Tuesday, September 30, 2008
From the editorial:
The 228-205 defeat reflects badly on all concerned, starting with the Democrats who run the House. The majority party is responsible for assembling a majority vote, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi failed in that fundamental task.Read the full editorial, "The Beltway Crash" at the newspaper's Web site.
Her highly partisan speech on the floor -- blaming "right-wing ideology of anything goes, no supervision, no discipline, no regulation" for the financial distress -- is no excuse for Republicans to vote no. But it is indicative of the way she has governed for the past two years -- like Tom DeLay without the charm. The cynics are saying Ms. Pelosi deliberately tanked the bill by giving 95 Democrats a pass, knowing failure would hurt John McCain, and given her track record we can see why people would believe it.
And don't forget you have a choice about Congress on Nov. 4: Change or more of the same.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
I have a better idea. I would like to see Congress send a check for $50,000 to every American household. Let's bail out working people instead.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates there are 140 million households in the U.S. So multiply 140 million by $50,000 and you come up with $700 billion, the exact amount Congress wants to spend to bail out corporations.
If you send the money to working Americans, you know where it went. People can pay off part of their mortgages, start a college fund for their kids, buy a new car or make repairs to their homes. At the very least they can use the money to heat their homes this winter.
That money goes right back into the economy and helps prevent a recession.
If you sink $700 billion into corporate America, you have no accountability for that money.
Let's send Congress home this weekend and hold a national referendum. Let the American people decide.
Do we bail out the American worker who is the victim of corporate greed and government collusion or do we bail out the very people who created the crisis?
(Also check out my earlier post on mounting government debt.)
It's the most comprehensive collection of historical information about Obama's ties with far left extremists such as domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and fellow radical Bernardine Dohrn.
The man behind the Web site is David Horowitz, a one-time liberal activist who saw the light.
From Vassilaros' column:
These revelations about Obama's truly radical past and attempts to minimize his relationships with some very bad characters like Ayers and Dohrn are just a tip of a titanic iceberg.
Go to the site and judge for yourself. Don't be dissuaded by Obama apologists claiming its nothing more than guilt by association.
Given his close associates, Obama's guilty as sin.
Read the full column at the newspaper's Web site.
Find out more about Obama's past at www.DiscoverTheNetworks.com
Friday, September 26, 2008
Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today called upon Congress to oppose twin proposals in the House and Senate to again hand out checks from the Treasury in an effort to stimulate the economy.
"The $61 billion House and $56 billion Senate so-called economic 'stimulus' packages are yet another futile proposal by Congressional Democrats. They think if you just hand out money that the economy can be rescued," said Wilson.
"It doesn't quite work like that," Wilson declared.
"Government has tried repeatedly to 'stimulate' the economy this year to no avail," said Wilson.
"There was a $150 billion 'stimulus' package earlier this year. No stimulus. There was a $300 billion Foreclosure 'Prevention' Act. Since then, foreclosures have actually increased. There has been $114 billion in loans to bail out Bear Sterns and AIG, a $200 billion nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and taking up $9 billion in risk from Indy Mac. And yet the global financial system is on the brink of ruin," Wilson added.
"We are awash in debt, already passing $10 trillion this year. And somehow, the Congressional majority believes that spitting out another $60 billion in boondoggles, earmarks, and kickbacks is going to in any way solve the massive problems facing the economy?" asked Wilson.
"That's like going all in on a 2 and a 3 unsuited before seeing the flop," said Wilson. "Now is the time to be saving the American taxpayer's money for the hard times to come, and yet when faced with a challenging economic crisis, Congress' first instinct is to spend, spend, spend."
"It's sickening," he said. "These people are like crack addicts. And they need to be put into rehab. $1.83 trillion of the privately-held national debt is coming due in the next year, and yet we're not planning for that. Instead, we're going on a spending binge."
Wilson emphasized alternatives to help stimulate the economy in the long-term: "We need honest credit, hard money, low taxes, and fiscal discipline by lawmakers. That means putting an end to housing welfare program that created the current mortgage securities meltdown. It means eliminating the dual mandate at the Federal Reserve and stabilizing the dollar. It means a flat tax at a lower rate. And it means balancing the budget and eliminating needless federal bureaucracy."
Wilson noted prescient historical lessons about how governments tend to react to economic hardship: "Government's first inclination whenever the economy hiccups is to grow government, make it bigger. Spend more. Raise taxes. Regulate businesses. Artificially control wages and prices. And that's exactly what many politicians are doing today. It’s never worked, and it never will."
"And yet, that's what they're doing," said Wilson.
"Why don't we try something different just this once? Why not shrink government? Why not reduce taxes? Why not cut spending?" asked Wilson.
"Never has the need for limited government been more apparent," Wilson declared. "Congress needs to draw a line in the sand and vote no on these economic giveaway packages."
