Corbett A Real “Space Cadet” On Vote Suppression

October 30, 2010

And as you watch this, particularly at the very end, keep in mind that Corbett is the chief law enforcement officer in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

To respond, click here (and here).

You Want “Christie In PA”? Vote For Corbett.

July 7, 2010

The latest from Keystone Progress…

As out-of-state drilling companies plan thousands of new natural gas sites in Pennsylvania, the tragic spill in the Gulf has shown us just how dangerous drilling can be. In the next few years, it will be up to our state’s elected officials to make sure that all of the new drilling is done as safely and as responsibly as possible. Attorney General Tom Corbett is asking us to elect him as our next governor – to give him the power to regulate this industry and to protect our health and safety.

That’s why it’s so frightening that he’s accepted $360,000 from the natural gas interests he hopes to regulate. Perhaps more frightening, he’s accepted $3,000 in contributions from one of the worst polluters in the history of the world – Anadarko Petroleum, which co-owns the BP Deepwater Horizon well and holds the drilling rights to 33,000 acres of Pennsylvania’s public lands.

Click here to tell Mr. Corbett to give that money back!

On May 13, 2010, three weeks after the oil spill began, Corbett accepted a $3,000 contribution from the Texas based Anadarko Petroleum PAC. Anadarko owns 25% of the well that is destroying the Gulf of Mexico and has thus far refused to help pay to stop the leak, to clean up the mess, or to compensate victims.

Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania and Keystone Progress called on Mr. Corbett to return those funds and to refuse any further contribution from Anadarko until that company had fulfilled its responsibility to those affected by the tragedy in the Gulf.

Mr. Corbett refused.

As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported:

“Mr. Corbett said that, as the GOP nominee for governor, he was interested in how the company operated its Pennsylvania gas fields. ‘Anadarko is here in Pennsylvania,” he said in an interview. “We’re looking at their conduct in Pennsylvania.'”

If this company refuses to take responsibility for the incredibly public disaster in the Gulf, what makes him think that they’ll behave more responsibly in Pennsylvania? If he’s wants to be in charge of the state regulators who will ensure that drilling here is done safely, shouldn’t he refuse contributions from a company that has already proven itself a tremendous risk?

In 2006, Mr. Corbett told the graduates of Waynesburg College that: “responsibility means having the inner moral strength to always do what is right, even when those around you make other choices.”

So if Anadarko won’t take responsibility, it’s up to Mr. Corbett to publicly rebuke that company for its failings – just as we’d want him to hold them accountable if their drilling polluted Pennsylvania – and to give back their money. So far, he has refused. It’s up to us to remind him that protecting the health and safety of Pennsylvanians is the right choice to make:

Click here to demand that Corbett return Anadarko’s contributions.

Drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania has already caused explosions, poisoned drinking water and damaged food supplies. Nationwide, over 1000 instances of hazardous pollution from natural gas drilling sites have been reported. We don’t know how many have gone unreported. As more and more companies start to drill in Pennsylvania, our leaders and our regulators must be strong, independent and determined to put our safety first. Only engaged citizens like you can make that happen. Thank you.

For a clean, safe and healthy Pennsylvania,

Josh McNeil, Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania

Michael Morrill, Keystone Progress

And by the way, I recently watched the superb documentary “Gasland” by PA’s Josh Fox, and if anyone out there thinks that Corbett wouldn’t open up the Marcellus Shale for natural gas development and endanger the drinking water of millions in the process (from PA to NYC)…well, you must also believe in the Easter Bunny and sugar plum fairies.

Fortunately, we have a proven alternative (below).

Update: You know what? Commenter Dr. Jeff Gordon is absolutely right, and I was wrong to imply that Corbett and Onorato have differences on drilling in the Marcellus Shale. I was so preoccupied with Corbett that I didn’t realize how bad Onorato is as well on this matter. I have other differences with Corbett, such as closing the Florida gun loophole, which Onorato supports but Corbett considers a non-issue.

Being “green” is smart, but I don’t know how drilling for natural gas can fall under that category.

Update 7/13/10: I would say that this tells us about another important difference between Corbett and Onorato.

Update 7/15/10: And this is a pretty damn pathetic joke signed onto by Corbett also.

Corbett’s Conundrum Over Health Care Reform, Etc.

