Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rangel Spells Trouble for Democrats



When will Paul Kanjorski return or donate the money from Charlie Rangel?

Kanjorski Supports Discrimination Against Women


Last year SCHOTT North America located in Duryea, PA settled a major sex discrimination lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as outlined in this press release from June 10, 2009 for violations at that plant.

SCRANTON, PA. — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced a major settlement of a sex discrimination lawsuit for $1,450,000 and significant equitable relief against Schott North America, a multinational developer and manufacturer of special glass and specialty materials, components and systems, based in Elmsford, N.Y.

The EEOC charged that Schott laid off women because of their sex after a company reorganization in October 2004 of its specialty glass plant in Duryea, Pa. Prior to the reorganization, glass production at the plant was generally divided into two parts, the “hot end” and the “cold end”; 95.3% of the hot-end workers were male and 76.6% of the cold-end workers were female.

As part of the reorganization, the company created a new position of “melting line operator” and used a “skills matrix” to determine who would obtain these new positions. The glass company laid off employees whom it did not select for the melting line operator position. In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that the skills matrix system benefited male employees, did not accurately measure the skills truly needed to perform the melting line operator job and had an adverse impact on female applicants – who were selected for layoff at a significantly higher rate than male employees. The EEOC contended that six plaintiff intervenors and five class members were not selected for melting line operator positions and were laid off because of their sex, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Acting EEOC Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru said, “This significant settlement demonstrates the EEOC's commitment to securing meaningful relief for victims of systemic sex discrimination.”



OpenSecrets.org has Paul Kanjorski's Earmarks listed for 2010 here. SCHOTT North America was not only one of his beneficiaries but also spent $480,000 in lobbying expenses on the Congressman.

SCHOTT North America
High Bandwidth, High Energy Storage, Exawatt Laser Glass Development
Duryea, PA Defense    Earmark  $2,800,000     Lobbying $484,000

Paul Kanjorski is sending the message that if you discriminate against women and pay $1.45 million you will be rewarded with many millions more.

Readers might recall Barack Obama's campaign stop visit to the SCHOTT North America Duryea facility in September, 2008.

1:05 p.m.

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has concluded his meeting with workers at Schott North America and now plans to make a previously unannounced stop somewhere in the area. Campaign officials have not disclosed the site of the next stop.

His visit to Schott ended at 12:45 p.m. with a standing ovation from the crowd. Obama began speaking to the audience around noon and finished with questions from the crowd of more than 100 workers and other invited guests.

Before Obama took the stage,U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-11, spoke and told the crowd that if they can find one thing that is better under the last eight years of Bush's administration, he will "buy them a bottle of champagne."

"If we fail to win in this election, I think for the first time in our lifetime we're putting the republic at risk," Kanjorski said.

12:09 p.m.

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has begun his speech at Schott North America in Duryea before an audience of more than 100 employees and other invited guests.

He is talking about his plans to boost the U.S. economy and create manufacturing jobs like those at Schott.

"I don't think they have a sense of what people are going through," Obama said.


Obama should have said people don't have a sense of what they will be going through when he gets elected.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Buy American??


I was thinking about the lawsuit filed by the Obama team against the state of Arizona over illegal immigration. If the federal government was doing its job Arizona would have no need to enact the controversial legislation.

But its not doing its job, plain and clear.

Frustration by states and local municipalities in dealing with the effects of the U.S. government failure to contain illegal migration into our soverign soil has sparked many attempts to take matters into their own hands. Another blur by the courts is the interpretation that states or local municipalities are pre-empted by federal law where illegal immigration is concerned. If they are pre-empted then doesn't that force states and municipalities to suffer the consequences of inaction?

So here is how I see it. I don't do my job but any attempt to have the job done will be met with lawsuits. What are states and municipalities to do in that case? What it proves to me is that the Obama administration wants illegal immigration and will stall any real attempt to fix it. UPDATE: Here is a link to today's ABCNews story that validates my assumption. Obama 'Scheming' on Immigrant Amnesty? Memo Draws Republican Fire

When this country was founded it was the states who were in charge of immigration. Along the way the Supreme Court and the federal government took the position that immigration was a national interest issue therefore the purveyance of the federal government.

Devin Dwyer penned this story on ABCNews today that further demonstrates the federal government's inability to be the central processor on immigration. The story is about a legal resident where his family's attempt to become U.S. citizens can take up to seven years. That is totally unacceptable. The U.S. government can't control the borders or process applications in a timely manner. The rest of us suffer.

So why is the title of this post "Buy American"? A little known provision in the stimulus law, ARRA, contains a Buy American provision for water projects funded and aimed at the Clean or Drinking Water State Revolving Funds.

The question I have is why does the federal government have a Buy American mandate but is willing to challenge an American state over illegal immigration? Doesn't make sense.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Immigration Countdown

Pennsylvania Turnpike Workers Get A Free Ride With EZ-PASS Abuse


A Republican senator is hopping mad over abuse by certain Pennsylvania Turnpike workers who abuse their EZ-PASS privileges. According to Ashley Manning at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John Rafferty, R-Chester County stated that if the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission don't stop its employees from using the passes inappropriately he will.

"Were going to have make some changes on that, whether they like it or not," Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John Rafferty, R-Chester County, said Wednesday.

About 2,100 turnpike employees ride the toll road for free, even when they're on vacation, Turnpike CEO Joe Brimmeier said. Many use passes for E-ZPass, and others show ID cards.

The issue surfaced at a committee hearing when Rafferty asked whether turnpike workers receive perks. The agency recently raised tolls by 10 percent for cash customers and 3 percent for E-ZPass users.


Transgressions at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission are nothing new. Look at this report from the Pennsylvania Independent about a whistleblower lawsuit.

A former employee has filed suit against the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, accusing commission officials of a litany of violations, including his own termination.

The lawsuit names Turnpike Commission Director of Accounting Anthony Maun, Turnpike Commission Chief Financial Officer Nikolaus Grieshaber, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission as defendants.

Ralph M. Bailets was employed by the Turnpike Commission from 1998 through 2008 as Manager of Financial Reporting and Systems, a supervisory position, and also as Assistant Secretary Treasurer. He was laid off in November 2008 for "alleged budgetary reasons", according to documents filed in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania on May 15.

While employed by the Turnpike Commission, Mr. Bailets says he became aware of violations in the bidding process that allowed one contractor, Ciber, Inc., to have an unfair advantage over other bidders. According to court documents, Mr. Bailets reported these violations to his superiors in December 2004, only to be told by Mr. Maun to not say anything about it.

After Ciber, Inc., was awarded that contract, Mr. Bailets filed several reports with his superiors noting deficiencies in Ciber's performance. Mr. Bailets alleges that Mr. Maun threatened his job if he made "any waves" with regards to the work being done by Ciber.

As of the filing of the lawsuit, Ciber, Inc. had more than $82 million in contracts with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Ciber is an IT firm based in Colorado that specializes in infrastructure planning and consulting.


Is there any part of Pennsylvania government that isn't corrupt?



Former Governor Richard Thornburgh wrote this Op-Ed last December recommending the abolition of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

During my campaign for governor more than 30 years ago, I made a pledge to restore integrity and efficiency to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

It was clear that fixing PennDOT was a necessity. The citizens of the commonwealth agreed, having faith in my pledge, and elected me governor. Shortly after beginning my first term, I began a thorough reconstruction of PennDOT.

Working with Secretary of Transportation (and future Federal Highway Administration head) Tom Larson, I ignored all threats of political retribution and scrubbed PennDOT clean of graft and corruption. The difficult task of fixing PennDOT was a resounding success.

In 1981, PennDOT was recognized as “one of the best managed — and financed — public works agencies in the country” by trade magazines. Larson was recognized as man of the year. That was nearly 30 years ago.

Today, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has replaced PennDOT as a dumping ground for the institutionalized entitlement we helped eradicate.

The top heavy turnpike commission, with more than 2,000 employees, is responsible for overseeing an exponentially smaller infrastructure than PennDOT. The turnpike commission manages 537 miles of turnpike highways; PennDOT manages nearly 40,000 highway miles and tens of thousands more miles of local roads, railways and bridges. There is an obvious opportunity to merge the two and save a wealth of money.

Recent convictions and investigations have made it clear that abuse of tax dollars is a turnpike tenet. Mitchell Rubin, the previous chairman of the turnpike commission, was fired in connection to a bogus $150,000 contract he accepted while presiding as chair. Rubin’s connections to imprisoned former Sen. Vincent Fumo paid well for Michael Palermo, a convicted criminal and Fumo protege. The turnpike commission staffer reaped a benefit of more than $287,000 in a no-work contract from 1999 to 2004. Currently, the turnpike commission is the subject of an FBI investigation related to a $181 million project in the Valley Forge area that was reportedly originally bid for $90 million.

Considering our recent state budget fiasco and economic climate, a serious tightening of the belt in state spending is needed. Pennsylvanians deserve a dollar’s worth of service for every tax dollar spent — their money must be spent with thrift and strict oversight. Millions of tax dollars in savings could be realized if the state Legislature were to dissolve this bloated bureaucracy and move its functions into PennDOT.

There comes a time when merely mending a faulty appendage is not enough. Like a gangrenous limb, irreparable agencies chockablock with corruption must be severed.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is one such agency.
The turnpike commission is a haven for those who wish to gorge themselves upon commonwealth tax dollars and load the payroll for political purposes. This type of patronage abuse has no place in Pennsylvania politics. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission should be abolished.


Amen. After two years of budget impasses why aren't our legislators following the sage advice of such a learned man?

Arizona Judge Puts Immigration Law on Hold

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Inconsistencies Between Munley And Arizona Ruling

Today, an federal judge in Arizona granted a temporary injunction to the most controversial portions of the state of Arizona's new law aimed at illegal aliens.

In reading her decision a glaring inconsistency stood out when one compares it to Judge Munley's ruling in the Hazleton case.

a. Mandatory Immigration Status Determination Upon Arrest

The Court first addresses the second sentence of Section 2(B): “Any person who is arrested shall have the person’s immigration status determined before the person is released.”

Arizona advances that the proper interpretation of this sentence is “that only where a reasonable suspicion exists that a person arrested is an alien and is unlawfully present in the United States must the person’s immigration status be determined before the person is released.” (Defs.’ Resp. to Pl.’s Mot. (“Defs.’ Resp.”) at 10.)5 Arizona goes on to state, “[T]he Arizona Legislature could not have intended to compel Arizona’s law enforcement officers to determine and verify the immigration status of every single person arrested – even for United States citizens and when there is absolutely no reason to believe the person is unlawfully present in the country.” (Id.)

The Court cannot interpret this provision as Arizona suggests. Before the passage of H.B. 2162, the first sentence of Section 2(B) of the original S.B. 1070 began, “For any lawful contact” rather than “For any lawful stop, detention or arrest.” (Compare original S.B. 1070 § 2(B) with H.B. 2162 § 3(B).) The second sentence was identical in the original version and as modified by H.B. 2162. It is not a logical interpretation of the Arizona Legislature’s intent to state that it originally intended the first two sentences of Section 2(B) to be read as dependent on one another. As initially written, the first sentence of Section 2(B) did not
contain the word “arrest,” such that the second sentence could be read as modifying or explicating the first sentence. In S.B. 1070 as originally enacted, the first two sentences of Section 2(B) are clearly independent of one another. Therefore, it does not follow logically that by changing “any lawful contact” to “any lawful stop, detention or arrest” in the first sentence, the Arizona Legislature intended to alter the meaning of the second sentence in any way. If that had been the Legislature’s intent, it could easily have modified the second sentence accordingly.


Here is what Judge Munley wrote in his Opinion concerning the first version of the Hazleton Ordinance.

C. Amendments to the Ordinance

On March 15, 2007, during this court’s trial of this matter, defendant
introduced Ordinance 2007-6, which has since become law in the city.
See Ordinance 2007-6 (Defense Ex. 251). This Ordinance Amended
Sections 4B(2) and 5(B)(2) of IIRA. Id. As originally written, “a complaint which alleges a violation solely or primarily on the basis of national origin, ethnicity or race” would not be enforced. Ordinance 2006-18 at § 4B(2).

The 2007 amendment removed the words “solely or primarily” from these provisions, meaning that “a complaint which alleges a violation on the basis of national origin, ethnicity or race shall be deemed invalid and shall not be enforced.” Ordinance 2007-6. The amendment also altered Section 4.A of the Ordinance by adding the word “knowingly” to a provision prohibiting the recruitment and hiring of illegal aliens. Id.; see Ordinance 2006-18 at § 4.A (establishing that: “It is unlawful for any business entity to knowingly recruit, hire for employment, or continue to employ, or to permit, dispatch, or instruct any person who is an unlawful worker to perform work in whole or part within the City.”). At the end of the hearing on the plaintiffs’ complaint, we asked the parties for briefs on the effect of this amendment on the instant litigation.

The parties agree that the court has jurisdiction to issue a decision
on the current version of the ordinance. Plaintiffs argue, however, that we should also rule on the version of the ordinance that existed until the March amendment. Defendant amended the ordinance, plaintiffs argue, to avoid having this court rule on the constitutionality of the ordinance as it then existed. That amendment did not come, plaintiffs insist, because
Defendant recognized that the previous version of the ordinance violated
the constitution, but simply to improve defendant’s litigation position.
Accordingly, the court could reasonably conclude that defendant will not
cease the illegal practice embodied in the earlier version of the ordinance.

The dispute between the parties here is over whether we should also
consider the version of the ordinance that was in effect through most of the litigation in this matter. We find that we do not have jurisdiction to rule on the constitutionality of a version of an ordinance that no longer exists, particularly when we have–as both sides admit–jurisdiction to examine the current version of that ordinance.


In one case Judge Susan R. Bolton considers information in a prior version to rule on the present version and in Munley's case he refuses to rule on an earlier version thereby basing his decision on the latest version. Go figure.

What amazes me in both rulings is that each judge surmised legislative intent without any testimony from either legislature representatives. I guess Johnny Carson's Amazing Kreskin still lives on.

In the Arizona case Bolton wrote this statement in her Opinion. "The Court cannot interpret this provision as Arizona suggests." Your honor, no disrespect but the State is telling you what its intent was and you chose to disagree. Is that within your judicial powers?

In Hazleton's case Judge Munley takes until page 90 of his 206 page decision to finally get to the "Federal Constitutional Issues".  He writes from page 13 until 90 on preliminary issues like the rights of John and Jane Doe. 

Didn't Jill Moran take a hit back in 2009 for putting the "John Doe" name to Robert Powell's IRS lien filing? Here's what Jennifer Learn-Andes wrote in her article on January 20, 2009.

Experts said her action was illegal. Federal officials were looking into the matter, but it's unclear if any official action was taken against Moran. Moran later put the lien under Powell's name in the office database.

Heck you can't even hunt a John Doe during buck season.

And those who oppose Lou Barletta feel he is trampling on the rights of illegal aliens? Go figure.

This Is Paul Kanjorski's Financial Reform Message To Taxpayers

As part of the financial reform bill passed by Congress and signed by the President the SEC will no longer have to disclose any information to the public according to this report from Fox News.

So much for transparency.

Under a little-noticed provision of the recently passed financial-reform legislation, the Securities and Exchange Commission no longer has to comply with virtually all requests for information releases from the public, including those filed under the Freedom of Information Act.

The law, signed last week by President Obama, exempts the SEC from disclosing records or information derived from "surveillance, risk assessments, or other regulatory and oversight activities." Given that the SEC is a regulatory body, the provision covers almost every action by the agency, lawyers say. Congress and federal agencies can request information, but the public cannot.

That argument comes despite the President saying that one of the cornerstones of the sweeping new legislation was more transparent financial markets. Indeed, in touting the new law, Obama specifically said it would “increase transparency in financial dealings."


And people still want to trust Obama and Kanjorski?? The report goes on to state:

If the SEC’s interpretation stands, Mintz, who represents FOX Business Network, predicted “the next time there is a Bernie Madoff failure the American public will not be able to obtain the SEC documents that describe the failure,” referring to the shamed broker whose Ponzi scheme cost investors billions.

Another attempt to fool the American public with rhetoric.

Ed Mitchell is lying to you. Again- From The Barletta Campaign

I received the following release from the Lou Barletta For Congress Communications Coordinator Shawn Kelly.

Once again, the Kanjorski campaign is stretching the facts in a desperate bid to stay in power.

Kanjorski spokesman Ed Mitchell lied to you about the City of Hazleton’s pension fund. Mitchell said Tuesday: "Other cities have pension problems, but like the jobless rate, Hazleton's is the worst.”

Completely false.

Here’s what the Scranton Times published today:
“Scranton, compared to cities of similar size, has one of the most poorly funded pension plans in the state, the report states, while 55 percent of pension systems in the region are in some form of distressed status. … Scranton has $64.3 million in its pension fund, but obligations of twice that, $138 million, for a funding ratio of 47 percent. Any funding ratio under 50 percent is deemed severely distressed by the Public Employee Retirement Commission.” (“State: 55 percent of NEPA municipal pensions distressed,” Scranton Times, July 28, 2010)

Hazleton’s funding ratio, for comparison, is 52 percent, and the city is considered “moderately distressed” by the state. (“Pa.: 28 pension plans distressed,” Times Leader, July 27, 2010)

And once again, Mitchell lied about Hazleton’s unemployment rate.

According to the Citizens’ Voice, William Sholly, industry and business analyst for the Pa. Center for Workforce Information & Analysis (the center that published the unemployment rate Kanjorski and his spokesman tout), Hazleton’s high unemployment rate is misleading: “There were fewer employed people in the city of Hazleton since last year, but more people are in the labor force and so the rate can increase quite a bit, based on the numbers." (“Hazleton’s unemployment highest in Pa.,” Citizens’ Voice, July 7, 2010)

Mitchell continues to lie on behalf of his desperate boss, and reporters continue to report their bogus claims as fact.

I know it’s easy to get drawn in by the lies of Kanjorski and his spokesman. Kanjorski and his Mitchell-led spin machine are getting incredibly desperate.

Look at the facts:
• Kanjorski has represented this region for 26 years.
• Kanjorski took more than $4.2 million in campaign contributions from the financial services industry – the very industry he is supposed to oversee (Source: Center for Responsive Politics).
• Kanjorski’s failure to exert proper oversight led to the biggest economic collapse since the Great Depression.
• That collapse knocked billions of dollars out of pension funds, 401(k)s, and other retirement portfolios.
• More than half – 55 percent – of pension systems in Northeastern Pennsylvania are in some form of distressed status.

And Kanjorski blames Lou Barletta for Hazleton’s pension fund? How does he explain the pension fund situation in Scranton? Or Roaring Brook Township? Or Dunmore? Or Hanover Township? Or the dozen other municipalities with
similar or worse pension fund issues?

Kanjorski and Mitchell are trying to shift the blame away from Kanjorski’s failed policies and failed leadership – and they’re doing it by lying and stretching the facts about Lou Barletta’s record. They’re blaming Lou Barletta for problems that exist on a national and statewide level.
This isn’t the first time Mitchell lied to you, either. He lied about Hazleton being unique in balancing its budget and claimed that no other municipalities had to raise taxes or cut services. Think of your own coverage area – possibly even your own neighborhood – and you know that’s not true. More than that, it’s demonstrably not true.

We fully expect Kanjorski and Mitchell to continue their desperate attacks. I strongly encourage you to factcheck every single claim Mitchell makes, as he clearly cannot distinguish fact from fantasy. This is a very important race, and the entire Kanjorski/Mitchell strategy is to lie, to mislead, and to get media outlets to publish blurbs that can be used in television ads.

If you have any questions, please contact me.
Thanks.


Shawn

Legislative Corruption

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Editorial Department:

Legislative corruption: The frayed thread

There is a troubling thread emerging from the ongoing legislative corruption prosecutions. And it should be considered a frayed thread, a troubling metaphor for what too many public servants consider "public service" to be.

How many times have we heard from attorneys defending those charged with politicking on the public dime that the laws prohibiting such activities are "vague." We've heard that even from legal eagles representing state legislators who voted for the measures.

Or, how about this oldie but goodie: "Everybody does it." That's not a defense. That's a whine more typically associated with a sixth-grader whose parents won't let their 12-year-old daughter go on an unsupervised camping trip with the seventh-grade boys hockey team.

And the excuse-making knows no party or gender bounds and no limit on audacity.

State Sen. Jane Orie, R-McCandless, claims a political persecution by Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala. But she's been ordered to stand trial on charges that she used one of her offices and legislative staff to politick, a contention staffer after staffer has corroborated.

State Rep. Bill DeWeese, D-Waynesburg, admitted in his grand jury testimony that he was on the other side of the statute. That was the clincher for his being held for trial on public corruption charges. Yet his attorney, William Costopoulos (also employed by Ms. Orie), refers to Mr. DeWeese's actions as "pettygate."

But this isn't petty stuff. The law says it's a crime. And it should be. Taxpayers should not be forced to underwrite an incumbent protection program.


From yesterday's post, tell me this isn't incumbent protection:

Jones testified that Eachus wanted to spend "soft dollars" through state-paid public service announcements so the campaigns would spend less of their resources.

Russ Kanjorski's Frim Survives "Collateral Damage In Lending"


Jennifer Silverberg for The Wall Street Journal


Joseph Jackson, owner of Jackson Pianos in St. Louis has outgrown his workspace, yet is unable to get the loan he needs to expand.


Last week the Wall Street Journal published an article by Emily Maltby titled "Collateral Damage In Lending".

It highlighted the problem many small businesses are incurring when seeking financing. Their efforts are being thwarted by higher or alternative collateral requirements.

Behind the credit squeeze on small business lies the collateral gap.

Many small businesses, thwarted in efforts to get loans, are saying it takes money to get money. That's because property and equipment assets have fallen in value, so businesses seeking loans are being asked for alternative collateral, often in the form of cash so that the loan is backed in case the borrower defaults.

The catch for most business owners is that if they had money sitting in reserve they wouldn't need a loan.

According to Kathie Sowa, a commercial banking executive at Bank of America Corp., one of the nation's largest small-business lenders, basic underwriting standards haven't changed: Cash flow must be sufficient to support the loan, and there must be a secondary source of repayment. That collateral was typically a combination of accounts receivables, inventory, real estate, equipment, and other business or personal assets.

But since real-estate and equipment values have plummeted, she says, business owners who may have landed loans in the past are now falling short of having sufficient assets. Cash can make up the difference.

Tony Corso, owner of Mi-Box Moving & Storage, has been tripped up by the collateral gap. He wants to buy more trucks and storage containers to meet brisk customer demand, which will increase cash flow at his two-year old business, he says. But the banks that have entertained the loan applications from Mr. Corso's West Haverstraw, N.Y., firm are willing to help finance those purchases only under conditions Mr. Corso can't afford, he says.

Three banks have asked that Mr. Corso use all the assets of his business as collateral—including his accounts receivables, containers, trucks and forklifts—and sign a personal guarantee, he says. Plus, he says he would have to deposit cash into a bank account, equal to the amount of the loan, which Mr. Corso had hoped would be at least $250,000.

"The loan requirements are so onerous," says Mr. Corso, who says Mi-Box pulled in $150,000 in revenue last year and hopes to break even this year.


Abound Solar which employs Russell Kanjorski, Congressman Paul Kanjorski's nephew, had no problem securing a $400 million FEDERAL LOAN GUARANTEE by the Department of Energy.

The same company, formerly called AVA Solar and now known as Abound Solar Manufacturing, received a $3 million federal grant in 2008.

Kanjorski said the loan guarantee was just "coincidental".

I guess Kanjorski's "Too Big To Fail" Amendment included parachute provisions for Abound Solar.

Small business owners are not included in the "too big to fail" category despite the immediate impact on their families, their employees, and their employee's families. If you are a Kanjorski possibilities "ABOUND" to minimize your consequences from bankruptcy, not once but twice, after all its the "CORNERSTONE" of their philosophical trademark.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Yudichak Leads Effort To Reform Pennsylvania Government

In this Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article by Ashley Mannings and Brad Bumsted State Rep. John Yudichak is credited with leading the effort to reform the way Pennsylvania government accounts to its citizens.

"This effort is aimed at making sure we do not repeat the past mistakes," said Rep. Eugene DePasquale, D-York. "We have a lot of work needed to get Pennsylvania back on track."

"Our freedoms and liberties, guaranteed and enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, are under attack, and the threat is from within," said Rep. Curt Schroder, R-Chester County.

Schroder and DePasquale, with Rep. John Yudichak, D-Luzerne County, and Rep. Mike Vereb, R-Montgomery County, unveiled their proposal outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

"This legislation is a step in the right direction," said Vereb, a former police officer. "A Public Integrity Commission with law enforcement powers will be able to root out corruption and make government more transparent for all citizens of Pennsylvania."


House Majority Leader Todd Eachus first won his seat with the support of State Rep. Bill DeWeese, now facing serious charges in the Bonusgate matter and headed to trial. Todd Eachus previously said he was "proud" to introduce Robert Powell, now admitted criminal, formerly associated  with Gladstone Partners, many times at public announcements regarding the proposed Hazleton Cargo Airport. Todd Eachus previously stood at the podium and introduced now admitted criminal Greg Skrepenak at the proposed cargo airport press conferences.

According to a January, 2010 article by Brad Bumsted [Former staffer John Paul Jones said he was brought onto Eachus' staff "solely" to do political work. He said he had a "beard assignment" that he was supposed to be working on "alternative energy" issues.

"But you didn't study alternative energy?" a prosecutor asked him. "No," Jones told the grand jury.

Jones testified that Eachus wanted to spend "soft dollars" through state-paid public service announcements so the campaigns would spend less of their resources.

There were occasions, Jones testified, where he and another aide were called in to provide staff support so Eachus could make fundraising calls in his office.]


I wonder when Todd Eachus is going to lead the charge for reform and greater transparency in Pennsylvania government.

Monday, July 26, 2010

DeWeese Held Over For Trial



A hearing was held today concerning charges leveled against State Representative Bill DeWeese in the Bonusgate investigation by AG Corbett's office. DeWeese stepped down earlier this year as House Majority Whip as a result of the charges but refuses to resign his office. He won the Democratic renomination for his office by the voters in his district in the spring.

The Post Gazette reported that Kevin Sidella, one of his aides, testified earlier today about the magnitude of campaign work he performed for DeWeese at the expense of Pennsylvania taxpayers.

Legislative aide Kevin Sidella was disenchanted with his assigned tasks of arranging meals and car washes for his boss, state Rep. Bill DeWeese, and there wasn't enough legitimate work to go around.

That's why he took on campaign fundraising, Mr. Sidella testified this morning in a preliminary hearing for Mr. DeWeese, D-Waynesburg.

"There was only so much work to go around. There wasn't a lot of work left," said Mr. Sidella, who is testifying under a grant of immunity.

Prosecutors now say it was a crime for Mr. DeWeese to keep Mr. Sidella on state payroll while his work days were consumed with political work. Mr. Sidella said he maintained the campaign check book, provided talking points for Mr. DeWeese's fund-raising phone calls and dug up dirt on political opponents.

It is illegal to use state resources for political work.


As Tracey Mauriello reported this afternoon DeWeese's defense was "We all did it" mentality.

Asked whether he was concerned that political work was being done on state time, Mr. DeWeese told the grand jury this: "That was not unusual. That was part of the culture. Looking back it was wrong. We shouldn't have done it but it was part of the political culture on Capitol Hill."


Prosecutors said Ms. DeWeese's own words helped them make their case during a preliminary hearing today.

"The defendant has clearly admitted to the crimes with which he was charged," prosecutor Kenneth Brown said.

Mr. DeWeese's attorney, William C. Costopoulos, disagreed, saying the Democratic state representative from Waynesburg "has not admitted to any crime" and that the charges against him are politically motivated and petty.

Whether he is guilty will be up to a jury.


It's a wonder with that statement why DeWeese went to trial.

DeWeese encouraged his protege Todd Eachus to run for Tom Stish's seat in 1995. DeWeese and his cronies poured money into successfully getting Eachus elected and Stish ousted. DeWeese mounted Stish's parking space sign on the marble fireplace in his office, so in his words, "he would never, ever forget."

Funny how life has a way of biting one in the arse.

Here is a report from Brad Bumsted of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review outlining testimony concerning Todd Eachus's role in the Bonusgate matter.

In grand jury testimony, former aides identify him as aggressive and portray a politically ambitious lawmaker climbing the ladder in the House. He previously served as policy committee chairman and also chaired the House Democratic Campaign Committee.

Former staffer John Paul Jones said he was brought onto Eachus' staff "solely" to do political work. He said he had a "beard assignment" that he was supposed to be working on "alternative energy" issues.

"But you didn't study alternative energy?" a prosecutor asked him. "No," Jones told the grand jury.

Jones testified that Eachus wanted to spend "soft dollars" through state-paid public service announcements so the campaigns would spend less of their resources.

There were occasions, Jones testified, where he and another aide were called in to provide staff support so Eachus could make fundraising calls in his office.


From the Seattle Times: But Eachus told WNEP-TV in Scranton this week that he was shocked and saddened "to see colleagues of ours having problems. But I say this, that anyone who has created a problem should face justice."

Maybe the local Northeastern Pennsylvania media outlets would like to explain why this information hasn't made it to print here when it makes all the way to Seattle.

The History Of The Number of Representatives In Pennsylvania Government

The next time a state representative or senator talks about the size of the legislature here are some facts for consideration from the state website.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY

In 1967, the Pennsylvania Constitution was amended to set the number of House members at 203.

When the House of Representatives first met in 1682, there were 42 members. By the early 1700s, that number dropped to 24 and then steadily increased to 76 by 1776.

In creating the Senate, the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1790 stipulated that this body should be no smaller than one-fourth of the House of Representatives and no larger than one-third, but it set no maximum for the House. When the House reached 100 members in 1855, a constitutional amendment in 1857 set that as the limit.

The Constitution of 1873 increased the Senate (then at 33 members) to 50 and set the House at a minimum of 200. Every county was guaranteed at least one member, regardless of its population.

The House peaked at 210 members for five sessions from 1955 until 1963. In order to adhere to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of "one person, one vote," the Pennsylvania Constitution was amended to provide for 203 House members from districts "nearly equal in population." The first House to meet that standard convened in 1967.

John D. Forester Jr.'s Take On A Full Time Legislature

Yesterday, John D. Forester, Jr. penned this opinion in the Reading Eagle of the Pennsylvania legislature's claims to being a full time body.

I have a full-time job.

So far this year, I've taken one week of vacation and a few personal days, and I was off New Year's Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day. Not to mention weekends.

Still, I've managed to put in 130 workdays so far in 2010.

That's a full-time job.

State lawmakers also have full-time jobs.

So far this year, members of the House of Representatives have worked a total of 46 days, while members of the Senate have put in 44 workdays.

That's a full-time job?


State Senator Daylin Leach(leech of taxpayers money) tried to counter that opinion earlier this year with an op-ed column of his own. He blasted the Bonusgate Jury conclusion that Pennsylvania should return to a part time legislature. Yes, at one time Pennsylvania did have a part time legislature. In fact Pennsylvania only had 100 representatives in the 1800's.

Recently, the Pennsylvania Bonusgate grand jury issued a report which has received a great deal of media attention. This report had nothing to do with the specific criminal charges against specific individuals it investigated. This report was an extremely rare supplemental grand pronouncement on the state of our government, along with numerous recommendations for restructuring the entire Legislature.

The methodology, conclusions and recommendations of the report are, in many respects, dead wrong.

But because the grand jury's methodology was incomplete given its self-appointed role as the re-inventor of state government, its members' factual findings were often inaccurate. And given that, the recommendations based upon those findings were, for the most part, ill-conceived.

They also say being a Pennsylvania legislator should not qualify as full-time work. Wrong again. Most legislators spend 70 to 80 hours per week, every week, at their jobs and still struggle to keep up.


Inaccurate information leads to poor recommendations. Sure, some of the technical suggestions, such as consolidating House printing offices, might have merit, but their broad policy suggestions would do great harm to our state if implemented.

For example, a part-time Legislature is a terrible idea. We make decisions affecting tens of billions of dollars in complicated policy areas such as transportation, health care, criminal justice and economic development. In some matters, such as abortion, the death penalty and access to medical care, our decisions literally have life and death consequences.


Of course Senator Leach is way off the mark with his comments.

Nathan Benefield, director of policy research for the Commonwealth Foundation wrote an Opinion in The Mercury making the case for a part time Pennsylvania legislature.

Ask Pennsylvanians what comes to mind when they hear the words "state government," and the responses will regularly include corruption, late budgets, cronyism, wasteful spending, and ineffectiveness. In a January Franklin & Marshall College poll, only 16 percent of Pennsylvania voters said the state legislature was doing a "good" job.

It's not surprising, then, that the idea of returning Pennsylvania's Legislature to part-time is gaining steam given the lack of trust in our elected officials.

With a price tag that's grown to $300 million, Pennsylvania's 253-member General Assembly is the most expensive (and second largest) state legislature in the country. It's also among the four most "professionalized" in the nation, with staff totaling nearly 3,000. For perspective, the legislatures of Illinois and Ohio — the states closest in population to Pennsylvania — have 1,023 and 465 staff, respectively.

The annual salary for rank-and-file Pennsylvania legislators ($78,314) is the fourth-highest in the country.

There is a direct link between our full-time Legislature and our state economy. A Commonwealth Foundation analysis shows a strong connection between legislative professionalization and higher spending per capita, a higher tax burden, and less economic freedom. Specifically, each increase in the level of professionalization results in an estimated $441 increase in spending per person, and a 0.4 percent increase in taxes as a percentage of income. For highly professionalized legislatures, like Pennsylvania's, the effect is five times those estimates.

In contrast, consider the case of Texas. The Lone Star State has twice the population of Pennsylvania and is four times the size of the Keystone State geographically. Yet, the Texas legislature meets once every two years for 140 days to produce a biennial budget. When Texas lawmakers need to deal with emergency situations or revise their budget, they return for a limited, special session. During its 2007 session, Texas' legislature passed 1,672 bills, while Pennsylvania's full-time General Assembly passed less than one-fifth that number.

Over the last two years, Texas has created more jobs than Pennsylvania and the other 48 states combined!

The Department of Justice gives Pennsylvania an "F" for its limited disclosure of legislators' assets, holdings, and related information. A December 2008 USA TODAY analysis of Department of Justice statistics ranks Pennsylvania tied with Florida as the 11th most corrupt state in the union (with 4.5 public officials convicted for every 100,000 residents).


Brad Bumsted of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review chimed in with his own Opinion this weekend.

In all, 27 legislators, former lawmakers and staffers have been accused of crimes since 2008. That counts the federally indicted Fumo and former state Rep. Frank LaGrotta, D-Lawrence County, sentenced to House arrest after pleading guilty to two felony counts of conflict of interest.

The Ories, DeWeese and Perzel maintain their innocence.

The surge in corruption cases, at least in the public's mind, hasn't yet reached critical mass. It will unfortunately take more charges before the public demands a complete and thorough overhaul of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Legislators have used state tax money as their own, creating an Incumbency Protection Program that has perverted representative government and robbed Pennsylvanians of fair elections.


The title of Bumsted's Opinion says it all "When will enough be enough?"

Friday, July 16, 2010

Peter Paul Moses GUILTY!!

All this week the media reported on the trial of Peter Paul Moses, former Luzerne County College admininstrator. Well, it's official. A jury found Peter Paul Moses guilty of all theft charges related to stealing 17-thousand-dollars from LCCC and two computers.

Ed Mitchell's WILK RANT

Yesterday on WILK Steve Corbett read an email sent by Ed Mitchell to him about Lou Barletta. Here is the response to part of the substance of his claims.

Fact 1: Hazleton is not nor can it be bankrupt And it is not broke either- Why? Have Ed Mitchell personally supply me with the bankruptcy filing for Hazleton. It doesn't exist. Wilkes Barre is in financial hardship and so is Scranton. Scranton's been in Act 47 for since 1992. Is Mitchell crowing about Doherty? Even Reading is in financial distress. Heck the country is in financial distress.

Hazleton's property tax millage is currently at 2.38 due to reassessment. Previously the millage was 25 mills with another 5 mills permitted by Luzerne County Court every year for a total of thirty mills per Third Class City Code. Hazleton was at 30 mills for at least 30+ years leaving it cash strapped over time with ever increasing costs.

After reassessment the millage was dropped to 1.4 last year. Hazleton City Council approved an increase to 2.38 this year. Since Third Class City Code permits cities like Hazleton to assess up to 25 mills it has a long way to go before it will ever be bankrupt or broke.

On the contrary unlike the federal government that can keep printing money Hazleton is trying to live within its means. It is reducing spending and laying off personnel. Their audit will prove those facts to be true for this year. They are not running up accumulated debt unlike Maryann Petrilla and theDemocrats of Luzerne County(last report $466 million), Ed Rendell, Todd Eachus and Pennsylvania( $40 billion or a 73% increase since 2002 ), and Barack Obama and Paul Kanjorski($13 Trillion and counting ).

Barletta found alternative solutions to prevent tax hikes before reassessment when Hazleton's tax rate was stalled at 25 mills by the same law for over 30 years. Imagine trying to run a business with the same income for the last 30 years(his tenure the last ten of those) while everything else went up. And he doesn't want to raise taxes although he and council were forced to this year just to keep the city operating.

It is true that property taxes were raised 70% this year but it amounts to $98.00 per $100,000.00 assessment and hadn't been raised for over 30 years. Since the average home in Hazleton is valued at less than $100,000.00 the impact is not as bad as it could be. Hazleton City government was sensitive to the burden it would place on taxpayers. Coupled with that tax increase was pending layoffs that will start next week.

Instead of raising taxes the City has an opportunity to sell the water assets of the HCA which is permitted by Pennsylvania law. Water rates may increase but they are going to increase anyway. There are too many miles of 80 year old water lines in Hazleton to prevent that from occurring. And the fiscal impact of water rates will monetarily be less than the tax consequences.

Fact 2: Citing the report in Hazleton's unemployment is totally inaccurate.- Why? The official from the state who was in charge of those figures stated they were misleading and should not be relied on from a statistical sense. "Sholly said the figure is a little misleading:" It should be no surprise that neither Mitchell nor Kanjorski would want to be honest about that fact.

Hazleton does not have industrial parks located within its boundaries. The Valmont Industrial Park, Humboldt Industrial Park, the McAdoo Industrial Park, and the Butler Industrial Park are all located outside its boundaries. The reason any figure on Hazleton is misleading is due to the residency of the people employed in those parks. Anyone working outside of Hazleton who is laid off would be counted as a residential statistic of Hazleton, not the place where they are employed
( "Data refer to place of residence ") .

That is the reason the government created Local Area Unemployment Statistics. In order for your statistics to be valid the sample must be broad enough to be meaningful, therefore it is better to look at a region or county. Here is a link to a state file that shows unemployment by county on page 12. Look at this chart located on the CanDo web page showing that unemployment in Luzerne County has been steadily rising.

Companies in those parks include ADM, Cargill, Hershey, OfficeMax, Nature's Bounty, Amazon, Quebecor, Autozone, and more. Those are national companies. The reason people are getting laid off is due to the national economy, not lack of sales to local merchants or customers. It is Paul Kanjorski and Barack Obama policies that are responsible for the national trends, not Lou Barletta.

Kanjorski made the claim that the stimulus program would create/save 7,700 jobs in his district when it was passed.

Any unemployment figure reported for Luzerne County or Hazleton for that matter is reflective of the ineffectiveness of the stimulus program to really create jobs. A look at Recovery.gov shows that only 131 jobs were created in the 11th Congressional district for the first quarter of this year. And the cost to create those jobs was over $329 million. What a dismal showing and hardly anywhere near 7,700.

"It's certainly is a very big stimulus bill, a very big stimulus bill, some politicians give you a lot less substance than their political rhetoric" I hear Clara Peller calling out to Paul Kanjorski "Where's The Jobs"?

Barletta Lead Kanjorski In Fundraising This Quarter

In this article by Andrew Seder it was disappointing to read the headline. Instead of highlighting that Lou Barletta outraised Paul Kanjorski this quarter in campaign contributions the headline reads "Carney, Kanjorski rolling up fundraising leads".

You will find this statement buried in the article.

Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta received $15,482 more than 13-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke the past quarter.

A significant fact left out of Seder's report is that Paul Kanjorski is over $1 million behind in fundraising when you compare his "Cash On Hand At Close Of Reporting Period" highlighted in this report. On the July, 2008 report Kanjorski states there was $2,174,387.47 on hand. On the July, 2010 report Kanjorski only has $1,058,311.12 on hand.

If you look at Carney's figures he has $792,891.83 on hand this quarter according to this July, 2010 report .

For the same report in 2008 he had $1,149,388.00 on hand or a 32% reduction.

That fact points to the difficulty being reported in the national media that Democrats are having a difficult time fundraising this year. In the words of Joe Biden I believe a 32% and a 50% reduction between 2008 and 2010 is a "big **** deal".

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Robert Gibbs? & "Rookie Mistake"

Poll: Barletta Leads Kanjorski 56% to 37%

According to a story by Tricia Miller at CQ Politics an internal poll conducted by the Lou Barletta campaign shows that Barletta is leading Kanjorski 56% to 37%.

A poll commissioned by his campaign shows Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta (R) leading 13-term Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D) 56 percent to 37 percent.

The Tarrance Group surveyed 400 likely voters on July 12 and 13. Its poll has a margin of error of 4.9 percent.

