Feb 28, 2010

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Don't Want 'Real' Reform

In today's editorial the Harrisburg Patriot-News asks whether or not state lawmakers have the "courage" to push for real reform by cutting state spending. I had to chuckle after reading the editorial. I couldn't help but think to myself just how much legislative leaders in Harrisburg actually hate reform.

For years state lawmakers were allowed to pass expensive legislation and increase state spending without much oversight or accountability. They voted themselves lavish pension increases, illegal pay raises, and bloated budgets that has put us in our current fiscal mess. And the lack of accountability by the voters has resulted in Pennsylvania having one of the largest, most expensive, and most corrupt state legislature's in the country.

How large is our state government? The following is a passage from the article that pretty much sums up the situation.
With 253 seats, our Legislature is the second largest in the United States, but that doesn’t tell the real story. The largest is New Hampshire; its 424 citizen-legislators are paid $200 for a two-year term.

One can only dream.

By contrast, Keystone lawmakers are the second-highest paid in the nation, according to the Pennsylvania Economy League. And California, with the highest salaries, has 120 seats for nearly three times our population.

Click Here To Read More
Pennsylvania voters and good government advocacy groups continue to put tremendous pressure on state lawmakers to reform state government and stop the wasteful spending. A great example of this occurred in July 2005 when state lawmakers got too greedy and passed a middle of the night pay raise that would have raise some legislators salaries by 30%. The outrage by voters ended up forcing legislative leaders to repeal the pay raise four months later.

Although the pay raise repeal was a success, I think Pennsylvania voters need to ask themselves this election year what really has changed since the repeal of the pay raise in Harrisburg? Most efforts to reform state government have been basically ignored by legislative leaders.

The state budget has continued to increase more than the rate of inflation at a time when working Pennsylvanians are struggling to keep their jobs and pay household bills. The current "bonusgate" corruption trial has brought to the forefront how legislative leader's in both parties used the power of their offices for personal and political gain.

The real truth is that most state lawmakers don't want reform in Harrisburg. State lawmakers love things just the way they are. They like the per diems and perks paid for on public dime. They like the lavish pensions they will receive when they retire. They like that Pennsylvania taxpayers pay for their health care plans with no personal out of pocket cost to them.

It's funny that most state lawmakers even after the repeal of the pay raise still believed they deserved it. So I asked this question to the Patriot-News Editorial Board, do you really think our current state lawmakers want "real reform"? It's not a question of courage when the entire legislative process is controlled by greed.

Feb 26, 2010

Remember 'Culture Of Corruption'

"Culture Of Corruption" was a phrase commonly used by Democratic Party leaders like Howard Dean, Senator Chuck Schumer, and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi when referring to the Republican controlled Congress during the events leading up to the 2006 midterm elections.

The phrase began to catch on with the Democratic Party's base after a series of political scandals involving Republican politicians rocked the political landscape in Washington D.C. culminating in the indictment of then House Majority Leader, Tom Delay, by a Texas court for violating Texas campaign finance laws. The phrase began to be repeated over and over again on Countdown by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and during a statement on Delay's indictment the current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stated the following:
"The criminal indictment of Majority Leader Tom DeLay is the latest example that Republicans in Congress are plagued by a culture of corruption at the expense of the American people."
Democratic Party leaders were able to nationalize the election and define the Republican majority as a bunch of crooks that were out of touch with the American people. This eventually led to sweeping victories by democratic candidates across the country as the Democratic Party regained control of Congress for the first time since 1994.

The American People realized that the republican majority lost its way and entrusted democrats to take the country in a new direction. But now we look a head to the 2010 midterm elections and it looks like the same Democratic Party leadership that used the phrase to regain control of Congress is fostering a "Culture Of Corruption" themselves.

Many national news sources reported yesterday that Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), the embattled Chairman of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee, has been admonished by the House Ethics committee. According to the committee's findings, Rangel violated House rules by allowing corporations to pay for a number of trips he and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus took to the Caribbean in 2007 and 2008.

According to the ethics panel's report, two of Rangel's staff knew the origins of the money but "submitted false or misleading information" to gain the committee's approval. The report also indicated that they were unable to determine exactly what Rangel himself knew of the false information given to the committee.

Fox News covered the press conference held by Rangel at the Capitol late Thursday night after he was informed of the Ethic Committee's findings. Rangel stated the following at the press conference:
"I don't want to be critical of the committee. But common sense dictates that members of Congress shouldn't be held responsible for what could be mistakes by staff unless there's reason to believe the member knew or should have known," Rangel said.

Rangel called the Ethics Committee's ruling "disturbing." He said he wouldn't comment further until he spoke with his attorney.

Click here To Read More
This is the first ruling in a series of House Ethics Committee's investigations that have plagued Rangel since he was appointed Chairman of the House Ways & Means committee by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Apparently Rangel has failed to report over a million dollars worth of assets including a Merrill Lynch account valued between $250,000 and $500,000 dollars. Rengal also is being investigated separately for failing to pay federal taxes on rental properties.

Despite knowledge of these investigations Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic House leadership seem hell bent on allowing Rangel to keep his Chairmanship.

Some Say Tom Corbett's Plan To Reform State Government Does Not Go Far Enough

Blogger Ben Waxman of Philly.Com's It's Our Money Blog has some great thoughts on Tom Corbett's sudden interest in reforming state government. Although Waxman thinks Corbett's proposals are a step in the right direction, he thinks there is room for improvement.
There are some parts that would shake things up. Corbett promises to increase transparency by putting more state data online, eliminate discretionary grants controlled by legislators, and require lawmakers to pay for their own health care plan, which is currently footed by the taxpayers.. He also proposes prohibiting campaign contributions during the procurement process.

However, we couldn't help but notice that the 1,300 word document didn't include the terms “campaign finance reform”, “redistricting,” or “lobbyists.” And these are the three biggest factors in the special interest stranglehold over state government.

Click Here To Read More
Waxman also correctly points out that Corbett is not pushing hard enough to limit campaign contributions to state lawmakers. The way it stands now any individual can give an unlimited amount to a candidate. This is the main reason why Pennsylvania has one of the most corrupt state legislatures in the country.

Feb 24, 2010

Tom Corbett Outlines Plans To Reform State Government

In a press release today, Tom Corbett finally has released what he intends to do if elected Governor. Here is a list of executive orders that Tom feels will rebuild the public trust and "will put the “people” back in the “people’s government".
Reducing the Size & Cost of Government – The size and cost of state government has grown out of control, and it is time to bring fiscal responsibility and accountability back to Pennsylvania. We must continue the forward momentum on streamlining state government by reducing the cost of how state government does business. Through technology upgrades, centralizing communications between agencies and lowering the overall administrative costs associated with running state government, we can return millions of dollars to Pennsylvanians. Tom Corbett has called for a 10 percent reduction in government administrative operations in all branches of government.

Transparency in State Government – Pennsylvania taxpayers deserve to know how their tax dollars are being spent. Passage of the Open Records Law was a historic event in Pennsylvania, and Tom Corbett believes we must go further. As Governor, he will implement 100 percent transparency throughout state government. Tom Corbett will enhance the current online contracts database to include all aspects of the state budget as well as all revenues and expenditures. This will allow taxpayers to easily search for financial information across all of state government.

In addition, Tom Corbett believes that Pennsylvanians have a right to know the potential fiscal impact of legislation. Building on the General Assembly’s work to create a resource that provides objective information free from partisan influence, Tom Corbett will work with the General Assembly to ensure that a fiscal note is attached to each piece of legislation coming to the floor of either chamber for a vote so that members and Pennsylvania taxpayers can properly assess the value of the legislative change.

Elimination of WAMS & Discretionary Funds – Pennsylvania taxpayers currently and unwillingly foot the bill for hundreds of millions of dollars for pet projects and political favors for Pennsylvania politicians. With little to no accountability and oversight, this spending has spiraled out of control and often remains hidden within state agency budgets. To help restore the public’s trust in state government, Tom Corbett will eliminate the use of WAMS and discretionary funds and ensure that taxpayers’ money is protected.

Elimination of State Government Paid Per Diems – Tom Corbett supports eliminating per diems, which is money given to many members of the legislative, executive and judicial branches and across all of state government to cover expenses. Specifically for legislators, per diems are given to many members for each day they show up for work, with no receipts or documented expenses. Tom Corbett believes that this is in violation of the Pennsylvania State Constitution that clearly states, “The members of the General Assembly shall receive such salary and mileage for regular and special sessions as shall be fixed by law, and no other compensation whatever whether for service upon committee or otherwise.” Tom Corbett believes that the system should be changed to actual, audited and managed expenses that are capped and should be extended to all branches of government.

Reducing the State Automotive Fleet – Tom Corbett believes that Pennsylvania should not be in the business of owning in excess of 16,000 state vehicles, which cost taxpayers $72 million per year. Tom Corbett has proposed saving Pennsylvania taxpayers up to $140 million over the next 10 years by reducing the state vehicle fleet by up to 20 percent.

Biennial Budgeting – Twenty-one states currently use a two-year budget cycle, which provides more focused, long term analysis of the effectiveness of government programs and the use of tax dollars. It also provides agencies and programs that receive these funds the opportunity to better control costs and to develop more predictable budgets of their own.

Zero-Based / Performance-Based Budgeting – Tom Corbett believes that state government should be held accountable and meet performance goals for Pennsylvania taxpayers. As Governor, Tom Corbett will require state departments and agencies to meet performance goals to determine their funding levels. Government programs must be held accountable and prove their effectiveness. If a program has failed to meet its stated goals over a multi-year period, then the funding will be eliminated.

Cap the General Assembly “Leadership Funds” – While all three branches of government deserve certain safeguards to protect their independence and authority, Tom Corbett believes that the General Assembly should not be able to accrue a surplus that, as of late, is over $200 million. Tom Corbett would work with the General Assembly to cap the legislative surplus at a percentage of the House and Senate annual operating budgets. Tom Corbett believes that a limited surplus should keep the integrity and independence of the Legislature while dramatically limiting the amount of taxpayer money the General Assembly can hold in reserves.

Sunset & Audit of State Boards & Commissions – Through Executive Order, Tom Corbett will conduct an immediate audit of all boards and commissions, not responsible for professional licensure, to ensure value, productivity and efficiency. Those boards and commissions found to be serving no purpose for the taxpayers will be sunset. For new boards and commissions, he will call for a finite life span – up to no more than five years – when created and will institute automatic sunset audits prior to the termination of a board and commission to determine its effectiveness.

Consolidation of Services – Where and whenever possible, Tom Corbett will work with legislative leaders to consolidate any existing duplication of services and utilize a single point of service where possible and economically feasible. By consolidating services, state government will be more efficient and accountable to the taxpayers it serves.

Healthcare for Legislators – While millions of Pennsylvanians, including public employees, make contributions in every paycheck to their healthcare, some of Pennsylvania’s legislators do not. The members of the Pennsylvania Senate currently contribute to their healthcare plan, but the members of the House of Representatives do not. Tom Corbett believes that all elected officials, including legislative, executive and judicial should financially participate in their healthcare plans and reduce that burden on Pennsylvania taxpayers.

Ban Political Contributions and Gifts During Procurement Process – Pennsylvania taxpayers must trust that their elected and appointed officials are making decisions about awarding government contracts based on price, quality and experience. That is why Tom Corbett will ban gifts and political contributions from individuals and PACs to members and employees of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government during the open bidding process when those individuals and PACs have an interest in a particular contract. The ban would also extend to a period of time after the awarding of contracts.

Tom Corbett also believes that all of state government including all agencies and legislative bodies– should follow the same competitive procurement rules for contractor spending. Pennsylvania must level the playing field and ensure transparency during the procurement process.

Republican Candidate Bill Russell Announces His Candidacy In Upcoming Special Election To Replace John Murtha

(JOHNSTOWN, PA) – Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. William Russell, Republican candidate for the nomination for Representative in the 12th PA Congressional district has announced that he is also a candidate in the Special Election to fill the vacancy left by the untimely death of Rep. John Murtha.

“Since the Governor has announced that the Special Election will be held on Primary day, May 18th,” said Russell, “it makes perfect sense to also be a candidate in the special election. It’s a move that makes sense for the voters and will simplify the process for the thousands of my supporters.”

Russell responded immediately upon hearing of the death of Rep. Murtha by suspending all campaign activity and urging all citizens, Republicans, Democrats and Independents to come together and pray for Murtha family. “Regardless of your political position, you always knew Jack had an immense love and loyalty to his family and the residents of the 12th Congressional District,” Russell said in an earlier release.

Franklin & Marshall Poll Says Pennsylvanians Support The Tea Party Movement and Tea Party Candidates

More: Tea party power (Lancaster New Era)

Poll: Tea Party could be midterm spoiler (Tribune-Review)

Also: Summary of findings of Franklin & Marshall College poll

Feb 23, 2010

U.S. Senate Candidate Joe Sestak Slams President Obama For Supporting Senator Arlen Specter's Re-Election Bid

This isn't "Change We Can Believe In"

I love it when I see Democrats slamming each other, but on a larger scale Rep. Joe Sestak is right. Why is President Obama supporting Arlen Specter? Even to the point where members of Obama's own staff offered Sestak a job within the administration if he bowed gracefully out of the race.

By supporting former Republican Arlen Specter, Obama is tipping his hand to what his true motivations are. Obama wants to keep the current status quo in Washington D.C. This is putting him in direct conflict with the American people who voted for CHANGE.

Feb 20, 2010

What Went Wrong With The 'Change We Can Believe In' Revolution

The sudden drop in popularity of President Obama and democrats in general has to baffle mainstream political pundits. I've lived through a few conservative revolutions in my lifetime. Both the Reagan Revolution and the Newt Gingrich led Republican Revolution of 1994 were both conservative movements that had real political legs changing the Country's political landscape for 8 to 12 years. However, the "Change We Can Believe In" revolution lasted barely two years.

The architects of this Obama led revolution David Plouffe, Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod managed to tap into the mood of an American electorate who at the time was desperately seeking CHANGE from Bush Administration's policies. Obama candidacy rode this momentum through the Democratic Presidential Primary defeating Washington insider Hillary Clinton. The momentum continued to carry Obama into the fall where he won a very convincing victory over GOP nominee Senator John McCain.

The revolution peeked with the election of President Obama in November of 2008 and now has been on a downward slide ever since. I must admit that the Democratic Party's victory was so sweeping that I thought it would be decades before another republican majority controlled Congress.

This year the political landscape of the country has already changed and democratic incumbents up for re-election in Congress are feeling the heat from the many political missteps by Congressional leaders and the Obama Administration.

Here is a list of missteps that have tipped the scale favoring republicans this election year:

1. Over estimating their political mandate that depended heavily on the idea of CHANGE. The country, especially independents, didn't vote for a move to more left of center policies. They just wanted change for change sake. This miscalculation led to the Obama Administration pushing an agenda geared towards satisfying the liberal left wing of the Democratic Party. This fatal mistake is why independents left the movement and has given rise to the Tea Party movement.

2. Passing a stimulus bill packed full of pork rather than real economic policy. The Obama Administration called the bill "shovel ready", but the bill was less stimulating to the American people who are still suffering from near 10% unemployment.

3. Focusing on passing health care reform instead of economic recovery. The now year long debacle has revealed to the American people Washington's true colors. The political partisanship and backroom, deal making continues to demonstrate that nothing really has changed in Washington at all. Obama and Congressional Democrats still haven't caught on to the fact that the more this health care debacle drags on the lower their poll numbers go!

4. The liberal media's portrayal of President Obama as a larger than life, Hollywood mogul has not helped the President's real poll numbers. The Obama is here, Obama everywhere strategy of the White House staff hasn't made Obama look very presidential. It is almost like Obama is still campaigning.

5. The beer summit staring President Obama, Professor Gates of Harvard, and police officer Crowley whom arrested Gates for trying to brake into his house. Obama said that the police officer acted "stupidly" in a press conference. In hindsight now I have to say the entire event was stupid.

6. President Obama losing the Chicago Olympic bid. This was an embarrassment and a first in a string of losses.

7. President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Accepting the honor before accomplishing anything really set well with the American people.

8. Accepting Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter into the Democratic ranks with open arms. This was a very big mistake. Obama and the Democratic leadership aligned themselves with and campaigned for Specter putting them in direct conflict with the CHANGE mantra that Obama so elegantly spouted during his campaign.

