Wednesday, May 31, 2006

77: “Reform Now!”

This has really gotten into our blood! We have been energized by the voting public of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who have taken severe steps of late to salvage the Keystone Ship of State.

The movement, begun last summer in the wake of the outrageous pay raise voted by the General Assembly with the complicity of the Governor and the State Supreme Court, made an impact last November by ousting a sitting Supreme Court Judge. Earlier this month, an even greater impact was felt by the establishment political parties that effectively declared business as usual a thing of the past.

We presented the "Roadmap to Reform" [from Tim Potts at DemocracyRisingPA] here a few days back in GettysBLOG 156: “Roadmap to Reform”.

Thus it is with great pleasure that we present what we hope will quickly become the Reform campaign symbol:

Reminiscent of the courage and perseverance displayed by the Iraqi people in several nationwide elections in the past year when they voted in the face of, and in defiance of the terrorists that were killing their own people, we pay tribute to them, and to our own Pennsylvania voters who have the courage to attain true reform.

Let’s look for millions of purple fingers this coming November, as a sure sign that support exists for real reform in Pennsylvania!

We’re working on buttons!


“Kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!” -- THE CENTRIST

"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs." -- Albert Einstein

Remember in November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006:THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

76: "Your Help Urgently Needed"

Of all the issues listed in our agenda of GettysBLOG 153: “Kind Words and An Agenda”, we are comfortable that most of them are out in front of the public, and getting aired in the press sufficiently to put pressure on the General Assembly next week to take some serious actions towards reform, one of which should result in the changing of the guard in leadership. We know the Republicans will likely remove Brightbill, Jubelirer, and hopefully Perzel. We don’t know if the Democrats will have the spine to remove Veon, Fumo, DeWeese, et al, from their minority leadership and replace them with reform minded candidates.

We would love to see Representative Paul Clymer assume the Speaker’s position. We would also love to see Representative Harry Readshaw assume either the Floor Leader’s position, or the Minority Whip’s position. (Veon is so out of touch with the rest of the state!).

We need help on one very critical issue, however. Here’s the thing: Tad Decker, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board (PGCB) is very astute. He is in a great hurry to get licenses issued, ostensibly so the gambling money can begin flowing into the state’s coffers.

The real reason he is in a hurry is two-fold: he is getting heavy pressure from the Gambling Lobby to get the licenses issued so the slots can start generating income for the investors; and he knows he may have a limited time to get this done because of a potential for change in the political climate.

The PGCB is on the verge of issuing licenses to several casinos to be built at race tracks around the state. They are also on the verge of issuing licenses to slot machine suppliers, who will immediately begin amassing a stockpile of the slot machines for resale to the casinos as they get licensed.

After the recent Primary Election, the political climate in the Capitol Building in the next session, starting in January, will be a whole lot different than it has been in recent years. The reform movement is on. Many of the winners in the recent Primary have promised to repeal Act 71 which authorizes casino gambling in Pennsylvania.

There may be enough to do it. Failing that, there may be enough to roll back the casino locations to strictly at the tracks, with no free standing casinos.

The problem is this: once those licenses are issued, it may be impossible for the legislature to repeal, or roll back Act 71. In other words, the issuance of licenses will take the ability to make significant changes to Act 71 from the legislature.

The additional avenue to reforming gambling legislation is through the courts. Currently, there are several cases pending in State and Federal Court that would declare the Midnight Pay Raise from last summer unconstitutional. The ramifications of this are far reaching. Such a ruling could then be applied to the Gambling Bill, Act 71 of 2004, effectively erasing it and the PGCB. [There is a possibility it could also be applied to the 50% raise in retirement benefits the legislators voted themselves several years ago, and even to the most recent tax hike (2003?), if those bills were enacted in the same fashion as the pay raise and the gambling bill.)

But what happens if Act 71 gets repealed, rolled back, or declared unconstitutional after the PGCB issues licenses? Imagine David LeVan with a license and bulldozers on the ground here in Gettysburg, or Donald Trump in Philly, and they are legally able to build anything they want, as there will no longer be a PGCB, or any authority that can control him. What authority could stop them? They will have valid licenses issued under the law. New action cannot stop them. Even if the legislature were to pass a bill of repeal that also canceled all license issued by the PGCB under Act 71 of 2004, do you think people like LeVan and Trump would just fold their tents and walk away? If you do, "you're fired!"

More likely, the Donald, and the David would launch law suits against the Commonwealth seeking redress of a loss of business, seeking compensation in the billions of dollars. BILLION$!

Who pays that bill when it is presented to the Commonwealth?

You do. I do. We all do. For a very, very long time. Forget about property tax relief. Pennsylvania will be the most heavily taxed state in the Union.

Can we afford to take this chance?

Not on your life!

So, what do we do about it?

We, meaning you and I, and as many of your adult friends and family members you can reach, must start calling, and emailing your legislative representatives immediately, and demand a moratorium on the issuance of licenses by the PGCB.

We must call, and write, and go to see the Representatives and Senators in the General Assembly. We must call the radio talk shows and write to the editors of the newspapers.

We simply cannot afford to task the risk.

And so, we ask your help to mobilize and spread the word about this very real threat, and get in front of your legislator’s face and demand the protection they MUST provide to their constituents. And there must be enough to override a veto, for just as sure as the sun will come up tomorrow, your gambling money soaked governor will veto such a move. He knows what is at stake, and he owes his allegiance to the folks from Las Vegas, not to you.

Speed is of the essence. Please act on this immediately! You’ll be glad you did.


“Kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!”

"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs."
-- Albert Einstein

Remember in November! Before you vote,

Copyright © 2006:THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

75: “Santorum Gets It Right!”

Our gutless US Senate is no better than the one we have in Harrisburg. It, like the Pennsylvania Senate, is loaded with Pseudo-Republicans who yesterday caved in complicitly and surrendered important pieces of United States sovereignty, on your behalf, of course.

Senator Rick Santorum is no Pseudo-Republican. He stood his ground and voted against the reprehensible piece of legislation (S. 2611) the Senate passed yesterday.

Thank you Senator, for showing us that you indeed are constant and loyal to your principles. Thank you for standing in the Senate of the United States as a true Patriot!

S. 2611 essentially voids the President’s guest worker program and effectively offers amnesty to long-term illegal immigrants in this country now.

Even worse, it forces the United States to consult with Mexico before erecting walls along our border!

The fingerprints of Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Hilary Clinton, and Harry Reid, Democrats all, and Pseudo-Republicans such as Arlen Specter are all over this bill.

The Senate of the United States in this case has acted shamefully and shamelessly.

Here is hoping there are enough Real-Republicans in the US House of Representatives! The bill goes there next.

Contact your US Congressman and tell him to fix this thing before it goes any farther.


“Kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!” -- THE CENTRIST

"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs." -- Albert Einstein

Remember in November! Before you vote,

Copyright © 2006:THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 26, 2006

74: “Roadmap to Reform”

Good friend Tim Potts from DemocracyRisingPA has sent us some news and several documents. As you all know, Tim is one of the principles in the lawsuit currently awaiting a procedural ruling in Federal Court, seeks to declare last year’s pay raise Unconstitutional because of the actions of the Governor, the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, the Judges of the State Supreme Court, and the General Assembly, particularly the leadership.

This procedural step will allow the Federal Court to either throw the case out, or hear the case. Hopefully the Federal Court will hear the case and decide that the actions of those named above violated your Constitutional Rights by passing legislation that violated the Pennsylvania State Constitution both in essence and in procedure.

Should the case be heard, and should Tim, and the other Citizen-Patriot Heroes be upheld, this would provide a precedent for future actions against a state government that is out of control, and acting collusively to deny you your rights. It will also provide precedence for the declaration of unconstitutionality of other laws passed in the same fashion, such as the notorious and ethically challenged Gambling Law, Act 71 of 2004.

Meanwhile, here is Tim’s News on another front – legislative reform:
In this issue:
  • United We Stand – “Roadmap to Reform”
  • OK. You Win.

United We Stand – “Roadmap to Reform”
Nine organizations representing the left, right and center of the political spectrum held a news conference in the Capitol yesterday. The groups called on the General Assembly to accomplish 10 improvements in state government before October 1. Called the “Roadmap to Reform,” the agenda includes actions to make government transparent and to make elections more competitive. It also includes the state’s first general constitutional convention since 1873.

Organizations proposing the “Roadmap to Reform” are:
Common Cause Pennsylvania
Commonwealth Foundation
Democracy Rising PA
League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Citizens for Legislator Accountability
Pennsylvania Council of Churches
Rock the Capital
Stop the Illegal Pay Raise, Inc.
Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania

The complete agenda is attached, as is the statement by DR Co-founder Tim Potts at the news conference.

OK. You win.
On May 19, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania held a hearing on the lawsuit filed by Common Cause PA, the PA League of Women Voters, and a few individual plaintiffs. The lawsuit argues that the way the pay raise was enacted violated the federal Constitutional rights of Pennsylvania citizens – the rights to free speech, the right of due process and the right of equal protection of the law.

Occurring just three days after the stunning primary election, the hearing became heavy with irony. Attorneys for the House, Senate, Governor and Supreme Court argued that the federal court should throw out the lawsuit. When state government misbehaves, they said, the remedy is not to have the law declared unconstitutional; the remedy is to throw the incumbents out.

OK. You win.

If incumbents don’t clean up their act, we’ll take the advice of their counsel. Again.Of course, their argument entirely misses the point. It’s no use closing the barn door after the horses are gone. The right of citizens to participate in creating or preventing new laws must be upheld if we wish to keep our system of representative democracy.

How can any court fail to understand that?

Here is the “Road Map to Reform”:

Roadmap to Reform
The coalition of organizations seeking to improve state government has endorsed the following priorities as a “Roadmap for Reform” in 2006. We expect to see these priorities enacted between now and Election Day.

Common Cause Pennsylvania
Commonwealth Foundation
Democracy Rising PA
League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania
PA Citizens for Legislator Accountability
PA Council of Churches
Rock the Capital
Stop the Illegal Pay Raise, Inc.
Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania

Lobbyist Control:
· Ban gifts and entertainment
· Quarterly reporting for lobbyists with expenses greater than $2,500 per quarter
· Restoration of reporting requirements that were modified in the House

Over by October:
· End session on or before October 1 by joint resolution
· Propose an amendment to the Constitution to prohibit lame-duck session

Open Records:
· Require the General Assembly and each of its members to comply fully with existing law to the same degree and in the same detail as required of executive agencies
· Require the judicial branch to comply with the Open Records Law
· Assign a legislative body the immediate task of re-writing existing law to give Pennsylvania the highest standards of integrity and openness in America for public access to government documents

Legislator Voting Records:
· All votes by individual legislator – including committee votes, procedural votes and votes on amendment and final passage – must be posted online within 24 hours with links to the language actually voted upon and the final outcome of the vote

Citizen Opportunity Period (COP):
· Require a waiting period of at least 72 hours, preferably two weeks, between final amendment and final passage of all legislation in each chamber

· Provide a monthly, online accounting for each legislator detailing the cost of all salary, benefits and expenses paid during the previous month
· Permit per diems for actual expenses only as documented by detailed vouchers
that are open to public inspection via the Internet
· Prohibit all forms of unvouchered expenses
· Adjust health care insurance benefits for lawmakers so that they are consistent with current private sector practices for ordinary workers

Campaign Finance:
· Prohibit fundraisers while the Legislature is in session
· Require public reporting of campaign donations one week prior to the primary and general election

· Enact a requirement for legislative districts to be as politically competitive as possible (in addition to existing requirements)

· Amend election laws so that they level the playing field for all citizens who want to run for public office regardless of party affiliation

Comprehensive Constitutional Change
General Constitutional Convention:
· Authorize a general constitutional convention at which all sections of the Constitution are available for amendment and to which all interested citizens have an equal opportunity to become delegates

That is quite an agenda, and one with which we I heartily agree. Now, just to add a little more light on the subject, Here is Tim Potts’ statement on presentation of this “Road Map to Reform”:

Roadmap to Reform News Conference: May 25, 2006

Statement by Tim Potts, Co-Founder:

“Good morning.

322 days ago, our state government – all three branches – committed one of the worst acts of arrogance, cowardice and constitutional contempt in modern history. Since then, voters have removed one Supreme Court justice from the bench and forced the repeal of the pay raise.

Thirty incumbent lawmakers chose to retire rather than face the voters. And voters threw out three caucus leaders and 14 other lawmakers in last week’s primary election.

Yet despite voter protest, despite the lamentations of losers, despite soothing words of contrition by survivors, nothing has happened in these 322 days to improve standards of public integrity and clean up the most corrupt legislature in America.

Outside this building there is a political movement that is growing in its power and determination to bring the bad old days of Pennsylvania politics to a close. It is a movement for a general constitutional convention, the first of its kind since 1873, and it’s long overdue. As a Lancaster businessman told me recently, any business that didn’t re-examine its operations from top to bottom for 130 years wouldn’t be in business at all.

We need to re-invent our government:
· So that our Constitution prohibits the “culture of concealment” that makes it nearly impossible for ordinary citizens to know how their own government spends taxes and makes important decisions.
· So that opportunities for responsible growth and development will finally get off the drawing board because our Constitution will make it easier for communities to devise local governments that work for them.
· So that our Constitution requires a consistent quality in our public schools to prevent children from being disadvantaged solely because of where their parents want or need to live and to prevent taxpayers from bearing an unfair tax burden for the same reason.
· So that our Supreme Court has explicit authority to protect citizens from abuses by the executive and legislative branches and a mandate to interpret the Constitution in ways that honor its plain meaning and clear historic intent.
· So that the Constitution’s provisions for paying public officials – executive, legislative and judicial – are unambiguous and fair to both citizens and public officials.
· And so that our Constitution requires government leaders to abide by the highest standards of public integrity in America, including transparent enforcement and penalties harsh enough to deter unethical and unlawful conduct.

We Pennsylvanians have the imagination, the skill, the tenacity and the knowledge to do better. We need to replace today’s weary and stifling state government with one that actively encourages citizen creativity and problem solving.

We ask the General Assembly to authorize and fund a general constitutional convention where every section of the Constitution is available for examination and improvement and where any citizen has an equal chance to be chosen by fellow citizens to serve as a delegate.

We hope the General Assembly will embrace this work and establish a new government that serves the common good for our Commonwealth. If not, we at Democracy Rising PA will undertake to do the job with community leaders throughout the state.

Whoever takes on this task, one thing is clear from the past 322 days: It’s our government, and it’s time for us to fix it."

Thank you Tim Potts. You are indeed one of our most stalwart Citizen-Patriot Heroes. The fine work you and your coalition are doing will build a good momentum by election time so that the next session of the legislature comes into office under a wholesome set of rules, rather than the “business as usual” of the current crop of incumbents.

These changes are necessary to the rescue of Pennsylvania Government from the graft and corruption of our politicians and the lobbyists that now own them.

Folks, contact your legislators and tell them you want these reform measures DONE BY OCTOBER 1, 2006!


Kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!” -- THE CENTRIST

"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs." -- Albert Einstein

Remember in November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006:THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

73: “Common Sense from Russ Diamond – Independent for Governor”

Good friend and Citizen-Patriot Hero Russ Diamond, founder of Operation PA Clean Sweep, and now Independent candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania has issued a statement on the Primary and his opponents, Rendell and Swann:
Statement from Russ Diamond, Independent for Governor, on the Pay Raise and the Governor’s Race:

It is amusing to watch Ed Rendell and Lynn Swann point fingers at each other regarding the pay raise of July 7, 2005.

Lynn rightfully points out that Ed is the one man who could have stopped the pay raise dead in its tracks - a statement I made months ago.

Instead, Ed quickly approved it with his signature and proclaimed, “it’s legal, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.”

Later, Ed began to backpedal when he saw the reality of voter anger. His comments ranged from calling it “good legislation” on July 8 to saying it was “possibly illegal” on September 12 to calling it “a black eye” for government on November 5.

But he signed it nonetheless, and must bear full responsibility for it.

A few weeks ago, Ed revealed that he signed the bill - which most Pennsylvanians correctly believe violated more than one section of the PA Constitution – to “kiss a little butt” of payjacking legislators in order to curry favor for his own agenda.

I have a very pointed question for Ed:

What did you know, and when did you know it?

The people of Pennsylvania have a right to know what knowledge of the pay raise you hid from them in the weeks and months leading up to July 7.

Ed rightfully points out that Lynn endorsed payjacker Bob Jubelirer, stumped for Jubelirer and refused to take a firm stand for anti-pay raise legislative challengers. It has also been reported by a Pittsburgh newspaper that Lynn lent some volunteers to the Jubelirer re-election effort in the last days before the primary election.

