News & Notes December 16, 2011

You’ve got to admire the moxie and gall of Michele Bachmann.  Last night she claimed that PolitiFact had said everything she said was true.  PolitiFact:  No we didn’t.  They gave her a “pants on fire” for lying…yet again.

Christopher Hitchens died yesterday.  The elegance of his writing left one in awe, whether you agreed with him or not, everyone both loved and hated the man at times.  He wrote what he thought, what was on his mind and didn’t care what anyone else thought.  His free spirit is gone and we’ve all lost someone special.

Mike McQueary, testifying in Harrisburg at the preliminary trial for two PSU officials, says he told Joe Paterno about witnessing disturbing things of a very sexual nature between Coach Sandusky and a young boy.  Paterno told him he’d done “the right thing” by coming to him.  Assuming he meant by not going to police this is enough to justify Paterno’s firing.

Protesters marched in New York protesting the disenfranchisement of millions of voters.  Their target:  the infamous Koch brothers who finance such fringe legislation.

Tea Party Patriots leader Mark Meckler was arrested at Laguardia Airport for carrying a Glock pistol.  Not having a permit for the gun in New York carries a 15 year sentence.  I wonder if he’ll “get” religion about racial tolerance at Sing Sing?

Chris Dietz is running for State Representative in the 104th District of Dauphin and Lebanon Counties.  I know Chris and he’s an impressive young man.  His partner Alex Reber is a Board member of Planned Parenthood of Northeast and Mid Penn.

Here’s a great story about the tyranny of Daryl Metcalfe in the State Government Committee in Harrisburg.  The man is an unapologetic bully pushing through his fringe agenda.

More on happenings in Harrisburg from Andy Hoover of ACLU-PA:

The environmental damage from global warming is worse than anticipated.  Giant plumes of methane are coming to the surface in the Arctic Ocean.  Methane is about the worst pollutant possible is expanding climate change.  Gas drilling, or fracking, releases large amounts of methane also.  We simply must drastically reduce our use of carbon based fuels.

Here’s a real shocker:  Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a racist.  Tell us something we didn’t already know.  Yes, so he was racial profiling Hispanics… Tell us something we didn’t already know…

In this Year of the Protester, as Time calls it, some of them disrupted a hearing of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission:

Bill Maher does it again:

News & Notes December 6, 2011

Sen. Dominic Pileggi won’t be jumping into the U.S. Senate race.

Michele Bachmann reacted stranglely to a simple truth told her by a young boy mature for his years:

On facebook Lehigh County Commissioner Scott Ott described this as “Leftist child abuse by cowardly parent. How Bachmann’s handling of this can be seen as anything but gracious, I’m not sure.”

Ott, who lives on the compound of a fringe religious sect, thinks it’s “lefty child abuse” to live with reality, to deal with reality and expect others to.

Mitt says he was a job creator at Bain Capital but the truth is the opposite.  Bain bought companies to raid the pension funds then gut and destroy them.  He made a fortune throwing hard working middle class workers out of their jobs.

Sarah Palin has been found guilty in yet another ethics conundrum.  Her defense fund must return $386,000.

For all of you expecting to party the entire year of 2012 in anticipation of the Mayans’ prediction of the end of the world might first want to read this.

Jerry Sandusky went to dinner with one of his former victims.  Police gave the young man permission and it appears the alleged child molester sought to influence his victim yet again by taking him to dinner and convince him it was all for his own good.  The creep never quits.

Here’s a bit of raw truth for all the believers out there:  churches use fear to control you:

Republicans passed voter ID laws here and elsewhere seeking to eliminate a problem which doesn’t exist.  The real problem they had was Democrats voting so they passed laws to keep them doing so.  Of course poll taxes are unconstitutional so they said all you need is a state issued ID card they’d pay for.  What they forgot was how some folks don’t have birth certificates required for those ID’s.  Heck, I never had mine until a couple years ago.  Lots of people don’t have theirs and that costs you money, ergo a poll tax.  For this woman in Wisconsin it means $200 in order to vote.  How, for example, are senior citizens living in nursing homes going to get to a DMV for an ID?

Tom Corbett may be engaging in corruption with his privatization task force.  He has hired an investment firm to identify targets.  Any guesses on which investment firm might profit from these activities?