9. The two deals worked out by Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, with Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson and Louisiana Sen. Landrieu in order to pass the Senate's Health Care Bill. This has left many Americans wondering if they can trust the current Congressional leadership.

10. Underestimating the political influence of the Tea Party movement. The Massachusetts special election proved that the continued disdain for the Tea Party movement by leaders in the Democratic Party is not paying off at the ballot box. They are the ones looking like fools for attacking a movement that is advocating for limited government. An idea that has been popular in America for over 200 years.

11. Underestimating just how much of a political issue sound fiscal policy and the growing federal deficit would be this election year.

Mary Young: Tea Party fighting against 'politics as usual'

Today the Reading Eagle has a column written by Mary Young that captures the essence of the Tea Party movement both Nationally and here in Pennsylvania.

While national media outlets and blogs like The Huffington Post attempt to portray the Tea Party movement as a "circus show" primarily made up of radical conservative, at the grassroots level Tea Party party groups continue to grow in numbers locally.

In her article Mary correctly identifies that the Tea Party movement is really about restoring our country to the limited government principles that it was founded upon and rebellion against "politics as usual".

Here a snip from Mary's article:
According to the Berks Patriots mission statement, the group is committed to restoring and promoting the conservative values and ideals of the country's founding documents.

They believe their creator, not the government, gave them certain inalienable rights including life, liberty, property, free speech, a free market and the pursuit of happiness.

They believe a limited government is necessary to ensure those rights. Click Here To Read More
This is what political pundits from both political parties cannot seem to rap their thick noggins around. They just can't understand that the American people still believe in and agree with our founding fathers who created a system of limited government to protect us from Tyranny.

Both elected politicians and party leaders can't seem to understand that documents like the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution are not mere historical documents. They are documents that still have real meaning in our lives and to the unidentified majority who gave up on politics the past 30 years they are still worth fighting for.

That is right folks. This movement isn't a conservative majority or a liberal majority. The movement is made up of the 55% of Americans who didn't vote in the past because they felt like their vote didn't matter or didn't feel they could impact the political process. The Tea Party movement is showing these disengaged voters that their voice and vote can impact the direction of our country.

Let me give some advice to the political aristocracy in this country a.k.a the republican and democratic parties. Phrases like "Viva liberty" and "Give me liberty or give me death" still mean the same in 2010 as they did back in 1776.

Specter Refuses To Debate Primary Challenger, Rep. Joe Sestak On Meet The Press

The Plum Line is reporting that Senator Arlen Specter has declined an offer by Meet The Press to debate primary challenger Rep. Joe Sestak. This just goes to show you how a political snake like Specter as manage to survive all these years in Washington D.C.

Producers for Meet the Press invited Specter and Sestak to debate on the air this Sunday, according to Sestak spokesman Jonathon Dworkin. But last night, the Sestak camp was informed by the show that Specter had declined to appear, Dworkin says.

“Arlen Specter’s sense of entitlement is typical of a 30-year Washington insider,” Dworkin emails. “His refusal to defend his views on the most influential national news program in the country says it all.” (Click Here To Read More)

This has been Specter's strategy for a longtime, Evade and Conquer. He did this to republican primary challengers all the time. Specter leads Sestak by double digits in the polls so he does not need to debate. Sestak knows that.

But will Specter's strategy work in the long run when a national movement like the Tea Party is agressively campaigning to return to our country to it's founding principles. A movement that wants open debate and new ideas. I think PA republicans and democrats can find common ground here. It is time for voters to show Specter the door! I urge all the Tea Party memberes to urge Specter to be held accountable and debate his challenger Joe Sestak.

Update From The Daily Kos: Sestak challenges GOP frontrunner Pat Toomey to a debate on Meet The Press to take Specter's place.

In a clever gambit, Team Sestak fired off a press release on Thursday inviting likely GOP nominee Patrick Toomey to debate Sestak in Specter's place, arguing that "Arlen Specter and Pat Toomey's policies are interchangeable. Debating Pat would be just like debating Arlen Specter."
More: Specter declines "Meet the Press" debate (Early Returns Blog)

Feb 19, 2010

PA Sixth Congressional District Drama: Schroder to Get Nominated From Floor?

Did anyone else read Chris Freind’s post about the prospect of Curt Schroder getting nominated to Congress from the floor of the ChesCo GOP Convention tomorrow? I have talked to enough people today to confirm there is a legitimate grassroots movement afoot to do just that. Hard to say how large this movement is.

But just think of it this way:

Curt was close to securing enough commitments to win the endorsement over a month ago. If just half of those people decide to go ahead and vote for Curt event though he’s still not formally running for this seat, that could split the whole affair into a three-way tie. Depending, of course, on which existing candidate– Welch or Gerlach– experiences more desertion.

Of course, it is also possible that Curt gets nominated from the floor and doesn’t get many votes at all.

But seeing how the chair of the Chester County Republican party decided to send an e-mail just yesterday re-emphasizing his support for Gerlach…well…the necessity of that e-mail certainly wouldn’t comfort me if I was Jim.

Feb 18, 2010

PA Teacher Pensions Out Of Control

Guest Column Submitted By Ed Inghrim

Recently New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced a freeze on spending and said pensions and benefits are the major driver of spending increases at all levels of government. He cited two examples of retired public employees. A 49-year-old retiree, who paid $124,000 toward retirement pension and health benefits, will get $3.3 million in pension payments and nearly $500,000 for health care benefits -- $3.8 million on a $120,000 investment. A retired teacher who paid $62,000 toward her pension and nothing for full family medical, dental and vision coverage, will collect $1.4 million in pension and $215,000 in health care benefit premiums over her lifetime.

I decided to check his math using the Saucon Valley School District teacher contract as a model. I assumed a teacher hired at age 24 at $40,000 would work 30 years and get an average pay increase of 4 percent a year (quite conservative) and contribute 7.5 percent of salary to the state retirement system. Retiring at 54, the teacher's total pension contribution would be $168,255. Assuming the teacher lived to 85 and got health benefits until Medicare eligible, he or she would collect about $3.4 million after retiring. Not a bad return. If the annual raise were 5 percent, the teacher would get a return of $4.2 million on an investment of $199,317.

Like New Jersey, Pennsylvania faces out-of-control spending and a seriously underfunded public pension system. Unfortunately, our elected representatives committed their taxing authority to correct any bad decisions they or the pension fund managers made to guarantee benefits. Perhaps Gov. Ed Rendell and our legislators should get a copy of Christie's budget speech and read it.

Ed Inghrim is the Director of Saucon Valley School Board in Lower Saucon Township

Now is the time, Sam is the man, and we are the people!

An 18-year veteran of the PA House of Representatives from Berks County, Honorable Sam Rohrer is above all else, a Christian whose pro-family agenda is capturing great attention, and loads of support among grassroots activists, and many many constitutional conservatives across the state.

A constitutional conservative himself, Sam has spent the last six years attempting to eliminate property taxes altogether, and has garnered the support and endorsement of Pennsylvania Tax Payer's Coalition. Sam's view is that we should not have to pay rent to the Government for property we've purchased in good faith. We are essentially buying our home three and four times over. Sam has fought tirelessly against this, and as Governor, he will make it right.

When it comes to education, Sam believes the ultimate responsibility for our children's education lies with the parent--not Government. One has only to take a look at how our students stack up against other nations, and other states, and it becomes clear Government has not done such a great job.

Sam will seek to bring about educational choice for parents. I had a teacher friend of mine, now a principal, scoff at Sam's educational policy. Despite that my friend is a democrat, he is extremely interested in Sam and the majority of his principles. We talked about Sam's proposal, and he realized that Sam is talking about choice for parents (providing a set of tools), but that what this creates is competition. Competition is good for everything and everyone who truly wants the best. It raises the bar on standards, and no teacher or administrator that takes his or her position to heart need worry in time of higher standards and competition. On the other hand, those that are merely putting in time until pension day kicks in may experience slight anxiety with Sam as Governor.