This would seem natural, as Jubelirer contributed $15,000 to Lynn’s campaign.

I also have a very pointed question for Lynn: Why does it appear that you are more worried about who butters your bread than you are about government following our Constitution? You can’t have it both ways.

After visiting their campaign websites, I have more questions for both gentlemen:
  • Why is it that I cannot even find a link to the PA Constitution on your websites?
  • Don’t you know how important this document is to carrying out the duties of the Chief Executive of our Commonwealth?
  • Do you even care that this is what the people of Pennsylvania are concerned about now, first and foremost?
In order to predict how any person will perform as Governor of Pennsylvania, voters must look to how they reacted to the pay raise. Actions speak louder than words.

Ed - the Captain of the SS Pay Raise - firmly put his stamp of approval on the legislature’s violations of the Constitution.

Lynn - by consistently trying to play both sides of the fence - is now relegated to the role of a mere stowaway on the very same ship.

There is only one gubernatorial candidate who consistently and loudly opposed the pay raise, opposed the people who brought us the pay raise, worked to raise candidates to change business-as-usual and made the principles of our Constitution - and in turn, the best interests of every Pennsylvanian - his number one priority.

The race to reform has now begun in earnest. Pennsylvanians must examine each candidate’s reaction to the pay raise to understand which of them will actually bring real change to the Governor’s office and use it as a bully pulpit for change and which of them will only give lip service to the reform agenda.

The choice is clear.

The choice is clear indeed, Russ, and you are the choice as far as we are concerned.

Russ Diamond is a candidate who knows the issues, does not talk around them, and is absolutely clear on what is wrong in Pennsylvania Politics and how to right Pennsylvania’s ship of state.

Pennsylvanians had grown accustomed to political graft and corruption over the past century. Occasionally someone would overstep the line of tolerance and pay the price. But the level of graft and corruption since the Rendell administration entered office to the accompaniment of the gambling industry and its billion dollar lobbying effort, has simply gone through the roof.

Simply put, there have been no political parties in office, except the Party of the Almighty Dollar since Rendell came into office.

Russ Diamond is absolutely correct in pegging much of the legislative and judicial graft and corruption on “Fast Eddie” Rendell. Ed Rendell is running on his record. That works against him when the accurate and full record is exposed.

We urge you all to get out now and support
Russ Diamond for Governor. Sign his petitions to get him on the ballot, and work for his campaign, if only to contribute money, and convince five of your friends, and five of your family members to vote for him. Russ is not only the clear choice, he is the only choice between real positive governmental reform, or business as usual.

Please visit these websites and get to know Russ better!





“Kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!” -- THE CENTRIST

"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs." -- Albert Einstein

Remember in November! Before you vote
, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006:
THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

72: “Identifying Targets for November”

The campaign is upon us. As we have stated in the past, we believe the two main political parties have abandoned the people they are to serve, requiring the people to serve them instead. This is how the General Assembly, Commonwealth Courts, and the Governor’s Administration have run since Rendell entered office, and this “unethical work ethic” was not self-generating. It came from the two parties, which, in their hunger for power, caved in on ethics and moral values.

There, I’ve used the term: moral values. It is what elected George Bush and reelected tons of Republicans in 2000, and even more so in 2004. Always a standard borne by the Republicans, and never a large part of Democratic campaigns, it showed an even greater schism in last week’s Primary Election when Republicans unseated two Senators with approximately 70 years service between them, one the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the other the Senate Majority Leader.

No such moral outrage was expressed by the Democrats in their Primary. The two targets there, Bill DeWeese, and Zoot-suited Mike Veon, both members of the minority House leadership, had little trouble garnering their party’s nominations for the General Election in November.

Obviously, the State Democratic Machine puts principle and moral values behind the objective of winning seats. So power-starved, even with a Democrat in the Governor’s mansion and the two Pseudo-Republicans (Jubelirer and Brightbill) running the Senate, the Democrats backed the one man who not only voted for the Midnight Pay Raise last year, he voted AGAINST the repeal of that unconstitutional legislation. DeWeese’s re-nomination is a head-scratcher – he’s a clone of Jubelirer and Brightbill. All were principles in the Pay Raise. All were principles in the passage of the state’s Gambling legislation a year earlier by the exact same unconstitutional legislative means as was used for the Pay Raise.

In the fall, those two Democrats must fall.

And the work of the Republicans is not over. There are at least two of their candidates that must go as well: House majority leader Sam Smith, and Speaker of the House, the inestimable John “That’s not a limo!” Perzel.

Perzel is another of the Pseudo-Republicans, which explains his ability to get reelected from his base in Philadelphia, a county which can likely count their Republicans on the toes of both feet.

Perzel has much to answer for, including the passage of legislation in the wee hours of the morning while he is the only elected member of the house present in the chamber.

Sam Smith at least caved into the pressure from the floor several weeks ago in the absence of Speaker John “I make less money than a cow milker from Lancaster” Perzel, who at a critical time in the business of the General Assembly was absent doing work as a stockholder in a Florida business. Smith allowed the upstart Republican Caucus to steal victory from Mike Veon and his Democrats (including the Governor) and reject the repackaged Act 72 the Democrats were touting as the new property tax relief bill. But of course, Smith caved in because he lacked the political muscle that Perzel has, and his caucus mutinied on him, forcing him to go along with the rejection.

Somebody has to wake the Democrats up! The Republicans won’t have any problem continuing their Shermanesque March through the General Assembly in November.

Taking out Smith and Perzel, DeWeese and Veon is formidable enough, but these moves will not be meaningful unless several other things happen

Other incumbents must go.

Rendell must be defeated.

Katherine Baker Knoll must be defeated.

Lynn Swann, who took gambling money must be defeated.

Only then will the doors be open in state government, allowing fresh air and sunshine in.

In order to accomplish this, you must maintain your anger at the incumbents, who obviously have not taken any electoral events seriously.

You must get out the anti-incumbent vote in November.

You must transcend partisan politics at all costs!

When given the option, you should spurn Republican and Democratic Candidates in the voting booth. Opt for Independents and other third-party candidates. It is time they were given a voice in our political system!

Remember in November, before you vote, GettysBLOG!


“Kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!”

"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs."
-- Albert Einstein

Remember in November! Before you vote,

Copyright © 2006:THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 19, 2006

71: “Casey Troops Spying on Santorum Family!”

This just in from Vince Galko, Rick Santorum’s Campaign Manager. It’s a bit of ugliness to say the least.

Rick kicked off the campaign by reminding our team why he's won elections in the past -- he ran on issues and ideas, not personal attacks. And Rick took immediate steps to ensure Pennsylvanians are offered that same type of campaign this year by calling on Casey, Jr. to do two things:

  • Agree to debate on the important issues of the day.
  • Let voters know where he stands on the issues before the U.S. Senate.

Casey flat-out refused both requests.

Instead, he proved that he has a drastically different kind of campaign in mind -- one where no rules apply and critical issues like our safety and security aren't worth talking about. In fact, he was quoted as saying politics is not about public policy, it's a contact sport!

Before the ink had even dried on the primary election results, Casey's crew violated the Santorum family's home in search of political ammunition, instilling fear in Rick Santorum's wife, Karen, their six children, his in-laws and their neighbors to the point where the police had to be called in to protect the home.

From going after Santorum staff members to making false accusations about Sen. Santorum's positions, we knew Casey had a bad habit of negative mud-slinging in the place of civilized behavior where issues are the focus.

BUT, sneaking around the Santorum home is an all-time new low!

It's not only an assault on the Santorum family, but also on the democratic process and every Pennsylvanian and American.

Don't let Casey get away with this unconscionable behavior! Outraged Pennsylvanians are already flooding the phone lines on talk radio and e-mailing their friends about this incident. They need your help to turn up the volume and ensure Pennsylvanians know what's in Casey's bag of tricks.

Call Talk Radio, Write Letters to the Editor, and Comment on Local Blogs.

Frankly, we are appalled at the violation incurred by the Casey people. It simply shows how desperate a candidate can get, even one with a lead in the polls. Frankly, Casey knows that today’s polls mean nothing. People will flock to Rick Santorum in November because he is one of them, and has a record to prove it. Casey does not.

“Kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!” -- THE CENTRIST

"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs." -- Albert Einstein

Remember in November! Before you vote

Copyright © 2006: “
THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved.

70: “A Few Demands for the General Assembly”

Just a short note to you all that reiterates my call for leadership to step down if they were defeated for reelection. There are also some other matters we are calling for, as well.

Here are the calls, and if you wish, feel free to pass these on to your local Representatives and Senators. Sending it to your newspaper and TV station might help, too.

In light of the new political atmosphere in the politics of State Government in Pennsylvania, we hereby call for Senator Robert Jubelirer, and Senator Chip Brightbill to immediately step down from their positions of leadership in the Pennsylvania Senate. As they no longer have the confidence of their constituency, they should not be in a position of great influence in the General Assembly.

In light of the new political atmosphere in the politics of State Government in Pennsylvania, we hereby call for the Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board to have a moratorium placed upon them preventing them from issuing licenses for one full year from last Tuesday’s Primary election. Said new atmosphere, which still has to be fully established by the General Election in November, includes the possibility of a repeal, or rollback of the Pennsylvania Gambling Act (Act 71 of 2004). Issuance of licenses under the real possibility of such legislative action would lead to litigation that would be very costly to the Commonwealth. Common sense dictates that license issuance be placed on hold until the next session of the General Assembly has had a short term of five months to settle any possible changes to Act 71.

In light of the new political atmosphere in the politics of State Government in Pennsylvania, we hereby call for the General Assembly to pass a law requiring the repayment of all unvouchered expenses taken by members under the Pay Raise enacted in July, 2005. Further, said moneys must be returned to the General Fund of Pennsylvania, and not be held in any way by the leadership of the General Assembly.

The voters have spoken and made clear their disgust and anger at the actions of the members of the General Assembly in recent years. If they have any shred of honor, decency and ethics, they will take these actions without undue delay.


“Kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!” -- THE CENTRIST

"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs." -- Albert Einstein

Remember in November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006:THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

69: “I am so tired of…”

Frankly, I am very tired of a number of things.

I am tired of kowtowing to Mexico because they sell us oil. We propose to put National Guard troops on the border to control illegal entry from Mexico, something with which Mexico steadfastly refuses to cooperate. In turn, the Mexican government promises to file lawsuits in U.S. Federal courts to stop that use of American troops!

This is an outrage. Mexico doesn’t want us putting our own troops on our side of the border?

Bring back Black Jack Pershing!


I am tired of listening to that @sshole Chavez making all the false accusations about the U.S. getting ready to invade Venezuela. What in the name of God’s Green Earth would we want with Venezuela. We have enough trouble with Mexico! But I am tired of his antics. All he is doing is making a lot of noise and directing his nation’s attention internationally while he grabs the wealth of the entire nation.

Did you know CITGO Gasoline stations pump gas that is sold directly by the nation of Venezuela.

It is estimated that a 5-15% drop in Venezuelan oil revenues will cause his downfall.

Two can play at this economic blackmail game.

I have shredded my CITGO Card and closed the account. I urge EVERYONE to do the same.


