Friday, December 21, 2012

Plan B Up in Smoke, Sequester Halted (Again)

Last night, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives attempted to address two major issues: sequestration and the massive tax increases for all taxpayers set to go into effect at the start of 2013.

As a bit of background on the tax increases, what we are referring to are the expiration of the so-called “Bush Tax Cuts.”  These tax cuts cut taxes for all taxpayers whether they be lower, middle, or upper class.  They also dialed back the death tax, marriage penalty tax, and capital gains tax while increasing tax deductions like the child tax credit.

Despite the disingenuous media rhetoric, the Bush Tax Cuts helped all Americans that pay taxes – not just the rich.  During the presidential campaign, the Bush Tax Cuts were a familiar weapon used against Republicans.  Now, as evidenced by the fact that even President Obama now points to the majority of the Bush tax cuts as a positive for the middle class, the Republicans have been vindicated for supporting them.

Republicans have worked diligently to stop these tax increases, passing several bills that eliminate tax increases and maintain the current tax rates for all American taxpayers.  Democrats, including President Obama, have demanded a tax increase causing a stalemate in these negotiations.

Sequestration is the byproduct of failed Obama policies.  In 2010, President Obama created a Presidential Commission (via Executive Order 13531) called the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.  This commission is often referred to as the Simpson-Bowles Commission.  The purpose of President Obama’s commission was to develop a report that outlined a plan that President Obama could follow to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run.  The commission produced its report but failed to develop enough consensus within itself to send the plan to Congress.

Still, the President could have adopted the recommendations of his committee, but failed to do so in any meaningful way.  That left the Republicans to fold some of the recommendations into the Budget Control Act of 2011, which eventually became law.

One of the mechanisms of the Budget Control Act to control spending and reduce debt (the U.S. is over $16 trillion in debt) was sequestration.  Sequestration put in place mandatory spending cuts that would go into effect unless Congress found other ways to reduce spending.  It was supposed to be a backup plan in the event that consensus could not be reached.  To force consensus, both Republican and Democratic favored spending was placed on the chopping block.  Nonetheless, an agreement could not be reached.

The expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts combined with the spending cuts of the sequester make up what is largely referred to as the “fiscal cliff” in the media.

With just days to go before careening off the fiscal cliff, Republicans again sought compromise with the Democrats.  Instead of fighting against tax increases, some Republicans were willing to allow taxes to go up for millionaires, while maintaining current tax rates for everyone else.  To pass, they would need some Democratic support – something that was impossible last night.  Without a single Democrat that would support raising taxes on millionaires only, as their campaign rhetoric suggested, the bill was doomed.  Ultimately, the ball is now in the court of President Obama and Senate Democrats to craft a deal that can gain Republican support.

Republicans called the Democrats bluff on taxes.  Democrats didn’t want to only raise taxes on millionaires, they wanted to raise taxes on upper-middle class and small business owners as well.

Republicans were successful however in again attempting to address the sequester.  Marking their fourth attempt to prevent the sequester (H.R. 5552, Rigell Amendment to NDAA 2013, and H.R. 6365 being the first three,)  Republicans last night passed H.R. 6684, the Spending Reduction Act. 

Democrats have refused to negotiate in good faith over the fiscal cliff.  They demand compromise, but only on their terms.  They continually move the goal posts in their negotiations.

Even offering to raise taxes on only millionaires and billionaires, as Republicans attempted last night and as Democrats demanded throughout the 2012 campaign season, isn’t enough now. 

The four different solutions the Republicans offered to put off the sequester give Congressional Democrats a framework to craft their own counter-offer around.  Instead of doing that, Senate Democrats left Washington for Christmas vacation.

It is time for President Obama and Senate Democrats to negotiate in good faith and, most importantly, lead.  If they fail to do that, it should be apparent to all that it was their intention to careen off the fiscal cliff all along.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Did You Get Your Obama Phone?

Under the federal government's "Lifeline" program, more than 16 million Americans are receiving free phone service at the expense of United States taxpayers.  The program has grown by 76% under President Obama.

The program offers free service to anyone who is at or below 135% of the poverty level. 

So, did you get your Obama phone?

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Effect of the Democrat War on Energy

America faces an energy crisis.  On the day President Obama took office, gas was $1.84 a gallon.  Today, it is $3.83 a gallon – more than doubling in less than four years.

If you take away the politics of it and just look at the numbers, it is clear that President Obama’s energy policies have failed and only made energy prices higher.

Energy prices were at the forefront of the 2008 election.  So, it’s only fair that they be discussed as we approach the 2012 election.  Some highlights:

The truth is, President Obama promised to pursue an “all of the above” energy strategy.  Instead, he consistently tried to pick winners and losers in the energy sector by artificially propping up green energy companies with tax dollars that couldn’t  survive without corporate welfare.  Companies like Solyndra and Abound Solar.

The left’s philosophy of handcuffing domestic energy production does nothing but force the American people to be continually held hostage by the OPEC oil cartel.

Taking oil from our backup, the strategic petroleum reserve, isn’t the answer either.  That reserve is a key resource for our country to function in the face of calamity.  Since its creation, it has only been accessed during times of war or major disaster.  But, since the president is in the political fight of his life, that is exactly what President Obama is considering.

Reliance on foreign sources of energy to fuel our economy is, by itself, a national security threat.  Doing that while also depleting our reserves is both foolish and destructive.  President Obama should not try to make up for his poor policy decisions by weakening America’s security.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Obama’s “Truth” Team

Way back in February, PoliticsPA covered the rebirth of Obama’s Truth Team in Pennsylvania.  Local members now include:

Senator John Blake
Former County Commissioner Mike Washo

We wanted to look at the 2008 list to see who was missing, who was new, etc.  But, we found it to be conspicuously difficult to locate.  Thankfully, LittleGreenFootballs has part of the 2008 list.  Because it is only part of the list, this is by no means an exhaustive comparison.  With even this partial list, two names jump out at you:

U.S. Senator Bob Casey
Senator Bob Mellow

Both of these guys were on the team in 2008 but are absent in 2012, according to the list linked above.

As much as most folks would love to see Senator Mellow on the stump for Obama in 2012, it is understandable that he doesn’t have time to campaign this year.

But why no Bob Casey?  Senator Casey was quick to endorse his “uniquely qualified” friend in 2008.  It seems odd that he would turn his back on him a few short years later.

It can’t be because he disagrees with him politically since Bob Casey supported President Obama’s position well over 90% of the time.

Heck, President Obama thinks so much of Casey, he described him as “one of my dearest friends” and “one of my favorite people” that “always had my back” and said they “share a lot in common.”

It’s surprising (and perhaps telling) that Obama supporters in PA aren’t questioning Senator Casey about the breakup. 

One plausible explanation is that President Obama, Senator Casey, or both of them are far more vulnerable in this year’s election than the pundits predict.  Linked together, they may drag each other down in the polls.

One thing is certain, if they are an electoral liability to each other, Tom Smith will happily play matchmaker to get these two back together.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Chicago, Coming to a City Near You?

Chicago has some of the most restrictive firearm laws in the United States.  They have a “one gun a month law,” firearm registration and licensing and fees associated with the same, an “assault weapon” ban, a ban on some types of handguns, a lost or stolen ordinance, etc.  Basically, a progressive gun-grabbing fool’s dream.

Many of Chicago’s gun bans have been in place for some time.  Its gun ban, for example, began in 1982.  The federal government has many of its own laws regarding firearm ownership like not being able to purchase a handgun until 21, criminal background checks required for some purchases, and a separate registration process for automatic firearms.

Despite having some of the most strict laws in the country, Chicago remains about as safe as Kabul.  Just recently, for a high-profile wedding, up to 200 police officers had to be assigned to the event to keep everyone safe.

Think about that.  200 cops were needed just to keep people safe at one wedding.  Odds are, your average Chicago resident doesn’t get that kind of protection when their kids get married.

So, the majority of the population in Chicago is disarmed and helpless to protect themselves, their children, or their families against an onslaught of crime that produces a body count greater than Afghanistan.

Put aside for a minute the Constitutional right of every lawful man and woman to own and use a gun.  What of common sense?  Do the politicians in Chicago think it is fair to force their people into the unenviable position of “bringing a knife to a gunfight?” Actually, the politicians in Chicago don’t even trust people that far since you can’t even carry a knife in Chicago unless the blade is less than 2.5 inches long.

But, I digress.  The point is, gun control laws do not work.  Law-abiding citizens disarm to be in conformity with the law while criminals continue to violate the very same law and prey on the lawful. 

No matter how “responsible” or “reasonable” a gun control measure may seem, criminals will not follow it and people will die for it.  If Chicago isn’t enough to prove the point, look to history.

Why all the talk about Gun Control?  Democrats are in favor of gun control, they control the United States Senate, and their view on freedom is a little shaky.

Page 50 of the most recent Democratic Party Platform illustrates my point.  Under the heading “Firearms” it says the following:

“We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation, but we know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We can work together to enact and enforce common-sense laws and improvements – like closing the gun show loophole, improving our background check system, and reinstating the assault weapons ban, so that guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists or criminals.”

Told you that we wouldn’t be able to escape the word “reasonable.”  And please, don’t focus on the fact that despite all of its gun restrictions Chicago remains one of the most dangerous cities in the country.

The salient point is that Democrats believe your Constitutional rights are subject to both regulation and geography.  Different people have different Constitutional rights, depending on where they live.  If you live in Chicago, you have less rights than if you live in Cheyenne.

Like I said, shaky.

Democrats also know that gun control can be political poison.  In April of 2012, Pew Research Center did a poll on gun rights.  When asked what was more important, gun rights or gun control, 49% thought gun rights were more important than the 45% that though gun control was more important.

No Democrat, outside of a big-city Democrat, is going to push gun control with numbers like that.

Enter the UN Small Arms Treaty.

This month, the United Nations is putting the finishing touch on its Arms Trade Treaty.  If the Senate ratifies this treaty, it will effectively limit gun rights in the United States and subjugate your rights to foreign nationals at the UN.

Both Hillary Clinton and President Obama support the treaty.  Do you know how your Senator feels about it?

If you want to ask him, you can email Bob Casey here or Pat Toomey here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Obamacare Ruling Expected Tomorrow

Thursday marks the day when the Supreme Court of the United States is expected to make a decision on the constitutionality of Obamacare.

No modern piece of legislation has received as much attention – and rightfully so.  The most pressing question before the court is whether Congress has the right to compel you to purchase a product or service and punish you for non-compliance.  This “individual mandate” will set precedent on future legislation for years to come.

2012, being an Election year, will present voters with choices.  In making those choices, no piece of legislation better demonstrates a candidate’s view on government intrusion into your personal life than this one.  There really is no greater modern test of a candidate’s willingness to use their office to dictate your behavior.  It is also good to see where candidates stand on this issue before the high court rules, so you can measure their philosophy and courage to advocate for their beliefs.

In the U.S. Senate race, Democrat Bob Casey supports Obamacare, Republican Tom Smith opposes it.

In the PA Attorney General race, Democrat Kathleen Kane supports it, Republican Dave Freed opposes it.  The Attorney General only becomes relevant to the conversation in that Pennsylvania entered into one of the many lawsuits opposing Obamacare.  Kathleen Kane has said she would withdraw Pennsylvania from the suit on her first day in office, Freed would continue to oppose it by continuing the suit.  This measure of support or opposition doesn’t speak to the legislation itself, but it is rather illustrative of their ability to interpret the U.S. Constitution and their philosophy on civil liberties.

In Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District, Democrat Phil Scollo doesn’t seem to have taken a position (that we can find.)  Republican Tom Marino is opposed to it.

So there you have it.  The Republicans are particularly united in their opposition to Obamacare.  The Democrats either support it, fail to show leadership on the issue by stating their position clearly (on their website, for example), or demonstrate cowardice by refusing to state their position on it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fast and Furious Deadline Approaches

On Thursday, the House is scheduled to vote on whether or not Attorney General Eric Holder should be held in contempt for failing to provide documents to Congress related to Operation Fast and Furious, an Obama-administration program which not only left Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry dead, but also left a body count in the hundreds across the Mexican border.

The White House exerted executive privilege over the documents (at the request of AG Holder) to shield them from the House and eventually, the public.

Executive privilege can be exerted over deliberative documents within the Executive Branch of government.  Doing so however, provides a tacit acknowledgement that the White House was involved in the deliberation of some facet of the operation, which has been denied.  In the absence of such deliberation, the exertion of executive privilege would be invalid.

Like the economy, the White House would prefer to forget about Fast and Furious.  It is so far from their mind, they couldn't even remember the name of Brian Terry - the Border Patrol Agent killed with a Fast and Furious gun:

If AG Holder refuses to provide the requested documents, his richly-deserved contempt should be confirmed by a vote of the House on Thursday.

Monday, June 4, 2012

From the Luzerne County Republican Committee Statement on the Election of Steve Smith

 For immediate release.

Contact: Terry Casey


WILKES BARRE, PA – The election of Steven Smith to the Republican Committee of Luzerne County (LCRC) has received media coverage in the last few days.  We are grateful to the Anti-Defamation League and other media outlets for bringing to our attention the racially charged and disturbing background of this man from Pittston.  We unequivocally denounce Mr. Smith and his abhorrent views and would like to make it clear that in no way do his personal views reflect the views of the Republican Party.

Mr. Smith was elected as one of two Republican Committeemen from Pittston City Ward 4.  He was elected with only one write-in vote – a vote that was most likely his own.  The other two write-in votes cast in this ward went to Mr. George Carmean, a long-time committee member of the LCRC.

Pennsylvania State election code allows any registered Republican or Democrat to write their name in to become a member of the County Committee.  The Bylaws of the Luzerne County Republican Committee indicate that the only qualification for election to the County Committee be that one has been a registered Republican for the two years preceding their election.  There is no other eligibility requirement in this regard.  Also, there is no express provision in the bylaws of the LCRC that would authorize the Executive Committee or the District Committee to “expel” a member of the Committee for his or her “beliefs.”

The Luzerne County Republican Committee does not endorse or represent any of the hateful views of Mr. Smith, nor did any of the voters in Pittston City or Luzerne County.  The efforts of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and its affiliated media organizations to portray anything otherwise are incredibly disingenuous, shameful, and insulting to all residents of Luzerne County.  Their efforts, however, are indicative of the underhandedness in which they are willing to engage to advance their hypocrisy and political aims.

Mr. Smith elected himself to the LCRC with one vote. For media outlets like “Think Progress” or others to suggest that the people of Pittston, let alone the voters of Luzerne County, support this man in any significant number is shameful and insulting to all of the residents of Pittston and Northeast Pennsylvania, Democrat or Republican.  In an ill-researched post on, Adam Peck wrote that, “Smith is also an active member of local Tea Party groups, a network that he used to gain support for his bid for the committee seat.”  This claim is blatantly false.  Smith has been banned from the NEPA Tea Party Facebook page and has not been welcome at their meetings.  Peck’s suggestion that Smith used the Tea Party network to gain support for his committee election would be laughable if this were not such a serious accusation.  This “story” is indicative of the underhanded, self-serving tactics used by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and a happily complicit media, and illustrates the deep hypocrisy and lies they are willing to engage in for the basest political purposes.

The Republican Party has a long and proud history of supporting and promoting Civil Rights for all Americans and any racially intolerant views are unequivocally not welcome in the County, State or National Republican Parties.  The nation’s first abolitionists were Republicans, no one fought harder for the abolition of slavery than Republican President Abraham Lincoln, The first African-American to run for President was Republican Frederick Douglas, The Civil Rights Act of 1964 would not have been passed without the support of Republican Senators from the Northeast, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was made a National Holiday by Republican President Ronald Reagan.  The issue at this time, however, is not the Civil Rights credentials of the Republican Party. The issue at this time is the hypocrisy of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.

We sincerely regret the efforts of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party to create a political football out of an issue that both Democrats and Republicans should be anxiously ready to agree upon. In fact, the Luzerne County Democratic Party has joined with the LCRC to denounce Mr. Smith and his involvement, stating that, “Steve Smith obviously does not represent the Luzerne County Republican Party in any way, shape, or form.” We applaud the efforts of the Luzerne County Democratic Committee to join us in not only denouncing Mr. Smith, but to return political discourse to focusing on key issues at hand, like creating jobs and fixing our economy.  We encourage the Pennsylvania Democratic Party to do the same.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Scranton, a Case Study in Democratic Governance

Scranton was declared a distressed city in 1992 under Pennsylvania’s Act 47.1

Democratic Mayor Chris Doherty has been in charge of the City of Scranton for ten years – a decade under which the city has been unable to escape the designation.  Democrat turned Republican turned Democrat Mayor Jim Connors held the reins on the city for the preceding ten years of financial trouble.

During his 2001 campaign as the endorsed Democrat for Mayor, Doherty promised to not only escape Scranton’s distressed status, but also reduce the wage tax by .1% each year.2  Doherty broke his promises.

Doherty also stated during the 2001 campaign, “you can't be spending any more money than you bring in.”He hasn’t ever really taken his own advice.

The Pennsylvania Economy League (PEL), acting in their capacity as the city’s appointed Act 47 coordinator, released a revised recovery plan dated 3/27/2012.4  The findings of the recovery plan have been largely unreported.

For example, as of 1 January 2012, the City of Scranton’s long term debt was $122,080,101.5  According to the last census, 76,089 people lived in the Electric City – so each of them owes $1,604.43 for Doherty’s long-term debt.

Scranton guarantees the debt of the Scranton Parking Authority which currently owes at least $95.6 million.6  That means each resident of the city also owes an additional $1,256.42 for the excesses of this authority whose members are appointed by one person, Chris Doherty.

So, to square just the debt mentioned above, every Scrantonian would have to cut a check for $2,860.85 to the city.  And not everyone household, that’s every man, woman and child that lives in the city.  Family of four?  Your share is $11,443.40.

The democratic leadership in the City of Scranton has financially destroyed the city as they have in 12 other cities under a distressed designation.  Yes, the mayor of every distressed city in the Commonwealth is a Democrat.

Scranton, like the other distressed cities spanning Penn’s Woods, have a choice ahead of them.  Many will get the chance to make this critical choice next year.  They can continue to embrace the Democratic policies and politicians that have destroyed them or start electing Republicans.  And please, not just any person with an R after their name.  They should elect Republicans that will not raise taxes, will not increase spending, and will not sacrifice the children of their community on an altar of debt.  Republicans, who understand how to grow their city out of debt and have a plan to do it.

Scranton, you have kicked the can down the road long enough.  If you want leaders that will lead, start electing them.  Otherwise, you have no one to blame but yourself for the situation you are in.
1(Jim Lockwood.  4/22/2012.  Roots of Scranton's financial distress stretch back decades.  The Times-Tribune)
2(Donnie Collins. 5/10/2001.  Doherty says he has vision to restore city.  The Tribune)
3(Borys Krawczeniuk.  5/20/2001.  If I Were Mayor of the City.  The Sunday Times)
4(Gerald E. Cross, Executive Director. Pennsylvania Economy League, Central PA.  Proposed Revised and Updated Act 47 Recovery Plan for the City of Scranton.  Retrieved from
5(Cross.  Page viii)
6(Cross.  Page ix)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What World Does Obama Live in?

According to the EPA, 49.61% of U.S. electricity is generated by using coal.  Pennsylvania plays a tremendous role in this industry.

According to the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Pennsylvania coal created more than 41,500 jobs in the Commonwealth and added $7.5 billion in economic output into our economy. 

Over half of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties have a coal company in them.

Pennsylvania doesn’t just mine coal, it also has the largest mining machinery and equipment manufacturing industry in the country.

Pennsylvania is also the fourth largest producer of coal in the nation, using it to provide 54% of our own electricity generation and exporting it our coal to 30 different states.

Coal is still King in Pennsylvania.

Any student of economics will tell you that when you increase the cost of doing business, the cost of the product that business produces will also go up.  Another basic lesson of economics is that if you make it harder for a business to do business, it will kill jobs.

Need proof of the effect of regulation on prices?  Fox News reports that the company that manages Pennsylvania’s energy grid, PJM Interconnection, held their 2015 capacity auction.  This was the first auction that incorporates President Obama’s new coal regulations.  The price per megawatt of energy went from $16 pre-regulation to $167 post-regulation.  That will translate into dramatically higher energy prices for Pennsylvanians.

But, if you ask the Obama Administration about their regulations, you might not get a straight answer.  A leaked internal Obama Administration report confirms this.  When the “real world” numbers came out about just how many jobs the Obama Administration would strangle with his coal-killer regulations, according to a transcript, they asked that the calculations be changed, that they “pretend.”

President Obama understands exactly what damage he is doing to Pennsylvania and other coal-producing states.  He acknowledged as much when he spoke about his war on coal a few years ago.  In the video above, he very clearly states that his policy will both bankrupt the coal industry and cause energy prices to “necessarily skyrocket.”  Based on the new prices for 2015, it looks like we finally have a promise kept by the Obama White House.

Pennsylvania’s economy isn’t a “pretend” economy and Pennsylvanians don’t live in Obama’s “pretend” economic world.  Regulations have results and Obama’s regulations will result in killing Pennsylvania energy, killing Pennsylvania manufacturing, and killing Pennsylvania jobs.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Romney "Mormon Militia" Question

Did Mitt Romney do enough to stop the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857?  Before voters go to the polls in November, shouldn’t they really ask themselves that question?  Sure, Romney’s only 65 years old but, could he have done more to prevent this massacre that occurred over 150 years ago?

That is the lunacy of the left.

In a thinly veiled attempt to talk about anything other than the Obama Economy, the Washington Post ran a story detailing the hard feelings that still exist in Arkansas against Mormons because of their participation in a massacre in 1857.

The Romney connection?  He’s a Mormon.  Because he belongs to the same faith as the people who did this, people that probably died something like 75 years before he was even born, WaPo asks if it will hurt his chances in Arkansas.

Surely Arkansas voters won’t care about why gas has doubled, why unemployment has been sky-high, or why our national debt has increased by over $5 trillion under President Obama’s leadership.  Instead, they will go to polls in November and vote strictly on the Massacre of 1857 – an incident that occurred nearly a century before Mitt Romney was even born.

150+ year-old stories about religion aren’t exactly news so you are never going to convince me that this story wasn’t sitting on a shelf somewhere waiting for the appropriate time to be published.

So, we are left with the questions “why Arkansas?” and “why now?”  It’s too easy to dismiss this as just another attempt by the Obama campaign of making Romney seem “weird.”

Is the media so afraid of a repeat of West Virginia, where a current federal inmate almost beat Obama in the Primary from his jail cell in Texas, that they would see fit to advance this kind of garbage to salvage the Obama Campaign?

What is certain is that Obama has a record that he should be running on and he isn’t.  Instead, his allies in the media are offering up 150+ year-old stories about religion in the middle of an economic crisis.  Is it any wonder we are still suffering dire financial times?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy New Year! Here’s your tax increase.

How does it feel to finally have a month of work under your belt where the product of your labors actually goes into your own pocket instead of Uncle Sam’s?

April 17, 2012 marked Tax Freedom Day, the day when you have finally worked enough just to pay your taxes.  Today, being May 17, 2012, means that you have finally worked enough this year to put one month of your wages towards yourself, your family, or however else you might like to spend your money. The first 107 days of 2012 were spent working for the government.

Tax Day in 2013, will be on Monday, April 15, but there is another tax day that should be relevant to everyone in 2013 – January 1.

According to the good folks at the Heritage Foundation, on January 1, 2013:
·         Income Tax Rates will shoot up (for virtually everyone including the working poor),
·         The child credit is cut in half,
·         The marriage penalty roars back,
·         The capital gains tax rate goes up,
·         The dividend tax rate soars,
·         The payroll tax rate jumps two percentage points,
·         The death tax is restored to its punitive past,
·         The Alternative Minimum Tax relief expires, and
·         A uniquely pernicious additional payroll tax hike from Obamacare takes effect.

That is, if the President doesn’t do something about it.  Most of these tax increases are predicated on allowing certain tax cuts to expire.

Those expiring tax cuts?  Why’ it’s those terrible Bush Tax Cuts.

So, who do you believe has a better chance of at least keeping your taxes where they are today (or ideally lowering your taxes further )?

This guy?

Or this guy?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ray Nearhood Successful in 112th District Write-In

From a release:

Scranton, PA – Based on unofficial returns, Ray Nearhood was successful in his effort to secure the Republican nomination for Representative in the General Assembly for the 112th Legislative District.  Mr. Nearhood released the following statement:

“I would like to thank the hundreds of voters who took the time to write my name in for State Representative.  I would also like to thank the many volunteers that helped make our write-in campaign successful.  The results of today’s tabulation are incredibly encouraging.

“Voters from across the district came together in support of my candidacy and to guarantee that they would have a choice in the November General Election.  We all know there are many problems in Harrisburg.  My work in the private sector, background in public administration, and real-world experience working with municipalities and counties across the Commonwealth uniquely qualify me to offer real, common sense solutions to those problems.

“I look forward to the opportunity to discuss those solutions throughout the upcoming campaign season.”

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Roosevelt Democrats?

In a recent interview with the Republican Herald, Democrat Matt Cartwright calls himself a “Franklin Roosevelt Democrat."  So, I thought I might examine a bit of history – shameful history – that Roosevelt was a major player in.

World War II was arguably the largest, most violent, costliest war in world history.  There were more deaths incurred during this war than in any war previous or since.

Historians argue whether WWII began when Japan invaded Manchuria, when Germany invaded Poland, or if it really was just a continuation of World War I with a slight respite.  One thing is clear, for the United States, World War II began on December 7, 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

Most school-age children are taught the history of our involvement in WWII from that point forward.  What isn’t often discussed is FDR’s disturbing domestic response to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Under Executive Order 9066, issued on February 19, 1942, Roosevelt ordered the internment of over 125,000 American citizens based on their race.  The Japanese, Korean, German, and Italian Americans caught up in Roosevelt’s prison camps were given a few days’ notice to enter one of the 10 military-controlled prison camps Roosevelt established on American soil.  They were only allowed to take what they could carry.

No due process rights were afforded these Americans.  They were simply forced into these camps, perhaps at the barrel of a gun, and held against their will for years.

Republican President Ronald Reagan, on August 10, 1988, signed into law the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 which, among other things, offered a presidential apology for Roosevelt’s actions as well as a symbolic payment of $20,000.00 to those who lost their liberty or their property in Roosevelt’s prison camps.

Was Franklin Delano Roosevelt a racist?  Historians will look at this as well as Roosevelt’s treatment of Jesse Owens after the 1936 Berlin Olympics and find the answer to that question murky.

And really, no man can know the heart of another man.  That is between him and his God.  As mere mortals, we are left to look only at the words and actions of another to judge his character.  One thing, however, we can be sure of – Roosevelt had no problem sacrificing liberty for security.  Liberty, something Reagan spoke about often and held in the highest esteem.

I, for one, will take a Reagan Democrat over a Roosevelt Democrat any day.

The Video Twitter Didn’t Want You to See

If I wanted America to fail…

@FreeMarket_US had their account suspended by twitter after posting the above video.  The response has been both astounding and viral.  The video now has 317,450 views in the four days it has been up.

Dogs Against Obama

The Romney vs. Obama race is becoming a dogfight.  The left continually barked about Romney placing his dog in a carrier on the roof of his car while traveling.  The right had enough.  In what appears to be an attempt to demonstrate the absurdity of these attacks and bring the conversation back to stuff that really matters (gas prices, the economy, jobs, etc.) they pointed out that the only person to ever eat a dog in the race for the presidency was Barack Obama.

The story has now taken a life of its own with a webpage Dogs Against Obama.

From there, we have a rip off of the Humane Society commercials:

A registered dog eater video:

And the obligatory Dogeater music video:

The whole issue of dogs and the resulting posts are ridiculous.  They are however illustrative of a point that needs to be made.  What of the President's record?  Why are President Obama and his campaign operatives talking about a dog instead of the economy, jobs, and gas prices?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Another Obama Downgrade

The Egan-Jones Ratings Company has again downgraded our country’s credit rating.  Egan-Jones previously reduced our rating in July of 2011.

One of the primary movers for the decline was the fact that the US Debt has increased so much under Obama.  In his three years in office, the US Debt has increased more than under the entire eight years of George W. Bush.

That’s pretty bad.

Specifically troubling to Egan-Jones was that the US total debt now equals its total GDP and is likely to surpass it very soon.  When it does, it will have a cataclysmic effect on finance, including raising mortgage rates.  Their projection was that Debt would be 114% of GDP by 2014.

Another factor that contributed to the downgrade was the failure of the government to pass a budget that will reduce the deficit.  Bob Casey and his cohorts in the Senate have not passed a budget in over 1,000 days.  That injects a great deal of uncertainty into the finances of our nation.

As they said in February, S&P is likely to follow suit for many of the same reasons.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bob Casey, Do-Nothing Senator

United States Senators are paid out of federal tax dollars from the US Treasury.  Their starting salary is around $175,000 per year.  What do you get for your tax dollars?

The laziest workers in 20 years.

The year-by-year report  reveals that the Democratic-controlled Senate only stayed in session an average of 6.5 hours per day in 2011, the lowest number of hours in 20 years.  The same can be said of actual votes, having only held 235 roll call votes in 2011.  Their work product also resulted in the smallest amount of measures passed since 1997 and only 90 public laws since 1995.

Not the least of these are budgets, Bob Casey and the Democratic Senate has not passed a budget in over 1,000 days.

When you look at the measures they have taken up, like Obamacare, it is easy to come to the conclusion that inactivity from this bunch of Senators is a good thing but it really isn’t.  This is a bold display of both cowardice and laziness.

For example, the Republican-controlled House has passed 27 bi-partisan jobs bills that have been sent to the Senate.  The Senate has refused to even allow them to come up for a vote.  This is a bold display of both laziness and cowardice.  Laziness, because our highly-paid Senators are not doing their job most basic job – voting.  Cowardice, because those same Senators are afraid to vote for Republican-created legislation that would create jobs and give Republicans a legislative victory.

A $175,000 a year salary with a 6.5 hour work day where you produce the smallest amount of product in over a decade would never be tolerated in the private sector.

The American taxpayers deserve better.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cartwright Hates the Tea Party

In an interview with the Citizens Voice, Democratic Congressional candidate Matt Cartwright demonstrated the contempt he has for the Tea Party and their pledges.

Frequently, issue organizations propose a pledge or a survey where they ask respondents to promise to their constituents to do or not do something. This allows the organization to get a candidate on the record and in writing on their particular issue.

One such organization which Cartwright seems to take issue with is Americans for Tax Reform or ATR. ATR proposes a pledge to candidates for office that they will not raise taxes on their constituents.

Terrible isn’t it? A politician that promises not to raise taxes and puts it in writing so no one can dispute it.

You would think an attorney like Cartwright would appreciate the concept of getting something in writing. Especially when awarding someone a position as powerful as writing all of the laws of our nation.

Admittedly, pledges are only worth the integrity of the person signing them. For instance, had Democratic Commissioner Corey O’Brien pledged to not raise taxes in writing instead of just saying it, it probably would not have prevented him from breaking his promise and raising them by 38%.

But, none the less, pledges and surveys help voters make informed decisions and avoid the “spin” of politicians – the same “spin” which Cartwright seems to advocate for. Arguing against pledges is arguing against transparency, something that does a disservice to the electorate.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

See No Evil reports that Philadelphia City Commissioners are investigating potential voter fraud at the polls. A red flag went up when 83 polling locations in the 2011 Primary showed more votes cast than voters.

But hey, we don’t need a Voter ID law in Pennsylvania right?

Vice President Scrooge and Buffett-less Obama

The White House released the tax returns of both President Obama and Vice-President Biden.

Despite spending much of his recent speech time talking about the “Buffet Rule,” President Obama did not apply it to himself.

The Obamas show joint income of $789,674 and an effective tax rate of 20.5% - far less than the 30% he has been demanding under his proposed tax changes for anyone making a million a year. The President could argue that he didn’t make enough to qualify for the higher rate since he only brought in around $800 K but this was a perfect opportunity to lead by example. Taxpayers are allowed to self-pay higher taxes, presumably for deficit reduction. The first family failed to do so.

And, that scrappy kid from Scranton, Joe Biden, donated a whopping 1.5% of his joint income to Charity. The Bidens show joint income of $379,035 and a total of $5,540 donated to charity. Both the President and Vice-President also have the added benefit of having their living and travel expenses paid by the taxpayers of these United States.

On the subject of travel expenses, the White House has been less than cooperative on explaining how the taxpayers are reimbursed for campaign-related travel (Federal law requires reimbursement for campaign travel.)

The Washington Times reports that the Obama campaign machine has surpassed both Presidents Bush and Clinton on campaign travel, racking up 191 fundraisers by early March and only reimbursing a little over $5,500 in 2011 despite a 1998 estimate that Air Force One alone costs $57,000 an hour to run.

Gaetano announces candidacy for Delegate and Alternate in the 17th

From a release:

Dunmore- Rose Ann Gaetano, Dunmore, PA announces her candidacy for Delegate and Alternate to the Republican National Convention in the new 17th Congressional District in the upcoming primary election, April 24, 2012.

Rose is a resident of Dunmore PA and has been active in Republican Politics for over 30 years. She serves as the current Republican Committee Women representing Lackawanna County, member of the Margery Scranton Council of Republican Women, member of the PA Federation of Republican Women. Rose attended the Republican National Conventions in 2002, 2004 and 2008. In 2008, she was elected as delegate and alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention where she was the top voter getter for both delegate and alternate delegate in the 11th Congressional District. The Pennsylvania Convention Delegation appointed her to serve on the Rules Committee for the 2008 Convention.

Rose has been active in the local community, where she is an active member of UNICO National Scranton Chapter and recently services as co-chairperson of the group’s community service day. Rose is also a member of the Dunmore Lions, Operation Honduras, Family to Family, Daffodils Days for America Cancer Society, member of Century Club in Scranton and a former board member of Pennsylvania for Human Life Scranton Chapter. Graduate from Dunmore High School, Lackawanna Beauty School and is retired from HarperCollins Publishers, Dunmore, PA.

Gaetano has never taken her role in the republican party lightly, and always taken the opportunity to speaks out for what she truly believe in. Rose continually strive to be a role model to increase the effectiveness of women in the cause for responsible government through political participation and activism. In the current economic climate, it is extremely important, for men and women alike to become involved.

Rose looks forward to attending National Convention in Tampa, Florida representing the people of the new 17th Congressional District.

# # #

Friday, April 13, 2012

Democratic War on Stay-At-Home Parents

It appears that when President Obama said:

“Let me be a clear as possible: I have said before and I will repeat again, I think people’s families are off limits, and people’s children are especially off limits.”

he was only really talking about his own family.

In the video below, you will see Hilary Rosen attacking Mitt Romney’s wife.

Rosen assails Ann Romney for “never having worked a day in her life.” I guess raising five children isn’t work to Ms. Rosen.

Ann Romney responded and defended her decision to raise her and Governor Romney’s children. In that defense, she could have also pointed out that she has raised her five children while coping with a debilitating disease, MS.

To their credit, the Obama campaign is now attempting to distance themselves from their advisor and her profoundly stupid remark. In a bold display of bias however, the MSM is assisting on that front by carefully creating as much separation between Rosen and Obama as possible - something that didn’t occur when Governor Romney’s campaign advisor made the recent gaff about an etch-a-sketch. Obama advisor David Axlerod and the MSM acted as though Mitt Romney himself made the comment.

Does President Obama believe that parents that choose to raise their children instead of develop a career should be characterized as Ms. Rosen, his advisor, did? We likely will never know, since the MSM isn’t asking that question of the President.

But, it raises a common theme among Democrats, that parents that choose to raise their children instead of having strangers and school systems do it for them are somehow second-class citizens. The Pro-Choice party only believes in choices when you make the “right” ones, the ones that they agree with.

And really, does anyone honestly believe that today’s children would not benefit by more time with their parents?

In America, we are guaranteed equal opportunity. Every citizen has the ability to pursue any career, any goal, or any objective that does not infringe on the rights of another. Ann Romney, like every American, could have chosen to go after any of the prestigious acronym titles out there. She could have worked to become a CEO, CFO, MD, DO, etc.

Instead, she choose to focus on only one title, MOM, which along with DAD are two of the most important titles any person can have.

Mrs. Romney, like many of the other parents out there made a choice. A choice that infringed on the rights of no one. A personal choice that she made privately. A choice that she likely believed to be in the best interest of her family and her children.

A choice likely motivated by one thing…love.

Her choice, like that of other Moms and Dads out there that make a similar one, should be respected by all, including the President and his operatives.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Corbett is polling in PA as badly as President Obama!

Well, that’s the truth of it. Though, if you heard about the poll through the MSM, you might have missed the comparison to Obama’s numbers in the Keystone State.

43% approve of the way Obama is doing his job and 39% approve of the way Corbett is doing his job.

The margin of error for the poll was +/-5% making the difference between Obama and Corbett indistinguishable.

Besides the difference in reporting, the real difference is that Corbett has been in office for a little over a year and has until November of 2014 to get buy-in from the electorate in Pennsylvania on his policies.

Lots of time left for Corbett to make his case.

President Obama has been in office for 3 ½ years and has about 7 months left to get the Pennsylvania to forget $4 a gallon gas, the government takeover of healthcare, his unconstitutional wars, his failed stimulus boondoggles, his bailouts, and the $5.25 trillion Obama added to the national debt.

Not so much time left for Obama to make his case.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Eric Holder and Voter ID

On April 6, the Scranton Times editorial page writer(s) penned another attack on Pennsylvania’s attempt to eliminate voter fraud by requiring that voters show a photo ID before they vote.

In case you missed it, Republicans backed a bill that would subject voting to the same ID requirements as buying a pack of cigarettes, a cocktail at happy hour, or cashing a check.

For the critics that believe voter fraud is impossible, here’s a video showing how easy it is for a guy to get U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s ballot in a state with virtually the same requirements as PA.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Solyndra … Kanjorski Style

In his July 3, 2010 weekly address entitled A SOLAR RECOVERY, President Obama announced $2 billion in Department of Energy spending to two energy companies.

President Obama promised that one of the two companies, Abound Solar, was to create 2,000 constructions jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs by producing “millions of state-of-the-art solar panels each year” and was touted as one of the “many clean energy investments in the Recovery Act.”

Abound had ties to Northeastern Pennsylvania and a then-sitting United States Congressman, Paul Kanjorski. Paul Kanjorski’s nephew, Russell Kanjorski, was Vice-President of Marketing at Abound Solar.

And yes, this is the same Russell Kanjorski that was part of the failed and bankrupt Cornerstone Technologies that his uncle, Paul Kanjorski, helped obtain around $9 million in taxpayer dollars for.

Russ later jumped ship on Abound and it seems like it was a smart move. Abound recently announced that they would lay off about half of their workforce.

Abound seems to be going the way of Solyndra.

The Obama Administration is fixated on propping up industries like solar energy that cannot exist in our United States marketplace without taxpayer-funded subsidies. And, for all their talk of renewable energy, much around solar is anything but renewable.

Solar panels themselves require replacement and disposal. When they aren’t requiring water for steam turbines, they are using it for washing mirrors and panels and cooling auxiliary equipment. Not to mention the incredibly toxic elements used in the panels themselves like lead, cadmium, and greenhouse gas nitrogen triflouride.

Until the United States gets serious about streamlining the permit process for manufacturing, the solar industry will continue to be dominated by China. No amount of taxpayer loans will change that.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Obamacare!

Two short years ago President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also goes by the alias OBAMACARE).

On March 23, 2010, President Obama took steps to:

Create $525,000,000,000 in new taxes on the American people.

Create $43,000,000,000 in new Medicaid costs for the 50 (not 57) states.

Increase health insurance premiums on young people by $504 dollars a year.

Cost the American People 1,760,000,000,000 over the next 10 years.

Cut Medicare and Medicare related programs by over $500 billion.

End Medicare as we know it.

Remarkably, 17 people still support this legislation in Lackawanna County as evidenced by the video below:

You might think that you are safe from Obamacare since President Obama said if you like your current plan you could keep it. Not so fast. Obamacare is likely to leave more than half of all employers without a grandfathered plan. And, if you work for a small business (like most Americans do) it could be as bad as 80% without a grandfathered plan.

This video goes over some of the other broken promises of Obamacare:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Obama's TSA Strikes Again

A a wheelchair...with a cast.


Here's a montage of other horror stories:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

PA Voter ID Law Heads to Governor

Today, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed Pennsylvania's Voter ID Bill. Having already passed the Senate, the bill now heads to Governor Corbett. The Governor has previously indicated that he would sign the bill, if it passed.

The Legislation, House Bill 934, was authored by Republican State Representative Daryl Metcalfe. According to Metcalfe, it was based on Indiana's Voter ID law which was upheld as Constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Metcalfe goes on to identify four types of fraud which would be prevented by the bill: impersonation at the polls, fictitious registrations, double voting, and voting by illegal aliens.

Critics have said this doesn't happen. A few videos for their consideration:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Trouble with Teleprompters

Danish TV on President Obama's recycled language:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lackawanna (Not So) Wonderful

As both GoLackawanna and the Scranton Times have reported, donors to the commissioners’ campaigns have been given jobs in the new administration. The commissioners adamantly defend their picks, claiming that the donations have nothing to do with their hiring decisions. As a matter of fact, they say that they don’t even know who contributed to their campaign.

That raises an interesting question.

Candidates for office have political committees. When they file their campaign finance reports, they sign and swear out an affidavit in the presence of a notary. It states:

I swear (or affirm) that to the best of my knowledge and belief this political committee has not violated any provisions of the Act of June 3, 1937 (P.L. 1333, No. 320) as amended.

Can you swear out a statement that your authorized political committee didn’t break any laws without reviewing your report? If you review your report, can you still claim that you don't know who contributed to your campaign?

There is nothing illegal about accepting campaign contributions that are accurately and fully disclosed in accordance with the law. But this excuse – politicians don’t know who contributed to their authorized campaign committees – just doesn’t sit well.

It is even harder to believe after being hit with story after story after story dealing with contributions.

And really, can you blame someone for looking a bit cynically at a politician that promises that a tax increase is “not on the table” and then raises taxes by 38% less than a month later?

How about when a politician says that he is looking to hire people that have the right “contacts and connections”?

This is not the way to rebuild trust between the government and the governed.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

President Obama Snubs Veterans

It is a generally accepted principle that politicians play to their base – especially in an election year. There is nothing remarkably surprising about that.

Take, for instance, federal employees. In 2010, President Obama imposed a pay freeze on federal employees. Considering both the high rate of pay and generous benefit packages that federal employees receive, this wasn’t very surprising. Particularly when you consider the sad state of affairs that the American economy finds itself in.

President Obama also grew the number of bureaucrats dramatically. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management figures demonstrate that President Obama added 173,000 new bureaucrats to the Executive Branch in the first two years of his administration alone, bringing the total number of employees in just this area to 2,133,000.

That’s a lot of votes.

Just in time for the 2012 Election, President Obama is now proposing an $800 million pay raise for American bureaucrats.

A politician giving away election-year raises to his employees is all too common. What is really surprising is that while President Obama is proposing a near-billion-dollar raise package for some employees of the federal government, he is eviscerating others. Namely, the United States Armed Forces.

The President has long been hostile towards our Armed Services. Previously, he tried to get the Department of Veterans Affairs to bill individual Veterans’ medical insurance policies to pay for care that was related to service-connected medical conditions. When outrage mounted, he backed off.

Now he is targeting Tri-Care. The President’s proposed defense budget calls for military families and retirees to pay 30-78% more for their healthcare while leaving the federal civilian unionized employees healthcare untouched and while proposing the aforementioned raises.

Federal paper-pushers get raises while soldiers and their families get increased healthcare costs.

Could it be because the brave men and women that serve the United States traditionally support Republicans?

Whatever the reason, President Obama should immediately abandon this attack on military families. The last thing our troops should be worried about is their medical bills.