Sam is unequivocally pro-life, and is truly a man of honor and integrity--well-worth our support. He will bring about the fiscal responsibility our state, which is currently dreadfully insolvent, has lacked for so long. Sam knows we cannot afford more taxes. Sam will cut Government spending instead, by carefully inspecting every state program including welfare and ask simple questions like "what was your original mission and have you strayed from it?" "Do we need this program and this many employees?" "Are we wasting money on this program?" "Where are necessary employees wasting money?" Where our current Governor punts these issues away, Sam will face them head on.

Sam is first and foremost a sound, decent man, who really "gets it." He gets that government has grown large, and arrogant toward us. He knows that with the relationship so severely fractured and abused, politicians must move forward with great care as there is no room for even the slightest breach of trust. Sam will not spend his four years seeking re-election. That's not what he's about. He's passionate, and when elected, Sam will use every second of the time available to him focused on righting what is so wrong in our good state. He is integrity through and through.

Never before has the movement on the ground been so active. Sam has created quite a stir. The GOP, however, has sought to silence the Sam Rohrer movement, and forge ahead with their machine politics.

They would have us believe that Corbett's name recognition is the only chance we have of defeating the democrats in the general election. But the fact is when the underdog, a much lesser known defeats the Attorney General (a self-titled moderate republican) because of a silly little grassroots movement, he'll have plenty of name recognition, publicity and momentum to take with him to the election.

If Scott Brown were running against Corbett, after the attention he gained recently, my money says Scott Brown would have the name recognition and the momentum to defeat Corbett. It was the people of Mass. that elected Scott Brown. Not the machine.

Likewise, we the people believe we have the power to rise above the political machine when we assemble on the ground for what is right and good. Tom Corbett belongs to the machine that supports and endorses him. Sam Rohrer belongs to the people. He owes nothing to the machine. Now is the time, Sam is the man, and we are the people!

Feb 17, 2010

A Stimulating Look At Global Warming On President Obama's National Stimulus Day

Americans everywhere need to celebrate. Today is the one year anniversary of the Obama Administration's economic stimulus plan. Last year the mad scientists pushing global warming and the renewable energy lobby milked the American taxpayer's for 600 billion dollars. Think About It !!!!

More coverage of President Obama's National Economic Stimulus Day:

Courtesy of our great Governor Ed Rendell
“Let’s assume the stimulus failed. Let’s assume Arlen Specter hadn’t cast that courageous vote, and there was no stimulus. What would the loss of $2.7 billion from the state budget have meant? Well, if we wanted to make up for it by laying off state workers... 37,000 state workers would have been laid off.”
Read More:

On 1st Anniversary, Rendell Praises Federal Stimulus Legislation (KYW Newsradio 1060)

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell hails benefits of stimulus package (Charlie Thompson, Patriot-News)

Rendell Approval Ratings Hit New Low

snip...Governor Ed Rendell (43%) and President Barack Obama (44%) similarly struggle with low approval ratings in Pennsylvania although Rasmussen has consistently tracked both lower than in other polls. Seven in ten (71%) claim anger over the current policies of the federal government and similar to national polling a significant majority (58%) in Pennsylvania also believe neither Democratic nor Republican leaders in Congress know what the country needs to do in order to get back on the right track. The anti-incumbent sentiment for 2010 is reflected by the nearly two-thirds (66%) of Keystone State voters who believe the country would be better off if the current status quo was defeated. By a margin of 44-34% more voters also believe their own local representative should be defeated for reelection.
Source: http://www.examiner.com/x-13600-Philadelphia-Opinion-Polls-Examiner~y2010m2d17-Poll-Little-change-in-Pennsylvania-as-Republicans-continue-to-hold-lead-in-races$

Union County Republican Committee Votes To Not Endorse Candidates In Defiance Of PA GOP State Committee

Source Sam Rohrer's Facebook Page:

Billy Allred a member of the Union County Republican Committee is reporting that committee members voted unanimously tonight not to endorse any GOP candidates running in the statewide races during the Primary Election.

This vote is a major victory for GOP candidates Stat Representative Sam Rohrer and Peg Luksik and puts the committee in direct defiance of the State Republican Committee's directive of only allowing the endorsed candidates to attend official committee events.

If you are a local county republican committee member, please contact your county chairman and urge your committee to follow Union County's lead. Join fellow republicans around the state who are calling for an open primary election.



The local GOP county committee revolt continues as I found out today that the Bradford County Republican Committee bucks has voted to buck the state party's endorsement. David Baldinger on Sam Roher's Facebook page is reporting that the Bradford County Republican Committee has voted 19 to 11 against endorsing a GOP candidate in the gubernatorial primary race and 18 to 15 against endorsing a GOP candidate in the US Senate primary race. This is more great news. Once again, I urge other local GOP county committees do the same. A comment today on this blog suggested that the Perry County Republican Committee has done the same.

Read More:

Hey, GOP bosses: We don't need no stinkin' endorsement (PhillyBurbs)

Feb 16, 2010

My First Tea Party Event

Does the government fear us? Or do we fear the government? When the people fear the government, tyranny has found victory. The federal government is our servant, not our master! --Thomas Jefferson

I thought of this quote by Thomas Jefferson tonight after I attended my first Blair County Tea Party meeting at the Altoona Ramada Inn. As I walked into the event I was surprised to see that the large conference room at the Ramada was packed with people on a cold, winter night with snow flurries . All the seats were taken and I stood in the back of the room with numerous others who were standing throughout the meeting.

The last time I was in the same room was on election night in 2006 when the Blair County GOP Committee held an event there. Needless to say there were more people in attendance at tonight's event.

My friend Phil Waite, a Social Studies teacher at nearby Spring Cove School District, presented a PowerPoint presentation called "The US Presidency: Its Constitutional Role". Then there was a brief period of discussion and questions afterward.

As a person with a background in political science, I was struck by the thirst for knowledge of those in attendance. All of them yearning to rediscover the principles that our great nation was founded on. There was a lot of talk about the Constitution, the intent of articles in the Constitution, and the mentioning of quotes from founding fathers like Jefferson and Hamilton.

I actually had a retired engineer a democrat came up to me after the event and ask me what is the real difference between democracy and a representative republic. I was struck by the question but I answered his question. He was a great guy and we had a 10 minute conversation on the topic.

I must admit that the Tea Party movement is being unfairly characterized as a strictly "conservative" movement. I think the Tea Party movement is more of a "Great Awakening"of sorts. Those involved in the movement know that it is really about everyday people rediscovering our Constitution, our responsibilities as The People to protect the Constitution, and our responsibility to hold our elected leaders accountable when they don't follow the Constitution.

The Tea Party is saying to the incumbents in Washington D.C. that we The People are not afraid of the government anymore. They are saying that the "silent majority" is silent going to be silent no more. I know this is very scary for people like U.S Senator Arlen Specter.

I was actually surprised by the number of democrats that I met at the meeting. The event was very non political. There was no talk of campaigns or political parties. The meeting wasn't a rally it was a forum where people can voice their concerns and share their ideas.

It did seem funny that no one from State Rep. Rick Geist, State Rep. Jerry Stern, State Senator John Eichelberger, or U.S Rep. Bill Shuster's office was in attendance tonight. Although I did see Blair County Commissioner, Diane Meling in attendance. Mega Kudos to her!

I personally would encourage anyone no matter what your political party affiliation is to attend a local Tea Party event. I think you will be surprised what the movement really is about. Oh and no one at the event mentioned Sarah Palin for President in 2010. Thank God :)

Two Roads Diverged in Penn's Woods

Will PA-12 be NY-23 or Massachusetts?

By Lowman S. Henry

Will the special election to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Congressman John P. Murtha be a re-run of New York 23, or a Republican coup like the election of U.S. Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts?

The direction of the race now lies in the hands of the nine county Republican committees who will select conferees to a convention that will choose the GOP nominee in the special election likely to be held in conjunction with the upcoming May Primary.

New York 23, you may recall, was won by the Democrat Bill Owens after a Republican civil war erupted when the party establishment selected a nominee who held views to the left of President Obama. This spawned the third party candidacy of Doug Hoffman who quickly became a cause célèbre for the conservative wing of the Republican Party. Ultimately GOP nominee Dede Scozzafava withdrew from the race; then plunged the knife in Hoffman by endorsing Owens.

In Massachusetts the scenario unfolded very differently. The establishment GOP early on wrote off Scott Brown. But, the Bay state's TEA party movement ignited a grassroots brushfire for Brown which lifted his candidacy putting it back on the national Republican radar screen. The GOP establishment engaged in the race; forged a common bond with the TEA partiers and Brown scored an upset victory that literally changed the political landscape in Washington, D.C.

The PA-12 special election could go either way.

Bill Russell was the party's 2008 nominee against Murtha and he gave the incumbent a run for his money. Murtha and the Democrats went into panic mode the last weeks of the campaign and then rode the national Democratic wave to victory.

Russell has never stopped running. He has been engaged fore square in the TEA party movement that burns bright throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. It is likely Russell will be the choice of a majority of the grassroots, TEA party types and certainly has emerged as a favorite of the GOP's conservative wing.

But the TEA party activists will have no voice in the party selection process. Under the rules of the Republican State Committee each of the nine counties which have territory in the 12th Congressional District will select conferees who will meet in convention to select the nominee. Typically conferees are tried and true party activists. Thus, the establishment GOP will pick the candidate.

What makes the picture both more complicated and more hopeful is the fact that southwestern Pennsylvania Republican party leaders tend to be more conservative than those in some other parts of the state. They also tend to be fiercely independent. Thus, the establishment party in Murtha's district is more in tune with the grassroots back-to-our-principles movement sweeping the region, the state and the nation.

Left to their own devices, Republican leaders in PA-12 likely will arrive at a party-uniting consensus. But, this is a special election and that means outside interests - including the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican National Committee will try and bring about the selection of a cookie cutter candidate who fits Washington's poll and focus group driven view of the world.

Also complicating matters is that Republican State Committee Chairman Robert A. Gleason, Jr. hails from Cambria County, which will send one of the biggest delegations of conferees to the convention. Under Gleason, the Republican State Committee has recruited candidates in congressional districts around the state to oppose grassroots conservatives, and even tried to gin up competition to Pat Toomey in the U.S. Senate race.

Gleason has also had an unholy alliance with Murtha over the years. Thus, he will want a candidate beholden to him. But he is also pragmatic, and with the eyes of the nation on PA-12 Gleason will want, above all, to win. This means the considerable influence of the Gleason organization will, for the first time in decades, be deployed on behalf of the Republican candidate. And that dramatically improves chances for a Republican victory.

The upcoming special election in PA-12 will be a gut check for the Republican Party in Pennsylvania. All the crosscurrents and rip tides that currently roil both the state and national Republican parties will be at play in this selection process.

In the end we are going to get either NY-23 or a Pennsylvania version of Scott Brown. It will be interesting to see what happens.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal. His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Feb 15, 2010

PA GOP Facebook Deletions Continued.....New Strategy To Squash Dissent Is To Insult People

From Vonne Andring, GM of TJ Development Co, & Supporter of Sam Rohrer...

I was at the Mobilize for Liberty event when it was announced that comments referencing the GOP's Corbett endorsement, were deleted on the GOP's Facebook page.

I was incensed! While probably not politically brilliant, I did send message to Glitch and Gleason, received several responses and responded in kind. All thus far, is copied in the thread below:

On Mon, Feb 15, 2010 at 2:21 PM, TJDCo wrote:
"the PA GOP cannot support comments that slanderize our process or our candidates"

Mr. Glick when you make reference to "your process," and "your candidates," you show just how far from reality the GOP has strayed. This is not YOUR process, and neither are these YOUR candidates. Both are OURS, and despite the gross liberty the GOP has unilaterally awarded itself, you have no exclusivity toward either.

Vonne Andring, GM
TJ Development Co.
Phone: (412) 527-2759
Fax: (412) 246-7235
Email: tjdvlp@mac.com
On Feb 15, 2010, at 2:41 PM, Michael Glick wrote:
Sir, I work for the Republican Party of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania has voted to endorse candidates for US Senate, Governor and Lt. Governor. I will do my job to the best of my ability. While I have many responsibilities as an employee of the PA GOP, the primary mission of this organization is to elect the candidates the State Committee chooses to endorse. I will advise you that the State Committee who has voted to endorse these candidates are also elected officials. They were elected by you. They are your representatives for the Republican Party.

So, I will do my job as well as I possibly can. As I am sure you do the best job you can as the GM for TJ Developement Co. Since you so adamantly believe that State Committee has made the wrong decisions. I encourage you, as a passionate individual, to become involved, run for State Committee if you feel so inclined. I truly hope that your anger over something like a party endorsement (of candidates who I truly believe are unbelievably qualified) does not blind you to the injustices that are being perpetrated in Washington by the extreme liberal agenda of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi.

I hope that we can find common ground instead of just pointing fingers at each other. I believe that we believe in the same core principals. We may simply have different beliefs on the best way to get there. I truly hope those differences can be reconciled.

I stand behind Toomey and Corbett 100%. I believe they are absolutely the best candidates to win in November. The Members of State Committee, your elected representatives, have chosen to stand behind them as well. Thus, I will do my job to the absolute best of my ability to ensure that they are elected. It is not only my job. It is my passionate belief.

Thank you.

J. Michael Glick
On Mon, Feb 15, 2010 at 3:55 PM, TJDCo wrote:
Mr. Glick,

I am not a sir, but a woman. I appreciate your response just the same. I do believe the State Committee has made the wrong decision. It has, with its clout, and despite repeated requests from vocal constituents, (a group larger than the committee itself), denied republican voters the right to fair representation, and the process of vetting.

We elected you to represent we the people, not yourselves. You ignored us instead and have effectively committed all that we've given you to further your agenda, and a process so many oppose.

Where there is open, pre-endorsed debate, the people can make sense of your eventual endorsement whether they agree or disagree. Where there is only your endorsement, you are shutting the people out altogether.

And as we voice the opinion we elected you to consider and represent, you erase it. You are shutting out the very people that elected you--erasing us as though we don't exist. It's false representation, an abuse of position, and a misappropriation of resources. Not only do you refuse to represent us, you stand in the way of letting us represent ourselves on a platform that belongs to us. Shame on you all.

As you ignore, and delete the will of the people, you grow and strengthen the resolve of the effort unfolding on the ground.

I don't know if a run for State Committee is the best route, but I will surely move forward with my focus trained on the goal, and will seek the best way to accomplish it. You can be sure of that.


Vonne Andring, GM
TJ Development Co.
Phone: (412) 527-2759
Fax: (412) 246-7235
Email: tjdvlp@mac.com
On Feb 15, 2010, at 4:12 PM, Michael Glick wrote:
Apologies Mam.

As I said, you are not speaking to an elected official. You are speaking to an employee, who is hired by your elected officials. I am paid to do a job. And I will do this job to the best of my ability. I work for people like yourself, indirectly, as I work directly for the Republican representatives whom you and your Republican friends have elected.

I wish that you would not simply discount the decision of the committee as irrelevent, simply because you do not support it. If you do not like the way the people you elected have voted, I advise you to vote in a different direction this May. That is your right as a Republican. It is also your right as a Republican to vote for an alternative candidate in the primary. It is also your right as a citizen to volunteer as you see fit to defend the candidates you support.

As I said, I think anger and finger pointing within the Republican Party will only lead to a division of resources that could otherwise be used to defeat the real threat, President Obama's euro-socialist agenda. I do not have a doubt in my mind that the candidates who were endorsed by the party are absolutely the best route we can take to help defeat this threat. I know what I am doing and the principals I am fighting for is the right thing to do.

As an employee and a true believer, I will do all that I can to defeat this threat. I hope that you will do the same without resorting to smearing your fellow Republicans, like myself, or your competing Republican candidates, like Corbett or Toomey. I believe that is wrong and self defeating. For after the May primaries there will be one candidate for Governor and one candidate for Senate. Whoever is elected, at that time, I hope that we can put aside our differences and truly fight for what is right.
On Feb 15, 2010, at 4:32 PM, TJ Development wrote:
Mr. Glick,

I discount the decision of the committee, not because I don't support it, which I don't, but instead on the grounds that it excluded the people. You are assigning anger to me but what I feel is not anger. I feel resolve. I know my rights, and I, along with many, will assert them.

No one has smeared or slandered the GOP. We have questioned the practice and the process of excluding voters. Rather than address the remarks, you deleted them. If handled appropriately, such a challenge would give the GOP the opportunity to strengthen it's position. Instead, it has chosen to further alienate us. You erase our remarks because they offer a view that is different than your own, and you talk of self-defeating behaviors?

It is not our actions, our anger, nor any finger pointing that will divide the party, but instead it is the the GOP that will divide and damage the party by shutting out those who people the party.

Vonne Andring, GM
TJ Development Co.
Phone: (412) 527-2759
Fax: (412) 246-7235
Email: tjdvlp@mac.com
On Feb 15, 2010, at 4:40 PM, Michael Glick wrote:
I am glad that you have the passion and resolve to exercize your rights in the greatest Democracy in the world.

In regards to you attacking me for deleting facebook posts, I discount your argument that I am alienating Republicans by deleting posts. I am doing my job, as I have tried to explain to you. My job is to support the Committee in the decisions that they make.

They have chosen to endorse specific candidtes. So, when you ask me to allow people to make posts intended to degrade the respect that many PA voters feel for these candidates, you ask me to ignore my responsibilities. I will not do that. I will do my job.

I will do everything in my power to encourage the voters of PA to support the candidates that the Committee has endorsed. I will do so because it is my job and my belief. And while I am doing so, I will not go onto your facebook page or your companies facebook page and post derogatory things about yourself or your company. If I did so, I'd expect you would delete them as well, as a rational human being would do.

So, do not attack me for doing my job. I have no respect for that kind of attack. I will do my job and I will do it well. As a business person, I would think you could understand that.
On Mon, Feb 15, 2010 at 5:02 PM, TJDCo wrote:
Mr. Glick,

You confuse debate with attack. You confuse question and opinion with anger and slander. Were you not so confused you might see that you represent all the people of the party, not just those that agree with you. Has the committee instructed that you blackball differing opinions? Is this in your job description?

It is not ok, under any circumstances, and certainly not in this country, for an employee to delete the will of those who fund his salary. You are all running amuck.


Vonne Andring, GM
TJ Development Co.
Phone: (412) 527-2759
Fax: (412) 246-7235
Email: tjdvlp@mac.com
On Feb 15, 2010, at 5:22 PM, Michael Glick wrote:
I am done discussing this with you. You have not addressed one of the points that I have brought up. You are not debating anything. You are simply pointing fingers and blaming everyone else for what is wrong.

As I said, in a very positive manner, I am happy you are now fighting for what you believe is right. I hope that you will continue to do so all the way through November and beyond. I will not say anything negative about yourself or your likeminded friends.

Should you have taken an interest in this debate before it became a popular topic, you would have noticed that prior to endorsement. All opinions were welcome. There was no deletion of any post that discussed open primaries or the various candidates. However, note that if a comment was posted that said, ANYTHING, negative about a candidate, it was deleted. Now that the committee has made a decision. The only posts that many people want to post are negative. They attack the candidates and the Party. So, keeping with the policy of deleting negative posts, I will delete all posts that are negative. Does that make sense to you, Vonne?

I will continue to do my job, promoting the candidates whom the Committee has endorsed. I hope that you will be able to put aside your bitterness towards the party as we approach the November elections. We look forward to working with you and ensuring victory in 2010.

Thank you and I hope you enjoy your Monday evening.
Editor's Note: First off let me thank Vonne Andring for post this thread on PennPatriot Blog. Since my original post many republicans have voiced their concerns and shared their outrage at the committee's position on this matter.

This post has to be the most hilarious thing I have ever read on a political blog. Mr. Glick is the gift that keeps on giving. Where does Mr. Gleason find these party hacks at the PA GOP anyway? No doubt Mr. Glick is a legacy of some finagled political connection some how.

PA GOP Starts Utilizing The Party Machine To Support Endorse Candidates.

Here we go folks. This is a firsthand look at party politics Soviet Politburo style. Oops! I mean Republican Party Of Pennsylvania style. I have already covered extensively in previous posts the deletion of comments either critical of the endorsement of candidates by state committee member or critical of the endorsed candidates themselves by PA GOP Facebook page administrator Mr. Glick.

Now my good friend David Baldinger, a taxpayer advocate and a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayer Associations, has informed me that the PA GOP website under their candidates link is only highlighting candidates that were endorsed by state committee members this weekend. Information on the other GOP candidates running in the statewide races in this years Primary Election have been removed. Click Here to see the information provided by the PA GOP Website.

So now the PA GOP website is implying that we only have the "endorsed" candidates running for statewide offices. Where is information about State Representative Sam Rohrer campaign for Governor or pro life activist Peg Luksik's campaign for U.S. Senate? Nowhere to be found.

Now the next step the PA GOP party machine is focusing on is helping their "endorsed" candidates with getting petitions signed so they can get on the ballot. Below is part of an email that I got today from my local GOP county committee Chairman. The subject title of the email is petitions.
If you’re willing to circulate a petition for Pat Toomey for Senate please send an e-mail to Blair4Toomey@verizon.net By tomorrow, I should also have petitions for Tom Corbett for Governor, Jim Cawley for Lt. Governor and Bill Shuster for Congress. Other candidates for these offices should also be available soon as well as petitions for Rick Geist, Jerry Stern and Mike Fleck. We are planning a full committee meeting which will be open to the public that will focus on getting petition signatures. More info will follow.
Now I'm not criticizing the local committee Chairman here, but I am demonstrating just how the party machine works. Being the "endorsed" candidate by the party's state committee places candidates like Sam Rohere at a tremendous disadvantage. Most candidates struggle to fulfill the signature requirements to even get on the ballot and then end up dropping out as all the party resources go to support the "endorsed" candidates.

Now you see how political parties limit debate even within their own ranks and influence the outcome of elections. This is the type of politics that have gotten us to where we are at today. It is time to find a new way of ensuring that our liberty and freedoms given to us by our forefathers remain protected. Something that both political parties have no interest in doing.

The PA GOP Saga Of Deleting Comments On Their Facebook Page Continues........

I received the following message via Facebook this morning from Michael Glick, Deputy Technology Director of the PA GOP or better known today as Pennsylvania's version of the Soviet Politburo!!
Michael sent you a message.

Re: Page Block

I am just a guy. I believe in what I am fighting for. I understand you believe differently. Please respect that I am truly believe in the Republican Party and that we are the best chance at defeating President Obama and Nancy Pelosi's liberal agenda. It is absolutely nothing against your beliefs or passion. I hope you are having a great weekend and are looking forward to a great work week, not to mention (in light of a Democratic majority in the US House and Senate, a tremendous election year).

I truly believe that our country is being destroyed by a liberal socialist agenda. And that perhaps we may win a few seats by simply saying that Democrats are bad politicians. However, I believe that Americans want more than rhetoric about Corbett being an insider (which is an absurd notion considering Rohrer has been here longer or that Toomey is not a fiscal conservative)

I believe that these candidates, as do the State Committee Members who voted to endorse, that these candidates are what PA needs to win the support of a state that currently has more than 1,000,000,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans.

You, obviously, have the right to disagree. However, we will never discourage you from your beliefs. But please do not be slanderous to the Members of the Republican State Committee of PA by saying that an endorsement of a candidate is anti-American.

Michael Glick
I have not responded to this Facebook message from Michael Glick. In fact I don't think I will. Mr. Glick has a right to his own personal beliefs and his own personal opinions on what is best for the Republican Party. However, he does not have the right to inflict those beliefs on people that disagree with the same party he is a member of and works for. Heck our donations support his job. Is something wrong in the universe here or something.

This in a funny way sums up the essence of the entire Tea Party movement. The American people are finally standing up and saying, "Hey you guys work for us!". This entire situation is an embarrassment for the state party.

But apparently Mr. Glick is not the only one at the PA GOP that feels that dissent should be discouraged in the party. The entire organization apparently is discouraging dissent. John Micek of the Morning Call on his Capitol Ideas Blog has a great post today, "No Free Speech Please, We're Republicans.", covering the behind the scenes shenanigans that are going on at the PA GOP. According to the post:
Criticism of the endorsement, which came Saturday at the Harrisburg Hilton, is being efficiently purged from the page in the name of party unity, we learned this afternoon.