Americans for Limited Government is a non- partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms,private property rights and core American liberties. For more information on ALG please call us at 703-383-0880 or visit our website at www.GetLiberty.org
Thursday, September 25, 2008
THE BAD-NEWS BOYS
The Congress of the United States is without a doubt, to use one of the vice president's favorite phrases, the most incompetent, inept, cowardly and corrupt legislative body on the world stage.
The members of Congress do not do their duty. One reason they don't is because they are the biggest time-wasters on the planet. Flipping around C-SPAN the other night, I saw a congressman take the floor to lament the fact that there was a shooting in a small Missouri town. Dearly beloved, there have been shootings in small Missouri towns long before Missouri's most famous son, Jesse James, roamed the state. And lest anyone take this as a slam against Missouri, there have been shootings in small towns in every state of the union. Such affairs are not worthy of Congress' time.
Then another congressman took the floor to eulogize a colleague who just died. Heck-fire, man, go to his funeral or send his family a sympathy card. Don't waste time spreading heifer dust on the floor of the House. Those who knew him will either lament or smile, depending on their opinion of him, and the vast majority of Americans who never heard of him don't give a flip. Americans die every day, and death is a matter for private grief, not official congressional bloviating.
You see, Congress, which takes more time off than most malingerers, doesn't do its job even when it does show up for work. The members have a budget to pass, and they almost never pass it on time. They have oversight duties to perform, which they rarely perform because they are too busy grandstanding about matters that are none of their business, such as the health habits of baseball players or cigarette smokers.
Generally speaking, Congress doesn't show up on Mondays or Fridays, which leaves its members only three days a week to get their work done. Of course, they claim to be working even when they are not present, but what they mean is they are out campaigning and raising money for their re-election. If they really were working, then the legislative process would move faster, instead of like a molasses-coated ox trudging along in mud up to its belly.
The spectacle of the members of Congress jumping to their feet to applaud President George W. Bush at his State of the Union speech tells you all you want to know about their intelligence and courage, both of which are virtually absent. Bush's speech should have been called the state of his ego and delusions.
At the most recent congressional election, the American people gave the Democrats a majority in both Houses and learned rather quickly that a majority of Democrats are just as cowardly and worthless as a majority of Republicans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has turned out to be an airhead, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a timid whiner. Neither of them could lead a two-float parade.
The Constitution quite plainly spells out a limited number of areas that Congress has the authority to act. The operative word is "limited." Congress does not have the authority to legislate on any topic it pleases. One of its most important duties is to set the budget. People often blame the president because he submits a budget. That is only a formality, however. The president has no power to authorize any spending or to levy taxes. The budget is the job of Congress, so you can squarely and fairly blame Congress for every penny of the mammoth budget deficit.
Congress also has the sole duty to declare war, a duty it has shirked since 1941. The authority to declare war does not mean passing a resolution authorizing the use of force. No such authority is needed if American forces are attacked, and if they are not attacked, no president has the authority to launch an undeclared war of aggression.
These 435 members of the House and 100 senators are (expletive) away your birthright. You ought to be angry about that.
For the latest on how the race is shaping up, tune in to "Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas & Mike Pincus" Thursday at 5 p.m. on WPAZ 1370 AM
In addition to presidential politics, the budget deficit in Pennsylvania will be discussed.
You can join the conversation by calling the station at 610-326-4000.
"Talking Politics" can also be heard online at http://www.1370wpaz.com/ and http://www.pottsmerc.com/
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Obama has rejected McCain's offer.
Who is putting country first? Who is putting politics first? Americans should ask themselves those questions.
Remarks by Sen. John McCain:
America this week faces an historic crisis in our financial system. We must pass legislation to address this crisis. If we do not, credit will dry up, with devastating consequences for our economy. People will no longer be able to buy homes and their life savings will be at stake. Businesses will not have enough money to pay their employees. If we do not act, every corner of our country will be impacted. We cannot allow this to happen.
Last Friday, I laid out my proposal and I have since discussed my priorities and concerns with the bill the Administration has put forward. Senator Obama has expressed his priorities and concerns. This morning, I met with a group of economic advisers to talk about the proposal on the table and the steps that we should take going forward. I have also spoken with members of Congress to hear their perspective.
It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration’s proposal. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.
Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me.
I am calling on the President to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.
We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved. I am directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night’s debate until we have taken action to address this crisis.
I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people. All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so.
Following September 11th, our national leaders came together at a time of crisis. We must show that kind of patriotism now. Americans across our country lament the fact that partisan divisions in Washington have prevented us from addressing our national challenges. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Taxpayer Protection reports that Pennsylvania has lost 100,00 jobs in the past year, but Gov. Ed Rendell, who was the governor during that time period, claims it's not his fault at a companion post at POLICY BLOG.
Gunservatively! and Page 13 News say the Obama campaign has been linked to the smear campaign against Sarah Palin. Is This Life? also has a post on the far-left attacks on Palin.
TONY PHYRILLAS says the cost of the government's financial bailout of Wall Street will cost everyone in the United States at least $2,000. There's also some advice on what not to wear on Election Day.
LINCOLN BLOG says the Dauphin County Republican Party is in a meltdown.
