Apr 29, 2010

New Sestak Campaign Ad Blasts Specter's Criticism Of His Military Record

I am beginning to believe that Arlen Specter really wants to keep giving Congressman Joe Sestak every possible opportunity to win the upcoming democratic primary election here in Pennsylvania. Specter's recent campaign ad questioning Sestak's Navy military record that began running a few weeks ago is now a colossal failure.

The negativity in the ad has made Sestak a credible alternative to many democratic voters. The controversy over the ad also has given Sestak tons of free press. Specter's ad was distasteful and down right disrespectful to anyone who has served in our military.

Here is the Sestak's response to Specter's "Swiftboat" ad!!!

Specter's campaign staff could use a good boxing lesson right about now. Underestimating your opponent and keeping them around for the late rounds is a very dangerous strategy because the underdog just might end up getting you knocked out. This recent Sestak campaign ad was a pretty heavy left hook. Watch out Specter! Here comes Smokin Joe :)

Newt Gingrich: Help Elect the Next Scott Brown

Last week, I was in Latrobe, Pa., for an event in support of Tim Burns, who is the Republican candidate for the May 18 PA-12 special election to fill the seat vacated by the passing of Jack Murtha.

What I learned there makes it clear that this special election is a huge opportunity.

In fact, in Tim Burns I believe we have a chance to win an upset election that will reverberate through the country much like the election of Scott Brown did in January.

I encourage you to visit www.timburnsforcongress.com to donate to his campaign and find other ways you can help.

Here is why I think this race is so important. Speaking to the event attendees and learning more about the dynamics of the race, it became clear how much this election can be seen as a preview for the elections in November.

PA-12 is a Democratic district, but it is also very rural and culturally conservative. While it had overwhelmingly elected Democrat Jack Murtha for decades, it has rapidly turned against the Obama-Pelosi-Reid machine:
  • President Obama's favorability ratings are "upside down:" 42% approve to 57% disapprove;
  • The Democratic Congress' ratings are worse: 33% approve to 65% disapprove;
  • The Democrats' health plan has only 30% approval. 64% disapprove;
  • With the coal industry important to western Pennsylvania, the cap and trade energy tax is unpopular as well.
Tim Burns is even polling ahead on the issue of earmarks, a remarkable fact considering that Jack Murtha was a vocal defender of using federal tax dollars for projects in his district. Burns has promised to end earmarks and voters are with him 50-42.

The Democratic Trap This November

Tim Burns' opponent, Democrat Mark Critz, a former staff member of Jack Murtha, has been put in a nearly impossible situation.

He cannot support the policies his party is pushing so he has run ads saying he opposes Obamacare, is pro-life, pro-gun and that "that's not liberal." He even (eventually) came out against the left's energy tax, despite working to pass it as a congressional staffer.

However, Critz also has to raise money; and to do so, needs the national Democratic leaders that are pushing the job killing policies his district opposes. So he's taking money from Nancy Pelosi, who hosted an event for Critz in Washington, D.C., and appeared at campaign events with Vice President Joe Biden, who last week came to the district to support Critz.

Imagine trying to position yourself as opposed to Obamacare and a friend of the coal industry while surrounding yourself with anti-coal Democratic leaders who spent the last year ramming Obamacare down our throats.

Critz's challenge is the same all Democrats will face this fall. As they try to distance themselves from the job killing policies of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid machine, they will still need to rely on the fundraising and publicity-generating capacity of the national Democratic leaders responsible for pushing and passing those deeply unpopular policies.

They Can Run, But Will We Let Them Hide?

Tim Burns' opponent hopes he can get away with this sleight of hand, taking the left's money one day to pay for ads claiming he's not one of them the next. It is the same trick hundreds of Democrats will be trying this fall. The only question is whether common sense Americans, who are sick of the radicalism of this administration, are willing to let them get away with it.

Tim Burns is a small businessman who knows what it takes to create jobs and who opposes the job killing policies of the left. He supports an "all of the above" energy plan that would use American energy resources to break our reliance on foreign oil and common sense health reform once Obamacare is repealed. His passion is stopping the out-of-control spending in Washington that will saddle his two children with debt for the rest of their lives.

Polls are showing a tight race but they reveal that Burns' supporters are much more committed to his victory than those of his opponent. Voters who rank their interest in the race between an 8 and 10 (on a 1-10 scale) prefer Burns 49-40.

Where Burns (and many Republicans) will be this fall is at a disadvantage in resources. That's where you can come in.

The PA-12 special election on May 18 has all the characteristics of becoming a nationalized race, much the way Scott Brown's Senate race did in January.

You can help build the energy needed to win another upset victory by donating personally and by spreading the word about the importance of this race using e-mail, facebook, twitter and more.

Apr 28, 2010

Most Republican Politicians Are Not Pro-Life

Most Republican politicians are not Pro-Life, they are pro-reelection. They use and abuse the Pro-Life label throughout their election campaigns to shake up the voters, raise funds and get votes, but as soon as the election is over . . . They do absolutely nothing to promote life.

Writes Laurence Vance, "I have seen it reported in several places that Planned Parenthood, one of the world’s leading abortion providers, received government grants and contracts of $350 million for fiscal year 2007-2008 and $337 million for fiscal year 2006-2007. I verified this information for myself on the Planned Parenthood website. I also discovered that Planned Parenthood’s fiscal year ends on June 30. This means that Bush the Republican was the president during this time. But after doing a little digging, I also found out that Planned Parenthood received government grants and contracts of $305 million (34%) during fiscal year 2005-2006. During this time we not only had Bush the Republican president but also a Republican majority in Congress. Yet, Planned Parenthood was still funded. And we are supposed to take Republicans seriously when they complain that Obama isn’t likely to appoint an anti-abortion judge to the Supreme Court? Why wasn’t the Republican Party that concerned about abortion when clinics affiliated with Planned Parenthood performed 264,943 abortions in 2005?"

What we hear over and over again from these same Republicans and parroted by leaders within the movement is that since 1972 the only remedy to all these murders is to elect Republican candidates who will send Pro-Life justices to the court.

That is pure hogwash. Here are five things truly Pro-Life politicians can start doing now, without waiting for the Supreme Court:

1. Cosponsor the Sanctity of Life Act defining life's beginning at conception.

2. Cosponsor legislation using their Constitutionally-granted ability to limit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court on this issue.

3. Refuse to vote yes on any/every spending bill containing funds for population control.

4. Repeal roadblocks to quick, painless and cheap adoptions.

5. Expose and refuse to work with Republicans who will not take steps 1-4.

For a more lengthy explanation of steps 1-3, why these will work to end abortion in this country, and how very few Republicans are willing to take these steps, read Vance's article entitled, The Pro-Life Assault on Ron Paul and the Constitution.

Apr 27, 2010

3rd Congressional Candidates Debate the Issues Again: Who will be the one to send Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper packing?

Written by Roberta Biros

Last night I attended another formal debate of the 3rd Congressional District Republican Candidates. The event was sponsored by Allegheny College and was held at Quigley Hall on the Allegheny College Campus. It was another standing-room-only event as it was a rare opportunity for the people of the 3rd Congressional District to determine which candidate can best represent them when we send Kathy Dahlkemper home in November.

All six candidates were in attendance. In order on the stage from left to right were Steve Fisher, Ed Franz, Clayton Grabb, Paul Huber, Mike Kelly, and Martha Moore.

The last formal debate was held a month ago on March 25th in Grove City (read about it HERE). It may have only been 4 weeks ago, but it seems like a lifetime. The last four weeks have been packed with events, get-togethers, meet-n-greets, fundraisers, and tea parties for all six of the Republican candidates . . . and the bloggers that follow them. The grueling schedule is beginning to take its toll on everyone involved, but it hasn’t dampened our determination to push through to November.

At the debate that was held a month ago, we met six candidates that were fresh, unpolished, and unique. Four weeks later, the six candidates are beginning to meld into one and other. The have all had an opportunity to tweak their presentations, and some are actually stealing each others quotes (i.e, I believe it was Ed Franz that stole Martha Moore’s “enough is enough” quote last night and it made me laugh).

I documented the entire evening, but you all know that I’m not one to simply provide a laundry list of the evening’s events. No, I’d prefer to paint you an abstract portrait of the highlights and lowlights of the night.


Anyone that attended last night’s event would agree hands down that the “star” of the evening was Dr. Martha Moore. At the debate in Grove City, Dr. Moore was noticeably nervous and she struggled at times to find the words to properly describe her stand on issues. That was simply not the case last night as Dr. Moore has found a comfortable place in just shooting straight from the hip. “Like what?”, you ask. Allow me to provide a few sound bites:

When discussing why she was running for office, Dr. Moore stated “Because I don’t want to be nauseated every time that I hear the President of the United States speak.”

She made a reference to a patient that recently visited her office who has over $90K in outstanding medical bills. She stated “Call Kathy Dahlkemper (and ask her to pay your bill)”.

When referring to the recent health care reform bill she stated “that stupid bill they passed . . . just stupid”.

The most precious references that Dr. Moore made were during her closing statements where she literally brought down the house. For instance . . . “When I go to Washington, I’m going to say NO a lot. They are going to say that I’m from the party of no’, but I’m the party of ‘STOP THIS’”.
I applaud Martha Moore for offering us “Martha Moore Unplugged” last night. She brought a level of straight talk and humor to an otherwise serious and sometimes lifeless event. I’ve said it before and I’ll take this opportunity to say it again. I really respect Dr. Moore for standing up as a concerned citizen and becoming involved in this race. I still don’t believe that she is necessarily the best choice to become our next Congresswoman, but I appreciate the perspective that she brings to the table. She says the things that many of us are thinking . . . but we’ve never actually said out loud, and because she is a candidate she is able to inject those thoughts directly into the formal debate conversation.

Her participation in last night’s event was “priceless”.

Interesting Notes on Each Candidate

I’d like to point out some interesting statements from each of the candidates presented in the order of the seating arrangement on the stage from left to right.

Steve Fisher

Steve Fisher continues to illustrate that he is the perfect mix of grassroots candidate and qualified representative. He presents himself as a “Statesman” and not a politician. He is polished in all the right places, but he remains human (and appropriately ‘unpolished’) in the way that he connects with the people of this area. He is sincere, honest, and approachable but also projects an unmatched level of confidence and professionalism.

On issues of the budget, Mr. Fisher pointed out that we need to make decisions that are “good for us”. He pointed out that too much attention goes to how our budgetary decisions will affect China and Japan and that we need to concentrate on how those decisions will affect us first.” He suggested that we reestablish an impartial review of the federal government and possible inefficiencies through an investigation similar to the Grace Commission (that was established during the Reagan administration).

In response to issues of our military and his willingness to respond to a strike against the United States, Mr. Fisher first stated that he is concerned “about how thin our military is stretched” and whether they are receiving the support that they need. He also pointed out that we need to “forget political correctness”.

In his closing comments, Mr. Fisher made a great statement worth noting. He said “I am not a politician. I plan on serving a maximum of three terms and coming back to the area to work in the insurance industry . . . if there is an insurance industry to come back to”.

Ed Franz

Ed Franz positions himself as the man who can “represent the average taxpayer in Washington DC”. He pointed out that “inside the beltway politicians have concentrated on healthcare legislation and not the health of this nation”.

Mr. Franz made reference to the “800 lb gorilla in the back of the room”. Some may have thought he was referring to one blogger that was seated in the last row of the auditorium, but he was referring to “the national debt”. Mr. Franz wants to be the voice in the debate that represents the average taxpayer.

Regarding budget deficits, Mr. Franz made his stand clear when he stated “We need to get out of deficit spending. We need to get out of financing bills and legislation that we cannot afford.” It was a short statement, but it hit at the heart of the problem.

In a humorus moment of the evening, Mr. Franz was discussing his thoughts on the strength of the military and his stand on responding to a strike on the US. To quote “If we are attacked we should hunt them down.” He then went on to discuss a reference to a movie . . . “Patton”, and he stated “Wasn’t that the way a war should be fought.” The reference sent chuckles across the crowd.

Clayton Grabb

Clayton Grabb continues to prove that he is the anti-politician. His concerns are not for “the Party” but for “the People”. He started by explaining why he decided to run for office. He stated “I believe our constitution is under attack”. He then went on to explain “I got tired of holding my nose to go and vote in the past. My Republican Party has left us down before. We need someone that will go to DC and stand up for the people and tell it like it is.” It is statements like these that explain why Mr. Grabb is not embraced by the Republican Party, but is, instead, embraced by people who have experienced the same frustrations . . . which are many.

He continued to separate him self from politicians by saying “(we need to elect people to) do the people’s work and then go home . . . we need a citizen legislator that does not want to be there.” (emphasizing that once they get there they get too comfortable)

When it comes to budgetary issues, Mr. Grabb offers common sense solutions to that too. He stated “How about we cut all government hiring. The government is the only sector of our economy that is growing right now. . . . we cannot continue to grow our government . . . the more (people) that depend on government the harder it will be for people like us to get in there and stop it.”

Regarding issues of the military, Mr. Grabb stated “We need to pull the politicians out (of the decision making process) and let the military do what it needs to do. We need to do what is necessary to be the biggest baddest dog on the block.”

Paul Huber

Paul Huber remains firm on his position as the businessman with the experience needed to represent us in Washington DC. In his opening statement his first words were “I’m a life long social and fiscal conservative”. I mention this because it raised a few eyebrows in the crowd as some people have questioned the fact that Mr. Huber only became a Republican last year.

Mr. Huber did, however, manage to present a very conservative stand on fiscal issues including his statement on budgetary issues as “I’m proposing that we go to 2009 levels of spending and that includes legislative salaries as well. It is a step in the right direction that sends the right message to the financial markets and the American people that we are serious about this.” Mr. Huber’s ideas for tackling economic problems are aggressive and bold and I like that.

Regarding job creation in our area, Mr. Huber offered a great explanation of the problem as “government doesn’t create jobs . . . they create an environment where jobs are destroyed or they can create an environment where free enterprise can create jobs”. Mr. Huber continues to offer the prospective of a business person, and he is quite clear on his vision of how that prospective is desperately needed in Washington DC.

Mike Kelly

Mike Kelly also offers the business owner angle, and he is quite direct in his approach. Unlike Huber (who is polished and refined), Mike Kelly offers similar ideas but with an extra “edge”. When explaining “why” he was running he simply stated “because none of us ran before.” He further explained that “We were all responsible people sitting back and didn’t have time to get involved . . . We forfeited our future . . . it is time to get people like ‘us’ into office.”

Regarding the issue of term limits, Mr. Kelly made his stand clear when he stated “people are sitting too long in the same spot and they aren’t held accountable.”

In response to a question regarding budget deficits and the President’s plan to freeze discretionary spending, Mr. Kelly boldly stated “I have a problem listening to anything that Obama says and taking it seriously.” Again in referencing the President he said “We’ve got a 3 yr old running the highest powered locomotive on earth.”

Mr. Kelly’s most important point of the evening was his repeated reference to “it’s the spending, stupid”. He continues to press the common-sense idea that spending needs to be addressed before this nation can move forward on anything. I agree.

Mr. Kelly did attempt to address recent comments that he “comes across as angry”. He explained that people might get that impression because “he is angry”. He explained that he is angry about the problems that we are facing in this country and he is serious about fixing them.

As a side note . . . After the debate I did ask Mr. Kelly that the next time he wants to quote me directly I only ask that he give me a public shout out. This is, of course, a reference to the fact that my written statements regarding Mr. Kelly were the catalyst to the conversations about his “anger”. Mike and I laughed about it and I reassured him that “I think he is just a big teddy bear”.

Martha Moore

Aside from the comments that I’ve already made regarding Dr. Moore, there were other points that did not go unnoticed. Regarding finding solutions to fiscal issues, she stated “don’t look to the Government to fix problems that the Government created”. It isn’t just a great quote . . . it is the truth.

Regarding budgetary issues and a proposed freeze on discretionary spending, Dr. Moore stated “a miniscule part of the budget is what he is freezing . . . then he passes a bill that will cost 2.4 trillion dollars . . . they said 1.4 trillion but they lied.” She then went on to explain “We are going to have to tackle the big items.” As a possible solution, she suggested that “we need to audit the federal government”, and I completely agree.

One key difference between the candidates?

After almost two months of following these candidates from event to event I was surprised last night when an issue surfaced which drew a very definitive line of distinction between them. That issue was regarding campaign financing and specifically the Supreme Court ruling on “Citizens United v. FEC”.

The issue has multiple facets that generated great conversation. The first is an issue regarding the First Amendment and free speech, and the second issue is that of campaign financing and the idea of “deep pockets buying elections”.

All of the candidates were in agreement on the issue of free speech (no shock there), but there were additional comments made by some that highlighted a serious problem regarding political campaigns in general.

Mike Kelly felt that the ruling helped to “even the playing field”. He explained that “corporations shouldn’t be pouring this much money into elections, but when you look at how the Democrats raise money you need to level the playing field.”

In drastic contrast, Steve Fisher was clearly against the concept of corporations funding elections. He stated “We spend far too much on elections already. I don’t think that corporations should be allowed to spend money to buy votes and buy elections.” He further explained “there is big difference between dollars between many candidates, but to take corporate money and throw it in there is unfair”. As a grassroots candidate, Fisher has experienced first had how deep pockets and large bank accounts can make the election process a particularly uneven playing field.

Ed Franz agreed with the Supreme Court ruling but emphasized that “we need to watch what special interests are financing which candidates . . . the voters need to keep an eye (on the process)”.

Clayton Grabb also agreed with the Supreme Court ruling and supported his comments by saying that “corporations ARE you and I”. However, as another grassroots candidate, he was quick to point out that “Campaigns should not cost what they cost!” [I say “Amen” to that.] He further went on to explain exactly how “big money comes in and they buy the Primary”. In closing he reminded everyone that the “grassroots people are the ones that need to be represented”.

Paul Huber agreed with the Supreme Court ruling, and he seemed to have no problem with the concept of corporations funding elections.

This specific debate drew very clear lines for me. 2010 is an election year that offers very stark contrasts. It is a year that pits “deep pockets” against “grassroots Average Joe’s” (as in the race for the 3rd Congressional District). It is a year that battles “endorsed candidates” against “unendorsed candidates” (read an example HERE). It is a year that will put unaffiliated Independents up against 20-year entrenched incumbents (read an example HERE).

In summary, 2010 is the year of David vs. Goliath.

In the race for the 3rd Congressional District, David is represented by Steve Fisher, Ed Franz, Clayton Grabb, and Martha Moore. Goliath is represented by Paul Huber and Mike Kelly. The Primary on May 18th will settle the debate and the battle once and for all.

As always, just my opinion.
~Mercer County Conservatives


Sam Rohrer, Candidate for Governor, visited Mercer County

Written by Roberta Biros

Saturday, April 24 was a busy day for concerned citizens in Mercer County. The day kicked off with the Mercer County TEA Party at the courthouse at 10am (read more about the Mercer County TEA Party HERE) and it ended up with a personal visit from Sam Rohrer, candidate for Governor at 4pm. Sam Rohrer is, himself, a fellow Tea Partier, so the tie in between the two events was a brilliant idea and a great way to carry over the energy from one event to the next. Bravo!

The day may have been busy for us but it was especially action packed for candidate Rohrer. He was scheduled to arrive at Brandy Springs Park outside of downtown Mercer shortly after 4pm, but his arrival was delayed due to his extremely cramped schedule. The event organizers had planned for a festive welcome for Mr. Rohrer and event attendees as is illustrated by the ‘welcoming committee” at Brandy Springs Park (see photo below).

Even though our time with Sam was limited, he made the most of it. After a brief introduction, Sam devoted only a short time to his opening remarks. Instead, he preferred to spend his time answering direct questions from attendees. I appreciated the change of focus as it allowed us to discuss the issues that were important to those of us attending rather than hearing a pre-packaged campaign speech. The focus became the constituents and not the candidate. It was very ‘un-politician’ like.

There was time for about five questions to which Mr. Rohrer provided detailed answers. Question topics were nullification, elimination of property taxes, gun rights and the fire arms database, jobs, and sin taxes. I know that Sam Rohrer is a fiscal conservative legislator and I had heard that he was a strict Constitutionalist, but there is no substitute for ‘hearing it from the horses mouth’ and I was not disappointed.

Sam Rohrer provided answers that were absolutely spot-on. His vision for Pennsylvania was clear and unwavering. He made decisive statements like “I will not sign a tax increase bill in order to balance the budget . . . and I will not borrow”. He believes that “the tax dollars that come to Harrisburg are private property”, which supports the idea that taxpayers should control the government and not politicians and special interests.

This was a rare opportunity for Mercer Countians to have direct interaction with a Gubernatorial candidate. Attendance was less than 100, but those that were chose to attend were genuinely interested and concerned about Pennsylvania’s future. There were a few exceptions of course. Mercer County GOP Committee Chairman, Dave King, was on hand to welcome Mr. Rohrer to Mercer County. Dr. King’s attendance was surprising knowing what the GOP establishment thinks of ‘non-endorsed’ candidates. It should be noted that no other Republican state legislators chose to welcome Mr. Rohrer to Mercer County. Senator Robbins, Representative Brooks and Representative Stevenson did not feel that the event was worth their time. Shame on them . . . but do they ever show up to an event where they would be overshadowed?

I had an interesting conversation with Dr. King while we were waiting for the event to begin, and it is worth mentioning. I made a simple statement to Dr. King that “Sam Rohrer is a good guy”. Dr. King felt it necessary to correct me by stating “he is a good REPUBLICAN”. I responded with “no, he is a good CONSERVATIVE . . . not all Republicans are good Conservatives . . . and not all good Conservatives are Republicans”. We then went on to discuss very briefly the problem that not all “conservatives” are embraced by the Republican Party and Dr. King stressed that the problem seemed like an isolated incident involving only ONE individual . . . me. Well, Dr. King, I seem to meet more and more people like me every day. Perhaps Dr. King should have attended the Tea Party earlier in the day where he could have talked to hundreds of people just like me . . . but he did not.

Unfortunately for you, Dr. King, 2010 is the year that conservatives are going to stand up to the GOP establishment and make a statement. Endorsed candidates are no longer a ‘shoe in’, and many of us are seeing endorsements as the ‘kiss of death’ for a candidate as it ties them to the ‘elephant in the room’ . . . the self-serving GOP establishment. It is time that Dr. King wake up and realize that Tea Partiers, Independents, and disgruntled Republicans have become a force to recon with, and if the GOP doesn’t soon recognize that it will eventually go the way of the Dodo bird . . . perhaps sooner than later.

In closing, I’d like to thank Sam Rohrer for taking the time to stop in and visit good ol’ Mercer County. I’d also like to thank the event organizers for taking the time and effort to make certain the Mercer County is not a forgotten county in this election. Sam Rohrer’s interest in our area helps to put us on the map.


Apr 22, 2010

Transparency vs. Corruption: An Investigation in Search of a Rat

Senator Bob Robbins, Representative Michele Brooks, Representative Mark Longietti, and Representative Dick Stevenson hide and duck from important questions

Written by Roberta Biros

In a recent radio interview it was noted that I have a “big thing” with transparency, and that was no exaggeration. Those that know me also know that I am obsessed with the issue of transparency in government and public service . . . so much so that I am now running my second campaign on that very issue [read HERE].

Yes, this post is long (I know that fellow blogger Fred Mullner groaned when he saw it), but it includes details from research that has been going on for well over a month.

Notes from the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference

Last weekend I attended the annual Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in Harrisburg. The meeting brings together deep thinking conservatives to discuss topics of concern. Each year there are top issues of conversation like the budget and fiscal responsibility and there is always a great deal of conversation about politics and upcoming elections. This year there was one panel discussion that was worth the entire cost of admission . . . Beyond Corruption: Transparency, Accountability & Reform.

The panel was moderated by Chris Freind, Columnist. I scheduled my day around this particular presentation and Mr. Freind's opening comments did not disappoint. First, Mr. Freind referred to some politicians as the “business as usual crowd” and he made reference to their desire to “hide and duck” tough and probing questions. However, I was most intrigued when Mr. Freind referenced the recent BonusGate scandals involving Vion (and now Orie) [read more HERE]. Mr. Freind pointed out that some political insiders have stated that some of the investigations are “politically motivated”. Mr. Freind stated “The question is not whether it is politically driven . . . the question is ‘is it true’”. The most amazing part about Mr. Friend's comment is that I spoke the words aloud with him. These are the exact same things that I’ve been saying for quite some time and it was refreshing to hear a panel discussion begin on that note.

The presentation continued on for about an hour and included presentations by Joe Sterns (Citizens Alliance of PA), Curt Schroder (State Representative), Lyndsay O’Herrick (Citizen Activist), and Doug Reichley (State Representative). The details and discussions were too numerous to mention, but the entire conversation was invigorating. I left prepared to push harder for transparency because I knew that I was not alone in my quest.

I left with another specific quote that is worth repeating. This one was from Lyndsay O’Herrick who stated “Corruption is the conscious act of sustaining the status quo at the expense of future generations.” Gosh . . . that’s all really good stuff!

Corruption vs. Transparency in Mercer County: My Investigation

As most of you know, I’ve spent a great deal of time over the past year and a half asking questions of our legislators. Sometimes they answer, and sometimes they don’t. My recent line of questioning of our state lawmakers has left my phone and email empty, but I refuse to let this sleeping dog lie . . . it just isn’t my style. So, allow me to explain what I’ve been up to for the past several weeks as follows:

On Sunday, March 21, 2010, I sent an email message to the taxpayer funded email accounts of our four state legislators (Robbins, Brooks, Longietti, and Stevenson). The email message was titled “"harder" questions regarding the use of your staff”. The email message was a follow up to the earlier message regarding my concerns (and the concerns of others) regarding inappropriate use of legislative staff and resources for campaign activities. In the message I reiterated a number of questions that had been published in The Herald. The questions were very specific and I requested answers in writing by March 31st as a matter of transparency. ALL FOUR FAILED TO RESPOND.

On Monday, April 5, 2010, I sent a letter to the editor of The Herald regarding their lack of response. That letter was published on April 9th.

On Tuesday, April 6, 2010, I contacted all four legislators by fax. This time it was in response to the announced that State Senator Jane Orie was too be indicted on misuse of legislative staff for her sister’s campaign in 2009. As the third ranking Republican in the State Senate (just two notches above Senator Robbins), the news of her indictment hit unpleasantly close to the questions that I had asked each of the legislators. So, I asked the questions again. I stressed that the lack of transparency regarding this issue created a perception of corruption even if no actual corruption exists. I further noted that continued failure to avoid these very direct and specific questions makes many of us wonder what it is that they are trying to hide? ALL FOUR FAILED TO RESPOND.

On Tuesday, April 13, 2010, I contacted all four legislators again by fax. I repeated the same list of questions and noted the following:
“The questions that I’ve posed are not out of line. The questions raise valid concerns regarding the way that taxpayer dollars are used by you and your staff. As a taxpayer, I ask these questions as a matter of transparency, and it is your duty to answer the questions as a matter of accountability and public service. Perhaps transparency, accountability, and public service are a forgotten duty in government, but I feel it is my responsibility to encourage these characteristics from each and every one of our elected officials.”

On Friday, April 16, 2010, I began calling the offices of our legislators. First on my list was Senator Bob Robbins. I called Senator Robbin’s office and explained that I had sent numerous email messages and faxes to the Senator and had received no response. I was told that I would need to schedule an appointment with the Senator and that process could take 2 to 3 weeks. It was explained to me that Senator Robbins spends 3 days each and every week in Harrisburg and he finds it difficult to find time in his schedule to meet with constituents. I wanted to say “don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining”, but I contained myself and asked that someone call me back to schedule an appointment.

The next call went to the office of Representative Mark Longietti. I explained who I was and why I was calling. After a few minutes on hold I was transferred to Representative Longietti. Representative Longietti stated that he was aware of my attempted communications and that he considers me to be a “media outlet” and he chooses not to correspond with my particular “media outlet”. He stated that he did not wish to contribute to my blog. I asked if my being a taxpayer provided me the right to answers, and Representative Longietti simply repeated his earlier statements. I thanked him for his time. All I can say is “at least he took my call”.

The third call went to the office of Representative Michele Brooks. I received an answering machine and left a detailed message as instructed. I then called again about an hour and a half later. I explained who I was and why I was calling. I was put on hold for several minutes. When the phone was picked up I was told that Representative Brooks was no longer available for the day and that they would giver her my message on Monday. Hmmmm. Interesting.

I did not bother to call Representative Dick Stevenson as I could see that this exercise was becoming a waste of time.

As of today, April 22, 2010, ALL FOUR FAILED TO RESPOND.

The Probing Questions?

Based on the lack of responses, you would think that the questions that I was asking were “way outside the box”. Well, allow me to review them with you here. They came from a list that was presented in an AP article [read HERE]. The questions that I forwarded were regarding campaign policies and the tracking of work by their staff; use of their legislative staff including caucus staff, bonuses, and over-time work; taxpayer paid mailings; and per-diems (and possible double-dipping related to those per-diems).

The questions were not beyond the scope of what should be open topics of conversation . . . unless there is something to hide.

Why are you pressing this issue so hard?

It is apparent that if we leave the “hen house unguarded”, the fox and the rooster will worry about no one but themselves. That is the case with many of those in our current state legislature . . . and we have four examples of that in Mercer County. If WE the taxpayers don’t hold our elected officials accountable, they won’t do it on their own. It is our responsibility to “keep them honest” (which assumes that they were honest in the first place, but I digress).

I had a discussion with a colleague over the weekend and he pointed out how blurry the lines between legislative staff and campaign staff have become. He noted a recent experience where he was approached for campaign purposes by a member of a local legislative staff. His radar went up and he noted “how can you tell if they are on taxpayer time or free time?”. Even if it is after hours, how do our legislators track the time. When we are having a conversation with a legislative employee, how do we know if WE are paying for the conversation or not?

Allow me to explain the problem that exists with a photo. The picture is posted in a public on-line forum at the website of the Mercer County GOP. They display the photo proudly and think nothing of the problems that it might illustrate. First, here is a screen shot of the website (before the details mysteriously disappear):

Here is a close up of the photo in question along with the published caption.

While this photo may not mean much to anyone outside of Mercer County, I’d like to describe why it is so disturbing. The photo is of State Senator Bob Robbins having a conversation with Diane Helbig. It is clear that Diane Helbig is campaigning for Representative Michele Brooks (the blue and fluorescent logo is hard to miss). However, for those of you that aren’t aware of the details, Ms. Helbig is also Representative Michele Brooks “Legislative Assistant” (I hope I got the exact title right . . . it is usually displayed on an ID tag that she wears at official events).

So when you look at the picture, do you wonder . . .

“Is Ms. Helbig discussing State business or campaign business?”

“Is she campaigning or is she filling some official capacity?”

“Is she on unpaid/donated time or is she somehow being compensated by the taxpayers (either directly or through bonuses or extra compensation)?”

“Is Ms. Helbig doing this voluntarily or is she pressured to do this type of work by her employer, Representative Brooks?”

My point in all of this is, why do we even need to ask the questions? Do our legislators not have enough friends and supporters that they must use legislative staff to fill their campaign needs? Can our elected officials not find enough loyal volunteers that they need to take taxpayer-paid employees to parades and fairs? If they are so comfortable with situations like the ones pictured above, what else do they do that might cross the line?

I don’t propose that we babysit our legislators and their staff. Instead, I demand that they change the laws so that these sort of questions are unnecessary. I made a proposal in a previous post and I’d like to repeat it here . . .

The solution is simple. The staff of elected officials should NOT be involved in partisan political activity of any kind. PERIOD. The Hatch Act of 1939 prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity. This same concept should be implemented at every level of government. Legislative staff (as well as County and Local) should not be permitted to be involved in any political activity (on taxpayer time or on their own time). For more information about his concept, please read the on-line article titled “Politically Uncorrected : IF MEN WERE ANGELS" which is available for on-line review HERE.

In Closing . . .

It is obvious that our legislators don't want to have this conversation with us (the taxpayers), but is it really their choice?

As always, just my opinion.

~Mercer County Conservatives


The Admiral Hits an Iceberg

Guest Column By Dr. G. Terry Madonna and Dr. Michael Young

According to sage Yogi Berra, "it's tough to make predictions, especially about the future."

Nevertheless, we boldly made one about a year ago appraising incumbent Congressman Joe Sestak's primary race against born-again Democrat Arlen Specter. We ended the article this way: "Today the Admiral (Sestak), despite his many assets, looks less the prospective giant killer and more the kamikaze mission recruit. He might fool us all. But don't bet on it."

Well now you can bet on it! Sestak remains the longest of long shots to beat Specter. The kamikaze mission is cleared for takeoff. The surname on Pennsylvania's Democratic U.S. Senate ballot this fall will indeed start with an S. But the S will be for Specter, not Sestak.

This conclusion, however, is far from the conventional reasoning on this race. A recent boomlet in Sestak stock has been taking place thanks to some national media spinning a come-from-behind victory scenario-a script embraced enthusiastically by fervent Specter haters hoping against hope that the senator they love to hate will finally meet his just desserts.

Maybe someday! But it's not likely to happen in May.

Sestak, despite a compelling personal narrative, a take-no-prisoners campaign style, and some early success in fundraising, has struggled against the resilient Specter. Real Clear Politics' recent polls average tracks him running some 14 points behind Specter. And his most recent fundraising report shows the last quarter was his worst yet for raising new money.

Equally ominous, perhaps, is the tone of much state media coverage on the race. Emblematic was the Philadelphia Inquirer's recent front-page article concluding that the Sestak campaign "so far has all the traction of a car with four bald tires traversing an icy mountain road."

But why has Sestak's early promise against the embattled Specter now come a cropper, despite the real and serious vulnerabilities incurred by Specter in a record-breaking sixth run for U.S. Senate? Analysis suggests three compelling reasons why Sestak has been unable to exploit the opportunities once available to him, and why Pennsylvania's longest serving senator will live to fight another day after the dust clears on May 18.
  • Organizational Support: Will Rodgers used to joke that he belonged to no organized political party because he was a Democrat. But the Pennsylvania Democratic Party has learned to present a united front when necessary. Just about every important Democrat from Obama to Biden to Casey to Rendell and down the line have jumped on or been pushed onto the Specter express. This is not surprising. A Sestak victory in the primary will be seen as a stunning rebuke for state Democrats. The White House and the state party have considerable credibility at stake.
  • Specter's Political Alchemy: Clark Kent used to jump into a convenient phone booth to don his Superman cloak. Specter this year has reprised the trick politically by changing into a true-blue, 100%-pure Democrat faster than a speeding bullet. For 28 years Specter was an uncertain part-time Republican; now in a single election year he has become an unambiguous full-time Democrat. In doing so he has effectively undercut Sestak's charges that he is not a real Democrat. In fact Specter has become the ultimate loyal Democrat, vigorously supporting his new party and its new president's agenda some 95 percent of the time. Specter has become more of an Obama Democrat than Obama himself, even recanting a few of his past Republican heresies-such as his recent suggestion that supporting John Roberts to the Supreme Court was a mistake.
  • Sestak's Strategy: Sestak's plan to beat Specter in the final days of the race is essentially based on winning undecided voters with a shock-and-awe campaign while undercutting Specter's support. His campaign plans to accomplish this by holding their fire for a final push, flooding the airwaves with anti-Specter themes, and leaving Specter little time to react effectively. It's a strategy that might work in a crowded field of candidates or against a candidate not well known, not well financed, or just inexperienced. Specter, however, is none of these. In almost thirty years in office he has seen it all, confronted it all, and lived through it all. And he will live through the Sestak challenge.

To live to fight another day, however, is not to live forever. A Specter primary victory would be his first win as a Democrat. It could also be his last. Specter's political life expectancy beyond May looks dicey. His race with Sestak is going to get closer-maybe much closer. Sestak has some $5 million to spend and no rainy day to save it for. Sestak may lose, but in the process he is going to rough up a candidate already roughly treated.

None of this is promising for Specter in November. And he will need all the help he can muster. Running against the formidable presumptive GOP nominee Pat Toomey in a year inauspicious for Democrats, Specter may be facing the toughest race of his political life. The Sestak challenge has wounded Specter in the general election race, forcing him leftward in support of an unpopular president's unpopular agenda. In the end, Specter, in winning the primary battle, may lose the general election war, becoming another causality of the widening polarization engulfing American politics.

Apr 20, 2010

Sam Rohrer rejects Corbett’s “living document” view of our Constitution

(Hattip Win The West For Sam)

Spoken like a true Democrat, Tom Corbett recently asserted that the U.S. Constitution is a “living document.” His words spread like wild fire and served to make clear to shocked listeners everywhere the extreme fundamental difference between he and his opponent Sam Rohrer, a Constitutional Conservative.

Corbett, touts himself a leader, but he that views our Constitution as matter of interpretation, and subject to case law is a dangerous prospect indeed. For the first time, in a very long time, Pennsylvania has a real choice. Sam Rohrer will boldly lead Pennsylvania in the fight to preserve and defend our Constitution. The choice in Pennsylvania is clear.

So You Say You Support The 2nd Amendment . . .

Well then, is it ok for those rights to be abrogated during emergencies like they were during Hurricane Katrina? Which of our other rights can be suspended whenever the government deems it necessary?

Tom Corbett won't say for sure.

Apr 19, 2010

Pension Options

When the legislature passed Act 9 in 2001 they had to realize that it would create this impending disaster. Even if they didn't realize it then, they certainly knew about it in 2006 when they were presented with multiple studies showing exactly what would happen in the future if they took no action. The legislature did nothing because they were too worried about being re-elected. So, now we, as taxpayers, are faced with two alternatives to deal with the pension debacle that faces us.

Option 1: Bite the Bullet
This will mean doing what needs to be done in order to return the state pension system to a fully funded status. This will mean higher taxes. Most likely the state and the school boards will need to raise taxes to accomplish this. Just for the 2012-2013 year, most school districts will require five times more funding for the pension plan than what they are currently contributing. After that spike it progressively gets worse for about 35 years. So what can be done to minimize the impact and make Pennsylvania an afford place to raise a family in the future?

First, there is no avoiding an increased tax burden for 2012-13. Even if the legislature pushes the debt into the future again, we will still be left with the up front cost to push that debt into the future. However, if this is done in a manner where the debt is repaid in a set amount each year we can whether the storm over time.

Option 2: Tear down
The second option is to make a move to a defined contribution system(a 401k type system). This option sounds reasonable, but when the consequences of this option are examined it becomes obvious that this "solution" will bankrupt the state government all by itself. Since the state pension is guaranteed by the state, it cannot go bankrupt. This means that no matter how much its costs increase, the state is required to pick up the tab.

Apr 18, 2010


White House Press Secretary

Robert Gibbs met with a delegation from the White House press corps for 75 minutes on Thursday in an effort to improve frayed relations between the two sides.

Ed Chen, a White House correspondent for Bloomberg News who is president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said he asked for the meeting “to clear the air because in my 10-plus years at the White House, rarely have I sensed such a level of anger, which is wide and deep, among members over White House practices and attitude toward the press.”

Chen said he feels “very good about the collegial give and take.

“We had a very good exchange with Robert,” Chen said. “He stayed overtime, and thus was late for his next meeting.” LINK
Wow is this stunning. 75 minutes. That’s how long the MSM gets with the White House Press Secretary for a “redress of grievances” so to speak. 75 minutes and I’ll bet there wasn’t a single hard-hitting, substantive question asked. It looks as if average American citizens aren’t the only people fed up with the Obama regime and their out right disregard for not only law but customs and courtesies as well. And just think the White House Press Corps is in the tank for Obama to begin with! Ha! How funny is that? Not to worry though as it was a "collegial give and take".

In Obama’s Amerika only foreign dictators are bow-worthy. Only America haters and two-bit dictators or those Senators willing to sell out their constituents get the red carpet treatment. Heads of state of democratic allies get short shrift and VHS tapes of Obama giving a speech (or some other such nonsense).

To the radical left intellectuals currently in charge, American people are serfs to be absorbed into the collective welfare state. Those who recoil at the thought and dare to speak out against it are demonized by some of the very same people who are now complaining that they feel some sort of way.

It’s sadly ironic that at a time when the MSM is having their own petty battles with the White House, they characterize average Americans who disagree with this regime on important, substantive issues as anything but patriotic. Racists, terrorists, anti-immigrant, anti-charity you name it, it’s been hurled at the members of the Tea Party movement. It’s done with the blessing of the same MSM who are now in a huff because Obama has breached some made up, inside the beltway, meaningless, protocol that exists solely for the self-aggrandizement of the journalists who write fluff pieces about this administration. Does it get more vapid than that? More unpatriotic? Not in my book.

Dems on the Same Page

State Senator Anthony Williams is in agreement with Dan Onorato: "Harrisburg is spinning its wheels"; "our schools are underperforming"; we're being "crushed by rising property taxes."

Senator Williams, a question for you, sir: Why should we vote for an insider who has been fully supportive of the Rendell program that has created crushing taxes of all types, not just property taxes, and underperforming public institutions of all types, not just schools?

Oops Did I Say That? Tom Corbett's Comments Raises Eyebrows

Tom Corbett's comments during his speech at this weekend's Pennsylvania Leadership Conference has left many conservatives around the state scratching their heads. Some are flat out suggesting that Corbett is a liberal.

Many conservatives who attended the conference and heard the speech were not impressed with Corbett and by far the most controversial part of his speech was when Corbett said "The Constitution is a living document". Something you might not want to say to a group of constitutional conservatives when you are running for Governor.

The view that the Constitution is a living document is the common view of liberal democrats who like to bend the original limited government intent of the Constitution in order to advance their big government/socialist agenda.

People who believe in a Living Constitution believe that the constitutional framers wrote the Constitution in broad and flexible terms to create such a dynamic, "living" document. Constitutional conservatives believe that the Constitution should only be changed through the amendment process.

According to Wikipedia a prominent endorsement of the Living Constitution concept was heard in the 2000 presidential campaign by the Democratic candidate, Al Gore. One of most vocal critics of the Living Document view of the Constitution is Supreme Court Justice Scalia.

So Tom Corbett agrees with Al Gore when it comes to Constitutional interpretation. A very scary thought considering Corbett is the Pennsylvania Republican Party's endorsed candidate for Governor. Republican voters across the state desperately need to give Sam Rohrer a serious look if we really want to take back our state government.

Dem to Clean Up Harrisburg?

Dan Onorato is running ads saying we should elect him to clean up "the mess in Harrisburg." Takes guts for a democrat to throw King Edward the Dimwitted under the bus. Ed Rendell has had his way in Harrisburg pretty much since he got elected and Onorato is truthfully calling that a mess.

Apr 17, 2010

Democratic Candidate Mark Critz Says He Opposed Obama's Health Care Reform Bill

This is very interesting. Democratic candidate in PA's 12th Congressional race Mark Critz, a former aid to John Murtha, says in this campaign ad that he never supported the health care legislation backed by President Obama and shoved through Congress by his own party's leadership.
Democrat Mark Critz, running to succeed the late Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), is branding himself as an opponent of health care legislation in his latest ad – a sign that the legislation is a tough sell even in working-class blue-collar Democratic confines.

Responding to an NRCC advertisement accusing him of backing health care reform, Critz says: “That ad’s not true. I opposed the health care bill, and I’m pro-life and pro-gun. That’s not liberal.” (The Politico)

Click Here To Read More
It is pretty sad when the Democratic Party's own candidates can't present nor defend the health care reform legislation passed by Congress to voters on the merits. Just wait and see folks. the next popular campaign strategy for new democratic Congressional candidates will be to say they opposed the bill.

Critz is attempting to run as a pro gun, pro life, anti health care reform candidate. So the next logical question to Mr. Critz should be why are you a democrat? These positions considering Critz's party affiliation just doesn't make any sense unless you desperately want to get elected. I encourage the voters of the 12th Congressional District to not fall for this political nonsense. Vote for the real conservative candidate in the race, republican Tim Burns!

Also: Pennsylvania Democrat denies supporting health care reform (CNN Political Ticker Blog)

Attorney's Blast Corbett For Using Bonusgate Investigation For Political Gain

Like defense attorneys in the previous Bonusgate cases, Mr. Lock is arguing that prosecutors are politically motivated and conflicted because of transgressions in their own office. He said Attorney General Tom Corbett, the leading Republican in the governor's race, used state resources to run political campaigns even as his office prosecuted others for similar transgressions.

"Unless he is a complete and total hypocrite, what he does should set an example for everyone else in this commonwealth," Mr. Lock said, arguing for Mr. Corbett's removal.

"It is clear that disqualification could occur ... and the sooner the better for everybody," he told Judge Lewis Friday. (Post-Gazette)

Click Here To Read More

Apr 15, 2010

Tea Party Anyone?

Today is a day that patriots around the country should celebrate. No we are not celebrating the national deadline to file our taxes. We are celebrating average Americans from all over the country who are standing up and saying enough is enough to big government. Today is the Tax Day Tea Party!!

Tea Party protesters everywhere are telling our elected leaders that government is too big, that we are taxed too much, and that government at all levels has overstepped the boundaries and limitations placed upon it and protected by our Constitution. If you feel the same way than you need to get on board the Tea Party Express.

As you can see, I attended a Tea Party rally in front of the Blair County Courthouse today. Unlike popular mainstream media reports, I saw no racist signs. There was no bigotry to be found at the rally. I even saw a few African Americans and Hispanics in the crowd. I also saw people who are both democrats and republicans. The crowd was filled with people from different backgrounds and ages all voicing their concerns about big government and the current direction of this country.

When I think of trying to explain what the Tea Party movement is really about I think of Matthew 11:28. Jesus said to the people, "Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." The Tea Party movement is filled with everyday, hardworking Americans who are the ones who "labor" and who feel"heavy laden". They are our friends or neighbors who struggle to pay their property tax bills. They realize that the more we are taxed by big government the more our middle class struggles to survive. They are frustrated with big government, high taxes, wasteful spending, and are feeling that our government is no longer listening to the people it governs.

The Blair County rally had a lot of older people who talked about what kind of country they are leaving behind for the children and grandchildren. One guy on the microphone even cried when talking about just how high property taxes is going to cause many to lose their homes. Other speakers talked about the original intent of our Constitution and the real meaning of limited government that our founding fathers fought for and even died for.

I challenge the mainstream media to show us how invoking our founding principles and what is written in our Constitution has anything to do with racism or bigotry? It is really shameful to see how the media is not reporting what the real meaning of the movement is about when these same founding fathers and patriots died giving them freedom of the press.

The Tea Party movement is simply another Great Awakening type movement. People are looking towards our history and are starving to learn more about the original intent of our Constitution. Something that should scare every incumbent politician at all levels of government considering they don't pay attention to government limitations of any kind. A great beast has awakened in this country and our elected representatives are going to learn very quickly that they cannot go on playing God.

Kimmett v. Corbett: The #1 Reason Corbett Won't Be Viable by November

Tom Corbett has a dirty little secret and so far few in the media have picked up on the story. Perhaps their agenda is to let him win the primary first and then drop the bombshell closer to November.

Penn Live did mention the story a few days ago.
"Despite continued claims by the attorney general’s office that accusations, court motions and lawsuits against Corbett are baseless or “bogus,” it remains to be seen whether he can demonstrate to voters that he didn’t abuse his prosecutorial power in the semblance of cleaning up public corruption.

Additionally, a federal lawsuit filed against Corbett in 2008 alleges that thousands, perhaps millions, of public dollars were “illegally paid out to vendors.”

On March 11, Corbett was deposed in his office for six hours for a lawsuit filed against him and others in the office of the attorney general and Department of Revenue. The whistleblower case alleges that Thomas D. Kimmett, a former attorney with the AG’s office, and his assistant, Sherry E. Bellaman, were terminated because of Kimmett’s call for an independent investigation into the collection practices within the Attorney General’s Financial Enforcement Section.

The case alleges 'pervasive wrongdoing' in the collection of accounts receivable amounting to upwards of $300 million to $500 million. It gives details of alleged fraudulent payouts to no-bid vendors and claims there was a 'cover-up by Mr. Corbett and the other defendants.'

The discovery process in the case is set to end April 12, with a pre-trial conference July 2.

Unless the case is dismissed, it will go to trial in August and could prove “very embarrassing” to Corbett, said Charles Kimmett, a D.C.-based lawyer representing his uncle Thomas Kimmett.

Beginning in April 2008, when Corbett was running for re-election, Kimmett — who had already expressed concern internally about the collections practice inside the financial enforcement section — went “outside the chain of command” at the attorney general’s office, Charles Kimmett said. “He had spoken to the U.S. attorney’s office because he was concerned that they were going to pin what was going on on him when the Department of Revenue had backed down from doing anything that would embarrass the AG’s office,” Charles Kimmett said.

In November, Corbett signed off on Kimmett’s termination, but two years later the case continues.

Berks County Patriots are claiming that Corbett's March deposition in the case was less than stellar. Apparently these Republican Committeemen believe that this dirt will stick. An August trial certainly will not bode well for a November election.

Apr 14, 2010

Rasmussen Poll: Specter's Lead Over Sestak Slipping

The latest Rasmussen poll is showing that likely democratic voters are beginning to lean toward Sestak over Specter.
Congressman Joe Sestak is gaining on Sen. Arlen Specter. For the month of April, Specter has 44 percent of the vote, compared to Sestak’s 42 percent. Four percent said they would vote for some other candidate, while 10 percent were not sure.

Click Here To Read More
Interesting! Maybe Specter will go down in the primary after all.

Corbett Responds To Stetler's Allegations

Dauphin County Judge Richard A. Lewis has scheduled oral arguments for Friday morning at 11:00 am after Attorney General Tom Corbett officially responded to allegations that he used state resources for campaign purposes and is using the bonusgate investigation for political gain. Despite Corbett's response, Stetler's attorney's feel strongly that the allegations against Corbett are grounds for dismissal of the case against their clients.
The attorney general denied or denied in part Stetler's assertions in 108 of 126 paragraphs. As in his original response, Corbett asked Lewis to let the case proceed against Stetler and Feese.

"Bombast and overheated rhetoric do not magically turn untimely and irrelevant claims into claims worthy of an evidentiary hearing," the attorney general said in Tuesday's filing.

Repeatedly, the attorney general denied Stetler's assertions, then added that even if an argument were accepted, "it does not entitle him to relief." (York Daily Record)

Click Here To Read More
All of this will be interesting Friday to say the least. Obviously the judge in this case is taking these allegations against Corbett seriously. Judge Lewis asked the Attorney General's Office to provide a written paragraph by paragraph response to the allegations after Corbett blew the Judge off the first time.

The arrogant manner in which Corbett responded to Judge Lewis's request probably didn't win him much favor. I actually think that Judge Lewis is seriously considering granting Stetler a formal hearing to formally review the allegations and where witnesses can be called to testify.

Click Here to read Corbett's entire response.

At minimum this case and the basis of the allegations give good government advocates some ammunition in calling for Corbett to resign as Attorney General while he pursues his candidacy for Governor.

Also: Corbett: Stetler's wrong in motion to dismiss theft charges (York Daily Record)

Apr 13, 2010

Holy War: Weakening religious foundations goal of American left

Guest Column By Lowman S. Henry

It is a typical tactic of the Left and its allies in the establishment news media to prey upon a problem that may develop in the core institutions of our society, magnifying the problem with the goal of destroying or diminishing that institution.

Their current target: Pope Benedict XVI and the Roman Catholic Church. There is no doubt that the Catholic Church has an institutional problem with clergy who have abused children. It is also true the church has been slow to acknowledge and deal with the problem, although it has made great strides in that direction in recent years.

Recent revelations of abuse by clergy in Germany and Ireland have reignited the controversy. Pope Benedict XVI, who served as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in Germany and then later in the Vatican as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where abuse cases were handled, has come under unusually harsh scrutiny.

The church has admitted to having difficulty in dealing with abuse issues. But it also has been working hard to both prevent abuse and to remove pedophile priests. Church leaders understand the fact this scandal has greatly undermined its moral authority, and are seeking to highlight their efforts to deal with it. Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna, speaking during Holy Week, talked about then-Cardinal Ratzinger's performance in the Vatican saying he "had a very clear line of not covering up, but clearing up" abuse cases.

It is, of course, easy years later to look back on a series of actions and pick one or two where the steps taken failed to adequately address the problem. Such Monday morning quarterbacking can, and does, occur all the time in governmental settings.

And that is precisely what we see happening here with the church. The media, particularly in America but now worldwide, loves to fixate on a scandal with the ultimate goal being to destroy the institution and/or the leader of the institution involved. Given that the Roman Catholic Church stands rock solid for moral values which many in the media find unappealing, the opportunity to "bring down" a Pope is alluring.

The real issue here is not the sex abuse scandal. The real issue is a desire by many in the media and their political allies on the Left to demonize and destroy religious institutions. The drive to turn America into a western version of a European socialist state requires this nation's strong reliance on faith to be weakened and dependence on government strengthened. Since the overwhelming majority of Americans are Christian, and millions Catholic, those seeking to strengthen government must seize any opportunity to shake the foundations of the church.

It is not lost on those in this country working to turn America into a European-style socialist society that Europe is the part of the world where the Catholic Church has seen its biggest erosion in membership. That is because socialism and religion do not mix, and as Europe became more socialist it became less religious.

President Barack Obama, who is leading this push to transform our nation into a secular socialist state, said it himself during the 2008 Presidential campaign, when referring to Pennsylvania voters, he claimed we are "bitter" people who "cling to guns and religion." By clinging to faith and our constitutional right to keep and bear arms, we pose a significant roadblock to Obama's ultimate goal: government control of every facet of our lives.

The good news is that Catholics around the world have rallied to the defense of Pope Benedict XVI. They view the political attacks upon the pope as an attack upon their religion. They are right, but it is more - much more - than that, the media feeding frenzy that has developed is not only an attack upon the Catholic Church, it is an attack upon the entire Christian religion. And it is by extension an attack on our American way of life, which is built on the pillar of Christianity.

It is part of a bigger picture that seeks to change our way of life. Already the federal government has dramatically extended its influence over our health care system, our education system, our financial system and even taken control of our nation's biggest automaker. Next up is more control over the manufacturing sector via cap and trade legislation.

We are well on our way toward becoming a European-style socialist country, and the last big step is to destroy our historical reliance on the Christian religion. Thus the outcome of this battle affects not only Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church; it will dramatically affect each and every one of us.

Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal. His email address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.

Apr 12, 2010


Brian Haughton has never backed down from a call to duty.


A native of Northeast Philadelphia, a retired Philadelphia Firefighter, and a small business owner; Brian is ready to fight to make sure that people who work hard for their success get to keep what they’ve earned.He believes people should be trusted to make their own decisions, not the government. And he believes that the United States should not apologize for being the best country in the world.

Brian Haughton, a Philly firefighter, is running against the uber-liberal Democrat Allyson Schwartz for Congress. He’s a regular guy who works his butt off supporting various charities. He is a well known supporter of Police Officers and Firefighters and a natural advocate for public safety.

Of course I can’t publicly endorse him, but it would suck if he didn’t win. Check out his website Haughton for Congress and if you feel like exercising your Constitutional right of free speech maybe even make a donation. I’m just saying, you COULD if you wanted to. To my brothers in the fire service and law enforcement feel free to pass on the link.

Hats off to Brian for throwing his hat into the ring.


Are you a fan or perpetrator of Philly area blogging? Well have I got an event for you. It’s the 2010 CaptainPalooza of blogging. Fellow city employee / drone Wyatt and I are once again trying to bring as many bloggers and their fans together as possible. After last years grand success we are looking for an even bigger venue.

Since the Pennsylvania Convention Center is booked solid we’ll have to look somewhere a bit more… suitable. But don’t worry- no matter where we end up that’s where the party will be. Look for an announcement on the exact place and time (looking tentatively at the weekend of May 1st, somewhere in or near N.E. Philly since we’re both off) in the next couple of days.

Advanced notice to any dancing girls, jugglers, acrobats, dwarfs, goblins or side-show freaks send your pictures to Wyatt. Just in case we have an opening…

Hope to see you there!

PS: It looks as if I have figured out how to convert Wordpress blogging into Bloggers format. If so look for more of my commentary on Philly and the exciting happenings in the land between the two rivers here at PennPatriot Blog. Just in case, you can always find me at WWW.FIRSTIN.WORDPRESS.COM

Apr 9, 2010

Pa. legislative corruption 'pattern of arrogance' - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Pa. legislative corruption 'pattern of arrogance' - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Beaver County Times: Beaver County man named in Orie indictment

Beaver County Times: Beaver County man named in Orie indictment

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The Feds Deny Rendell's I-80 Tolling Application

Last week the Federal Highway Administration soundly rejected Governor Rendell's plan that would allow Pennsylvania to toll Interstate 80. Governor Rendell and other legislative leaders were counting on revenue generated by the tolling plan to pay for increases in mass transit funding in Philadelphia along with other highway and bridge projects. The Federal Highway Administration denied the application on the grounds that the revenue should only be used for maintaining Interstate 80.
If tolls on I-80 would have been used to keep that roadway updated, we, and probably many others, would have wholeheartedly supported it.

But instead of placing tolls on I-80 to help improve that roadway, Rendell preferred to attempt a $450 million-per-year stickup. That's what tolls on I-80 were expected to produce on a yearly basis.

And how much of that money would have been spent on that I-80? Approximately $50 million. (The Observer-Reporter)

Click Here To Read More
It sure is refreshing to see that the Federal Highway Administration actually looked at the original intent of Rendell's application and saw it for what it really was. The real motive for tolling Interstate 80 was to simply generate more revenue for state spending. Something the tolling of federal highways should never be used for.

Apr 8, 2010

Candidates from the 3rd and 4th Congressional Districts Line Up for Inspection

Written by Roberta Biros

Wednesday, April 7, 7PM was the tip off for yet another “Meet the Candidate” night in Sharon. The meeting, which was hosted by the Pennsylvania Patriots in Action, was a gathering of all non-incumbent candidates that are vying for the Congressional Seats in the 3rd and 4th Districts. The event attracted a sizeable crowd that was a virtual “who’s who” in Mercer County politics.

The current office holders, Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper and Congressman Jason Altmire, were not present but they were still the main topics of conversation. Interestly enough, Congresswoman Dahlkemper was represented by a mole in the crowd . . . a member of her staff from the Hermitage office was hiding in the hall (and undoubtedly taking notes). The candidates each took the opportunity to explain why they would be the best choice to replace Dahlkemper and Altmire, and many of the more heated comments were pointed directly toward the incumbents (no shock).

I will outline my observations from the event below. PLEASE understand that I am trying to be as fair and unbiased as is possible, but this is a BLOG. I will offer my own spin on the events of the evening and I will interject my personal opinions and summaries where I see fit. Sorry, but those are the rules.

4th Congressional District

Mary Beth Buchanan and Keith Rothfus were on hand to battle for the Republican nomination for the 4th District against Altmire. I’ve met both candidates once before and I enjoyed another opportunity to hear them speak. I was pleasantly surprised, however, that an Independent candidate, John Vinsick, also surfaced at the event. Vinsick of Aliquippa was a highlight of the evening as he shot from the hip and added a bit of spice to the conversation.

Mary Beth Buchanan is a strong and spirited candidate who carries herself well in the debate style environment. She more than held her own and didn’t back down to some obvious shots that were sent in her direction. She focused on her platform of limited government, pro-life, and pro-2nd Amendment. She is extremely intelligent and very likeable. She makes me wish I was in the 4th Congressional District. For more information about Ms. Buchanan, you can visit her website at MaryBethBuchanan.org.

Keith Rothfus is an analytical individual with great ideas. He is a family man with 6 children who is running on a platform of limited government, lower taxes, repeal of ObamaCare, and traditional family values. Mr. Rothfus offered one of my favorite quotes for the evening when he stated that the first legislation that he would offer would be the “Restoring Edison Light Bulb Act”. He is a common-sense sort of guy with great ideas. For more information about Mr. Rothfus, you can visit his website at http://www.keithpa4.com/.

John Vinsick, the Independent candidate, was a treasure. His campaign slogan of “the will of the people must preside over the will of the politician” explains that his platform is anti-politics and pro-citizen. Mr. Vinsick will have an uphill battle in collecting the 3,731 signatures that will be required to get his name on the ballot, but he is optimistic about the process and he is even more optimistic about his chances in November. While he received some negative comments from hard-core Rs in the crowd (for threatening their Party), Mr. Vinsick hit home with a number of key points that were met with supportive applause. For more information about Mr. Vinsick, you can visit his website at http://www.johnvinsickforcongress.com/.

3rd Congressional District

For the 3rd District, Republican candidates Paul Huber, Steve Fisher, Clayton Grabb, Ed Franz, and Martha Moore were on hand. Mike Kelly was out of town and was not represented. The order of the six-minute presentations was based on a draw from a hat, and the speeches by 3rd and 4th District candidates were mixed together. Up first for the 3rd District was Clayton Grabb.

Clayton Grabb never fails to inspire me when he speaks. He is a conservative who is proud of his Tea Party activities, and his presentations are always geared toward the more "independent thinking" (that's me). He made a reference that struck a chord with me when he explained his reason for running as “If not me, who? If not now, when?” (NOTE: I’ll be using that quote as my own soon). Mr. Grabb speaks from the heart and is passionate about his country. For more information about Mr. Grabb, you can visit his website at http://www.grabbforcongress.com/.

Ed Franz is “just Ed”. Ed has a blue-collar/guy-next-door quality about him, and the people that support him like for exactly that reason. His platform is based on social conservatism, fiscal conservatism, and pro-life stands. He made a good point when he stated “this election year it’s government versus the taxpayers”. That simple statement summarized all of the political dancing that is going on in a few simple words. Mr. Franz pointed out that he feels that he is the best candidate to beat Dahlkemper in November because of his labor ties to Erie. For more information about Mr. Franz, you can visit his website at http://www.edfranzforcongress.com/.

Paul Huber, a fiscal conservative, took the opportunity to layout his plans for fiscal reform. He made the point that “all of the (government) spending is being put on a credit card”, and he explained his plan for freeing the taxpayers from that problem. He stressed that he was “born and raised on a farm and raised on values of honesty and hard work”. His presentation was analytical, but he manages to deliver his statistics with a personal touch that gives the distinct impression that his concerns are heart-felt. He closed his presentation with a statement that I liked . . . “when people find the courage, they can change anything” (NOTE: I’ll be using that quote as my own soon). For more information about Mr. Huber, you can visit his website at http://www.huberforcongress.com/.

Steve Fisher makes me smile. He is the perfect blend of intellectual, analytical, and personable. He is detail and fact oriented, but he connects with people on a personal level when he speaks. This is even more obvious if you get an opportunity to talk with Steve one-on-one. Mr. Fisher opened his discussion with an explanation of why he was running for Congress. He made reference to a quote “if you don’t want to be a part of the menu, you better take a seat at the table” (NOTE: I’ll be using that quote as my own soon). He went on to explain that his first goal in Congress would be to repeal the Health Care Bill . . . which met with positive feedback from the crowd. His experience in the insurance industry gives him a different perspective on the health care situation and offers a special value that should not be overlooked. For more information about Mr. Fisher, you can visit his website at http://www.stevefisherforcongress.com/.

Martha Moore continues to amaze me. As a country doctor from Stoneboro, she is not the typical candidate. She is outmatched in many ways by her fellow Republicans on the ticket, but she continues to show up . . . she continues to express her patriotism . . . she continues to quote Reagan . . . and she is beginning to gather a following. I had a great seat in the very back of the room and I was able to gauge the reactions of the crowd to each of the speakers. Dr. Moore got lots of nods and “I like her” comments from many of the women in the crowd. She began her comments with a simple quote that explained why she was running for office. She said “three words . . . enough is enough”. She is a concerned patriot that is running for office in an effort to stress the issues that are important to her. I give her credit for her courage and commitment. For more information about Dr. Moore, you can visit her website at http://www.moore4congress.com/.

Mike Kelly was unable to attend the event and there was no spokesperson available to speak on his behalf. For more information about Mr. Kelly, you can visit his website at http://www.mikekellyforcongress.com/.

In Closing . . .

I’d like to extend thanks to the Pennsylvania Patriots in Action for organizing the event. It was informational, but it also gives concerned citizens the opportunity to look into the eyes of the candidates to get a personal perspective of who they are.

I’ve been to several events, and I suppose that might seem unusual to some people. However, it is important to get to know the people that may soon be representing you. I make an effort to go to as many events by elected officials and candidates as possible. I do so to gain an understanding of them, and I do so in an effort to share information with those people that can’t be there themselves. I hope that my brief summaries give you a feel for the individuals, but I also hope that it encourages you to take a look for yourself.

I will begin publishing event announcements (as they are given to me) for all of the candidates listed above. If you are a candidate (or work for a candidate) and you would like your event posted here, email me with the details and I’ll do what I can.

I’ve been waiting to publish my results from the Mercer Conservatives Index regarding the candidates from the 3rd Congressional District. I’ve been continuing to gather information and my final scores have been in flux. I’ve already published my results for Congresswoman Dahlkemper (F) as well as the four state legistlators that represent Mercer County [Senator Robbins (F), Representative Brooks (B), Representative Longietti (C), and Representative Stevenson (D)]. It is my intention to put the finishing touches on my summaries by the end of this coming weekend. Please be patient and keep an eye on this site for the final publication.

As always, just my opinion.
~Mercer Conservatives