News & Notes December 3, 2011

Channel 69 News picked up my story about Tom Herman.  No one will yet comment about their resignation.  I’ve downloaded the fall dinner video done by Mr. Herman to pull out the section where he rants against blogs, email listers and progressives.  This is someone who co-founded a “progressive PAC (which gives to non-progressives) and who calls himself a progressive when it’s in his interest.  BS as we saw in his rant.

Donald Trump will moderate a GOP debate.  This is now, officially, a reality show combined with book tours.  At the end of the debate he should fire one of the candidates.  You cannot take seriously anything in which The Donald is involved.

Newt Gingrich claims people use their food stamp card to go to Hawaii.  This is shocking in that it illustrates the disconnect the 1% have with poor people.  Newt doesn’t have a clue how food stamps work.

The Milton S. Hershey School barred a boy from enrolling because he has HIV.  It’s been a long time since we witnessed HIV hysteria.  I thought the Ryan White days were passed us.  The only potential threat from others is the slight chance the boy would be subjected to a predatory sex offender hiring Hershey boys out for sex to older men.  Since the Hershey School has actually had that happen recently with one of its adult employees perhaps they shouldn’t be trusted with any children.

Michele Bachmann says she’d close the American embassy in Iran.  There hasn’t been a U.S. embassy in Tehran since 1979.  Shouldn’t candidates for president have some minimum sense of history and information?   Maybe, at a minimum, pass a basic civics test?

House Speaker John Boehner says the middle class payroll tax cut is “chicken shit.”  I think he has this confused with the way Republicans view the entire 99%.  Perhaps he should spend less time protecting billionaires’ incomes and rolled around in some chicken shit.  It’s right there in the GOP caucus room.

Penn State isn’t subject to the state Open Records Act and is using that shield to suppress requests for information about the Sandusky scandal.  They also used it to fight grand jury subpoenas.  As I recall the original controversy was around disclosing JoePa’s salary.  Penn State is just making itself look worse and worse by concealing what should be public information.  This is yet another disgrace.

Gov. Corbett ordered DPW to cut $470 million from its budget and social workers are now telling tales about poor women and children being cut from Medicaid.  All this, of course, is to fund tax breaks for corporations and allow energy drillers to NOT pay for extracting OUR natural gas.

Congressman Mike Kelly (PA-03) lambasted Obama for not taking responsibility for Republican failures.  It sounds like something you’d hear from a car salesman.  Kelly is a car dealer in Erie.

Rick Santorum says you shouldn’t get health insurance if you have pre-existing conditions.  It’s an excellent argument for single payer.

The GOP Clown Show Drags On

The Republican presidential road show rolled into DC last night for a show under the Big Top.  They rolled out their clowns for a performance on national security hosted by CNN, The Heritage Foundation and AEI.  Wolf “Blitz” Blitzer hosted.  Since the poll came out illustrating how folks who watch no news know more than those who watch Fox News I understand why these candidates are so ill informed:  they watch Fox in addition to being on the network.  The clear winner was Barack Obama because Jon Hunstman is the only sane person on these stages and he has no chance at the nomination.  You have be either insane or act it to get the modern day GOP presidential nomination because what’s left of the Grand Old Party are the crazies.

Michele Bachmann bragged about “winning the peace in Iraq.”  We lost that war and slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians.  That isn’t “winning the peace” because it will come to haunt us in the future.  Asked what unmentioned threat could loom before us Rick Santorum mentioned Central America.  That was a veiled reference to Hugo Chaves who is no threat but his brand of populist socialism is.

Santorum seemed to take credit for every bill sponsored in Congress while he was a Senator.  Herman Cain was almost as laughable as Rick Perry in his lack of knowledge and non responsive answers.Calls were made to invade both Iran and Pakistan among questions from Bush war criminals David Addington and Paul Wolfowitz.  Cain said terrorists have entered the country through Mexico, several agreed we should put a no fly zone over Syria (why, they aren’t using aircraft?), Bachmann confused billions with trillions, and all agreed that when generals ask for more troops never question them.  Lincoln would still be sitting around waiting for George McClellan to do something if that were the case.  At the onset Newt asked about the rules because he wanted to play by them.  That’s a first.

News & Notes September 28, 2011

I got moved to the new house over the weekend but am still ferrying carloads of small things so my schedule is kind of busy right now.  The desktop system isn’t set up yet so I’m dependent on my laptop and the dining room table.  Hopefully by next week I’ll be somewhat back to normal.  It doesn’t appear there’s a way to disassemble the old desk/hutch so I’m shopping for something new.

Michelle Bachmann says she’d eliminate all taxes as president.  That means she’d eliminate all government.

Rick Santorum is moving ahead of Bachmann and some of the other dwarfs in the Snow White GOP field.  Have people forgotten he wants to establish a Big Government to intrude into your sex life and tell you what you can and cannot do with your partner in bed?  Santorum believes every sex act must be vaginal intercourse without contraception so we can continue overpopulating the planet.  Remember he’s a member of the Roman Catholic cult Opus Dei.  He would report to the Pope.

Could next year’s election be stolen?  It turns out Diebold electronic voting machines can be hacked with $10 worth of materials.  A majority of Pennsylvanians will vote on machines which can be hacked to rig an election.  No wonder half of us no longer even vote.  The system is becoming more and more corrupt.

New census data out shows 130,000 same sex married couples and 514,000 living in long term relationships but unable to wed.

It also shows the poorest city in America is our own Reading, PA.  It surprises no one here that Reading now has the highest percentage of residents living in poverty.  One need only drive through the City to see the condition of its residents.  Crime is skyrocketing and anyone who has been able to flee Reading has already.

In the “tell me something I don’t already know” department a BBC interview is getting attention for the blunt words said about the economy:

I’ve been saying for a while that anyone with money in the market is a fool because the game is rigged by Wall Street insiders.  It is obvious to me a collapse of global proportions is coming because Washington has failed to regulate bankers.  They have failed to do that because Goldman Sachs runs our government.

Lawrence O’Donnell is covering the occupation of Wall Street and the police brutality against protesters:

The baseball season ends today and the Phillies are the best team of the year and enter the playoffs the favorite to win the World Series.  Unfortunately for Pirates fans they’ve endured their 20th consecutive losing season.  The Phils sleepwalked through an eight game losing streak where it appears they allowed St. Louis to sweep a four game series to screw the Braves.  If so those of us who attended those games deserve our money back.

The Eagles, coronated as the “Dream Team” all summer are also sleep walking through their schedule.  I don’t think this is what was meant by “dream team.”  They won’t win until they get an offensive line.

Have you seen the Taco Bell commercial where they brag about using “select grade” beef?  Select is the lowest grade of beef you can buy.

The new season of “Survivor” is on and my readers know I’m a long time Survivor fanatic.  There’s another interesting cast this season and I’ve yet to choose a favorite.  I do like Jim, the marajuana dealer from California.  The Hantz kid is riding his uncle’s coattails but he’s no Russell.  He screwed Coach last week so he’s history.

Gov. Corbett continues to hide from Pennsylvanians, not making public appearances or conducting press briefings.  We all know what he’s trying to hide and this simply makes it obvious.

While in New Mexico last month I did a bit of research into hydrofracking in The Land of Enchantment.  They’ve had it for thrity years with far fewer problems than we’ve had in a short time period.  I went to the office of the State Land Commissioner, a state wide elected office there to make an appointment to talk to some experts.  They not only accommodated me they had me wait a few minutes until two gentlemen came out of a conference room in front of me, answered a few questions and then escorted me up a flight of stairs.  there they introduced me to New Mexico’s state geologist who gave me half an hour on the spot.  Would that happen in Harrisburg?  Never in a million years.

By the way the geologist said if any officials from Pennsylvania want to come to Santa Fe and see how it’s done (effective regulation and taxation) they’re welcome.

‘Step Right up!’ Snake Oil for Sale

by Walter Brasch

The Tea Party, mutant spawn of the Republicans, held their spineless parents and the nation hostage during the debt ceiling crisis, and is now demanding an even greater ransom.

Flushed with what they mistakenly believe is success, they have launched an all-out assault upon the presidency. Their generals, fattened by Iowa corn and midway schmaltz, are Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain. Sarah Palin, hovering near the battlefields to soak up the media sunlight, much like a black hole absorbs all energy and light from nearby stars, is waiting to see how the war goes (and if she can write some intelligent sentences) before deciding to re-enter battle.

Bachmann is the winner of the strangest political non-election in the country, the Iowa Straw Poll. She won the race the old-fashioned way. She bought it.

To make sure that Iowans entered the Tents of Instant Gratification and, thus, cast their ballot the right way, the candidates, who paid $15,000-$31,000 to rent space at Iowa State, provided food, music, and carnival fun for the voters. Bachman had a petting zoo, and drew fans to a concert by country superstar Randy Travis. Cost of the banquet: $30 a ticket.

To assure there were enough votes, Bachmann’s campaign, like all other campaigns, paid the $30 admissions ticket. That would be $144,690 for 4,823 votes, plus several hundred thousand dollars in related campaign expenses. Related campaign expenses for the candidates included renting charter buses to bring voters from throughout Iowa to Ames.

But, Iowans aren’t stupid. Many wanted to see Randy Travis and eat the food of politics but didn’t plan to vote for Bachmann. About 6,000 persons took the “free” $30 tickets. Thus, she officially paid $180,000, $37.32 a vote; unofficially, with all expenses figured in, the cost could easily have been well over $200 a vote so she could be the winner and earn the title of Media Darlin’ of the Week.

The establishment media generally avoided Ron Paul, the second place winner, who “only” got 4,671 votes, 152 less than Bachmann, and 27.7 percent. Paul is a pariah in the Republican party, and something the media can’t figure out, because he actually has a core set of principles, which sometimes leads him to ally with liberals, but for different reasons.

Third place, with 13.6 percent of the vote and, according to numerous media pundits not charismatic enough to be a serious contender, went to Tim Pawlenty, who didn’t drink much of the tea and dropped out of the race after spending about $1 million in Iowa. Not dropping out were Tea Party favorites Rick Santorum (9.8 percent) and Herman Cain (8.6 percent), who lured voters into his tent with free Godfather’s Pizza. Mitt Romney, who had spent about $2 million in the 2007 Straw Poll, but skipped this year’s non-binding poll, finished behind Rick Perry, dripping tea with every statement he makes, entered the presidential race only after the Iowa Straw Poll, but did get 718 write-in votes for 4.3 percent of the vote. Nevertheless, Romney is still believed to be the front-runner.

Thus, going into the primary season, the Tea Party can arouse themselves with Bachmann, Perry, Santorum, Cain, and maybe Palin. Not identified with the Tea Party, but in its gravitational pull are Romney, Jon Huntsman, and whatever is left of Newt Gingrich’s chances.

The Tea Party began a few months after Barack Obama was elected president, with a stated purpose to reduce wild government spending. But its deep structure shows an amorphous bunch of white middle-class ultra-conservatives, aided by upper-class political consultants and media manipulators, who have developed the ability to sound impressive with only half-truths behind their rants and chants, and a zealous determination to keep President Obama out of a second term.

During the debt ceiling crisis, Tea Partiers refused to budge on a demand of not raising the debt ceiling, cutting numerous social and educational programs, and holding firm to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Everyone must cut back, especially during economic crises, they bleated. Austerity is their mantra.

But, based upon their extravagant lifestyle and the wild spending they did in Iowa, shouldn’t their mantra now be “hypocrisy”?

News & Notes August 18, 2011

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale was arrested yesterday at a sit-in against Hershey Foods.  As Keystone Progress reported yesterday the food manufacturer misled foreign students who paid $3-6,000 apiece to come and work at Hershey Park for the summer.  Instead they were to put to labor filling boxes of chocolates at the candy factory.

Michele Bachmann is promising a return to under $2/gallon gasoline if elected president.   She intends to do this by expanding drilling (more Deepwater Horizons) and reducing regulations on oil companies (more poisoned air, ground and water).  The actual cause of the spike in gas prices is the deregulation of commodities markets under George W. Bush.  Speculators were allowed unrestricted access and huge pension funds and other investors flooded into these markets driving up prices.  How Bachmann, who advocates deregulation and free markets, intends to lower prices caused by those exact conditions illustrates she either doesn’t understand the problem or is pandering to voters.

Manan Trivedi announced last month he is running for Jim Gerlach’s Congressional seat again.  I hope he finds an issue to run on this time.  In 2010, with all of the horrid votes cast by Gerlach over the years, all Trivedi could find for a message was the Congressional pay raise.  With all the issues and problems facing this country voters didn’t care about how much Gerlach made.

The Murdochs have been caught lying again about the News Corporation phone hacking scandal.  Surprise, surprise.  Now what will Parliament do about it?

President Obama will call for Syrian President Assad to step down following violent clashes with protesters.  I hope the American and British leaders remember this when austerity riots break out in both countries.