WRITEMARSH! is on the hunt for Montgomery County Commissioner Jim Matthews.
The Clarke Report interviews Gary Hornberger, a reform candidate for the Pennsylvania Legislature.
The seat has been held by Democrat Mike O'Pake for the past 30 years.
In making its endorsement, the PCTA noted Fuhs' "unequivocal support for the enactment of Pennsylvania House Bill 1275, the School Property Tax Elimination Act, pending legislation that would abolish school property taxes for all Pennsylvania homeowners and restructure a crumbling, antiquated education finance system," according to the group's press release.
"For 30 years the residents of Berks County have been deceived time and again by phony, unsound property tax relief schemes and false promises of property tax reform," said David Baldinger, PCTA spokesperson and the administrator of the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition. "Steve Fuhs has taken a definitive stance on this vital issue with his pledge to work for the passage of House Bill 1275, legislation that will at last give legitimate, sustainable relief to the homeowners of Pennsylvania through total school property tax elimination."
Rebecca Heller of the Patriot's Voice, a PCTA member group, added: "We need more people like Steve Fuhs who are willing to run against the incumbent group who have promised much and done nothing. The Patriot's Voice wishes Steve Fuhs much success in his bid to unseat the District 11 incumbent Senator."
Berks County PCTA member groups who contributed to the endorsement of Fuhs include the Brandywine Heights Taxpayers Association and Oley Concerned Citizens.
The Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayers Associations is an alliance of 30 grassroots taxpayer advocacy groups from across Pennsylvania that is dedicated to equitable education funding reform thought the enactment of House Bill 1275, the School Property Tax Elimination.
Fuhs is currently serving on the Reading City Council. For more about his campaign for state Senate, visit his Web site, http://fuhsforpa.homestead.com/
Gokey, a Republican who serves as an Amity Township Supervisor, is attempting to unseat first-term state Rep. David Kessler, a Democrat.
"Having spent the last 21 years as the owner of a construction company, Dick Gokey knows first-hand the challenges that face the business community," said David W. Patti, president & CEO of the Pennsylvania Business Council, in announcing the endorsement. "Not only does Dick Gokey recognize those challenges, he supports pro-business policies that will improve the economy and create jobs in the 130th District as well as the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."
Here's more from the council's endorsement:
Among Gokey's pro-business positions are support of a lower Corporate Net Income (CNI) tax, support for changing the calculation of the CNI to a formula based on sales only, and uncapping the Net Operating Loss carry-forward. Gokey is also supportive of the Fair Share Act and caps on non-economic damages as means to address lawsuit abuse in the state.The 130th House District covers most of eastern and southern Berks County, including Amity Township, Birdsboro, Boyertown, Colebrookdale Township, Douglass Townshp, Earl Township, Exeter Township (Precincts 1, 3, 6, 7, 8); Fleetwood, Oley Township, Pike Township, Rockland Township, Ruscombmanor Township and Union Township.
A free market thinker, Gokey believes that the Pennsylvania business community is over regulated, which in turn impedes economic growth. Gokey also recognizes that government intervention is not the answer to rising health care costs and that instead, the free market should be allowed to work in reducing the cost of care.
Owning a business that requires workers to have a specific skill-set, Gokey is also an ardent supporter of creating effective training programs that would allow students to become industry certified in a technical field during their high school education and post-graduation.
"Not only does Gokey have the right pro-business philosophy; he has already practiced what he preaches. As an Amity Township Supervisor, Dick Gokey has consistently fought to keep taxes low. He has worked hard to bring economic development to his community.
The PEG Political Action Committee supports candidates for office with financial contributions, campaign consulting, and grassroots action. The PEG PAC seeks to elect candidates for office who offer the best capacity to create and sustain a better Pennsylvania. PEG PAC supports candidates who are best for the business community without regard to political party membership.
For more about Gokey, visit his campaign Web site, http://gokeyforpa.com/
Saturday, September 20, 2008
The one-hour program was taped at The Mercury and features city editor Tony Phyrillas and reporter Evan Brandt. Also on the panel is Phil Heron, editor of The Delaware County Daily & Sunday Times.
"Journalists Roundtable" is shown Thursdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.
PCN is available on Comcast Channel 78 in the Pottstown area, Comcast Channel 98 in Berks County and Service Electric Cable Channel 23 in Berks/Lehigh counties.
Check your cable guide for the PCN channel in your area.
Friday, September 19, 2008
DREXEL HILL – Craig Williams said today that Monday's planned visit to Media, Delaware County, by Republican Presidential candidate Senator John McCain and his running mate, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, has energized voters. His campaign headquarters has been flooded with local residents wanting tickets for the rally, as well as offering to volunteer for both the McCain and William campaign.(That's Craig Williams with Gov. Palin in a photo taken during a visit to Alaska over the summer.)
"The suburbs -- specifically Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery Counties -- are going to be key battlegrounds in this Presidential campaign," said Craig Williams, the Republican candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District. "If John McCain and Sarah Palin win Pennsylvania, it is virtually assured that they will be the next President and Vice President of the United States. And if he wins Pennsylvania, it will be largely because of the results here in Delaware County."
