Thursday, March 27, 2014

Kathleen Kane Imploding

In case you live under a rock, Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane is under major fire for her decision to shut down a sting that snared Philadelphia officials.  The Democratic House Minority Leader has responded to the allegations suggesting that, if it is true that the House members in question accepted "gifts" without reporting them, they should correct their reporting mistakes.

Sure, that's what they were, reporting mistakes.

And, unbelievably, the penalty for their "reporting mistake" is a $250 fine or, if the lack of disclosure was intentional, its the amount they accepted plus $250.

Compounding the issue and the criticism, Democrat Kane lawyered up and went to talk or rather, had her lawyer talk, with the folks that published the story on the investigation.

The rhetoric used by Kane in explaining her decision has provoked the District Attorney of Philadelphia, the lead investigator in the case, and the supervisor of the investigation to issue blistering responses.  The last one, the supervisor, also threw down a "face me" challenge to Kane, calling for her to debate her decision fully and publicly.

To top it off, Kane's office has shed its third press secretary in 14 months. That's not to suggest separation had anything to do with the current crap-storm that is swirling around the AG's office.  In fact, there isn't much of an explanation at all about what caused the separation.  The optics are just terrible having all of this coincide with the separation.

The good news is that, while the Democratic Attorney General and her press office can't seem to get out of their own way, Republicans are responding to the allegation of corruption of Democratic officials in Philadelphia.   Republican Senator Lisa Baker has announced plans to introduce legislation to impose an absolute ban on cash gifts to lawmakers.

This initiative taken by Republicans to right a wrong, while Democrats talk about fixing "reporting mistakes" made by their members, clearly demonstrates the bold contrast between the level-headed leadership and responsive government that Republicans offer the people of Pennsylvania with the dysfunction and excuses offered by the Democrats.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Crime-Fighting Ninja Mayor Strikes in Scranton

Steve Corbett of WILK News Radio broke a serious story surrounding the Scranton Saint Patrick's Day Parade recently.

According to Corbett, a fight broke out in Scranton on Parade Day (shocking, I know) and, despite a police officer being present, Democratic Bill Courtright a.k.a. Mayor Sho'Nuff saw fit to get physically involved and restrain the alleged assailant.



Not too long ago, an unfair labor practice was filed over the Chief of Police, Officer Dan Duffy, making an off-duty drug arrest. That was an off-duty police officer making a bust, while he was out of the union, yet still doing the job of a police officer.  This is a civilian, also not a member of the union, arguably also attempting to do the job of a properly trained police officer.

Will another unfair labor practice suit be filed now that Democratic Mayor Bill Courtright is playing cop?  Probably not, Mayor Sho'Nuff is the union's guy in Scranton and even the unions must understand that Scranton taxpayers surely cannot afford another lawsuit.

But, lawsuit or not, Mayor Sho'Nuff should leave the police work to the highly trained, Act 120 certified, and liability insurance covered law enforcement professionals.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Willful Blindness, Lazy, or Something Else?

In today’s Scranton Times-Tribune they got around to reporting on the challenge to Lee Morgan’s petitions that was reported here on March 19th.

Remarkably, the story stated the following:
Mr. Flynn and Mr. Morgan, who live in Scranton, filed petitions seeking the Democratic nomination for the 113th state House District seat, which Mr. Flynn won in 2012. No Republican filed. If Mr. Morgan is thrown off the ballot, Mr. Flynn would have no Democratic or Republican opposition, although someone could mount a write-in vote campaign for the seat. 

Fellas, there is a Republican in the race. How does a reporter write about a race, presumably using the Department of State website that lists all the candidates AND the challenges that may be filed against them, and miss the fact that there is a Republican in there?

It’s easy to see why many would argue that the Scranton Times-Tribune is more the local propaganda arm of the Democratic Party than a newspaper when stuff like this happens.

The Scranton Times-Tribune should immediately update their online edition to correct their negligence and run a correction in tomorrow’s print edition that states that, despite their claim to the contrary, there is a Republican challenger to Marty Flynn, his name is Marcel Lisi, and the paper would like to apologize to Mr. Lisi and the electorate for failing to actually research a race before writing about it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Petition Challenges

Circulating nomination petitions are a regular part of a campaign.  Without the requisite signatures and proper filings, candidates may not be granted ballot access.  The laws governing ballot access are both direct and specific.  The myriad legal decisions modifying them can be difficult to navigate. 

Volunteers and in many cases the candidate will circulate these petitions gathering signatures from other members of their political party that reside in the district for which they are seeking office, asking that the name of the candidate be placed on the ballot.

This occurs over a three week period.

Because of the inevitable errors that will occur when having volunteers gather signatures from these electors, campaigns typically get more than are needed - sometimes even two or three times more than the minimum - to guarantee their candidate's name is placed upon the ballot.

This process also gives a campaign the opportunity to test its grassroots strength.  Particularly since there is a very short period of time to gather said signatures.


According to the PA Department of State, the following candidates from NEPA or running statewide have had their petitions challenged at the time of writing:

  • Robert R. Guzzardi, Republican candidate for Governor
  • Joseph V. Paterno Jr., Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor
  • Lee Briane Morgan, Democratic candidate for 113th State Representative

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ethicsgate?

Political activist Gene Stilp is at it again.  This time, he raises a concern brought forward in this forum in December of 2013.

Mr. Stilp's complaint takes ten actions dealing with the practice of State Legislators using taxpayer funds as an "incumbent protection program."  In essence, he alleges State Legislators are using taxpayer funds to communicate with voters in areas in which they do not represent and will not represent until and unless they are successful in their 2014 elections.

Stilp calls for an investigation by the Office of Attorney General, Department of Revenue and Internal Revenue Service.  He also filed a complaint with the PA State Ethics Commission, put in several right to know requests, and made a call to correct this action legislatively.

As was made clear in December, these expenditures are questionable at best and raw expenditures of taxpayer funds to influence an election at worst.  There are occasions when a legislator may incur an expense outside of their district based on their committee assignments, on fact finding missions, or other ventures which enhance their current district or make them a more effective legislator but these instances of expenditures outside of their district are rare occurrences.

No member of the legislature should be dispersing taxpayer funds into an area they do not currently represent unless they can demonstrate a clear benefit for their current constituents.

h/t: KeystoneReport

Monday, March 10, 2014

Businesses Flee Democratic Scranton

Last week, two business began pulling up stakes for neighboring communities taking 300 jobs with them.  Democratic Mayor Bill Courtright doesn't believe it's because of the threat of tax increases or Scranton's inability to govern itself efficiently.

Sure, Bill.  Keep telling yourself that.

Scranton has been and remains, a mess.  This mess has been perpetuated by Scranton's continual desire to maintain the status quo of one party rule.  With the exception of one city which recently busted that cycle, every Act 47 Distressed Municipality in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is dominated by Democrats.

You get the government you vote for, Scranton.  If you keep voting for Democrats that have no problem raising taxes, raising fees, and borrowing money they can never hope to pay back, don't be surprised when they do exactly that and leave you with the bill.  Those aren't sound economic principles.  In fact, as the Act 47 designation has clearly demonstrated, that type of governance leads to only one thing, bankruptcy.

Moody's said last year that Scranton faced bankruptcy and it is that type of environment that most businesses would seek to avoid.  Don't be surprised if businesses continue to jump ship, taking their jobs with them.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Cartwright Out of Focus

The IRS is an incredibly powerful organization.  With the stroke of a pen it can take everything you have, close your business, or bleed you out with audits and their accompanying legal costs.  That's why it was absolutely necessary to investigate claims that the IRS was being used as a bludgeon to take out anyone that disagreed with the Obama Administration.  If this did in fact occur and were allowed to continue, it would be a very dangerous precedent where any future administration could use the IRS in this way to stifle free speech and political dissent.

At least some suspicions were confirmed when the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reviewed the IRS's targeting of conservative groups.  It found that the IRS used "inappropriate criteria" for determining which groups would be targeted for review.

While the investigation was ongoing, President Obama indicated that there wasn't even a "smidgen of corruption" in the IRS.  This, despite the admission of the progressives at ProPublica that they were given confidential IRS documents on conservative groups by the IRS.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Obama Budget Increases Public Debt to $25 Trillion, Hikes Taxes, Never Balances

Remember this?

President Obama's fiscal year 2015 budget is out and everyone is pouring over the numbers.  Despite over $1 trillion in tax increases, the budget predictably never balances, and increases the national debt immensely.

Based on President Obama's projections, the national debt (Table S-13) will increase to $24.986 trillion by 2024.  The debt held by government accounts would be $6 trillion and the debt held by the public would be $18.986 trillion.  This would bring the debt to 69% of the GDP.

The total federal debt was $10.6 trillion when President Obama took office.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Obama Budget Defunds State Criminal Alien Assistance Program

On March 4, President Obama unveiled his 2015 budget.  One of the many cuts used to pay for the $3.9 trillion monstrosity is to eliminate the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP).  This program is used to reimburse local governments for the cost of jailing illegal aliens.

The fact that local governments have to spend any money at all to jail individuals in the United States illegally, demonstrates the failure of the federal government to regulate immigration and secure our borders.

Luzerne County, for example, received only $130,081 from the federal government towards the $1.7 million cost to jail 184 illegal aliens for one year.  This deficit produced by the failures of the federal government was then passed on to local taxpayers.

The cost of the Obama Administration's failure to protect the borders of the United States and enforce our immigration laws should not be passed on to the local taxpayers of Luzerne County nor should the Obama administration be allowed to absolve themselves of their responsibility to pay for their failed policies.

President Obama's evisceration of SCAAP funding should be restored by Congress.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

2013 ACU Ratings for NEPA

The American Conservative Union (ACU) was founded in 1964, making it the oldest and the largest grassroots conservative organization in these United States.  Their focus is on the traditional conservative principles of liberty, personal responsibility, traditional values, and a strong national defense.

Since 1971, the ACU has ranked members of congress.  More recently, they began rating state legislatures.

For the 2013 Pennsylvania rankings, the ACU examined the voting record of each member of the legislature and gave them a score from 0-100% with 0% being the most liberal voting records and 100% being the most conservative voting records.

The scores in the Northeast: