Remember Government By Extortion?

America was on the verge of default.  The safest investment in the world:  United States Treasury Bonds, were about to fail because the Tea Party led Republican House of Representatives decided to play government by extortion.  The resulting crisis over raising the debt ceiling (which will play out again in January depending on the outcome of the election) resulted in a loss of consumer confidence which hurt the economy and the downgrading of the country’s credit rating.

This wasn’t the first instance of House extremists using extortion to hurt the economy.  Repeatedly since 2010 they held a gun to the President’s head (figuratively) and demanded deep cuts in government spending which wound up slowing down the recovery.  While 5.2 million private sector jobs have been created public sector employment has plummeted.

Guess who participated fully in that extortion?  Pennsylvania’s GOP Congressional delegation:

Jim Gerlach

Joe Pitts

Mike Fitzpatrick

Pat Meehan

Charlie Dent

Lou Barletta

Tom Marino

Tim Murphy

Mike Kelly

Todd Platts

Part of that agreement was the sequestration crisis scheduled to hit the economy early in 2012.  It would slash government spending, including defense, by large amounts.  Most agencies will see a 20% across the board cut meaning essential services will be lost.  Do you enjoy safe food, research into cancer and other life threatening diseases, breathable air, safe ground, pharmaceuticals which are safe to take etc?  Forget it.  These Tea bagger conservatives have put all of it at risk along with the safety net for the poor.  Their failed economic policies crashed the economy and drove many middle class Americans into poverty.  Now they want to take away your food stamps, housing assistance, heating assistance and Medicaid.

Are you really going to vote them back in?

MoveOn.org Protests Ryan

MoveOn.org organized a protest outside the Paul Ryan event in West Chester this afternoon.  Quite a few women showed up protesting Congressman Todd Akin, a close ally of Ryan, and New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg told the crowd he disagrees with “Lyin’ Ryan.”  Congressional candidates Manan Trivedi and George Badey also appeared.  A plane paid for by Move.On flew overhead:

This sign sums up the Ryan Plan for Medicare:

Sen. Lautenberg:

A number of Republicans engaged the speakers rather rudely.  You can hear them in the video.  A tracker for Congressman Meehan asked Badey about ObamaCare.  The video:

Trivedi Will Continue Challenging Jim Gerlach

Manan Trivedi, who now resides in the 7th Congressional District, says he will continue running for the 6th CD seat held by Jim Gerlach.  Union Township, Berks County, was put into Pat Meehan’s gerrymandered 7th CD in redistrcting.  Trivedi is on eof several previously declared challengers who were purposefully drawn out of the districts in which they were challenging incumbents.  It’s bad enough that officials are choosing their voters but this year, both on the state and federal levels, they are choosing their opponents.  Trivedi’s announcement:

BIRDSBORO, Pa – Upon passage by both the Pennsylvania state Senate and House, Manan Trivedi released the following statement on the congressional redistricting legislation:

“The only thing that can compare to the ongoing assault on fairness by Republicans in Washington is what Republicans in Harrisburg did with the Pennsylvania redistricting process. Partisan politics won out in the end. Even my home county of Berks with a population of just over 400,00 got split into four congressional districts. Republican politicians are breaking the public’s trust by breaking apart our community.

“Regardless of where the overreach in protecting political power originates, I am not deterred. As I continue to run for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 6th congressional district, I will fight to bring about the common sense values that my friends and neighbors deserve. I am especially looking forward to speaking with the new voters of the district, including in the town of Fleetwood where I grew up and went to school. I’m eager to compare my career of serving our nation to that of career politician Jim Gerlach who falls in lock-step with Republicans in Washington who have just voted to raise taxes on the  middle class and  support the elimination of Medicare as we know it.”

Senate Approves Gerrymandering Congressional Districts

The Republican drawn Congressional redistricting map was released just one day before the Senate voted to approve it late last night.  The vote, in fact, came after the 11 PM rule closing Senate business.  That rule was put in place to stop the state legislature from passing onerous bills in the dead of night after they voted themselves a 2 AM pay raise of 37%.  They violated the rule in passing this similar onerous bill last night.

The 7th CD goes through five counties and is drawn to award Republican Congressman Pat Meehan a safe district.  Redistricting is a process wherein elected officials decide, not only who their voters will be, but their opponents.  The maps drawn for state House, Senate and Congress all conveniently exclude declared challengers.  This cannot be sheer coincidence.  It proves intent to gerrymander and protect incumbents and should be the foundation for a court challenge.

