerve and tailgate because police on patrol insuring that every driver follow established rules of the road set by government.

Good government means you can go to the market and be relatively safe about the safety of the food you’re consuming, that your water won’t make you ill or the air you breathe won’t give you cancer.  Good government means you know your neighbor can’t build some monstrosity right on your property line or take in 50 noisy tenants.  It means being able to buy a home where you know the plumbing and electrical systems are up to a safe standard.  It means if your neighbor’s house goes up in flames or a burglar is poaching in your area firemen and police are there to keep you safe.

Good government means that when you go to work standards of safety are enforced so your coal mine doesn’t blow up, your tools are safe along with all of your working conditions and that your boss cannot sexually harass you.  It means if there’s a child predator in your neighborhood or a rapist on the prowl officers of the law are on the job.  It means a free public education for every person, higher education of a distinct quality respected around the world, medicines that won’t kill you and a Center for Disease Control ready to responding an outbreak and exhaustive medical research extending our lives.

Ron Paul, if he had his way, would eliminate all government save for defense.  He doesn’t care that for fifty cents you can send a letter clear across the country, that we have an energy infrastructure bringing power to your doorstep, water to your tap and sewage into treatment plants.  The ultimate conservative ideology is that it’s all for one instead of one for all.  It would take civilization back to a time before civilized society, to a time of anarchy when only the rich and powerful were safe.  That isn’t America and it disqualifies him for any public office.  If one doesn’t believe in government they shouldn’t be part of it.

Ron Paul: White Supremacist

Note:  I originally wrote and posted this article on June 8, 2007 on this blog when it was hosted at Typepad.  I am republishing it here.


Ron Paul: White Supremacist

Ron Paul has become something of a phenomenon on the campaign trail as a GOP candidate for president.  What everyone needs to realize however, is his deep involvement in the patriot/militia movement and his publication of radical racial epithets over the years.  Congressman Paul is a white supremacist.  Orcinus has the goods on this guy collected from a newsletter he used to distribute and pictures of him in the recent company of extremists.

Some liberals have taken to Paul’s opposition of the war while not realizing his true agenda.  There’s far more to this man than the issue of Iraq and it’s quite ugly.  The patriot movement of the 1980’s-90’s saw a surge in survivalist, white supremacist militia groups threatening the stability of the nation in order to impose their white male leadership on the entire society.  The current Minuteman organization is a successor to this mentality.

Ron Paul has been part and parcel of this and he is “one of theirs.”  Past issues of “The Ron Paul Survivor Report” survive in archives at the University of Wisconsin and elsewhere and bloggers are digging them out and re-publishing them so voters understand the true nature and political philosophy of this candidate.

A few excerpts:


“…our country is being destroyed by a group of actual and potential terrorists — and they can be identified by the color of their skin.”

   “Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty, and the end of welfare and affirmative action…. Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the “criminal justice system,” I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”

   “We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, but it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings, and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers.”

I think you begin to get the idea of who this man is and what he REALLY believes.  Such toxic, racist diatribes have no place with civilized men and civilized culture.  Please don’t support Ron Paul.

Update:  This article has received many links and much traffic.  I have a question for all the Paul apologists and deniers leaving comments:  if he isn’t a white supremacist why are all the white supremacists endorsing him?   I have to credit Orcinus for digging out the facts and the truth about Ron Paul.  It was their coverage which was the basis for this article.  They found this picture of Paul with white supremacist Dr. Robert Clarkson:

The photo’s caption says it all:

AS many of you know, Congressman Ron Paul from Texas is one of the most conservative members of Congress and very sympathetic to the patriot’s cause. Here we find Dr Robert Clarkson with Congressman Ron Paul in Columbia, SC at Libertarian-Patriot Banquet on April 2, 2004.

White supremacists support Ron Paul because he’s one of them.

News & Notes January 4, 2012

It’s always an adjustment writing the new year’s number…  Happy New Year to everyone and may 2012 bring you health and happiness.

Mike Schlossberg announced his candidacy to succeed Jennifer Mann as State Representative.  He will have an event on January 19th where she will endorse him.

Mitt Romney squeaked by Rick Santorum by 8 votes in the Iowa caucus with racist Ron Paul third.  I’ll have more on this separately.  Interestingly, for a Party obsessed with voter fraud they didn’t require Voter ID’s.  This smells of hypocrisy.

The Pennsylvania Progressive Summit is at the Philadelphia Convention Center from February 10-12th.  Make your reservations now.  This is a “can’t miss” event for progressives and liberals.  I will be doing a workshop on making, editing and incorporating video into blogs.  Susie Madrak of Crooks and Liars will be assisting me doing the workshop.

A couple from Dimock filed criminal charges against township supervisors for having an illegal meeting during deliberations to refuse water assistance from Binghamton.

The Philadelphia School District sent layoff notices to the union threatening another 1400 layoffs.  This is but more evidence that Gov. Corbett’s actions are causing job losses than than gains.

President Obama signed the NDAA the other day legalizing the indefinite detention of American citizens.  Until this law is declared unconstitutional (don’t hold your breath, the PATRIOT Act remains a law of the land) we are no longer a democracy.  Had George W. Bush signed this Democrats would be outraged and protesting everywhere.  Where’s the outrage now?

The saber rattling between the U.S. and Iran is increasing to dangerous levels.  Who cares if Iran develops a nuclear weapon?  We didn’t threaten Israel, Pakistan or India when they made their nukes.  Iran cannot attack us with nuclear weapons so they pose no strategic threat.  The rhetoric surrounding this is identical to that used to justify invading Iraq.

There are now 18,500,000 vacant homes in America.  Banks are demolishing them so as not to further depress real estate values.  Five years of sales inventory is being held off the market.  Meanwhile the National Association of Realtors confessed to falsifying sales statistics.  What is the real value of your home?  Who knows?

Arizona now wants to allow handguns on college campuses.  Maybe they should check with people at Virginia Tech about how well that works.

Ron Paul sent a Tweet insulting and slamming Jon Huntsman and when queried by CNN claimed not to know anything about it.  That excuse, the same he’s used for his racist newsletters, is getting lame.  It’s time Congressman Paul exercised some of that personal responsibility he’s so famous for insisting others perform.

Hawaii and Delaware became the two newest states to allow same sex civil unions.

Republicans have become obsessed with drug testing welfare recipients.  If so does this include ALL such recipients?  Since Wall Street, big business and big agriculture are the largest such recipients of public welfare I want to watch them pee into cups.  Aside from the fact the Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable search and seizures, this could be fun.

Ron Paul: Property Trumps Humanity

Ron Paul reiterated his core position that property rights are supreme.  Candy Crowley interviewed him on CNN this morning but failed to challenge the candidate on such an important claim.  This is the core failure of conservatives:  their rights to property trump everyone else’s rights to humanity.  Everything else must be subservient to stuff.  Property rights mean more than human rights.  In its essence this is the failure of movement conservatism.  It is the “me only” attitude and who gives a damn about you.