This is the third time Barletta has challenged Kanjorski.

He lost in 2002, and in 2008 he held Kanjorski to less than 52 percent.

Barletta announced his first TV ad buy earlier this week, a 30-second spot that is now airing on cable and network TV in the Scranton-Wilkes Barre market.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Silent No More : The Liberal Nightmare

Pennsylvania Wants To Be First To Use Taxpayer Money To Fund Abortions

Obama Administration Approves First Direct Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Through New High-Risk Insurance Pools
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
By Susan Jones, Senior Editor

(CNSNews.com) - If you want proof that President Obama's Executive Order on taxpayer-funded abortion was a sham, look no further than Pennsylvania, says House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio).

Boehner and other Republicans point to reports that the Health and Human Services Department is giving Pennsylvania $160 million to set up a new high-risk insurance pool that will cover any abortion that is legal in the state.

"The fact that the high-risk pool insurance program in Pennsylvania will use federal taxpayer dollars to fund abortions is unconscionable," Boehner said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Just last month at the White House, I asked President Obama to provide the American people with a progress report on the implementation of his Executive Order, which purports to ban taxpayer-funding of abortions. Unfortunately, the President provided no information, and the American people are still waiting for answers."


Ask your legislator where they stand on this issue? More importantly ask them why they didn't tell you they were seeking this permission?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Together Paul Kanjorski And Barack Obama Said They Would Make This A Better America

Oil Spill Timeline Update Day 84 from RightChange on Vimeo.

Our Children's Children's Burden- Our Fiscal Cancer

Debtocracy: As a president, it's one thing to know you have a big fiscal problem. It's quite another when a panel you appointed tells you the policies you have in mind will only make things worse.

You can read all about it here.

By some estimates, total U.S. commitments for entitlements total $107 trillion over the next 75 years or so. That's an unpaid tax bill of $912,000 per household, or $351,000 for each child born today.

Pictures Say A Thousand Words



ARE THE TWO INTERCONNECTED!! OH YEAH!!!

ObamaCare: Dream Turned Nightmare

Barletta Hits The Airwaves First- Proven Leader Who Makes Tough Decisions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Shawn Kelly, Communications
Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hazleton, PA – The congressional campaign for Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta announced today that it would begin airing its first television ad on both network and cable stations starting Wednesday, July 14.
The 30-second spot highlights Mayor Barletta’s accomplishments and the tough stances he has taken as mayor.

Mayor Barletta said, “Our strong fundraising efforts have allowed us to begin our TV campaign sooner than expected. Paid media is a part of every campaign, but it should not be the only part. I hope Paul Kanjorski will change his mind and agree to meet me in a series of town halls and debates across the district over the next three months.”

“This is our initial ad and we plan to rotate it with other commercials in the weeks and months to come. We felt it was important to get Lou Barletta’s record of accomplishment and positive message out to the voters. The ad will run for indefinite period of time, and we will likely change things up as we head into the busiest part of the vacation season,” said Lance Stange, campaign manager for Lou Barletta.



Kanjorski's Pothole

In a sign that incumbents like Paul Kanjorski face a daunting challenge to retain their seats in Congress a new ABCNews/Wahsington Post poll out more than suggests the frustration Americans have with their elected officials.

A year and a half into his presidency, 51 percent in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll would rather have the Republicans run Congress "to act as a check on Obama's policies," vs. 43 percent who want the Democrats in charge to help support those policies. That's accompanied by a 7-point, one-month drop in approval of Obama's handling of the economy, to a career low.

While Democrats are most at risk, the danger's not theirs alone. Registered voters by 62-26 percent are inclined to look around for someone new for Congress rather than to re-elect their current representative – the broadest anti-incumbency on record in ABC/Post polls since 1989. Backing for incumbents has lost 11 points since February, an unusually steep decline. There are other signs of raging discontent: ABC's Frustration Index remains well in the red zone, at 67 on its scale of 0 to 100, right where it's been all year. It's reached higher just twice, likewise in times of deep economic trouble – in fall 2008, 80; and in 1992, 73.

If the question has been when Obama owns the economy , it looks to be now – not at a happy time, given 9.5 percent unemployment. He'd made slight progress on this key issue, inching ahead from 45 percent approval on the economy in March to 50 percent in June. That's now gone, down 7 points in this poll to 43 percent, with 54 percent disapproving, a new high. And "strong" disapprovers outnumber strong approvers by a record 41 percent vs. 20 percent.

Saying the economy's getting better, moreover, may not help Obama and the Democrats, and indeed could hurt. Just 27 percent in this poll see it improving, not significantly different from 30 percent last month, and surely not on the way up. Claiming the economy was advancing when most Americans didn't see it was the precisely the pothole that swallowed George H.W. Bush in his unsuccessful re-election bid in 1992.


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

Hit The Deck Event

Gort(the ever famous organizer of great events of liberal libation or "libaciĆ³n liberal de las pociones de jour" , now you don't think he would organize a "conservative" one do you?? LOL!) invites you to "Hit the Deck" on Friday, July 16 at 5:00pm.

The Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society will gather on the Big Deck at Dan's Keystone Grill 162 Union St. Plains, PA 18702 this Friday, July 16th from 5 to 10PM.

This a gathering of bloggers, readers, political types, friends and anyone else that is interested. All are welcome.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lou Barletta Campaign Donation Figures

The following was released today by the Press Corp of the Lou Barletta For Congress headquarters.

Dear Reporter Covering PA-11:

The Lou Barletta for Congress Second Quarter filling with the FEC will be done Thursday, July 15, at which time the final raised to date and cash on hand numbers will be public.

The numbers are not final yet, but we wanted to give you a few early highlights.

Lou Barletta for Congress has raised more than $500,000 since our kickoff in mid-December, and we are ahead of where we were in 2008 at this point.

The campaign has more than 10,000 individual donors. Lou has received contributions from almost every state in the union. These contributions are from American citizens who see there are serious problems in Washington, D.C., and want to help Lou Barletta bring much-needed fiscal responsibility and common sense to Congress.

And next Monday, Lou Barletta will host former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for the campaign’s first major fundraiser.

Lou Barletta has said all along that if he raises $1 million, he will win this election. So far, we’re ahead of where we need to be in terms of that goal, so Lou is confident his campaign will have the resources we need to win.

We realize our opponent has and will continue to raise huge sums of money from Wall Street and Washington, D.C.; however, we feel great about our fundraising efforts, and we are on pace to surpass the 2008 numbers. We don’t expect to outspend our opponent, but we will have the funds needed to win this race.

“‘TV by itself won’t win a race for you. You don’t have to spend as much money as your opponent.’ A candidate must raise enough money ‘to get your message out.’” – Ed Mitchell, spokesman and media consultant for U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, Scranton Times, 25 May 08

Sunday, July 11, 2010

AVA Solar Makes A New Debute- Kanjorski Family Hits The Obama Jackpot




Here is the lead off story in the DailyCaller.
Obama awards huge loan guarantees to solar companies promising scant jobs gains

Paul supported legislation that passed the House in December to authorize billions of dollars for research into sustainable energy sources such as wind energy, biofuels, and solar energy,” the congressman’s website reads

Lightining Strikes In The Same Place How Many Times??

To Kanjorski Supporters, please explain your reasoning for allowing this type of exploitation. During the last election I wrote about AVA Solar and Russel Kanjorski's ties to a $3 million dollar subsidy from the government. Solar Power Authority penned this piece about the company.

A solar energy startup company in Fort Collins, CO has been getting lots of attention since announcing plans to build a factory and hire as many as 500 people in the next two years. The name of the company is AVA Solar (which stands for Air Vacuum Air) and they have developed a process for making inexpensive solar cells by depositing thin films on architectural plate glass. The process was developed by several researchers from Colorado State University led by W.S. Sampath. The researchers started AVA Solar specifically to go into business manufacturing solar panels based on this new process.

Business Wire lists this company profile about the AVA Solar including contact information for Russell Kanjorski. Here's a link to an article from September 14, 2007 quoting Russell Kanjorski about AVA Solar entering the solar arena.

In this article Russell Kanjorski boasts about the "tens of millions" raised for the company. Russ Kanjorski is quoted in this article that the company raised $104 million dollars for its operation. In this piece Russ Kanjorski talks about the grant they recieved from the Energy Department. Apart from the venture capital investment, the company received two rounds in 2007 and a grant from the Energy Dept. as a winner of the Solar America Initiative.

Read this article that highlights their initial grant of $ 3 million from the Department of Energy in 2007.

AVA uses a proprietary semiconductor process to manufacture a sheet of glass into ready-to-install cadmium telluride panels, Abely said. The company plans to focus primarily on the utility market when it starts shipping panels in 2009, he said.
“We will be very cost competitive in that market,” Abely said.

New investor DCM led the funding round, with participation from Technology Partners, GLG Partners and Bohemian Companies. Also participating was The Invus Group, who led AVA’s first round of an undisclosed value in June 2007. That same month, the company secured a Department of Energy grant for $3 million.

A seed round in February 2007 included investors John Hill, founder of Hill Carmen Ventures, and Doug Schatz, co-founder of Advanced Energy Industries, both of whom now sit on AVA’s board. The company was founded in January 2007.


Now comes this story from WeeklyStandard.com- One Job Forward, Two Jobs Back.

The Great Obamanomic Job Creation Machine rumbled into action again over the Fourth of July weekend, promising to spend as much as $2 billion to support creation of 1,585 “permanent” jobs by two solar energy companies. That comes to a potential cost of over $1.25 million per job.

Paul, what was that cost per parking space at Hazleton's Intermodal Center??

In his weekly radio address on July 3, President Obama chided the Republicans for failing to climb aboard his job-creation bandwagon, which he claims—against strong evidence to the contrary—has created or saved 2.8 million jobs over the past year. And he isn’t finished. He vowed “to keep competing aggressively to make sure the jobs and industries of the future are taking root right here in America.”

In fact, today, I’m announcing that the Department of Energy is awarding nearly $2 billion in conditional commitments to two solar companies.

The second company is Abound Solar Manufacturing, which will manufacture advanced solar panels at two new plants, creating more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs. .  .  ..


Wait a minute...It used to be AVA Solar.

First is the willingness to commit huge sums of money for the creation of comparatively few jobs in favored industries. Abound Solar is supposed to create 1,500 “permanent” jobs, while Abengoa Solar is promising just 85 “permanent” jobs, according to the Department of Energy fact sheet, at its plant in Arizona. Add another 3,600 construction jobs, which will disappear after the three plants are built, and the cost per job created still amounts to $386,000—which is more than seven times the median household income in this country.

The Department of Energy’s commitment to the two companies comes in the form of loan guarantees rather than outright grants. The guarantees put them ahead of other private companies in the borrowing and investment queue—including companies that could be the next Apple or Microsoft. And they put public money at risk in the service of people who are out for private gain. The risk is real.

Russell Kanjorski, the vice president for marketing at Abound Solar, was one of the principals in another energy company in northeast Pennsylvania, called Cornerstone Technologies LLC, which attracted $9 million in federal grants before it halted operations in 2003 and later filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. As reported by the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, “Cornerstone reported $14,100 in assets compared with $1.34 million in debt” in its bankruptcy filing. The $9 million in federal grants to Cornerstone were earmarked by Kanjorski’s uncle, Representative Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania, chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises.



You can read the Times-Tribune reporter Charles Schillinger's story here. Ed Mitchell's comments.

His nephew works for the company, but is an executive and has nothing to do with securing federal projects, I don't believe," said spokesman Ed Mitchell. "The congressman doesn't know any of the executives of the company and has had no contact with them.

"The congressman has also had no contact with anyone in the administration to get the (loan commitment), and that's what it comes down to," he added.
Okay Ed keep the BS flowing.

About job creation let's go back to the WeeklyStandard.

The same point may be made about everything the government does with the purported goal of boosting the economy and creating jobs. In making the case last year for the $787 billion stimulus bill, Obama and the Democrats claimed it would stop unemployment from going above 8 percent. Instead unemployment climbed to 10 percent and has remained at or near that level ever since. Rather than admit error, the administration is now claiming that the stimulus has kept unemployment from going up to about 12 percent.

Ed Mitchell, Paul Kanjorski...what did you want to crow about Hazleton's unemployment??

Lou Balretta Wins

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mr. Kanjorski Where's The Jobs?

A look on Recovery.gov, the U.S. government’s official website, that provides America and the world easy access to data related to Recovery Act spending provides some interesting information about the results for the 10th and 11th Congressional districts so far.

If you look at this chart you will see that the reported jobs for the 1st quarter of this year show that the 10th Congressional district rated 9th while the 11th Congressional district ranked 15th. So much for Paul Kanjorski's claims of seniority, not that either district did so well. 176 jobs vs 131 jobs doesn't sound like it commands a resounding applause.

When you compare what was spent to get those jobs as referenced in this chart you will see that the 11th Congressional district outspent the 10th Congressional district by $329 million to $296 million.
Basically $33 milllion more was spent to get 45 less jobs. Why isn't Paul Kanjorski razing cane about that fact? Is he too consumed patting himself on the back over financial reform that turned out to be a joke?

The real joke is on his constituents. In 2009 he proclaimed that the stimulus bill would create/save 7,700 jobs in his district.

The $787 billion economic stimulus package signed Tuesday by President Barack Obama will save or create 7,700 jobs in the 11th Congressional District, said U.S. Rep Paul Kanjorski, D-11.

Kanjorski voted for the final version of the bill last week after voting against an earlier House version. His district includes Monroe County and all or parts of Luzerne, Lackawanna, Carbon and Columbia counties.

"While the final recovery bill is not perfect, nor does it address all my concerns, I strongly believe we must take quick action to help Americans who are struggling and help spur job creation," Kanjorski said in a statement.


It's pure politics when Ed Mitchell and Paul Kanjorski want to talk about the fictitious unemployment figure for Hazleton against Lou Barletta. The official from the state who are in charge of those figures more than once stated they were misleading and should not be relied on from a statistical sense. Sholly said the figure is a little misleading: It should be no surprise that neither Mitchell nor Kanjorski would want to be honest about that fact.

What is fact is that unemployment continues to rise in Northeastern Pennsylvania despite the expenditure of over $600 million dollars? Kanjo, why don't you give Lou Barletta $600 million and see how many jobs would be created? What's that? You wouldn't give him a dime. He already knows that by your strangulation with the Eachus as your accomplice of the money flow to the City.

Obama Collector Item

Kanjorski admits Administration dishonest about Financial Reform

Posted on Youtube by Montagnaman:

Congressan Paul Kanjorski at a FINRA event predicts dishonesty from the Obama Administration once Financial Reform is passed into law. He admits it will not prevent another crisis and talks about how he is looking forward to taking down the first company that poses a "systemic risk" as determined by the federal government regulators. Of course no mention of Fannie or Freddie.


Will he call this guy a "nut with a recorder"?


Friday, July 9, 2010

Milk Carton Democrat Paul Kanjorski Avoids Constituents



Milk Carton Democrat Paul Kanjorski does it again. According to the Hot Air article:

The sentiment that fueled the rage during those Congressional forums is still alive in the electorate. But the opportunities for voters to openly express their displeasure, or angrily vent as video cameras roll, have been harder to come by in this election year.

If the time-honored tradition of the political meeting is not quite dead, it seems to be teetering closer to extinction. Of the 255 Democrats who make up the majority in the House, only a handful held town-hall-style forums as legislators spent last week at home in their districts.


It was no scheduling accident.

Nancy Pelosi assured America that we would love ObamaCare as soon as it became law. Why then are Democrats putting themselves on milk cartons in their districts during recesses? If ObamaCare is such a great deal, wouldn’t these supporters be rushing to hold open forums to accept the love and gratitude of their constituents?


In this Times Leader article by Andrew Seder on June 18 he explores the issue of town hall meetings.

U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke, has announced that he will forego the face-to-face town hall meetings for telephone town halls once again this summer. It’s a decision he’s not alone in making. Other congressmen across the state, mainly Democrats, have also announced they either won’t be holding the traditional town hall gatherings in their districts or haven’t decided if they would. Now you have your definition of a Milk Carton Democrat- one who hides from his or her constiuents to avoid answering questions about their support for the Obama agenda.

Kanjorski goes on to state “I have held many town meetings over the years in many different formats. I have found that telephone town meetings can be especially effective because I can interact with as many as 8,000 Northeastern Pennsylvanians on a single phone call,” It's amazing no news outlet has asked Kanjorski to prove 8,000 people participated in his call and what their zipcodes were. Kanjorski has publicly stated that "anywhere from 25 or 50 people will show up at a town hall meeting." Yet he wants us to believe 8,000 will sit and listen with a phone in their ear to him.

Today Mr. Kanjorski found over 2 hours to spend time with four of his political cronies at Ferdinand's Restaurant on 15th Street in Hazleton. He entered the restaurant at about 12:45P.M. and proceeded to a back room. Gotta love those back room deals. I guess it is better than spending time with "anywhere from 25 or 50 people".

FINRA Event At Woodlands With Paul Kanjorski- Dog And Pony Show

Two days ago Congressman Paul Kanjorski appeared on the Steve Corbett Talk Show on WILK News Radio. At 10 minutes and 14 seconds he tries to proffer that HE has an "Open Town Hall Meeting" and "fortunately we have 300 people coming to it". Kanjorsk states that the event is "sponsored by FINRA" after he requested they put on the forum.

From his own remarks Kanjorski admits using a non-profit, FINRA, to sponsor a forum that is nothing more than a "political stump" for himself but at the expense of the non-profit.

According to their website (FINRA) The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. All told, FINRA oversees nearly 4,700 brokerage firms, about 167,000 branch offices and approximately 635,000 registered securities representatives.

In today's fast-paced and complex global economy, FINRA is a trusted advocate for investors, dedicated to keeping the markets fair, ensuring investor choice and proactively addressing emerging regulatory issues before they harm investors or the markets.
So how well did this "independent regulator" work to prevent our recent economic meltdown?

Larry Doyle, a Wall Street veteran, offers his perspective on this FINRA event involving Congressman Kanjorski at the Woodlands Resort in Plains on June 21, 2010.

I can be heard on The Sue Henry Show this morning, shortly after 11am ET. Sue’s show is broadcast on WILK Newsradio in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

We will be talking about our favorite financial regulator, FINRA. Representative Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) is scheduled for a dog and pony show with FINRA in early July (details here). The fact is, Kanjorski is a member of two Congressional subcommittees which received a letter from the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) questioning the very validity of the self-regulatory model on Wall Street. Those questions are embodied in my commentary from February 23rd, Is FINRA’s Future in Doubt?.

Kanjorski should forget the dog and pony show and call FINRA on the carpet to answer for the massive shortcomings and transgressions within its purview over the last few years..


In another post Mr. Doyle writes that FINRA member firm Amerivet Securities has submitted seven proposals to be included in the FINRA proxy materials. The FINRA board and executives owe their member firms, and ultimately America, the opportunity to address and then receive complete answers on each of these proposals.

Proxy Proposal 1 – Disclosure of Compensation of FINRA’s Top Ten Most Highly Compensated Employees

Proxy Proposal 2 – Independent Study of Current and/or Former FINRA Officer and/or Director Involvement with the Madoff Family- FINRA shall commission an independent study of the dealings between present and/or former FINRA officers and directors, on the one hand, and Bernard L. Madoff, members of his family and/or their respective affiliates on the other.

Proxy Proposal 3— – Transparency of FINRA Investment Policies, Practices and Transactions

Proxy Proposal 4—- FINRA Board of Governors Meetings to Be Made Public Except When Absolutely Necessary

Proxy Proposal 5 – “Say on Pay” for Top Five Most Highly Compensated FINRA Employees

Proxy Proposal 6 – Creation and Employment of an Independent Private Sector Inspector General- Beginning on September 1, 2010, FINRA shall employ an independent private sector inspector general (“Inspector”) on a standing basis to investigate claims of misconduct by FINRA executives and employees or others acting on its behalf.

Proxy Proposal 7 – Disclosure of IRS Correspondence Concerning $35,000 NASD Member Payment


Steve Corbett prided himself as a spokesperson for the masses. He usually is methodical on information. He explodes every time more corruption is exposed in Lackawanna and Luzerne County. I am having a hard time understanding his kids gloves treatment of Kanjorski. He should be pounding him hard over any group that has concerns over transactions by Bernie Madoff.

Steve, I challenge you to ask this question. Who paid for the food served at this forum? Free FINRA Investor Forum Featuring Top Regulators, Congressman Kanjorski Slated for July 8 in Wilkes-Barre

Admission to the forum, which includes a complimentary buffet dinner, is free – but because space is limited, registration is strongly encouraged. Those who wish to register may do so online at www.finra.org/investorforum/wilkes-barre or by calling toll-free (877) 586-2737.
Thursday, July 85:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Registration & Buffet Dinner
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Program

The Barletta campaign issued this press release about the FINRA event on June 29th.

“The FINRA event is nothing more than dinner theater from Paul Kanjorski and his Wall Street pals,” said Vince Galko, Mayor Barletta’s campaign spokesman. “Those who attend this event will be treated to dinner and a show, but they will not hear what Kanjorski should explain – how he can claim to remain a regulator of the industries that gave him more than $4.25 million in campaign cash.”

Was Larry Doyle's criticism the type that Corbett questioned Kanjorski about on his show?

Maybe Corbett should revisit his interview with Kanjorski and ask about FINRA's attachment to an alleged ponzi scheme as highlighted in this Fox Business News report- Al Lewis: Finra a Career Path to an Alleged Ponzi.

Regulators often join the ranks of the regulated.

It pays better.

But do they really have to become compliance officers for the biggest alleged Ponzi schemes in history?

Bernerd Young spent decades working for the National Association of Securities Dealers, which is now known as the Financial Industry
Regulatory Authority.

In July 2006, Young went to work for the now indicted and imprisoned R. Allen Stanford.

Finra barely makes mention of Young's embarrassing career move in a recent mea culpa report on how it missed the massive Bernie Madoff and Stanford debacles.

"Finra's Dallas office is a long-standing NASD-legacy office." the report said in a footnote. "From 1999 to 2003, the office was headed by Bernerd Young. In 2003, Young was replaced. ...

"After serving for a period of time as a securities industry consultant, Young was hired as the Managing Director of Compliance for the Stanford firm in June 2006, a position he held through 2009."

Finra, however, does not want anyone to get the idea that Stanford hired a former Finra guy to ward off Finra and sustain his alleged $7.5 billion Ponzi for a few more years.

"The interviews of current Finra employees and review of exam files identified no information to suggest that Young's presence at the firm compromised Finra's subsequent examinations," the report said.

Finra began getting tips that Stanford was running a massive Ponzi scheme in September 2003, the report said. But Finra failed to act upon them.

And, despite its lengthy report citing a litany of excuses, Finra has failed to understand why.

The report is based solely on interviews with Finra employees who dropped the regulatory balls. This is like interviewing stupid people to try to learn why they are so stupid.

Stupid people don't always know that they're stupid. And regulators don't always know a potential Ponzi scheme from a potential employer.

Young did not return an email and a phone call I placed to his office in The Woodlands, Texas.


Guess "the Woodlands" must have more than one meaning.

Finally read this article about the future of FINRA from the Wall Street Pit. The letter in it is the same letter referred to by Larry Doyle above.

Are the days of Wall Street’s self-regulatory organization known as FINRA numbered?

In the opinion of the very credible Project on Government Oversight, they should be. Why? Significant failures, massive conflicts of interest, and more. POGO’s comprehensive and scathing letter to four separate House and Senate committees touches upon every failing within FINRA, with the exception of the integrity of the proxy statement used in the formation of the organization itself. Strong allegations in a current lawsuit against FINRA make the case that Mary Schapiro lied verbally during roadshows and in the proxy statement.

America deserves to be introduced to the organization that, in my opinion, squarely has a foot in both the Wall Street and Washington camps. I make no excuses in categorically stating that FINRA defined the Wall Street-Washington incestuous relationship.

I have no interest in vindication of my writing so much about FINRA over the last thirteen months. I have every interest in exposing the issues embedded in this organization. America needs to truly learn about the issues surrounding FINRA and how and why this organization failed to uphold its charge to protect investors.

I congratulate POGO for bringing these issues to the Hill. I humbly submit and STRONGLY recommend you read, review, and share this letter with friends and colleagues.

The pursuit of truth, transparency, and integrity within the Wall Street financial regulatory system goes to a whole new level with this letter:

February 23, 2010

House Committee on Financial Services
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs
Senate Committee on Finance

Dear Chairman and Ranking Member:

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is writing to raise concerns that Congress’s efforts to reform the financial regulatory system have not adequately addressed the failures of the private self-regulatory organizations (SROs) that are tasked with protecting the investing public and maintaining the integrity of our financial markets. Specifically, we urge you to take a much closer look at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)–an SRO that regulates thousands of securities brokerage firms–and to consider whether FINRA can ever be an effective regulator given its cozy relationship with the securities industry.......

Sincerely,

Danielle Brian
Executive Director


And the cozy relationship with Paul Kanjorski.