Saturday, November 26, 2005

68: "Public Corruption"

As of 2004, according to a report published by the National Press Club of Washington, Pennsylvania ranks 15th in public corruption among the fifty states.

I’ll bet we’re a lot higher up the list now!

One of the most insidious abuses committed by Pennsylvania’s legislators is the expense system. While most organizations have a practical policy on expenses, the legislators have voted themselves some authorized expenses over the years that defy reason. Some of them would make an embezzler blush.

In a recent expose aired by WGAL-TV Channel 8 of Lancaster, some legislator abuse of the system was detailed. In particular, the members of the state’s House of Representatives, are eligible for a per diem expense of $129, while the Senators are eligible for a $128 per diem expense, no receipts required, no questions asked. As originally designed, the per diems were supposed to cover the lodging and meals of legislators who lived far from Harrisburg…for example, in Erie, or Easton, or Washington County.

WGAL found that the following Senators:


  1. Gibson Armstrong (R-13th Senatorial District – Lancaster County),
  2. Senate Republican Caucus Leader Noah Wenger (R-36th Senatorial District – Lancaster/Chester Counties),
  3. Terry Punt (R-33rd Senatorial District (Franklin/Adams Counties), and
  4. Majority Floor Leader David Brightbill (R-48th Senatorial District – Lebanon County), who is also the powerful chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee,
And the following Representatives:
  1. Patrick Fleagle (R-90th Legislative District – Franklin County)
  2. Gordon Denlinger (R-99th Legislative District – Lancaster County)
  3. And Gibson Armstrong, Jr. (R-100th Legislative District – Lancaster County)

are all taking the per diem…$128 or $129 per day, on top of their salaries.

When asked about this by WGAL’s reporter, Gibson Armstrong defended taking the per diem by saying, “Consider the magnitude of the decisions our constituents are asking us to make.” Whatever you say, Bubby. One would need to cut Armstrong’s hubris with a jackhammer.

So far this year, Armstrong (Jr.) has taken the money 49 times, for well over $6,000. Denlinger has hit it up 58 times for almost $7,500 dollars.

The per diem is not to be used for gas, or tolls while traveling to or from the Capital. The legislators get those expenses refunded apart from the per diem!

Denlinger also tried to defend his taking the per diem by noting “…it balances itself out over time.” Whatever you say, Bubby.

Neither Denlinger nor Armstrong (Jr.) would admit how many times they stayed in Harrisburg over night. WGAL also contacted all four Senators about the issue, and all four refused to talk about it.

On top of this thievery, WGAL also uncovered additional meal expenses reimbursed to both Denlinger and Armstrong (Jr.) for as much as $76 on days they had also taken the per diem! Denlinger denied it was “double-dipping.” He does, however, admit that the system is flawed and needs an overhaul. Whatever you say, Bubby!

One should note here for the record that in the area examined by WGAL there is a definite paucity of Democratic members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. They do exist, but it was far more convenient, and politically astute for the station to zero in on the Republicans, since they have, and have had for years, a majority in both houses, and therefore, make the rules. And in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, those who make the rules are not expected to abide by them.

Almost all of these men live within the 50 mile limit for taking the per diem. Armstrong (Jr.) lives right on the 50 mile mark, and Denlinger lives about ten miles farther from Harrisburg. Inside 50 miles you are not supposed to take the per diem. There are members of both houses that live farther than 50 miles, that do not take the per diem.

Apparently, Pennsylvania’s Ethics Law, which can be read at our companion blog,
Pennsylvania Laws, is simply too consumed with its own high sounding and self important verbiage to bother with simple things like stealing money from the taxpayers of the Commonwealth.

It would be very easy to take a cavalier approach, much as many Philadelphians did in response to the Midnight Pay Raise. Philadelphians were unfazed, having grown up with City Hall corruption for decades; they are now perhaps the most jaded portion of Pennsylvania’s electorate. What makes them even more so is the over-coverage of New Jersey’s governmental corruption published almost daily in the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News.

We aren’t talking mega-bucks here. We are talking about the taxpayers getting ripped off to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars by a few of the greedy politicians in Harrisburg.

Ask yourself this question: If a few of the ones who live close to the Capital are ripping us off, then what else is going on? Does the adage “where there is smoke there is fire.” Come to mind here?

Do you really want to get into car allowances, limousines, etc.? Of course you do. And if you do get into it, remember to check on the judges, too. Be my guest. I’ll get into it another time. And just for fun, ask that rarest of birds, a Philadelphia Republican, Speaker of the House John Perzel, if he knows the difference yet between a limo and a car.

In the meantime, let your anger build over this rip-off. It isn’t much money, but doesn’t the arrogance, the hubris, the principle of the thing totally have you seething? Friend Russ Diamond at
Pennsylvania Clean Sweep said in a follow-up report on WGAL, “They just certainly can’t be trusted. We have to look at everything.”

I agree wholeheartedly, Russ. this blogger would love to see the FBI and the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania investigate every cotton-picking one of our legislators and state judges. Heck, go for it, and investigate the entire Rendell administration, too.

Regardless, the news media needs to take a long hard look at the compensation of our legislators and judges. All of it, including all perks, and expenses that are paid.

Maybe Denlinger and Armstrong (Jr.) won’t admit it, but what they are doing is corruption.

Odds are it's just the tip of the iceberg.

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!"--GettysBLOG

GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.”

“Arrogance is a fool’s disease!”

Please remember to donate your time, talent and funds to
NoCasinoGettysburg either at their office or website.

NO Casino Gettysburg
Box 3173
Gettysburg, PA 17325

or contact them via the phone at 717-334-6333.

Thank you for donating!

Remember in November! Before you vote,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005, GettysBLOG and GettysBLOG2. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Proclamation of Thanksgiving

In the midst of a bloody Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln found time, and occasion to create Thanksgiving as a national holiday, fixing the date as the "last Thursday of November".

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,Secretary of State


Please consider Lincoln's words today as you celebrate the holiday he made into our second official national holiday.


Have a safe, and happy Thanksgiving!


GettysBLOG

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

67: “A Champion Arises!”

It appears the citizenry of Straban Township has become aroused at last. In addition to gathering a petition against the proposed casino, in response to a statement by “Strabaddies” Jay McDannell, Michael Spangler, and Troy Martin that they would accede to their resident’s wishes regarding the casino, the Straban Township citizens banded together to form an activist committee, Concerned Citizens of Straban Township. CCST conducted their own poll of strictly Straban Township residents, and found 75-80% opposed the casino. They gathered over 600 signatures. The plan is to present the petition to the Supervisors at their regular meeting on December 5.

Hold the phone! It seems there is movement afoot by the "The Strabaddies" to perhaps circumvent the process. Word leaked out at the last supervisors meeting that "The Strabaddies", and their attorney, Walton “Big Wally” Davis, will meet “for informational reasons only”, with representatives of Chance Enterprises, the group of investors behind the proposed casino, on December 1.

CCST has employed an attorney of their own. With financial help from the good folks at No Casino Gettysburg, and The Civil War Preservation Trust, they have engaged Andrew J. Giorgione of the Harrisburg law firm of Klett Rooney Lieber & Schorling.

Mr. Giorgione sent the following letter to "The Strabaddies" :

Dear Supervisors Spangler, Martin & McDannell:

We represent Concerned Citizens of Straban Township and No Casino Gettysburg.

At the regular Straban Township Supervisors meeting held on November 7, 2005, the supervisors mentioned that they have a meeting scheduled with Chance Enterprises on December 1, 2005. Upon inquiring at the township office, our clients were advised that the three Supervisors will be present along with township solicitor Walton Davis, Esquire; however, the meeting is not open to the public since it is intended to be informational.

We believe that any such meeting with a private business interest should be announced and held publicly in order to be in compliance with the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act (65 Pa.C.S. § 701 et seq.). Regardless of whether any official decisions are reached during this meeting, subsequent decisions may be based on or influenced by discussions held in private with Chance Enterprises. The public has the right to hear and participate in these discussions concerning such an important matter to the township.

Even assuming your legal interpretation of the Sunshine Act is correct, that this will only to be an informational meeting and does not have to be an open meeting, a point we dispute, given the highly publicized matters to be discussed and the heightened interest expressed by the citizens in and around the Township, at the very least, the Township should refrain from conducting any private meetings with this developer in order to avoid the appearance of bias or improper influence and to subject this project to full public participation.

We request that the Township Supervisors either cancel the meeting with Chance Enterprises or reschedule the December 1 meeting as a public special or regular session that is announced and open to the public.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Andrew J. Giorgione

Folks, we saw the power of citizen activism in the last election when it took the unseating of a State Supreme Court Justice to convince our legislators to repeal their ill-conceived, ill-gotten pay raise. Now we are seeing the power of citizen activism on the local level.

It isn’t just the casino, either. The good citizens of Straban are exceedingly angry at being ill used by their own supervisors, "The Strabaddies", in the enormous development plans those supervisors have made for the township. The reclassification of almost 80% of the township’s open and farm land last spring by "The Strabaddies" to allow it all to be developed was an enormous slap in the face to the farmers of Straban Township, one of the most agricultural townships in the state! This wretched excess of power, and usurpation of property rights is not the first time "The Strabaddies" have run afoul of their own citizens. Test wells pumping tens of thousands of gallons of water to the surface daily during construction of the new Reliant Energy plant and the new county prison ran local farmers’ wells dry in the middle of a drought. The County sent their solicitor out to defuse the issue, but all he did was fail to mislead the public that had gathered at a township meeting.

It warms the very heart of GettysBLOG to see these good folks standing up to the arrogant supervisors. This defeat, and the one they just suffered with the easement placed on the long-coveted Daniel Lady Farm are a pair of black eyes on the face of Straban Township’s supervisors. It’s all late, but none too soon.

GettysBLOG has long said the casino is not just a bad idea here in Gettysburg, the whole gaming law, Act 71 of 2004 is a bad idea for Pennsylvania. It puts too many lives at risk…risk of addictions, risk of family problems, risk of societal problems. And it does not answer the problems of budget shortfalls sufficiently (or honestly) enough to provide property tax relief.

Civic activism does work. People DO have the power to affect change in the way their government does things, and to enforce accountability on that government.

"The Strabaddies" want to have a secret meeting with the folks from Chance Enterprises. What, exactly, do they have to hide? Have they forgotten they are the elected servants of the people? They owe their constituents honesty and openness.

“Those who have something to hide live in the darkness of fear in their hearts. Those who have nothing to hide need not fear the light.”
--GettysBLOG

Three cheers for Tim and Sharon Hamm and their partners at Concerned Citizens of Straban Township. And three more for the able assistance provided to them by No Casino Gettysburg, and our great friends at the Civil War Preservation Trust.

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!"--GettysBLOG

GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.”

“Arrogance is a fool’s disease!”

Please remember to donate your time, talent and funds to NoCasinoGettysburg either at their office or website.

NO Casino Gettysburg
Box 3173
Gettysburg, PA 17325

or contact them via the phone at 717-334-6333.

Thank you for donating!

Remember in November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005, GettysBLOG and GettysBLOG2. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

66: “A Trip to the Woodshed…and Hope!”

It’s time for the Republican Party of Pennsylvania to be taken to the woodshed. No offense intended to anyone but the Republicans, but they are in dire need of a good, old-fashioned butt whooping. I’d include the Democrats in this but for two reasons: first, they are the MINORITY party, and as such are NOT supposed to be in control of things in Harrisburg, and second, like their dishonest national leadership, they simply have no moral compass any more – they never met a lie they couldn’t tell. Hope still remains for the Republicans, albeit a mighty slim hope.

Now, up front, let it be said, there is slender evidence the Republicans are worthy of any redemption. Let us spell out their failures:

  • They have surrendered control of both houses of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Democratic political machines, despite having clear majorities in both houses. Do not listen when they claim they have to deal with the Dems in order to get things done. There are, indeed, plenty of moderate Democrats to deal with.

  • They have allowed the Democrats to buy their honesty. Deals carved out of Act 71 (the infamous, unethical, and illegal gaming control act) allowed the Republicans a piece of the very lucrative pie that gaming will provide to a select few in Pennsylvania. No one will get rich off gaming in Pennsylvania except the investors who front some money toward building a casino somewhere, and the lobbyists and the politicians, who not only voted the legislation in while allowing themselves to own portions of casinos, but also are the ones who place individuals on the Gaming Control Board!

  • Once compromised, the Republicans followed with blind complicity while a pay raise was passed in an attempted midnight run past the taxpayers and voters before anyone noticed.

  • To their utter and eternal shame, it took FOUR MONTHS, and proof at the polls that the voters were more than fed up with their antics, to get them to partially repeal the pay raise. Partially. They failed to pass a repeal of the money already seized illegally by the judges and their fellow legislators.

In the midst of this stinking morass there emerges a pair of potential knights-in-shining-armor. A man who has shown integrity and common sense, and even a concern for history, Representative Paul Clymer (R-145th State Legislative District – Bucks County) voted against the pay raise in July, but did vote to pass the budget. [note: not passing the budget has the potential to create immediate harm to the tens of thousands of hard working state employees, while getting a portion of the budget repealed can be fairly easily accomplished, as we have seen, though it could be done much more efficiently!]. In the past, this man has supported many good causes, especially in the Gettysburg area where he has actively aided in the preservation of the monuments on the Battlefield, along with another Representative with integrity, Harry Readshaw (D-36th State Legislative District – Allegheny County). Readshaw also voted for the budget in July, but against the pay raise.

Both of these men have repeatedly resisted the Darth Vaders of legislative leadership, and not without some cost. It is amazing how the party caucuses punish their wayward members. For example, legislators who voted against the pay raise were stripped of any positions of leadership, such as committee chairs, which carry extra pay for the responsibility, and other legislators who voted for the pay raise were installed in their place. Other times, a member’s staff may be reduced, or even, the pettiness of making printing and copying of documents difficult. It is a process that really must stop. It is symptomatic of what is wrong in Harrisburg, power is held tightly in the fists of a privileged few, and they severely punish those who defy them.

In other words, no one is allowed to think for themselves, or even worse, to represent directly the wishes and needs of their constituents. Only the Darth Vaders can think, plan, and make deals.

Folks, we need another floor revolt. Leadership in the General Assembly has to be dumped. Perzel must go. So must Smith, Argall, and Feese, and their counterparts across the aisle, DeWeese, Veon, and Evans. In the Senate, it is Jubelirer, Brightbill, Mellow, Piccola, O’Pake, Thompson, and Fumo. This is the leadership that brought us to where we are today, with an illegal, and dangerous gaming bill, a secretive pay raise and its half-arsed attempt at an appeal, a property tax relief plan that has the Governor threatening to force the gambling money onto the school districts of the state, and a legislative leadership and Governor who are totally disconnected from the people. It has been far too long since Ed Rendell last strolled the aisles of Reading Terminal Market in Philly, eating the pierogis, and cheese steaks there, and schmoozing with the standholders and customers. He has sold his soul, and the souls of legislative leadership to the gambling industry.

Your soul was part of the package.

Paul Clymer is on the verge of introducing legislation to repeal Act 71 of 2004. That news warms the very cockles of this blogger’s heart. Clymer has a tough row to hoe, but it can be done, especially in the atmosphere of voter anger as exists today. He will have to get support in the Senate, and to garner enough votes to overcome the veto that Rendell will most assuredly apply. GettysBLOG is solidly behind this effort, as GettysBLOG asked the local representative, Steve Maitland (R-91st State Legislative District – Adams County) to sponsor the repeal of Act 71 some five months ago, and little interest was shown in doing so. To his credit, he has introduced a bill to the house that would require casinos to be at least 15 miles from an historic area, such as Gettysburg National Military Park. Of course, 15 miles moves the casino project to York Springs. Heaven help us.

Ed Rendell will be very angry at this effort. The stakes are phenomenal. We are not talking millions of dollars, we are talking billions. Rendell is in the pocket of the gaming industry, from which he has been extracting campaign contributions for national and local Democrats for several years, including his own campaign. Despite warnings from ethics watchdogs, he persists in the practice, even today.

GettysBLOG strongly supports the efforts of Representatives Clymer and Maitland, and hopes that you will contact your state representative and your state senator to urge them to seek redemption for past wrongs by repealing Act 71 of 2004, in its entirety. (It will make moot the failed Act 72 of 2004, if Act 71 is repealed. Not a bad thing. We need property tax relief, but not at the cost of putting the lives of Pennsylvania’s citizens, and visitors at risk.)

To contact your State Representative and State Senator, click on the following links and find your Representative on the alphabetical list. Click on his or her name. Contact information will be on the individual’s page:

House Membership List

Senate Membership List

Tell your legislators in no uncertain terms, to get on the bandwagon and support, through a veto over-ride, Representative Clymer’s repeal of Act 71 of 2004.

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!"--GettysBLOG


GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.”

“Arrogance is a fool’s disease!”

Please remember to donate your time, talent and funds to NoCasinoGettysburg either at their office or website.

NO Casino Gettysburg
Box 3173
Gettysburg, PA 17325

or contact them via the phone at 717-334-6333.

Thank you for donating!

Remember in November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005, GettysBLOG and GettysBLOG2. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

65: “Keeping the Pressure On”

Friend Tim Potts over at Democracy Rising issued the statement below late last week. Folks, we simply have to keep the pressure on. Tim Potts explains why, and outlines what you can do to help. Contact your legislators and ask them the questions outlined below, do not accept doubletalk as an answer. It’s time to turn up the heat!

Pay Watch 15 – No COLA for Lawmakers?
Thoughts on Covering Democracy in Pennsylvania
November 17, 2005

Background
As the General Assembly flailed around trying to undo its mistake of July 7, it clung to its annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) like a drowning sailor to a piece of flotsam. On November 2 when Sen. Sean Logan (D-Allegheny) offered his (unconstitutional) repeal amendment to House Bill 1539, he included a COLA in his amendment to make clear that repealing the July 7 pay raise didn’t repeal the COLA.

Not surprisingly, the repeal enacted by the House on Monday and the Senate yesterday (House Bill 1956) says the COLA survives. It is the same COLA that has increased the salaries of public officials in all three branches – not just lawmakers – since the pay raise of 1995.

Of course, lawmakers will tell you that the COLA is not a raise. They’ve been saying that since July 7. Sometimes, they think, they can’t lose for winning.

Really?
On December 1, most of our legislators, judges, and executive officials think they
will receive a pay raise of 3.6 percent. That’s the number reported on Wednesday for the Consumer Price Index that HB 1956 says should be used to calculate the pay
raise/COLA. It amounts to a little more than $2,500 on a base salary of around $69,500, taking the base salary to some $72,000. But this is not a raise, they say.

Now that they have repealed the July 7 pay raise, lawmakers believe they will get the COLA on December 1. But the Constitution says 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.” Article II, Section 8.

Since the repeal was passed during the term for which current lawmakers have been elected, namely the 2005-06 term, the December 1 pay raise/COLA is clearly unconstitutional for lawmakers, although it’s OK for other public officials.

Lawmakers will argue that HB 1956 merely reinstates the old law. Nevertheless, it is a new enactment, just as the July 7 pay raise was a new enactment (Act 44 of 2005), repealing the old law. The repeal will be on the books as an Act of the General Assembly in 2005 bearing Gov. Rendell’s signature, not an Act of 1995 with
former Gov. Ridge’s signature.

Ironically, legislators would have been better off if either:

  1. they had never let their leaders talk them into one of the most arrogant sneak attacks in our history on Pennsylvania’s Constitution and citizens; or
  2. they had joined Gene Stilp and asked Commonwealth Court to declare the pay raise law unconstitutional, thereby repealing the pay raise and reinstating the old law without having to pass a new law to do it and thus denying themselves the COLA.

State officials confirmed this week that money for the COLA in previous years has been paid as “salary” in lawmaker’s earning statements. Because the previous law was enacted in 1995, the COLA for subsequent years was not based on a law passed during the same term and therefore could pass the Constitutional requirement.

Of course, this could be yet another question for the courts unless legislative leaders voluntarily acknowledge the plain language of the Constitution and refuse to authorize the COLA for their members this year – and refuse to pay it out as “unvouchered expenses” from their $135 million in slush funds.

Thanks to 806,000 voters who removed Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro from the bench, legislative leaders may decide that citizens stand a chance in court this time because there is no severability issue. Also, the courts have no personal economic conflict of interest in deciding the case.

TABOR Revisited
As mentioned in the November 6 “Pay Watch Special,” the pay raise/COLA would have arrived at a time when lawmakers are considering whether to impose a limit on growth in the state budget. Under the moniker “Taxpayer Bill of Rights,” or TABOR, the House proposal (HB 2082) would have limited the growth of state spending to just 2.2 percent if it were in effect this year, less than two-thirds of the increase lawmakers would have allowed for themselves.

Questions for Legislators
Why shouldn’t salary increases for legislators be tied to something that reflects the economic reality of working Pennsylvanians such as increases in the Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW)? Wouldn’t that provide a strong incentive for lawmakers to ensure that the state’s job creation programs actually work?

Why shouldn’t legislators have to live within the same limits as the rest of us? Why shouldn’t increases for the salaries of public officials be limited to the increases in programs that serve citizens?

How many of your constituents will get a COLA of 3.6 percent this year?

How many of your constituents got a COLA of 5.2 percent last year?

If the repeal is intended to reinstate the old law, and the old law did not provide for the “unvouchered expenses” some lawmakers have received since July 7, why shouldn’t those lawmakers have to repay what they have received?

Will you support the creation of an independent commission, like a BRAC commission, with recommendations of compensation for public officials that must be voted up or down by the General Assembly, without amendment, before they can take effect?

What other ideas do you have for avoiding future debacles of the type that our three branches of government inflicted upon Pennsylvania citizens on July 7?

Have you apologized yet to your constituents for shutting them out of their own government on the pay raise and many other issues and laws?


For previous editions of Pay Watch, visit:
http://www.democracyrisingpa.com/dr_fans.asp

Tim Potts, Co-FounderDemocracy Rising PA
www.democracyrisingpa.com
P.O. Box 618,
Carlisle, PA 17013
717-243-8570

Well said, Tim! Keep 'em coming!

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!"--GettysBLOG

GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.”

“Arrogance is a fool’s disease!”

Please remember to donate your time, talent and funds to
NoCasinoGettysburg either at their office or website.

NO Casino Gettysburg
Box 3173
Gettysburg, PA 17325

or contact them via the phone at 717-334-6333.

Thank you for donating!

Remember in November! Before you vote,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005, GettysBLOG and GettysBLOG2. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, November 18, 2005

64: “In Remembrance”


Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 18, 1863.

His train arrived shortly before dark. He strode with the gait of one so tall, yet so strong, up the hill to the town center, and across the street to the house of his host. He was a day early, but he had insisted on it being that way. The others had not arrived yet, except for the main speaker. His host, who had met him at the train, showed him in to dinner.

Later in the evening, a crowd gathered out front, under his window, sometimes serenading him, sometimes pleading with him to come out and talk to them. He finally relented.


“I appear before you, fellow citizens, merely to thank you for this compliment. The inference is a very fair one that you would hear me, for a little while at least, were I to commence to make a speech. I do not appear before you for the purpose of doing so, and for several substantial reasons. The most substantial of these is that I have no speech to make. (The crowd laughed.) In my position it is somewhat important that I should not say foolish things. (Someone shouted, “If you can help it!) It very often happens that the only way to help it is to say nothing at all. (The crowd laughed again.) Believing that is my present condition this evening, I must beg of you to excuse me from addressing you further.”

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863.

In the morning he rode in a carriage to the Battlefield, seeing for himself where the great battles were fought that made up the three day engagement here a brief four months earlier. Later, when it was time for the procession to start, he mounted his horse, and sat patiently while the organizers sorted out the order of the procession.

Having just lost his son, he wore a mourning band on his tall hat.

The main speaker was already at the site, in a special tent reserved for him. When the procession reached the raised platform, and the dignitaries were arranged on it, the main speaker emerged from his tent, and mounted the platform. This 69-year old man began to speak. Periodically, he pointed to the various portions of the Battlefield as he spoke, emphasizing his disdain for the enemy. For two hours, through his magnificent recounting of the Battle, his audience heard what had happened here. Finally, his speech complete, he retired to a chair on the platform.

Music played, and prayers were said, and it was time for the tall man to speak. He stood, and went to the front of the platform, looking out over the thousands of people, and the half completed cemetery with its freshly dug graves. Unlike the night before, there was no reticence, for this was the reason he had come to this town. He began to speak.

“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. (The crowd applauded.)

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We are met to dedicate a portion of it as the final resting place of those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we do this.

“But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our power to add or detract. (The crowd applauded again.) The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. (Again the crowd applauded.) It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work that they have thus far so nobly carried on. (The crowd applauded.) It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, --that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion, --that we here highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain (Once more, the crowd applauded.), that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom, and that the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” (There was sustained applause from the crowd.)

Afterwards, the crowd melted away, and he journeyed back to the train station, for his return to the Capital. He felt a sense of satisfaction and pride at his remarks. He had tried to impart a sense of reaching a milestone in the war, to the end stages. People needed to start thinking about what was coming, and preparing for it. He wanted to get them thinking as one people, and one nation again, and to get them there without the recriminations that would be natural after several years of war. Yes, he had lost his son recently, and another son was sick at home. He had lost many sons since the start of the war, very few of whom he actually knew. But they were all his sons. And there were no sides, after all, weren’t they all Americans?

The train began to pull from the station.

GettysBLOG

For reference: Wills, Garry, Lincoln at Gettysburg, The Words That Remade America, Touchstone Edition, Literary Research Inc., New York, 1992. ISBN: 0-671-86742-3 (PBK).

Copyright © 2005, GettysBLOG and GettysBLOG2. All Rights

63: “Pay Back Every Red Cent!”

Good friend Russ Diamond at Pennsylvania Clean Sweep issued the following press release yesterday – just in case the press and the politicians think this is over. It’s not.

November 17, 2005

CONTACT:
Russ Diamond, PACleanSweep Chair
info@PACleanSweep.com

PACleanSweep: Repeal Not Enough

"Pay it back. Every red cent."

ANNVILLE, PA - With Pennsylvania's General Assembly and Governor Ed Rendell officially repealing the unconstitutional July 7 pay raise, PACleanSweep called on lawmakers to repay all unvouchered expenses.

"Repealing the pay raise is only the beginning," said PACleanSweep Chair Russ Diamond. "Although lawmakers and the Governor believe this issue is now behind them, there is much to be done yet. The 158 people who've accepted the money will still be in violation of the Constitution and their oath of office. They need to pay it back. Every red cent."

Article II Section 8 of the PA Constitution states that "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."

Since the July 7 pay raise, lawmakers have collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in unvouchered expenses. PACleanSweep insists those funds be repaid in full and urges the legislature to adopt reforms to prevent further stealth legislation.

"Although the repeal is now law, there is nothing to prevent a repeat performance of the shenanigans of July 7. They did it once, they'll do it again. Next time, it might not be a pay raise, but it could be something with an even bigger negative impact on taxpayers," added Diamond.

"Their apologies ring hollow as long as the process remains in place allowing them to act in an unconstitutional manner. They didn't repeal the raise because it was the right thing to do, they did it out of fear for their political lives. They can't be
trusted."

PACleanSweep will continue to use the "Remember the Pay Raise" slogan to remind citizens of the still-festering wound that exists in Pennsylvania government and will continue to serve the public by focusing a spotlight on the inconsistencies and institutional flaws in Harrisburg.

PACleanSweep is a non-partisan effort dedicated to defeating incumbent elected officials in Pennsylvania and replacing them with true public servants. For more information, please visit
http://www.pacleansweep.com/.

Thank you Russ. Thanks for helping to build the powerful coalition that spoke loud and clear to the politicians of Pennsylvania earlier this month. In their foolish arrogance, these politicians played a waiting game with the voters and lost. Then, in their hubris, they finally repealed their illegal pay raise, but omitted any reimbursement of monies already collected. As if that wasn’t insult enough, they then illegally voted themselves another raise.

This loathsome set of politicians deserve only their own votes in any future elections. They certainly do not deserve a single vote from the taxpayers/voters of this great Commonwealth. I doubt any one of these "politicians" would know an ethic if it smacked them between the eyes!

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!"--GettysBLOG

A note to readers:
GettysBLOG2 is going away. Those who visit it in the next few weeks will find only a link to GettysBLOG. Hopefully, sometime in the coming months, GettysBLOG will join some other blogs on their own server at http://www.historicalblogs.com/.

GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.”

“Arrogance is a fool’s disease!”

Please remember to donate your time, talent and funds to
NoCasinoGettysburg either at their office or website.

NO Casino Gettysburg
Box 3173
Gettysburg, PA 17325

or contact them via the phone at 717-334-6333.

Thank you for donating!

Remember in November! Before you vote,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005, GettysBLOG and GettysBLOG2. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

62: "Hold It Right There, Buster!"

At last, the Midnight Pay Raise is about to meet its demise. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a repeal of the pay raise, in a package deemed acceptable to the Senate. Everybody gets the raise rolled back, including the judges.

A representative of Governor Rendell’s office, commenting on the Governor’s willingness to sign the repeal, said, "What else is there to say about it? The people have spoken; the Legislature has spoken. Governor Rendell’s focus is to repeal the pay raise and move on.”

What has not been widely reported is that the legislators voted themselves another pay raise.

Say what?!!

That’s correct, the legislators voted to restart the same 3% (or more) pay raises they have been getting for the past ten years. And it goes to the exact same group of folks the Midnight Pay Raise of last July went to – all the legislators, the judges, and the top officials in the Governor’s administration, including the Governor.

[See PennLive.com for the complete article from today’s Harrisburg Patriot News.]

Now, few object to them getting the same raises other state employees get, if the other state employees get the same raises, and at the same time, but they won’t.

In an attempt to justify this latest mugging of the Pennsylvania taxpayers, State Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer said, "We turned it back to exactly where it was before July 7. That's what we said we would do, and we've worked very hard to do that."

Welllll, not exactly, Bob! There is still this matter of the unvouchered expenses and how the legislators, Governor’s staff, and judges used that to take their 16-34% raise from the previous crime (the Midnight Pay Raise now being repealed). Many of them wasted no time grabbing the money and running with it, and the legislature has made NO attempt to recover that money, or indeed, any money already paid under the Midnight Pay Raise.

The repeal bill makes no effort whatsoever to recover the early collection of the Midnight Pay Raise now being repealed.

The legislature has now voted itself yet another raise that will start next month.

They have made comments in the past to the effect that, “There’s just no way to recover that money.”

Sure there is Bubby! And here’s an example. A friend started employment with the state Department of Labor some years back. The bureaucracy was such that he received no pay for about 10 weeks. At the 6-week mark, he received an advance, and continued to do so. No taxes or deductions were taken out, and the advance was actually more than he was to be paid. When his regular, correct pay was finally issued, the state withheld all of one check, and part of the next to collect its overpayment. And you thought PennDot was the only state agency that existed just to make life tough for you!

Here is what GettysBLOG suggests. Since the Gettysburg area representative, the “Honorable” Steve Maitland was one who not only voted for the Midnight Pay Raise, but also took the early raise as an unvouchered expense, perhaps he should introduce an amendment to any convenient piece of legislation requiring the Department of the Treasury to withhold all raises from all who took the early unvouchered expense money, and any other persons who began collecting the higher rate of pay after the raise went into effect, until it is completely paid back; further, that if this does not fulfill the complete reimbursement of the repealed pay raise by the end of November, 2006, as projected, that it be deducted directly from the full paychecks of those individuals starting with the first pay in January 2006, and continuing until it has been fully repaid.

What’s fair, is fair.

Pennsylvania taxpayers and voters cannot allow ethical bankruptcy one inch of room in Harrisburg. As has been seen by the performance of the state government in this pay raise issue, ethical bankruptcy is rife within our state government.

Ethical bankruptcy in government leads to the financial bankruptcy of the people.

To allow those who greedily collected the early raise as an unvouchered expense, or those who waited for the raise to take effect, and then began collecting it, is to allow moral and ethical bankruptcy to continue. It is like being pregnant, either you are, or you are not. Either you are, or you are not, morally challenged and ethically bankrupt.

In no case should these people be rewarded for their own crime. Make no mistake about it, the Midnight Pay Raise, complete with Judicial interference, and the complicity of the Governor, including the unvouchered expenses, was a crime against the citizens of this Great Commonwealth. To date, not a single party to this crime has dropped their hubris and admitted to complete wrong-doing. They have, even after passing repeal legislation that is incomplete, continued to do the “Justification Dance”.

Your Pennsylvania legislators, judges, and members of the Governor’s administration, including the governor, have proven they have no sense of responsibility to the people of this Commonwealth, and are lacking in conscience and lacking the ability to feel remorse or guilt.

Clearly, these people are not who you want running things. If this “thumbing their noses” at the voters and taxpayers of Pennsylvania doesn’t convince you, then you are in bad straits my friend.

Remember, these are the same people who brought you those twin paragons of ethicless legislation in 2004, Acts 71 and 72. The Act 72 legislation that was enacted solely to give allure and legitimacy to Act 71, an act so full of conflict of interest, and moral decadence, and almost criminal negligence on the part of the legislature, that not even Act 72 could save it, was rejected by 80% of the state, yet the Governor, “Fast Eddie” Rendell, absolutely must have it to keep gambling in Pennsylvania, so he is devising a way to force it on the people of this Commonwealth.

Frankly, there isn’t a one of them, not the legislators, the judges, or members of the administration, worthy of shining your shoes. They have repeatedly proven they are there to keep themselves there long enough to feather their own nest, and the people be damned! They simply do not care about you.

Don’t let them get away with it!

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!"--GettysBLOG

Remember in May! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Remember in November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!


GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.”

“Arrogance is a fool’s disease!”

Please remember to donate your time, talent and funds to NoCasinoGettysburg either at their office or website.

NO Casino Gettysburg
Box 3173
Gettysburg, PA 17325

or contact them via the phone at 717-334-6333.

Thank you for donating!


Copyright © 2005, GettysBLOG and GettysBLOG2. All Rights Reserved.

61: "An April March"

April 29, 2006

Mark your calendars now!

Re-enactors March on Harrisburg, Rally to Save Our Heritage, Deliver our Message: No Casino Gettysburg!


April 28-30 Planned encampments and education programs Friday April 28-Sunday April 30 at the National Civil War Museum in the beautiful Reservoir Park in Harrisburg, and at Riverside Park. March is April 29. Plan on it!

Please send e-mail to susan@nocasinogettysburg.com if your unit is interested in participating.

Re-enactors: ALL time periods, including the French and Indian Wars, The American Revolution, Civil War, WWI and II, Veterans, etc. Send me your thoughts on this event!

Citizens! Clubs! You can march with the Reenactors and carry your own banners.

No Casino Gettysburg March on Capital Co-Sponsored by City of Harrisburg

Growing opposition to a proposed casino in Gettysburg inspired a “No Casino Gettysburg Heritage March and Rally” to be held next April 29, 2006. The protest event is organized by the grass roots opposition group and is co-sponsored by The City of Harrisburg, the National Civil War Museum, the Civil War Preservation Trust and others.

The Saturday, April 29 protest march from Harrisburg’s City Island to the State Capital will include thousands of re-enactors led by Abraham Lincoln, and General’s Lee, Grant and Meade. The re-enactor units will include cavalry, marching bands, and units portraying other time periods, such as the American Revolution, or WWII. Other organizations and the general public are invited to participate.

Susan Star Paddock, chairman of the opposition group, said “We’ve already collected over 43,000 names on petitions, and plan to deliver those and additional names to the Capital that Saturday. The march and rally will cap one year of protest against the proposed casino, and will highlight a three-day heritage event in Harrisburg.

Friday, April 28 until Sunday, April 30, re-enactors and historians will create historically accurate encampments at Reservoir Park surrounding the National Civil War Museum, and at Riverside Park in Harrisburg, beside the Susquehanna River.

Paddock added, “We are deeply grateful for the support of Mayor Reed, the City of Harrisburg, and the National Civil War Museum. Their participation will ensure three days of high quality educational events and festivities. We’ll be working with the City to create events that the whole family will enjoy.”

Mayor Steven Reed will speak at the Rally.

“Gettysburg is this nation’s most beloved small town”, said Susan Star Paddock, Chairman of No Casino Gettysburg. “The Battle that took place on those hallowed grounds made us one nation, free of slavery. Along with thousands of re-enactors, school children, and ordinary citizens, we will demonstrate to the PA government that we want our national treasure saved from crass exploitation.”

The timing of the March and Rally on April 29 likely comes before the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board votes on the Gettysburg casino proposal, and three weeks before the state primaries.”
================================================================

[Blogger's Note: April is a very special month in Civil War History, as it was in April the war started in 1861 (Fort Sumter), and in 1862 the Battle of Shiloh (Pittsburg Landing) was fought. In 1865, the final battles in the eastern theater were fought (Sailor's Creek, Five Forks, Appomattox Courthouse) and the surrender of Lee was on April 9, 1865. So an April March on Harrisburg to help protect the Gettysburg area is most appropriate.

Indeed, there are many more April milestones in American history, such as Paul Revere's Ride, the Battles at Lexington and Concord, the Mexican War Battle of Cerro Gordo, and on April 6, 1917, the United States declared war on Germany and formally entered World War I. In 1942, U.S. bombers flying from the aicraft carrier Hornet raided Tokyo and other cities in Japan, while elsewhere, the US was engaged in the first naval battle in history where the two forces never saw each other, as the Battle of The Coral Sea was fought by naval aircraft attacks on surface ships, and in 1945 the final battle in the Pacific Theater was begun on the island of Okinawa.

Perhaps a "Battle of Harrisburg" would be fitting. -- GettysBLOG]

GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.”

Please remember to donate your time, talent and funds to NoCasinoGettysburg either at their office or website.

NO Casino Gettysburg
Box 3173
Gettysburg, PA 17325

or contact them via the phone at 717-334-6333.

Thank you for donating!

Remember in November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005, GettysBLOG and GettysBLOG2. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

60: "Hurrah for the CWPT!"

Our great friends at the Civil War Preservation Trust have recorded a couple of rather large and important coups as of today. They are posted below. This great organization is responsible for preserving historic Civil War battlefield areas, not just by acres, but by square miles. They do a great service to this nation, and they do it wonderfully. Please consider joining them in their efforts.

1331 H Street, NW • Suite 1001 • Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 367-1861 • Fax: (202) 367-1865 • E-mail: cwpt@,civilwar.org
Website: http://www.civilwar.org

Civil War Preservation Trust
The Nation 's Largest Battlefield Preservation Organization
Jim Campi,
Beth Newburger,

November 15, 2005
PENNSYLVANIA VOTERS OPPOSE CASINO NEAR HISTORIC GETTYSBURG BATTLEFIELD
Statewide public opinion poll reveals that two-thirds of Pennsylvania voters oppose plans for a casino near the Gettysburg Battlefield

(Gettysburg, Pa.) – A public opinion poll commissioned by the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) reveals that Pennsylvania voters overwhelmingly oppose plans for a 42-acre casino complex near the historic Gettysburg Battlefield. According to the poll, 65 percent of those surveyed indicated opposition to a casino at Gettysburg.

"The statewide poll removes all doubt – Pennsylvanians do not want a casino at Gettysburg," remarked CWPT President James Lighthizer. "Keystone state voters clearly recognize that America's most hallowed battleground is no place to build a casino."

In the telephone survey, Pennsylvania voters were asked several questions related to the proposed casino near the Gettysburg battlefield. In nearly every case, a majority expressed strong opposition to the casino plan. In addition to the 65 percent who opposed a casino at Gettysburg, 55 percent indicated that they would oppose a casino near an unnamed historic site in Pennsylvania.

In Central Pennsylvania, where the proposed casino would be located, the opposition was even more pronounced. According to the survey, 68 percent of Central Pennsylvania voters opposed building a casino near an unnamed historic site in the Keystone State. Less than one-quarter of mid-state respondents expressed support for building a casino near historic sites.

When Central Pennsylvanians were asked specifically about the 42-acre casino complex planned for Gettysburg, more than three-quarters (78 percent) declared their opposition to the proposal. Only 16 percent expressed support for the concept, with just 6 percent of mid-state voters undecided.

The poll also reminded voters of a recent statement made by Governor Ed Rendell, who said in appearance on the Pennsylvania Cable Network program Pennsylvania Newsmakers: "if that proposal is anywhere near the historic area of Gettysburg, I would oppose it." More than two thirds of those surveyed (67 percent) indicated support for the Governor's statement.

Voters were also asked if they would be more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate who advocated building casinos near Pennsylvania historic sites like the Gettysburg Battlefield. More than half (51 percent) indicated they would be less likely to vote for such candidates; only 5 percent stated they would be more likely to vote for candidates who advocated building casinos near historic sites.

Many Pennsylvania voters also indicated they would hold both the Governor and State Legislature responsible for any decisions made by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. When asked who they would consider responsible for approving a casino near a historic site, 43 percent of voters identified the governor and state legislature. Another 35 percent indicated the gaming control board, and 13 percent stated they would blame both equally.

"No Casino Gettysburg could not be more pleased with the results," noted Susan Paddock, spokesperson for the group, which is leading the effort against a casino at Gettysburg. "Pennsylvania voters realize that a casino is incompatible with the character and history of Gettysburg."

The poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Research, Inc. from October 27-29, 2005. A total of 625 registered voters were interviewed statewide by telephone. For verification or questions concerning methodology, contact Brad Coker at (904) 261- 2444. Margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points.

With 75,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation's endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds.
(For the survey and results, visit http://www.civilwar.org/news/append/append).
==================================================

The second coup has, perhaps, more far reaching implications. The primary aim of the CWPT is the preservation of Civil War Battlefields, and that is exactly what they have done, rescuing a portion of the Gettysburg Battlefield from potential development.
Here is the announcement:

MEDIA ADVISORY: NEWS CONFERENCE TO ANNOUNCE PRESERVATION VICTORY AT GETTYSBURG

(Gettysburg, Pa.) - On Friday, November 18, the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association (GBPA), the Land Conservancy of Adams County (LCAC), and the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) will host a news conference at the historic Daniel Lady Farm on the Gettysburg Battlefield.

The purpose of the news conference is to announce a Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP) grant to place a conservation easement on the 145-acre farm. A conservation easement is a legal agreement that permanently limits development of the land.

The news conference will be held at 10:30 a.m. on the Daniel Lady Farm. Speaking at the news conference will be State Representative Harry Readshaw, CWPT President James Lighthizer, GBPA President Kathi Shue, LCAC Land Conservation Coordinator Sidney Kuhn, and other notables.

The Daniel Lady Farm played an important role in the three-day battle of Gettysburg. The farm was occupied by Southern forces on July 1, 1863, and served as a Confederate staging area for the remainder of the battle. In addition, the farm served as a hospital for the wounded of both sides; several burials were recorded on the property.

WHAT: News conference at Gettysburg’s Daniel Lady Farm
WHEN: Friday, November 18, 2005 at 10:30 a.m.

WHO: State Representative Harry Readshaw, CWPT President James Lighthizer, GBPA President Kathi Shue, and LCAC Land Conservation Coordinator Sidney Kuhn

WHERE: Daniel Lady Farm, 986 Hanover Road, Gettysburg, Pa.

GBPA was founded in 1959 as the first public/private partnership to protect the battlefield at Gettysburg. Over the years, the all-volunteer GBPA has played a continuous role in purchasing endangered battlefield land. GBPA’s website is located at www.gbpa.org.

LCAC is a member-supported nonprofit land trust, comprised nearly entirely of volunteers. The mission of LCAC is to permanently preserve the rural lands and character of Adams County, Pa. LCAC’s website is located at www.lcacnet.org.

CWPT is a 75,000-member nonprofit battlefield preservation organization. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. CWPT’s website is located at http://www.civilwar.org/.
==================================================

Thank God for organizations like the Civil War Preservation Trust!

GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.”

Please remember to donate your time, talent and funds to NoCasinoGettysburg either at their office or website.

NO Casino Gettysburg
Box 3173
Gettysburg, PA 17325

or contact them via the phone at 717-334-6333.

Thank you for donating!

Remember in November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005, GettysBLOG and GettysBLOG2. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

59: "Perspective"

Take a little time to pat yourselves on the back fellow voters, as you have taken the first, and largest step required in seizing control of your government back from the thieving hands of arrogant tyrants. You have accomplished something in Pennsylvania that this blogger has never heard of in his lifetime. It is an accomplishment you can be proud of, yet you must not rest on your laurels, for the work is not complete.

Yesterday, you sent a message to the arrogant fools in Harrisburg, those who call themselves politicians and judges, those who have arrogantly usurped your Liberty to fill their own pockets. The message is: “Your days in office are numbered. Start looking for a day job. This is your one year notice.”

Read these quotations carefully, please:

"Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end...liberty is the only object which benefits all alike, and provokes no sincere opposition...The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern... Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
--Lord Acton

"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual."
--Thomas Jefferson

“An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.”
--Thomas Jefferson

"No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him…the idea is quite unfounded that on entering into society we give up any natural rights."
--Thomas Jefferson

“The way to secure liberty is to place it in the people's hands, that is, to give them the power at all times to defend it in the legislature and in the courts of justice"

--John Adams

"I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."
--James Madison

"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism -- ownership of government by an individual, by a group."
--Franklin D. Roosevelt

Who could argue that these men would not know what dangers exist to Liberty, especially in a democratic republic such as ours?

Such dangers have been detailed here, and elsewhere, over the past months. This blogger fears that with the election over, voter wrath will be spent, and will not carry for another year. Perhaps the legislature, the Supreme Court, and the Governor will conspire to keep that fire burning , however. It seems the pending repeal of the pay raise, passed last July during a 2 AM session of the legislature, with guidance and counsel from Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Ralph Cappy (oh how I wish he had been on the ballot yesterday!), and signed into law without a veto by the Governor, will NOT INCLUDE PAYBACK OF MONIES ALREADY RECEIVED!

Further, the Governor still insists on forcing Act 72 on the school districts of Pennsylvania, AFTER IT HAD BEEN REJECTED BY 80% OF THEM! Why? Here is the answer: Governor Rendell has courted the gaming industry for years, first as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, gaining enormous sums of money for national and targeted state level Democratic candidates, and later, as gubernatorial candidate, to finance his own candidacy, and the state Democratic Committee’s candidates. In return, he promised the introduction of slot machines to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He got his wish past a Republican controlled legislature by cutting the legislators in on the deal: each legislator is allowed to own a percentage of a casino; there is no language in the legislation, Act 71 of 2004, that prohibits any legislator from owning any part of, or all of any of the peripheral companies that will support gaming, such as the Pennsylvania-owned distributors of the slot machines. There is, of course, nothing in any legislation anywhere that prohibits any legislator from owning stock in a gaming management company such as Harrah’s.

Act 71, therefore, is full of ‘conflict of interest’, since the legislative leadership, and the Governor also appoint members to the Gaming Commission, that oversees the gaming industry in Pennsylvania. Act 71 is also unethical since it institutes an industry into Pennsylvania which creates dangerous addictions, and feeds off other addictions to do so. Casinos generally ply gamblers with free or low cost alcoholic drinks in order to fog their judgment and keep them gambling. In response to this, the Pennsylvania General Assembly is diverting millions of tax dollars for the care of addicted gamblers, while cutting budgets for social services across the state.

In order to lend legitimacy to this highly unethical, egregious piece of legislation, the General Assembly passed Act 72 of 2004, the Homestead Act, granting tax relief to Pennsylvania homeowners. It is this Act that was overwhelmingly rejected. The Governor, and the General Assembly need Act 72 to keep Act 71 justified. Without Act 72, there is no legitimate reason for Act 71 to exist. Voters need to educate themselves to this enormous scam perpetrated by the greedy politicians of this Commonwealth, notably, the Governor, and the General Assembly. The Supreme Court, who had a chance to rule on portions of Act 71, failed to address the portions of the bill that were unethical, contained conflicts of interest, or posed a danger to the general population of the Commonwealth and any visitors engaging in Pennsylvania sponsored gaming.

Therefore, it is essential that not only does the entire pay raise get repealed, including all monies already taken by the legislators and the judges, but also the raises of the judges. Additionally, ACTS 71 and 72 of 2004 MUST BE REPEALED!

The media are putting their spin on yesterday’s vote not to retain Justice Nigro and almost the same result for Justice Newman. The Philadelphia Inquirer ran an article in which Philadelphia area people were puzzled by the NO vote on the justices. One Philadelphia citizen’s comment defines the problem: “Dave Duane, 24, of Chalfont, said he voted to retain the judges. ‘I thought about it,’ he said of the pay-raise controversy, ‘but it was not a big concern’.” People in Philadelphia and Pittsburg are quite inured to governmental abuse, corruption and scandal. These two cities, who admittedly do contribute to the state’s economy, but who contribute no more per capita to the state than anyone else, actually have been sucking the state’s taxpayer’s dry for decades, primarily with demands for supplemental emergency funding for transit systems, stadiums, and in the case of Pittsburgh last year, for the administration of the City itself. In Philly, the city government is so corrupt people have become jaded to it. Both cities have been ruled by the Democratic machines there for more than a half century. (Do NOT count the administration of Frank Rizzo as mayor of Philadelphia as a Republican administration. He went against the Democratic machine there, and switched parties to run on the Republican ticket.)

Spin it all you want, yesterday’s ouster of Justice Nigro, and the near ouster of Justice Newman was a clear signal to the elected officials of this Commonwealth that business better not proceed “as usual”. Business better change drastically. Current incumbents will face deep challenges in the spring primaries, and some may not even get their party’s nominations. Those that do will face stiff competition at the polls next November from candidates armed with the voting records of the incumbents. Nothing can be as damning to a candidate.

The fact is, the mid-state, and the western part of the state overwhelmed machine politics from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to oust Justice Nigro, and only an eleventh hour initiative by Pennsylvania Favorite Son Tom Ridge saved Justice Newman from the same fate…and only by a narrow margin. She’s out in 2007 anyway as she reaches the mandatory retirement age that year.

Philadelphia and Pittsburgh news media, particularly the print media in those cities is in large part responsible for not making their readers aware of the problems in Harrisburg. In Philly, the dirty race for Governor of New Jersey got far more press than the dirty politics in Harrisburg. In Pittsburgh, why say anything bad about the state government when the state government is bailing you out financially? This makes the ouster of the judge, and near ouster of another all the more remarkable. It finally says to the constituents in Central and Western Pennsylvania that they can finally get those twin monkeys of Philly and Pittsburgh off their backs, and take control of state government away from the political machines.

That is justice for you. Pennsylvania voters, you’ve done well. I applaud you. I also caution you to keep your guard up, and remember the following maxims:

"Greed knows no limits, and has no character. Greed endures no absolute moral values, and has its own ethics. Greed has no memories but vengeful ones. Greed has no friends, and no family, only partners, and partners are expendable. Greed consumes and corrupts absolutely. Greed is blind to itself."
-- GettysBLOG


“Legislation without representation is tyranny!”
-- GettysBLOG

“Arrogance is a fool’s disease.”
-- GettysBLOG

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!”
-- GettysBLOG


Remember next May, before you vote, GETTYSBLOG!

Remember next November, before you vote, GETTYSBLOG!

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