Thursday, April 06, 2006

123: “Your Help Urgently Needed!”

Great friend Tim Potts at Democracy Rising offers this update full of information, advice, and urgent requests. We humbly ask you readers to please take heed of these and respond with every ounce of courage and common sense you can muster. True government reform in Pennsylvania can only come if you, the voters and taxpayers of this once-great Commonwealth, will take action to reform it. Quite simply, our state of government at this moment is not only in crisis, but it is in the process of transcending into a state of fascism, as described in GettysBLOG
121: “Gettysburg Sold to LeVan for $1 Million”.

No, we’re not kidding, and no, we’re not Chicken Little – Pennsylvania is literally in a deep quagmire of greed and graft and corruption in its government from top to bottom. The ONLY hope for fixing the mess is you, the taxpaying, voting citizens of Pennsylvania. No one else can do it. No single person can do it. Only a concerted effort of voter discipline, and grassroots efforts can accomplish this reform and return Pennsylvania to the masterpiece of Liberty it once was. Until you get angry enough and fed up enough to do something about it, it will continue its rapid run to into the cesspool of corruption.

This problem transcends party lines, for truly, the two major parties have long since abandoned the people, and been taken over by the monied interests. They have changed and fixed the rules totally in their favor, and made it difficult for the average citizen to have any other choice at all, thus paving the way for their curried favorites to gain and retain elected office. And the whole while you and I have followed blithely along voting the party line for decades while this system took root and blossomed into something only a few steps away from having guys in brown shirts running our polling places.

Here is the latest from Tim Potts:

Democracy Rising News

April 6, 2006
In this issue:
It’s Action Time - SU3!
You’re the Lobbyist
Is Gambling Stopping Property Tax Relief?
Your $28,000 Home Library
Where You Stand
At Work in the Capitol

It’s Action Time – SU3!
“SU3!” is our shorthand for what citizens need to do to reclaim their government: Sign Up! Speak Up! Show Up!

Sign Up! – April 17 is the last day to register to vote in the May 16 primary election. If you’re already registered (which nearly all DR Fans are), see if you can register a friend or neighbor. Here’s the state’s directory of county voter registration contacts:

Speak Up! – Talk with friends and neighbors about the importance of this election. We can send the message in this election that democracy is Job 1, and that democracy doesn’t work without integrity.

Show Up! – Get to the polls and vote. May 9 is the last day to apply for a civilian absentee ballot. May 12 is the last day for county election boards to receive absentee ballots. And May 17 is primary election day. A strong turnout will send another message – that those who want integrity have staying power.

You’re the Lobbyist
The House of Representatives is getting ready to act on lobbyist control. But according to Brian Preski, chief of staff to House Speaker John Perzel, what they have in mind is a far cry from the best lobbyist control law in America.

According to news reports about a recent Harrisburg presentation to lobbyists, Preski said the House would act because the media are forcing action. (No one gives us citizens credit for bending lawmakers to our will. But they can’t deny the 806,000 votes citizens, not media, cast against Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro last November.)

Preski predicted the House version of lobbyist control:

Will not require the kind of detail that watchdogs and citizens need to understand who is trying to influence what legislation.
Will not increase penalties for breaking the law.
Will not strengthen enforcement of the law.
Will prevent auditors from looking at the details of lobbyist spending.

So it’s time for you to be the lobbyist. Tell your representative (and senator for that matter) you will not settle for half-measures. There is no reason why Pennsylvania can’t have the best law in the nation – one that bans gifts to public officials completely, requires full disclosure of lobbyist contacts with individual public officials on easily searchable web sites, and imposes real penalties for breaking the law. Tell them if they can’t give you the best law in America, you’ll vote for someone else who will.

Is Gambling Stopping Property Tax Relief?
Some lawmakers think so, and one lawmaker said it out loud. Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, wrote in the Centre Daily Times on April 4, “According to one of my colleagues,…the state cannot afford to fix property taxes now, or there will not be any reason to expand gambling to include all forms of gaming.”

Did we mention that Pennsylvania needs the best lobbyist control law in America?

Your $28,000 Home Library
You paid for it. The problem is that it’s not in your home, not even in your public library. It’s in the home of Rep. Mark Cohen, D-Phila. On Sunday, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Cohen charged state taxpayers $28,200 for more than 800 books over the past two years.

To put this in perspective, Reporter Mario Cattabiani wrote that the combined budget for two Philadelphia high school and two middle school libraries during those same two years was just $21,600. The four schools enroll 5,000 students. Here’s the story:

Where You Stand
In case you’re unsure, and in case you don’t trust the labels others lay on you, here’s the “World’s Smallest Political Test”:

In just a few minutes, you can learn where you stand on the political spectrum. The 10-question, multiple-choice test is the brainchild of the Libertarian group Advocates for Self-Government. So far, out of nearly 6 million test-takers, here are the totals using the site’s terminology. Make of it what you will.
Libertarians – 34.68%
Centrists – 30.33%
Left (Liberals) – 18.77%
Statist (Big Government) – 8.62%
Right (Conservative) – 7.61%

At Work in the Capitol
PA Clean Sweep revealed last week that a computer in the state House of Representatives holds the record for visits to In fact, it has held the record every month but one since the site opened for business last July 18.

The House computer, two computers in the Senate and another one in the PA Legislative Data Processing Center combined for more than 212,000 visits to the web site – an average of 1,212 visits per work day.

Someone isn’t giving the taxpayers our money’s worth. We wish PA Clean Sweep luck in finding out who he or she is.

You may remember that a House Republican staffer was revealed as the source of a web site attacking PA Clean Sweep. The staffer has denied doing any work on his web site using taxpayer computers or taxpayer time.

We don’t have to put up with this. We can have the highest standards of public integrity in America. We just have to stop electing people who refuse to do the job.

Exactly! Thank you Tim! It is indeed up to all of us. As usual, we will recommend the following organizations, and we urge you all in the strongest of terms to visit these sites and pick one or more with which to get involved…directly involved. Operation Cleansweep, Democracy Rising, Rock the Capital.


“Kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!” --

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

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.” --GettysBLOG

Remember in May! Before you vote,

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