The initial vote was 25-25 in the heavily controlled GOP Senate as some in that body feared the wrath of their voters back home.  Sen. Vogel then switched his vote and the bill passed 26-24.

Anne Covey (Hearts) Karl Rove

Commonwealth Court candidate Anne Covey is seen chatting it up with Karl Rove in this picture from a dinner in Franklin County.  Rove, of course, is infamous for politicizing the justice system while serving as “Bush’s Brain.”  While in the White House as President Bush’s political director he oversaw the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys because they weren’t using their prosecutorial powers to jail enough Democrats.

Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General at the time, was eventually forced out of office for implementing Karl Rove’s mandate to politicize the Department of Justice.  Only “Loyal Bushies” such as Chris Christie, Tom Marino, Pat Meehan and Marybeth Buchanan kept their jobs and the Governor of Alabama was imprisoned on trumped up charges by Rove’s henchman.

Cozying up to the likes of Rove while running for one of our high courts doesn’t show very good judgment.  Would Covey use him as an example for corrupting our justice system here in Pennsylvania?  This picture scares the dickens out of me.

News & Notes October 1, 2010

Its another beautiful day in downtown Santa Fe but I’m heartened to see Pennsylvania is finally getting rain.  A bit too much all of a sudden but at least the lakes and rivers are full, or flood stage.  Blue Marsh lake in Berks County had been dropped seven feet in order to keep the Schuylkill River flowing and the trout alive.  Normally the lake is lowered five or six feet during the winter months, dropping it seven in late summer showed the extreme nature of our weather.

The news in Santa Fe yesterday was about City Council adopting a strict new ordinance against nudity.  The Naked Bike Ride came through here last month and apparently outraged the more puritanical citizenry.  Now no exposure of the backside or frontal areas are allowed.  In a City which is home to hundreds, maybe thousands of creative people, artists, writers, sculptors, etc. this wasn’t met with glee by all.  The ordinance seems quite vague on what amounts to too much exposure and I believe local lawyers will have a field day.  If a resident has a swimming pool or spa and can’t wear a bikini they might get ugly.  As far as men go the law refers to certain levels of “turgidity” in a swim suit as being offensive.  I wonder who is going to circulate around the city examining men for the state of their turgidity?  Maybe there’s a job opening for me.

Tom Corbett is already hedging his “no new taxes” pledge except for workers.  Oops, while refusing to levy taxes of energy companies raping our land for natural gas he would increase your payroll taxes and reduce your unemployment compensation.  Of course if you’re unemployed he already thinks you’re simply “fat and lazy.”  Go get a job he says.  Better yet go vote next month and deny him a job.

Bryan Lentz and Pat Meehan held a debate where the former “loyal Bushie” stumbled through a statement so incomprehensible no one can determine what his babbling was about:

Ok, the choice in PA-07 is between a bumbling idiot or an Iraq War veteran who has served diligently in Harrisburg for four years?  Bryan Lentz ate Meehan’s lunch in this debate.

Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO running for Governor of California has spent $120 million of her own money yet was caught employing an undocumented worker to clean her home for nine years.  Knowing the woman was illegal and knowing she had ambitions, Meg fired her and told her “I don’t know you and you don’t know me.”  Well, paybacks are a bitch.  The former maid held a press conference this week.  Republicans are strict on illegal immigration as long as it doesn’t affect their maids and landscapers.

In New York the Tea Party/GOP candidate for Governor got angry at a Post reporter for tracking down his mistress and their bastard child.  I suppose he got into such a high profile race not thinking the press would delve into his personal life after admitting he had a ten year old daughter out of wedlock.  He then accused his opponent Andrew Cuomo, with no basis or evidence whatsoever, of infidelity.  The Republicans this year are a piece of work.   Carl Paladino threatened the reporter saying “I’ll take you out!”  I long for the good old days of NY politics when having a Governor who said that meant going to dinner with a hooker.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the guy who had the gall to paint triple Vietnam amputee Max Cleland as unpatriotic for sticking up for federal workers, apologized for a staffer’s blog comment.  He fired the guy who left the statement on “Joe By God” saying “all faggots must die.”  Maybe all bigots should be voted out of office.

The two programs most hated by Tea baggers, TARP and ARRA, have actually been tremendously successful.  Facts belie the myth that trillions of tax dollars were wasted and ballooned the deficit.  The deficits which went from $2 trillion in 1981 to $12 trillion in 2008 under thirty years of GOP profligate spoending and tax cuts for the rich were never an issue for these morons.  Two unfunded wars later and a global economic collapse and they’re suddenly for fiscal austerity when the country desperately needs it to pull out of the Bush Recession.