April 19, 2010

The latest from Michael Morrill and Keystone Progress…

The Office of Attorney General is one of the most important offices in all of government. The Attorney General, as the chief law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth, is responsible for the safety and security of all of the residents of Pennsylvania. The Attorney General has the power to file criminal and civil charges that can end a person’s life, lock someone in prison away from family and friends, and impose penalties that can eradicate a life’s savings.

It is therefore incumbent upon the Attorney General to not only impartially prosecute the laws of the Commonwealth, it is vital that he avoid even the appearance of bias.

In the last few weeks Attorney General Tom Corbett has come under almost daily criticism for appearing to be using the Office of Attorney General for political gain. Among the criticism are the following:

• Corbett has politicized the Office of Attorney General by joining in a highly partisan lawsuit to repeal the recently passed federal healthcare reform legislation. Corbett agreed to join the lawsuit before the bill was even written, meaning he made his decision before reading the legislation.

• Questions have been raised about the appearance of selective prosecution of legislators who may have used their legislative staff and offices to run political campaigns. Corbett has pursued the prosecution of mostly Democrats in what has become known as the “Bonusgate Scandal.” Recently, it has been reported that Corbett’s office did not investigate allegations against Republican State Senator Jane Orie.

• Corbett’s campaign staff has admitted that they had been planning to file their suit against the healthcare reform legislation even before he had read the bill, sending out a fundraising mailing in February saying that he is “leading the fight” against “government-run socialized medicine.”1,2

• Corbett has been accused of using his office and staff for his campaign for governor-the same charges he has brought against mostly Democratic lawmakers. 3

• Keystone Progress filed a Right to Know request on March 26 seeking correspondence between the Office of Attorney General and outside entities, seeking to determine if there were political motives behind the Corbett’s decision to join the lawsuit against healthcare reform. To date the AG’s office has not provided that information. 4

When there are so many concerns being raised it puts the integrity of the Office of Attorney General in serious question. The Attorney General’s judgment and actions cannot be doubted. His performance must be beyond reproach. That is why so many attorneys general, including Virginia Republican Bob McDonnell and New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte, have resigned when seeking a higher office.

After taking all of these factors into consideration, we have come to the conclusion that it is time for Mr. Corbett to resign as Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The people of the Commonwealth need to trust that the justice system will work impartially, but the clouds of doubt and suspicion that are engulfing Mr. Corbett are raising too many doubts.

We therefore urge Mr. Corbett to resign immediately. Click here to sign our petition, telling Attorney General Corbett to resign.

Michael Morrill
for Keystone Progress

We are not alone in our questions about the recent actions of Attorney General Corbett.

• The DuBois, PA Courier-Express has called Corbett’s anti-healthcare suit “grandstanding,” “specious,” and “showboating with taxpayer money.”5

• The Chambersburg Public Opinion said that the “accusations of hypocrisy warrant investigation.”6

• The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board says his lawsuit “clearly looks like a political ploy and a waste of state tax dollars.”7

• The York Daily Record said “his [Corbett’s] decision to join a lawsuit seeking to undo the recently passed health care reform package looks a lot like using state resources to make political hay.”8

• The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News editorial board declared that “Corbett has gone too far” by joining the anti-reform lawsuit.9

• The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that even some Corbett loyalists are questioning his motives. “‘He’s not representing the people of Pennsylvania, he’s representing the Republican Party,” said Ruth Kahn of Warminster.” Kahn is described as a “former Corbett supporter.”10

1 Philadelphia Daily News, April 2, 2010 (here)

2 Philadelphia Daily News, March 31, 2010 (here)

3 York Daily Record, March 27, 2010 (here)

4, March 26, 2010 (here)

5 Courier-Express, March 27, 2010 (here)

6 Chambersburg Public Opinion (here)

7 Philadelphia Inquirer, March 25, 2010 (here)

8 York Daily Record, March 26, 2010 (here)

9 Patriot-News, March 26, 2010 (here)

10 Philadelphia Inquirer, March 28, 2010 (here)

Ed Rendell once recently praised Corbett on “The Rachel Maddow Show.” After reading this, I cannot possibly imagine why.

And speaking of Corbett, here is an example of democracy in action from a couple of weeks ago.

It’s “More Health Care Hijinks” Monday!

August 10, 2009

  • I stumbled across some truly wankerific punditry by Sheryl Gay Stolberg in the New York Times yesterday in which she attempted to draw a faux equivalency between the “teabaggers” disrupting the town hall meetings (with this as the next logical step in their hooliganism, unfortunately) and members of the SEIU and other Dem-simpatico organizations trying to ensure order at these meetings and make their points in favor of reform. And I was all set to lay into Stolberg for it, but the good people at Media Matters did it for me here (h/t Eschaton).

    However, it looks like Stolberg’s playmate John Harwood is picking up right where she left off here…

    Spontaneous or contrived, the shouting, shoving and other shenanigans at lawmakers’ town-hall-style meetings point to one probable outcome: the demise of bipartisan health care negotiations.

    Those negotiations have proceeded tortuously all summer, with centrists on the Senate Finance Committee maneuvering around obstacles erected by the Democratic left, the Republican right and the White House.

    And what exactly would those “obstacles” be, Harwood? The public option, for example, supported by 70 percent of those polled, as Bob Cesca notes here?

    Or, as noted here (from July 30th)…

    When given a fairly detailed description of the plan they are pushing, Americans registered strong approval, with 56% saying they favor the plan versus 38% who oppose it.

    Many of these details, such as requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, haven’t been the focus of the congressional debate, which has centered on more controversial issues.

    Americans are persuadable but are not sold on what they hear on the news. Specific plans sell, but the opposition is well financed and quite skilled at obstruction.

    Uh, yep. And continuing with Harwood…

    …the rowdy start of the August Congressional recess has galvanized activists on both ends of the ideological spectrum. That makes it tougher for negotiators to stake out a middle ground — especially in conservative locales that Democratic centrists call home.

    “There are groups that are out there trying to disrupt public meetings with specific strategies that they have put on the Internet,” Senator Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat and one of the Finance Committee negotiators, said in an interview. “I mean, is that what we’ve come to in the United States, that we’re going to have people basically functioning as thugs?”

    Do you see where Harwood is going with this? The bland descriptor “groups…with specific strategies” from Kent Conrad (a guy who, as noted here, laughed when ads were run in his district reminding him of how important it is to do this right and include a public option) is used to tar those on both sides of this debate equally. And that of course leaves it to the Democratic “centrists” (re: Evan Bayh’s coalition of cowards in the Senate and the hopelessly compromised “Bush Dogs” in the House) to ensure that nothing of substance actually occurs anyway.

    Harwood also tells us the following…

    The backdrop is political danger for the president’s party, with fat budget deficits and high unemployment increasing the risk of traditional midterm election losses. In Mr. Conrad’s view, 2010 “could be a very challenging year.”

    Uh, Kent? Try unsucking your thumb, do your job and forget about the midterms, OK? If you won’t deliver, then there’s no sense worrying, since the result could be a foregone conclusion.

    Revamping one-sixth of the United States economy without Republican help would compound those anxieties. Yet many Democrats perceive greater risk in failing to deliver as Washington’s governing party — and stand ready to act under special “reconciliation” rules that would heighten partisan tensions by blocking Republican filibusters.

    And by the way, do you know who supports using reconciliation personally doesn’t support reconciliation on health care (which the Repugs used to ramrod Dubya’s horrific tax cuts through Congress when they were in charge) but acknowledged that the Dems could use it (update from comment below)? That noted “liberal” Dr. Bill Frist (here), that’s who.

    Also, on the subject of how those supporting health care reform are part of the same amorphous blob standing in the way of their prized notion of “bipartisanship” (to Harwood and Conrad’s thinking), I should point out that I actually have viewed some YouTube videos filmed by conservatives in St. Louis and Tampa where misbehavior against them is alleged, and as is always the case with these people, the films are heavily edited, no one is identified, and what you inevitably see is the aftermath of something having occurred that we know nothing about.

    On the other hand, if you watch any video filmed by a progressive (Mike Morrill in particular), everything and everyone is identified, questions are asked and answers are provided (if the respondents reply, that is), and you have the full context of what is going on. I know this is obvious stuff to people who pay attention, but I thought it should be pointed out anyway.

  • And what would health care demagoguery be without more from J.D. Mullane of the Bucks County Courier Times yesterday (here)…

    At the National Constitution Center a week ago, U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter looked spectral as a crowd of hundreds booed and jeered him and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a “town hall” meeting on health care.

    Across the country, members of Congress have been confronted by constituents demanding answers to questions regarding the prospect that the Obama Administration intends a GM-style takeover of medical care.

    See, never forget that, as far as J.D. is concerned, those who stand up and make every effort to shout down a member of Congress or someone in the Obama Administration from speaking on this issue or addressing a legitimate constituent concern, to say nothing of resorting to violence (such as hanging a member of Congress in effigy), are not bought-and-paid-for thugs courtesy of Dick Armey or Rick Scott, among others. They’re “constituents.”

    Sure they are.

    Anyway, Mullane then decides to confront Bob Casey, Jr. on this since he’s been “laying low,” which – shockingly – makes sense for J.D. since Casey is on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, from which the Senate bill has originated (I believe there is only one bill in the Senate, but I’m not positive). And in so doing, Mullane does his very best “cherry picking” of the draft bill…

    …under “Shared Responsibility” (p. 103), it mandates each citizen to purchase health insurance, or be fined. This means if you are healthy and young and starting out life on a shoestring budget and you need to spend your thin resources on rent and car payments, Bob Casey, Jr. has a message: Tough. Pay us, kid, or else.

    Then, something bizarre. On page 411 under “Data Analysis, Detection and Quality,” the bill instructs the health and human services secretary to “develop standards for the measurement of gender.”

    Unless Sen. Casey and his committee colleagues have top secret information, there are only two measurements of gender: (A) male and (B) female.

    And as a result, according to J.D…

    Casey Jr. told (a Politico) reporter that he wants Pennsylvanians to know that 10 Republicans who sit with him on the Health, Energy, Labor and Pensions committee voted against the committee’s mammoth health care reform bill.

    Republicans voted against national health care? Gee, stop the presses.

    My response…

    I read pgs. 103-107 of the draft of the Affordable Health Choices Act, and I think the following should be noted (by the way, you cannot directly access the .pdf from Casey’s web site – you need to go from the Casey site to the HELP Committee site and find the link there).

    What Subtitle D – Shared Responsibility for Health Care discusses beginning on pg. 103 is the individual tax liability for anyone who didn’t have “qualifying coverage.” However, there are exemptions noted in the draft of the legislation, such as for someone who didn’t have qualifying coverage for less than 90 days, for someone who does not reside in a “participating State or an establishing State” (as such terms are defined in section 3104 of the Public Health Service Act…I read over the legalese on that, and I’m a bit fuzzy on it, to tell you the truth), someone who is an enrolled member of a federally recognized Indian tribe, someone for whom affordable health care coverage is not available, or someone for whom “a payment…would otherwise represent an exceptional financial hardship.”

    Also, under his “measurement of gender” remarks concerning pg. 411, I hate to break the news to J.D., but there are lots of LGBT individuals out there who have health care needs also and thus deserve coverage.

    Of course for good measure, Mullane harks back at the end of the column to Casey’s father who “chose principle over party – paid the price for it, too.”

    Well, as long as J.D. decided to mention Casey Sr., the following should also be noted about Senator Casey’s father, PA’s former governor (here)…

    He lobbied unsuccessfully for universal health care in his state, but, failing that, as The New York Times reported in its May 31 obituary, “he did sign a bill providing health insurance for children whose families were too poor to pay for it but whose incomes were too high to be eligible for public assistance.”

    So Bob Casey, Sr. supported universal health care in his state, for which he “paid the price” at the hands of PA’s Repugs, J.D.’s ideological playmates (and which Casey’s son is now trying to help enact on the national level)?

    Gee, stop the presses.

  • And finally, as a response to the tactics of the town hall meeting disruptors, at least one Dem congressman has had enough (here), from Stephen Hayes at The Weakly Standard)…

    “The war’s on,” Representative Baron Hill (D-IN) told the Indianapolis Star. And his opponents are “political terrorists.”

    Hill is not holding town hall meetings. Why? “I’m trying to control the event,” Hill said. “What I don’t want to do is create an opportunity for the people who are political terrorists to blow up the meeting and not try to answer thoughtful questions.”

    Hill is not alone. Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi believe that “drowning out opposing views is simply un-American.” Just like Democrats argued when they condemned unruly Iraq War protesters.

    I’m not aware of anyone protesting Dubya’s Not-So-Excellent Adventure in Iraq who ended up threatening anyone either face to face or over the phone, or who shut down a town hall meeting, or (as noted previously) ended up leaving a gun behind at one of their appearances.

    Some apples with your oranges, Hayes?

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