Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Per Diems, Per Diems, Per Diems

The budget doesn't eliminate the per diem abuse by our legislators.  Send em packin.

What Budget???

The Capitol Building in Harrisburg should be renamed the Spin Machine building.

From the Commonwealth Foundation:

Pennsylvania Education Spending

•Pennsylvania's education spending increased from $4 billion in 1980 to over $25 billion in 2009-a 133% increase in per-pupil spending (from $6,171 to $14,420, in 2010 dollars).
•Since 2000, enrollment has decreased by 26,960 while schools have hired 32,937 more staff members.
•School district fund reserves are almost eight times the amount of Gov. Rendell's proposed $354 million increase in state subsidies.

A Taxpayer's Budget 2010: Responsible Spending for Pennsylvania

A Taxpayer's Budget 2010: Responsible Spending for Pennsylvania identifies opportunities to cut over $4 billion in wasteful state spending in Gov. Rendell's proposed FY 2010-11 budget. The report also offers a series of recommendations for resolving the current revenue shortfall and reducing the size and burden of government on Pennsylvanians.

State government consumption and spending of taxpayer money have grown dramatically in recent years. Since 1970, Pennsylvania's total operating budget has increased from $4.2 billion to $65.9 billion, an inflation-adjusted increase of over 167%.[1] As a share of state personal income, Pennsylvania's operating budget rose from 8.8% in FY 1970-71 to an estimated 13.2% in FY 2009-10-an increase of more than 51%.[2]

The effect of this tax-borrow-and-spend agenda has not produced the promised economic revitalization, but stagnation. During Ed Rendell's tenure as governor, Pennsylvania ranks 32nd, 41st, and 39th in job, personal income, and population growth, respectively, among the 50 states.[3]

On October 9, 2009, after an unprecedented 101-day delay, the Pennsylvania General Assembly approved, and Governor Ed Rendell signed, a $27.8 billion General Fund Budget for FY 2009-2010. A revenue shortfall has since emerged, and politicians will be scrambling to fill a multi-billion dollar budget gap with rising pension contributions and the disappearance of federal "stimulus" dollars on the horizon. Against Commonwealth Foundation recommendations, the FY 2009-10 budget exhausted the state's "Rainy Day" fund and other one-time revenue sources. A Taxpayer's Budget 2010 offers budgetary and public policy alternatives to deal with this fiscal crisis.

A Taxpayer's Budget 2010 identifies wasteful and unnecessary programs in the state budget and off-budget agencies and offers recommendations for improving government services and reforming the budget process for greater efficiency. Our recommendations are organized into three sections:

•Eliminate Wasteful Spending: A Taxpayers Budget 2010 identifies $4.13 billion in spending cuts - $1.00 billion from the state General Fund Budget, $2.21 billion from other operating funds, and $926 million from the capital budget and off-budget programs.

•Adopt Market-Based Delivery of Government Services: Spending on public education, benefits for state workers, and Medicaid is growing far beyond taxpayers' ability to pay. By adopting market-based reforms in the delivery of services, state government can not only reduce costs, but improve quality.

•Adopt Spending and Budgetary Transparency Reforms: Transparency in government spending and instituting performance-based budgeting would help identify and eliminate wasteful expenditures, as shown in other states.
Before imposing tax increases on working Pennsylvanians and job creators, Harrisburg policymakers need to prioritize spending, justify all $66 billion in state spending, and cut waste from state government.

Pennsylvania ran up a $3 billion loan to the U.S. government that will need to be repaid back starting the end of this year according to this article by LARA BRENCKLE of The Patriot-News.

The submitted budget document relies on $850 million coming from the federal government for Medical Assistance that has not been passed by Congress or the Senate yet.

Pileggi warned that even if a new budget is approved by the deadline, a state revenue deficit in the range of $4 billion to $5 billion will await the new governor-elected in November

Finally the fiscal bill that must accompany the budget that spells out where the revenues will come from that are delineated in the budget has not been passed. Legislators will tell you that budget is in place

In recent days, House and Senate leaders expressed a determination to enact a on-time budget for the first time during Mr. Rendell's tenure. But this feat will likely be accomplished by leaving action on the fiscal bill, which is normally part of the budget package until later in the week. The fiscal bill is important because it spells out where the revenues originate. The agreement doesn't provide for a tax on smokeless tobacco and cigars or a hike in the state cigarette tax, as Mr. Rendell had sought.

It's like writing checks out of a checkbook but not calling the bank to find out if the funds are there or not. This budget is nothing but a political document so incumbents can make a "claim" they got it done on time. In reality it is a misrepresentation of a failed effort to meet their obligation and the duties of their office. Inflated figures, bogus income, and maintenance of per diems don't qualify Rendell to call this a "conservative" budget.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Unemployment In NEPA UP TO 10.3%

The Times-Tribune published the latest unemployment figures for NEPA today.
With all the stimulus money that has been spent unemployment increased by three tenths of one percent to an 18 year high of 10.3%. Yet Congressman Paul Kanjorski states this is the "best economy of all mankind". He won his first term to Congress by convincing voters Frank Harrison was out of touch with his district. One would have believed Kanjo learned an important political lesson that year.

Over at my buddy Gort's blogspot he critques Chris Carney's press release about investigating the BP Gulf Spill mess.

I'm sure his subcommittee has jurisdiction on this but I think there are about a dozen Congressional Committees already investigating the spill.

There is an environmental disaster in the making in Pennsylvania that Carney hasn't said much about that has already seen his neighbors in Dimock living with water buffaloes because there wells have been poisoned.

Carney's release is a classic political tactic of wagging the dog to divert voter attention away from the real problems he and his cohorts have failed to address with billions upon billions of dollars, namely permanent job creation.

Senator Dominic Pileggi was right on point about the economic impact that loss of the stimulus money will have on Pennsylvania. He predicts a $4 billion to $5 billion dollar deficit in the state budget. Brad Bumsted called the stimulus money "crack cocaine" for the state governments.

Look at this comment by Ed Rendell. "Ladies and gentleman, the stimulus program is working and working big-time in Pennsylvania," Rendell said at a news conference last week. It seems the Democratic Party as witnessed by Rendell and Kanjorski's comments has an agenda to keep telling us how rosy the picture is despite the bad economic data. But he didn't fool Bumsted.

And Rendell says the poor public has been misled. A recent poll showing 64 percent of Americans oppose the stimulus bill is just a shame, Rendell adds, and it's not the voters' fault. For once you are right, Ed. It's Nancy Pelosi, Chris Carney, Paul Kanjorski, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama who head the all star cast of the "Great Stimulus Robbery" of the American public. Only the misleading roles also include you.

Chris, forget the well in the Gulf. How about getting NEPA out of the well of economic despair and create more jobs. Kanjo, isn't it time you quit taking the limousine rides paid for by campaign money and walk the streets with your constituents. Ed Rendell, please ride off into the Comcast sunset and leave the important decisions to the next governor.

The budget was $22 billion when Rendell took the reins and it has climbed to $28 billion. Eachus doesn't get that the state needs to go on a diet so maybe its time to trim the fat by rejecting those for re-election. That's a diet we all could stay on.

The Budget -Another Day Closer And Deeper In Debt

It's another year in the life of Pennsylvania and it's the same old song. We won't have a budget passed on time. Lack of leadership to reach across the aisle and convince all to do what is right for Pennsylvania seems to be a character flaw in Harrisburg. In today's Times Leader Andrew Seder informs us that meeting a deadline imposed by Harrisburg lawmkers upon themselves is nearly impossible at this point. Gov. Rendell's legacy will point to a record of never getting a budget passed on time during his tenure.

With the November election five months away and with voter anger still simmering from last year’s 101-day budget impasse, state legislators are trying to balance the fine line of fiscal responsibility and political expediency as they try to approve a state budget before Wednesday’s 11:59 p.m. deadline.

That deadline, said some local legislators, will not be made. But there’s no way the stalemate will last 101 days and probably not even 10 days.

If these solons were employed in the private sector and missed their deadline year after year there would be so many pink slips issued with justification. Maybe the voters should keep that in mind come November.

Speaking of lack of leadership House Majority Leader Todd Eachus must have a problem facing the public or a severe case of political laryngitis. In this article he had David Georges, a campaign spokesperson, speak for him. In this article which appeared in the Allentown Call June 17th about the budget Brett Marcy responded as spokesman for House Majority Leader Todd Eachus. If Eachus could talk for himself he could save taxpayers alot of money. It seems almost a flagrant abuse of power that a campaign spokesperson would be responding to a legislative issue when there is a legislative staff specifically hired to do just that.

To make my point read the Times Leader article. Rep. John Yudichak who will go on to be a Pennsylvania Senator this November,(yes I am calling it now) doesn't hide behind spokespeople. It points to the reason Yudichak won his primary so handily. He's a hands on people person. Mr. Eachus is the type who talks down to his constituents, that is when he is willing to face them one on one.

Karen Boback is quoted in the article, heck even Senator Bob Mellow was out front and center.

But the coup de tat behind the scenes is the fact that when the stimulus money disappears Pennsylvania's budget will be between $4 billion to 5 billion in the hole according to Senator Dominic Pileggi. Unless spending is decreased taxes are going to rise for all of us.

The Democratic leadership politicians in Harrisburg have to get serious about decreasing spending. With the impending pension funding crisis upon us it is time for their culture to change and in a severe way. Taxpayers can no longer support a legislative staff that is only there for political purposes.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Is Obama's Love Affair In The Media Over??

The liberals are asking us to give Obama time. We agree . . . and think 25 to life would be appropriate.

--Jay Leno

America needs Obama-care like Nancy Pelosi needs a Halloween mask.

--Jay Leno

Q: Have you heard about McDonald's' new Obama Value Meal?
A: Order anything you like and the guy behind you has to pay for it.

--Conan O'Brien

Q: What does Barack Obama call lunch with a convicted felon?
A: A fund raiser.

--Jay Leno

Q: What's the difference between Obama's cabinet and a penitentiary?
A: One is filled with tax evaders, blackmailers, and threats to society. The other is for housing prisoners.

--David Letterman

Q: If Nancy Pelosi and Obama were on a boat in the middle of the ocean and it started to sink, who would be saved?
A: America !

--Jimmy Fallon

Q: What's the difference between Obama and his dog, Bo?
A: Bo has papers.

--Jimmy Kimmel

Q: What was the most positive result of the "Cash for Clunkers" program?
A: It took 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road.

--David Letterman

Ask Joe Biden To Lower Our Taxes And He Calls You A Smart Ass

Take it easy Gort, this one is meant in jest.

IxToc I Oil Spill 1979

A disturbing story about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill published on June 8, 2010 emerged but you don't see it touted in the mainstream press.

Three days after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch government offered to help.

It was willing to provide ships outfitted with oil-skimming booms, and it proposed a plan for building sand barriers to protect sensitive marshlands.

The response from the Obama administration and BP, which are coordinating the cleanup: “The embassy got a nice letter from the administration that said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,'” said Geert Visser, consul general for the Netherlands in Houston.

Now, almost seven weeks later, as the oil spewing from the battered well spreads across the Gulf and soils pristine beaches and coastline, BP and our government have reconsidered.

U.S. ships are being outfitted this week with four pairs of the skimming booms airlifted from the Netherlands and should be deployed within days. Each pair can process 5 million gallons of water a day, removing 20,000 tons of oil and sludge.

At that rate, how much more oil could have been removed from the Gulf during the past month?

A reader reminded me of a story about a similar oil spill that happened in 1979 in the Gulf of Mexico but on the Mexican side, not the U.S.

Ixtoc I was an exploratory oil well being drilled by the semi-submersible drilling rig Sedco 135-F in the Bay of Campeche of the Gulf of Mexico, about 100 km (62 mi) northwest of Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche in waters 50 m (160 ft) deep. On 3 June 1979, the well suffered a blowout resulting in the third largest oil spill and the second largest accidental spill in history.

Despite over 3.3 million barrels of oil ending up in the environment after the cleanup, the beach fauna or beach populations were back to where they were before the spill within two to three years. After 6 years, it was difficult to find any evidence of oil. Today, after more than 30 years, there is little sign of the oil spill.

So why did it take so long for Alaska to get cleaned up? Better yet why aren't Congressmen Paul Kanjorski and Chris Carney asking for an investigation why our government turned down help for the worst oil spill in the history of the planet.

A Bank Overhaul Too Big To Hail- A Wall Street Commentary

The local media has been playing up Paul Kanjorski's role in bank reform. It's a love fest that is smack dab out of Ed Mitchell's playbook. In an effort to educate the people of PA's 11th Congressional district I am publishing in full an article by Peter Eavis that was printed in the Wall Street Journal, Saturday/Sunday, June 26-27, 2010. It paints a much different picture.

In democracies, the people are said to get the laws they deserve. But if American taxpayers had formulated a financial-overhaul bill, it likely would have looked very different from what will be known as the Dodd-Frank Act.

Of course, Congress and powerful interests always water down legislation to meet their own ends. The outcome for financial overhaul, however, is particularly relevant for taxpayers who spent and pledged hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out the system.

The act's biggest failing: It does little to solve the too-big-to-fail problem that caused such trouble in the crisis. If any of the 10 largest banks, whose $10.4 trillion in assets are equivalent to nearly 80% of gross domestic product, hit serious trouble, the government would have to step in to prevent a systemic meltdown.

True, the overhaul tries to protect taxpayers in rescues, but it also enshrines the bailout architecture, and thus the too-big-to-fail distortions.

There was never any real chance that bank size would be reduced to the point where they would be made small enough to fail. But there was some hope that parts of the overhaul—like the "Volcker rule," which focused on scaling back proprietary trading, and the Blanche Lincoln amendment, which aimed to force derivatives-trading risk out of federally insured lenders—would at least cut banks' riskiest activities. But both Volcker and Lincoln were softened in the face of lobbying.

The bill leaves much of the responsibility for avoiding further banking crises on regulators. Although the banking system and economy became unstable in part under the Federal Reserve's oversight, the central bank has retained huge responsibilities under the overhaul. How it and other watchdogs interpret the new rules and how proactively they use their new powers to head off problems will decide how safe the system really is.

An example of this is derivatives. The way to make sure banks hold sufficient capital against these instruments is to get as many as possible traded through clearinghouses and on exchanges. The banks likely will resist that, arguing many of their trades are nonstandard and don't qualify for clearing. Or they may claim the trades are being used to hedge their own risks, and therefore can be kept out of the separately capitalized affiliates resulting from the Lincoln amendment.

It is in those gray areas, and others such as defining what constitutes proprietary trading, that regulators will have to stand firm. Given how critical the performance of regulators is to making the overhaul work, someone also needs to make sure the Fed and other bodies are doing their job.

Congress is well-placed for that task, and, after failing to serve up a first-rate overhaul, it needs to deliver.

Pa Legislators Ask Lobbyist To Pay For Meal

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pocono Reaction To Kanjorski Gaffe On Minorities

David Pierce, political writer for the Pocono Record, documents the reaction with this article in the Poconos to Congressman Paul Kanjorski's off remarks about minorities and defective people. Dagmaris Cabezas, president of the Latino Task Force of Monroe County was none too pleased with Kanjorski's statement. Given the fact that in the last election he ignored a minority gathering in the Poconos Kanjorski has an uphill battle to try to win their votes.

"I think a lot of minorities in the Poconos are going to abstain from voting," said Dagmaris Cabezas, president of the Latino Task Force of Monroe County.

She accused Kanjorski of ignoring minorities in the past and said Kanjorski should call a local meeting to explain his statement.

In the closing days of the 2008 campaign, Kanjorski was a last-minute no-show at a candidate forum with Barletta sponsored by the Monroe County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Obama still calling for more stimulus but world leaders balk

The problem is that Obama and Democrats like Paul Kanjorski fall for the Kenysian theory on the economy. When the government spends a $1.00 it produces a $1.50. Well as we all see "that ain't happenin".

Like many bad ideas, the current Keynesian revival began under George W. Bush. Larry Summers, then a private economist, told Congress that a "timely, targeted and temporary" spending program of $150 billion was urgently needed to boost consumer "demand." Democrats who had retaken Congress adopted the idea—they love an excuse to spend—and the politically tapped-out Mr. Bush went along with $168 billion in spending and one-time tax rebates.

The cash did produce a statistical blip in GDP growth in mid-2008, but it didn't stop the financial panic and second phase of recession. So enter Stimulus II, with Mr. Summers again leading the intellectual charge, this time as President Obama's adviser and this time suggesting upwards of $500 billion. When Congress was done two months later, in February 2009, the amount was $862 billion. A pair of White House economists famously promised that this spending would keep the unemployment rate below 8%.

Seventeen months later, and despite historically easy monetary policy for that entire period, the jobless rate is still 9.7%. Yesterday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis once again reduced the GDP estimate for first quarter growth, this time to 2.7%, while economic indicators in the second quarter have been mediocre. As the nearby table shows, this is a far cry from the snappy recovery that typically follows a steep recession, most recently in 1983-84 after the Reagan tax cuts.

The response at the White House and among Congressional leaders has been . . . Stimulus III. While talking about the need for "fiscal discipline" some time in the future, President Obama wants more spending today to again boost "demand." Thirty months after Mr. Summers won his first victory, we are back at the same policy stand.

Meanwhile, in Congress, even many Democrats are revolting against Stimulus III. The original White House package of jobless benefits and aid to the states had to be watered down several times, and the latest version failed again in the Senate late this week. (See below.) Mr. Obama is having his credit card pulled too—not by the bond markets, but by a voting public that sees the troubles in Europe and is telling pollsters that it doesn't want a Grecian bath.

Hence the world leader focus on DEFICITS. Kanjo is watching the US implode around him yet he stlll wants to proclaim that more big bank regulation is the answer. Okay Paul, when the savings and loan crisis hit was it big banks or small banks that caused the problem? If you restrain big banks too much what will stop the consumer or the bank executive from making small banks more attractive and cause them to take unnecessary risks??

Too big to fail...or too big to let fail?? Fannie and Freddie got a pass in this bill. Isn't that why it happened...too big to let fail....?

An Education For The Media

Assumptions made by reporters are the first lesson in Reporting 101. Never assume, always, always verify your facts. If you think you verified them go verify them again.

Let's look at the latest piece of campaign reporting misinformation regarding Paul Kanjorski's statements about minorities.

In today's Times Leader Bill O'Boyle pens a story about Democratic political collegues coming to the rescue of Kanjorski despite his insensitive statements made at a conference hearing where he stated his proposal was to help "good American people", not "minorities" or "defective" people, a summation written in the Los Angeles Times.

Several members of Congress came to the defense of U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski Friday after he was taken to task for remarks he made during a committee hearing in Washington, D.C.

Kanjorski’s challenger, Republican Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, issued a press release Thursday criticizing the congressman for making what Barletta termed “insensitive” remarks directed toward minorities.

Mr. O'Boyle left out some important information regarding the events that lead up to the press release by the Barletta camp.

Look at this article POSTED on 06/23/1010. If you trace the comments they started at 8:36P.M. on JUNE 23, 2010. The video itself is time stamped at 3:00 P.M. when Kanjorski made his disparaging remarks. The story was less than five hours old when it was reported on Human Events.

Look at this post over at by Ed Driscoll from JUNE 23, 2010.

At the Washington Times, Kerry writes:

Connie Hair at Human Events has posted this shocking video of Rep. Paul Kanjorski, Pennsylvania Democrat, at a Wednesday conference committee hearing to merge the House and Senate versions of the recently-passed financial regulation bills. Here he talks about the debilitating effects of the recession on his constituents.

The Washington Times is already carrying the story on June 23. The first comment to that story is June 24, 2010 at 6:17 A.M.

The NRCC issues a press release on 06/24/2010. It states "A Kanjorski spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment."

On June 24, 2010 Lou Barletta's campaign issued this press release. The campaign was simply responding to the article that appeared on Human Events almost 24 hours prior. The campaign received numerous phone calls for comments about Kanjorski's statements.

The Standard Speaker reports on Barletta's release on June 25, 2010. Again it is reported that Efforts to reach Kanjorski were unsuccessful. The Times Leader did not run the story. Why?

It is a known fact that a campaign spokesperson for Kanjorski called the TL over this article. Livid might be an understatement.

Perform a Goggole search about Kanjorski's remarks and see the results. You will find pages and pages of coverage regarding Paul Kanjorski's insulting diatribe. But the Times Leader didn't run anything about the original story, just this piece to come to Kanjorsk's rescue. Why? O'Boyle didn't have any problem getting reactions from Kanjorski and his cronies for his story despite no response on previous attempts by the media.

Let's discuss an ethical issue for the Times Leader. It is no secret that Joe Healey, City Editor at the Times Leader is friends with Ed Mitchell, media consultant for Kanjorski's campaign. His friendship association with Ed Mitchell openly on FACEBOOK result is more than an apparent conflict of interest. How can a person in Healey's capacity sustain any criticism and claim complete disassociation from Kanjorski's campaign? Is Joe Healey involved in any decisions in the editorial room regarding article and content covering Paul Kanjorski?

The fact that the original article about Kanjorski's comments went viral all over the country including its placement at Number 3 on ABC news brings into question decisions made inside the Times Leader not to cover the original story but print the "saving grace" to help Kanjorski.

Friday, June 25, 2010

More On Kanjorski's Distasteful Remarks Regarding the Indigent

Start watching this full clip on Congressman Paul Kanjorski's comments and see how he not only disrespected the poor up front but continued his insenstive remarks. At 3:38 he states "It's not a cure all for everything, it's not taking care of the the useless, the wasteful, the imprudent, it's taking care of Americans that got in hard times, so many of em today, our population is 10% unemployed".

So the less fortunate are useless, wasteful, or imprudent while those who lost their jobs only fell on hard times. What an absolute moron.

Paul Kanjorski, you should be acutely aware that those born into poverty aren't useless, wasteful, or imprudent. Families on welfare must contend with a nationwide lack of affordable housing, a lack of jobs that pay a living wage, the difficulty finding child care, as well as increasingly rigid requirements for recipients of public aid. To imply otherwise is just plain irresponsible.

Kanjorski's Gaffe Regarding Minorities And More

Yesterday a story went viral concerning Congressman Paul Kanjorski's statement made during a joint House-Senate conference committee session where he contrasted minorities with "good American people". He immediately came under fire and sparked an uproar for the his antithesis position.

Despite those who rushed to his rescue it was fair for the opposition to ask Kanjo to explain himself. After all this lapse in judgement isn't the first time for the seasoned Congressman. It's funny how its fair game for the media to quickly seize on comments made by VP Joe Biden or former VP Dan Quayle, yet Kanjorski's corner wants a hands off rule.  Here's what a hypothetical interview would sound like over Kanjo's ridiculous statements that border on irrational.

