1984

We hear a lot of arguments for policing the planet. All vaguely reference shadowy groups who threaten us in some even more-vaguely defined way. No more blatant example than our crisis du jour: something called ISIL.

Yes, the same ISIL of whom few if any of us had even heard, until a couple months ago, except that they were one of over 1,000 groups we were going to arm (or stupider yet, pick among to arm certain ones) to overthrow Syria. NOW – just a couple months later – we must drop everything and stop them from overthrowing Syria. We must spend unlimited cash we don’t have, and can’t back with any liquify-able credit, and do so for as long as it takes. There is – of course and conveniently, again – not one mention of what we do once we “beat” them, or by what benchmark we will know that has occurred. In other words, there is no endgame. We must do this because a masked guy, with visibly white skin and an obvious British accent (and almost certainly his first language, according to our own linguist experts) murdered a handful of people…in another country.

Go back and re-read just the last exchange between Winston and Big Brother in “1984”. Then tell me with a straight face, that we are not living it.  Orwell’s ability to describe 2014 back in the 1940’s is not short of prophetic.  1984 always blows me away, for its accurate depiction of the redistribution of our sovereignty which we are currently allowing. Even the methods by which it is stolen are right on…as they are currently ignored.

We’re Building Empire

900 military bases in 153 countries is not defending anything. It is unsustainably expanding empire. I see no evidence that either team in the duopoly, both highly compromised by funding from war profiteers, will ever allow significantly different foreign policy, until we are bankrupt.

How Expensive

That’s great. But Vermont US Senator Bernie Sanders tells us that:

1) 400 Americans own more wealth than half of America – over 150 million people.

2) Median family income has declined by almost $5,000 since 1999.

3) Over half of the American people have less than $10,000 in savings.

I’m not an economist, but looking around all three seem correct. And yet, “We” have plenty to go fight someone we had never heard of a few months ago. Someone whom we were going to arm to overthrow the same Syria we must now save from them. It is going to become an increasingly hard sell among these US families. Or I hope it does. #SomethingsGottaGive

Let The Rich Pay to Play

Saudi Arabia is the fourth largest defense spender in the world. Let them defend the royal Saudi family, their neighbors, and the global corporations their wealth is co-dependent upon. Barring that, why not the Uber-Rich?

…Or The Other Rich?

They are not “so-called rich”, as their few and shrinking defenders call them, to dismiss growing calls worldwide for them to pay their share. They are documented as “Uber-Rich”. To the point they can’t even fathom how rich. Oxfam tells us that 85 people hold the same wealth as the poorest half of the planet (3.5 billion); Forbes says it is 67 people. Wall Street Journal (no bastion of liberal media) tells us that 400 Americans have more wealth than half of the USA, over 310 million. The Guardian reports that this trend is increasing, and that economic recovery ‘skewed towards wealthy’:

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/oct/14/richest-1percent-half-global-wealth-credit-suisse-report

Folks want to rightly and justly take a lot from the rich’s hoarded wealth, which serves no purpose than to boost their egos, and give it to everyone else more fairly. The Pope seems to concur with us, which will help us get 50.0001% who bother to show up to figure out that Trickle Down is a scam (and was 30 years ago). Then, we are good to go.

The System is Broken

We The People are NOT recognized as inherently sovereign, if non-human corporate entities (insanely called ‘people’, but only by 5-4 SCOTUS decree) have “the power to prohibit her from public roads. The buffer zones would also extend on to other people’s private property, even if Scroggins has the permission to be there.”

If our government of, by and for us does not recognize the self-evident truth of our sovereignty, then it does not represent us. We must replace it with one that does.

Best luck to my friend and our heroine, Vera.

http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2014/10/22/anti-fracking-activist-and-gas-company-head-back-to-court/

Our Declaration to the last gov’t which did not represent us to our satisfaction declares that “governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.” We have a duty to do so. This will occur soon, under our current system’s own dead weight and irrelevance, and has started as we speak.

Solutions?

“The war on drugs has been a war on communities of color,” the director of the ACLU’s Center for Justice Vanita Gupta told us recently. Gupta is a probable nominee to a leadership role in the USDOJ.

“I am convinced Socialism is the only answer and I urge all comrades to take this struggle to a victorious conclusion. Only this will free us from the chains of bigotry and exploitation,” the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai recently told us.

Gupta or Yousafzai don’t have all the answers. But they both seem to have as many good ones – regarding any sovereign’s foreign policy – as any current “experts” leading our empire.

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PA General Assembly Progressive Champions Endorsed by Keystone Progress PAC

Congratulations to all our progressive champions!  Each of the endorsed candidates is a strong supporter of quality public education for children; supports a raise in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour; will fight to close corporate tax loopholes; supports a woman’s right to control her reproductive choices; supports LGBT equality; and will work to protect our environment, our economy and our democracy.

PA State Senate
Christine Tartaglione (D, SD 2, Philadelphia)
Steve Cickay (D, SD 10, Bucks County)
Jack Hansen (D, SD 24, Bucks, Lehigh,Montgomery, Northampton)
Linda Small (D, SD 28, York County)
Mark Aurand (D, SD 40, Monroe, Northampton)
Kathi Cozzone (D, SD 44, Berks, Chester, Montgomery Counties)

PA State House
Frederick Sheeler, (D, HD 5, Berks County)
Pete Schweyer, D, HD 22 (Lehigh)
Rep. Ed Gainey (D, HD 24, Allegheny County)
Josh Maxwell, D, HD 74 (Chester)
Laura Dickson, D, HD 117 (Columbia, Luzerne, Wyoming)
Patti Borger, D, HD 122 (Carbon)
Michael Beyer, D, HD 131 (Lehigh, Northampton)
Rep. Mike Schlossberg (D, HD 132, Lehigh County)
Rep. Mark Painter, D, HD 146 (Montgomery)
Rep. Stephen McCarter, (D, HD 154, Montgomery County)
Susan Rzucidlo, D, (HD 158, Chester County)
Whitney Hoffman, D, HD 160 (Chester, Delaware)
Vince Rongione (D, HD 163, Delaware County)
Rep. Mike O’Brien (D, HD 175, Philadelphia)
Rep. Brian Sims (D, HD 182, Philadelphia)
Terri Powell, (D, HD 183, Lehigh, Northampton)
Liz Forrest (D, HD 189, Monroe, Pike Counties)
Rep. Rosita Youngblood (D, HD 198, Philadelphia)
Rep. Mark Cohen (D, HD 202, Philadelphia)

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PA Governor’s Race. Only One Candidate will Allow the Sick to Have Medicine

Way to go, Antania! This is what democracy looks like, especially when someone keeps your doctor from recommending a leaf to help your illness.

Not a Corbett.  Deserves medicine nonetheless.

Not a Corbett. Deserves medicine nonetheless.

In the words of Antania’s mom, my friend Jessicah Hawkins, these are the names of PA Governor Tom Corbett’s “Wife, kids and grandson. I also waited until he stepped out of the car to ask him how many seizures his grandson had that day. Done playing games with the guy.”

But Why?

Why does PA Governor Corbett deny Antania medicine? And what would his opponent do if elected to replace him next month?

Corbett vs Wolf on Medical Marijuana.  I personally heard both candidates say these quotes. (courtesy of Keystone Cannibis Coalition)

Corbett vs Wolf on Medical Marijuana. I personally heard both candidates say these quotes. (courtesy of Keystone Cannibis Coalition)

Astounding. Already, the very next day, someone on PennLive denied The Corbster said that. I copied and pasted that very quote, along with one of the many links available to it.

The choices are stark, and this issue most clearly summarizes the different directions each will take us. Thanks to Keystone Cannibis Coalition for another fabulous graphic.

Medical Marijuana Opposition is #OutOfTouch

Medical marijuana is not a debatable topic. The writer correctly identifies that almost all in both PA and the USA want it, and are slowly prying it from the resisting fingers of conservative governments (progressive and moderate governments nationwide having long embraced and endorsed it.

Corbett does not support #MMJ. He says he supports – but has made absolutely no verifiable progress in initiating – studies of one (1) of the countless medicines in the cannibis plant (CBD), at just two (2) hospitals in our expansive Commonwealth of 12 million citizens. And this only in response to months and months of lobbying for #MMJ in an eerily silent absence of lobbying against it. Otherwise, he would never have proposed even that.

The #MMJ debate has long been settled, to all but an insignificant minority, irrational counterpoints aside.

The only reason that #SB1182 was not allowed an up or down vote, which our exhaustive research has shown would have passed the House almost as overwhelmingly as it did the Senate and possibly even in a veto-proof fashion is because of Tom Corbett’s opposition, and Mike Turzai’s hunger for Speakership.

Our 80%+ approval is reflected in the unanimous vote out of the Law and Justice Committee this bill enjoyed. It was reiterated as accurate by the 86% with which it flew out of Appropriations. Both with Republican majorities, but the way. These hugely bipartisan votes also reflect the overwhelming majorities across all demographics in the polls showing at least 80% and maybe 85% support of medical marijuana among We The People.

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/bill_history.cfm?syear=2013&sind=0&body=S&type=B&bn=1182

The Lies from The Corbsters

http://blog.pennlive.com/capitol-notebook/2014/10/wolf_corbett_take_heat_over_mi.html

This article explains Governor Corbett’s Republican party’s puzzling steadfast denial of at least 80% of We The People:

“What exactly does it do? Do you guys know what it does?” said House GOP spokesman Steve Miskin, addressing reporters. “Do you know it sets up a whole new bureaucracy and industry?”

Yes, Mr Miskin. Despite your very hard-to-fathom confusion and surprise by this heretofore unheard of issue, they and the 80-85% of PA who want medical marijuana know what #SB1182 does. Exactly what it does. We know it requires a small “bureaucracy”, not more than having me as a PA licensed engineer does (and with no hearings). Every thinking person everywhere knows it will create industry, which GOP usually approves of. But that is far down the list of good things it does.

We know this for the same reason you and every, single member of the House has to also know this. The news has been plastered with it, and hundreds of mothers of sick kids and vets have been inundating everyone who can’t outrun them with all the data anyone could ever read for at least the last year.

More Lies from The Corbsters

The article above also states that: “It’s marked here by the draft board: ‘FR’ — failed to report. He did not show for his pre-induction physical, said Sam DeMarco, of the group called Veterans and Patriots United.

Sam DeMarco is not JUST with a group called Veterans and Patriots United, whatever that is.

DeMarco – who accidentally misread Democrat Wolf’s military paperwork, four weeks before election in which he is heavily favored over a Republican candidate – is much better known as a regularly outspoken member of the:

North Fayette Republican Committee
Republican Committee of Allegheny County
100 Fleet Street, Suite 205
Pittsburgh, PA 15220
412-370-1737
sdemarcoii@aol.com

http://alleghenyrepublicans.com/north-fayette-republican-committee/

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Gene Stilp – Watchdog for Henhouse of PA Capitol

While much of the political world worries itself about how many of each team was called out in #Porngate:

http://steventodd.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/chris-abruzzos-resignation-letter/

Democratic candidate for the 104th legislative district Gene Stilp calls for investigation into Democratic Justice McCaffery. Stilp adds to his decades-long history of calling for justice, regardless of which party is in focus.

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2014/10/complainant_confirms_judicial.html

I missed his Republican opponent Sue Helm calling for same against high-placed Republicans. I’ve missed her taking any substantive stance on any controversial issue.  I’d bet you’ve missed Helm standing up, during any of her several terms in office, as well.

She hasn’t, and won’t.  Because she can’t.  She is a function and product of our broken two-party duopoly that put her there.  Fix it.

104th voters: On Nov 4, choose Stilp. Send a watchdog to guard the henhouse of the PA Capitol.

PA Legislative (House) District 104

PA Legislative (House) District 104

(Image: http://ballotpedia.org/File:PA_HD_104.JPG)

Gene’s invitation to a debate, in time and place of her choosing:

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2014/10/democrat_candidate_gene_stilp.html

Was rebuked that very day.  Representative @RepSueHelm won’t debate challenger @GeneStilp. Helm calls debates “staged events…do very little to truly educate voters or inform taxpayers”:

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2014/10/state_rep_sue_helm_staged_even.html

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PA DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo’s Resignation, What it Means and Where from Here

Resignation Email Notice to Employees (Oct 6 UPDATE: I have been made aware that this is only a portion of that document.)

Today, I sent Governor Tom Corbett the official notice of my resignation from the position of Secretary at the Department of Environmental Protection, effective immediately.

Since first becoming Acting DEP Secretary on April 13, 2013, I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with the most distinguished, extraordinary individuals in state government; individuals who dedicate their lives to carrying out the department’s noble mission to protect Pennsylvania’s air, land and water from pollution and provide for the health and safety of its citizens through a cleaner environment.

Chris Abruzzo | Secretary
Department of Environmental Protection
Rachel Carson State Office Building
400 Market Street | Hbg PA 17101
Phone: 717.783.3004 | Fax: 717.705.4980
http://www.depweb.state.pa.us

What it Means and Where from Here?

Short and sweet. But what is left to say.

“Definitely,” Abruzzo responds, to comparison of a model to a woman the members of this share-group all know. In another, Abruzzo volunteers to forward an email to a colleague whom he refers to as “the Ass-Man.” A minute later, he forwards the dirty picture to that friend, adding this editorial comment: “Yummy. Now don’t hurt your wife tonite (sic, as well as sick).”

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2014/10/documents_show_sexual_emails_s.html

“I have no recollection of the specific accounts described by the media”

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2014/10/in_resignation_letter_christop.html

Hmmm. Dozens of hardcore porn emails, shared around work, along with vicious dialogue about wives and co-workers. All within the last few years, and they don’t come to mind. How many of these things does The Political Class pass around in a day, to be so routine to get lost in the haze of recollection?

I salute Chris for doing the right thing here, in stepping down. But this as hard to believe as when he testified to the Senate, just last year, that:

“I’ve not read any scientific studies that would lead me to conclude there are adverse impacts to human beings, animals, or plant life at this small level of climate change.”

http://www.senatorleach.com/an-open-letter-from-sen-daylin-leach-to-acting-dep-secretary-abruzzo

Abruzzo has an historic knack for selective amnesia, as my readers well know:

http://steventodd.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/nov-6-2011-abruzzos-amnesia…who-ya-gonna-trust-continued/

http://steventodd.wordpress.com/archives/derry-supervisor/derry-government-policy/

Kharma ain’t always instant. But it always is.

Memory Loss Common Among Corbsters

Abruzzo’s slip of memory (this one, that is) is eerily like Corbster Randy Feathers. He won’t leave his $115,932-a-year seat on the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, until he reviews his own emails.

Feathers, according to our Attorney General, sent sent 40 porno files, just five years ago. And yet: “At the conclusion of this review, if it is determined that I did not uphold my professional responsibilities…”  Essentially, ‘I don’t recall any of this stuff, either.’ Feathers somehow manages to say.

I find that dishonest, sir. Every one of us distinctly remembers whether he or she did or did not send 40 porno files so recently. The only way one could believably not, is if one has sent so many that those 40 have been drowned in the din.

Man up, men.

A Pattern of Arrogant Untouchability

Typical of the trend of the last four years. Even as the US EEOC sides with Dianne Buckwash, a former co-worker of Corbett and Abruzzo’s, Kevin Harley, Corbett’s always-arrogant former press secretary suggested that Buckwash sued because she was passed over for a promotion.

Of course she did. Hartley, we recall, is the dude who famously replied in this same official capacity with Corbett: “I will not comment on publicity stunts by self-serving publicity hounds.” He was asked about a rally to preserve the fracking moratorium in the Delaware River watershed – which stands to this day – by PA citizens including folks whose water is destroyed by fracking.

This is right around the time that Corbett Transition Team Member and Kitchen Table Patriots leader Ana Puig was telling us that liberals are “in alliance with radical Islam.” Most thought they just have a different outlook than hers, or something crazy.

Hartley and Puig had already made such remarks by 2011. Foreshadowing of the arrogance and detachment to come, and the trend continued. It will do so for another month. Then we can move onto what I hope Governor Wolf ushers in: an era of transparency and inclusion.

But: We The People have hoped for such before…

Oct 4 UPDATE: Yeah, That’s The Ticket (and other fishtails emerge)

Even more incredibility to Feathers’ and Abruzzo’s words has come to light.

The TribLive and Huffington Post have reported on Agent Buckwash’s complaint for these same activities:

http://triblive.com/state/pennsylvania/6729652-74/office-women-general#axzz3CJMP3tL6

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/04/tom-corbett-pennsylvania_n_5766484.html

The articles do not specify when the complaint occurred. But if it was before this recent Sandusky fallout, it becomes almost impossible that all named – including sitting Governor Tom Corbett – would not have been made fully aware of the items and actions in question.

Imagine launching a defense against that complaint or responding to such complaint. Further and additionally, arriving at the conclusion that a settlement was in order, and the amount of that settlement. All without reviewing the statements of fact with the subjects of that complaint. I can not.

Final Note: Fair is Fair

If public employees such as Harley, Noonan, Blessington, and others did not send the materials, they did nothing warranting anything beyond discipline for not reporting them. Most folks don’t “report” our countless spam emails at work either. We roll our eyes, delete, and get back to work. Any discipline would probably as little as a reminder of the steps one must take to report inappropriate materials received.

If Former Executive Deputy Attorney General Richard A. Sheetz included his full name, title, office address and telephone number sat at the bottom of hardcore porn he used public resources to distribute. He needs double punishment for his arrogance in implying We The People of PA sanctioning the materials. Too bad there is no mechanism by which we can punish the arrogance of The untouchable Political Class. But then: our public buildings would echo their loneliness.

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#ClimateDeniers – False Profits / Ignorance No Excuse

My latest in PennLive, albeit highly condensed. Still, published less than 24 hours after submittal. Not bad:

http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2014/09/clean_energy_vs_fossil_fuels_f.html

Please leave a comment at the end. If it is signed, I will respond, regardless. I always do. If it is anonymous, I will respond on a case-by-case basis.

Before commenting, please read my entire original draft, from which it appears about a fifth was printed. I’ve posted it in the comments as well:

From: Me
To: asiseeit@pnco.com; letters@pennlive.com
Subject: As I See It: False Profits
Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:31:58 +0000

False Profits

Inevitably, climate deniers fall back on the false claim of uncompetitively expensive clean energy. Climate change or none, “free market” is laughable when clumsily applied to things we all need. Imagine if PA American or United Water tried gouging us on our water prices, or Exelon our electric. Would the “free market” come in, give us cheaper water/power and fix the problem? Of course not. The govt of, by and for us would make them provide affordable common needs, or would take our commonwealth back from them and distribute it affordably. Very, very quickly (two months tops in the case of electric, but within days for water). We are seeing it now, with healthcare costs unaffordable on any concept of free market. Same with food: the “free market” sets the price…until it sets it wrong, then We The People force it to where it has to be so we don’t die.

It is laughable to think Mr and Mrs Exxon go into Iraq and through their own hard work and diligence alone bring oil to market, without our military, and those activities set the price. It hasn’t and can not ever happen that way.

Just imagine a couple dozen corporations: Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics, etc. Imagine one year with no demand for weapons of keeping fossil fuel markets stable. Just one, then back to super-duper-stealth-drone-whatevers. Imagine what they would HAVE TO do to make payroll. We would have effective mass transit and solar panels on every roof so fast your head would spin. Sure, it would be “subsidized”: Of, by and for us. As fossil fuels and the bombs needed to make them marketable now are. As the public bond financing nuclear and conventional power plants require, on our dime.

Free Market does not ever – and can never be allowed to have – any real place in providing societies common needs. We give it a placeholder spot, to make us think Exxon actually competes with Shell, and that is how you get cheap gas. But we know better. You and I don’t and can’t build a military or police force to protect our individual backyards. We can’t build our own, private road to San Francisco if we want to go…imagine the cost of the fence alone, to keep all the “trespassers” from using it when we were done.
Let’s leave the free market to do what it does well: distributing widgets and gadgets. Regardless how one feels about climate change, the sooner we quit pretending the free market currently makes fossil fuels the winner, the sooner we citizens of our planet Earth can start picking the winner going forward. I vote for clean energy sources.

Ignorance No Excuse

Grove City College’s Shawn Ritenour warns of the poor burning excrement unless we continue burning fossil fuels. This is as ridiculous as the DEP testimony I heard on Sept 25, preceding mine. There, a paid talking head (before I testified for free, on my own time) testified that we must continue to burn coal tailing or boney piles, or we risk pollution from them spontaneously combusting. Yep, with a straight face. We can easily deduce why the lobbyist preceding my testimony to the preposterous. But why would a humble econ prof…from Cornwall Alliance?

When you see something written that appears distorted or debunked, which the writer implies is true and/or popular, look closer. You’ll most often find the “findings” neither. They were simply what the funder of them wanted found.

I’ve been tracking money’s steering of politics, for about a decade. It is exhausting…OK, it is boring. You never could just look up someone like Ritenour’s connection to a manipulative sugar daddy like ALEC or the Kochs. Since Citizen’s United, it is infinitely harder. But you rarely need more than a couple cross ref’s, and a little thought, to get there. Here I needed four steps, so hats off to their attempts to hide.

Searching Cornwall Alliance yields no connection…but wait:

“Donors Trust, a shadowy funding vehicle, has laundered $146 million in climate denial funding (largely from the Kochs and Exxon) from 2002 to 2011…climate denial organizations that have received major funding in recent years by Donors Trust include the Heartland Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Cato Institute and the James Partnership (Cornwall Alliance).”

http://www.polluterwatch.com/category/freetagging/state-policy-network

Then, taking their real name James Partnership, one finds the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, a “Vice-Chairman” level sponsor of ALEC. It funnels cash to ClearWord Communications Group, Inc.,[36] a “donor strategies firm” or “commercial fundraiser” that also raises funds for (drumroll, please):

James Partnership

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity

And THAT is why Ritenour warns of the poor harming us by burning excrement, unless we continue burning fossil fuels.

Steve Todd, PE, LEED AP

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Raise the Wage PA – Sept. 29 Event‏

VoteforaRaise

UUPLAN is once again collaborating with RaisetheWage PA for a Monday,  September 29th Press Event to urge PA legislators to increase the minimum wage. Every state surrounding Pennsylvania has increased the minimum wage for their workers – it is time for Pennsylvania to step up.
The press conference will be staged in Harrisburg in the Capitol Rotunda beginning at 12:30pm.

Speakers include our new minister, Donna Renfro, Senator Judy Schwank, retired steel-worker, Jim Roberts, United Methodist minister, Rev. Yvette Davis, candidate for the 199th district, Jill Bartoli, and IMC president and President of the PA state chapter of the NAACP, Bishop A.E. Sullivan.

The gap created by escalating inequality is growing. Helping low-wage workers by increasing the minimum wage is a step in the right direction.
Attached is a flyer that you may distribute to promote the event. We hope to see you on Monday, September 29th in the Capitol Rotunda at 12:30pm.

http://www.uuplan.org

@uuplan

http://www.facebook.com/uuplan

Sept 29 UPDATE

…and here we are. Hey, who is that cool dude behind Senator Schwank, with the green shirt? Looks like…

http://www.pennlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/09/raising_the_states_minimum_wag.html