Williams said that this will be the first time he has met with Sarah Palin again since she was selected by Sen. McCain to serve as his running mate. He has had the opportunity to get to know Palin over the years and first met her during her run for Governor of Alaska when his brother worked on her campaign. Most recently, he sat down with her for a meeting during her visit in July to Philadelphia for the National Governor's Association meeting. A few days later he held a joint press conference with Palin during his visit to Alaska to promote increased domestic oil exploration on the North Slope.
"I think suburban voters – men and women alike – see a lot of themselves in Sarah. This is a woman who identifies with the needs of working-class families, who was involved in her own kids' education as a member of the PTA, who went and sat at her kids’ sports games. She's like us. She's middle-class America, and she brings those views of the average American to the job of government. She bucked the Republican Party leaders in Alaska over ethics and corruption issues. She cut waste out of the government budget. And she went after oil executives and companies who were not recovering oil on the land they leased from the state government. She's a straight shooter who stands up for what she believes is right.
"If voters are sick and tired of politics as usual and the status quo, then they need to elect Sen. McCain, Governor Palin, and Craig Williams. We are going to make a great team in combating corruption and cleaning up Washington, DC," said Williams.
John McCain and Sarah Palin will be appearing in Media this Monday, September 22nd, at the Delaware County Courthouse. Gates to the event are scheduled to open at 2:30 p.m. and the program is expected to commence at 4:30 p.m. Local residents can pick up tickets for the event at the Pennsylvania Victory office in Drexel Hill, PA, located at 5035 Township Line Road. Tickets will be distributed all weekend, Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets will also be available at the Delaware County Republican Party Headquarters in Media. Individuals with questions can call 610-789-7077 for more information.
I stumbled across a Web site designed to help voters figure out if Barack Obama is their kind of president.
I decided to take the test to see how far apart Barack Obama and I are on the major issues of the day.
I answered 52 questions and the computer matched my responses to positions Barack Obama has taken on issues.
Turns out I disagree with Obama on 49 of 52 questions. I'm surprised there are three things Obama and I agree on.
To take the Barack Obama Test yourself, visit www.barackobamatest.com
Thursday, September 18, 2008
The lawmakers were joined by Commonwealth Foundation President Matthew Brouillette and several other economic experts at a Harrisburg press conference.
Below a press release issued this afternoon by Rohrer:
"On July 4, 2008, I joined in the debate on the House floor against final passage of the 2008-09 state budget based on the following projections that were ultimately dismissed by Majority Leader DeWeese, House Majority Appropriations Chairman Dwight Evans and several others as premature and pessimistic:
1. The $28.3 billion spending plan that was approved by the General Assembly on Independence Day is effectively unconstitutional because it is demonstrably out of balance ignoring clear financial data and accurate economic forecasts.
2. This year's budget is problematic because it will predictably force the legislature to completely defund the Commonwealth's already largely depleted $740 million Rainy Day Fund next year with no justifiable emergency or fiscally responsible reason for doing so.
3. This year's budget is fiscally out of balance because without dispute the roughly 4 percent spending increase is more than twice the rate of actual revenue growth (1.7 percent) over the previous 12 months.
4. Spending in this year's budget is built on the extremely flawed assumption of nearly 4 percent economic growth over the next twelve months, when at best economic experts are predicting no more than 2 percent.
5. While there may be no broad-based new tax increases or fees in this year's budget, next year Pennsylvania taxpayers, at minimum, could be asked to foot the bill for a $600 to $900 million budgetary shortfall.
6. Even statements from Senate Democrat Appropriations staff and the Senate Republican Appropriations Committee Chairman place the deficit at between $800 million and $2 billion!
"Nearly 80 days later, a dramatic $117.5 million August 2008 revenue shortfall and an unprecedented, yet absolutely insufficient executive order from the governor for state agencies to reduce spending by just $200 million, absolutely nothing has changed about the projections I presented except they are now our state's rapidly approaching economic reality.
"With all due to respect to yesterday's pledge on the House floor from both the Democrat and Republican Appropriations chairmen to 'meet and monitor revenue levels on a monthly basis,' the time for talking is past. The time for action and specific spending reductions is now.
"Immediately re-opening the budget and realistically re-organizing our fiscal priorities is critical to allow both the legislature and the governor the ability to direct where these specific cuts need to occur. It will also allow state government agencies ample time to adjust to the inevitable line item and government service reductions that must occur now rather than later to avoid saddling our children and grandchildren with insurmountable debt for decades to come.
"Again, time and immediate action are of the essence. The legislature and executive branch responsible for crafting and adopting this Rainy Day fund-raiding, tax increase-guaranteed spending plan must take the responsibility for balancing the unbalanced budget they enacted on July 4 today, rather than sitting idly by and allowing the next legislature to take the fall when next summer's billion dollar tax increase becomes unavoidable."
At 5 p.m., tune in to the the weekly broadcast of "Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas & Mike Pincus" on WPAZ 1370 AM. The program can also be heard at www.1370wpaz.com and www.pottsmerc.com
This week's topic will be election preparations and deadlines. The head of the Montgomery County Voters Services Bureau will be the guest for the hour.
You can call the station during the live broadcast at 610-326-4000.
At 8 p.m., Phyrillas will be a panelist on "Journalists Roundtable" on the Pennsylvania Cable Network. This week's show was taped at The Mercury in Pottstown.
The other members of the panel are Evan Brandt, reporter for The Mercury, and Phil Herron, editor of the Delaware County Daily Times.
"Journalists Roundtable" will be shown again Sunday at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The most pressing issue on the back burner again is property tax reform, the newspaper says.
From The Mercury editorial:
What has not made the list of legislative highlights is tax reform.Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.
On July 3, Rep. Sam Rohrer, R-Berks, filed a Discharge Resolution signed by 26 fellow lawmakers to have House Bill 1275, the School Property Tax Elimination Act, released from committee and sent to the House floor for debate and an up-or-down vote.
A majority vote of the House on the resolution is needed to force the bill out of committee, and taxpayer activists have been urging citizens to write to their legislators and ask them to approve the resolution.
Taxpayer groups are also urging a vote on House Bill 1299, which calls for a constitutional amendment to forever abolish property taxes as a method for funding public education. Since this is a constitutional amendment, it must be passed by two succeeding sessions of the General Assembly.
Many are still working for tax reform in Pennsylvania, but the majority of legislators are still not getting the message.
Protecting animals from cruelty, helping control malpractice costs, getting an ethics refresher course are all important issues, but with the end of the session approaching, this Legislature could take one historic action that would matter.
Reforming the system of funding schools by abolishing the property tax should be Job One for this Legislature in its waning session. There are just a few days left to make that happen.
In 2007, for example, the Democratic-led Congress approved $17 billion in legislative pet projects. According to Citizens Against Government Waste, $5.4 billion of that pork came from Democrat members, misguided Republicans added $4.3 billion to the pot and, in a rare display of bi-partisanship, the remaining $8 billion came from jointly sponsored projects by both Democrats and Republicans.
Pork projects included such gems as $211,059 for Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) for olive fruit fly research in
Then there was the $3 million inserted by the House Democratic Whip, James Clyburn (D-SC) into the Defense Appropriations Bill – the funding bill for our men and women in uniform – for something called The First Tee Program to teach kids how to golf. The list goes on and on, with legislators piling on with their own pork projects at taxpayer expense, including $149,000 for the Montana Sheep Institute, $188,000 for a Lobster Institute in
But one of the most egregious examples of waste is a $23 million earmark by Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) for something called the
There are no law enforcement, military or otherwise rational reasons for the agency. It exists because Murtha, the former Chairman of House Appropriations Committee, wants it. And beware anyone who dares cross his path.
When Congressman Mike Rogers, (R-Michigan), a former 44-year old FBI agent, tried to eliminate this waste of taxpayer dollars, Murtha went ballistic. Said Murtha: "I hope you don't have any earmarks in the Defense Appropriation Bill, because they are gone, and you will not get any earmarks now and forever." Democrats, including Congressman Sestak, voted against reprimanding Murtha for his threats.
And there in lies the real problem with pork barrel spending and earmarks. Yes, it is a waste of taxpayer money. Yes, the money could be better used to address real issues or fund more important priorities. And yes, eliminating pork would help reduce the federal budget deficit and the mounting debt we are leaving to our children and grandchildren.
But the real problem in my mind is that pork barrel spending is a form of corruption, plain and simple. It is terrible public policy and it hurts the democratic process. Congressmen are afraid to buck their party leadership for fear of their taxpayer-funded handouts being taken away. A Member of Congress may think, for example, that a piece of legislation is the worst public policy ever proposed. But leadership will dangle an earmark or pet project over their head like a carrot to a donkey --- promising to fund a project in exchange for their vote. Or, in some cases, they use the threat of defunding a pet project as a stick to coerce a vote.
That is not how Congress should work. Our elected officials should vote legislation up or down based on its merits, not through horse-trading and coercion of senior legislators who hold the purse-strings.
In the case of Congressman Sestak, the pork he brought back to the district may have merit and may be worthwhile. But what government integrity has he sacrificed to fund the pet projects? How often does he have to look the other way on truly useless and wasteful pork to get his pet projects funded?
If I am elected to Congress, I vow to the taxpayers of the 7th Congressional District that I will not seek nor accept any pork. I will not be beholden to the political power brokers of the party who dole out money for pet projects in exchange for votes. I will vote the will of the people I represent, not the will of party leadership.
Congress is broken. Earmark reform and an end to pork-barrel politics must happen now if we are going to truly cut wasteful spending and re-focus Congressional efforts on good public policy.
Craig Williams is the endorsed Republican candidate for Congress in the 7th District of Pennsylvania. As a former federal prosecutor, Williams prosecuted cases involving fraud against the federal government. A Marine combat veteran, Williams also served as an ethics advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. For more information, visit his Web site at wwww.craigwilliamsforcongress.com
Passarella will be available to answer any questions about registration deadlines and the voting process during the live, one-hour radio program.
You can call the station at 610-326-4000.
“Talking Politics” can also be heard online at www.1370wpaz.com and www.pottsmerc.com
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
The General Assembly returns to work after their summer recess and it is time for us to get busy again.As you know, the School Property Tax Elimination Act, House Bill 1275, has been bottled up in the Appropriations committee by the House majority leadership since its introduction last November.
On July 3, Representative Sam Rohrer filed a Discharge Resolution signed by 26 of his colleagues to have the bill released from committee and onto the House floor for debate and an up-or-down vote. A Discharge Resolution is a procedural maneuver used to force a bill from committee when the committee has refused to act on the bill.
On Monday, September 15, Representative Rohrer will announce the Resolution on the floor of the House. After a waiting period of 48 hours the full House can vote on the resolution; a majority vote is necessary to release the bill from committee. This vote could come as early as Wednesday, September 17.
** ACTION ITEM **
Please contact your Representative by phone, e-mail, or letter as soon as possible to let him or her know that you expect them to vote in favor of the Discharge Resolution to allow HB 1275 to the House floor for debate. Further, be sure to firmly but respectfully let them know that your vote in November will be predicated solely on their approval of this resolution. You can find contact information for your Representative by clicking the "Find Your Legislators" link in the left column of the PTCC home page at http://www.ptcc.us.
There is NO GOOD REASON for any Representative to oppose this resolution. Voting for the resolution does not obligate them in any way to vote for HB 1275's passage – it merely allows the bill to come to the House floor for an open and honest debate and a straight vote. The ONLY reasons for opposing this resolution would be orders from a Representative's party leadership and pure partisan politics. For an issue as important as property tax elimination this is not a valid excuse.
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Also during the coming weeks there is a good possibility that HB 2199 will come to the House floor for a vote. This bill is the companion legislation to the School Property Tax Elimination Act that calls for a constitutional amendment to forever abolish property taxes as a method for funding public education. Since this is a constitutional amendment, it must be passed by two succeeding sessions of the General Assembly. Because of this, it is vitally important to our efforts that HB 2199 is passed before the end of this year.
Since HB 2199 is a very short and uncomplicated piece of legislation it is possible that it could be passed by both the House and Senate before the end of this legislative session. Your help will be needed again when this bill comes up for a vote, so stay tuned.
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I'm sure that you've seen my previous remarks about Representative David Levdansky of Allegheny/Washington Counties, the man who has most consistently and vocally opposed school property tax elimination.
In the last PTCC newsletter I described his new "plan" for property tax elimination that he is currently touting to his constituents. In his August 20 "Report to Seniors" newsletter he promotes the bill to "eliminate all school property taxes by the year 2010 and all school property taxes for senior citizens immediately." Representative Levdansky knows that this bill has ZERO chance of passage during this session of the General Assembly, yet he uses it to solicit votes from the most vulnerable and desperate of Pennsylvania's homeowners. It is unconscionable that he should raise false hope for these folks simply for blatant pandering.
Fortunately, Representative Levdansky has a November opponent in Ms. Monica Douglas of Elizabeth. I would urge anyone in or around Representative Levdansky's district to do whatever they can to help Ms. Douglas with her campaign in the 39th district. Representative Levdansky's defeat in November would be a HUGE step in the right direction for school property tax elimination.
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Finally, a note for PTCC subscribers in Northeast Pennsylvania. Luzerne County homeowners are fighting a recent inaccurate and disastrous property reassessment. A group of homeowners in that area have formed a tax advocacy group to oppose this reassessment and to work for the elimination of property taxes through HB 1275.
With one notable exception, ALL of the Representatives from Luzerne and Lackawanna counties have followed their leadership in opposition to HB 1275 and have offered nothing but lies and lame excuses to justify their vote.
The one exception, Representative Karen Boback of Luzerne County, will be hosting a town meeting and rally in support of school property tax elimination through HB 1275. Besides Representative Boback, speakers will include HB 1275's prime sponsor, Representative Sam Rohrer, who will give a presentation on the bill, and me – I'll be talking about HB 1275 from a taxpayer advocate's perspective.
If you live in the Northeast, please plan to attend! The meeting will be held from 7 to 8:30 PM on Thursday, Sept. 18 at the Dallas Middle School, 2000 Conyngham Avenue. I hope to see you there.
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That's all for now. Please continue your support of our grassroots effort for property tax elimination. Together, we WILL win!
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, comments, or concerns.
The evidence is everywhere that we citizens – and our public officials – have lost any real sense of what “representative democracy” means. Taken literally, it means that public officials are surrogates for citizens’ interests, concerns, hopes and values. It’s supposed to mean that everyone is represented, with no citizens left behind.
Normally, the mechanism to achieve these ends is elections. Every eligible citizen’s vote is supposed to count, and every citizen has the right to run for public office.
Those who hold public office have no higher duty than to preserve, protect and defend our form of government – and to improve it when they can. Yet in practice, our state’s public officials pervert, jeopardize and undermine representative democracy. They intentionally:
- draw legislative districts so that Republicans perpetually dominate some districts and Democrats perpetually dominate others;
- seek ways, such as negative ads and obstacles to registration, to reduce voter turnout;
- amass huge campaign war chests to scare off potential challengers;
- undermine confidence in the electoral system with voting machines that don’t meet even minimal standards of accountability;
- tilt the playing field against challengers, illegally spending tens of millions of tax dollars to promote incumbents; and
- make it nearly impossible for third-party or independent candidates to get on the ballot.
Little wonder that this fall, more than half of those seeking election to the House, and three-fourths of those seeking election to the Senate, have no opponents. In other words, both as individuals and as an entire branch of government, if they do nothing, they win.
I don’t know what you call a system in which a majority of the elections are uncontested, but you can’t call it a representative democracy.
So this is the most important job of Pennsylvania’s coming constitutional convention: to restore a government that truly represents its citizens. Yet unless we change our thinking about the simple matter of how to select delegates to that convention, we make success unlikely.
Today, every proposal for a constitutional convention uses the same method to choose delegates as for our last convention in 1967: Elections.
What’s wrong with that? A lot.
In recent years, as many as one in five voters chose not to belong to either of the major political parties. But following the method used in 1967 virtually guarantees that none of the delegates will be independent. Even well-meaning proposals that make delegate election non-partisan won’t prevent this from happening. The major parties will use their financial and organizational power to elect delegates who represent the parties, not the citizens.
Missing will be citizens who believe the major parties do not have a monopoly on good ideas and good people. Missing will be citizens who pay taxes but who are so disgusted with our broken system that they won’t lend their good names to our bad politics.
Looking at the profile of delegates to the 1967 convention proves the point. Out of 163 delegates, 152 were men, and 157 were white. Today – especially looking at the Presidential election – it would be utterly unacceptable to have a convention that so grossly under-represented women and minorities. Yet even though there are more independent voters than African-American voters in Pennsylvania, independents almost certainly will not be represented if we elect delegates.
A convention that truly represents our citizens requires a delegation that fairly represents where we live, how much we earn and who we are.
To achieve that goal requires an independent random selection of the willing, which is the way we choose jurors. If it’s good enough for making life-and-death decisions, it might just be good enough for a constitutional convention.
Using today’s demographic science, we could choose citizens at random to serve as delegates, recruiting a delegation that fairly reflects all of us geographically, economically and ethnically. Of course, they could decline the honor, or they could agree to serve and participate in an intense period of preparation about the issues.
To some, this idea conjures a “quota” system that could create an unfair advantage for some. But it does exactly the opposite; it creates fair representation for all. Not to mention that our entire electoral system is based on a quota: one person, one vote. Because of that quota, House and Senate districts also have quotas: 63,000 citizens per House district and 252,000 citizens per Senate district.
Some object that participation at such an important occasion as a constitutional convention should not be left to chance. Yet we use chance – a lottery or a coin toss – to decide the order in which candidates appear on the ballot. That’s because no one has come up with a fairer way to make the decision.
No matter how we choose delegates, it has to meet the same test. Will it ensure fair representation for both men and women? Minorities? Citizens who do not identify with either of the two major parties? Citizen taxpayers regardless of whether they vote? Young adults and seniors? Blue-collar workers as well as white-collar workers?
Ultimately, it’s not up to the delegates at a convention to change our Constitution. They can only recommend changes. Citizens make the final decision of whether to accept or reject those recommendations, and their decision could have a lot to do with whether they believe the convention truly and fairly represented them.
Tim Potts is president of Democracy Rising PA, www.democracyrisingpa.com
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Congressman Joe Sestak voted more than 10 times to block important American energy legislation this year, including legislation that would finance research on renewable fuels; open exploration for oil and natural gas in our deep waters, ANWR and the Rocky Mountains; fund development for new nuclear power plants; and fund new clean-burning coal-to-liquid technology. So I was quite surprised to hear him recently say – while Congress was out on its five-week vacation -- that he is now in favor of these energy reforms. If true, that would represent a dramatic break from his perfect voting record with the extreme environmental lobbying groups.
So, I recently went to hear Joe Sestak speak on the energy crisis and his plans for dealing with it. After an hour of questions about his shifting position, he eventually admitted his real position which is what I suspected all along: "The truth is the price of oil will go up again, and we have to weather it." That is his whole energy plan in a nutshell: "we have to weather it." Sestak said that the danger is not with spending (this year) $1 trillion on foreign oil, the danger is being dependent on fossil fuels. He said, in essence, that we need to bear it out until there are enough windmills and solar panels to end our reliance on oil.
Everything up to that moment was a smokescreen.
I agree that we need to work as a nation with all due haste to develop the next generation of energy. When it finally arrives in about 20 years, it will be impressive: it will be clean, renewable and cheap (by comparison).
In the meantime, our way of life relies very heavily on fossil fuels. Every time an environmental-extremist (like Sestak) says that we are gluttonous consumers of fossil fuels, you should ask them how many airplanes they have seen that are powered by solar panels. Ask them how many commercial vessels are running on windmills. Ask them how many heavy-construction and transportation vehicles are running on batteries. These transportation necessities are staples of our economy. And as energy prices go through the roof, heavy freight transportation prices go through the roof, along with the prices of every need in our daily lives.
But Joe Sestak says you need to grin and bear it. Sestak wants prices to stay high (as does Barack Obama) because that is the only way – in their mind – that you and I will curb our consumer tendencies and save our planet.
As I have said all along, we need American energy, and we need to begin producing it now. The natural resources of our country belong to you and me and our children. Joe Sestak and his ilk have decided that Americans cannot be trusted with new American energy. They have locked away our best oil resources; they have locked away our best natural gas resources (and are blocking development of new natural gas transportation), they have locked away our best coal technologies.
When Joe Sestak says that he is in favor of new drilling, wait for the "but". He favors new drilling as long as it is only on the land-leases that the oil companies have already. The "use it or lose it" Democrat smokescreen has been debunked, but that is the only way Sestak will agree to new drilling. Why are we not allowed to explore for oil and natural gas on all of our land? Because Sestak does not trust Americans to be good stewards of our environment.
The same goes for coal, natural gas and nuclear power. When Sestak says that he is now in favor of those things, wait for the "but". He says that with all of these technologies, he has "serious questions" about using any of them. Well, I had questions about ANWR and exploration on the North Slope of Alaska – so I went there to get answers to my questions. For me, it is about solving problems for my community, not setting up never-ending logic loops so it appears that I am for something when I know that I am not.
Developing new American energy is an imperative. We must move now towards energy independence. If you hear a candidate double-talking about American energy, ask yourself who he is serving. It is not you and me.
Craig Williams is the endorsed Republican candidate for the office of U.S. Representative for the 7th Congressional District of Pennsylvania. He is a former federal prosecutor, Marine combat veteran, and former active duty Deputy Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
For more information, www.craigwilliamsforcongress.com
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
The one-hour program is hosted by Tony Phyrillas, city editor and political columnist for The Mercury, and Mike Pincus, a political strategist based in West Chester.
Call with comments or questions during the live broadcast at 610-326-4000.
You can also listen to the program online by going to www.1370WPAZ.com and clicking on the "live audio" button at the top of the page or you can listen to it at The Mercury Web site at www.pottsmerc.com
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
42 Talk Radio Hosts Come to Washington with Message for Congress and the Next Administration: Reform Immigration Policy Without Amnesty
It's John McCain, according to the Post editorial board.
The Post is the first major U.S. newspaper to pick sides in the upcoming election, months before most newspapers typically publish endorsement editorials. In 2004, the left-leaning Philadelphia Inquirer published 17 consecutive endorsement editorials for John Kerry, but most newspapers usually wait until a few days before the election to endorse.
Here's why the Post believes McCain should be elected president:
McCain's lifelong record of service to America, his battle-tested courage, unshakeable devotion to principle and clear grasp of the dangers and opportunities now facing the nation stand in dramatic contrast to the tissue-paper-thin résumé of his Democratic opponent, freshman Sen. Barack Obama.From the Post editorial:
The newspaper goes on to make the case that McCain is better than Obama on national security, taxes, trade and energy.
McCain has been in Washington for many years now, but he is not of Washington. He knows where the levers of power are located - and how to manipulate them - but he is not controlled by them.
McCain's selection of the charming, but rock-solid, outsider Sarah Palin as his running mate underscores the point.
Neither plays well with others.
And this is an unalloyed asset at a time when special interests - lobbyists, lawyers and organized labor chief among them - wield enormous influence in the nation's capital.
McCain's Democratic opponents, Obama and Sen. Joseph Biden, lead a party constructed of special interests - public-employee unionists in particular.
Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.
Monday, September 08, 2008
An e-mail survey of readers by Crosswalk.com, a popular Christian Web site, finds that Republican presidential candidate John McCain has secured the evangelical vote after picking Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate, according to Kristie Rutzel, marketing coordinator for Crosswalk.com
In the weeks preceding the VP pick, McCain held 73% of the evangelical vote, Rutzel said. Just one week later, McCain was able to gain 7% of the evangelical vote reducing the number of undecided evangelicals by half, Rutzel says.
According to the follow-up survey, McCain also gained 8% of the Independent evangelical vote -- an increase from 54% to 62%, Rutzel says.
The survey was sent by email to Crosswalk.com subscribers and was not an online poll, Rutzel says.
"We can ensure statistical relevance of our email based both on our sample size and our methodology. The respondents included in this survey were chosen randomly and proportionally from a pool of subscribers for which we have verified geographic data and included all 50 states." Rutzel said.
Based on the sampling method and sample size, the estimated margin of error is +/- 1.9%