Wednesday, May 31, 2006

159: “Reform Now!”


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

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

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



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


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

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

We’re working on buttons!

GettysBLOG

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

“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 November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

158: “Your Help Urgently Needed”


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can we afford to take this chance?

Not on your life!

So, what do we do about it?

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

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

We simply cannot afford to task the risk.

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

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

GettysBLOG

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

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 November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

157: “Honor the Fallen This Memorial Day!”


After the guns became silent, the cleanup began. It started with the wounded -- thousands of wounded. Those not already in hospitals in the many barns nearby, and not already on their way back to Virginia as Lee pulled his men back from the costly repulse at Gettysburg, those that still lay on the blood soaked fields, and among the tress and rocks of this ground were gathered up and swiftly borne away to fill the hospitals again.

First the living, and then the dead. The somber task of burying the Union dead began before the battle was done, and continued for well over a day. In most cases, they were buried where they fell.

The grave diggers were often criticized for their levity while going about their grim work, but in reality, it was simply a mechanism to deal with the horrors of so many mangled bodies…and if the sight of that didn’t reach you, the smell surely would. And so they would make small jokes about how this one smelled, or what he looked like he did back home: farmer, merchant, teacher, schoolboy…

After the Union dead were interred, it would take two more days to bury the Confederate dead. Meanwhile, there were tens of thousands of horses, mules and livestock that were rotting on the battlefield. They, too, had to be disposed of. There were a large number of dead horses in the small garden of the Widow Leister farm, where Major General Meade made his headquarters. Slaughtered by Confederate artillery that overshot its intended mark on Cemetery Ridge, the horses died by the dozen on the reverse slope. Later, Lydia Leister would burn their bones, and sell the ash/bone mix as fertilizer. She made about $30.

Local attorney David Wills realized almost immediately not just the importance of the battle, but the importance of the battlefield. He began to buy up portions of it for a memorial association he founded. By mid-summer, he had contacted Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin, and obtained approval to go ahead and construct a “National Soldiers and Sailor’s Cemetery” at Gettysburg. A location on the west slope of Cemetery Hill, adjacent to the old Evergreen Cemetery was obtained, and a design was approved. A group of local African-Americans won the contract to disinter the Union dead from their makeshift graves on the battlefield and after identification of the remains at least as to the state for which the soldier had fought, reinter them in the new cemetery.

When that task was finally completed in the 1880s, there were 3,577 men from fourteen northern states buried in that graveyard. Since then, veterans and fallen from all of America’s wars have added more than 3,000 interments to that number.

For all of that, only one person has truly caught the essence of the events here, and the cost, and what the men bought with their blood. And on a cool November afternoon in 1863, he put the matter quite clearly:

Four score 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.

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

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

He put no hate in his speech, nor disrespect of the enemy. He placed the enormous toll of the battle into the perspective of the new United States that would emerge from the war – a new nation that was no longer divided by the issue of slavery, a nation united.

In Europe at the time, the nationalist movement had been underway for a half-century or more, and resulted in wars between nations. In America, our civil war defined how we, the United States of America, would be viewed by those outside our nation, and how we would perceive ourselves. It gave us an identity that all Americans could claim, a single spirit, a national unity.

In all of America’s other major wars combined (The Revolution, War of 1812, Mexican War, Spanish American War, WW I, WW II, Korea, Viet Nam, Gulf War I), the total killed is approximately 590,360.

In the Civil War, approximately 617,000 Americans fell in combat, or from accident or disease while serving. Almost a million more were wounded. Countless more were starved in Prisoner of War Camps.

There must be something about this “experiment in Liberty” that we call a nation that drives men and women to sacrifice themselves in such numbers for it.

Visit a National Cemetery or an observance of Memorial Day this weekend. Whatever you do, do something to honor those who gave their lives in the service of this nation, so “…that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

GettysBLOG

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 26, 2006

156: “Roadmap to Reform”


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OK. You win.

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

How can any court fail to understand that?

Here is the “Road Map to Reform”:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roadmap to Reform News Conference: May 25, 2006

Statement by Tim Potts, Co-Founder:

“Good morning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GettysBLOG

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

“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 November! Before you vote,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have a very pointed question for Ed:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The choice is clear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please visit these websites and get to know Russ better!

RUSSDIAMOND.ORG Blog

RUSSDIAMOND.ORG Audio

RUSSDIAMOND.ORG Newsroom

GettysBLOG

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

“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 November! Before you vote,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

154: “Identifying Targets for November”


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

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

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

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

In the fall, those two Democrats must fall.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other incumbents must go.

Rendell must be defeated.

Katherine Baker Knoll must be defeated.

Lynn Swann, who took gambling money must be defeated.

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

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

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

You must transcend partisan politics at all costs!

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

Remember in November, before you vote, GettysBLOG!

GettysBLOG

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

“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 November! Before you vote,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 19, 2006

153: "Kind Words and An Agenda"

A very kind gentleman, great friend, Citizen-Patriot Hero and fellow blogger [The Battle of Gettysburg & The American Civil War] wrote in a comment to an essay about the recent election [151: “Savor it! Phase One Complete!”], “And GettysBLOG very richly deserves a hearty round of applause for the indefatigable and relentless advocacy which has helped in no small part to bring about such a needed and just result in Pennsylvania's elections. The citizenry has always had the power. They just need the desire to use it.” [His name is Randy, and he traveled two-thirds of the way across the state to testify against the casino in Gettysburg, and did so with an eloquence unmatched by any others. Visit his blog and see a sample of this man’s writing.]

To which we reply: “You are too kind, sir. For me, the Citizen-Patriot Heroes, listed on the sidebar to the right, in which you are included, deserve the credit as do the voters of the Commonwealth.

The Citizen-Patriot Heroes led the way and exposed the malfeasance of the legislators, the governor, and the courts, but it was the voters who had the courage to take the actual steps of doing something about it.

Thank you, and thank you all for being brave and bold enough to take those steps. You are heroes all.”

This fight is far from over. We have begun a campaign of intermediate steps the legislature can take to start the repair of the legislative process BEFORE the General Election in November.

We are calling for a moratorium on the issuance of licenses to casinos until a new legislature is seated and has time to study if it wants to make changes to the gambling bill.

We are calling for Senators Jubelirer and Brightbill to step down from their positions of leadership as their actions in those positions so clearly cost them the confidence of their own constituents. Leadership should not reside with Lame Ducks.

We are calling for enactment of a law requiring all who took the unvouchered expense from the unconstitutionally-passed, and now-repealed Midnight pay Raise of last summer, to have the money directly debited from their pay checks until full repayment plus market rate interest has been made. That is, take the entire paycheck until it is all paid off. This voids any and all agreements to repay now in existence. Further, the money is to be paid directly to the State’s General Fund. This MUST be accomplished now before the legislators who are leaving office (47 of them at this point, and perhaps many others will be joining them in the unemployment line after November) depart, making recovery of the money much more difficult. This is something requiring immediate action!

[Did you know the money so far repaid is sitting in accounts controlled by the leadership of each house of the General Assembly? That means, the funds repaid by Senators are in an account under the control of Senators Jubelirer and Brightbill! In the case of the House, it is under control of John Perzel! This money MUST be turned over to the General Fund immediately!]

A Supreme Court Justice kicked off the bench, and another nearly so last November was apparently not enough for the pundits or the politicians to believe how incensed the public IS over the actions of the General Assembly, particularly its leadership passing legislation unconstitutionally and in the dead of night, the Governor who signed such unconstitutional legislation into law (Act 71, Act 72, the Pay Raise), and the State Supreme Court (particularly Chief Justice Ralph Cappy) who were complicit in the wreck of the Pennsylvania Ship of State.

Now they know. But in hubris-filled Harass-burg, they will soon rationalize to themselves that the only mistake that was made was the pay raise. And they will convince the pundits of that rationalization. That will be a [politically] deadly mistake.

Their sins go so much deeper than that. The graft in Harass-burg is rampant, runaway, and ruinously corrupting. The politicians are unremorseful, and unrepentant.

Pennsylvania does not need a lobbyist disclosure law. Pennsylvania does not need to reform lobbying. Pennsylvania desperately needs to shrug off this Trojan Horse and do away with it entirely. A single citizen can rarely gain access to his Representative or Senator now because the legislator is usually being wined and dined by some lobbyist law firm representing some corporate giant, or in the case of the gambling industry, the industry itself.

It is long past time to level the playing field. Do away with lobbying entirely. Make it illegal. Stiff $10,000 fines AND five year mandatory prison sentences for the lobbyist, and the legislator each.

If a businessman wants some legislative help from a member of the General Assembly, let him make an appointment and convince that legislator on the merits of the argument, and not by making campaign contributions to him to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars, or worse, making illegal and illicit gifts of cash or other items of value to friends and relatives. Don’t send a representative, go yourself to see the legislator. That’s what Joe Citizen has to do, and business persons should be no different.

This is the ONLY way to ensure clean government at all levels, and even then there will be lawbreakers, for a while at least, until the fines and jail terms take effect.

It is disturbing that the business of government has created an entire industry that in effect has no other purpose than to corrupt government by buying favoritism from those in power. I care not that it is an industry as old as the hills. It is political prostitution. It is ugly. It is corrupt, and corrupting.

Lobbyists must go.

As you can readily see, much remains to be done. We ask for, no, we demand the moon, and it is within our grasp. You must apply such pressure on your legislators to accomplish the goals stated above. And you must support anti-incumbent candidates in the November Election.

The work is not done. If you do not want to waste your heroic efforts to date, then you must stay the course.

They are all common sense goals, and goals which can be enacted prior to the election. This is our agenda for Phase 2. Press it home!

GettysBLOG

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

“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 November! Before you vote,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

152: “A Few Demands for the General Assembly”


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

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

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

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

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

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

GettysBLOG

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

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 November! Before you vote
,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Clearing the Record


Steve Maitland’s self-serving statements in the Gettysburg and Hanover papers today simply reinforce the fact this man just does not get it. Maitland did something very wrong. He took money that did not belong to him. He can continue to rationalize his actions until the cows come home, but he has kept unconstitutionally received income illegally. If defeat at the polls doesn’t drive that fact home then he had better stay out of the courtroom when he gets his law degree, as a jury will eat him alive using the kind of (il)logic by which he has been guiding himself for the past year.

Maitland voted for the pay raise. Maitland took the unvouchered expense. Maitland insists on keeping the money and using it for personal reasons. Additionally, that money will go toward increasing his Legislative pension, greatly inflated by a 50% increase he helped pass a few years back.

The people of Pennsylvania dumped 15 members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in yesterday’s Primary Elections, and two State Senators. Maitland was one of the House members dumped.

All of them, that is all 15 House members, and both Senators (Jubelirer and Brightbill) voted to pass the Midnight Pay Raise, then took the unvouchered expense money. Of the 17 legislators dumped by the voters yesterday, only Jubelirer, Brightbill, Baldwin, Leh, Pistella and Armstrong have either paid back the money or made arrangements to pay it back.

Maitland has not.

The people of Pennsylvania demand ethics.

Now, Maitland is putting partisan politics in front of his own constituents wishes, when he vows to support his Primary opponent, the David LeVan-paid-for Dan Moul.

Obviously, either Maitland never really cared what his constituents told him or he is angry enough to turn on them now.

The situation is far simpler than Steve Maitland makes it out to be: he did wrong. He simply refused to grasp the gravity of his keeping the unvouchered expense and using it for personal reasons. He rationalized that he never took any of the lobbyists money, or the state perks. He claims he saved the taxpayers $300,000 by not taking the perks. That's fine, Steve, but what about the $6,000 you kept from an unconstitutionally passed Pay Raise, that has since been repealed? What about the future money you will receive based on that $6,000 that will be paid to you through your retirement fund from the legislature? What about that 50% increase in your retirement that you voted for a few years ago?

Don't worry, Steve, you were right about the $300,000. But you were horribly wrong about the $6,000. And neither one justifies the other!

He lost touch with his moral base, and in a decidedly red county that's political suicide.

Maitland, in his last six months of public service, can partially redeem himself by two actions: give back the money, and support Alan Naugle. Even though Naugle is a Democrat, the casino (and the pay raise) go much farther than partisan politics. Maitland has nothing to lose by supporting Naugle, and everything to gain.

The first step, however, must be to recognize that taking and keeping the money was a wrongful act, and that he must pay back the money.

Then he needs to work against the casino like he never has before – in the hustings. He needs to put partisanship aside for the betterment of his constituents and campaign against Moul, and that means campaigning for Naugle.

It won’t turn the county blue, but it will make for a better county.

And hopefully, Maitland can sleep better at night, knowing he finally is doing the right thing.

GettysBLOG

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

“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 November! Before you vote,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

151: “Savor it! Phase One Complete!”

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

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

Take a bow, please!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember in November, before you vote, GettysBLOG!

GettysBLOG

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

“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 November! Before you vote,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Monday, May 15, 2006

For the 91st District

Just a quick note about our local incumbent in the Gettysburg area. Steve Maitland is making the claim that he saved taxpayers $300,000 by not taking the available perks in the State House of Representatives. Is this a justification for stealing the “unvouchered expense” from the repealed Midnight Pay Raise of last July? How do we know Maitland did not take those perks? All we have is his say-so. What we also have is his record.

  • No major legislation.
  • Voted YES for the Pay Raise.
  • Kept the money taken unconstitutionally by way of the contrived “unvouchered expense”.
  • Refuses to pay back that money that has been repealed!
  • Failed to achieve a solution to the casino problem.

He will garner some votes from the No Casino Crowd who figure that his failed efforts put them in his debt. That is not really appropriate. What has he ‘accomplished' for the No Casino effort? Nada. Zip. Nothing. You owe him no loyalty.

There really is no reason to vote for Maitland. There are, as you see, several reasons to not vote for him. Obviously, he is incapable of legislating anything that would ban the casino from Adams County.

Republicans, you owe it to yourselves to write in Patrick Naugle as your choice for Representative in the 91st District. Let’s give someone else a chance to be a decent, law-abiding State Representative for a change. Maitland had 14 years and failed. Why would you send a thief back to the scene of the crime with instructions to help himself. That’s about what you would be doing by re-electing Maitland.

Two of the other candidates, Republican Moul and Democrat Henry, are backing the casino, having bought into the lies put out by LeVan, and the Ernicos.

This surmounts partisanship. You have been abandoned by your state government, and you have been abandoned by the parties that put that government in place. Do you really want business as usual?

Time for change? You bet! Deny Maitland a seat in the House. It is yours, not his.

We urge you to read the previous post which contains the GettysBLOG Primary 2006 Voter’s Guide. And we urge you not to vote for Maitland, Henry, or Moul.

But if you take no other advice, get out and vote tomorrow! Make sure you go, and take someone else to vote.

GettysBLOG

Vote NO to Maitland!

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

“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, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 12, 2006

150: “This Primary Election is Very Important!”

67: “This Primary Election is Very Important!”

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

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

If you’ve heard this once, you’ve heard this many times from me. I think Tony says it better, though. This is a must read.
Your future is at stake on Tuesday
By Tony Phyrillas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GettysBLOG

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

“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,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

149: “Why Steve Maitland Needs a New Job”

[Note: Bloggers and activists around the state should feel free to use any or all of this essay and substitute the name of their own Representative/Senator (or both).]

When Steve Maitland ran for the General Assembly lo these many years ago, he promised to quit after 6 terms – twelve years. He is now finishing his seventh term (fourteenth year), and is running for two more years.

Steve Maitland does not keep his word.

One must ask, what has Maitland accomplished in those fourteen years in Harrass-burg? A few small bills here and there, and a spot on the tourism committee. His unanimously passed amendment to the gambling bill that would have banned a casino from Adams County is dead. It went to the Senate and disappeared. Rendell would have vetoed it anyway.

Steve Maitland has been wholly unproductive over fourteen years in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Fourteen years in the House, and the only person who has benefited from his service is Steve Maitland.

Wait! Not quite wholly unproductive. When it comes to feathering his own nest, he was very productive! He voted for the Pay Raise last year. He quickly took the “unvouchered expense” an illicit and evil mechanism designed to bypass the Constitutional section that says no member of the General Assembly can benefit by a pay raise in the session in which the raise was passed. Unfortunately, that thinking just does not measure up. It is a perversion of the Constitution. What is it about the term and “no other compensation” that Maitland doesn’t understand? Article II, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution says quite clearly, “The members of the General Assembly shall receive such salary and mileage for regular and special sessions as shall be fixed by law, and no other compensation whatever, whether for service upon committee or otherwise. No member of either House shall during the term for which he may have been elected, receive any increase of salary, or mileage, under any law passed during such term.” Plainly, the Pay Raise was passed surreptitiously, and in a fashion which totally bypassed another section of the Constitution. Plainly the unvouchered expense is compensation that stemmed from the Pay Raise.
No amount of lawyer-speak, or politician double-speak can justify keeping that money.

Maitland refuses to repay the money he took. We have urged the Pennsylvania Attorney General to file felony theft charges against Maitland and his partners in crime in the General Assembly who have not repaid the money.

This is an inexcusable lapse of ethics and a violation of the simplest of moral values: thou shalt not steal. It matters not whether Maitland is using the money to pay for his law school tuition, or to pay for a swimming pool in his back yard. Stealing is stealing.

No one with this kind of record deserves to be reelected. Frankly, he belongs in jail. So do the 111 other members of the General Assembly who refuse to pay back the money.

They can play all the lawyer-like word games they want to rationalize this terrible decision. The money does not belong to them. It belongs to the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Vote these thieves out of office. Start with Steve Maitland in the 91st Legislative District. He needs a real job to repay his ill-gotten gains.

Don’t know who they are? Here is a link to the Operation Clean Sweep
Wall of Shame, it has photos of them all.

Vote them out! The stench coming from both houses of the General Assembly is overwhelming.

Tune in Monday for your recommended voting guide.

GettysBLOG

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

“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,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

148: “Defining Your Franchise”


This really speaks for itself. It reinforces what we have been trying to say for many months here. This is a guest editorial from PA Clean Sweep. It was written by Clean Sweep founder and now candidate for Governor Russ Diamond:

Abandon All Hope?
by Russ Diamond


In the wake of the most recent failure of the General Assembly - on property taxes - Pennsylvanians are left scratching their heads regarding the usefulness of the oldest legislative body in the nation.

Is this group really so pathetic that they cannot even accomplish the one thing they're actually well-practiced at - creating transparent giveaways for likely voters, conveniently timed to coincide with an election?

Apparently so.

What's a Commonwealth to do?

The old maxim "abandon all hope" immediately comes to mind, but while there may be no hope whatsoever for the current legislative unit, there is hope for the citizenry as a whole.
On May 16, Pennsylvanians have an historic opportunity to change directions and improve their lot. What began with a few scattered activists has transformed into the last vestige of hope for the future.

But the activists have done about as much as they can do. They've set the table. They've unveiled the entrée. The rest is up to the voters - only they can partake of this meal, or not.

If they do - by turning out a significant number of sitting legislators - the race for reform is on. If they don't, it will be an omen of impending doom. If you think legislators are arrogant and out of touch now, imagine what it will be like if they're overwhelmingly retained.

Abandon all hope indeed.

Every voter in the Commonwealth must make a personal choice: do we continue down the road to nowhere, or do we switch gears and try something different?

While a majority of Pennsylvanians are unhappy with the legislature, half are still supportive of their own particular legislator. This defies logic, as each of them has failed to bring about a cure for a non-functioning body. Therefore, they must be part of the problem. Your particular legislator is culpable.
If you're not registered to vote, shame on you. No complaining allowed.

If you're registered and eligible, but fail to show up and vote, shame on you, too. You trample the legacy of those who've fought for the freedom to choose our own government.

If you do vote, but fail to educate yourself first or vote in any particular manner out of habit - you're worse than the first two groups. You're the true sheep, blindly filing into the slaughterhouse.

If you vote with a possible piece of the public treasury as your priority, you're jumping on the train which destroys free societies.

If, however, you vote with an eye on what's best for the Commonwealth overall and make your choices based on informed opinion and judgment, you're on the right track.

Fighting for the common good isn't just for legislative bodies. In Pennsylvania, it seems to have disappeared from the official Lawmaker Job Description - in favor of self service and a lifetime of comfort and security at the expense of taxpayers.

In the end, we'll always get exactly the government we deserve. Educate yourself and go out and vote your conscience - and urge ten others to do the same. Before you do, however, there’s one other item of great importance to consider:we are being watched. Not just by the media, but by the entire nation.

Disapproval of the federal government is not insignificant and Pennsylvania's primary election could become a "teachable moment" for the rest of America. Activists elsewhere are considering taking back government in their own states, but some are considering a national effort.

They're waiting to see what Pennsylvanians do on May 16 first. They want us to lead the way - which is only natural. Our Commonwealth was instrumental in the first American Revolution. Why shouldn't we likewise be the 'tip of the spear' for the second, more peaceful installment?

Abandon all hope?

Not quite yet, but we are at a point of no return. For all intents and purposes, it’s now or never. If Pennsylvanians don't get the job done this year, there will likely not be a similar opportunity in the foreseeable future.

Even sadder is that our fair Commonwealth would become an empty husk, bled completely dry by the greed, arrogance and hubris of elected officials who care more about their own self interest than the greater good.

There is hope – for a new Pennsylvania.

And it all starts with you.

About PACleanSweep
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
www.PACleanSweep.com.
[Reprinted from PA Clean Sweep by permission.]

Russ has it laid out perfectly. Which category are you in, and how will you handle your lawful franchise right next week?

GettysBLOG

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

“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,
GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2006:
GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.