Reporter: Congressman Kanjorski can you please explain what you meant by "defective" people?
Kanjorski: Uhhh that isn't what I meant
Reporter: Congressman Kanjorski can you please explain what you meant when you said "But you know, the temptation to want to win back the Congress, we sort of stretched the facts...and people ate it up."?
Kanjorski: Uhhh that isn't what I meant
Reporter: Congressman Kanjorski can you please explain in these economic times what you meant when you said "We are helluva alot better off as a country and as an economy than we have ever been in the history of mankind"?
Kanjorski: Uhhh that isn't what I meant
Reporter: Congressman Kanjorski can you please explain what you meant by
"Financially, I don't have to be a democrat. I've got enough economics that I'm not going to suffer, but I'm telling you I don't like to live around extreme poverty"?
Kanjorski: Uhhh that isn't what I meant
Reporter: Congressman Kanjorski can you please explain what you meant when you said "I don't apologize to anyone" when asked if you would apologize to the troops for your statement over the war in Iraq
Kanjorski: Uhhh that isn't what I meant
Reporter: Congressman Kanjorski can you please explain what you meant when you stated that our federal tax dollars are "free money"?
Kanjorski: Uhhh that isn't what I meant

If the opposition is so wrong could Lou Barletta have that much influence to see that a headline like this one from the Los Angeles Times Rep. Paul Kanjorski says his plan helps 'good American people,' not 'minorities' or 'defective' people makes it to print? Why did the Los Angeles Times question his other statement later in that diatribe?

In his pitch, Kanjorski tells Capitol Hill legislative colleagues that expanding his state's mortgage aid program nationally would only cost "3 lousy billion dollars." After all threee lousy billion dollars is only free money.

One would think by now that the Democratic party would cut its loses and let Kanjo ride off into the retirement sunset. Attacking conservative sterotypes by validating liberal sterotypes isn't something one can fix. It is a fatal flaw and won't win elections.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Roxbury News Eachus And Evans Speak On Budget

Click on Roxbury News to hear Eachus and Evans discuss their hour long meeting with Republicans over the PA budget. Hear their carefully couched words, more taxes equals a "menu of options". Isn't it funny how House Majority Leader Todd Eachus stands behind Rep. Dwight Evans and Rep. Keith McCall. Guess he needs them to block for him.

Tax And Spend Democratic Leaders In Pennsylvania

In today's Times Leader article about the budget debate in Harrisburg Mark Scolforo of the Associated Press indicates that Pennsylvania's leaders are hopeful a budget will pass before July 1st.

However, when you read further in the article the insensitivity of Pennsylvania's Democratic leaders to the economy and the loss of jobs in the state lights up the night sky like fireworks on the fourth of July.

Democratic leaders in the House, where tax bills originate, have considered raising taxes on Marcellus shale natural gas extraction and tobacco products — and raising new money from other sources — but so far they have not been able to muster the votes for passage.

Their leaders said the latest budget proposal included a menu of possible revenue sources, but did not specify what was on the list.

Rendell and his cronies want to put education out in the forefront as the reason taxes need to be raised. In truth they don't want to deal with a government bloated with excess payroll to reduce spending which would help keep the line on taxation.

Well Alice it's bam, zip to the moon with taxation. One would think in an election year they would want taxpayers to say "How sweet it is" by keeping the line or lowering taxes. The "teflon dons" of Harrisburg believe they are immune from taxpayer retaliation.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Feds Request Mellow Rental Documents

From LuLac Political Letter

Feds Request Mellow Rental Documents In Ongoing Investigation

Let's see. So far there are no comments but we know the Feds raided his home and senatorial office, the home of his aide, and now request documents related to the renting of his office.

It reminds me of a situation that occurred in 1989. Midway through his 1989 trial, Judge Arthur Dalessandro plead guilty to attempted tax evasion and was later sentenced to one year in federal prison. He was getting divorced at the time and there were rumors his wife, Florence, had something to do with contacting the feds.

Mr. Kulick, 60, of Bear Creek Twp, is a former aide to the late U.S. Rep. Daniel J. Flood. In 1988, he was sentenced to two years in prison in an income tax evasion investigation that also resulted in a one-year prison sentence for then-Luzerne County Judge Arthur D. Dalessandro. Judge Dalessandro failed to report income from a car dealership where Mr. Kulick was general manager, federal prosecutors charged.

Oddly enough it was former Judge Mark Ciavarella who defended Dalessandro in a federal lawsuit brought by the Internal Revenue Service in 1993 to collect $186,899.17 in unpaid taxes plus interest and penalties.

What a small community of misfits if you ask me. Disclaimer- Mellow denies any wrong doing. Advice- Never piss off a woman who wants to become your ex.

Let's DeThrone The King of The Castille And New Antics On Gilligan's Island

In this editorial that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer the author calls for the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Ron Castille. It questions Castille's handling of the process to build a new Family Court and calls into question his ability to manage the state court system.

The latest revelation is that the double-dealing lawyer Castille paid to spearhead the project also represented the Foxwoods casino in cases before the state Supreme Court. That raises serious conflict-of-interest issues that undermine trust in the chief justice's impartiality surrounding legal matters.

It's amazing that Castille doesn't see a problem in hiring a lawyer to work for the courts, play golf with him, and then allow the same lawyer to appear before him in court. In a nutshell, that's why Castille should step aside.

The culprit(s) must be a serial drug placer. It seems like it didn't take long for someone to get bored and want to play "hide the drugs in the sheriff's vehicle" on Gilligan's Island according to the Times Leader.

Luzerne County Sheriff Joh.n Gilligan said drugs were found in a deputy’s vehicle Wednesday and the matter is being investigated by Wilkes-Barre City police

Gilligan said he received a call while he was in Hazleton Wednesday morning and he directed Chief County Detective Michael Dessoye to look into it. Dessoye recommended the matter be turned over to city police to avoid any conflict o interest.

“That’s all I know,” Gilligan said. “When we have more information, we will release it.”

District Attorney Jacqueline Musto Carroll said the report is being investigated by the city police department which has primary jurisdiction. She noted the county has no detectives that specializes in drug investigations.

Politics As Usual Podcast

Your favorite podders -- John L. Micek, Scott Detrow and Alex Roarty -- bring you a special edition of PA's Favorite Political Podcast (TM)!

In a conversation lasting nearly seven minutes, you'll get the latest in today's budget negotiations, info on what you can expect tomorrow, and, of course, more vuvuzela.

Rendell Extra-Marital Affair?

Evidently the Philadelphia Magazine is about to publish a story surrounding rumors that Fast Eddy has been having an affair with a former beauty queen, Kirstin Snow according to a story at

Tara Toohil Reaches Milestone In Her Campaign

Tara Toohil issued this press release


Hazleton, PA- Candidate for State Representative, Tarah Toohil has knocked on over 2,500 doors and plans to reach another 7,500 households before the General Election on November 2nd, 2010. Toohil is running a grassroots campaign that consists of visiting constituents at their homes in order to communicate her message. Toohil is concerned with bringing more jobs to the area, reducing property taxes, and working to better our schools.

"Voters have been very receptive and are ready for new representation down in Harrisburg. People in our community are hoping to put a fresh face into office because they are fed up with politics as usual," stated Toohil.
People also want to talk about the corruption in the legislature. People want to know why the local media isn't reporting more on these issues.

Toohil's response is that she "will work to eliminate unethical practices and restore honesty and transparency in government."

Pennsylvania Corruption Begs For Election Reform

In the ongoing federal probe it has been reported that an aide to Senator Mellow had his home searched. The Philadelphia Inquirer carried the story yesterday but newspapers in Northeastern PA are just catching up.

FBI and IRS agents investigating Pennsylvania's highest-ranking state Senate Democrat, Robert J. Mellow of Lackawanna County, have searched the home of a longtime aide tied to a property the senator co-owned and rented to himself, sources close to the investigation said.

Federal agents, the sources said, are scrutinizing a deal in which Mellow located his district office in the building owned at various times by aide Gabriel J. Giordano; the aide's wife, Celestine P. Giordano; the senator's wife; and ultimately the senator himself.

The Senate spent more than $200,000 in taxpayer dollars in rent, The Inquirer revealed last year.

In 1990, the Giordanos bought a two-story property on Main Street in Peckville for $90,000. Months later, Mellow moved his district office there.

In 2001, Celeste Giordano and Mellow's then-wife, Diane, formed a corporation called Brad Inc. that purchased the Main Street property for $1.

Diane Mellow, who has since been interviewed by the FBI, has said that Brad Inc. and the Main Street property purchase were something of a mystery to her. "I just signed what [the senator] put in front of me," the former wife told The Inquirer last year.

The Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission has been investigating the sweetheart deal regarding the rent but has yet to render a decision. Mellow has been maintaining innocence through both ordeals.

Brad Bumsted over at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review penned this article about the rash of arrests and convictions among Pennsylvania legislators and staffers.

"We're among the top four or five states, certainly, in public corruption," said G. Terry Madonna, political science professor at Franklin & Marshall College. Illinois, Louisiana and Tennessee are frequent competitors for the top spot, according to surveys and analyses over the past two years.

What needs to be changed "is how business is done in Harrisburg," said Montgomery County lawyer Mark Schwartz, a former aide to the late House Speaker Leroy Irvis. "I don't see any leadership in Harrisburg," he said.
His comment reflects poorly on House Majority Leader Todd Eachus who keeps telling his constituents he is the best thing since apple pie.

Speaking of election reform look at this article from the Philadelphia Inquirer concerning the campaign of Senator Anthony Williams who ran for the Democratic nomination for governor.

No one had ever donated anywhere close to this much cash for a political campaign in Pennsylvania.
Previous reports showed that a trio of executives at Susquehanna International Group in Bala Cynwyd already had ventured far into historic territory by giving at least $3 million to support State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams' Democratic primary race for governor.

Postprimary reports are now in, and they reveal that the number was actually higher. A lot higher: $5,385,000.

Joel Greenberg gave $2.07 million. Jeffrey Yass contributed $1.86 million. Arthur Dantchik chipped in $1.45 million.

Not counting a few cases in which a wealthy candidate has financed his own campaign - Philadelphia mayoral contender Tom Knox spent $11 million on his primary in 2007 - these sums far exceeded all Pennsylvania benchmarks, veteran analysts said.

Not even Gov. Rendell, the most prolific fund-raiser in state history, ever had million-dollar donors.

There has never been a greater time in this century for election reform. The problem is that our legisaltors are self-serving. In a recent confrontationt between Todd Eachus and one of his constituents he was attacked over per diems. His response was that the money he took was legal. What Mr Eachus is not being honest with his constituents in his answer is the fact that he and his Harrisburg cronies made the rules up to make it legal. The taxpayers had no say in the practice. Is it ethical to stand behind the "legal" label without letting the public know your own role in making the rules? Stock analysts must disclose their holdings if they talk about stocks they own. Eachus and the rest of the legislature should have to disclose each and every time they talk on this subject that they were the ones who made the rules.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's Not My Fault- Eachus Skips Drama

Pennylvania's solons have been less than sensitve to citizens who are more sensitive to taxation than ever. More importantly the legislators' commitment to quality government is not their first priority. Unfortunatley the convictions of Michael Veon and Brett Cott demonstrate that incumbent protection and re-election are the main focus of the occupants of the seats within the Capitol Rotundra.

Witness the mentality of Mike Dawida to blame the media for the corruption in Harrisburg.

"So what has happened to seemingly reverse the requirement of ethical behavior by lawmakers and (as) a result put them on the chopping block by citizens weary of conflict and corruption? ... First and foremost is an alteration in the way the media covers Harrisburg ...," Mr. Dawida complains. The flow of information is not guided by any "wisdom, discretion or ethics," he laments.

"A 'herd' mentality rules that leads to the media overpublicizing a few of the most salacious items and under-reports all else. Another way of putting it is that there is no reward for good behavior developed by solid long term efforts. ...

"(N)ow only the sensational and scandalous get coverage and the thundering herd tramples the ground so thoroughly that the only thing the public learns is of little value."

If only the media would report all the good stuff that legislators do, there wouldn't be all that corruption, he effectively says. Thus, "Lawmakers being eminently practical follow the easier road to re-election.

In his miniscual mind he believes the media is responsible for the unacceptable behaviors in Harrisburg. Just this week I heard a story about Todd Eachus getting a ride in a "Ford" over his per diems. He claimed innocence and said his taking of per diems was legal. He forgets that he wrote the law and its provisions so no Todd, it was only legal because you and your fellow cronies devised the system that way. If you ask us as citizens who are more sensitive to taxation than ever stop the malarcky and get to work.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Who's in Charge of Oil Cleanup?

Eachus, Veon And Campaign Debt

Let's roll back the tape in time to 2008. The states Democratic Campaign Panel decided in late 2007 to pay off the campaign debt, $40,683.00 worth, of former State Representative Michael Veon.

The House Democratic Campaign Committee in November and December paid $40,683 to retire Veon's campaign debt, according to Veon's report filed recently with the state election bureau. Veon could not be reached Wednesday.

"Mike's contribution as a leader to our collective effort meant a lot to us," said House Majority Policy Chairman Todd Eachus of Luzerne County, who chairs the campaign committee.

But the committee's other three leaders -- Reps. Joe Preston, Dan Frankel and Jennifer Mann -- apparently had no knowledge of the two payments.
"I didn't know about it. I haven't heard about it," said Preston of East Liberty, who handles candidate recruitment for the committee. "I'll ask questions about it."

"I had no idea this had been done," said Frankel of Squirrel Hill, co-chair of finance for the committee.

Mann of Allentown recently removed herself from the committee because she is running for state treasurer. She had been its fundraiser in Eastern Pennsylvania.

"I ... was not involved in the day-to-day workings. I know HDCC has bills that need to be paid," Mann said.

Eachus said there was precedent for retiring the debt of a former member, and that Veon donated countless hours and thousands of dollars to the committee.

"Everyone who looks at the public record can see it's a straightforward transaction, legal in nature," Eachus said.

Eachus always points to something being legal but never see its from the outside on whether it is morally right. Of course one must have morals before they apply.

Now roll the tape forward to 2010. Ex-power Veon gets 6-14 years
Former legislative kingpin was found guilty of using taxpayer resources in campaigns.


In December of 2006, Todd’s fellow lawmakers elected him to the Democratic House Leadership Team as the Policy Committee Chairman. In this position, Todd will work directly with the Speaker of the House, the House Majority Leader, and Governor Rendell to lead Pennsylvania forward.

In addition to his legislative leadership roles, Todd also provides political leadership for Pennsylvania Democrats. In 2006 Todd’s campaign strategies and dedication to help incumbent members and first-time candidates led directly to House Democrats retaking the Majority for the first time since 1994.

Back to the article about Michael Veon's conviction.

A dapper dresser with a cocky demeanor who wore cowboy boots and rode motorcycles, Veon was once the second-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives. He served in the House for 22 years before voters ousted him in 2006 — the same year the party reclaimed a majority there for the first time in 12(years.)

There are many emails from AG Corbett's office regarding the Bonusgate investigation that include Todd Eachus's name in them from the Pennsylvania House computer system.
He may not have been charged but he cannot deny the contents of the emails.

Friday, June 18, 2010

IRS and FBI Raid Senator Mellow's Office And Home

It was reported about an hour ago that the FBI and the IRS conducted an announced raid on Senator Mellow's house and office. The Times Leader notified the public about the raid in this story this afternoon.

HARRISBURG -- Lisa Scullin, a spokesman for Sen. Robert J. Mellow, D-Peckville, said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation contacted Mellow this morning prior to their visits to his home and district office informing him of their intentions.

The FBI and Internal Revenue Service arrived at his Peckville office and Blakely home just after 9 a.m. with search warrants. They did not show up at Mellow's Mount Pocono or Harrisburg offices.

"We don't know what their inquiry is in relation to," Scullin said, noting that Mellow was already scheduled to be in the district for the day. "The senator is cooperating fully with all their requests and is willing to provide any information to help them with their inquiry." She said she was unaware if agents had taken anything.

"Sen. Mellow is confident that in his 40 years serving Northeast Pennsylvania, he's done nothing wrong," Scullin said.

A dedication to Mellow

Veon and Rosepink Sentenced This Morning

Follow Tracey Mauriello's Twitter Tweets on the right column for up to date news on the sentencing of Anna Marie Peretta-Rosepink and former State Representative Michael Veon this morning. You can also find the Bonusgate Twitter here.

Anna Marie Peretta-Rosepink received 3-6 months in Dauphin County jail, followed by intermediate punishment(3 months house arrest) & probation. Also $8,000 in fines and $25,000 restitution. She has to prepare for a second court case she is involved in so Judge Lewis set bail at $25,000.00 pending appeal. She smiled after receiving her sentence. Brett Cott's previous sentencing had to weigh on her mind.

10:14 A.M. Veon Sentencing starting Veon Attorney Dan Raynak says he is going to take a little time.

You can read Mauriello's update story on Post Gazette here.

11:27 A.M. Judge Lewis says Veon will not get probation for "blatant criminal activity" and he state Veon abused power despite helping alot of people.

11:28 A.M. Veon receives 9-24 months on first count with 13 more counts to go

11:32 A.M. Halfway through counts and up to 28 months to 8 years

11:35 A.M. $37,000 fine, $100,000.00 restitution prison time 6 to 14 years.

Veon is denied bail and led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.

11:54 A.M. Veon led back into courtroom without cuffs for a vice hearing to see if Attorney Raynak from Arizona can represent him in another proceeding.

Mauriello's story on the Veon sentencing Post Gazette.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pennsylvania's jobless rate rose to 9.1 percent in May

Pennsylvania's jobless rate rose to 9.1 percent in May.

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent in May, up 0.1 of a percentage point from April, and 1.1 percentage points higher than May 2009, the state said today.

"We are helluva alot better off as a country and as an economy than we have ever been in the history of mankind"

Sheriff Quickly Establishes "Gilligan's Island"

It's my island and I'll play as I want. Just kidding folks. I don't know John Gilligan so it would be unfair to second guess this move but it quickly establishes there is a "new sheriff in town". Today newly appointed Luzerne County Sheriff Gilligan terminated the employment of Chief Deputy Sheriff Charles Guarnieri, effective Thursday according to the Times Leader.

"It was my decision," Gilligan said. "I appointed Carl Zawatski as my chief deputy and I informed Mr. Guarnieri that his employment with the county was terminated."

Gilligan said he eliminated a second chief deputy position.

"Like I've said before, I'm here as part of the solution," Gilligan said. "I will do whatever it takes to restore integrity to this office and the county."

Mohegan Sun Owners Receive $54 Million In Stimulus Funds

In a shocking story on it has been revealed that the politically connected Mohegan Sun tribe which owns casinos including the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes Barre Township received $54 million in stimulus money courtesy of Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut.

The tribe runs the sprawling Mohegan Sun casino, halfway between New York City and Boston, which earned more than $1.3 billion in gross revenues in 2009. Each tribe member receives a cut of the profits, a number a tribal official said was "less than $30,000" per capita per year.

The stimulus money is a loan from a U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development program that is meant to help communities of less than 20,000 people that have been "unable to obtain other credit at reasonable rates and terms and are unable to finance the proposed project from their own resources."

In fiscal 2009, $53.6 million in casino profits went into the coffers of the Mohegan tribe, which uses the money to fund college scholarships, housing and health care.

American Indian tribes have received about $2 billion in stimulus loans and grants since the passage of the Recovery Act. The money received, by law, cannot be used for casinos or gambling projects, and is intended to revitalize Native American communities. There are currently 564 federally recognized tribes, and about 300 Indian casinos.

Now that's typical of what one would expect from the Obama team. With Paul Kanjorski's support he was able to help a non-tax paying entity receive federal tax dollars while this area struggles for stimulus money.

How about a college scholarship for the non- Indians in your district, Paul?? What's that I can't hear you?

The Mohegan Sun sponsors race cars and our arena.  Why are they allowed such expenses when Obama's czars are limiting compensation at corporations?

Meet Representative Jim Marshall Who Defeated Michael Veon

Rep. Jim Marshall 14th Legislative District- PA

In 2005 the midnight legislative pay raise scandal was born in Harrisburg. Ralph R. Reiland writes an interesting story on Human about this violation of taxpayer trust.

Insiders: Leaders promised "walking around money" to legislators who "cooperated."

"Harrisburg is one of the sleaziest state capitals in the country," said Jake Tapper, Washington correspondent for Salon, and that was before he saw the sleaze that oozed from under the closed doors of the state Legislature at 2 a.m. one recent night after the politicians voted themselves an illegal pay hike.

The pay increase is illegal because, by allowing legislators to pocket the new money in the form of "unvouchered expenses," it violates Article 2, Section 8 of the state constitution, which specifically forbids legislators to collect new pay raises until they've been re-elected.

"It's illegal to give yourself a raise now," says Temple University Law School professor David Kairys. "If you want to give yourself the raise and call it lunch money, that's not going to make it legal."

As explained to me by a couple of insiders in the process, legislative leaders lined up the votes for the unlawful pay grab by promising special so-called WAMS (walking around money) to legislators who "cooperated." Once more than enough votes were secured, other incumbents, less secure in their districts, were given the green light to vote against the pay hike in order to strengthen their chances of re-election.

In addition the legislative compensation our elected state officials also receive the cost of free cars, $10,000 no-receipt expense accounts, free health care, fully paid vision and dental coverage, free prescriptions, fully paid life insurance and long-term care insurance, the 50% increase in pension benefits the legislators awarded themselves NINE years ago, and the extra $163 per diem they pocket on every session day just for showing up.

It's no wonder Jim Marshall decided to run against Michael Veon despite the odds of winning. Veon pulled out all the stops the ultimately led to his conviction for using state employees, resources, and funds in his re-election bid.

Tracey Mauriello writes the story- Cheating increases incumbent home-court advantage- about Marshall's political battle against Michael Veon in 2006. The story is quite lengthy so you will have to click to read it but these comments sums it up.

"Even when you're a kid, you don't like to play a game with somebody that cheats," Mr. Marshall said.

"It's unfair for candidates to have to run against incumbents using taxpayer equipment and state employees to run their races. There is harm there. Challengers are shut out, and that's not good for the taxpayers, for the state workers, for the voters, for anyone."

State Recommends 12 Years In Prison For Mike Veon

Over at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette Tracey Mauriello reports that the AG Tom Corbett's office is recommending at least 12 years in prison for Michael Veon. Evidently they feel that 65 is a ripe age for Veon to regain his freedom for his transgressions with taxpayers' money.

In a sentencing memorandum filed Tuesday in Dauphin County Common Pleas Court, they asked for a 12- to 17-year sentence for Mr. Veon, 53, who they said "presided over a vast criminal enterprise specifically designed to utilize as many public resources as possible in pursuit of his political and campaign ambitions."

In a separate filing, they asked for 19 to 24 months imprisonment for Annamarie Perretta-Rosepink, who ran Mr. Veon's district office in Beaver Falls.

Sentencing is scheduled for Friday before Dauphin County Judge Richard A. Lewis.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kanjorski Ignores Veterans

In 2008 Ed Mitchell produced this commercial for Paul Kanjorski- Paul Kanjorski Stands Up for Veterans. He intentionally misled the public about the closing of the VA Hospital in Wilkes Barre in that commercial. It was never on the close list. The announcer ends the commercial by stating "Paul Kanjorski stands up for veterans". My father is buried in a national cemetary for his service to America. I'll be damned if I will let him or Mitchell get away with misleading veterans or toy with their emotions.

In January, 2009, the month Kanjorski assumed his next term in office, veterans asked for Paul Kanjorski's support on H.R. 333 Diabled Veterans Tax Termination Act- To amend title 10, United States Code, to permit retired members of the Armed Forces who have a service-connected disability rated less than 50 percent to receive concurrent payment of both retired pay and veterans' disability compensation, to eliminate the phase-in period for concurrent receipt, to extend eligibility for concurrent receipt to chapter 61 disability retirees with less than 20 years of service, and for other purposes.
It was even introduced in the previous session of Congress. Did veterans get Paul Kanjorski's support?

Nada, rien, ingenting, niets, niente, nichts, okay nothing.. But Kanjorski will tell you that he is willing to compromise his integrity to stretch the facts to win an election. The bill went nowhere. It didn't take two months for Kanjorski to renege on his promise to stand up for veterans. What does Veteran's Day really mean to Paul Kanjorski?

In fact there are four veteran's bills on this page and Kanjorski is only listed on one. Is that a record where he "stands up for veterans"???

Luzerne County Parental Rights Catastrophe

Gary Visgaitis Times Leader

This story featured in the Times Leader details more failures concerning children handled by the Luzerne County court system. The Times Leader investigation points to failure for parents who challenged the termination of their parental rights or the involuntary adoption of their children have seen their appeals dismissed because the Public Defender’s Office or other court-appointed attorneys failed to follow proper court procedure, according to a review of cases filed with the state Superior Court.

The revelation prompted newly appointed county Chief Public Defender Al Flora Jr. to launch an investigation. He is reviewing records, including those identified by The Times Leader, to determine if anything can or should be done to seek to restore the appeals.

The newspaper’s review showed that in nine of the 15 cases at issue, the appeals were filed, but later dismissed because the attorneys failed to file the required legal briefs that detail the errors the trial judge allegedly committed.

In another six cases, the appeals were “quashed” – a legal term that refers to the dismissal of an appeal for failure to comply with some other aspect of appellate court procedure, such as filing the appeal late.

The lack of action by the attorneys means the parents were deprived of their right to have the Superior Court review the lower court ruling to determine if it was properly entered – a result an advocate for parental rights described as “appalling.”

It is amazing that types of injustices occuring within the halls of justice.

Rick Santelli Smokes Kanjorski

Given the fact that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had to delist their stocks on the NYSE I thought this video to be appropriate to show how Kanjorski tries to peddle his wheelbarrow full of weeds. Hear what Kanjorski says.

"I say that we are including them in the reform, that's another misnomer, we're going to do Fannie and Freddie reform its just that we cant do it in this present bill, we don't have the time and the effort.... It has nothing to do with the election."

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Delist Shares On NYSE

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were featured in this article about how much money they invested in Democrats including Congressman Paul Kanjorski.

Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) has received $65,500. Kanjorski chairs the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-Sponsored Enterprises, and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs.

Today the mortgage giants own or guarantee almost 31 million home loans worth about $5.5 trillion representing almost half of the mortgages. The twins were ordered by their federal regulator to no longer trade their shares on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and its predecessor agency have overseen the operation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac since September 2008, when they were both placed under conservatorship, a form of control similar to what is found in a bankruptcy process.

Since that time, the Treasury Department has poured $83.6 billion into Fannie Mae and $61.3 billion into Freddie Mac to cover losses on the trillions of dollars worth of mortgage-backed securities they own or guarantee.

Billions of additional losses are forecast in coming years, with the Congressional Budget Office estimating that nearly $400 billion in tax dollars will eventually be needed. The government controls the majority of the shares of each firm.
Not a bad return on a $65,000 investment.

So far, taxpayers have poured $145 billion into Fannie and Freddie to keep them afloat and to buoy the overall housing market.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the FHA and the Veterans Administration backed nearly 97 percent of home mortgages in the first quarter of this year, according to trade publication Inside Mortgage Finance.

Ed Mitchell- When Will Paul Pay The $250,000 Owed To The DCCC?

In today's Times Leader Bill O'Boyle writes a column about Kanjorski's campaign money vs. Lou Barletta's campagin funds.

There seems to be on factual piece missing from this article. Boyle writes

According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission in Washington, Kanjorski, of Nanticoke, has $952,233 cash on hand and no debt as the November general election looms.

In fact Paul Kanjorski owes a $250,000 payment from his campaign funds for dues assessed to him by the DCCC that has not been made. I call that debt.

If Kanjorski's campaign were to make that payment instead of $952,233 on hand the CFC would have $702,233. Since Ed Mitchell stated it costs approximately $100,000 per week to advertise on television Mitchell will only be able to buy seven weeks of air time.

“We’ll just have to wait and see what he comes up with,” said Ed Mitchell, spokesman for Kanjorski’s campaign. “Mr. Barletta claims to be a major fundraiser nationally, but it seems like he is lagging behind.”

It is a fact that Lou Barletta For Congress has raised more money at this point in time than in the 2008 race.

Kanjorski claims to be a powerful person in Congress.

Democratic leaders assess dues on members of their caucus, ranging from $800,000 each for top lawmakers to $150,000 annually for less powerful members.

Rep. Paul Kanjorski, a Pennsylvania Democrat who won re-election with 52 percent of the vote, has not paid his $250,000 DCCC dues despite almost $1.2 million in the bank.

So how powerful is he if his DCCC dues assessment is only $250,000 out of $800,000 potential?

As for Kanjorski's campaign money I point to a comment left on the O'Boyle article. (V)irtually all of Kanjorskis money comes from Wall Street banks, insurance companies, credit unions, and others that he is supposed to regulate. Aren't those types of conflict of interest what Kanjorski has been howling about with the fiancial institutions he claims need regulating?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kanjorski Amendment- Much About Nothing

Paul Kanjorski has been making headlines lately over his amendment to the Wall Street Reform Bill. Click here to read its provisions.

The particular section that is the red herring in this piece of legislation is Section 1105 (h)

(h) JUDICIAL REVIEW.—For any plan required under this section, a financial company subject to stricter prudential standards may, not later than 30 days after receipt of the Council’s notice under subsection (e)(5), bring an action in the United States district court for the judicial district in which the home office of such company is located, or in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, for an order requiring that the requirement for a mitigatory action be rescinded. Judicial review under this section shall be limited to the imposition of a mitigatory action. In reviewing the Council’s imposition of a mitigatory action, the court shall rescind or dismiss only those mitigatory actions it finds to be imposed in an arbitrary and capricious manner.

Forget all the hubbub. It means they can haul the government into court. Did you ever hear this joke?

My wife walked into the den & asked "Whats on the tv?" I replied "Dust". And that's how the fight started.....

Well item (h) .....And that's how the fight started.

To sum up the Kanjorski amendment it does talk about breaking up companies but there would have to be substantial time before that happens due to the considerations that must be met in Section 1105 Items (a) through (d). Item (e) defines the due process owed to the companies and what steps including items (f) and (g) that would be taken including a review by the Treasury Secretary. However, as I stated item (h) allows the companies to haul the government into court to prevent the government from implementing the plan. When was the last time you saw an expedited process in court involving $100 billion companies?

Define this verbage/garbage in Section 1105(a)-poses a grave threat to the financial stability or economy of the United States, the Council shall require the company to undertake 1 or more mitigatory actions described in subsection (d). Who determines the grave threat? When is that threshold crossed? The Council...I thought BP was a grave threat to the is the government doing so far managing that mess.

Didn't Kanjorski talk about a money market run on the banks that happened within hours??? Didn't he say the world economy would collapse?

On Thursday at about 11 o'clock in the morning the Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous draw down of, uh, money market accounts in the United States to the tune of $550-billion was being drawn out in in a matter of an hour or two...We were having an electronic run on the banks. They decided to close down the operation, to close down the money accounts. ... If they had not done that, in their estimation, by 2 PM that afternoon $5.5-trillion would have been withdrawn and would have collapsed the U.S. economy and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed

How in the world is this amendment ever going to stop that from happening?
Why is it so easy to pick apart his veiled actions? Is it because they were never meant to address a complicated problem?

DCCC To Paul Kanjorski- Pay Up

This Washington Post article highlights the nervousness among Democratic incumbent lawmakers over this November election.

House Democratic lawmakers are holding onto their campaign cash despite pleas from the campaign committee for money to help the party, a reflection of the nervousness among incumbents.

Only 16 of the 254 members of the Democratic caucus have paid their full obligation to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, according to a report obtained by The Associated Press. Of those, dozens have outstanding balances of at least $125,000. Lawmakers in unexpectedly tight re-election campaigns and those who could face serious challenges are keeping their dollars in their accounts.

Rep. Paul Kanjorski, a Pennsylvania Democrat who won re-election with 52 percent of the vote, has not paid his $250,000 DCCC dues despite almost $1.2 million in the bank.

Here is an interesting assessment about Kanjorski's self proclaimed clout.

Democratic leaders assess dues on members of their caucus, ranging from $800,000 each for top lawmakers to $150,000 annually for less powerful members. If Paul Kanjorski owes $250,000 does that mean he really isn't as powerful as he claims? He owes less than 1/3 of those considered top lawmakers.

Some in the blogosphere have pointed to Kanjorski's $1.2 million. However, it appears they were misled about the money in his campaign war chest.

Paul Kanjorski Is So Out Of Touch

Bankruptcies and mortgage foreclosures are up in every county he represents but this is what he has to say about the economy.

"We are helluva alot better off as a country and as an economy than we have ever been in the history of mankind"

Eachus And Obama's Immigration Comments

It was July 29, 2007 when Barack Obama, candidate for President of the United States praised a federal court decision overturning Hazleton City Council's attempt to protect itself from illegal aliens filling their streets with drugs, crime and gangs as "a victory for all Americans."

And Obama, in a statement issued by his campaign this week, agreed. “The anti-immigrant law passed by Mayor Barletta was unconstitutional and unworkable – and it underscores the need for comprehensive immigration reform so local communities do not continue to take matters into their own hands,” he said.

Mayor Lou Barletta, who led the effort, wanted to make his town of 30,000 "the toughest place on illegal immigrants in America."

"What I'm doing here is protecting the legal taxpayer of any race," he told the Washington Post. "And I will get rid of the illegal people. It's this simple: They must leave."

Lou Barletta has said if they had listened to him in 2006 we wouldn't be having a problem at this point; it would have been addressed. Instead Hazleton and most communities in Luzerne and Lackawanna County are dealing with the effects of illegal immigration with unsustainable budgets leading to service cuts or tax hikes. It was recently discovered that Luzerne County was owed a whopping $38 million in back taxes. The deliquency rates for garbage fees, sewer fees, and water fees have soared in many municipalities. Bankruptcies and mortgage foreclosures are on the rise in many counties. But the pundits bury their head in the sand and say illegal immigration should be embraced.

The Pennsylvania House led by House Majority Leader Todd Eachus passed two immigration bills aimed at curbing illegal hiring. Will Obama come back and say his own party "defeated all those in America"?

Democrats ran on a platform of immigration reform in 2008 and were successful. Well, it didn't happen. Illegal immigration has moved front and center once again with states like Arizona taking matters into their own hands because Obama was too busy growing a government "too big to fail".

To Obama and Eachus, welcome to the party.

Immigtation Bills Gaining Momentum in Pennsylvania

Much has been written in the blogosphere about Lou Barletta and his stance against illegal immigration, both pro and con. However the same veracity of reaction doesn't seem to be occuring over the Pennsylvania legislature's latest attempt to attack illegal immigration in the Commonwealth.

It seems most of the major newspapers are reporting on two bills cleared the Pennsylvania House last week with wide support that aim to keep illegal immigrants from working on public and private construction projects.

Current state law already forbids using illegal-immigrant labor, but local legislators believe the new measures are needed to ensure only legal residents can get well-paying construction jobs.

"These bills protect hard-working Pennsylvanians," Goodman said in a press release this week. "Illegal immigrants who skirt the system and avoid paying taxes push Pennsylvanians off payrolls and onto the unemployment roles."

Seip said the bills confront "important issues related to illegal immigration in the commonwealth" and remove obstacles for businesses operate by the book.

Representative Todd Eachus voted for the bills however there was a time in the past when he said illegal immigration was a federal issue. Last time I checked he is the Pennsylvania legislature, not Congress so how does he explain his support now. Back to the campaign contributions.

A student in high school asked about the corruption of Luzerne County judges. Eachus said the events have been “embarrassing to every citizen” living in the county.

When the same student asked about illegal immigration, Eachus pointed out that the federal government, not the state House majority leader, makes those decisions.

But he ended his answer with a plea for unity among students. Alluding to immigrant miners of different nationalities who marched together into the massacre at Lattimer in 1897, Eachus implored students not to let the community become divided.

“I’m asking you to stand together,” he said.
Mr. Eachus didn't understand that everyone of those immigrant miners waited in line, were examined, and received papers that had to carry with them to enter the country. Some immigrants never made it into the country. There was no Social Security nor Medical Assistance. They had to get a job to make it in this country. Different time and wrong argument on this issue.

Guess he finally saw the light or was it the campaign contributions from organized labor that influenced his decision. Just like the donations from Robert Powell, admitted felon, money is priority one.

Although embedding has been disabled you may want to view this Youtube video capturing a public hearing on immigration in the Commonwealth in 2007. Representative Curtis Smith states that in 2006 there were 500 bills introduced in states concernining immigration. In 2007 it jumped to over 1400 bills, a number of them signed into law.

Many in the blogosphere try to say that Hazleton's oconcerning a rdinance is unconstitutional because Judge Munley said so. He has yet to have his decision upheld by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals where its review been sitting for over 19 months waiting for a decision. If Judge Munley's ruling was that solid why didn't they dismiss the case sooner?

Only six or seven members out of 203 in the House voted against these measures. Where is the battle cry denoucing their votes?

Monday, June 14, 2010

New Probe Into Pennsylvania Gaming Board License Awards

Just when the casinos in western PA get the ok to start table games on July 8th and those in our area July 13th, revelations come to light about a new grand jury empanelled last year looking into the practices of the Pennsylvania Gaming Board.

The Morning Call reports that a grand jury probing how The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board issued slots licenses has heard testimony more than once from Michael Manzo, the former chief of staff for the House Democratic Caucus and Denyse Miskin, the former director of the control board's Bureau of Corporate Compliance and Internal Controls. Miskin's testimony apparently occured as far back as January of this year.

Although he claimed he wasn't able to comment on the investigation at the request of the Attorney General Gaming board spokesman Doug Harbach revealed the gaming board has spent $65,000 so far in legal fees representing current and former gaming board officials because of the probe when asked for a comment.

One has to wonder whether the feud between the Zappalas and the Ories sparked this investigation and gave birth to the new grand jury.