"We didn't allow any disparagement of our candidates before the endorsement and we won't allow it after the endorsement," state GOP spokesman Michael Barley told us this afternoon. "It's not in the best interests of the party. Our job is to win in November."
This is embarrassing and I am very ashamed that the party that I support has stooped to soviet style tactics in order to reaffirm their own agenda. The PA GOP will now forever be known as the PA Politburo for now on in my mind.


There is a secret government does not want you to know:

If you do not know your rights, you do not have them.

That is why they get away with laws that are unlawful, like the permit to carry concealed here in Pennsylvania. They get $25 from you, and in return you give up to carry as allowed by the Constitution of Pennsylvania -- without question. Article I, section 21: The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned.

Or like the members of the General Assembly taking compensation that defies the Constitution:
Article II, section 8: The members of the General Assembly shall receive such salary and mileage for regular and special sessions as shall be fixed by law, and no other compensation whatever, whether for service upon committee or otherwise. No member of either House shall during the term for which he may have been elected, receive any increase of salary, or mileage, under any law passed during such term.

Hmmm. So no health insurance, per diem, hotel rooms, meals, are legal? Afraid not.

While you scrimped for lunch money, you were paying for most of your elected employees in the General Assembly, both houses, to chow down at your expense. They feel free to take your property to pay for their rooms and lunch, even though they took an oath to preserve and defend the Constitution. By my calculation, about 99% of the General Assembly breaks that law every month, at your expense.

Get your federal and commonwealth Constitutions, read them, and defend them. You send young men to war to preserve and defend the Constitution, how can we dare not do the same here at home???


Why endorse? These are the answers I got from the State Committee and the County chairmen:
If we do not endorse, why bother having a state committee?
I worked hard, and deserve to choose the candidate.
These committee folks were elected by the local citizens.
The citizens of the Commonwealth are not smart enough to make the decision. We need to help them.

True, we did elect them. True, in the past, we were too trusting, allowing them to give us such foxes as Gov Spendell and Sen Specter.

I think we could have done better if we had randomly chosen from the phone book. The Republican/Democrat habit of endorsement has given us the mess we are in. If you like the way your elected employees are running the government, vote for another candidate endorsed by the Republocrat Machine.

If not, look at the Rohrer for Governor, and Luksik for Senator. Two God fearing leaders who have been fighting the Machine (in both the Democrat and Republican flavors) for the last two decades.

You own a business, called government. Your children need you to manage it. If you lack understanding, ask God to lead you, and visit the www.pfa-pa.org web site.

Feb 14, 2010

Statewide Endorsement: Why Not Just Let The County Committee People Vote?

No less an insider than the current Chester County GOP put the whole open-primary case to me in the following manner, and I happen to agree with it. So never let it be said that I don't always give people a fair listen.

It isn't really in a party's best interest to happily let a primary with a whole raft of candidates hit the ballots. Inevitably in these situations the winner is the one who can really motivate a fire-breathing minority. If you're running against four or more candidates, the party will probably end up with a general election candidate with virtually no cross-party appeal. Fine for upstate, but not so fine for southeastern PA, or those parts of the Commonwealth that probably belong on Ohio. I kid, I kid.

But when you have just two or three candidates that are pretty well-liked, a primary is the best way to figure out which one is actually good at motivating voters. Winning the primary proves you know how to win an election, and it gets your organization in fighting trim for the general.

So by the logic of the chair of the Chester County Republican party, it would have probably been best for the state committee to winnow down the Lt. Governor's race. But for senator and Governor, where you really had only two viable candidates apiece, the state committee should have let a primary decide the winner.

Now, the way we do it in Chester County is in order for the two-way primary to happen with the party's blessing, each candidate needs to secure 40% of the committee votes. Then they're both "recommended". Obviously, up in Harrisburg this weekend, neither Rohrer nor Luksik got anywhere near that. So by the letter of the law, here in Chester County, we would have ended up with the same result.

But when it comes to Sam Rohrer, every man and women in that room knew the vote would have been a LOT closer if left to the County committee people, let alone actual voters. So by the spirit of the Chester County rules, every man and women in that room should have at least consulted with their county people. Frankly, I'm not even sure why only the state committee votes on the statewide offices.

I mean, sure, a hundred years ago it would have been a tremendous chafe to organize precinct level endorsement votes. But it's no problem at all, today.

So perhaps the first step of reform, here, is not to insist the party never make an endorsement. Maybe it's just to say "We have two committee people in every precinct in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Why don't we let them vote on the endorsement?" Wouldn't that be the best way to figure out what Republicans on the ground want?

Feb 13, 2010

PA GOP Facebook Administrator Deletes My Comments Critical Of The Committee's Decision To Endorse Candidates

I love how comments can suddenly disappear on the PA GOP Facebook page. Today I have been following closely the GOP State Committee's endorsements of candidates running for statewide races on the organizations Facebook page. So, I decided to comment on the announcement that the committee has voted to endorse Attorney General Tom Corbett for Governor. I stated the following partial to voice my unhappiness with the party and to respond to someone who implied that State Representative Sam Rohrer was a Harrisburg insider.
A vote for an open primary would have been a better option. Second you are a fool to think that Tom Corbett isn't a Harrisburg insider.
I then returned to the PA GOP Facebook page later and was surprised to see that my comment was deleted by the administrator. So I re posted the following:
"I love how things can suddenly get deleted on the PA GOP facebook page. Let me say this again. A vote for an open primary would have been a better option. Second you are a fool to think that Tom Corbett isn't a Harrisburg insider. Please do not delete this again. I am an registered republican and financially support the party. Thank You."
Let see if they delete my comments again. To be continued.........

Hey I got a response from the PA GOP Facebook page administrator.
Mr. Potter,

We appreciate your desire to express your opinion on the PA GOP fan page wall. However, the PA GOP cannot support comments that slanderize our process or our candidates. We would appreciate if you could refrain from posting comments that are derogatory.

The facebook fan page is a positive messaging tool that the PA GOP uses to share news and excitement about our races and candidates. I apologize that the deletion of your posts may be offensive. However, it would simply not be rational for the PA GOP to allow such posts to remain.

Sincere Thanks.
Michael Glick
Deputy Technology Director
Apparently my comments were too slanderous and not positive enough for Mr. Glick. So I sent him this message in response.
Dear Mr. Glick. Please remove the comment that implies that candidate Sam Rohrer is a Harrisburg insider and will "provide more of the same". I do believe that is slanderize towards Mr. Rohrer.
Here is Mr. Glick's response to my request.
Sir, please refrain from making posts that are not supportive of the PA GOP's candidates or messaging. You will be blocked from participating if you continue. If you have a request, feel free to contact me directly. Thank you.
However Mr. Glick has allowed the following comment to remain posted on the PA GOP's Facebook page blasting Sam Rohrer.......

From Facebook member Johnny Leschinskie
Tom Corbett is the guy to do the job. Sam Rohrer has been in Harrisburg and I believe he'll provide us more of the same. Tom Corbett looked more confident in last night's debate. Tom Corbett will make a great Governor. He kept his promises as Attorney General so why should anyone second-guess his credibility?
If your comments have been deleted or if you want to voice your concerns to Mr. Glick. The following is his contact information. Click Here for Mr. Michael Glick's Facebook profile or email him at jmichaelglick@gmail.com.

PA GOP State Committee Votes Against An Open Primary And Endorses Candidates

Today Republican State Committee members once again have chosen to ignore the overwhelming public outcry of republicans throughout the state who were pleading for an open primary this year.

Sources say that the vote to endorse candidates wasn't even close. So the committee is moving full speed ahead with the party endorsement of candidates for all the statewide races.

We The People of the United States has become We The People who are sheep being herded by the two party political establishment.

Update On PA Senate Race Endorsement:

The Party just announced on the PA GOP Facebook page that committee members have voted to endorse Pat Toomey over Peg Luksik who only received 12 votes. Pat Toomey received 327 for Toomey votes.

Update On The PA Governor's Race Endorsement:

The Party just announced that committee members have voted to endorse Attorney General Tom Corbett for Governor over State Representative Sam Rohrer. Corbett received 329 votes to 10 for Rep. Sam Rohrer.

Update On The LT. Governor's Race Endorsement:

KDKA is reporting that state committee members have voted to endorse Jim Cawley, a Bucks County commissioner, for lieutenant governor.

This is a big blow to both Sam Rohrer and Peg Luksik who pushed hard for the committee to not endorse candidates for statewide races during the primary elections. This also puts them at a disadvantage as the endorsed candidates have the luxury of utilizing the party machine to get their campaign message out.

More: Pa. GOP Backs Corbett For Gov, Toomey For Senate (KDKA)

Feb 12, 2010

Forward to the Past

By John D McGinnis

George Will recently wrote that American government is largely a redistribution device from the young to the old. The size and growth of entitlements, most of which are for the benefit of the elderly, and the growing amount of health care expenses with the largest portion of them going to the elderly, make his point. Will concludes that by allocating more and more dollars to the old, American government is investing in its past.

There is another way our government sacrifices our future to invest in the past. Virtually all government economic development and economic policy is focused on the past. Witness the call for rail projects in the State of the Union address. Even high speed rail is an old idea and if it needs government subsidies to come into existence, how good an idea can it be? Still, legions of politicians on both sides of the political aisle, will get behind the idea, because they can grasped the concept of rail.

Economies, however, advance by concepts that aren't even known by politicians or most people in general. At the time, did any politician or pundit understand what Henry Ford and John Rockefeller were doing to change the world? Did they understand what Edison was doing? Who saw what Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were going to do 30 years ago? The point is, what politicians push is stuff that already exists, because that's all they see and all they know. They learn quickly how to exercise control and peddle influence in existing endeavors. They are merchants of the past and status quo. But economies advance, as Friedrich Hayek often pointed out, by discoveries and innovations that nobody can anticipate. When politicians redistribute wealth to the already known and established sectors of our economy, they not only reduce the opportunity available for advancing our standard of living, but they also provide incentives to stifle economic progress. This happens due to the fact that established businesses will play the political game, curry favor with political donations, and use government as a lifeline rather than engaging the fickle and responsive marketplace.

Oversight of our economy by government and quasi-governmental "economic development" organizations does not work. If it did, the 9th and 12th Congressional Districts in Pennsylvania would be leading the world in prosperity. Instead, those districts are plagued with a culture of dependency and economic stagnation. They are just two examples of so many across our Commonwealth and our county where elected officials, who have the hubris of thinking they know best and who disregard liberty and constitutional government, impose their out-of-date thinking on the rest of us.

President Obama Signs Law Increasing The Federal Debt Limit To 14.3 Trillion Dollars

In case you missed it, today is a historical day in the history of this great nation. Yes that is right folks. You are probably thinking to yourself that today has just been like any other day. But the historical significance of this day won't be published on the front page of every newspaper in America. Nor will you won't find it as the lead story on your local television news broadcast.

Why is today so significant?

Today is the day that President Obama signed legislation increasing the nation's debt limit by $1.9 trillion dollars. According to various sources there was no planned ceremony for the signing. In fact President Obama signed the legislation behind closed doors and with no cameras present. That's all. Just another day in Washington D.C.

Congressional Democrats rammed the legislation through Congress last week. Now signed by the President, the bill raises the total amount the federal government can borrow from $12.394 trillion to $14.3 trillion. The justification for raising the debt limit given by Democratic Party leaders in both the House and Senate was so the government could function the rest of the year.

What ever happened to cutting spending? Instead they chose to borrow more money. These are the choices that our elected leaders in Washington are making for us. Incredible!!!

O.K! Today's historical event is not Washington crossing the Delaware River. But to many Americans concerned about the fiscal health of our country, today is just as critical to our future. Today is the day that should ingrained into the minds of everyone concerned about out of control spending in by our federal government.

Seriously folks how long can we afford to put up with this madness?

New Rasmussen Poll: Republican Tom Corbett Is Way Out Front In Race For Governor's Mansion

GOP front runner, Tom Corbett, is way ahead of three potential opponents according to the latest Rasmussen Reports survey.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state shows Corbett leading former Congressman Joe Hoeffel 51% to 29%. Against Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato, he leads 52% to 26%. When State Auditor Jack Wagner is his Democratic opponent, Corbett is ahead 49% to 28%. However, in all three match-ups, at least 15% of voters remain undecided at this point.
Senator Arlen Specter is ahead of primary challenger Rep. Joe Sestak by 15 points, but could be hurt by the general mood of PA voters in the poll. 71 % of Pennsylvania voters surveyed are angry at Washington policies, including 46% who are very angry. Most alarming for incumbents like Specter is the 66% believe our country would be better off if incumbents up for reelection this year were voted out of office. Ouch!!! I'm glad I'm not an incumbent.

Click Here to read the entire Rasmussen poll

John Murtha's wife Joyce Is Now A Possible Candidate For Her Husband's Seat

Salena Zito has a great story today in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Zito reports that there is growing support for John Murtha's wife Joyce to take her husband's seat in Congress. Apparently, many Democratic Party insiders both at the state level and in the 12th Congressional District itself feel that Joyce would win the seat and hold it for the Democrats.
"While people have been mindful that this is a difficult time for the family, many have called to suggest Joyce as the perfect person to hold her husband's seat," Murtha spokesman Matthew Mazonkey said. Murtha represented Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District. His term expires at the end of this year.
I don't think in this current political climate that choosing the wife of a dead Congressman is a wise choice. Although, Joyce Murtha's candidacy would definitely change the dynamics of the upcoming Special Election. But I would have to disagree that Joyce would be a strong candidate to hold the seat for the democrats. Her candidacy would give a republican candidate like Bill Russell the opportunity to run a grassroots, anti Washington type campaign similar to Scott Brown in Massachusetts.

More: Support builds for Murtha's wife taking seat (Tribune-Review)

Also: Murtha's death sparks inquiry (Tribune-Review)

Feb 11, 2010

Special Election For Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional Seat Favors GOP Candidate Bill Russell

Left vacant by the unexpected death of Rep. John Murtha, the race for Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District is sure to heat up real soon. Most of the election rating sites like CQ Politics and the Cooks Political Report have already moved the election status to a tossup. Primarily because an open seat election is quite unpredictable.

By law Governor Ed Rendell has until February 18th to make a decision on the timing of the special election. After that Rendell has 60 days to hold a special election. Pennsylvania's regular primary is already scheduled for May 18, and Gov. Ed Rendell is expected to set the twelfth district’s special election for that date as well. Rendell, however, withheld the right to change his mind pending what leaders in Washington, D.C. desire.

Because of the abbreviated schedule, there will be no primary for the special election; each state party will simply choose a candidate to run in the special election. However both parties have different methods to choose a candidate so it will be interesting how it plays out.

50 members of the state Democratic Party's central committee will pick the Democratic candidate to run in the special election. State Sen. John Wozniak is the most commonly mentioned Democratic name at the moment. However former Lt. Gov. Mark Singel (D) has also been mentioned as a potential candidate. Both candidates have some challenges to overcome if chosen. Wozniak is tied to a very unpopular pay raise vote and Singel has been a Harrisburg lobbyist for over a decade.

On the Republican side local county committees will choose their candidate. Right now the favorite would have to be Bill Russell. A former Iraq War veteran who was defeated by Murtha in 2008. Other names have been floated around such as state Rep. Dave Reed, state Sen. Kim Ward, state Rep. Jeff Pyle and the 2006 GOP nominee and former Washington County Commissioner Diana L. Irey. All of which would have to quickly make a power play to wrestle the nomination away from Russell.

There is no doubt that Russell is sitting in the drivers seat. He has already announced his candidacy and has been raising money for his campaign. In fact, Russell was out raising Murtha. Russell reported an impressive total of $2,865,593 raised through Dec. 31, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

That dollar amount alone makes Russell the front runner. GOP county committee members who are even thinking about choosing another candidate over Russell to run in the special election risk losing this race for the GOP.

Russell is the right kind of candidate to serve the constituents of the 12 District. Even going head to head with Murtha last time he held Murtha to 58 percent of the vote. The lowest total since Murtha first ran in 1974. Like Murtha, Russell is a military veteran. The 12th District has a high number of WW II and Vietnam veterans that will most likely vote for him.

The national mood right now favor's a candidate like Russell. Russel is an outsider. He is not viewed as a political party insider or government crony. If Russell aligns him with national and local Tea Party groups there is no doubt he will win this election. In fact, I don't understand when you seriously look at the direction of this race why this seat isn't rated leaning Republican.