TARP will now likely show a profit because AIG has announced a plan to repay their TARP money and ARRA, the stimulus bill saved or created 3 million jobs, had 3000 projects come in under cost and ha shad almost no fraud.  I ran into a Tea Partier in Oklahoma (he was from Illinois) who falsely claimed to me that the ARRA bill had wasted huge amounts of money on fraud.  I explained to him he could go online and see every dollar spent.  hmm, those idiots who told him that tale seemed to have forgotten the White House created a web site to track all the programs and all the money.  Why lie when your lie is so easily proven wrong?

News & Notes September 22, 2010

Pat Toomey is up by either 4 or 7 points in the latest polls.  I tend to rely on Quninnipiac the most and they have the race as seven.  That means Joe Sestak has his opponent right where he wants him.  I’m betting his powerful biography boosts him over someone who has spent his life shilling for Wall Street.  If Pennsylvania voters opt for Toomey after losing their jobs, homes and retirements to Wall Street they get what they deserve.

In the Governor’s race Tom Corbett is pulling away with a 15 point spread and has a decided cash on hand advantage.  Dan Onorato was a bad candidate from the start but got a jump on everyone and raised enough cash to saturate TV last spring.  No personality, no charisma, no record…  I’ll also bet the AGG is a one term Guv.  Next year’s budget battle is going to be historic because cowardly legislators refused to raise taxes in an election year.  With Corbett’s vow for no new taxes he has George Herbert Walker Bush tattooed on his forehead.

The 15 CD race is also over.  John Callahan self immolated at last week’s debate, or, rather, Q&A session.  I’m not sure I’ve ever watched a worse performance.  The Morning Call has that race at 11 points.  Why vote for the Bethlehem Mayor who wouldn’t even make an impassioned plea for someone who has moved 372 bills through the House this session?  He also failed at go after any of Dent’s lies.

Pat Meehan and Bryan Lentz had a debate last evening in the 7th CD but since Gov. Dean’s office has shut me out of tonight’s event in Wayne I passed on their debate last night.  If you want coverage you have to be more open than this folks.  This isn’t the first time I’ve been dissed by Howard Dean and I’m assembling all my old DFA stuff to burn in the BBQ when I return from New Mexico.  

The Pennsylvania ACLU is suing Pittsburgh for its police state tactics during the G20 summit last year.  Police rounded up peaceful protesters, forced them onto the grounds of the Cathedral of Oppression at Pitt, surrounded them so they couldn’t leave then arrested them for failure to disperse.  This is so Orwellian as to be scary.  Dan Onorato was Allegheny County Dictator at the time.

Jim Powers, the head of the state’s domestic terrorism unit, the one which terrorizes activists, remains in office.  

Pittsburghers are complaining about rising parking rates.  This is one reason, along with traffic, why I have stopped covering events in Philadelphia.  I even skipped President Obama’s event for Joe Sestak yesterday.  Sen. Specter, apparently still playing the sore loser’s role, met Obama at the airport then skipped out on reporter’s questions about why he skipped the event at the Convention Center for the Admiral.

Speaking of dissing the press (again, never a good idea) Pat Toomey is refusing to take time to respond to reporters on his campaign trail.  This is a guaranteed method for getting bad press.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell failed in a Senate cloture vote yesterday as both Arkansas Senators joined Republicans to filibuster the bill.  This means we have no Defense Appropriations bill as yet.  With troops on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan and hundreds of other countries, the Pentagon has no funds.  All this because 43 Senators think its moral and right to destroy the integrity of our armed forces by forcing people to lie about who they are.  Hopefully either the courts will remedy this travesty or the President will finally act by Executive Order.

This is horrible news for Democrats who desperately needed something to close the “enthusiasm gap.  Now liberals and progressives are even angrier at the Party following Obama’s dissing and ridicule in Connecticut last week.  Just when the President needed to say something to motivate progressives to go to the polls he, instead, insulted us.  Again.  Is he tone deaf or just stupid?

The Tea Party announced a $1 million anonymous contribution.  We’ll never know who kicked that insane amount of money (but we can guess) since it isn’t being disclosed.  Karl Rove, meanwhile, is collecting another $50 million to rule the airwaves with propaganda next month.  Thank the Supreme Court and its activist Justices Thomas, Alito, Scalia and Roberts.

Larry Summers is leaving the White House so there is one sigh of relief for liberals.  The appointments of him and Geithner sounded the first alarms to the left wing of the Democratic Party that they’d been snookered by their candidate.  That was the onset of the enthusiasm gap.

Lisa Murkowski announced she will run for re-election tot he Senate in Alaska as a write-in candidate.  Good-bye Joe Miller.

The reaction in Delaware to Christine O’Donnell is so severe rank and file Democrats are actually talking about voting.  This is radical!  Republicans, more and more, are coming out of the closet and proclaiming they want to repeal the New Deal including Social Security and they want to begin executing gays and lesbians.  In the past they only intimated these positions.  

Lentz, Meehan Petition Fights Go to Corbett

The struggle to succeed Joe Sestak in Congress has been getting nasty since Tea Party candidate Jim Schneller got into the race and questions about petitions began going to Attorney General Tom Corbett.  This all began last winter when Delaware County Republicans, long the power in Delco, were accused of widespread fraud circulating fellow Republican Pat Meehan’s petitions.  The Delco GOP machine has long enjoyed a sort of monopoly in local politics.  Joe Sestak began creating cracks in it as he defeated Crazy Curt Weldon then essentially ran unopposed in 2008.  Meehan, the former U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia, was embarrassed by the charges of fraud surrounding his candidacy and referred the matter to Corbett.  Tom Corbett, of course, is also running for Governor and has been embedded in a highly political prosecution of his own against Pennsylvania House Democrats.

The BonusGate scandal erupted when legislative staffers were found to be receiving bonuses tied to their illegal political work on campaigns.  Corbett, acting as Attorney General, conducted official searches and investigations of House Dems while allowing House Republicans two years to hit the delete buttons on their legislative computers.  Now he is supposed to be investigating Delaware County Republicans for wholesale fraud on Meehan’s petitions.  As that effort wouldn’t affect his eligibility for the ballot (he still had enough signatures) the third man running for the seat from Meehan’s right did present a threat.

Jim Schneller unknowingly received considerable assistance from Democrat Bryan Lentz’s volunteers who circulated petitions for the third party effort to siphon November votes from the Republican.  It takes many more petition signatures for third party candidates in Pennsylvania so they get until August to amass them and when it was revealed that Schneller got help from Democrats Meehan called foul.  It doesn’t matter who circulates petitions for independent candidates as long as they reside in the district which these folks did.  Pat Meehan went to court to attempt to throw Schneller off the ballot as happened to almost every other candidate, Tea Party or Green, in the Commonwealth.  Jim Schneller won the fight but, again, an investigation has been referred to the AG.  

This means the Republican Attorney General, who is running for Governor, has been charged with investigating petitions for both Pat Meehan (R) and Jim Schneller (TP) while also being charged with political favoritism in his BonusGate prosecutions.  Corbett cannot win in this battle and his dormant investigation of the Meehan petitions is now receiving more media attention.

The real issue here is ballot access where both major parties have raised the bar for third party and independent candidates so high it is difficult for challengers to get on the ballot.  Even then they routinely must hire legal counsel to defend their petitions in court from challenges.  Schneller is the only such candidate to survive to November and only because the Lentz effort was so effective.  Will Corbett perform his official duties before the election or allow the whole affair to die a quiet death?  No one seems to be betting on the former.

Meehan Gets His Facts Wrong on Biden

Pat Meehan sent an email today (around 1 PM) accusing Joe Biden of something he didn’t do.  This is interesting because the White House pool report (which I get when they’re in PA) clearly said this wasn’t accurate.

Meehan is accusing the Vice President of saying Nancy Pelosi was the most powerful person in Washington.  The former “loyal Bushie” jumped on it calling it a gaffe because, obviously, Barack Obama has that title.  Here’s the problem:  according to the press pool report that isn’t what Biden said:

VP Biden did not leave out the President in his remarks in Philadelphia today– he said his name during applause.

Biden was referring to a comment Schwartz made that Pelosi was the most powerful woman in politics. Biden’s full quote:

“You know Allyson said the most powerful woman in American politics. I would rephrase that: the most powerful person in American politics (applause…unclear comments on audio)  with the exception of the President of the United States. And I mean that sincerely.”

Biden then talked about how he has worked with a number of House speakers over the years, and said “the single most successful, the single most persuasive the single most strategic leader I have ever worked with is Nancy Pelosi.”

The pool reporter was Joelle Farrell of The Philadelphia Inquirer and it is interesting the Meehan campaign embarrassed themselves without checking their information.  Or did they and just not care they made a false accusation?  These are Republicans after all and we know they never allow facts to get in the way of a bad opinion.  It isn’t as if their supporters will fact check them is it?