Democracy Spring – Sit In with Thousands. Save Democracy for Millions

“I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests”  – President Barack Obama, January 27, 2010

Neither do I.  Please consider joining Democracy Spring, in any way you can.  No one has to commit to all parts.  All who want our government to become of, by and for us must show support!

If at least 1000 people pledge to risk arrest in by Dec 15, 99Rise, Avaaz, and a growing coalition will organize Democracy Spring — the largest American civil disobedience action in a generation next April in Washington, DC. We had 421 on Nov 17, and 612 by Nov 21.

By Nov 26, we had already shattered the minimum needed, with 1,024.  We are headed to OUR nation’s capital, via the birthplace of freedom!

Lawrence Lessig, Zephyr Teachout, Cenk Uygur, Ben Cohen, Captain Ray Lewis and Mark Ruffalo are among us who have pledged to risk arrest and over 40 organizations signed on to help (including me and “The People For Bernie Sanders 2016”, see link).

There are many volunteer positions, most do not risk arrest for peaceful demonstration. FOR EXAMPLE, I am signed up to Lead a regional organizing hub and coordinate local outreach, mobilization & logistics, to Reach out to groups or organizations to join the Democracy Spring coalition, to Mobilize other individuals to pledge to risk arrest, march, or volunteer, and to Promote the campaign on social media.

On April 2, we gather at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, and embark on a 10-day march to the US Capitol in Washington DC. Before setting out, we will present a simple choice to Congress: take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in politics and make the 2016 elections free and fair, or be prepared to send thousands of patriotic Americans to jail simply for demanding an equal voice.

When we arrive at the Capitol on April 11, the march will be joined by thousands who’ve come from across the country to make a stand for our freedom. At that point, either Congress will have miraculously come to its senses and passed the perfectly viable reform bills now pending before it, or those who protect corruption will leave us no choice but to reclaim the People’s House in massive, disruptive, nonviolent sit-ins.

Beneath the dome of the rotunda, on the steps outside the Capitol, and in the offices of our supposed representatives, we will engage in peaceful civil disobedience for at least a week.

In The Meantime, Act Right Now


“Take action to fight secret money immediately – and redeem your failed money in politics legacy

President Obama: In the nearly 6 years since Citizens United, super PACs and undisclosed money have come to dominate elections.

You have tools at your disposal to fight this influx of secret money into politics.

But you have done nothing.

You must act now or be remembered as the president whose inaction aided the rise of secret money politics.

We demand that before your State of the Union address, you issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose their political spending within 24 hours of it happening, taking effect before July 4, 2016.

We also demand that you immediately call on the leaders you appointed to the SEC, IRS, and FCC to use their authority to unmask secret political donors, and fill all 5 FEC openings with nominees who will enforce the law.”

Published: Nov 16, 2015

As of Nov 18, 26,150 total signatures on this petition. Not bad for less than 2 full days.

73,850 signatures needed by December 16, 2015 to reach goal of 100,000, to force a response by President Obama

S. T.
November 18, 2015
Signature # 23,629

36,698 signatures as of 11:15 am, Nov 19.  Go…

47,923 on Nov 21.  Keep going…

64,481 on Nov 26.  Almost 2/3 there and 20 days left.

In The Meantime, Act on Nov 28:

Thunderclap Democracy Spring, on Nov 28.  Donate one post on Twitter, FB, and/or Tumbler:

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The Drone Papers via @DemocracyNow

Immoral drone bombing of cell phone GPS might yet be stopped by the morals of courageous and honest people.


“9 out of 10 casualties were not the intended target”

“all foreign males in a target zone have been treated as militants”

“defending the right of the US President to assassinate individuals, including US citizens, based on intelligence they never have to make public”

The Kill Chain = ‘secret meetings…death warrant for whoever they’ve decide should die, based on a parallel secret judiciary…not subject to review…POTUS acts as emperor.’

Drone targets often chosen because “they have Arab features…taller than everyone else [in kill zone].”

One murder was of a man who looked “taller”, so we murdered the group. Turns out it was one adult, with children. One survivor.

“This government has been relentless in its pursuit of people of conscience who blow the whistle [to expose US warcrimes] and has characterized them as traitors and spies…criminalized the ability to do independent journalism that is meant to hold the government accountable.”

“Where is Congress in all of this…turf war between the CIA and the Pentagon?”

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Sandy Ballard, Rich Suminski, and Steve Todd Respond To Lying Letter’s Slander

UPDATES: Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick robocalls 8,223 Republican and Independent voters in zips 17033 and 17036 to tell them Derry Twp Chair John Foley’s letter was “inappropriate and troubling,” imploring them to go to Sandy Ballard’s website for “factual responses.”

I have the m4a file (whatever that is, iTunes can play it), and if anyone can tell me how to share it, I will. Or reply me your email and I will send it.

The Sun has more coverage, and cites this blog as a source!

Kathy Sweney Responds:

Kathy Sweney Letter to Foley (“…a great example of cowardice”)

### (Original Text)

A letter of slanderous lies, dated Oct. 28, made its way to many Derry voters. Letter is on letterhead, and with a signature, both identifying the Chair of our Derry Township Board of Supervisors John Foley as the author, and footer stating that it was paid for by Chairman Foley’s Political Action Committee (PAC).

It was spinelessly released too late for major media or traditional mail response, in time for We The People of Derry to make an informed decision, prior to heading to the polls.  The discerning voter must ask themselves why.  In the meantime, we are using the power of social media – the great equalizer – to set the record straight.

349 unique views during first 24 hours.

Imagine how many might get “the rest of the story” prior to heading to the polls.

THIS is what democracy looks like. Please share with all in Derry Twp. Thank you.

Sandy Ballard Responds:

Sandy Ballard Responds, point by point:

Sandy Ballard Response to John Foley Letter

Rich Suminski Responds:

Letter states: ‘Her [Ballard’s] second largest donor has led frivolous Right-to-Know lawsuits against the Twp, wasting thousands of hours of staff time and costing the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars…’

Forgetting for this moment that I have long broadcast my firm belief that constituent individuals who contribute to local elections should be applauded and not attacked, as they weaken the influence of PACs.  Ballard’s campaign finance report appear to show Richard Suminski as one of Sandy Ballard’s larger donors:

Suminski has such a lawsuit pending. Sumniski’s release follows unedited:

“As to my Right to Know Request (RKR) concerning the bike trail and Foley’s inaccurate remarks on same in his letter below are the facts:

Fact: The Open Records Agency ordered the Township to produce various records. A single 2 page invoice was only produced.

Fact: In the Court of Common Pleas an Enforcement Action was filed and the Judge ordered the Township to produce all records in 2 days time. Appropriately 300 pages of documents were produced 2 days later.

Fact; The Judge stated if an application was filed with the Court that he would sanction the Township for their behavior. When a Court orders the other party to produce all records, in 2 days, that they are withholding and offers to impose sanctions the “lawsuit” is not frivolous.

Fact: After providing the 300 pages it was proven that the Township did not provide all documents and then they produced about another 1400 pages.

Fact: Almost 11 months from the initial request there is evidence that the Township has yet provided all documents.

Fact; I offered several times to meet with the supervisors to resolve several issues and they never responded back.

Fact: I twice offered to withdraw my Right to Know Request if the Township allowed an independent IT expert search their server for records. The township refused that request.

Fact: Months ago I requested the Township produce the Township Solicitor’s invoices to determine if “tens of thousands of dollars” was being spent to review Right to Know Requests. The one invoice released for the first half of the year stated that less than $3000 was billed. The remaining invoices are outstanding.

While still litigating to obtain all records which legally entitled, the records received thus far indicate a supervisor Abusing his Power by unilaterally making decisions and ordering Township officials to take actions without involving the full board and making nasty, unprofessional and defamatory remarks in emails.

In my opinion, Foley should reimburse the taxpayers for all legal costs incurred by the Township for violating the Right to Know and Sunshine Acts. He is not trying to defend the Township, but himself.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Richard Suminski”

Candidate for Derry Supervisor Steve Todd Responds:

I have blogged what is by far the most detailed account of the hearing on Suminski vs Derry in Dauphin County Court, which I attended, and in which Derry was basically spanked by the Court:

If you feel this letter was immature, reckless and dishonest, remember: the only surefire way to immediately remove Foley from power is to also elect me, Steve Todd. Candidates Marc Moyer or Susan Cort, who the letter recommends we vote for, will likely allow business as usual to continue. Otherwise, why would the author endorse them?

What Sandy needs is a Board majority, so that she is selected by that Board as its leader. Returning Sandy to the minority of two members will not accomplish that. Only voting for both of us will.

If the rules were changed tomorrow, and I could only vote for one (instead of the two we can), this candidate – Sandy’s competitor – would vote for Sandy Ballard. But, since we have two votes, vote for the only candidate who has pledged, in The Sun four times and via mailing to almost 5,500 households recently or very soon, that:

“I will nominate re-elected Sandy Ballard to Chair our Derry Township Board of Supervisors.”

Because most citizens of all politics and demographics support her, as I have and do.

I have pledged to nominate Sandy as Chair on day one. Presuming we can get Supervisor Matt Weir’s vote, Foley can do or not do whatever he wants. He will be made as irrelevant as his show of inept leadership has proven him, and Sandy leads OUR Derry Supervisors in a constructive fashion.

~ Steve Todd

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Dauphin Democratic Activists Urge Voters – “Bullet Vote” Only for Tom Connolly for County Commiss



News release from Jay Purdy and Steven Todd October 30, 2015

Dauphin County Democratic activist Jay Purdy and Steven Todd, candidate for Derry Township Supervisor, today urged voters to cast a ballot only for Tom Connolly for County Commissioner in the November 3 election.

Such a vote, targeting only one candidate in a race in which there are other candidates, is referred to as a “bullet vote.”

Connolly currently is a Swatara Township Commissioner.

“I am impressed by Tom’s energy and his total commitment to open, ethical government,” said Purdy. “He clearly serves the best interests of the people who entrusted him with public office, not the interests of political action committee financiers.”

Purdy is a former Lower Paxton Township Supervisor and served two terms on the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee.

Purdy and Todd said they will not vote for a second commissioner candidate because the other three candidates, including the incumbent Democrat, are under the control of the “Better Government for Pennsylvania” political action committee dedicated to maintaining the status quo against reform at both the county and municipal levels. The support takes the form of massive infusions of cash and in-kind-contributions such as postage, printing costs and phone-banking.

Purdy noted that his involvement on the issue is prompted by his sense of righteousness and dedication to providing county voters with the two-party system so vital to American democracy at all levels. He said the challenge of a personal health issue has taken him out of active political involvement.

“Through its influence over the incumbent Democratic minority commissioner and the incumbent Republican commissioners, Better Government for Pennsylvania perverts the two-party system,” said Purdy. Instead of allowing the essential role of the minority commissioner as the ‘loyal opposition,’ it relegates what should be a position of watch dog to that of lap-dog.”

Todd cited Wednesday’s Patriot-News/PennLive editorial refusing to make endorsement in the Dauphin County commissioner’s race. “Tom Connolly won the PennLive endorsement by default, since he was the only candidate willing to meet the criteria for endorsement: showing up for the interview, on the endorser’s terms,” Todd noted.

After interviewing Connolly, PennLive deduced that “Connolly is a qualified candidate with strong ties in the community. He raises valid questions about how the county is being run.”

“It’s time to introduce openness and ethics to Dauphin County government with a bullet vote for Tom Connolly for Dauphin County Commissioner,” Purdy and Todd concluded.


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League of Women Voters of PA Forum for Derry Twp Supervisor Candidates 2015

Th, 10/22, 7 – 8:30 pm

Derry Township Municipal Building, 600 Clearwater Road, Hershey, PA

LWV Supervisors Candate Forum (photo credit: Sandy Ballard's FaceBook page)

LWV Supervisors Candate Forum
(photo credit: Sandy Ballard’s FaceBook page)

Former Supervisor George Porter (middle) moderated and asked questions submitted by the audience.  Each candidate – (l to r) Susan Cort, Mark Moyer, Steve Todd, Sandy Ballard

It was great to face some of the toughest and well thought out questions I’ve ever faced tonight. Derry citizens know their stuff, so don’t try to pull one over on any of them/us. Sandy Ballard ruled the stage as always, I think I did well, and I even took some insights from our fine Republican opponents, Susan Cort and Marc Moyer. Former Supervisor George Porter kept the whole thing flying along, and we got through an unbelievable amount of questions.

Everyone learns a lot at each of these forums.  Thanks to the Hershey Area League of Women Voters, for their hosting this wonderful event. Few municipalities are privileged to have a forum of all candidates on the same stage answering the same unknown questions. I am grateful to all their hard work, especially that of Elvira Ebling, but also Marie McAndrews, Janette Murray and Jan Cary, who I am proud to call friends.

Watch the entire Forum, and all of our answers to questions from the audience, before casting your vote:

The four candidates for Derry Township Supervisor offered a two-minute introduction and then responded to questions from the audience. Each response was limited to one minute. The forum was organized by the League of Women Voters and moderated by former Supervisor George Porter. This video was recorded by The Sun so they could capture the comments by the candidates to write their article. Their coverage can be seen in the October 29, 2015 issue:

Coverage in PennLive:

LWV Hershey Area, on FaceBook, has pictures and info of this year’s and past forums:

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Derry Township Voter Asked for Info on Campaign Donations in Derry Twp

@mojojojo17111 at PennLive asked: “As a registered Derry Township voter, I’m very interested in the names of candidates that don’t take the above mentioned “donations”.  Where can I find out that type of info? TIA”

Great question, and one which should be foremost in our ‘issues’ to ask of elected officials.  I gave @mojojojo17111 the following partial list of the usual players, who although they don’t live here, care enough who we care to lead us to shovel money here almost every single year:

“@mojojojo17111 – I am running for Derry Supervisor. Current Supervisors Sandy Ballard and Matt Weir took no cash from non-constituents, or for-profit incorporated entities. I have not and will not. With me joining them, we create a Board majority free of this inherent conflict of interest.

Regular donors to most past Derry Supervisors, and to all three Dauphin County Commissioners include:

– Better Govt PA, among many of Mike Musser’s ever-morphing PACs

– Harrisburg law firm / lobbyists McNees Wallace

– County Commissioner Jeff Haste, who lives in Harrisburg.

– Pittsburgh über-lobbyists Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney (also Harrisburg office, of course).

– HRG, who is our township engineer and overcharges us by multiples of what the competitive free market would bring for comparable services.

Here are this year’s reports for us all, and the past few years are off to the left as you look at this year’s:

BUT (and this is as important as it is boring): the reports which will show almost all shenanigans are not due until Fri, 10/23 (activity till Oct 19), and then especially after the election. Looking at current candidates posting for this year will not show the lion’s share of that person’s donations. For that, look at the past years for Marc Moyer, Sandy Ballard and myself. Susan Cort hasn’t run before.

Here is my ongoing and growing expose of Team Musser’s manipulations in Derry and the region:

“Funny Money in Derry Township?” Posted on November 1, 2013, details how the last time I ran, he and his lackeys spent well into five figures against us, and almost none of the donors to the various PACs, which promptly moved the money to other PACs before the candidates, live in Derry. They beat me, by 161 votes, but my running mate slid through despite cash from Florida, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.

I hope this helps you select the candidates funded only of by and for human residents of Derry!”

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Not Much Different…Except When Really, Really Different

On September 23, 2015, Amy Richards Harinath, identified in PennLive as county spokeswoman, told PennLive that:

“It [Dauphin County’s fall newsletter] is not much different from the newsletter that Swatara Township sends to its residents featuring photos of the commissioners,” she said.

Nothing like asking Tom Connolly for a copy of the newsletter. He’s not real hard to get in touch with…being a candidate for County Commiss and what not.

Yeah, um, Amy: it does not remotely resemble the DC newsletter. It kind of looks like you must not have even seen the Swatara letter before stating their similarity.

Connolly compared the two for me: “Dauphin County Fall 2015 Mailing paid for by tax dollars.  Front Cover 6 pictures of Current Elected Officials/ 6 Pictures of current Candidates. 14 times the Elected Officials names appear on this page. That would mean the Candidates names appear 14 times since all three are seeking Re-Election.

Dauphin County Newsletter, front

Dauphin County Newsletter, front

Dauphin County back cover of Fall 2015 Mailer. 10 pictures of Current Dauphin County Commissioners. 10 pictures of the Candidates for Dauphin County Commissioner. The names of the Current Elected Officials appear 10 times. The names of current political candidates appear 10 times.

Dauphin County Newsletter, back

Dauphin County Newsletter, back

Swatara Township Fall 2015 Newsletter Cover- No pictures of Elected Officials or Candidates. No Names of Elected Officails or Candidates.

Swatara Newsletter, front

Swatara Newsletter, front

Swatara Township Fall 2015 Newsletter back cover. No pictures of current Elected Officials or Candidates. No names of Elected Officials or Candidates.”

Swatara Newsletter, back

Swatara Newsletter, back

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