I’m tired of Ken Lay and his buddy Skilling, and their ilk doing their best to shift the balance of wealth upwards at a horrible price paid by the common folk they called customers. Yes I feel bad for those employees of Enron who have lost their life savings in the phony stock scam these two foisted upon their unsuspecting workers.

These two sociopaths ran a company that created artificial shortages of electricity when California was going through a summer of heat, blackouts and brownout. The result, incredibly inflated prices paid by the State of California for the life sustaining electrical power they needed. Untold numbers of elderly and disabled died that summer from the heat because electricity was not available to power air conditioners, or even house fans.

Fine these boys every penny they own, plus that of their wives where they tried to hide it. Then sentence them to life in prison at hard labor. They are greed and evil incarnate.


Along the same lines, I am tired of the Exxon CEO making hundreds of millions of dollars to reap monster profits of billions of dollars per quarter…and prices at the pump keep going up.

More unfettered greed. No one is worth that kind of income. And profits that obscenely high while prices go up are nothing if not price gouging. And all of this in the middle of a war.

I’m all for a booming economy, but watch how fast our economy goes in the tank when gasoline becomes too expensive for people to get to work.

Where’s Will Rogers when we really need him?


Finally, I am appalled at a prestigious college, an ivory towered institution that does not know the difference between affection and rape.

Poor Gettysburg College. They stepped in what?


“Kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!” -- THE CENTRIST

"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs." -- Albert Einstein

Remember in November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006:
THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

68: “Savor it! Phase One Complete!”

Savor it folks! To quote my late mother, “Ya did good, kids!”. Here’s the quick results, you do the math: 2 State Senators, both high Republican leadership positions (Jubelirer and Brightbill) overwhelmingly sent packing; 11 incumbent members of the House of Representatives will not be running for reelection in November, 3 more are simply too close to call at this time, but with all precincts reporting, the incumbents are trailing by 90-150 votes [it is likely this will kick the house incumbent defeats up to 14 when all is said and done].

When the results are made official, the 16 people mentioned above will no longer be part of the legislative process after January of 2007.

Take a bow, please!

Now, sit back down, and lets get to work. The General Election is just 6 short months away. There is much to be done. There were, before the Primary, 203 House, and 25 Senate seats up for reelection. That number is now whittled down to 189 House, and 22 Senate seats. The number is actually less since a record number of incumbents chose not to run for re-election. [We’ll have the accurate numbers in a few days after sorting through things.]

They need to be swept from office in November. About 150 members of the House and 15 Senators woke up this morning to the news that the electorate of Pennsylvania, minus Philadelphia, Armstrong, Beaver, Berks, and Delaware County (who apparently still do not get it!) is still seething with anger over the Midnight Pay Raise, the lack of a property tax reform bill, and in general business as usual in Pennsylvania government. At dawn yesterday, they did not believe you would still be angry with them. They still refuse to accept that they acted unconstitutionally in passing the Midnight Pay Raise, the Gambling Bill, and in general, have done nothing but raise taxes, grow state government, and feather their own nests.

At sunrise today, the smart ones will have figured out that you’re still pissed at them.

The denunciative renunciation of Senators Brightbill and Jubelirer are clear and unequivocal messages to the body politic: sharpen your resumes, and start hunting for a new job after the New Year.

They will, of course, try their darnedest to assuage your anger by passing a few meaningful bills in the next six months. Remember, however, Brightbill and Jubelirer have nothing to lose. They should both step down immediately from their leadership positions, as should Representative Belardi. They no longer have the support of their constituents, and therefore, should no longer have the support of their peers in the General Assembly.

They will fail to realize in November that what they have done while in office is unforgivable.

Still out there with November targets on their backs are Ed Rendell, Catherine Baker Knoll, John Perzel, Sam Smith, David Argall, Elinor Z. Taylor, Mario Civera, Brett Feese, Bill DeWeese, Mike Veon (who the heck would vote for a guy who wears a Zoot Suit to the floor of the House? Come on Beaver County! Where are your heads?), Mark Cohen, Kevin Blaum, Dwight Evans, and Steven Stetler. And that’s just your leadership in state government. All of these folk, Rendell and Knoll included, are fully responsible for things like the Midnight Pay Raise, the Gambling Bill’s unconstitutional passage, and the failure to provide any form of tax relief whatsoever.

For starters, tune in to Pennsylvania Cable Network Thursday night at 8 to catch Tony Phyrillas on the “Journalists Roundtable” show. It is an excellent show, and Tony will be an excellent participant. He’s a guy you should get to know very well. We highly recommend that you
read his blog, and his editorials at the Pottstown Mercury. He has the right mindset, and a great way of putting it in front of you.

And for gosh sakes, keep visiting Tim Potts at
DemocracyRisingPA, Operation PAClean Sweep, Common Cause, Rock the Capital, the League of Women Voters of PA, and the other great websites listed in the side bar to the right under the heading Citizen-Patriot Heroes. They are all of that and more, and they have provided leadership to all of us spreading the word.

Finally, in addition to calling for the lame duck legislators to step down from their leadership positions immediately, including committee chairs, etc., we are calling on the Pennsylvania Gambling Control Commission to issue a moratorium on the granting of licenses of any kind throughout the state for one full year, to allow for the change in legislative environment that might repeal the gambling bill. The moratorium would save taxpayers potentially billions of dollars in damage claims if licenses were granted and the legislation repealed or rolled back.

Call and write your legislators and newspapers to back these moves!!

Remember in November, before you vote, GettysBLOG!


“Kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!” -- THE CENTRIST

"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs." -- Albert Einstein

Remember in May! Before you vote,

Copyright © 2006:THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Primary Election 2006 Voter's Guide

[NOTE: We have reverted to standard formatting now that election is over. As a result, there is a huge amount of white space in the body of this post, and the charts are present at the bottom. You will have to scroll to get to the bottom to see the charts. We apologize for the inconvenience but it is due to some poor programming by the folks at, who host this blog free. Look for us to be moving to a new host server in the coming weeks.]

Tomorrow is one of the most important days in Pennsylvania History. Tomorrow, you, the voters of this once great, now corrupt Commonwealth will decide if you want the business of Pennsylvania Government to continue as usual, corrupt to the core, or if you want the significant change that will be required to right Pennsylvania's Ship of State. Tomorrow is the first of two elections which present themselves as an opportunity for the citizens of Pennsylvania to make wholesale changes in State Government personnel as a first step in making wholesale changes in State Government itself, the better to protect the citizens of this Commonwealth from the avaricious and hubris filled elected and party officials.

You are required to accomplish a number of tasks tomorrow to see this through. The incumbents do not believe you will carry out the threat that has been hanging over their heads since last summer's Midnight Pay Raise. That is one reason why you must carry out the consequences of your threat tomorrow by:

* Vote! No matter the weather, Vote!

* Vote as if your life depended upon it! It does, and so do the lives of future generations!

* Refuse to vote for any incumbents. NO EXCEPTIONS. You must lose the mind set that says "My guy's okay, it's the rest of them that are corrupt." Whether this is true or not, it is far too late to sort them out. They have been stabbing you in the back and stealing from your pocket for decades. It is time to stop them.

We have compiled a list of preferred candidates, most of whom are on the PACleanSweep list. In some cases there is more than one candidate from a particular party in a district. That is unfortunate as it tends to split votes against an incumbent. In other cases, we urge you to write-in candidates. Make sure you ask for instructions from the polling place on how to do this. If your district is not listed here please get a guide paper at your polling place that tells you who is an incumbent, then vote for someone else.

With all that goes our fervent wish that you do yourselves proud tomorrow and give current and future generations of Pennsylvanians a chance to reclaim their Liberty.

To find your Legislative and Senatorial District, go to this website and click on the interactive map:

The Pennsylvania General Assembly - Find Your Legislator.

Here is the list of preferred candidates for the Democratic and Republican Primary Election tomorrow, May 16, 2006:

Democratic Primary

Top Offices
US Senate Write in: Rick Santorum
Governor Write in: Russ Diamond
Lieutenant Governor Vote for Gene Stilp

Pennsylvania General Assembly

Note: Candidates facing an incumbent in the primary are marked with an Asterisk*.

Note: Non- PA Clean Sweep Candidates are listed in red.

Democratic Candidates for the Pennsylvania Senate



10Chris SerpicoBucks
16Drake MinderLehigh
30Greg MorrisBlair

Democratic Candidates for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives



1Dennis Iaquinta*Erie
3E. G. ‘Bill’ BeemanErie
3John R. HornamanErie
14Jay Paisley*Beaver
15Dominic F. Leone*Beaver
15Roger Strauss*Beaver
18Harris MartinBucks
20Mark Purcell*Allegheny
20Chuck Geiger*Allegheny
21Lisa Bennington*Allegheny
24Edward C. Gainey*Allegheny
24William D. Anderson*Allegheny
25Daniel Mator*Allegheny
27Dan Cindric*Allegheny
27Mike Galovich*Allegheny
34Steve Karas*Allegheny
37Lee Hefner Jr.Allegheny
38Bill Kortz*Allegheny
39Rob Rhoderick*Allegheny
46Jesse White*Washington
50Robert F. Danko*Fayette
51Gary Gearing*Fayette
52Harry Young Cochran*Fayette
52Tim Carson*Westmoreland
58Jodie Gouchnour*Westmoreland
91Patrick NaugleAdams
106Dan HoltDauphin
113Janet Evans*Lackawanna
122John J. Wieczorek*Carbon
124William Mackey Jr.Schuylkill
126Irv Livingood*


133Anthony E. Rybak*Northampton
140John T. Galloway*Bucks
142Larry H. LefkowitzBucks
143Larry GlickBucks
162Marilyn WoodmanDelaware
168Fred DeweyDelaware
182Larry Farnese*Philadelphia
188Devon Cade*Philadelphia

Republican Primary

Top Offices


US SenateRick Santorum
GovernorWrite in: Russ Diamond
Lieutenant GovernorWrite in: Gene Stilp

Pennsylvania General Assembly

Note: Candidates facing an incumbent in the primary are marked with an Asterisk*.

Note: Non- PA Clean Sweep Candidates are listed in red.

Republican Candidates for the Pennsylvania Senate



10Joe Schiaffino*Bucks
12Kathy Mendla*Bucks
18Bonnie DodgeNorthampton
20Russ Bigus*Luzerne
34Penny W. Staver*Perry
36Heidi F. Wheaton*Lancaster

Republican Candidates for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives



3Dave Dows*Erie
5Clayton Schulze*Erie
5Carol Loll*Erie
11Gregory S. Walter*Butler
13John Lawrence*Chester
20Bill StalterAllegheny
25Ed NicholsonAllegheny
27Bill OgdenAllegheny
30Frank Perman*Allegheny
34James P. CarrAllegheny
37Henry J. Federowicz*Lancaster
41Jim McDonald*Lancaster
42Mark Harris*Allegheny
46Paul SnatchkoWashington
50Richard A. YeagerGreene
51John ‘Sonny’ MikitaFayette
52William R. EarnestyFayette
54Scott WitonWestmoreland
54Jason D. FularzWestmoreland
57Steve SchaeferWestmoreland
59Kathy Marks*Westmoreland
59Robert E. Helterbran*Westmoreland
70Philip Heilman*Montgomery
71Ronald J. EspositoCambria
75Todd HanesElk
77Ken Bailey*Centre
81Larry Mundis*Huntingdon
83Carl D. Hiller*Lycoming
90Todd Rock*Franklin
92Scott Perry*York
96Keith CharlesLancaster
102RoseMarie Swanger*Lebanon
104Sue Helm*Dauphin
106Jonathan Keeler*Dauphin
117Randy Tomasacci*Luzerne
119Edmund J. SieminskiLuzerne
120Paul Stebbins Jr.Luzerne
121Christine KatsockLuzerne
122Raymond R. VeesCarbon
125Gary Hornberger*Schuylkill
130Bill Reed*Berks
139Margaret M. Mitchener*Pike
142Eddie Reeves*Bucks
149Joe BreidensteinMontgomery
159Thomas G. DeitmanDelaware
178Bill O’NeillBucks
193Debra H. Hoff*York

If not for yourselves, then for your children, and their children, and their children…


“Kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!” -- THE CENTRIST

"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs." --

Albert Einstein
Remember in May! Before you vote,

Copyright © 2006: “
THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 12, 2006

67: “This Primary Election is Very Important!”

Tony Phyrillas is an outstanding, prolific and very competent writer who also happens to be right. The City Editor of the Pottstown Mercury, Phyrillas also writes a blog using his name as a title: Tony Phryillas. Tony has drawn the lines for next Tuesday’s election.

It is probably the most important Primary Election ever in Pennsylvania.

If you’ve heard this once, you’ve heard this many times from me. I think Tony says it better, though. This is a must read.

Your future is at stake on Tuesday
By Tony Phyrillas

Eight out of 10 registered voters usually stay home on primary election day in Pennsylvania. If that trend continues this Tuesday, we're doomed.

I've written nearly 50 columns in the past 10 months about the sad state of affairs of Pennsylvania government. Each column averaged 850 words. That's more than 42,000 words I've used to try to get through to readers that time is running out.
If you care about your family, you must vote Tuesday.

If you care about your children's future or your grandchildren's future, you must vote Tuesday. If you care about your job, you must vote Tuesday.

If you believe that government should fear the people instead of the other way around, you must vote Tuesday.

If you believe that power should rest in the hands of 254 self-serving, career politicians (the most expensive legislature in the country and a governor who has a mortgaged Pennsylvania's future to the casino industry) instead of the 13 million Pennsylvania residents, send the same people back to Harrisburg and forget about open, honest, accountable government in your lifetime.

I've given you dozens of arguments why reform is needed in Pennsylvania. I've given you numerous examples of how our hard-earned tax money has been wasted by a political aristocracy that lives in luxury while the rest of us struggle to pay our bills. I've made you aware of a handful of heroes who are fighting to make things right in this state.

If you are contemplating voting for an incumbent on Tuesday, stay home. Clearly no measure of reason, no amount of logic, no levelheaded argument will ever get through to you. You’re either related to a politician or you benefit financially from having a particular incumbent in office. Otherwise, you’d vote for change.

The revolution has begun. The people won important battles. On Nov. 8, the voters rejected the retention of a state Supreme Court justice for the first time in
history and nearly ousted a second justice. A week later, a fearful Legislature repealed its outrageous 2005 pay grab. Since then, the people have shamed 30 incumbent legislators into retiring rather than face the voters in 2006. And a record number of challengers emerged to take on incumbents this year.

The decisive battle to retake this state back from the political elite will come Tuesday. If the voters can knock out at least 50 incumbents, the political warlords who control Harrisburg will lose their grip on power. We, the people, will gain the advantage and we will continue the revolution through the Nov. 7 election.

It all comes down to Tuesday. Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, young and old must unite to take back Pennsylvania. We deserve better. How many of you show up at the polls and how many do the right thing will determine Pennsylvania's future. There's nothing else for me to say on the matter.

I will leave you with some comments from three astute political observers that put Tuesday's election into perspective.

Terry Madonna, a political science professor at Franklin & Marshall College, had this to say on why reform hinges on the May 16 election results: "If incumbents win, I think it's all over. It's all dead." Madonna also warns about the death of competition in Pennsylvania elections: "If we don't do it now, the incumbents will continue to get re-elected."

Brad Bumstead, a political columnist and state capitol reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, wrote this in a recent column, "Voters, save yourselves," about the consequences if the party bosses retain control: "It's scarier than a Stephen King novel. Here's the scenario: All legislative leaders win in the May 16 primary. Then what happens? Will we see a reign of terror against taxpayers and journalists? It will set back efforts to reform the General Assembly for, perhaps, a decade. It would be a dark chapter in Pennsylvania history."

Russ Diamond, the founder or PaCleanSweep and independent candidate for governor, had this to say on what happens if challengers fail to outs incumbents: "The Legislature is capable of anything. I wouldn't put it past them to reinstate the pay raise unless a substantial number if legislators are swept out of office this year. Imagine if we can't dump these people after what they've done to this state. What kind of message does that send?"

E-mail Tony Phyrillas at
Thank you Tony. You are another in a long list of Citizen-Patriot Heroes. I pray the people “get it”. There is so much at stake in this election.

Spread the word, folks, and prepare for rain. It will likely be wet on Tuesday if the forecast holds. Don’t let that stop you from voting! You won’t melt, I promise!

Remember, even though party doesn’t normally enter into a Primary Election, this one is different. This time it is us against the incumbents.

Let’s start turning them out of office, folks! Let God sort them out.


“Kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!” -- THE CENTRIST

"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs." -- Albert Einstein

Remember in May! Before you vote,

Copyright © 2006:
THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved.